Friday, 27 May 2016

Ay Ay Ay Ay Top of the Popsey

Remember remember the 5th of November! No mention that its Bonfire Night from host Peter Powell but he is surrounded by a whole zoo of people dropping hints like holding flaming torches and eating fire!

It's getting a bit crowded in here!

05/11/81 (hosted by Peter Powell)

(45) Modern Romance – “Ay Ay Ay Ay Moosey”

With their follow up to Everybody Salsa, this one did two places better and peaked at number 10.

(3) The Police – “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” (video)

Soon to take over the number one spot.

(47) The Dukes – “Mystery Girl”

They wrote Grandma's Party for Mr bowler hat Paul Nicholas and Modern Girl for Sheena Easton but they couldn't break into the top 40 themselves, Mystery Girl got no higher despite the new Zoo mystery girl's best efforts.

(26) Rush – “Tom Sawyer” (live clip)

The band's second and final top 30 hit, peaking at 25. But edited out of the 7.30pm show.

(44) The Jets – “Yes Tonight Josephine”

Became the first of two top 30 hits for the Jets, peaking at 25, but edited out of the 7.30pm slot.

(30) ELO – “Twilight”
And so the post Legs & Co era begins with an energetic and even quite frantic boys and girls routine to ELOs number 30 hit. One Legger did survive the cull ~ new girl Anita was there.

(21) Julio Iglesias – “Begin The Beguine” (video)

Proving there was still a place for old fashioned crooners singing Cole Porter tunes in the charts in 1981, Begin the Beguine would shortly become Julio's only number one hit.

(50) ABC – “Tears Are Not Enough”

They were on the One Show tonight and then here they are straight afterwards travelling 35 years (almost) back in time to their Top of the Pops debut, with a song that peaked at number 19.

(1) Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin – “It’s My Party” (rpt from 24/09/81)

Final week at number one.

(5) The Four Tops – “When She Was My Girl” (video/audience dancing/credits)

Went up two more places.

The next edition is November 12th 1981 but it is hosted by DLT.....
So next Thursday on BBC4 it will be November 19th 1981 with Steve Wright.


  1. Wow, was that Anita of ex-Legs & Co beside Peter Powell when introducing the show? Good G-d, I think Angelo is right, she must have been the only one of Legs to move onto the next chapter in the history of TOTP.

    Modern Romance - I just love this second hit of theirs even more than the first one a couple of months earlier. The video for this is eclectic, with a lot more fire-eating than in the studio, and a must for all 80s retro parties in our time. Nice girl in the background with the shiny yellow minidress.

    ELO are back! With the superb follow-up to Hold On Tight, this one called Twilight I remember buying the 7 inch single which had the picture sleeve image from a scene from the Hold On Tight video, as mentioned in previous blogs.

    With regard to Zoo, I found this new group very refreshing, and it seemed one of the male members took a liking to feeling up Anita in the middle of the song. Even though it was disappointing to see no more Legs & Co, I must admit that there could be no better song to kick of this new dance troupe than the brilliant Twilight by ELO, even though it was the only appearance of it in its chart run.

    End Credits/Zoo - I liked the come togetherness of this with Zoo, and the male-female pairings up, including Anita partnered up with some lucky guy dancing with her. An excellent new era show to start November 1981, and it certainly looked like their was a new air of excitement and happiness on the show, as the dresses and skirts seemed to get more shiny and shorter.

    1. Zoo had some weird clothes, obviously meant for them to stand out more from the rest of the audience. I do wish it made them look less of a rather random assortment of dancers though. And the dancer brought in for ABC was dressed in a strange way too. All the flag waving at the end was funny.

      The big dance to Twilight reminded me of the Xanadu film, with the ELO music too. This felt better than the previous ELO release.

      The Modern Romance song also seemed an upgrade, ditching the overlaid disco thump and letting the latin sound come more to the fore.

    2. The male dancer with ABC was Grant Santino who won the 1978 World Disco Dancing Championship.

    3. if i'd have been abc, i wouldn't have been too happy with some sweaty guy in shiny and extremely brief shorts being featured prancing around to my song.. even if he was the world disco dancing champion!

  2. Watching the re-run 'live' on BBC4, my first thought on Zoo is the same as seeing Westlife's debut on the Gay Byrne Late Late Show - WTF is this? A complete dis-service from TOTP to announce the new bunch before and after their car crash debut and no mention or thanks to Legs & Co.

    1. I remember this show at the time in 1981 as a 13-year old thinking that I was a bit shocked that they took over the space of Legs & Co, and it wasn't really my cup of tea, mainly because there were too many camera movements, and you couldn't get to see close ups of their faces and smiles, as you did with Legs & Co, so I was largely disappointed to see the change to Zoo.

