Thursday, 20 October 2016

Las Palabras de Top of the Pops

Summer is in the air, it's 17th June 1982 and Simon Bates is the host of this week's Top of the Pops!

er...... has anybody seen my guitar by any chance?



17-6-82: Presenter: Simon Bates

(24) NATASHA – Iko Iko
We begin this week with blonde Scottish singer, ironically named Natasha England, and her cover of Iko Iko, which was also in the charts at the same time for the Belle Stars. Natasha's version, with a touch of an Adam and the Ants feel about it, won out and reached number 10, whilst the Belle Stars languished at 35.

(4) ABC – The Look Of Love (video)
What an absolute spiffing video! But the Look of Love got no higher in the charts.

(33) ROXY MUSIC – Avalon
Bryan, looking dapper even for him, in a white dinner jacket, performs a personal favourite of mine, which became Roxy Music's final top 20 hit when it peaked at number 13.

(14) BOW WOW WOW – I Want Candy (video)
Annabella and the ex-Ants head to the beach to perform this Strangeloves cover which became their second and final top ten hit, peaking at number 9.

(32) QUEEN – Las Palabras De Amor
A rare studio appearance from Queen, with Freddy proudly displaying his famous moustache, though with seemingly no audience there to appreciate it, for this third single from their top 4 album, Hot Space. Las Palabras De Amor (the words of love) peaked at 17.

(3) CHARLENE – I’ve Never Been To Me
.......But about to go to number one. And edited out of the 7.30 showing.

Presumably this was the JK section?? It was also edited out:

(SWEDISH 1) NICOLE – A Little Peace (video)
(FINNISH 1) THE HUMAN LEAGUE – Don’t You Want Me (video)
(SWISS 1) TRIO – Da Da Da (video)
(ITALIAN 1) PHOEBE CATES – The Theme From Paradise (video)
(DUTCH 1) BOYSTOWN GANG – Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (video)

(9) GARY NUMAN – We Take Mystery (To Bed) (video)
His 7th and final top ten hit, from his 6th and final top ten album, I Assassin, but it got no higher than number 9. And it was also edited out of tonight's 7.30 broadcast.

(6) DURAN DURAN – Hungry Like The Wolf ®
Went up one more place.

(21) TOYAH – Brave New World (video)
Her hair was now getting so big there was barely enough room for it on the tv screen! At its chart peak.

(19) ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN – The Back Of Love
Looks like they managed to lose the stilt stalker! Another song now at its peak.

(1) ADAM ANT – Goody Two Shoes (video) (and credits)
The final week at number one for Adam's third and final number one hit.



The next edition is June 24th 1982. Sadly, BBC4 are still not showing DLT hosted shows, so will move on to July 1st with John Peel.

83 comments:

  1. Natasha – Dollar lookalike Natasha seemed to have forgotten to put her skirt on for this performance – oh, sorry was that a mini-dress? Methinks she should learn about elegant dressing from Teresa Bazaar if she wants to follow in her footsteps in the music industry. But then when I saw Natasha’s caption in the chart rundown section at no.24, I had second thoughts, and she seemed to have improved her appearance enormously, ie from a black mini-dress to a white one. Makes a big difference you know.

    ABC – love this video which was one of the iconic pop videos of the entire decade, despite its Benny Hill style antics – the best ones being the decorator seemingly painting a woman’s breast, but turning out to be the lampost. Then the spaghetti-eating baldie with the glasses finding an electric plug in his spaghetti. I once unfortunately bit into a 2p coin when eating pizza in a famous Italian pizza chain in North London, and I can tell you that was a ghastly experience, and hurt my tooth for days after.

    Roxy Music – rare TOTP studio appearance, but a classic indeed. Was the female well-chested backing singer in the cocktail dress behind him his latest girlfriend after Jerry Hall?

    Bow Wow Wow – in what was to be their most famous hit, a 16-year old lead singer Annabelle whatever her name, to think she is still only 50 now in 2016.

    Queen – I would expect that in return for agreeing to perform in the TOTP studio for the first time since 1974, the show had to remove any studio audience, so as not to detract the viewers’ glances away from the group itself. This was a smart move by Queen, and they were big enough in pop icon stature to get their wish, as it certainly made a difference to my perception of this new single. It was a bit like The Old Grey Whistle Test on this performance.

