Thursday, 19 May 2016

A Good Year for Top of the Pops

A big thanks this time to Xrayfour for making this DLT hosted edition of Top of the Pops from October 8th 1981 available on Vimeo ~

https://vimeo.com/166800605

Oh no, not another yewtree!


08/10/81 (hosted by Dave Lee Travis)

(7) Madness – “Shut Up”

Ello Ello Ello, the nutty boys get us underway, assisted by WPCs & Co, with Shut Up now at its peak.

(8) Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin – “It’s My Party” (rpt from 24/09/81)
On its way of course to number one.

(30) Barry Manilow – “Let’s Hang On” (video)

This Four Seasons cover became Barry's biggest hit to date when it peaked at number 12.

(40) Shakin’ Stevens – “It’s Raining”

Rounding off a great 1981 for Shaky when this autumn tune peaked at number 10.

(29) Slade – “Lock Up Your Daughters”  (rpt from 24/09/81)

Slightly awkward introduction here from DLT for Lock Up Your Daughters, which got no higher in the charts.

(23) Elvis Costello & The Attractions – “A Good Year For The Roses”  (video)

The first of a couple of new wave acts to go country around this time (the other will be on the next show) this became his third and final top ten hit when it reached number 6.

(19) Japan – “Quiet Life” (rpt from 24/09/81)

Now at its peak.

(33) Tight Fit – “Back To The Sixties Part 2”

This follow up medley was not so successful, peaking at 33, despite Legs & Co's best audience cheerleading efforts.

(21) The Human League – “Open Your Heart”

Poor old Human League are yewtreed yet again, this one made it to number 6.

(11) Depeche Mode – “Just Can’t Get Enough” (rpt from 24/09/81)
Peaked at number 8.

(1) Adam & The Ants – “Prince Charming” (video/credits)

Fourth and final week at number one.


Next up is the edition from October 15th 1981.

36 comments:

  1. We reach an iconic milestone in the history of TOTP right here right now - the first mention of the word 'video' by DLT when introducing the Barry Manilow video.
    Until October 1981, they were referred to as film, and not video, but here it is coined 'video' for the very first time on TOTP!

    Madness - I must admit that I couldn't get enough of Legs & Co dressed as coppers undressed from the waist down. OK, blood pressure up again. Despite the not so great song from Madness, the Legs & Co cops kept the eyes transfixed onto the performance somehow.

    Barry Manilow - going girl-crazy with a Jay Aston lookalike. This is such a fun song, and it's difficult to decide which was better, i.e., this version or the one by Darts in summer 1980 just before their demise.

    Slade - interesting introduction by DLT about dads sending their little girls to TOTP, cos DLT was gonna dance with them - hence the link to "Lock Up Your Daughters" by Slade.

    Elvis Costello - for a change, the video was mainly indoors, a move-away from his tradition outdoor videos, but I just love the tune on this, and it's much better than some of his other offerings in 1980/1981. The two schoolboys in the video did look weird, wether or not they were brothers.

    Tight Fit - it certainly looked like a tight fit on that stage with the group, plus Legs & Co who couldn't resist another medley this week. I think the public were now beginning to tire of the medley mania over the last 6 months ago started by Starsound, as they were not making the top ten any more. I mean this week alone, we had Tight Fit, Gidea Park and Starsound Vol 3 in the same top 40 chart for Pete's sake!

    At last, the 4th and final week at no.1 for Prince Charming. We can now move on....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The best version of Let's Hang On that I've heard is the original, the Manilow one has some terrible backing vocals and at times lacklustre playing.

      Delete
    2. Dory - I think the two kids in the Elvis Costello video are girls!

      Delete
    3. Good Lord, I always thought they were teenage boys who looked weird! I'm not sure you're correct on this one John, and perhaps we can have some more comments from the others before I stand corrected.

      Delete
    4. Admittedly they do look rather androgynous, but they appear to be wearing skirts and are miming along to the feminine-sounding backing vocals, so I am pretty sure they are girls.