      However, now in hindsight, it seems that as the show seemed to be obsessed with dispersing the Legs & Co or Zoo dancers among the studio audience, it was not befitting of Legs & Co, and it was not surprising that as Legs had lost their limelight in the TOTP studio, a group like Zoo where nobody really associated with individuals in the group, fitted better with the direction of where the show was going.

  3. Did anyone know that Julio Iglesias was copied by Russ Abbot with his new character on The Russ Abbot Show, called Julio DoubleGlazias:

  4. I see that the 12th Nov edition with DLT has just been uploaded to Vimeo by Meer, so we don't need the UK Gold edition, unless there is more of the end credits/studio dancing.

    1. Thanks Meer for posting - Calvin Henderson has also posted this show on YouTube.

  5. The members of Zoo came from a variety of performing backgrounds ranging from classical ballet to disco dance championships (Julie Brown) and even the circus. Fire-eaters among the audience, complete with blazing torches? Elfin Safety wouldn't allow that now!

    Arthur - are you sure you don't mean Boyzone's debut?

    The Four Tops' return was most welcome, with a well-crafted gem that reached the Top 10 all around the world, including Canada and NZ as well as the UK and US.

    ABC, the band named after one of the Tops' former record labels, had yet to engage the services of Trevor Horn CBE at this point - but this dazzling debut hinted at their future greatness.

    The Dukes - led by songwriters Dominic Bugatti and Frank Musker - deserved to score a bigger hit than they did with this classy slice of smooth jazz, which was overseen by the legendary Arif Mardin. Alas, their next single 'Thank You For The Party' - a return to the straight pop style that had served The Three Degrees, Sheena E and The Artist Later Known As Vince Pinner so well - would stall in the 41-75 bracket like its predecessor. The duo would split in the mid-80s, but not before penning one of my favourite show tunes: 'Girl For All Seasons', as featured in 'Grease 2'. BTW, that film's theme song was sung by The Four Tops - small world!

    The Jets - the Cotton brothers from Northampton, not the vast dance-pop brood from Minnesota - enjoyed a handful of middling hits during this period, but would prove to be no match for the edgier Stray Cats. With Matchbox, The Polecats and Coast To Coast all finished as chart forces by this time, only Shakin' Stevens and (for a short while) The Stray Cats would withstand the passing of the rockabilly revival.

    ELO's 'Twilight' rightly peaked at No.30; their sound had become predictable and passe by this time, as illustrated by reports of empty seats on their then current tour. Jeff Lynne, however, would subsequently regain his form when he joined forces with The Quiet One, Dylan, Tom Petty and The Big O to form The Traveling Wilburys.

    1. Correction to above: The Four Tops' single peaked at No.11 on the Billboard Hot 100, though it did reach No.1 on the R&B chart.

    2. With regard to Twilight by ELO, there is a good video made by ELO which I have seen before, but it no longer appears on Utube for us to enjoy at this juncture in 1981, as the Zoo performance this week was the only feature of Twilight on TOTP. Pity that.

      I must admit that on the end credits, this was my favourite Four Tops single from their singles catalog, and it was just a perfect gentle number for the end credits for the studio audience to relax a little, after the heavy pace of the whole show, and it made for a perfect end-of-show choice, especially if you watch the late night repeat, where we got this in full, and not cut out early like on the 7.30pm showing.

    3. I think Jeff Lynne has done his best work producing for others - his late 80s collaborations with Harrison, Orbison and Petty, both inside and outside of the Wilburys, are impeccable.

    4. Hi Julie. I did indeed mean Boyzone. Shows how much I rated the two acts that I couldn't name the first one correctly!

    5. weren't westlife just boyzone part II anyway?

  6. The Dukes song, there's some soul to the verse vocal but the chorus really sounds slack. The groove isn't that deep, a very surface beauty to the style, very American West Coast sound. It would most likely be more popular in the US than here.

    It's probably easy to dismiss The Jets as they didn't get much profile, but really this sounds a perfectly decent slice of rockabilly.

    1. I had thought that the rockabilly craze of earlier in the year had fizzled out, but obviously not in the case of The Jets, being invited into the TOTP studio for more double bass 50s inspired pap.

  7. Surely the funniest TOTP for a long while, the debut of Zoo was frequently hilarious - maybe they should have rehearsed those precarious lifts a bit more?! Modern Romance were barely visible! Reminded me of that old joke about William Shatner getting a job in a car showroom and insisting on doing the customers' test drives himself. Anyway, good time tune from MR, probably the best way to start this pandemonium.

    The Police soon to be top of the, er, tree, but now with the video interrupted by the dancing, as seems to be the new rule now.

