Thursday, 13 October 2016

Top of the Pops of Lost Souls

It is May 27th 1982 and John Peel is hosting a shorter than usual edition of Top of the Pops, to make room for the FA Cup Final replay that is soon to kick off between Spurs and QPR.

So who do you think will win the soccer cup, Roger? Rangers or Chas and Dave?

 27-5-82: Presenter: John Peel

(21) GENESIS – Paperlate
Getting us underway then are now Top of the Pops studio regulars Genesis performing Paperlate, the lead track from their e.p. 3x3, which peaked at number 10.

(14) BLONDIE – Island Of Lost Souls (video)
Debbie Harry is in the studio to introduce her own somewhat trippy video, which she informs us was shot in the Scilly Isles. The tune peaked at number 11 and was effectively the end of Blondie, for the 1980's at least. Later in the show, Debbie goes on to 'interview' Roger Taylor.

(24) JAPAN – Cantonese Boy
In the studio with the follow up to Ghosts, but it got no higher in the charts than 24. John Peel asks some 'teenagers' just behind him, who happen to look a lot like Bucks Fizz, for their Cup Final predictions. 2 go for Spurs and 2 go for Rangers.

(12) DURAN DURAN – Hungry Like The Wolf (video)
This Grammy winning video, shot at some considerable expense on location in the jungles of Sri Lanka, helped this record up to a peak of number 5.

(16) SOFT CELL – Torch
There's three of them this time, as the boys are joined by Cindy Ecstasy, who looks pretty ecstatic to be there! Torch peaked at number 2 and was the 4th of five top ten hits for the band (excluding re-releases!)

(1) MADNESS – House Of Fun (video)
Beating Adam Ant to the number one spot, and holding him off for two weeks, with a video shot in the exotic location of Brown's chemists in London W9.

(28) FUN BOY THREE – The Telephone Always Rings (crowd dancing) (and credits)
On its way up to a peak of 17.

Next up is a live edition from June 3rd 1982.


  1. Forget Paperlate, I'm Paperearly for once!!

    A short but sharp show introduced by John Peel who was on fine form that night. Thankfully the chronic cheerleaders are kept to a minimum and Fairbrass appears to be on holiday.

    I must admit I didn't care much for Genisis (sic) back then, or Phil Collins solo for that matter. Too posh, too hairy (or not in PC's case!) and too clever by half. Viewing it now I quite like it and can appreciate in musically. Newly bearded Phil has borrowed his brass-pop solo sound and lent it to the band and given them a hit. He's also borrowed trombonist John Du Prez from Modern Romance and two of his mates.

    Her solo career having Backfired (see what I did there) Debbie Harry's back in person in the studio and on video as part of Blondie. So there was a video for Island Of Lost Souls, that surprises me because I didn't think it was worth the effort for what was a minor-ish footnote in the band's chart history. And it's really just her and a load of underpaid extras in costumes the video with the band reduced to miming the brass parts. By the look of some of the effects it was directed by the same guy who did Ashes to Ashes.

    Suddenly Debbie is acting as co-host clumsily interviewing Roger Taylor from Queen without telling us who he was. I was expecting to see Body Language next instead we see Japan, clumsily introduced by Debbie.

    Japan eventually live up to their oriental moniker with their ode to a Cantonese boy. Standing so still and bored in his massive overcoat David Sylvian looks like he's waiting for a bus. A bus that's never going to arrive. I had forgotten this particular song, not surprising as it lacks any real melody or memorable hooks.

    Peelie asking "teenagers" Bucks Fizz's for their prediction for the cup final result. Somehow Ii can't see Mike and Bobby at a football match.

    And then Duran Duran on video clearly inspired by Raiders Of The lost Ark. I have seen this many times and I don't really need to see it again. John Taylor please put your nipples away.

    Poor Peelie has to read out number 30 to 11 and does it with aplomb. And then highlight of this show for me Soft Cell with Torch. I can not over state just how much I loved Soft Cell back in 82 and this was the best single that year. Hearing it again still sends a shiver up my neck and I can picture myself in Bolts nightclub in Haringey dancing to it singing along with all the words, even the Cindy Esctacy bit. Now I can see it's a bit silly for Marc to sing of a saxophone when it's clearly a trumpet playing all the way through but who cares, it's just brilliant. I wish I was 19 again.