      Delete
    5. Hmm, they may easily be shorts, not skirts, and still I'm not convinced they are girls John. OK, what does everyone think? I think they are teenage boys.

      On another note with this video, the keyboard playey looks uncannily like Tom Petty, especially when he smiled before the camera came off him towards the beginning of the video. Does anyone reckon it was Tom Petty?

      Delete
    6. I just found this comment about the video on YouTube, Dory:

      "In Elvis' autobiography, he said they were local twin girls who brought a fiddle for Steve to play in the video. He said they were "Otherworldly" looking."

      There is also this:

      "Elvis tells the story of the creepy looking twins in his new book "Unfaithful Music." Their father was the local owner of the violin the keyboard player had to play because the hotel did not have a piano. The director of the music video decided the girls should be in the video and Elvis was too hungover to care much."

      Delete
    7. OK thanks. I remember watching this DLT show at the time on TOTP, and I absolutely loved this first airing of the new Elvis Costello video, mainly on the back of the song, but the vision of the two weird-looking teenagers sitting next to Elvis made the video all the more watchable.

      Delete
    8. That's John McFee on the pedal steel - he was also in The Doobie Brothers
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McFee

      Though not an official 'Attraction', he did play on the album and the subsequent tour - the features prominently on a great live version of 'Girls Talk' included on the bonus disc of the Deluxe 'Almost Blue' - really cooks!

      Delete
    9. John McFee was a member of Clover who backed Elvis on his debut album. He also got a separate credit on the single.

      I used to collect all of Elvis Costello's singles an for some reason Good Year For The Roses was very difficult to get in a picture sleeve (designed by Barney Bubbles). I eventually found one in a record fair years later for £1. The same was true of Labelled With Love by Squeeze but their picture sleeve was withdrawn at the band's insistence. I think in Elvis's cases once it was a big hit they didn't bother with making any more sleeves.

      Delete
  2. madness apart, fortunately i'm not missing much here as it's otherwise either repeats, yet another fucking medley, acts i have no time for whatsoever (manilow, costello, shakin stevens), and the human league with what was for me by far the worst of their "dare" singles...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Now that's a better way to start the show, the Nutty Boys. Really like this tune, and the contrast between the knees-up verses with the dramatic chorus.

    Why is Dave Stewart brandishing a sword in his charts pic?

    Then Barry Manilow serves up the whole cheeseboard with his cover of Let's Hang On, I kind of appreciate how he's adapted the backing vocals to make it sound different, but it is desperately lightweight. Not sure what the video was trying to say, Baz looks a bit of a loser in it.

    Shaky bravely aiming for the slow dance at the end of the evening crowd, if Simon Bates were here he could have told us who sang that originally.

    Glossing over DLT's intro to Slade, we have a rather static video for Elvis Costello's plaintive country ditty, pleasant enough even with his "distinctive" vocals, though the creepy kids were offputting.

    I'm sure a woman using a man's arse to play the tambourine is precisely what Bob Dylan had in mind when he wrote this. Another flippin' medley, stop buying these, 1981 pop fans!

    Then the terminally unlucky Human League with their tribute to cardiac surgery (or something), not their strongest tune when compared to their other singles, but fits perfectly on the album.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ultra cheap video for Elvis. Features some kind of joke that the two children are doing backing vocals? I looked it up and a group called The Nashville Edition are doing that part.

      Delete
    2. Dave Stewart's sword features in the video for It's My Party, which we should get to see next week.

      Delete
    3. Open Your Heart has a really catchy tune and some great lyrics, all of their singles worked for me.

      The Costello video is a nod to the 70s Johnny Cash TV shows he did (they still show them on the Sky arts channel at Christmas), they always took place in a country house with a log fire.

      Delete
  4. shaky shakerson20 May 2016 at 04:49

    With The Yewtree'd Cornflake on mic duties we are up and running with a strangely subdued Madness. My guess is that they have had warnings Hurl'd at them about their wacky behaviour and been asked to tone it down. So, being the contrary sods they are, they did exactly that and more, only occasionally allowing their inner-mad to escape. Its still a great tune though.