    The Dukes, looking like 80s footballers on a night out at a wine bar, with the music to match. When there was more accomplished white funk on the show recently, they faded into the background by comparison.

    Rush proving that some things stay the same at ver Pops, the murkily shot concert footage. As for the song (unmentioned by Pete), it sounded much like they usually did, and probably for the best we couldn't make out too many of their Ayn Randian lyrics.

    The Jets, yay, Crush On Yooooh no it's not. If you have to do a rockabilly revival, you could do worse than this, but they were a little late to the party.

    ELO, well the song's fair enough, but I doubt many were concentrating on it when thay rabble were prancing about in their studded leather and lamé. Gotta give them points for enthusiasm (and also not falling over, incredibly), if not the fetish leanings.

    Time for a glass of Cinzano Bianco, it's Julio, that old smoothie, before an adoring audience who just want to get up close and personal.

    Talking of white funk, here's ABC with some more, though not everybody would quote Ken Dodd in their lyrics which strongly hinted they were not your average New Romantics. It was onwards and upwards for them, and their new material doesn't sound too bad either. Director's overdoing it with the Linda Evans in Dynasty-style soft focus on Martin, mind you.

    Last week at the pinnacle for Dave and Babs, then that Four Tops video - wouldn't it be easier to take your hat off before putting your headphones on? Like the bom bom bom bits, but does Levi really say "the big legged girl was mine"?

    I don't know if this was entertaining in the way intended in 81, but I sure had fun with it, even the competition winner in his "Pineapple" sleeveless shirt.

    1. The soft lighting and effects have given Martin Fry a positive Reddy Break glow around him. Well it was November and the mornings were getting colder.

    2. I wondered if it was dry ice or something atmospheric, because Martin visibly produces a handkerchief and wipes his nose at the end. Bit o' class.

  8. I suppose this show marks the moment when the Hurll Revolution was finally made complete, with Legs out and Zoo in, and the party atmosphere now very much full on thanks to the flags and professional dancers-cum-cheerleaders filling the studio. However, even though this one went out on Bonfire Night there are disappointingly few fireworks musically - indeed, I thought this was one of the most disappointing editions from 1981.

    Modern Romance do get things off to a lively start with another catchy Latin-based number - the title is ridiculous, but this is harmless feelgood pop. I did wonder what health and safety protocols were governing the fire-eaters' activities, however, as they looked far too close to the audience for comfort! After The Police's video is broken up with some shots of Zoo dancing along, we get The Dukes, who look a most unprepossessing bunch. There was a decent tune lurking somewhere in here, but it sounded underpowered and underwhelming to my ears.

    I've never understood the cult following that Rush seem to enjoy, as their music has always left me cold and I can't stand the singer's voice. This tedious, noodling effort was no exception, and I could feel my attention rapidly starting to wander! At least The Jets provided a bit of energy with this rocked up cover of an old Johnnie Ray song, which had been a number 1 in 1957. They may have been rather late jumping on to the bandwagon of the rockabilly revival, but they had a good sound. I hope the singer didn't do his back in though, swinging that double bass around so much...

    Zoo then get their first big moment in the spotlight dancing to this curiously anonymous ELO tune. In a sense it was quite an appropriate song for them to dance to, as Zoo themselves come over as faceless and anonymous, with the familiar face of Anita Leg providing the only real focus to the thing. On this evidence, it's no great surprise that they are largely forgotten now, while the memory of Legs and Pan's People lives on.

    The show's dreary tone continues with housewives' favourite Julio. I suppose this is pretty good if you like that sort of thing, and clearly enough people did to send it to the top of the charts, but it's not my cup of tea. I couldn't even get that excited by ABC's debut. They certainly looked like proper pop stars, but I think they were largely a triumph of style over any real musical substance. This debut hit may not have been produced by Trevor Horn, but in sound it very much paves the way for their subsequent big singles from Lexicon of Love. Strange coincidence, incidentally, that the sequel to that album should be released on the same day that this show was repeated.

    Peter "Mr December" Powell presides over these lacklustre proceedings with his normal enthusiasm, and did a decent job. However, I do wish he would vary the order in which he announces the artist name, song title and chart position during the rundown, as he ends up sounding very mechanical...

    1. Rush sounded like a rock wall of sound that washed over me, Spirit of the Radio seemed to be a bit anthemic at least.

    2. Thoroughly enjoyed Rush performance a lot! A brilliant band, this being their best song. The drummer Neil Peart had a sad time of it a few years ago, losing his family in a crash. I guess Geddy Lees voice is a bit marmite. I think hes superb.

    3. There is some groove to the Rush song on listening to it again, but it's certainly not aimed at a general audience. What their best song is may depend in that way on what someone is listening for.