    Toyah – clearly looking to copy David Bowie’s Ashes To Ashes video, so why did it not do as well as the great Bowie in getting to no.1? Clearly the idea was not new and thought provoking when someone else revisits the video idea a second time.

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    1. Queen had also appeared in the studio twice in 1975 doing Now I'm Here and once in 1977 with Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy. There was no also audience present for the latter performance. I'm guessing that in both cases they were filmed when the band were available.

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    2. Interesting, and I also noticed that Queen are on again tomorrow night's TOTP show on BBC4, as they missing put the DLT show sandwiched between. Queen are incidentally the only ones this week with two TOTP nights in a row on BBC4.

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    3. Sorry, I meant Queen and Natasha both get two appearances in consecutive days on BBC4 this week.

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    4. This was actually Queen's last ever TOTP studio performance.

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    5. I'm hardly surprised, as they never seemed to fit in with TOTP studio fabric. The interface with the studio audience is a key part of the TOTP tradition, and I'm afraid that judging by this week's appearance in a deserted studio, is anyone at all surprised that they never made it back again?

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    6. Queen had spent the second three months of 1982 touring and would go on to tour the world until November but in June they were on a month long break so there was no obvious reason why they couldn't appear on the show proper with an audience but my guess is that Freddie didn't want to interact with the crowd so close up.

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  2. I had to look up Phoebe Cates, who's an American actress (she was in "Gremlins") and the wife of Kevin Kline since 1989. "Paradise" was Phoebe's film debut, a rip-off of "the Blue Lagoon", in which she did several nude scenes. Her co-lead was nominated for a Golden Raspberry (one of those anti-Oscars) for worst actor.

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    1. Shame it was edited out of the 7.30 showing, I'm still waiting for the late night un-edited show, in order to see it.

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    2. Phoebe also co-starred with Rik Mayall in Drop Dead Fred, which got critically slaughtered at the time but didn't pick up any Razzie nominations...

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    3. She was also in the mini-series "Lace". "Which one of you bitches is my mother?"

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    4. The four-minute video for Phoebe's song, which is a bit of an oompah-style ballad to these ears, is on YouTube - along with the whole film!

      PS - Amazing to think that we're waiting for the usual post-show comments, and the main talking point so far's an actress with the only song on the show which wasn't a hit over here.

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    5. I love Drop Dead Fred! It is so funny! The critics know nothing!

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    6. Paradise beats The Blue Lagoon because Phoebe was better than Brooke (she just was), though they're both terrible movies. It would be a couple of years before I noticed her in Gremlins delivering one of the best monologues ever.

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    7. Just checked out the Paradise theme which I had (thankfully) forgotten about, it sounds like she was recording the theme to a remake of Zorba the Greek. Wonder what could have possibly attracted the Italians to this?

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  3. I'll save my comments for tomorrow, once I have seen the full show, but did anyone clock a cameo from a familiar face in the ABC video?

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    1. my recall's not brilliant, but is it possibly a very young future record label boss, critic and author?

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    2. Well done Arthur, have a gold star!

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    3. Paul Morley and he's not the only familiar face.

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    4. How come everyone is being cagey about giving out any details? OK, which other familiar faces Bama? I can't stand the suspense.

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    5. Trevor Horn appears in it near the end but they didn't show that bit. Also eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that the old guy eating spaghetti is the same actor who played the old-timer in the Dukes Of Hazzard-style video for Haircut 100's Fantastic Day

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    6. Oh yes, the old-timer in the rocking chair in Fantastic Day with two different girls on his knee, each with hotpants. He was obviously more interested in eating spaghetti this week with ABC.

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    7. I spotted Malcolm Ross, of Orange Juice and Josef K

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    8. It seems like there were regular extras for part time pop video work across all the britpop bands for some extra pocket money, hence the reappearance of the Haircut 100 rocking chair old-timer now on the ABC video. I wonder which video he will next appear on during these TOTP reruns?

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  4. A video-heavy show again introduced by super slime himself who at one point was in danger of morphing into a certain other deejay when he introduced the chart saying " Now Then"... Don't go there Slimon.

