Friday, 1 July 2016

Top of the Pops Plus One

Already we are at the end of January 1982, but then I do suppose we have a bit of ground to cover if we are to get to our second Christmas in time :-)

Excuse me, has anyone seen our gorilla?

28-1-82: Presenter: Simon Bates

(43) TIGHT FIT – The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Here's the debut of the second incarnation of Tight Fit, performing one of the 80's most famous soon to be number ones.

 (29) OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN – Landslide (video)
A sort of 9 to 5 meets Forbidden Planet video this, for what would become, barring Grease megamixes, Olivia's final top 20 hit when it peaked at 18.

 (36) HAIRCUT 100 – Love Plus One
The follow up to Favourite Shirts, and the band's biggest hit when it made number 3.

 (4) THE STRANGLERS – Golden Brown ®
Simon Bates was clearly a big fan of this judging by his introduction, and rightly so it's a great record and became the Strangler's biggest hit reaching number 2.

Sounding, to my ears anyway, a bit like very early Blur. But number 33 was as high as it got and it was also the group's final top 40 hit.

 (US 14) THE ROLLING STONES – Waiting On A Friend (video)
(US 3) J. GEILS BAND – Centerfold (video)
(US 1) DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES – I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) (video)
This section was unsurprisingly edited out.

 (30) ELKIE BROOKS – Fool If You Think It’s Over
A second studio performance from Elkie of this Chris Rea cover that she took to number 17.

 (20) ALTON EDWARDS – I Just Wanna (Spend Some Time With You)
And a second studio performance for this non-mover, this time Alton bringing an entire disco with him!

 (1) SHAKIN’ STEVENS – Oh Julie ®
Shaky's third number one, although it only stayed there for a week.

 (16) THE FOUR TOPS – Don’t Walk Away (crowd dancing) (and credits)
Now at its chart peak.

Next up then is February 4th 1982, hosted by John Peel.


  1. Tight Fit – I just loved this studio performance. Oh look, the lion from the Altered Images video of I could Be Happy had been kindly lent to Tight Fight by Claire Grogan, to join the gorilla from the DLT episode of two weeks earlier. Everyone lived happy ever after when both the lion and the gorilla got to dance close up the two girls from the Tight Fit group (I think Julie ‘Chopper’ Harris being one of them) at the end of the song, and with a fine pair of pins on the girls!
    I mean even Simon Bates threw in his piece at the end, saying “good being a gorilla isn’t it?”

    Olivia Newton John – I don’t recall this one, but the video seems to follow the same theme as Physical with the delectable ONJ looking for a hot man to seduce her mind in return for her body. Not a bad video, as ONJ was never to be a performer in the TOTP studio.

    The Stranglers – I particularly liked the nice touch to have Zoo on the instrumental part towards the end of the song, and the nice blonde Zoo member who performed so well on one of the Xmas shows a few weeks earlier.

    Stiff Little Fingers – I don’t normally like their stuff, but I must admit this one had a very catchy chorus and rhythm for me, and I quite liked it.

    JK American chart rundown – damn they edited it out again. John G, time to get the full copy from Neil B or someone to help out? I wouldn’t mind seeing the J Geils Band’s tasty video with them “girls in negligees slipping notes under the desk”, as Mr Geils states in the lyrics.

    Alton Edwards – the studio performance this week reminded me of the same sort of antics on the Anita Ward video for Ring My Bell in 1979. This TOTP studio performance looked a lot like the Soap Factory performance, which was the official video for Ring My Bell by Miss Ward.

  2. Debbie Harry is 71 years old today - July 1st.
    Amazing to think that in 1982 she had her last hit with the original Blondie with Island of Lost Souls when she was only 37 then.

  3. Tight Fit start the show...or so it seems. The single was actually recorded not by the trio seen miming to the track on TOTP, but by an aggregation of session musicians, with former City Boy drummer Roy Ward taking the falsetto lead vocal. Steve Grant, Julie Harris (an ex-member of TOTP dance troupe Zoo!) and Denise Gyngell would vocalise the Top 5 Abba-by-numbers follow-up 'Fantasy Island', however.

