Friday, 23 December 2016

Best Years Of Our Top of the Pops

The first of three editions of Top of the Pops in rapid successions begins with November 18th 1982...

Er... anyone seen Geoff?

18-11-82: Presenter: John Peel

(32) MODERN ROMANCE – Best Years Of Our Lives
We kick off with our theme tune for 1982 ~ but we'll be needing a new one so very soon! The band's biggest hit, featuring new lead singer Michael J Mullins, peaking at number 4.

(6) DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES – Maneater (video)
Their biggest UK hit now at its peak.

(9) THE HUMAN LEAGUE – Mirror Man
What a stonking return to the charts! Peaked at number 2.

(13) DURAN DURAN – Rio
The title track from their number 2 album, this third single from it peaked at number 9.

(3) TEARS FOR FEARS – Mad World ®
Still a their peak of number 3.

(12) BLANCMANGE – Living On The Ceiling
Went up to number 7.

(24) RENÉE & RENATO – Save Your Love (video)
This year's Joe Dolce ~ and of course it went to number one!

(10) WHAM! – Young Guns (Go For It) ®
At last we get to see this performance ~ the song peaked at number 3.

(1) EDDY GRANT – I Don’t Wanna Dance (video) (and credits)
Second of three weeks at number one.

Next then is November 25th 1982, but this is not being shown on BBC4 because the host is DLT.


  1. John Peel looking very relaxed and in good spirits, such a pity he didn't do more shows. Not sure why he is holding a slide rule at one point, surely that's more Slimon Bates' territory with him being a teacher.

    Modern Romance - I had forgotten how good this was. I was never a massive fan of their stuff but they did come up with some stonking tunes and their sound perhaps summed up the year more than any other band of the time. As Peelie says superb Latin rhythms and an inspiring lyric.

    Maneater, the Hey Girl Don't Bother me of the '80s. Aah that bassline. Interesting that they included the whole intro but then they had to go and spoil it by fading early. A simple peformance but beautifully filmed and lit.

    The Human League curiously edited out of the early edition even though it was new and the highest entry. I know it's a Motown pastiche, and not as good as their Dare hits, but my God this was just what we needed to hear at the time. I bought this back then and played it to death alongside the equally good flipside You Remind Me Of Gold. It deserved to be number one but was of course held off my Reenie and bleedin' Renarto.

    Rio seems all wrong for this time of year but a good performance all the same even if the stage is to small to contain the whole band comfortably. I had never noticed the whistling before, not sure why Si is miming to it unless he was a closet bird impersonator. Nice to see the crowd being mowed down by a runaway camera during this performance, a reminder of the 1970s.

    Tears for Fears still mad for it and on their way up the charts. This is a repeat but the crowd are wearing the same party hats as in the Duran performance which is a bit odd, perhaps they re-used them. Can I just say that I truly hated those knitted sleeveless smock things the band are wearing, they look like they're made from old dishcloths. What were they thinking?

    Blancmange is easily the best thing on the show after the Human League. Loved this to bits back then although I was never that taken by the duo's image which I found a tad creepy. Nice to see the Asian musicians given pride of place unlike during Monsoon's appearance where they were barely visible.

    The charts and Kid Creole, Melba Moore and Sharon Redd still hanging on in there. I read John Peel's biog again recently and he talks about reading the chart rundown and how he took to it very quickly unlike Mike Read who he rather bitchily says took several goes to get it right.

    I remember the Renee and Renarto vid well, the rumour was that she was a transvestite which was why she was never properly seen in the film and to be fair the video does have a Benny Hill quality about it. It would have been v funny if it turned out she was Benny Hill or Bob Todd in a wig and frock. Never cared much Rene's tight knitwear which is highlighted when he waves her/him off at the airport.

    I saw Wham mime/dance to this at Lasers nightclub in Haringey the previous month (in 1982 that is), they did exactly the same routine but minus the band. I recall seeing George eyeing up the crowd at the end including me. My Gaydar kicked in and I thought to myself "Hello, she's a friend of Dorothy".

