Saturday, 21 May 2016

Top of the Pops I'm Yours

Mighty thanks here to Darnall42 for making this edition of Top of the Pops from October 22nd 1981 available on Vimeo. The reason it won't be shown on BBC4 of course it that it was hosted by Jimmy Savile. So obviously do not click the link if you wish to avoid him! ~

We've got the place to ourselves tonight!

22/10/81 (hosted by Jimmy Savile)

(47) This Year’s Blonde – “Platinum Pop”

This show begins how the last one ended, but This Year's Blonde only went up one more place.

(6) The Human League – “Open Your Heart” (video)

Lots of videos on this show for some reason, and the first of them is the yet again yewtreed Human League, now at their chart peak with Open Your Heart.

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

Didn't quite reach the top ten when this one peaked at number 12.

(29) The Four Tops – “When She Was My Girl” (video)

Became the band's first top ten hit for ten years when it reached number 3.

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

Went up three more places with the help of the weird twins.

(37) Gillan – “Nightmare” (video)

Went up just one more place just in time for Halloween.

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

The second single from their number one album, Ghost in the Machine, and a soon to be chart topper. And a more Top of the Pops friendly video this time.

(7) The Jam – “Absolute Beginners”

Following up their number 4 hit Funeral Pyre with another number four hit here. And only the second band in the studio tonight. The audience don't seem to mind the lack of live acts though, they seem to be going balloon crazy!

(10) Shakin’ Stevens – “It’s Raining” (rpt from 08/10/81)
Concluding a great chart year for Shaky, number ten was the peak for Its Raining.

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

Second of four weeks at number one.

(28) Rod Stewart – “Tonight I’m Yours (Don’t Hurt Me)” (audience dancing/credits)

Became Rod's first top ten hit for three years when it reached number 8. Legs & Co are in the audience apparently if you can spot them.

So that brings us to the 29th October 1981 with Simon Bates.


  1. OK, so this edition was full of videos with little or no new studio performances, except for Platinum Pop getting two weeks in a row in the TOTP studio, with no repeat. How the heck did they manage this feat, when no-one else got the chance to do so?

    Barry Manilow - I just love the way Manilow gets frisky with his date at the drive-in movie at the start of the video, only to get thrown out of the car by sliding his hand up her skirt.

    The Police - very quick turnaround after Invisible Sun. I must say this was much better and worthy of No.1, even though they only got one week at the top in November.

    Shakin Stevens - now arriving in the top ten, the producers seemed comfortable to have the studio audience slow-dancing and smooching a little, as they did on Souvenir by OMD the month before, so this type of studio dancing was becoming more commonplace on TOTP as we entered the last quarter of 1981. It was a case of pick a partner and get to know them. Oh yes siree, as Jim'll said at the end of the no.1 this week!

    What a pity that all we got of Legs & co this week were in the opening Platinum Pop and the end credits, and only if you could spot them. How sad that they had to go out like this. I mean I couldn't even see which of the Legs girls were present this week. Shame on you TOTP for relegating them in this fashion. No wonder they were gone completely by the end of the month.

  2. The Four Tops - a nice one. It sounds and looks like it's from the 70s (typical video singing in the studio), but that's ok.

    The Police - a well liked track. The recording and video was apparently done around Montserrat. More on the studio here

    The Jam song made no immediate impression on me. The Gillan one knows it's all about the hook in the chorus and he's going to hammer that home to us. Unfortunately, despite that, it's still not in my head after listening to it.

  3. Legs, I assume, are just to the right of the singer in blonde wigs during Platinum Pop.

  4. Jim'll keeps telling us that the crowd are about to mutiny, and I wouldn't blame them when all there is to see in the studio is The Jam and This Year's Blonde, plus the host's bare chest! How "Debbie" and her chums managed to wangle two studio performances in consecutive weeks I don't know, particularly as the record was still languishing outside the Top 40. Compare and contrast with O Superman, now at number 2 but not featured on TOTP at all during its chart ascent (though it does turn up on the Christmas Day show).

    Given how much videos dominate the proceedings this week, it's a shame so many of them are rather dull. At least The Human League do various interesting things with split screens and CSO, and their promo concludes with a recreation of the iconic facial close ups from the Dare cover. The Four Tops, by contrast, have a bog standard "performance in the recording studio" video, though I was intrigued by those single headphones they were all wearing - why just the one? The song itself was a pleasant but low-key, rather forgettable ballad.