    Next up was Ben Elton's third cousin (see her Wiki entry) with yet another raunchy post-Sandy offering, accompanied by a suitably racy video. Alas, it would be the last we would see of her as a soloist on TOTP. Her '85 single 'Toughen Up', co-written and produced by Tina Turner maestro Terry Britten, deserved to be a smash - but it was not to be.

    As I listened to the undated 'Love Plus One' by Haircut 100 - one of the very few chart bands of the era not to employ a keyboardist - I was reminded of an interview Nick Heyward gave to 'Smash Hits' in which he recalled a conversation he had had with Paul Weller. The Modfather said to him, '"Where does it go from here/Is it down to the lake I fear?" Where's your head, Nick?' To which Nick responded: 'Come on, Paul, what do you mean, where's MY head? "In the city there's a thousand things I want to say to you." You know.' Rock stars, you're supposed to encourage each other - play nicely!

    The less said about boring Stiff Little Fingers, the better. I can quite understand the talented Undertones' disdain for them.

    What a joy to see and hear Elkie Brooks - Britain's first lady of blues - back on the programme. Her part-time backing vocal duo Gallagher and Lyle had parted ways by this time, so she took to the stage by herself on this faultless cover of Chris Rea's debut hit. He must be one of my all-time favourite singer-songwriters, though his career has sadly been curtailed by ill-health.

    Before the jokes start, let me make it clear that I have little affection for Shaky's chart-topping cajun effort, despite the title! I found his No.6 follow-up 'Shirley' rather more tolerable, though it didn't appeal to my Aunt Shirley - whose favourite singer is Vince Hill!

    The Four Tops remain one of my favourite vocal groups ever; I found their output for ABC Records particularly satisfying. 'Don't Walk Away', while not as outstanding as 'When She Was My Girl', secured a deserved Top 20 placing.

    1. Yes indeed Julie, you are No.1 this with Shakin Stevens. One week is better than nothing at all!

  4. The Milli Vanilli of their day Tight Fit kick us off with the Lion Sleeps Tonight cover. Loved this at the time, but you know a song's been overexposed when Doctor Who uses it to soundtrack a scary scene. Weird that they had two female members but no women singing on the actual track.

    Don't recall Olivia's tune at all, even though it made top 20. It's all right, but sounds a bit ELO lite. Video sees her grabbing a himbo. Do people still use the word "himbo"?

    The intro to this Haircut 100 track is just perfection, the whole thing sounds like an idyllic summer's day (as long as you don't listen to the lyrics), odd as it was a winter hit. Nick's huge guitar makes him look about twelve.

    Did they ever show the video of Golden Brown on TOTP? I remember it clearly, but not if it was on here or not.

    Stiff Little Fingers sounding as if they were unsure of whether to turn into a New Wave of British Heavy Metal act or not. Tries to be anthemic, but doesn't cut the mustard. Their 70s incarnation would be horrified at their costumes!

    The audience try to dance enthusiastically to Elkie's soporific Chris Rea cover. She seems to be enjoying herself, anyway.

    Alton Edwards bravely sporting the extreme contrast red and green look. Mr Fairbrass goes for jacket and jeans in the disco aggregation behind him. The song, well, it's better on second (recent) listen, but I can't imagine it's anyone's favourite.

    Didn't notice before, but Shaky has an incredible amount of makeup on for this performance. All he needs is the soft focus and he'd be set to replace Dex Dexter in Dynasty.

    Zoo get on down to this bright Four Tops tune, do like this. I note none of them (the dancers) are credited at the end.

  5. Any sightings of the unedited version with JK's American charts? John G?

    1. Not yet Dory - on past experience it can take several days for a link to appear, but I'll let you know if one does.

    2. it's now on 4shared - Thanks Neil B

    3. Could we get this on WeTransfer please?

    4. Hi Guys now on my Vimeo page

    5. Welcome back to Vimeo Meer. And I had thought that the BBC's complaint had taken down your page, but you live to fight another day. Anyway, this was the best JK slot so far in his run, with brilliant new videos from Rolling Stones and The J Geils Band.