    Then the Top ten and the Madness video again which was bound to be at the top spot. What's not to like.

    And playout with the FB3 which is slowly crawling its way up the charts Interesting to read the credits, the Costume Designer is one Odile Dicks-Mireaux. He/she must be the person who designs or chooses all those vile clothes the cheerleaders and Zoo wear. At last we know who's to blame. Shall we write and complain?

    1. Were Japan forced to pick China to write a song about after Anneka got in there first with Japanese Boy?

    2. At work, we recently handled some business with an Odile who turned out to be a very pretty woman.

    3. PPS - I made the Ankeka / Japan / Boy songs quip some months back. First dibs me! :-D

    4. Odile Dicks-Mireaux is definitely a "she." Not long after this, she would design the costumes for the first series of Blackadder, and she certainly did a good job there.

    5. Thanks for clearing up her sex. I wonder if she tried out some of her ideas for Blackadder costumes on members of Zoo, will we see them in breeches and pantaloons one week? Oh, we already have.

    6. Odile also had a stint on Doctor Who in the 80s, she was responsible for some stories that Peter Davison and Colin Baker appeared in IIRC.

    7. Gotta ask, was she any relation to the legendary Terrence Dicks?

    8. erm, it's actually a flugelhorn being played on "torch" - not a trumpet! for those unaware, the flugehorn is very trumpet-like and a member of the same musical family, but its tone is much more mellow

    9. was odile any relation to the legendary julian dicks?

      i think that name is fairly commonplace in france, but unlike many other french female given names it hasn't got any ooh-la-la about it for me i'm afraid...

    10. I don't think Debbie Harry was being clumsy when interviewing Roger Taylor. I thought they were both looking very nervous in front of the camera like that. Remember, at the time in May 1982, there were still only three channels on TV, and it was likely that most of Britain was watching the show (and them now), just before the FA Cup final on the same channel.

  2. Back with the guest presenters, and Debbie is at least a good sport if not a natural interviewer.

    Genesis up first, with a song that adds cod-Motown horns to their sound in a manner that Phil Collins would implement time and again. Fairly bland otherwise. Did someone take the P out of the title?

    Blondie, I've mentioned before how underrated I think this song is, but I'm not sure if the video does it any favours esp. in comparison to what Tight Fit were getting up to in St Tropez. Nice scenery, but what was supposed to be happening in front of it is anyone's guess.

    Japan, sounding for all the world like The Thompson Twins, only with an avant garde twist - good on the audience for having a go at dancing to this. Dave throwing himself around the stage like a whirling dervish there.

    Simon Le Bon goes all Joseph Conrad for a video that features zero wolves. Sure sign of pretentious 80s video: filmed in widescreen when it would be shown on TV with the black bars at top and bottom. The tune does sound exciting with all that going on under it.

    I remember Marc being asked at the time by clueless interviewers if the lady singer on Torch was his girlfriend (!). She is doing the exact same dance as he is. How is Marc making the trumpet sounds? Good to hear a faster song from them, a bit more energy than usual.

    Quite an array of shops that Madness filmed their video in. Favourite sight gag: the "mirror" Suggs is being shown the back of his haircut in.

    Why did Roger Taylor look so incredulous about Leeds? It's a real place, Rog. I wonder what Debs and John were discussing as the Fun Boy Three were playing? We shall never know...

    1. Knowing Peelie I expect he was doing pretend "talk" with Debbie, a bit like co-host newsreaders do at the end of the news. Either that or deciding which cheerleader was wearing the most ludicrous outfit.

    2. I think this Duran Duran video was the first video in the history of pop videos to travel far and wide and outside the UK and Europe.

      Up to this point in pop video history, videos tended to filmed in the UK for a matter of cheap budgets, but I think this new video by Duran Duran broke the mould and got granted a huge budget, with then spawned the likes of David Bowie to also go out far and wide for the videos of Let's Dance and China Girl a year later in 1983.