    I'm amazed Gillan weren't in the studio, given the frequency of their appearances at TV Centre in 1981. This is another song that was OK, but nothing more, which I think rather sums up Gillan as a band. The Police were much more memorable, thanks both to their strongest single since Message in a Bottle and this well known and ever-so-slightly smug video of them horsing around in the sunny Caribbean. Like Funeral Pyre, Absolute Beginners is a Jam song I had never heard before. It's pretty decent, with plenty of attack and energy, though I thought the brass section was a bit undercooked. Nice to see Weller giving a committed performance, anyway, as last time he was in the studio he looked like he would rather be somewhere else.

    Fittingly for a largely humdrum show, we get a deeply mediocre Rod Stewart track to play us out, with Jim'll (who actually does a pretty decent job of the chart rundown this time, "Furrys" gaffe excepted), grooving along with the audience. Legs are there too, but as with This Year's Blonde at the start, it's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance as they edge ever closer to the exit door...

  5. Anyone else having difficulty downloading this one? Keep getting a 'Failed - Forbidden' notice!

  6. if the modfather and his mates were the only act in the studio on this edition, then i'm glad i never made an effort to be there!

  7. Pretty cheapo show this one. Again the Human League are unfortunate, not a bad video for this inspirational ditty, if basic. Kept expecting Steve Strange to hove into view.

    The Four Tops with their easygoing, wistful tune, though obviously at their age any exertions were beyond them and they just stuck a couple of cameras in the studio. Like the bassman on this one.

    Not a very nightmarish video for Gillan's Nightmare, unless you count the video effect to make them look futuristic. Best bit of this are the piano chords in the chorus, otherwise it made little impression.

    The Police showing the Tops how to make a cheap video in the studio: arse about. Always thought the verses of his sounded strangely sinister, then the chorus arrives and it couldn't be cheerier, though the miserable angle crops up in the middle eight.

    Slightly odd that The Jam's Absolute Beginners didn't show up in the film of the same name, though Weller did write for the soundtrack, being a fan of the book. Not a bad, jaunty little tune, but someone get Paul a hairbrush pronto.

    Jim'll getting a small taste of the mob violence he'd have endured had he lived longer, there.

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    2. i think if jim'll had lived to a hundred then he wouldn't have experienced any mob violence in his lifetime, as even in his dotage he obviously still exerted power over others to the point where they dare not question his activities and motives. whatever his supposed crimes and misdemeanours (and still nothing has yet been proven to my knowledge), i wish he had lived for a few years longer - simply so that we would probably then be able to keep watching his old totp shows on the telly!

  8. It's funny how The Jam and other similar artists who crash straight into the top ten as a new entry, also tumble out just as quickly.

    Here The Jam make their first appearance with Absolute beginners as a new entry at No.7, but were already tumbling down before they could appear again two weeks later, so in the end could only get one showing on the show. The same happened with their previous offering, Funeral Pyre, crashing in at No.4, and we only saw it once cos it tumbled down quickly after.

    I mean, good grief, isn't it better to enter somewhere below the top ten, so that you could guarantee at least two appearances on TOTP if you do not get to No.1 with such a high new entry?? Unless you're Blondie of course with The Tide Is High which crashed in at No.5 but got a couple of weeks at No.1.

    Anyway, here's the video for Absolute Beginners, which we won't get to see on TOTP, as the studio performance this week was the only appearance for them.

    1. i suspect most if not all that rushed out and bought jam singles were angry young men (athough they were anathema to me, i knew plenty of guys who saw the modfather & co as role models) and hardly anyone else. therefore no surprise that their singles entered the charts highly and then dropped like a stone, as that was the only demographic they appealed to!

    2. The Jam probably did have their hardline support just like Gary Numan. Funeral Pyre did feel less streamlined and better for me as it built some drama, whereas Absolute Beginners starts with some energy but feels like it goes nowhere.

    3. Yeah we got 'New Orleans' by Gillan umpteen times as well as 'This Wreckage' by Gary Numan. Both minor hits compared to the Jam entries you mention.