      I must say that his plug for Hall & Oates from New York to TOTP in London seemed to do the trick to finally break them through in Britain after two year of singles not making it into our top 30, because after this JK slot on TOTP we finally got to see what they look like, cos in 1980-1981 we didn't see them on our screens while their singles releases did not come through. with their best effort being Kiss on My List at No.33 in Nov 1980. Well done JK, you did them a huge deed at the start of 1982, and this folks is the moment they got their lucky break. It's a bit like Jim'll Fix It for you and you.

    6. Here's the Meer link folks:

    7. Oh, and the other interesting occurrences on JK's slot is that Hooked On Classics had only just arrived in America at No10 this week, when we had it in Britain in Aug 1981, a whole 5 months before America, and the most sensational piece of news is that Foreigner got stuck at No.2 for 10 weeks while ONJ was No.1 for 10 weeks with Physical. Amazing length of time for the top 2 in the charts with no movement.

    8. The most amazing fact there is clearly that 'Hooked On Classics' made the upper reaches of the US Chart AT ALL!

    9. I guess the pivotal factor was the fat ballerina in the video for Hooked on Classics. She deserved a medal for her performance, wherever they got the footage from.

    10. Dory - we did see Hall & Oates in the TOTP studio in late 1980, though of course they were being interviewed on that occasion rather than performing. Anyway, thanks to Neil B and Meer for making the JK segment available. It was actually rather poignant, given that King was presenting it from the World Trade Center. I would imagine the exposure given here to Centerfold and I Can't Go For That probably helped to propel them into the UK Top 10 over the next few weeks, though the Stones only scraped to 50 over here with Waiting on a Friend.

    11. Why was JK delivering his links in blackface? The Black and White Minstrels was so last decade.

    12. Indeed it was surprising the the Stones single Waiting On A Friend didn't make the top 40 in the UK, but was huge in America, and considering the fine video made for it, it is a pity.

    13. thanks to its disappointing minor chart placing in this country, i'm not sure we'll get to see "waiting on a friend" on totp. so i'll just say now that for me it's one of the best stones singles with some country and even a hint of latin mixed in with their usual sound. it also has a great sax solo, and notable in being an early example of digital recording as they're able to cut and paste mick's falsetto bit in the intro elsewhere in the song later. also a cool video where they pretend to be a bar band! but who is the blond guy mick & keef pass by in the window?

    14. The ghost of Brian Jones?

  6. This was an edition that began promisingly but got increasingly tedious towards the end. Master Bates was a bit better than he sometimes is, particularly on the chart rundown, but was still too prone to waffling and going up verbal cul-de-sacs. He also made a seemingly obligatory error, on this occasion calling Oh Julie Shaky's third consecutive number 1.

    Tight Fit get us off to a colourful start, and this line-up is more appealing than the previous one. The animal kingdom continues its infiltration of the TOTP studio with the lion's appearance, but surely they could have found a better costume than that? The song itself is of course a classic, though The Tokens' 1961 version remains the best - thanks to Julie for the intriguing info that it was the annoying City Boy drummer responsible for the falsetto on this version...

    I had never heard this ONJ song before, and having now done so I can understand why. It lacks a real hook, and the weird video ends up being much more memorable than the song. There has been much comment in the press recently about the trend towards the objectification of men, but with this video and the one for Physical it looks as if Olivia was pioneering that 35 years ago! Haircut 100 next with easily the best song on the show, and my personal favourite of theirs. Nick Heyward does look a bit like a rabbit in the headlights here, and it seems that the pressures of pop stardom did weigh heavily on his shoulders, contributing to his exit from the band within the year.

    Stiff Little Fingers must have had a very adept record plugger, given the number of times they got on TOTP despite very modest chart success. They were clearly trying here to move on from their punk roots, but this attempt at creating an anthem falls some way short of greatness. After that the rest of the show was very dull, with another interminable performance from Elkie followed by an unwanted second appearance from Alton Edwards - not even the dancing antics of Craig Fairbrass and chums could make this song any more interesting. Craig was, I note, very prominent again during the dance to the Tops over the closing credits - perhaps he had now established himself as "top dog" among the cheerleaders...