    She calls herself Natasha but she looks like Elsie. I hated this at the time but now it sounds pretty good. The left hand drummer was playing with Dollar the other week, anyone know who he is? Natasha also did a credible cover of Breaking Down The Walls Of Heartache with member of Darts which didn't chart. She was also a member of The Flirts who had a big European hit with Passion in 1981 which was produced by Bobby Orlando and was massive in gay discos at the time. Check it out on YT. it's brilliant bit of camp electro-disco.

    ABC on video but sadly ending early so we don't see the bit where Martin confides in the Mr Punch puppet and gets bitten by the crocodile. There are a lot of other funny moments in this and we get to see a young spikey haired Paul Morley and the old man eating spaghetti is the same old guy who was in the Dukes Of Hazzard-style Haircut 100 video for Fantastic Day.

    Roxy Music suited and booted to bring us Avalon. Bryan looks like he was very hot and sweaty on that warm June evening, I bet he wished he'd worn a tee shirt and shorts and not a tux. Is Martha Ladly wearing that mask to disguise who she is or is it just to add a bit of Avalon-esque mystique? Anyone know who the drummer and bassist are playing here, the band changed their line up so many times it was hard to keep track?

    Bow Wow Wow in video. Wow. This was originallyr ecorded by The Strangeloves and Brian Poole and The Tremeloes in 1965 but it was last seen on TOTP in 1978 by The Bishops, but as it was a post-Yewtree Savile show we never officially saw it. I liked this a lot at the time as I never heard the original before and the video is fun as well.

    Queen are in their fallow period and play to an empty room which reflects the number of people who bought the record which has charted just four weeks after the last minor hit Body Language. Freddie looks strangely uninterested here like he doesn't quite believe in the song and tries to make up for it by making a few shapes but it isn't really working. Brian tries to pretend that he can play the guitar on his lap and synth at the same time but he can't. It's odd to think that Backchat aside (which only reached number 40) we won't see them again until Radio Ga Ga over 18 months later, but there was no looking back after that.

    A repeat of Duran and we see probably our last glimpse of Craig Fairbrass in the background who seems to have moved on now.

    Oh no Toyah's back. I really liked her first few hits but the novelty had worn off for me by this point. The song is pleasant enough but the Mad Max-inspired video is standard Toyah fayre with bleach-out effects, futuristic landscapes, close ups of eyes, a bit of bondage, a horse and some rabbits. The only other video I can think of that featured so many rabbits was Another Night In by Strangelove.

    A new and better performance by Echo and The Bunnymen which sounds like a re-recording with new vocals.

    The Top Ten and then playout with a weirdly truncated Adam video. Ronnie Hazlehurst is credited as Musical Director which is a bit odd as he can't have had much to do unless he and the orchestra were backing Charlene if she was singing live.

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    1. Bama, nice cribbing of a line from "I Don't Want To Go To Chelsea" for your description of Natasha. Despite having just one top 40 hit in America, Elvis Costello's apparently worth 60 million Dollars!

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    2. bama your comment on the toyah video has reminded me of that bizarre scene in "thunderbolt and lightfoot" where one of the pair hitch a lift with a psychopath who opens up his car boot and lets a load of rabbits loose!

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    3. I seem to vaguely recall seeing that. There must be something about rabbits that suggest weirdness.

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    4. Not only does the madman in T&L have rabbits in his boot, he proceeds to take potshots at them with a rifle! Great bit of 70s randomness, plus the madman was played by Bill McKinney of Deliverance "fame" (notoriety?). Watership Down would have been a lot shorter with him around.

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  5. Natasha, sort of a hard-faced Thereze Bazaar cashing in on the Adam Ant/Bow Wow Wow sound. The Belle Stars version doesn't sound massively different, just more vocals, so bad timing for them - was this a deliberate spoiler by either artist?

    ABC, saucy as a seaside postcard, though one of the band isn't trying and giggles through the routines. Maybe trying to compete with Madness in the comedy video stakes?

    Yes, I'll have prawn cocktail, Steak Diane and a Black Forest gateau to end with - oh, I'm terribly sorry, I thought you were the waiter. A bit too moody to connect with me at the time, Avalon presumably was some sort of Arthurian reference, but I'm not sure what.