  9. shaky shakerson23 May 2016 at 02:09

    Another Yewtree'd edition; this one in the wandering hands of He Who Can't Be Shown, and it's another show full of highs and lows.

    Let's get the lows out of the way first. Manilow - we've seen the vid, we know the song inside and out and we all prefer the original version. Gillan - another vid and another NWOBR single in desperate need of a decent chorus. Stewart/Gaskin, still bafflingly holding on to the top spot. A fresh studio appearance for This Year's Blonde including that clunking seque between Hanging On The Telephone and Denis. And Shaky gets his 67th appearance on the show repeated.

    But there were some highs.

    The Elvis video. Yeah we saw it a couple of editions ago, but it's a great song and those spooky twins make it worth watching again.

    The Four Tops. Any song with Levi Stubbs on vocals is great. Yes the recording-in-the-studio video is a tad hackneyed and the single-can headphones seem baffling, but it's got Levi Stubbs. On vocals.

    A first showing of The Human League's video for Open Your Heart and as befits their Art Schoolishness it's very. . . . art schooly although it just about managed to avoid being pretentious. The only downside being not enough screen time for the brunette Leaguer (not sure if that is Joanne or Susan) who I had a bit of a crush on.

    A welcome - and rapid- return to form for The Police who must have organised the release of this single while Invisible Sun was still high in the charts. The back-lit verse bits were nothing much but the arsing around chorusy bits were hugely enjoyable.

    And then and then and then we have The Jam. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. From the brass driven opening to the spitting-fire lyrics to the bass/drum/guitar mix to the final chord. A three minute wonder (as Mrs Shaky often calls me). One of Weller's finest moments and one I shall be watching again later.

    With the drossometer being severely tested by some of those lows, this should by all rights be a 5 out of 10 show. But The Jam and The Police were that good and put me in such a good mood I'm going all Len Goodman and giving it a 7.

    He Who Can't Be Shown gets 5. He manages to avoid calling Dave Gahan & Co, DepechEY Mode but then calls Davey Arthur's conspirators The Furries. Plus he's just too old to a) present the show and b) be bare chested.

    1. as when 10cc released "life is a minestrone" rather than "i'm not in love" as the lead single from their then-latest album, i think the police's record company realised they had dropped a serious clanger in putting out the dour "invisible sun" (that was not helped by the banning of the controversial video) as the first 45 from "ghost in the machine" (no doubt they were badgered by sting into doing so!), so hastily released a far more appropriate follow-up to rectify their mistake. in both cases the admissions of guilt were rewarded with no. 1 hits!

    2. Invisible Sun has an atmospheric verse, but the chorus just sounds like a dull simple and indifferent add-on, lacking energy or much expression.

    3. Wilbeforce - yes agreed..I made the very same 'Police' point as you have...before I read your comments - sorry! Another one of note is the first single from Roxy Music's 'Manifesto' album; the aptly titled 'Trash' which was hastily followed by the far more commercial 'Dance Away' (with a very similar picture sleeve).

  10. There was an awful lot of fast forwarding going on for this one, not least for Jim'll with his cringeworthy links (not to his mention his latest look, if you can call it that)

    This Year's Blonde certainly had the best plugger in the trade. Amazing that 2 consecutive appearances made it go from No.48 to No.47 and then the dizzy heights of....No.46.

    If I've ever seen the video to 'Open Your Heart', I don't recall it (most channels busy showing the housewife classic for the millionth time of course) but I like its simplicity.

    The Four Tops have always been my favourite Motown act. 'When She Was My Girl' is fairly slight but still has that brilliane "gone, gone gone gone" bit.

    Gillan - Not another Gillan single. The video was scary enough for me (his close-ups, at least) even if the song wasn't.

    The Police song is one of their best, presumably released quicker than originally planned once the 'Invisible Sun' bans took effect.

    I happen to think that 'Absolute Beginners' is the best Jam single. I know that I'm probably alone in that (except for our own Shaky possibly) but I think it's got punch, a great hook and doesn't outstay its welcome. Bruce Foxton looks pretty cool in the performance as well (OK, his hair is a bit mullet like, but Weller's is sticking up at the back!)

    It says a lot when the Rod song is by no means the worst of the show. I happen to really like it, god knows why!