    1. Maybe Craig was the daddy Sir Cliff was singing about?

  7. Not a bad edition, enjoyed the Stranglers and Elkie Brooks plus Tight Fit was a guilty pleasure... Slimey was less annoying than usual but his smile coming out of one of his links gave me the creeps. Thank god I watched the 7.30 showing and not the late night repeat.

  8. The Slime back in charge sporting, for him, a racy maroon jacket and patterned short. I really can't stand those so-called cheerleaders who stand there alongside grinning inanely and pretending to agree and laugh along with every thing the presenter says. They all look so vacuous and insincere and seem to revel in their vacuousness and insincerity.

    Talking of which while there's no doubting that the new Tight Fit contain something for everyone eye-candy wise (if you like curvy ladies wearing sexy military gear and / or toothsome muscle men in string vests) it does seem an odd thing to keep the group name when the line up is so clearly different. Not that anyone here is singing or playing on the record which makes the whole thing even more odd. Mind you the song has an interesting history which dates back to the 1930s.

    ONJ causing a few landslides on video. Hard to see why she was getting all hot under the collar about though as that guy wasn't much to write home about but it was another funny video with a good ending.

    While Haircut 100 were undeniably cute there was something very annoying about their silly clothes. That tucking your trousers in your socks thing never really took off did it. Good catchy song though even the "here we go" bit which the drummer mimes badly. The balding sax playing is clearly the real musician in the band. Not sure why Nick felt the need to stop pretending to play his guitar near the end only to see him dancing badly. Was it too heavy for him?

    The Strangers were no spring chickens were they, I think they had a combined age of about 220. A fantastic, classic song though that should have got to number one. Not too sure about Zoo's dancing here it stops the band thinking of something to do while the instrumental break is playing but it still looks inappropriate.

    Stiff Little Fingers I have no recollection of. perhaps they could have a go at writing a song which is memorable.

    Elkie Brooks. I could have sworn that this was a hit in 1978/79 but your mind plays tricks. She looks a bit stilted here like a rabbit caught in the headlights and some members of the crowd are laughing about something that we can't see.

    A not very worthy second appearence from Alton Edwards. He's not the best dancer/performer in the world but he's being mercilessly upstaged by the crowd in particular Craig "Look At Me" Fairbrass who even has the temerity to copy Alton's pirouette dance move and repeat it several times. This week Fairbrass is wearing an airline pilots jacket and looks a like a total self-obsessed twat. There are some nasty streaks visible on the camera lens here of the kind that were popular on The Tube every week throughout the 1980s.Was this afterburn caused by the lights or by the lens not being cleaned properly?

    A truncated show this week so we go from number 20 straight through to number one without a break at number 11, 10 or 9 as usual and then Shaky going zydeco at the top spot and play out with Levi and Co.

    That looks like a young Robert Elms in the crowd wearing glasses to the left of Slimon when he does his closing piece to camera.

    One song that was in the Top 75 at this time that I would liked to have seen on the show was Trouble by Lindsay Buckingham - a stonking song with some lovely guitar playing on it. I'm sure this would have made the Top 10 if it had been featured.

    Did anyone see the repeat of Pop Gold last night? I love that Kate Bush performance of There Goes A Tenner which was from late 1981. That was a single that didn't even get in the Top 75, a great shame it wasn't a hit.

    1. I concur in relation to Lindsey Buckingham's 'Trouble', which reached No.1 in Australia as well as climbing to No.9 in the US, but farcically peaked at No.31 here in the motherland. As far as I'm concerned, it is the nearest any member of the 'Rumours' line-up of Fleetwood Mac has come to equalling the band's collective magic as a soloist. (Note: Mick Fleetwood does drum on the single.)

    2. i agree that lindsey buckingham's "trouble" was excellent - even though it sounded more like one of stevie nicks' tunes than his!

    3. They were an item for a long time, so maybe her compositional style influenced his!

    4. That camera "effect" you describe was a characteristic of using cameras with camera pickup tubes inside them instead of using CCD or CMOS chips (which began to come into the broadcast field in the late 80s/early 90s).

      It was because light hitting an electrically-charged photosensitive plate at the front of the camera tube (on the inside of the tube) would create an electric charge - the video signal. the the camera is moved or the light source disappears, the electric charge in the camera tubes takes several seconds to dissipate - this is the "comet tailing" you see.