      So I think we were seeing here with Duran Duran a turning point in the history of pop videos. Correct me if I'm wrong, i.e., if any videos before this were shot in exotic locations outside of the UK or Europe, but I don't think so. Oh, and except for Fantasy Island by Tight Fit, shot in St Tropez!

  3. Genesis open with a polished if unspectacular example of the pop-rock style that would serve them well throughout the age of 'yuppie rock'. I don't think that was John Du Prez on trombone; he plays trumpet and French horn, but not that particular instrument. I know the trumpet player was former Teardrop Explodes part-timer Luke Tunney, though.

    I remember some hacks comparing Blondie's 'Island of Lost Souls' to Mungo Jerry when it was first released! Pleasant enough, but the New York Blondes (as they were billed on an illegitimate single) had lost their rock edge and much of their audience by this time.

    Japan's thoughtful but uncommercial offering was overshadowed by Duran's international breakthrough smash. They, like countless others, would benefit greatly from rotation on the burgeoning MTV channel.

    Soft Cell next, along with a invisible flugelhorn player (not playing trumpet - though most pop trumpeters double on flugelhorn) and Marc Almond's drug supplier, Cindy Ecstasy. I remember Paul Weller's protégée Tracie Young slating 'Torch' in a popular teen magazine of the era; she described the vocals as being "really painful at the end when Marc Almond and the girl sing together". The song is actually one of Soft Cell's best recordings, though New Yorker Cindy's attempt at an Estuary English accent wandered from Sydney to Auckland and then took off to some location in Hampshire. Come back, Dick Van Dyke - all is forgiven!

    At No.1, rightly, are The Nutty Boys - who held off their less talented fellow North Londoner Adam Ant, though he would eventually leap-frog them. 'House of Fun' was the ska septet's only British No.1 single, but has since been surpassed in sales by 'Our House' - their biggest international hit - which has now been certified platinum in the UK despite peaking at No.5.

    The Fun Boy Three were joined by horn section The Swinging Laurels on the underrated 'The Telephone Always Rings'. The former Specials frontmen made some fine pop singles, most notably 'Our Lips Are Sealed' - but they were sorely missing Jerry Dammers' solid songwriting talent and production discipline, hence the brevity of their career as a trio.

    1. Sorry Julie but it is a trumpet on Torch not a flugelhorn, played by John Gatchell who gets special billing on the single alongside Cindy Ecstasy. It's a shame he couldn't be bothered to turn up to mime his part in the studio.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Although the sleeve of the original 7-inch vinyl single credits Mr Gatchell with playing trumpet, it sounds like a flugelhorn to me. I distinctly remember Marc Almond in post-Soft Cell days performing 'Torch' on a TV show - possibly Channel 4 sometime in the late 90s - with a flugelhorn player.

      According to these three pages relating to Marc Almond and Soft Cell, it was a flugelhorn that John Gatchell played on 'Torch':

    4. regarding the great is-it-a-trumpet or is-it-a-flugelhorn debate, i read an in-depth internet article on the recording of "torch" a while back, and i'd bet my house (if i had one) that it said that the horn was of the flugel variety. and that it was played by a local sessioneer when recorded in new york, so hardly a surprise he's not in the totp studio. however i'm surprised they didn't get the ubiquitous dick cuthell in to mime...

    5. If I can bring my two-penny worth into the question of the trumpeter on Genesis, I got to agree with Bama, and I could be almost 100% certain it is the same lead trumpeter on Modern Romance.

      Take a look at this Modern Romance video, and compare the trumpeter (at 1:00 and 2:00 into the video) to the Genesis studio performance this week, and it is a definitely him:

    6. Thanks Dory, I'm glad someone's on my side, although I thought JDP was the trombonist not the trumpeter. The actual horn players on Paperlate and Collins' solo hit I Missed Again were apparently the horn players from Earth Wind and Fire but I guess as they were busy or didn't have a UK work permit their places were filled with "dummies" (stand-ins). And John Du Prez was a session player before he joined modern Romance (when he was 35), so it could be him even though he was usually playing trumpet.