  9. Peter Powell, for some reason dressed as Indiana Jones - in an outfit that looks like it was specially made for him - introduces the real new style Top Of The Pops. I must admit at the time I hated all those wacky dancers in silly costumes, but in a way this echoed the real club scene where the best dancers hogged the limelight while the others hovered around the edge of the dance floor. The only difference being that these TOTP dancers were paid whereas the ones in clubs weren't, and there is something about the enforced jollity, the usually inappropriate camp costumes and the general lack of interest in the pop stars performing that told me that this was a bit too fake for its own good.

    Modern Romance echo 1940s dance band by starting song with their own band intro. I wasn't a big fan of this at the time, mainly because I couldn't see a connection between mooses and Latin jazz and because I badly wanted to slap the two guys with the blond wedge haircuts. But I don't mind it now.
    infectious dance rhythms and all that, and it turns out that the tune is based on a traditional Latin American song. They have wisely persuaded the bald trumpeter to cover up his shiny dome with a hat but have swelled their ranks with a percussionist who looks like a overfed Bill Oddie and hairstyle-wise doesn't fit in with the rest of the band.

    The Police with what I always though was their best song, I love the bit at the end where they reprise part of the verse as a coda. The video is perhaps a bit too familiar having been played a lot on TV.

    Mystery Girl? Mystery song. I have no recollection of The Dukes at all and I'm not surprised. A real wishy-washy nothing disco-pop track and a bland band to match. They look like a group of sessioners who got lucky and looking them up on line I see I am right. How did stuff like this get in the charts? Answer, it didn't, well not very far.

    The Rush song is another I have no memory of and I'm rather glad about that.

    The Jets I do remember but only because I knew someone from their home town of Northampton. This is a fine slice of rockabilly albeit marred by inappropriatly dressed dancers.

    I discovered ELO's Time album many years later and Twilight is a good track with a slightly dated electronic sound but I think Zoo's dance antics does very little to help sell the song. The crowd look rightly bored by it all and a little nervous of getting too close in case they get wacked on the head. Its not altogether clear from tonight's show who is and who isn't part of Zoo because there are so many costumed dancers present including some weirdo in a multi coloured suit or was he just a crowd member with bad taste?

    Julio Englasias. How? Why? What for?

    The Charts show that every one of the acts on last weeks show went up this week (or in Altered Images case stayed put) - the power of TV.

    "A break from the charts" says Indiana Powell. You've already had one with The Dukes, so don't apologise. ABC were brilliant. I was a fan then and I still am (just ordered their new album). They seem to playing live here and it's fantastic, marred again by the unsuitable dance antics of Grant Santino.

    The Top Ten and then Dave and Babs again. Well at least this will be the last time. And play out with The Four Tops and more mad dancers.

    This was Bonfire Night 1981. I had just moved in with my grandmother in London after a row with my parents. The day after this I went to Capital Radio and their job finders service in the foyer and applied for a (badly paid) job as an assistant in a Film Research company. I got the job and a week later I was meeting pop stars and video directors. Eek! What memories!

    1. at this time i had been living in a bedsit in a new town for several months having had yet another row with my parents (moving in with either of my grandmothers was not on the agenda!) - strangely enough i remember being in the (shared) kitchen of said bedsit listening to "tears are not enough" that i'd taped off the radio!

    2. The multi coloured suit is very similar to one owned by Jimmy Savile, possibly the same one. It has a Superman print. The person (aka weirdo) who was wearing it is in an early group photo of Zoo dancers (the one at the top of this discussion) so I guess he is one of them.

    3. Didn't kids TV show On Safari start around this time? Maybe Powell had come fresh from an audition to be presenter and didn't have time to change.

    4. All together now... "Safari, so goody"!

  10. here it is: the all-new razzamatazz totp of the 80's, replete with all-new dancing troupe. and who better to pick as host for this momentous occasion than the ever-ebullient pp? and to his credit he mostly delivers. but there's an awkward moment when the radio 1 calendar is revealed and he says "you can hang me in december" - was that intentional?

    modern romance: it's "everybody salsa" part 2! lyrically they chuck in any old reference to latin america and its rhythms: argentina / brazil / mambo / salsa. but musically it doesn't really relate to any of those things - it sounds to me like slightly soca-inflected disco with some mariachi trumpets thrown in. still, who was bothered about the authenticity of such stuff in blighty in 1981? the answer is hardly anyone, although the "new sounds, new styles" magazine did run an article on the genuine article from the past (featuring tito puente among others) as part of their coverage of the then-new cod-latin scene. by the way, if you want to hear a much better pastiche of latin american music (although admittedly it was recorded 10 years later) then i suggest you listen to "la cumbia" by sailor (yes - they of "girls girls girls" fame). visually i have to admit that this moment has pretty much rubber-stamped the arrival of the totp 80's "party" era (for better or worse), with gold lame and ra-ra skirts a go-go. and most of the band play their part with their sharp suits and haircuts. but it's not quite nailed, as there's some hairy beardy guy on percussion!