    Time to exercise the index finger and FF through a repeat of Stewart/Gaskin, something called a 'vid-e-o' (nope, me neither) by ol Schnozzer Manilow, and a dreary by-numbers re-make by Michael Hurl's love child Shakin' Stevens before we land stumblingly at the feet of a trio of good uns.

    Slade. It's a repeat showing but a welcome one. This has grown on me significantly since its last outing and, whilst their look doesn't marry up to the style of rock they are playing, I enjoyed it again.

    Elvis proving to me that there is sich a thing as a good C&W song. Excellent lyrics, and a good strong melody in a song that I have always liked. Don't recall seeing the vid-e-o before and, to be honest, wouldn't be all that concerned if I never saw it again. Still......tune, though.

    Japan. Another repeat and another tune that has grown on me. Obviously there is a Bowie-esqueness to Sylian's voice but the music is miles away from The Dame. Have we missed 'Ghost' or does that little treat lie in store still?

    Only one decent song left - and that's The Human League mining the Dare album for all it's worth and yet not seeing the chart-conquering glory of Don't You Want Me? Strange people these music industry johnnies. Strange and without taste.

    Scores. The Yewtree'd Cornflake cops for a 5 dropping points for calling the chart rundown 30-21 the 'third part', that cringey 'lock up your daughters' comment (though hindsight might be involved there) and for a couple of garbled links.

    Good stuff from Japan, Madness, Slade, Elvis, and The Human League, while the other half of the show was pretty ropey so a fifty/fifty split results in a 5.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spoiler alert, spoiler alert! If we reach 1982, we'll enjoy four Yewtree-free Japan performances, two of them introduced by John Peel, with the Goombay Dance Band topping the chart in one of those editions - can't wait to hear what pithy remark Peely comes up with! "Ghosts" is one of the songs, and another's called "Cantonese Boy" - surely Japan could have returned the favour and written a song called "Anekese Girl"?

      Delete
    2. Don't You Want Me has quite a weak chorus for me.

      Delete
    3. Didn't Japan get to perform 'I second that emotion' on TOTP or had Virgin lost patience with the Hansa reissues by then?

      Delete
  5. The Madness song if your a Madness fan is probably great, because the style is very very Madness. But if you aren't specifically a fan (like me) then it's likely you'll say that while it sounds like them there's not much that stands out in it compared to some other tunes they did. It's just the Madness style and maybe not much more.

    ReplyDelete
  6. A decent show, with DLT in good form - his introduction to Slade is cringeworthy now, thanks to the benefit of hindsight, but at the time it would have looked pretty innocent and innocuous.

    Legs may not have had a featured routine this week, but they continue to work hard in their dying days by donning the top half of a police uniform and dancing along with Madness, who look rather austere and even vaguely threatening in their grey suits. In any case, a decent performance of a so-so song.

    There are a couple of Darts links in the show, as they had enjoyed a hit with Let's Hang On the previous year and had also had a hit single called It's Raining, though admittedly that was a different song to Shaky's. Manilow's version of the Four Seasons classic (about the only song of theirs I really like) is slick enough, and I enjoyed the shots of him in the video dressing up as Valli and co - it does seem a bit weird seeing him trying to get intimate with a woman now though. I actually rather liked the Shaky track, which did have something of the atmosphere of a smouldering rock 'n' roll ballad. It was also nice to see the man himself standing still for once!

    I remember reading that Elvis Costello's move into country was not favourably received at the time, and it has to be said that his voice does not really suit this kind of material, though it is more tolerable here than it would be later when he attempted to croon the Bacharach and David songbook! Vocals aside it's a pleasant enough song, but the video is decidedly static and those kids are creepy.

    The same could be said about Tight Fit's two frontmen, who really are an ugly pair. At least however this is a performance with some colour and dynamism, and as with their previous 60s medley the choice of songs is both pretty good and not always predictable. Best song of the show, however, was Open Your Heart. I love the way Phil's vocals soar with the synths on this, and it always comes across to me as a feelgood, anthemic piece of pop music. Nice to see that Phil is wearing a shirt and tie with his suit this time, as well...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was probably the first time that Legs & Co did not have a main appearance exclusive for themselves, and relegated to studio audience involvement, hence probably the extra effort to please and try to stand out a bit with the 'bottomless' copper outfits on Madness, a bit like the leggy female coppers on the Worm That Turned in the same year within the Two Ronnies weekly show.