      It was far from "popular", it was rather an undesirable effect and broadcast equipment manufacturers and engineers at the broadcasters themselves continually tried their best to get rid of the effect, but it's an inherent problem of using what was effectively a special type of electronic valve (remember them?!) - analogue technology. Once CCD chips then CMOS chips came in in about 1990 the problem, and others associated with using tube cameras (such as microphony with loud sounds), disappeared.

      I say singular "camera tube", as an ordinary black and white camera needs one tube, but a colour camera, needs either 3 or 4 for the primary colours of light (earlier colour cameras from the late 1960s, like the EMI 2001s as still used by the BBC even in 1982, required four tubes - one for red light, one green, one blue, and one for grey/white light). Later ones, like the Link 110s installed in a couple of studios in TV Centre around 1977 required 3 (one red, one green, one blue and white light was made up by mixing the output of the three colour tubes together).

      Reference: I worked with cameras like this at ITV company Yorkshire Television.

    5. Re Lindsey Buckingham, I think his best solo work is to be found on his 1992 album Out of the Cradle - the haunting Street of Dreams is worth a listen in particular.

    6. Aiden thanks for explaining the technical problems of using cameras and lighting. When I said it was 'popular' on The Tube I was of course being sarcastic. I don't think I've seen one clip of that show which didn't have that effect on the lens and in every case the visuals were spoiled. I don't recall seeing it that often on the BBC.

    7. Ah you guys have got such taste with Lindsey Buckingham's 'Trouble'. A single I bought at the time. Fortunately you can enjoy Lindsey (and Mick) in the video on YT even if TOTP wouldn't promote it:-

      (and we got Alton Edwards instead of this!!!!)

    8. i only ever had a recording of "trouble" taped from the radio (to my recollection it got played quite freqently at the time, regardless of lack of chart success), and have never managed to find it in digital format since i ditched my tape collection in favour of mp3's. so i hadn't heard it until now for at least 15 years, but i was pleased to realise i pretty much remembered it note for note. a while back someone i know said they didn't actually need their vast music collection as they had it stored virtually in their brain, and that's certainly true for me too. in fact there times when i find myself listening to things in my head even when the actual recordings are a click of a button away! is that unusual, or do we all carry our virtual music collections around with us?

      interesting video too, with what i gather are some of lindsey's music biz chums helping out - including some of his fleetwood mac guitarist predecessors...

    9. further to the above: not only have i never come across a copy of "trouble" on cd, it seems the original version is not available for mp3 download on amazon either! does anyone know why? has lindsey decided to withdraw it for personal reasons, or is there some kind of contractual dispute going on? there are more recent re-recordings of the song by him available on amazon, so that suggests it's more likely the latter reason...

    10. Wilberforce; 'Trouble' is taken from the album 'Law and Order'. I've just looked on eBay and there are some CD copies for sale on there.

    11. thanks sct - to clarify what i said, i meant it was never available on any 80's or similar rock & pop compilation albums, of which there were many floating around 10-15 years ago. i do have a 7" 45 copy of it hanging around somewhere that i keep intending to convert to digital, but never seem to get around to it - maybe this will act as the spur?

    12. ... that's rock & pop CD albums - not vinyl!

  9. another day, another archive totp programme to review. actually it's the same day, so no wonder i never get anything else done!

    host: slimy is obviously one of the worst things on what is one of the better shows we've had thus far (although as john g notes, it tails-off somewhat at the end). in one of his introductions we hear someone messing about with haircut 100's congas - i'm surprised he didn't go over and admonish the miscreant! at least he makes the effort to read out the track titles in the chart rundown, but still manages to get the george benson one wrong

    tight fit: one i've been looking forward to seeing again in the context of this run for some time now. i really hated this at the time, but have now come to realise that it's a true camp classic of the age. and that of course is helped in spades with the hunky male model (of course it wasn't really him singing on the record - not that anybody cared), his two sexy female companions (one being jule "chopper" harris, formerly of zoo), the dance routines, plus the jungle entourage of tribal drummers, lion and gorilla