    The top 9 and playout with the Eddy Grant vid which, if you recall, is the BBC's way of saying they are bored with a song, but they had one more week to put up with it before The Jam took over.

    1. The real Renee (real name: Hilary Lester) doesn't actually appear in the video, I think because she had joined another group by this point. That is presumably why the stand-in they used keeps her face concealed, and doesn't mime, which was commendably honest of them. I have just discovered that Renato sadly died of a brain tumour seven years ago.

    2. couldn't they find a real woman to stand in for the absent renee? bearing in mind the naff nature of the record, maybe the video director got a guy in drag to do it for a laugh? i remember there was a brief appearance by a transvestite in the video for cameo's "back and forth", but can anyone think of any other instances?

    3. i had a bit of email corerspondence a while back with a (gay) guy who like me was involved in the bournemouth local band scene in the early 80's - i didn't actually know him at the time, but he told me he used to work the bar of a live venue that was once hired for a private party by spandau ballet for them and their showbiz chums. that included george michael, who the guy said made a pass at him there!

      so that and bama's comments above suggest that george was already that way inclined long before wham were finished, and whilst he was still very much a pin-up heart-throb favourite of the ladies. but did the likes of ridgers and shirlie know about it?

    4. I noticed that Renato looked a lot like Seve Ballestros the Spanish golfer, in hairstyle and clothing, and he, like Seve, died of a brain tumour, both within a couple of years of each other. Very sad.

      Renato could not have been be more romantic towards Renee in that video, what with the serenading, flowers, slow dancing, soft kisses, and bedtime love. It did seem somewhat frustrating for the viewers when Renee had to take a flight home and leave him behind in his own back yard at the end of the video. It seemed like we had here an English lass on a foreign holiday in Spain, falling in love with a Spanish man, only to have to face the reality of going back home. I hope he didn't get her pregnant if she wasn't coming back to live happily ever after with him.

    5. renato was italian - not spanish!

    6. Bama, with regard to Human League being edited out, it was probably because the next show shown straight after, i.e., 2.12.82, had the same studio performance, so you were only really having wait about half an hour to see Human League in TOTP action, and I would think that BBC4 were trying to divide out the performances so that everyone across the two shows gets a showing, as many of the acts were repeats.

  2. Mr Ravenscroft was seemingly very enthused by the lineup on this show, and with some justification, as this is up there as one of the best editions of 1982, even allowing for a number of repeat performances. Peel himself in on top form, and doesn't really put a foot wrong throughout, though his seal of approval for Wham surprised me slightly.

    The new-look Modern Romance get the ball rolling with probably their best-remembered tune, and it remains an enjoyable and undeniably rhythmic piece of pop fluff. The group look a bit mismatched on stage though - the two singers appear to be auditioning for Bucks Fizz, and I have no idea why the trumpeter is dressed as an aviator! As Bama notes, the lighting on the Hall and Oates video is very good, and really enhances the moody feel of the song. Nice panther, too.

    The League then make their long-awaited return to the TOTP studio, and it was worth the wait as this is up there as one of their very best, a great tune and superb production. Phil has forgotten his shirt again, but has acquired a sensible haircut at long last! Duran Duran also make it back to the studio after a lengthy absence, and they certainly appear to enjoy this performance. Given that Rio is one of their most famous songs, it seems a bit odd now that it only got as high as 9. I can't say that I have ever liked it that much - it has energy, but Simon's voice always sounds especially flat here.

    Blancmange treat us to a new performance, the singer dispensing with his shades this time but sporting some unappealing stubble instead, before R & R begin their unstoppable march to the Christmas number 1. This is of course a widely derided song, and the naff, cheesy video doesn't help, but I have always thought that it is quite a pleasant tune and, as novelty hits go, one of the better ones. After that, it's repeats for the rest of the way, JP also suffering an edit to his final link as he dares to mention DLT...

    1. didn't renato also do the singng in the "just one cornetto" advert?