    police: a new variation on air-playing by sting in the video, as he's bowing (that's a method of playing a stringed instrument - not leaning forward in deferential greeting) on his double-bass whilst there's no such sound to be heard on the recording. it seems visually they've run out of ideas (maybe godley & creme were unavailable due to their unexpected success with "under your thumb"?) as much of it takes place "in the studio" (even if there is the usual japery going on - i hope mr copeland didn't damage that very expensive-looking mixing desk!). the album this came from ("ghost in the machine") was (in contrast to their "fun" video personas) a rather dour and portenteous affair, with this being the exception. i haven't heard it for some time, so i'd forgotten just how infectious it was - given that sting was beginning to think he could walk on water at this point, we should be grateful that he deemed what is relatively throwaway material worthy of inclusion on the album! by the way, isn't that ex-legger rosemary dancing in the totp studio in the break?

    dukes: just where the hell did this lot appear from? i have no memory of them whatsoever. but i presume that with messrs bugatti and musker being pop songwriting veterans, when they thought it was their turn to take the spotlight they knew the right people to approach to get exposure? in contrast to the material they provided for paul nicholas and others, this is an actually-quite-good smooth dance sound with a touch of funkyness to it. so why wasn't this a success? maybe people were out off by the singer's dodgy 'tache? his songwriting partner looked better-suited for the job, but they really should have recruited a black frontman (or woman, even if it meant a re-write of the lyrics). by the way, there's some modulation at the end!

    rush: despite being very much an albums act, rush seemed to have this habit of bothering the british singles chart compilers every once in a while. if i was forced to choose a hard rock band to listen to, then they would be very-much be in the frame as they obviously have more in their arsenal than the most exponents of that particular genre (as this demonstrates). but geddy lee's voice has always been an acquired taste!

    1. What about the voice of Geddy Lee? How did it get so high? I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy? (I know him and he does!) And you're my fact-checkin' guy!

      (always worth quoting when Mr Lee is mentioned)

  11. shaky shakerson28 May 2016 at 13:40

    Ol' Smiley Voice is Master of Ceremonies this week in an outfit that cocks a snook at those tasteless people who don't think a man call pull off a khaki-coloured one piece jump suit with short sleeves. Take that Gok Wan.

    It's a quick return for the Plastic Oh No Band and Ay Ay Ay Moosey. Of the songs that we are about to watch, this is probably the obvious one to open the show - fitting in with the new, improved party atmosphere complete with balloons, party hat, fire eaters (for some reason) and featured dancers. The template for the next decade set right there. The song itself is a bit of an ear worm. Annoyingly so.

    The Dukes. Never heard of them and from this appearance it is easy to see why. Its a nothing song performed by a nothing band.

    Rush - Tom Sawyer. I have no words.

    The Jets. Everything that needs to be said has already been eloquently said in the entries above. File under 'Forgettable'.

    ELO. Great verses but where did the chorus disappear to? As for the aptly-named Zoo. This all seemed over-worked and random. Its as though the dancers were divided up and asked to individually come up with a routine with no thought of linking with the others or having any sort of theme. I miss The Leggers and their literal dances.

    Julio. He used to be a goalkeeper, you know? That's all I've got.

    The only decent studio appearance comes next. ABC would have better and bigger hit singles soon but even this, at best a decent pop song, is head, shoulders and chest above the rest of the show.

    Scores. Musically ABC is the high point with decent support from the repeated vids from The Police and Four Tops. But that's it. There is definitely a marked improvement in the staging - with better lighting, more cameras, and more crowd involvement. But Zoo were a let down. 4.

    Ol Smiley Voice 4. Not at his worst but still not great.

    This week's unusual fact. Geoff Deane - the fetaured vocalist on the Modern Romance song went on to write the screenplay for the film Kinky Boots.

    1. "kinky boots" was based on the "true" story of a shoe factory that was facing closure, and was rescued by a transvestite who saw the potential of a specialist market making extra-large sizes of ladies' footwear for that particular clientele. i wonder how geoff deane became aware of that?

  12. two-parter alert:

    jets: weren't they mentioned a while back in the "more than one acts of the same name in the charts" thread? the 80's rock 'n' roll revival rolls on with blighty's very own stray cats-lite. but with reference to that particular musically-limited scene (that never interested me) it sounds relatively bright and fresh, in contrast to ("this ole house" apart) the homogenised rubbish that shakin' stevens has been doing on the show lately...