    olivia newton-john: another that has managed to slip my mind completely. the producers press all the buttons to try and make it sound cool and contemporary, but without a proper tune of any kind it's all to no avail really. plus she gets a bit screechy at times as her rather limited vocal ability is challenged. and i can't say i like her new sheena easton-style haircut much either. i'm fairly sure the guy in the video is her then toy-boy hubby matt latanzi

    haircut 100: i did quite like "favourite shirts", although was rather frantic. however this time they've taken a more measured (if jaunty) approach to the groove and it pays off. the drums are really meaty, and whilst the marimba is not something you'd expect to hear on a track like this it does fit in well. i'm not sure why the sax player (who was previously a sessioneer) was allowed to become a proper member of the band, when it's clear that he's not only several years older than most of the others (with a receding hairline that is clearly in contrast, and the specs don't help either). and also unlike the rest he takes things far too seriously what with feeling obliged to mime on not just one sax but two (and on one of them for all of two seconds!). note the in-joke reference to their last hit with the funk riff at the end of the last chorus

    stranglers: nice to see this on a non-yewtree'd edition. and nice to see they've made the effort to provide dave greenfield with a real harpsichord to mime on (he probably played a synthetic one on the actual recording). and as ever dave plays as if he's doing it for real (and rather surprisingly serial non-miming offender hugh does likewise for his solo). this is another one we've all probably heard an awful lot over the years, but i've yet to tire of it - the best bits for me are the jazzy guitar solo and the overlapping ethereal vocals at the end (that come a lot earlier than expected thanks to a spectacularly bad edit). apparently there's still some conjecture as to whether the lyrics are about drugs or not, but as far as i'm concerned they might as well be about toast!

  10. and here's part II (where it all starts to go wrong):

    stiff little fingers: it looks like jake burns has had another word with his radio 1 mates to get his band on the telly again. in contrast to the stranglers this really is workmanlike plodding rock, with new ex-tom robinson band member dolphin taylor (presumably not his given name) not making any difference in that respect. bassist ali mcmordie forgets to do a raised fist punch with the others at one point, having to sort-of join in at the end - he obviously wasn't taking lessons from his counterpart in saxon!

    elkie brooks: elkie's producer borrows the same beatbox that featured prominently in roxy's "danceaway", but sadly nothing else in this pleasantly-boring ditty comes close to that

    alton edwards: alton gets another opportunity to impress as he ditches his band in favour of being surrounded by the dancing throng, but this track still makes little impression on me. that is other than the squelchy synth bass line, which is really annoying

    shakin stevens: i play this game with people where i challenge them to come up with more than three of mr stevens' many hits, and not surprisingly most fail to manage that. and most fail to remember this, despite it somehow managing to get to number one. maybe because it's instantly-forgettable rubbish that just clung on to the coat-tails of his earlier hits? the fact that this helped stopped the stranglers getting to the top is a real travesty of justice!

  11. Of course Dolphin Taylor wasn't his real name - it was Dolphin Jones! Actually, his real name's Brian Taylor.

    Tight Fit were tested to see if they could actually sing and, once they passed the test, they were let loose on the Abba-sounding Dutch Song For Europe also-ran for the follow-up.

  12. Shakey Shakerson3 July 2016 at 01:03

    After last week's decent Kid-Jensen-helmed edition, it was a cast iron certainty that this one was going to be less enjoyable. And as if to set the tone right from the get-go we have Simon Bates introducing the dire Tight Fit featuring a Paddy McGuiness look-a-like front and centre. Awful. And factually incorrect as lions do not live in jungles - mighty or otherwise.

    Next up, ONJ still feeling horny after her Physical. Poor.

    Haircut 100 - 'remember them?'asks Simes. Yes, seeing as they were only on the show a couple of weeks ago- not really a great feat of memory. This is a good un, probably my favourite of theirs despite featuring the infamous 'down to the lake I fear' line.

    Stiff Little Fingers. And I quite liked this too, although it could have done with a hookier chorus and the fist punching looked terrible. They disbanded round about this time I think.

    Scores. Simon Bates gets 4, losing point after point for every one of his links. Does he even think about what he's about to say because his sentences start off like they are going one way, and then either end up somewhere else or just trail off completely.