    To show Natasha how it's done, Bow Wow Wow with their day out at the beach. Did they bring their own giant candy cane? Anyone reminded of that bit in Caligula with those buried up to their heads in the sand shots? Just me then.

    Yes, I'll have the prawn cocktail, Steak - wait, I've done that joke, and no waiter would wear those shoes with that monkey suit. Was the reason this wasn't a hit for Queen because nobody could remember what it was called?

    Charlene looked as if she was set for a humorous encounter with a yellow balloon throughout her tune, but the audience obviously thought better of it.

    Gary Numan and chums drive past Studio 54, but notably do not go in, preferring a more anonymous doorway. Doesn't this have the same bassline as his previous hit? Surprising to see in these repeats how many hits he actually had seeing as how you only hear two now.

    The Duran Duran repeat is the only time we get to see the Fairbrass presence, in fact he's been away for a while now. I know it sounds crazy, but I'm beginning to miss the big lug. Does he come back?

    My eyes! Oh, it's only Toyah, don't get that 'do wet dear, you'll regret it. Nice enough chorus (if too high for her) but the verses are duds. A Shetland pony might have been more her style rather than the white charger.

    Ian at his most McCullochy here, this is the version I'm familiar with, screeching violins and all. They look a lot more comfortable in this performance.

    Adam Ant to end on, and a reminder that Caroline was so cool when she winked at Roger Moore from her helicopter in The Spy Who Loved Me. As for this video, what on earth is the storyline supposed to mean?

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    1. Surely, Roxy Music's single needed to be called "Nibble" to have an Arthurian reference! :-D

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    3. King Nibble and the Knights of the Round Table? Sounds like a blockbusting franchise in the making!

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    4. Arthur why are you called Nibble? Is it a reference to the CFF film Mr Horatio Nibbles? In other words are you a giant rabbit?

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    5. Surely "Arthur Nibble" = "half a nibble", i.e. a tiny amount?

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    6. Correct, THX! Back in 1980 I was going to a Madness gig without having any dinner and my mum said "You must eat something, half a nibble's better than nothing at all". I thought "Arthur Nibble, that might come in handy as a name some time", and it became my stage name when I bored and terrorised audiences on the West London pub circuit in the mid to late 80's.

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    7. the bow wow wow buried-up-to-thier-necks scene reminded me of david bowie (not pronounced the same way btw) in "merry christmas mr lawrence"

      btw i always thought underneath the layers of slap that thereza bazaar was a bit of a hard-faced cow!

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    8. For me, the buried-up-to-their-necks scene served as a reminder of the Red Dwarf episode Better than Life!

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    9. And One Foot In The Grave where Victor is buried in the back garden by Daniel Peacock. He hides his head under a flower pot.

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  6. So now that we can see that the late night repeat has still edited out the JK section with the 5 other European No.1's including the much talked about Phoebe Cates, has anyone got the full version of the show to upload for us? Was it shown on UK Gold?

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    1. Wasn't it John Peel who did the Euro chart?

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    2. I was only assuming it was JK, because if it was John Peel, then why would BBC4 still edit it out of the late night repeat? We'll only know if someone can upload the original show with these European No.1's.

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    4. Maybe the European section was spliced because two of the five songs have already been UK number ones and two more will be in the chart soon?

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    5. it would be great to see this clip as i think it was a once off for the euro no.1's

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    6. They certainly wouldn't have played the Boystown Gang's earlier song Crusin' The Streets which contained overt sexual references, sound effects and numerous four letter words.

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    7. OK, just listened to Cruisin' the Streets. I say! Was this the first record to use the C word? Maybe Judge Dread used it? At least they didn't sing it, I suppose.

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    8. Derek and Clive may well have got there first but it could well be the first music album.

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    9. I forgot about Derek and Clive, what a depressing listen those skits are.

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    10. i think it was steely dan who first used the "F" word on vinyl ("show biz kids" from their second album: "show business kids making movies of themselves, you know they don't give a fuck about anybody else")

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    11. Apparently Macca says "Fucking hell!" quietly on Hey Jude, though I've never heard it. Lennon got all sweary on Working Class Hero, of course.

      There was also a McCartney solo album track that he deliberately used the F word on, but I'll be darned if I can remember what it was, Googling just brings up lots about his Kanye West collaboration. No, the F word wasn't "frog".