    ELO/zoo: i'm reasonably sure one of the zoo-ers (zoo people? zoo creatures?) is julie "chopper" harris, shortly to get her own fifteen minutes of fame as the blonde tight fit girl. sounds like jeff lynne has been listening to the new totp theme, as the intro even imitates the drum break to the letter! but like rod stewart's latest effort it's just as old-school 70's as it is shiny new 80's. still, better that than rock 'n' roll pastiches i suppose

    julio iglesias: ah, here's herb alpert's older brother. and old to the point where he has to sit down on a stool even before he starts singing. this cabaret disco take on a hoary old cole porter standard sounds at least three years out-of-date, but apparently joe public didn't seem to mind. is that right that he's sold more records than the beatles?

    abc: a rather excellent slice of white boy funk in my opinion. but beware of the version on the consequent album that ended up smothered in strings and things - that's fine for the likes of "poison arrow", but not this! visually the band are stylish, but martin fry always had a bit too much maturity (and a bit too much chin) to be a cute pin-up a la nick heyward. bassist mark lickley departed the band (i don't know if willingly or otherwise) almost immediately after this performance, never to be heard of again. i wonder what someone like him has been doing for the last 35 years? did he carry on being a musician at a local level (like the guy in specs in the rubettes, who i heard regularly gigged in the lancashire area for many years after he left them), or did he just get a "normal" job?

    1. The Album called The Lexicon Of Love is where all the ABC songs can be found, including this debut hit. One lesser known hit called Date Stamp is on the album, and in its sheer brilliance, I recommend all on this blog to get listening and enjoy it.

    2. i suspect most if not all already knows what album i was referring to. although i had no idea what a lexicon actually was when it was released...

    3. I had a listen recently and I felt Date Stamp sounded the weakest song, the chorus has less passion. How someone responds to the album may depend on how they respond to his vocals too, as he does someone fall back on a particular crooning style of vocal on some filler tracks.

    4. The other tune on this album that was not released, that I found irresistible is called Valentines Day - highly recommended Starry, and let me know what you think of this one if Date Stamp doesn't row your boat.

    5. Oh Valentine's Day is definitely good. I think he's best on Lexicon when he gets the drama. Both Date Stamp and Many Happy Returns have choruses with rather less of that and mark the album down for me.

      His latest effort which is dubbed a sequel has actually far less drama, only one song really goes for that (The Singer Not The Song) but I've a feeling it could get annoying. The best songs on this latest album for me are, in particular, Ten Below Zero and maybe Kiss Me Goodbye. But he sounds less dramatic and more comfortable now, maybe resulting in an album that will strike people less.

    6. Do you know what? I'm giving in after all these years of resisting 'The Lexicon of Love' and I'm gonna buy it and enjoy it on the back of 'Tears are not enough'!!

    7. Thoroughly recommended album Stephen. I've been listening to it all week, something I haven't done since the 80s & 90s, but these BBC4 repeats have made me bring the CDs out of the cobwebs, and back into my life. I love Lexicon Of Love, and ABC is a brilliant band.

  13. Agreed that Date Stamp is one of the highlights on Lexicon of Love. Love the girl vocals in the chorus. Apparently Martin Fry wasn't too happy with the production on this first single Tears Are Not Enough and wanted it to sound as good as Dollar's recent single Hand Held In Black and White. So he badgered producer Trevor Horn into agreeing to work with them on Lexicon, where they rerecorded Tears Are Nor Enough to 'better fit in' with the rest of the album.

    1. Glad you like Date stamp Wellieman. Cheers!

    2. Lexicon Of Love is one my fave albums from 1982 - I love Many Happy Returns and the way it segues into Tears Are not Enough. Also check out the Overture which is only one some copies of the CD album.

  14. Angelo, any chance of putting up Meer's Vimeo upload of the DLT edition of 12th Nov? I can't wait to see DLT introducing the ONJ video as 'Olivia Neutron Bomb', and of course the introduction of Jonathan King's USA chart rundown as a new regular fixture on the show.

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  16. Oh, for fuck’s sake! In between watching and typing the comments for this episode, another one’s sprung up. More homework! How many times this year have I found another episode appearing when I thought I was on the verge of catching up? Call it bad luck but, with the news there’s no breather between ’81 and ’82, I’m really beginning to find this a real chore. Who the Hell had this stupid idea to show two shows a week, meaning we’d get up to four a week with the Yewtreed editions? As a result, I’ve decided to pare down my thoughts for this one.

    Modern Romance. Aye aye, it’s shite.

    Police. Repeat with studio dancing. Next.

    The Dukes. Anonymous song, non-photogenic singer, sub-Legger writhing.

    Rush. Definitely not “Spirit Of Radio”.