  11. It's all beginning to make sense now. This Year's Blonde were on Creole, the same label which subjected us to (Honky from years back and) Enigma, who tried their luck with a third thankfully unsuccessful medley single. With a huge doff of the hat to the 45cat website, check out the humdingers on Enigma's woeful attempt at a hat-trick of hits!

    1. thanks for that arthur - i see D I S C O gets not one but two airings on this! yes, it's euro-disco cheese that thankfully we weren't subjected to on totp. but there are a couple of fairly decent tunes amongst it all in my opinion: "born to be alive" and "one for you, one for me". i remember hearing the original version of the latter (by la bionda) whilst on holiday in either italy or spain, and rushing out to buy the 12" version of it as soon as i got back to blighty. sadly unlike convicted pedo jonathan king's an-autopilot cover it never troubled the totp mugshot-finders. i do remember being rather disappointed when reading a review of in record mirror which simply stated it was "a tale of two tramps picking dog-ends out of the gutters"!

    2. creole was a very similar to satril in that it was an independent label that scratched about for anything the majors overlooked and/or looked to capitalise on any bandwagon rolling at the time (hence enigma). and as a result got a single in the lower reaches or the top 30 here and there

      i've long been aware of the excellent funky instrumental "west coast drive" that was the b-side of a creole single by VIP connection (later to metamorphosise into voyage of "from east to west" fame), but thanks to arthur i've now found some more space disco that was released on ther label:

      which in turn led me to even more space disco (the album this comes from is selling for several hundred quid!):

    3. Two 70s soul/disco tracks I remember on Creole were by The Chequers and The M & O Band.

    4. i came across the chequers' norman whitfield / temptations-style version of bob marley's "get up, stand up" on a west indies funk compilation a few years back - it turns out that were a mainly-white act from aylesbury!

      they had an interesting history in that they started out as a reggae band before turning to soul and disco in the late 70's. then in the early 80's they released a 12" single on their own label that featured a couple of excellent dance tracks:

      by the way, they were another group that sometimes used the definitive article!

      as for the m&o band, it has been mentioned on this blog before that their version of "let's do the latin hustle" was actually the original eddie drennon version with some added percussion (perhaps the first-ever case of sampling?). however, i have now found this interesting "re-recorded" version that was apparently rush-released as a result of the controversy:

      by the way, there is another good version of this track by an act called the year of the dragon that i can't find on yt. but i did find yet more versions!

      here's one by the young sisters (a 60's dutch pop girl duo):

      and here's another by blackbuster (a german-based band of filipino origin that did some funk of their own before cashing in on the disco scene with copycat covers):

      and here's an excellent soca-style interpretation by (genuine) west indian act ed watson & the brass circle:

      so thanks to bama for leading me onto yet more previously unheard-of goodies!

    5. According to 45cat, there was also a version of "Let's Do The Latin Hustle" by a group called Mexicanos, produced by Eddy Grant!

    6. thanks arthur - as a completist i'll have to try and get hold of that one as well! sadly it's not on YT, but strangely enough the b-side is. it's a cover of the fatback band's "street dance", but not as good as the jaln band's version, which i also thought vastly superior to the original!

    7. Wilberforce - thanks for compliment and for bringing that link to the re-recording of the M&O band's version of Latin Hustle to my attention - that was the version I had and it clearly is different to the original so I was always a bit confused about the 'sampling' accusation up to this point because I didn't know they had made a new version.

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    9. Did a bit more research and the Discogs page for the M&O Band indicates that although Muff Murfin of the M&O Band was accused of sampling the Eddie Drennon track it actually was a re-recording (and when you listen they certainly aren't the same) but maybe the label owners forced him to record/mix it again to stop the accusations. Someone on the 45cat page says that the M&O version was issued here first and hit the charts first and the Drennon version followed. But eventually clubs started plating the US LP Drennon version which was extended so sales of both 45s quickly dropped off.

    10. i've just checked the mp3 transfer i made from the m&o "latin hustle" 45 i had a few years back, and it's definitely the "sampled" version with a bit of added percussion and wah wah guitar!

  12. Jim’ll, of course there’s going to be an audience mutiny. Only two acts in the studio, one of which is a pointless rehash from last week (and no, not three acts – I noticed your Peter Powell video-type scam when trying to pass Shakin’ Stevens off as being in the studio too). While I’m at it, stop impersonating Martin Gore and out a shirt on!