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    12. Marianne Faithfull uses the c-word on the spectacularly filthy Why D'Ya Do It, the closing track on the Broken English album. That was 1979, so it pre-dates Crusin' the Streets.

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    13. I listened to Marianne's track and oh dear, she's not in a good place there, is she? Sounds like where Alanis ripped of You Oughta Know from.

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    14. THX - It may be John Lennon's 'Working Class Hero' that you're thinking of for the deliberate F word - "They're still f***ing peasants as far as I can see".

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    15. Lennon did indeed turn the air blue on Working Class Hero, but Macca released an album about ten or twenty years ago where he had a bit of publicity for using the F word on one track, he was justifying it in interviews when it generated some "quiet news day" controversy. Can't remember what it was, though!

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    16. Mr Google says Big Boys Bickering, the b side of Deliverance had the dreaded F word - could that be the one?

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    17. Yes, that's it! Thanks! I had a listen and it's his environmental protest song, so right on as ever, Sir Paul. There's also an amusingly aghast item from US TV news on YT.

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    18. I think it's fair to say that Marianne had not been in a good place for about a decade when she recorded that song. Happily things would start to turn around for her thereafter, albeit slowly.

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  7. Having now seen the long version I can add the following comments:

    Elton John and Long John Baldry did a cracking version of Iko Iko that Danny Baker used to play on his show. It's from 1972 and blows Natasha's version out of the water.

    Charlene appears to be singing live here and her vocal is a bit thin but full marks to her for dealing with that stray balloon and giving it a hard glare. She is accompanied by the BBC orchestra here who must have come out retirement and dusted off their instruments. Johnny Pearson has moved on to pastures new but BBC stalwart Ronnie Hazlehurst is waving the baton. There are backing vocalists as well but they no longer get a separate credit.

    Gary Numan shows that he has run out of ideas by shamefully copying his last hit and some of Bowie's dance moves (although Bowie would take them back next year). He also hasn't had his hair transplant yet judging by the way that hat is firmly screwed on his head and the rest of the band are forced to follow suit so it isn't obvious why he's wearing it. Heaven knows what the song is about but it was the highest new entry that week. It's interesting that Slimon will only refer to it as We Take Mystery, he won't mention the bed bit in brackets (parenthesis) which implies it's a bit naughty. Oh Gary, you saucebox.

    Interesting to see Prelude back in the chart with After The Goldrush which it says on Wiki is a re-recorded version of the 1974 hit. I have no memory of this at all but I liked the original and and it would have been interesting to see it on the show.

    And interesting that Slimy mentions the first episode of The Kids From Fame that will follow the show. I remember watching that at the time, it was THE show to watch in 1982 even though it was a load of nonsense.

    Just remembered that at the time my mate and I used to sing the chorus of Avalon as "Ave It Off" which still brings a smile to my lips today. I also made up a rude set of alternative lyrics to Iko Iko which I can't repeat here.

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    1. heaven knows what any of the numanoid's songs are about!

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    2. I know Cars is about road rage, and... erm...

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    3. Prelude's version of After the Goldrush still turns up on various radio stations today. It's quite a pleasant acapella interpretation, but not a patch on Neil Young's original.

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    4. Yes the Neil Young original is the best but the first time I ever heard the song as an 11 year old was the Prelude cover in 1974 and I loved it. I had no memory of it being re-recorded and charting in 1982 but maybe I had moved on musically by then.

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  8. Some credit where it's due - Master Bates was MUCH better on this show, making fewer mistakes and doing the entire chart rundown sensibly!

    Natasha - My recollection of her was that she was quite sexy. Spoilt in the first few seconds of seeing her on this show as she's...not really. Looks like a bit of a floozy with that tiny skirt on too. I like the song though, and prefer it to the Belle Stars version.

    ABC - This is a great video which demands to be shown to the end. So they cut it off....

    Roxy Music - One of their middling songs really, not out of the top drawer but still a good listen.

    Bow Wow Wow - A fun tune, and Annabella is being very cheeky here at times (let's face it, the song is not actually subtle in what it's trying to say) and when she's sitting down on the beach..how to put this...is she wearing very much I wonder?