    Haircut 100 were the standout this week, and I didn't mind SLF, but the rest of the show just didn't do it for me. 3.

  13. Not much to say about this edition (thank goodness, I hear you all sigh), but well done to Simon Bates for becoming the first TOTP presenter in recent memory not to plug “Yellow Pearl” as the fecking theme tune! Plus, there was his seismic announcement that John Peel would be on the following week.

    So, when did Sharron Davies lookalike (never a bad thing in my book) Chopper Harris officially leave Zoo to join the future Mrs. Pete Waterman (“My, you’re a big girl” – Terry Wogan) in Tight Fit? Apparently there was a bloke on stage with them, miming to an awful din.

    Such a shame The Great Strike™ prevented us from seeing “Xanadu” but we suffered this utterly forgettable Sheena-light effort from Livvy, nestling next to soul mate Cliff in the mugshots.

    You’ve already given us your best song, Nick. Where do we go from here? See what I did there? I know there were plus fours and plus twos but they wouldn’t have fitted the title, so why didn’t Haircut 100 invent plus ones for this song and wear them?

    As with The Stranglers’ first outing, why on Earth did they cut to those soppy dancers instead of showing Hugh’s guitar solo and then completely remove his scat singing? Sacrilege.

    My God, what a shock! SLF’s Jake Burns singing properly and not with gravel effect. I can vouch this song definitely sounds better in concert.

    Much better and polite audience participation for Elkie Brooks. Gold stars all round.

    What do non-League football clubs Windsor, Virginia Water, South Park and Harrogate Railway Athletic have in common? Their first team colours are the same as Alton Edwards’ outfit – and that’s all I can say about this offering.

    1. They certainly are two big girls on this new incarnation of Tight Fit. That big curvy look seems to have been taken over by the skinny shorter girl that dominates current pop music in the 2000s, but I do prefer the Tight Fit girl look much more, especially Julie 'Chopper' Harris!

    2. "chopper" seems entirely the wrong nickname for her considering her assets.

    3. however inappropriate her nickname seems, after her brief dalliance with tight fit julie actually released a single under the name chopper harris (she is pictured alone on the front of the sleeve, although the back suggests it was a group effort a la blondie). football fans of course know it as a reference to the legendary 70's chelsea hardman ron, nicknamed "chopper" on account of his uncompromising approach to the tackle

      here's the single she released - part from making modern romance sound authentically latin, it suggests she was somewhat better at looking good and dancing than singing:

      this video shows some stills of her recently performing with the reformed tight fit. i'd say she falls into the milf category (or more likely, gilf), but what do others think?

    4. Hmm, I wonder if Julie had a similar uncompromising approach to a bloke's tackle? By the way, Wilby, I agree - num num num!

      Chopper Harris were runners-up on a barely remembered talent series called The Freddie Starr Show Case.

      Julie had previously released a single with a band called Julie and the Jems, the cover of which provides her date of birth, height and musical influence(!)

    5. Just looked up the Julie and the Jems single on 45cat (thanks for the nudges to this and 'Chopper Harris'). Looking at the musical influences of the four members, Austin Howard lists his as 'Luther Van Ross'!!!

  14. As pretty much the target audience for Tight Fit's song at the time (i.e. a child) I did like it a lot. I can still happily listen to it, and I seem to also be the only one who enjoys 'Fantasy Island'. A blatant ABBA rip-off, yes, but if you're going to copy a pop band you may as well pick the best one ever (yes, they are)

    Strangely, I remember being very taken with ONJ's song at the time. God knows why, since it doesn't seem to have any structure whatsoever. They must have played it a lot on R1.

    Haircut 100 - Good song, I think it's their best.

    Stiff Little Fingers - Good shout on this song sounding a little like Blur circa the 'Leisure' album, Angelo! (albeit not the chorus)
    It seems they finally found a hook and this song is alright - I am quite familiar with it due to its inclusion on 'Chart Busters 82' which we had on cassette and got a lot of plays!

    It's surprising that Shaky didn't come back to do a new performance of 'Oh Julie'. Maybe even he was getting bored of appearing on TOTP on a regular basis at this point!