      The non-involvement by Legs & Co this week may have contributed to Sue strangely not turning up for the following week's show with Kid Jensen. Hmmm, I wonder.

      Delete
    2. Perhaps Sue just wanted to avoid having to dance the Birdie Song again!

      Delete
    3. Perhaps John, but it was weird, cos she never missed a Legs & Co performance since 1976 when they started out, so it didn't seem right.

      Delete
    4. The one who annoyed me more in this Tight Fit appearance was the 3rd one who came in at points (the guy with curly hair I think)

      Delete
    5. That's Paul Da Vinci - the original falsetto voice of the Rubettes and writer of some of Liquid Gold's hits.

      Delete
    6. john, are you trying to suggest that barry manilow is gay? there's no way i can believe that! just joking of course - i didn't know he'd actually come out after all these years of trying to make out he was some kind of hairy-chested medallion-wearing stud, but it comes as no great surprise. hopefully cliff will now take inspiration from that and follow suit...?

      Delete
    7. Wilberforce, I take it you missed the news a year or so ago that Bazza had married his male partner - also his manager, apparently. As you say, it was hardly a great surprise...

      Delete
    8. Thanks bama, well it makes some sense he sings the Valli falsetto in Sherry here then. I had heard of him before as he had a minor hit in the mid 70s.

      Delete
  7. Not a great shame that we missed this one, as there isn't too much quality on it that we haven't already seen, plus there's a taste of things to come with Legs & Co getting no screen time purely to themselves.

    The Madness performance is not quite to their usual standard - I think I prefer the video to be honest.

    Barry Manilow's song and video are exactly as cringeworthy as you'd expect. His one good song, as I've said before I think, is 'Bermuda Triangle'!

    The Shakin' Stevens tune is dull, and so is the Elvis Costello one.

    I always preferred the second Tight Fit medley, maybe because it was on (yes, you guessed it) Chart Hits 81. The bloke who sings 'Proud Mary' is particularly scary when he's doing that bit though - looks like Keith Harris's more demented brother.

    Then the best thing on the show - I love 'Open Your Heart' (also on the aforementioned compo!) and isn't Phil's lipstick lovely? Such a shame that we miss out on this one, as well as 'Love Action' before it. Housewife classic to follow shortly. Unfortunately.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Phil's wearing blusher as well.

      What surprised me about Barry Manilow was that after his debut with Mandy he released loads of his own songs but he finally has his biggest hit (at the time) with a 60s cover, and a pretty feeble one at that.

      Delete
  8. Nice to see DLT again, greying slightly at the temples but on good form.

    Nice to see Madness in the flesh. There's so much to love here including Chrissy Boy hamming it up during his mighty guitar solo, Chas taking the Subterranean Homesick Blues-style idiot boards from someone in the crowd when he says "One - Two - Three" but forgetting to do it until the end and the Legs girls dressed as saucy coppers complete with tit helmets and twirling truncheons. I'd quite like to see the band dressed as policemen as the were in the video - here they are dressed more-or-less the way they are dressed on the front cover of their Album 7.

    I still don't care much for the reworked It's My Party but like a curates egg there are parts I like.

    Barry Manilow on a sixties vibe looking very young playing all four members of The Four Seasons in cardigans, an idea Phil Collins nicked when he did the video for his cover of You Can't Hurry Love.

    Shaky cooling things down with his cover of Aaron Neville's It's Raining. I don't remember this one at all but it sounds pretty good.

    Unfortunate comment from DLT about dancing with ladies, perhaps we'd better gloss over that.

    Repeat from Slade and this is one of these songs that sounds better with repeated plays even if the lyric is un-pc.