    2. Talk about a new look Modern Romance. It seemed that with the departure of the lead singer following Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White, no-one seemed to be comfortable enough to take the lead position, leaving a mediocre joint lead-vocals by whoever was left in the band. Suffice to say that the notable trumpeter (or some would call the 'giant') remained in place since the start.

      Other things to note on this performance is that the tune was trying to emulate Everybody Salsa, their most notable hit of 1981, where it brought the same happy party vibes along with it, but like Everybody Salsa, it could still not convince the public that it was top 5 material.

      On the plus side, the studio audience seemed particularly partyish, especially one couple at the back who got completely carried away, with the girl being lifted up in the air on a number of occasions. I also noted some of the camera angles took some good upskirt opportunities on this studio performance.

    3. Wilberforce - there was a rumour that Renato did sing on the Cornetto ads, but his son has denied it.

    4. thanks john - i almost missed that response!

  3. Modern Romance, do you think he was miming that trumpet? Just a hunch. Loved this at the time, it was bright and infectious, and it's still a bit of fun now.

    Two "woah-oh!" songs in a row, as Hall and Oates give us their biggest hit here. Great, almost sparse production, and the popular push button electronic game Simon playing the sax solo.

    The Human League, loved this at the time as well, and it sounds like one of their strongest singles to this day. But was Phil really singing "Thinks he's a pinball fan!"? That's what I used to think.

    Duran Duran, apparently having all hurt their left wrists. No idea how they would have done that. Isn't Rio a boy's name? Heard this too many times to have much effect, but at least it's not the overplayed video.

    Blancmange, I loved those lines about being up the tree - "Why are you down there, I say?", they sounded like a clever joke I didn't quite get. Why is Mr Blancmange wearing a police badge?

    John Peel jokes about guessing which was which, but I genuinely didn't know back then! Didn't help that I thought the song was by Renee and Renata, rather than Renato. That video! Side by side face down in bed - nude! What an image!

    Great to hear even Peelie was doing the Yosser Hughes impersonations, though the thought of him joining Wham is a curious one.

    Then Eddy to finish... one down, two to go.

    1. The Hall & Oates video was their iconic one and biggest hit, yes. At least Angelo could spell Oates correctly, as TOTP were still spelling it on the chart rundowns up to this point as OATS.

  4. Always look forward to the Peel episodes the most. He was such a natural at this. Modern Romance were absolute horseshit in 1982 let alone now. Hall and Oats. Meh. I love the Human League. So many top drawer pop songs. This one has a great melody. One of my favourite Duran Duran tunes here. I always remembered them as a video band so good to see them in the studio. Listen to that bassline! Mad World. Isn't it just. A cuckoo tree eh? There's loads round our way, kid. Old Renato was batting way above his average with this bird. He must have been an animal under the sheets. There's no way he would have been allowed that near a runway in those trousers. Good to see that rampant heterosexual George Michael doing his stuff. The girl in the Eddy Grant video. Her expression suggests old Eddy has left the toilet seat up again.

    1. At this debut hit of Tears For Fears, it seemed that Roland Orzabal was there to solely do his dance moves as on the video, while Curt Smith was the vocal for the band. It was a very different story some years later where Smith was pushed out and Orzabal took lead vocals for himself in a somewhat forthright manner, much like the alpha-male style of Paul Weller.

      With regard to the girl in the Eddy Grant video, she was just having a female moment, which just needed Eddy to grab and kiss her to relax her a bit, that's all. A bit like the lead on Gone With The know, the things that girls still like, but our PC era has taken away from them, and I think Eddy missed out there on a bit of TLC, don't you think?

  5. I'm pleased that they played more of the Eddy Grant video on the late night repeat than on the early evening showing, and well after the end credits completed.

    This is a welcome bonus for true TOTP fans, as at the time in 1982 with only one showing on early evening on a Thursday, I doubt that we ever got to see the full footage of the playout tracks, due to rushing on to the next programme in the schedules on a busy Thursday night. Well done BBC4 for giving us the full footage on the late night repeats, even if it is 34 years late!

  6. For once John Peel was not understating or being sarcastic about the quality of music on the show this week. It was one of the best shows of 1982 for me…. ‘Best years of our Top of the Pops’ indeed.