      And sorry Jules you were right it is a flugelhorn on Torch, my apologies, but I always thought it was a muted trumpet as it is credited on the sleeve and the CD I have. I got the following from one of the sites you listed which gives some details:

      In 1982, John Gatchell was one of the top trumpet players in New York, at a time when the session professional was riding supreme and commanded intimidating fees. I had worked with him on many projects, starting with John Cale’s Honi Soit album, on which he played the piccolo trumpet (which first appeared prominently in the public ear on the Beatles’ Penny Lane). It’s not easy to play this tiny version of the trumpet, let alone deliver a solo (on Dead Or Alive), but after recording the master in just two takes he went on to play it on stage. For these Torch sessions, he left his regular Bb trumpet home again, this time in favor of the flugelhorn, an instrument with a more mellow, slightly hoarse and human sound, but harder to play in tune. By the same token, it’s also easier to bend a note, which he did to great effect.

    7. i first became aware of the flugelhorn on mica paris's excellent late-80's soul groover "my one temptation" - listen out for the brilliant solo at the end:

    8. As I mentioned above, Bama, the sleeve of the original vinyl single erroneously stated that Mr Gatchell played trumpet - so your argument had some foundation. Having studied music to Grade 5, however, I know the difference in timbre between a trumpet and a flugelhorn when I hear it.

      I must eat humble pie myself, as I made a grammatical error in my last paragraph: the phrase 'credited Mr Gatchell with playing trumpet' should have read 'credited Mr Gatchell AS playing trumpet'. Also, after viewing Genesis' performance of 'Paperlate' once more, I think you and Dory may well be right about John Du Prez; brass players who attract plenty of session work usually play at least two, and more often three, brass instruments.

      Thanks for reminding me of that classic Leeson-Vale composition that launched Mica Paris's career, wilberforce!

    9. STOP PRESS: I've just read wilberforce's contribution farther down the page, in which he identifies Landscape's Peter Thoms as the trombonist on 'Paperlate'!

  4. Liked Peelie’s “Look at what my teams’ won” jumper. Points knocked off, though, for suggesting QPR are a north London club in that Charity Cup quip. They were originally from north west London and are now firmly west London, currently residing at their 13th different home ground.

    I can certainly imagine Cheryl Baker bawling away at a footie match. I prefer Jay Aston Villa, though.

    Not much to say about Genesis except their name was spelt properly in the rundown this week. Don’t know about Paperlate, our post arrives at a ridiculous time these days.

    An apt video rip-off for Blondie as it was ashes to ashes for their chart career. See what I did there?

    Here come Japan – mister, can you tell me where our tune has gone? Slow down, Dave! You’re blurring the screen.

    The return of the ever slappable Simon le Bon in another pretentious video peddling some New Romantic disco.

    Good grief! Dave Ball smiled at one point! Cindy Ecstasy sounded like she was singing the phone directory, but she looked cute and seemed happy to be there.

    I wonder if Madness did a video for “House Of Fun” to avoid being banned from TOTP again?

  5. Another year, another shortened Cup Final replay TOTP, though I notice it's not branded as a "special" this year. JP is once again in fine form, lightly taking the mick out of the celebrity interview format he has been lumbered with this week. Debbie Harry looks a bit spaced out, but does appear to get Peel's snarkiness and is certainly a welcome addition to the show from a visual perspective. How toe-curling was that "interview" she did with Roger Taylor, though? For all his protestations to the contrary, Roger didn't seem that enthusiastic about going to Leeds...

    Genesis, properly spelt this week, kick us off (pun intended) with a forgettable effort that, with the horns, sounds like a typical mediocre Phil Collins solo number. Why is Phil looking so scruffy, too? I thought Debbie was taking the mick when she said the Island of Lost Souls video was filmed on the Scillies, but looking at it I think she might have been telling the truth. Clearly the band's star had already waned to the point where they couldn't afford a luxury location shoot in the Caribbean, which would have suited the sound of this record rather more.