    Queen - Presumably recorded when Roger was knocking around in the studio a couple of weeks ago. And not a very good song.

    Charlene - She sung this live last time didn't she? And sounded a bit unsure IIRC, this performance being a bit better I think. And the 'W' word is present and correct again.

    European No.1s - I think this must have been a JK bit as I remember him taking credit for breaking the Trio song in the UK. Which is probably bollocks. We'll see that, and the Boystown Gang. 2 others we've seen, and the remaining song if true to its description above is not worth shouting about!

    Gary Numan - Seemingly bits from the last song in a slightly different order.

    Toyah - A rehash of all her previous videos, but this time without any discernable tune!

    At least this show was an interesting mix, notably less horrible lighting, gimmicks and Zoo as well....

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    1. Has anyone got the full show to upload so that we can see the JK bit with the European No.1s?

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  9. natasha: i was watching this with a friend, and we both wondered how someone with a fairly ordinary voice and fairly ordinary looks could land themselves a record deal, my chum mused that she might be the girlfriend of the producer or something, and it turns out he was close in that she was married to a guy who owned the record label she was on! as far as i'm concerned this novelty relic doesn't deserve one cover version - never mind two

    abc: an interesting and entertaining video with a "trumpton" look about it. but obviously viewers felt otherwise at it didn't go any higher (which leads to me wondering: if the video persuades someone to buy a record, then isn't it a bit of a con when all they can do is listen to it?)

    roxy: the second brilliant single of the "avalon" LP. i originally thought "more than this" was the better, but this has long since superceded that. it's effortlessly cool and stylish despite the relatively simple chord structure, and so good in my opinion that it would almost certainly feature in any all-time top 100 tracks list i would make. bryan and co. underline the class of it by donning classic (and timeless in the guys' case) evening wear - in the video he even wears a falcon on the arm of his tux! in answer to bama's query above, roxy were basically a trio by this time, and those augmenting the line-up here are the associate associates (the rhythm section and the statuesque martha) who were on another recent show with their-then normal contractors. so does that mean this was recorded in the totp studios at the same time as "club country" and they stepped in to help out, or were they already involved with the roxy core in some way?

    bow wow wow: the apple doesn't stray far from the tree as adam ant's ex-colleagues persist in the burundi sound topped with little else but shrieks and similar noise. i really don't know what all the fuss was about this lot. no doubt their manager malcolm mclaren was to blame, and he was soon to pull off the same con trick with the equally dire jimmy the hoover (remember them?)

    queen: the fact that half of them are dressed up for a night on the town and the other half are dressed up for a night in front of the telly does not auger well - did roxy beat them to the dress hire shop? musically breaking no new ground and certainly nothing to write home about (i guessed correctly it was a brian may effort, although it could easily have been one of john deacon's) so no surprise for its relatively poor chart showing. its predesessor "body language" may have been flawed, but at least it unlike this it tried to move with the times

    gary numan: i'n pretty sure this is the track that alan partridge mimed to on bass guitar after his bond bank holiday weekend went awry. but as others have pointed out it's very similar to the last one of his. i think this is actually quite good with its slippery bass and funk guitar chops. as bama says, it looks like gaz has forced his band (one of whom unlike the numanoid clearly has no issue with hair loss) to wear hats so his doesn't stick out so much. in fact to me it makes the subterfuge even more obvious and laughable!

    toyah: even in the unlikely event that she found a tune, she couldn't carry it in a bucket. but i will say one thing for her in that her vocal "sound" is unique and instantly recognisable

    echo & the bunnymen: the guitarist is looking really mean and moody this time. but the vocals (presumably specially recorded) sound more out-of-tune than usual. it has occurred to me that i maybe should check out their back-catalogue as some of their soundscapes were quite interesting. however mr mculloch's howling puts me off!

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    1. Yes, as I recall Natasha was a wannabe pop star who was married to a record company exec. She got wind of the Belle Stars' cover of 'Iko Iko' and managed to record and release her version before the Belle Stars realised they'd been beaten to the punch. She won that one but her chart career would be short lived.

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    2. I seem to recall that Natasha's follow up hit was something about "the neon shadows in the boom boom room" whatever that means. Answers on a lurex mini skirt.