    Modern Romance – Best years of our lives – The ultimate party hit of Christmas 1982 and subsequent years it would always get slapped on the turntable as half cut revellers yelled “Whooooah, makes me wanna dance, whoooooah it’s a new romance” etc. etc. Here in the ToTP studio things look a little more restrained with the strange sight of a fighter pilot playing the trumpet.

    Darryl Hall & John Oates – Maneater – Wonderful again, and great video. My wife even started singing along to this when watching.

    Human League – Mirror Man – I remember the agonising long wait in 1982 for the new single after that massive hit last Christmas. This really wasn’t a disappointment at all and deserved to be a repeat no1, if not for the bloody Jam deciding to call it a day (note – a certain novelty hit didn’t reach the top until Mirror Man was dropping down). Love the dancing from the girls again! Unusual to catch the League on a non-Yewtreed edition.

    Duran Duran – Rio – Forgot that they appeared in the studio before we were treated to the iconic video, but Simon and the gang certainly appear to be enjoying themselves here. The album of the same name was pretty fine too.

    Tears for Fears – Mad World – Yes indeed JP, you and me both wished that this had topped the charts. We got our wish years later but in an unexpected way!

    Blancmange – Living on the Ceiling – Great to see this again with a new studio appearance, once again singing about ‘Cuckoo trees’. Did anyone actually get this lyric on the single or was it a special promo like (say) ‘Peaches’ by the Stranglers which substituted ‘Bikini’ for you-know-what…?

    Renee & Renato – Save your love – You can detect JPs dismay as he announces this in the chart rundown. Renee and Hilary (or Val in the video) did provide much amusement for the likes or Terry Wogan who went on and on about the rose that was miraculously caught at the window so it’s hardly surprising it sold in bucket loads at Christmas. An improvement on some previous Christmas no1s however (Hi there St Winnifred’s School Choir!).

    Wham! – Young Guns – I kept looking to see if I could spot Mike Smith somewhere in the background but either he’s not there or in shadow. At least the BBC4 masses got to see this iconic performance.

    Eddy Grant – I don’t wanna dance – We get the entire video with the credits right down to sailing off in the sunset. Who was the girl in the video I wonder?

    1. I always liked the two girls fashion attire on Human League. We all know the story that they were picked in a Sheffield nightclub by Phil oaken, and asked to join the group, but still, I just love the elegance of their dresses/outfits, as they never disappointed. I mean the brunette this week, what a tasty top for the TOTP viewers to enjoy. Nice one!

      With regard to Wham, and ooh Shirlie Holliman, and her dance moves and heavenly white dress, it was all I needed from Wham, during her un-necessary scolding by Ridgeley towards the end of this song and studio performance. She is simply the best feature on this performance!

    2. You can see Mike Smith next to the neon logo at the very start of Wham.

  7. Well folks, we're near the end of 1982 now, so what's everyone's favourite singles from this year? Here's my Top10 in no particular order:-

    1. Now those days are gone – Bucks Fizz
    2. Eye in the Sky – Alan Parsons Project
    3. Living on the Ceiling - Blancmange
    4. Torch – Soft Cell
    5. All of my Heart – ABC
    6. Have you ever been in love – Leo Sayer
    7. Only you – Yazoo
    8. Private Investigations – Dire Straits
    9. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
    10. Hard to say I’m sorry - Chicago

    1. 1. Yellow Pearl - Phil Lynott
      2. Deadringer For Love - Meat Loaf
      3. All Of My Heart - ABC
      4. Starmaker - Kids From Fame
      5. Heartbreaker - Dionne Warwick
      6. Hard To Say I'm Sorry - Chicago
      7. Papa's Got A Brand New pig bag - Pigbag
      8. John Wayne Is Big Leggy - Haysi Fantaysee
      9. Instinction - Spandau Ballet
      10. Give Me Back My Heart - Dollar

    2. on the basis of picking purely from what was featured on the show (including yewtree'd editions) it was quite easy for me to put the first list together with nary a reference, but the second one needed a trawl through the tracklisting of the year's episodes!