    Japan look across the East China Sea for inspiration this time. Not bad, but it's not really doing anything we haven't already heard from them - David Sylvian's impression of statue is quite impressive, however. After Bucks Fizz diplomatically split 50-50 in favour of Spurs and QPR, ensuring that they don't alienate fans of either team, Duran Duran rub Blondie's faces in it by unveiling the first of their ultra-glossy, ultra-exotic videos, underlining the changing of the pop guard. An entertaining enough watch, but seemed a bit churlish of Simon to tip that table over...

    We are then in the studio as Soft Cell deliver the best performance of the night and probably their best single as well. There is something very joyous about this single, especially when Cindy joins in near the end. She may not be able to sing, but in this context it doesn't matter. Proceedings then come to a speedy conclusion as we see the new number 1 followed by some pedestrian dancing to the Fun Boys - I like the way Peel and Debbie ostentatiously ignore the dancers as they chat by the side of the stage!

  6. Shakey Shakerson14 October 2016 at 01:59

    John "Peelie" Peel is our host this week so steady yourself for some monotone couldn't-care-lessness and patented self-deprecation.

    First up it's Genesis who are the second act in the charts with a song title that is completely made-up. Paperlate indeed. Having checked out the lyrics it could just as easily have been called Paper Weight, or Paper Lace or even Hate Your Face. Anyway, its an ok single made infinitely more interesting thanks to EW&F's horn section.

    Blondie. The second act in the charts with the word 'Island' in their song title. When you consider that the other act is Tight Fit and that I would rather listen to that than this, then it gives you a pretty good idea how far the once-mighty Blondie have fallen.

    Japan.One of 3 acts this week who have a country in their name - and by far (and I mean far, far, FAR)the best. Sadly, that is the only thing I can think of to say about a song that doesn't really get going.

    And then we have three more singles which couldn't be more eighties if they were being battered around the head by South Yorkshire police.

    The Durannies are the first - arsing around SriLanka in their designer gear in an arty farty promo that was just begging to make it onto the heavy rotation list at MTV. This hasn't survived the years as well as some of their other songs (Say A Prayer, Girls on Film for instance.) Very much of its time.

    Swiftly followed by the highlight of the show - the quite gorgeous Torch. This always reminds me of a 60s film soundtrack - probably down to the horn motif. Love Almond's vocals (and Cindy's come to that) as well as Dave Ball's discordant keyboard. Possibly Marc Almond's finest hour.

    And Camden's finest see us out with their one and only number one. Weren't the local kids happy little so-and-so s?

    Scores. A big improvement on recent weeks with Soft Cell being my pick of the week. Peely was his usual self, there was no Zoo-ing, and there was a noticeable reduction in cheerleader-getting-in-front-of-the-cameraness.
    7 for the show. 7 for Peel.

  7. What a great edition this was despite its brevity. A lot of that is down to Peelie - I love the way he jokingly rubbishes the teams in the Cup Final, self-referentially calls out the fact that interviews between songs are a waste of time, and then refuses to dance at the end instead preferring to lean on the set and chart to Debbie Harry. Mind you, I would have done the same!

    Why were Bucks Fizz there though - recording a different show perhaps?

    Genesis - I only discovered this tune in the 90s and I'm very glad I did as it's an under-rated gem.

    Blondie - I've learnt something as I previously had no idea that the video was recorded in the UK (albeit only just!)

    Japan - Not keen on this single, sadly.

    Duran Duran - I'm so used to seeing videos like this on clips / nostalgia shows that it's almost a surprise not to see some obnoxious raving lefty prick like John Robb trot out a tedious theory about their videos being a damning indictment on the whole decade.

    Soft Cell - I love this song, in fact I played it on my radio show a couple of days ago! Good to see Cindy Ecstasy in the studio too.

    Then Madness - a surprise that they didn't turn up in the studio really - and an undanceable tune that they make people dance to.

    1. I would imagine much like with Baggy Trousers, the quality and standard for the video for House of Fun was pivotal to its success, and like Adam Ant the year before, finding that making great videos got him more success and No.1 status than his TOTP studio performances, this seemed to be master trick for Madness too for House of Fun, already at No.1.

    2. Of course Madness became just as famous for their nutty videos as they were for their singles. And I believe this was the first single of theirs to be issued on 7 inch picture disc format which must have helped boost sales. After this they released all their singles (up until 1986) in 7 inch, 12 inch and picture disc formats.