    The Jets. Not another cod R’N’R act from Northampton like Coast to Coast!

    ELO. ELO by numbers with a shambolic routine, supposedly by seven people if the credits are to be believed.

    Julio. Five words of English then Balearic balladeering at its oiliest.

    ABC. Brilliant brilliant brilliant. Slightly ruined by an out of place and out of context dancer.

    Outro signoff. Cute Cyndi Lauper lookalike smiling and waving right of screen.


    1. If it's any consolation Arthur, there won't be quite as many Yewtreed shows in '82, and I suspect the combined impact of Proms and Olympics during the summer will flow the tsunami of shows down to a trickle for a while at least...

    2. Sorry about that. I just find it a bit like painting the Forth Bridge. Deep breath and start again.

      I read somewhere that ABC named themselves after the iconic soul label affiliated to the major US broadcasting company. Certainly a catchier name than their previous one, Vice Versa. I wonder who decides on which acts get the Vaseline smear / Ready Brek glow camera effects? It felt a bit disarming seeing a smudgy Martin Fry.

    3. presumably northampton was a hotbed of rock 'n' roll revivalism? some might say there wasn't much else to do in a town like that! but i'm sure in the early 80's that as in any larger town there was a local scene where practitioners were producing cutting-edge contemporary sounds rather than just re-hashing the past (although in the town i lived in at the time there were plenty of both types)...

    4. arthur, i understand your frustrations with trying and failing to keep up with the current deluge of totp's (i don't understand the need to compress two year's worth into one either, but maybe the beeb have a yewtree hotline and know something we yet don't?). but hopefully you won't fall by the wayside, as you've been a consistently-amusing mainstay of this blog thus far. up until now i probably haven't had the commitments you have, so the extra workload hasn't unduly affected my contributions. but that not be the case in the future! however, regardless of any change of circumstances (other than failing to continue breathing) is shall be trying my best to continue contributing my reviews of these shows. well, until the end of 1984 anyway (assuming we get that far!)

    5. Sweet thing! Thanks. Much appreciated. It's just that I have a particular lifestyle (seeing my close mates for a few beers and a natter on a Friday, either going to a long distance football match or visiting relatives on the coast on a Saturday, shopping and chores on a Sunday) so my first chance to check the latest batch of TOTPs usually starts somewhere on a Sunday, usually late evening, if I can organise myself.

      While I'm here, I met a TOTP star in a pub last Friday - Hard-Fi singer / songwriter / local legend Richard Archer. Nice bloke, still lives in Staines-Upon-Thames, no airs and graces, good conversationalist.

    6. By the way, Northampton wasn't all rock and roll revivalism. Goth rockers Bauhaus also came from the town.

    7. i think northampton's only other musical claim to fame was the radio 1 DJ jo whiley...

    8. A quick check on Wikipedia (hope this is all true) claims Northampton to be the birthplace of Radiohead's Thom Yorke, Steps' Faye Tozer and 'Whispering' Bob Harris.

    9. The music journalist turned DJ and film expert Andrew Collins is from Northampton, too.

    10. If you love/hate Julio Iglesias check out his Maltese counterpart Joe Cutajar. His cod English warblings have to be heard to be believed.

    11. Not as good as Russ Abbot's character Julio DoubleGlazias.

  17. Powell was all over the place again, getting song titles wrong, still calling videos 'films' and being inaudible at times.

    There were also far too many people in the studio. Judging by the amount of Bacofoil people were wearing, I think the BBC must have over-ordered.

    Oh, and I had at least one Radio 1 calendar as a Christmas present so Mr. Powell may well have been Mr. December on my wall. Shiver...

    There was some music as well, yes? OK then..

    I love Modern Romance and that song never fails to make me smile. A good start!

    The Police song is good, video entertaining enough and then.....3 duffers in a row.

    The Dukes have a tune that would have got into the Top 40 in 1976 but not in 1981. Rush's song is dull, and as for The Jets, I've seen enough rockabilly revivalists now thanks!

    The ELO song is brilliant, so under-rated and underplayed. To me it sounds like Jeff Lynne trying to do ABBA. Shame it gets the Zoo treatment, would've preferred to see a video.

    I still have to remind myself that Julio Iglesias actually got to No.1. Never underestimate the housewife buying power I guess. You know what though? It's actually a well constructed pop song and surprisingly catchy.

    Then the forgotten ABC single from the first album. A good pop gem, though for Pops they have clearly re-recorded it (someone else did that recently - might have been the first Altered Images performance) and it sounds a bit lumpy as a result.

    1. Did Powell really still call videos "films" at this point? We saw the first time the term "video" was used on TOTP was by DLT on the 8th Oct 1981 (note this point in TOTP history, fellow bloggers).