      Re Alan Partridge it was Music For Chameleons that he performs air bass to. If you buy the series on DVD he basically mimes the whole song as part of the screen menus. I'm surprised Numan wasn't offended as Coogan's basically saying it's nerd music.

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    3. I'm sure Gary heard much worse about his music down the years, and he'd welcome the royalties too.

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    4. The boom boom room is slang for, erm, a knocking shop. It's probably referring to the shadows thrown on the couple while exchanging in mixed rugby league!

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  10. Shakey Shakerson21 October 2016 at 10:46

    It's the world's greyist DJ in charge this week and his first job is to introduce an aging Scottish housewife singing a thirty year old novelty chant from the school playground. Adding faddish Burundi Beat drums and a sax motif does not make it any more digestible.

    ABC on a video that reminded me of Dick 'Cor Blimey Mary Puppins' Van Dyke. This is one of those songs that has a great stone-cold ending rather than fading away, so obviously the Producers decide to cut it before the end. Shaving a vital three or four seconds off the running time - although towhat purpose I'm not sure. Oh, and they really, REALLY do not have any sense of timing or rhythm in their dancing.

    Roxy's Avalon never floated my boat at the time, and still doesn't. You can admire the writing and the musicianship and the production all you want, but there is something cold about it all. Mr Ferry's new quirk this week is the bizarre way he holds his microphone - it'a like he's got some sort of repetetive strain injury or something.

    Bow Wow Wow. This sounds very similar to Iko Iko to my ears, but with better production values. Lyrically I'm guessing that 'I Want Candy' is a euphemism for 'I Want Sex'. Doesn't make me like the song any better though.

    Queen. Having written a love song with a Japanese title (Teo Torriate on the Day At The Races album) Brian May repeats the trick with this Spanish (?) effort. If you know the Japanes one you will be able to see the similarities. The difference being Teo Torriate stayed on its album, which is exactly what this should have done. No one - not even Freddie - is showing any sort of enthusiasm for it. So, at least we all agree on that.

    Even less enthusiasm for Charlene and Gary Numan. Duran raise the bar slightly, but its still not my favourite of theirs.

    Toyah nicks video ideas from Bowie and Steve Strange. She might have been better nicking a tune. Any tune.

    Echo. A better performance than their last one, but I still can't fire up much enthusiasm. Not when you know the heights they will soon attain.

    Another playground chant ( the third this week) is still number one.

    Right then, the scores. And, in a bit of a Leicester-winning-the-premier-league kind of shock result The Ol' Geography Teacher outscores the show.

    Yeah, he still annoys for a number of reasons not least of which is the way he continues to talk as the acts start playing, meaning his final words are hard to hear. But those words did, in general, make sense for a change. There were no obvious errors, and his rundown was pretty good too. 6

    The show had some good points - no Zoo and fewer cheerleaders, and that colour-washing thing seems to have been ditched too. But the music? Echo, Duran and ABC were probably the best, so you know you're having a bad show when that's the case. 4.

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  11. The Falklands War was now over, and the World Cup had begun, but on TOTP this week it was business as usual as Master Bates once again takes the helm. I have to agree with the comments above that he was considerably better this time, and he did the chart rundown particularly well. Only characteristic long-winded intros to Natasha and Roxy, which ended up crashing into both songs, really let him down.

    Natasha certainly wasn't much to write home about in the looks department, was she? A functional enough version of the old Dixie Cups hit, but eminently disposable. The Belle Stars were presumably livid at the time, but their moment in the spotlight would soon arrive. Whenever I see that ABC video, I am always struck by how washed out it looks - I don't know if it was a deliberate choice, or if the lighting was just too high in the studio where they made it. Anyway, the boys look good in their Edwardian boating outfits, but the humour is a bit too forced to tickle my funny bone.

    I assume this must have been Roxy's last performance in the TOTP studio, but it is a good way to go out as their polished, smart look perfectly complements the song. I admire Avalon more than I love it - it's a little bit too studied to really grab your emotions - but it was a fitting swansong nevertheless; great to see a masked Martha on backing vocals too. Another serviceable cover follows as Bow Wow Wow frolic on the beach. The guitarist appeared to have "ABC" scrawled on his instrument - was he a fan?