    1. Oh no, Noax, you're not alone as I'm also a "Fantasy Island" fan. I spent ages trying to find it on iTunes and discovered they'd mis-spelt the act's name as Fight Fit!

    2. Is it true there was a link between Fantasy Island's success and the Falklands War? Oh, and I like it too, but you hardly ever hear it.

    3. Noax, sounds like you must have been taken by ONJ, if not by her song, which is understandable, as she did look very good in those videos between 1978-1982. It was very much it from this point, as the singles catalogue then ran dry from here.

    4. Fantasy Island was originally released by The Millionaires, earlier in the same year as Tight Fit's version.

      As far as I know, there was no connection between Fantasy Island and the Falklands War. It could be a coincidence or possibly Tight Fit's producer Tim Friese-Greene's "in joke" to record Fantasy Island as a follow up track.

      The track recorded in both Dutch, under the title ""Fantasie eiland" and in English, had featured to represent the Netherlands for the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest but lost out to Jij en ik by Bill van Dijk.

      The Millionaires' English language version had different lyrics to the Tight Fit cover as can be heard here.

  15. any chance of Neil B re uploading December 3rd 1981 edition again

    1. It can be found on Glenn Marshalls vimeo page

    2. It's on this link:

    3. Thanks Dory

  16. After the previous week’s great edition, this was a rotten one.

    Tight Fit – The Lion sleeps tonight – Well I don’t know, what was this all about? Session singers record a song and then get some photogenic guys and gals to promote it (but it worked). Steve Grant, Julie Harris and Denise Gyngell were the folks singing and dancing here with some men in animal suits. Hilarious really!

    Olivia Newton-John – Landslide – Whilst the US was still ‘Physical’ we got the follow up which is truly ordinary although I like the costume changes in the video.

    Haircut 100 – Love plus one – I loved this at the time but I have heard it soooo many times now. Mark Fox on percussion looks lively as usual.

    Stranglers – Golden Brown – Just great. The B Side was ‘Love 30’ and weird.

    SLF – Listen - I didn’t.

    Elkie Brooks – Fool if you think it’s over – Very pleasant lounge music. Leather trousers look great – Elkie wore these quite often I recall. Really jarring edit where JK and the US section was chopped out (has anyone seen any of these anywhere, on YT perhaps?).

    Alton Edwards – I just wanna spend some time with you – I didn’t.

    Shakin Steven – Oh Julie – Very catchy and not surprised it made No.1.

    Four Tops – Don’t walk away – I did.

    1. Ooops I have just read the backlog of comments here and have been nicely led to Meer's Vimeo page (thanks Meer). This was really worth seeing. I'd forgotten just what big chunks of the songs they played. A great plug for Hall & Oates which certainly reaped rewards.

    2. Re 'The Lion sleeps tonight', the very first version I ever heard was not by the Tokens but, in a pile of old singles my Dad gave me to play when I was young was a version by Bobby Stevens. Checking out the charts, it didn't. Looking on 45cat, it seems Mr Stevens released a shedload of covers, all on the Embassy label, and all of which didn't chart. The Bobby Stevens version is loaded on 45cat if you can bear to listen to the tune again, and its notable how much the arrangement copies that of the Tokens. The B Side 'The language of love' is also loaded and I used to play that a lot too.

      Also...Bobby's cover of 'His latest flame' is on there; check it out for the note for note Elvis impression.

      Perhaps Bobby was the equivalent of the 'Top of the Pops' or 'Hot Hits' cover albums and the singles sold for a cheaper price? Fortunately wikipedia has the details:-

    3. yes indeed, the embassy label (owned by woolies i think) was the early-60's singles equivalent of the "top of the pops" albums i.e. cheaply-recorded note-for-note versions of recent hits, sold cheaply to those who couldn't afford the full-price original recording. i remember someone in my family owning bobby stevens' version of "i remember you" (which like "the lion sleeps tonight" was a cover of an old tune), that had recently been a hit for frank ifield...

  17. Just reading Philip Norman's excellent Beatles story 'Shout!'. Apparently Brian Epstein was seriously considering signing the boys to Embassy "the despised cheapo label sold only by Woolworths".