    Not one ‘wow’ song on the show for me, but still very grateful to Darnall 42 for the chance to see it.

    So The League finally got a video budget, then! An arty farty debut with an ex-Rezillo wearing more slap than those still unco-ordinated gals.

    Just noticed the lack of an apostrophe in the song title when it’s shown at the start of the spoof Barry movie. “Lets Hang On” indeed! And why does Baz beam at the start of the video when singing the words “I’m crying”?

    The Four Tops, clapping in rhythm before the backing track had started – and surely the clapping would have been heard in that take. They didn’t really think that video through, did they?

    Gillan follow Slade and decide to have another go at (only just) re-writing the verse to “Fool For Your Loving”.

    The best part of that Police video was Sting in the dark. Was he singing “Keyhole” near the end?

    Ah, you see, where‘s the brass section on stage to make it look like The Jam aren’t miming? Could Paul Weller get BBC 2 with that sticky-up hairstyle?

    I see Legs & Co got an end credit even though I completely missed them. I needed to rewind to find them.

    Going back to the M&O Band, the single was eventually banned from the charts and Creole were stopped from pressing and selling any further copies, but it ended up peaking higher than Eddie Drennon's original.

    1. I didn't think that the M&O Band were banned from the chart but from radio play, but as you say it managed to sell enough copies to top the original.

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  14. Since I’ve watched a run of BBC4 showings, these Yewtreed ones contains lots of new stuff as unfortunately they seem to be on alternate weeks!

    Platinum Pop – This year’s Blonde – Very surprised like other people have mentioned to see this on for the second week in a row. That was the providence of number ones I thought? Anyway whilst this minor hit got repeated exposure, other great records in the chart lower regions were ignored including two Dire Straits singles; ‘Skateaway’ and ‘Tunnel of love’ – the latter being a personal favourite.

    Human League – Open your heart – I wonder if Phil and co realised at the time that their TOTP slots were always hosted by the same two men? This video has the ‘Dare’ cover written all over it. I was never convinced by the middle eight section of this song; “Being an Island..” and felt it sounded off key, or maybe that was deliberate?

    Barry Manilow – Let’s hang on – Saucy video from Barry or what?! I don’t think Barry cared much for this recording himself as it’s missing from his superb double CD compilation ‘The Songs 1975 – 1990’ for which he wrote the sleeve notes. I prefer the Four Seasons’ version.

    Four Tops – When she was my girl – From one ‘Four’ group to another (how many can you name without looking it up?). Nice song, recorded in the studio apparently.

    Elvis Costello – Good year for the Roses – The two boys in the video must be brothers surely? They look so awkward and embarrassed it must have been really hard to shoot this video. At the time I was surprised to hear an Elvis Costello track that I really liked, and still do. From his Nashville expedition, it really is a great record.

    Gillan – Nightmare – Oh no, not again! A very aptly titled single. Ian shakes his frizzy hair and shrieks the title track and I’d wager that Gillan hold the record for the number of different songs on TOTP in 1981?

    Police – Every little thing she does is magic – A&M obviously realised that releasing ‘Invisible Sun’ as the first single off ‘Ghost in the Machine’ was a mistake as they then spotted that the best track on the album by a country mile was this, and rushed it out pronto before too many people bought the album. Nice to see the boys larking about in the video as they memorably did on ‘Message in a Bottle’ and ‘Don’t stand so close to me’. Wonderful track.

    Jam – Absolute Beginners – Even for me a non-Jam fan I can grudgingly appreciate some of the great tunes that they released, but this and the previous single were clunkers.

    Shakin’ Stevens – It’s raining – Nice smoochy tune from Shaky, but he was slightly on the wane now. Bring on Christmas 1983!

    Dave & Barbara – Again… obviously widely liked at the time.

    Rod Stewart – Tonight I’m yours playout - Taster for the showing of the *very* Rod Stewart video next week.

    JS – Somebody must have had a word in his ear as this week we get all the artists and song titles read out on the chart rundowns.

    1. I also thought the two boys in the Costello video were brothers, but John G informed me that they were twin sisters (yes sisters, it's true, as proof from the utube comments if you catch the video there ), but the twin girls still looked weird.

  15. The Police single was rushed out to beat imports - it had been the first release off the LP in other territories