    Given how overfamiliar so many of Queen's records are, it made a nice change to hear one I don't know, and I actually thought this was quite good, if not top-drawer - I liked the floaty synth bits in particular. This wasn't a particularly happy time for the band, with their chart fortunes on the slide, and this is perhaps reflected in the downbeat nature of the performance. It also seems rather bizarre that Freddie and Roger chose to do a Roxy Music with their outfits while the other two donned casual wear, a sign that they weren't really that bothered about this performance. I remember hearing that they didn't much like doing TOTP anyway, which might be another factor in their seeming lack of enthusiasm. Incidentally, Brian is apparently suffering from quite a serious illness at present, so I hope he gets better soon.

    Having safely skipped over Charlene, we get a blonde Gary Numan travelling around New York while rehashing his previous single. That bassline is a good 'un though, and is enough to make me forgive the Numanoid's creative bankruptcy. Yet another video from Toyah to follow, but neither the visuals nor the music were taking her in any new directions, and I'm not surprised this stalled at 21. Back in the studio, Echo and the Bunnymen make up for the stiltwalker fiasco with a stronger, more intense performance, a mercifully restrained crowd allowing the focus this time to be very much on the band.

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  12. a bit more info on "avalon": the amazing female vocal came curtesy of a haitian-american session singer called yannick etienne, who happened to be working in the same studios where roxy were recording. later on she toured with roxy, but presumably wasn't available at this time. in any case the statuesque martha was far better qualified on a visual level (if also a more-than able vocalist herself) to fit in with the stylish and glamourous imagery that the sultan of suave wished to put over!

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    1. I'm glad my description of Martha as statuesque seems to have caught your imagination, Wilberforce!

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    2. you should have trademarked it john! sadly i probably won't get many more chances (if any?) to describe her in that manner. it is rather sad that in an age of lightweight female pop stars like kim wilde and toyah, that someone not only so visually attractive but musically talented as well never even got to make an album of her own!

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  14. I have only just watched this edition and I have to say its mostly fabulous. Rather than give a blow by blow account as usual, I'll just comment that nobody has commented on the fantatsic bass playing of none other than the much sought after (and much featured) Pino Palladono on 'We take Mystery (to bed)'. I don't think I'd really heard the track before as it jumped in and out of the charts so quickly but this was its greatest attribute.

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  15. Has anybody managed to track down a full copy of this one as Dory said it would be good to see the euro chart slot - can anybody upload?

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    1. I'm still waiting with anticipation Pat. John G? Neil B? Meer? Anyone?

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  16. A strange show in that it contained no less than four non-movers. Still, hey, no Zoo this week. Surely a bonus.

    Slimes was way too talkative. So, the part of the show that really matters is the countdown? What about the actual tunes? In Slimes’s case I’d have thought the part that really mattered was getting pawed!

    Natasha released one single on Decca followed by a whopping nine on her hubby’s label. I agree with the mutton dressed as lamb analogy and that includes this version of a dire song.

    Martin Fry smiled twice in the vid! An excellent, gently comedic outing which deserved full screening.

    Roxy Music with a scampi in a basket ballad and Bryan Ferry having forgotten to take the hanger out of his jacket, hence the shoulder and arm mannerisms.

    From memory of early hols, I’d bet Bow Wow Wow’s video wasn’t shot at Herne Bay. All those barber’s poles surrounding them and all that hair needing cutting!

    Queen – una carga de cojones. ABC was truncated for this?

    Great balloon palm-off by Charlene, brave enough to go for a second decent live vocal.

    A blond Gary Numan laughing! And impersonating David Sylvian in this tuneless dirge. Not really a big fan of the fretless bass either. We missed Phoebe Cates for this?

    Talking of tunelss dirges, I bet that horse was jealous of Toyah’s mane. The plethora of rabbits just reminded me of Chas and Dave.

    Superb cross-handed drumming by The Bunnymen’s Pete De Freitas, while Ian McCulloch strode like a Woodentops puppet with an unusual thumb over top of mic stance.

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    1. Maybe Queen should have covered Y Viva Espana? Freddie got the hang of Spanish a few years later with his operatic duet alongside Montserrat Caballe.

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    2. I'll raise you...."Una Paloma Blanca"!

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