  8. host: everyone's favourite DJ (apart from mine) is back to once again present music that wouldn't stand a chance of being heard on his oh-so-hip late night show. he shows us his "love" for liverpool fc, who were conveniently cleaning up in the league at this time - had he lived a bit longer, might he have switched his allegiance to man united? as in the same manner he casually changed his musical interests according to what was cool and trendy?

    phil coll... sorry - genesis: the other day i was chatting with a portugese friend who was a fan of prog rock up until the 80's when the likes of genesis, yes and ELP got all commercial, and i was glad to be invited to take the opportunity to explain the "shark-jumping moment" concept to him! in the case of yes it was when the buggles joined the band, and in the case of genesis it surely has to be here. this really is no different to the simple pop/cod-soul stuff that phil's been throwing at us as a solo act for the last year or so, and i can't believe that talented guys like mike rutherford and (especially) tony banks went along with it - maybe they needed new conservatories built onto their country mansions? the trombone player is familiar to us by the way - i'm reptty sure he's pete thoms who as well as a session player was also a member of landscape at this point

    blondie: someone said last time that this record sounded like the musical backing was done by sessioneers as opposed to the members of the band that weren't called debbie harry. i didn't watch this all the way through, but i suspect they had nothing to do with the making of the video either. could that by any chance be a syrup that debs is wearing both in it and in the studio?

    japan: "ghosts" apart, i thought this track was the best one on the generally-disappointing "tin drum" album. but nowhere near as good as the best of their previous two albums. quite a textured-if-dated groove, but the lack of any real melody obviously explains its lack of chart success. two of the band wear mandarin-style collared shirts that tie in with the lyrics and cod-oriental feel, but what's with the raincoat dave?

    soft cell: like bama i really got into the 12" version of this, in my case when i ripped it off one of those 80's megamixes CD comps that were around a few years back. great synth/drum programming that grooves regardless of it being generated by machines, and mark does a decent job, but the (flugel) horn really makes it for me. oh, and i love cyndi (note the spelling!) ecstacy's spoken contribution at the end which sadly we didn't get to hear here. she also looks cute (for want of a better word) and she and marc come over as some kind of his 'n' hers couple for the androgeny set, which i think is great. i wonder what became of ms ecstacy?

    madness: before this i thought their moment had gone and would only get ever-diminishing returns in the charts accordingly. but this stormer was a return to form and most gratifying that (unlike the classic "baggy trousers") it turned the recent tide and finally got the band a no. 1 hit

    fun boy three: hardly the best thing to pick as an audience-ringers-whatever massed boogie at the end. it looks to me like the paid ones were put on some kind of stage for the unpaid ones to watch them move about in what seemed a completely unco-ordinated way

    1. So a big thumbs up from everybody for Soft Cell's Torch. I would add that Cindy was perhaps a move by Soft Cell to do a Human League, with Cindy's dance moves very much similar to the Sheffield gals backing Human League all the way to No.1 status only a few months earlier!

    2. I liked the way Cindy casually dances/walks back to her position after she's finished singing letting Marc finish the song.

      And thanks Wilby, I think I you might be right about it being Landscape's Peter Thoms on trombone. Phil Collins if you happen to read this blog, perhaps you can tell us.

    3. obviously no one here is taking any notice of my note on how to spell cyndi ecstacy's name properly!

  9. Alternative titles for this week's blog:

    Island of Top Of The Pops
    Cantonese Top Of The Pops
    Top of The Pops Boy
    Hungry like Top of The Pops
    House of Top of The Pops

  10. I noticed with a sigh of relief, that TOTP have now seen sense to go back to studio audience dancing on the playout/end credits, and not asking the bands to perform on the playout/end credits, as it tends to obscure the band, and prompts us to ask was it really worth them coming into the studio to be obscured by the end credits? Certainly this week, the Fun Boy Three know better to stay away from the studio if they were on end-credits this week!

    1. I spoke too soon, cos next week's show has Lynx with a new studio performance on the end-credits. Oh well.