      I would also agree with you that this week's Peter Powell show was probably the most crowded TOTP show with sheer number of people in the studio audience, and complicated by the mass volume of the debut group Zoo doing Twilight by ELO, but justifiably there also seemed to be an abundance of freedom and happiness in a post-Legs & Co era that was beginning on this show, and for the first time since 1974 with no Sue Menhenick who went from Pans People to Ruby Flipper and Legs & Co, doing a staggering 8 consecutive years of dancing on TOTP without missing a single show, bar the last one on 29th Oct 1981.

      With regard to the ELO video for Twilight, there is one, and with a dark blue background with the group singing on it, but bizarrely it is not on Utube, so it has probably been taken down, and no doubt it will reappear at some point in the future.

    2. He definitely called The Police video a 'film'!

    3. Good G-d, we were surely past this stage, as DLT was the first on TOTP to use the term 'video' on the 8th Oct edition when introducing Let's Hang On by Barry Manilow. This was now a month later, and Powell had still not moved on with the times for Gawd's sake.

    4. Dory re Sue, she definitely appeared on Legs' final show and she missed 3/1/80 while the rest of the troupe were still on.

    5. The charts were compiled for Music Week which changed its name to Music and Video Week on 17 January 1981 - and this publication is credited at the end of each show - so I would say that that's the point that the word video came into common usage in the industry even if the presenters took a long while to get used to using it.

    6. Ok, so we can conclude that the term 'video' arrived in 1981, in the month of January for the music industry, but in October by the TOTP presenters.

  18. A whole new look eh? Not sure some of the changes were for the better…

    Modern Romance – Ay-ay-ay-Moosey – MR’s five minutes of fame is under way with possibly their second most famous track. The fire eater surrounding the band previews the Goombay Dance Band perhaps?

    Police – Every little thing she does is magic – Not everything Sting wrote was magic (hi there ‘Rehumanize yourself’) but this certainly is. I never get tired of seeing the trio fooling around in the studio and then there’s a nice cut to the studio dancing to what is a very danceable chorus. Certainly one of the best chart toppers of 1981.

    Dukes – Mystery Girl – Dom and Frank penned Air Supply’s ‘Every woman in the world’ which didn’t register over here, but as noted penned Paul Nicholas’s hits too. I don’t recall this but it’s quite a relaxing record. Nothing like the Police but passes a pleasant few minutes. Not really a mystery why it wasn’t a big hit given the era.

    Rush – Tom Sawyer – Ah magic! I love this. I bought the single and borrowed the double live album ‘Exit…Stage left’ from a friend, but frankly most of it just went in one ear and out the other. This live version does differ from the single cut and I’m amazed that despite starting a little way into the song, we get to hear a large chunk.

    Jets – Yes tonight Josephine – Popular word ‘Jet’, with ‘Benny and the..’, Macca’s big hit from ‘Band on the Run’ and of course the second Jets came a few years later with their ‘Crush on you’. This is OK rock ability energetically delivered.

    ELO – Twilight – One of the very best tracks from the ‘Time’ album deserved a higher chart placing and was surprisingly not played on the recent ELO tour. Great non-album B-side also. Jeff commented on the ‘Time’ reissue “I really like Twilight as a recording and it’s got good strong chords and goes to some strange places” – sadly not very high up the charts. What to make of Zoo? Well, it’s all very cluttered and busy with loads of bodies gyrating, not always in synch. I miss Legs & Co already. Never seen the official video for this btw.

    Julio Iglesias – Begin the beguine – Played a lot on Terry Wogan’s show at the time which might explain why a hitherto unknown Spanish singer suddenly burst into the charts. He’s certainly enjoying himself on stage with his adoring fan club.

    ABC – Tears are not enough – Wow, so much better than I recall. This is really good and the band look stylish and slightly aloof here. Nice one.

    Dave & Barbara – It’s my party – FF…last week hooray!

    Four Tops – When she was my girl (playout) – This got a long airing. I like the switch from video to studio dancing and kept thinking it would fade soon. I am sure it did fade on transmission, but we’re lucky to see the whole recording now.
    An enjoyable show enthusiastically fronted by PP. More please.

    1. There is definitely a video for Twilight by ELO, but for some reason it is not on Utube at present, as it has been before. I think it was released just after the song slid down the charts, as it only got to No.30, so it is a rare video, but I'm sure it will pop up on Utube in the future.

      As mentioned before, the playout tunes on the late night repeat are shown in full, and to the last fade, whereas on the early 7.30pm showing, and the original transmissions in 1981, we never got to see the playout in its completeness, because BBC1 were on a tight schedule to move to the next programme, and so what we are seeing in 2016 is a first, by not fading out before the end. How lucky we are!