    This wasn't Elvis Costello's first foray into country music, he had been part of the coutry rock band Flip City in the 1970s and his 1980 album Trust contained the fab country song Different Finger but here he had produced a whole album of country covers and this was the first single and a massive hit. The video is superb aping those cheesy American Johnny Cash TV specials where the family gathered round as fire for a sing-song. I like the two moppets doing the cod backing vocals which were actually performed by The Nashville Edition.

    The line up of Tight Fit now includes sessioner Paul Da Vinci (the guy on the left) who was the original voice of The Rubettes and had a solo hit in the 1970s. The tall creepy one still remnids me of Fred Schnieder from the B52s, the woman seems to be there purely as window dressing as there are no female vocals this time. Rosko wisely decided to stay at home ("wam bam thank you mam"). Strange to hear them including snippets of Four Seasons songs, I bet Adrian Baker was furious. After the business with the tambourines for the Byrds segment, I bet they regretted giving the tambourines to the two girls in the crowd who can't play in time for toffee.

    Lovely to see The Human League shot through a vaselined lens. Hard to describe how important songs like that were to you when you were young. I never bought Dare but I had all the singles on 12 inch which had extended versions or instrumentals, in this case it was an instrumental mixed with a track called Non Stop.

    The charts, then a repeat of Depeche, the Top Ten and play out with Adam. Clearly the BBC were getting a bit sick of it by now which is why they ended with it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. A weary and concise Nibble experiment.

    Big thanks to Xrayfour. Nice one.

    ‘Ello ‘ello ‘ello, it’s Legs & Co! Looking hot from what I could just about make out. Way too far back and a fine routine wasted as a result. Should’ve had a flashing lights chase scene during Madness’s instrumental bridge. This is as verbose as I get this week (for a change).

    Dave and Babs. Repeat. Next.

    Barry, “Let’s Hang Awwwnnnn”? No high notes, absolute rubbish. I almost pined for Gidea Park. I said almost.

    Shaky. Not him again. Next.

    Slade. Repeat with a ‘hindsight’ intro from the Cornflake. Next.

    Elvis Costello, with a subtle rendition vocally and instrumentally, and scary androgynous sisters. Help!

    Japan. Repeat, but top notch.

    Shame the Tight Fit gal’s tambourine didn’t have nails in. Yet another criminal misuse of our Leggers.

    The Human League, with the ladies unco-ordinated at first and no longer with matching hair colours. Which prats in the crowd burst those balloons during the first instrumental chorus?

    Depechay. Repeat. For Christ’s sake, Martin, put a top on. You're not Arnie.

    Dave, we WON’T see you tomorrow on the radio. Idiot.

    Adam. Repeat. Have a guess.

    ReplyDelete
  10. A weary and concise Nibble experiment.

    Big thanks to Xrayfour. Nice one.

    ‘Ello ‘ello ‘ello, it’s Legs & Co! Looking hot from what I could just about make out. Way too far back and a fine routine wasted as a result. Should’ve had a flashing lights chase scene during Madness’s instrumental bridge. This is as verbose as I get this week (for a change).

    Dave and Babs. Repeat. Next.

    Barry, “Let’s Hang Awwwnnnn”? No high notes, absolute rubbish. I almost pined for Gidea Park. I said almost.

    Shaky. Not him again. Next.

    Slade. Repeat with a ‘hindsight’ intro from the Cornflake. Next.

    Elvis Costello, with a subtle rendition vocally and instrumentally, and scary androgynous sisters. Help!

    Japan. Repeat, but top notch.

    Shame the Tight Fit gal’s tambourine didn’t have nails in. Yet another criminal misuse of our Leggers.

    The Human League, with the ladies unco-ordinated at first and no longer with matching hair colours. Which prats in the crowd burst those balloons during the first instrumental chorus?

    Depechay. Repeat. For Christ’s sake, Martin, put a top on. You're not Arnie.

    Dave, we WON’T see you tomorrow on the radio. Idiot.

    Adam. Repeat. Have a guess.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Just gone to watch this and it's been taken down :(

    ReplyDelete
  12. Any chance this can be uploaded elsewhere?

    ReplyDelete