      roxy music - avalon
      associates - club country
      blancmange - living on the ceiling
      duran duran - save a prayer
      rockers revenge - walking on sunshine
      kid creole - annie i'm not your daddy
      madness - house of fun
      haircut 100 - love plus one
      tight fit - the lion sleeps tonight
      soft cell - torch

      turkeys (plenty to choose from here, but i've tried to avoid sonme of the more obvious candidates):

      toto coelo - i eat cannibals
      modern romance - cherry pink & apple blossom white
      goombay dance band - seven tears
      a flock of seagulls - wishing
      pinkees - danger games
      belle stars - the clapping song
      nicole - a little peace
      charlene - i've never been to me
      trio - da da da
      chicago - hard to say i'm sorry

      it's a shame we didn't do this in the previous years!

    3. oops - replace "torch" with hall & oates "i can't go for that"!

    4. i'm having so much fun here that i've decided to do the best and worst of 1981 as well (it still counts as they were shown "this year"!):


      passions - i'm in love with a german film star
      tom tom club - wordy rappinghood
      imagination - flashback
      john foxx - europe after the rain
      rolling stones - start me up
      ultravox - the thin wall
      human league - love action
      earth, wind & fire - let's groove
      soft cell - bedsitter
      japan - quiet life


      joe dolce - shaddup your face
      dire straits - romeo and juliet
      gap band - burn rubber on me
      david bowie - up the hill backwards
      children of tansley school - my mum is one in a million
      smokey robinson - being with you
      aneka - japanese boy
      laurie anderson - o superman
      altered images - happy birthday
      tweets - birdie song

    5. Off the top of my head, here are my ten best of '81 and '82:


      OMD - Joan of Arc
      Ultravox - Vienna
      Kim Wilde - Kids in America
      Susan Fassbender - Twilight Cafe
      Phil Lynott - Yellow Pearl
      Human League - The Sound of the Crowd
      Depeche Mode - Just Can't Get Enough
      The Jacksons - Can You Feel It?
      ABBA - Lay All Your Love on Me
      Hazel O'Connor - Will You


      OMD - Maid of Orleans
      Tears For Fears - Mad World
      Blancmange - Living on the Ceiling
      PhD - I Won't Let You Down
      Yazoo - Only You
      Yazoo - Don't Go
      Soft Cell - Torch
      Culture Club - Do You Really Want to Hurt Me
      Culture Club - Time (Clock of the Heart)
      ABC - All of My Heart

  8. I was planning to watch this edition today and watch the many others in sequence over the Christmas period but the first part of that plan has been scuppered by my Sky box going funny overnight and not recording the shows. So chances are I won't be commenting much on this one or the next few since there are so many of 'em!

    However, I wanted to pop in here anyway to wish everyone a happy Christmas and all the best for 2017!
    And of course, special thanks to Angelo for co-ordinating all of this madness, especially at this time of year....

  9. Totally agree with sct that this was the best episode of the year. Pure pop! No flops either with every song featured appearing in the top 10 at some point. When was the last time that happened?

  10. host: there's a load of pretty boys on stage tonight, and a load of pretty girls in the audience. and there's john peel

    modern romance: bassist david jaymes was the co-leader of this lot until the singer geoff deane upped sticks (they are the only two on the cover of tehir debut album). so as remaining leader he had a problem regarding whether he should step forward and have the spotlight to himself, or get a replacement for deane in. and here's he's fallen between two stools as he can't seem to decide if it's him or newbie michael mullins who should be the focal point. musically just a re-tread of "everybody salsa", but at least unlike that it doesn't really pretend to be latin (other than the mariachi-style trumpeting)

    hall & oates: a similar problem to the above here, as they are a billed as a duo and yet quite clearly mr hall is the main man whilst mr oates is very much just one of the band backing him - no matter how many shots the camera takes of him!

    human league: phil looks really hunky with his new haircut and no obvious slap. but i don't care for real motown, never mind the mock variety. so this was never going to do much for me. ditto later similar efforts by culture club and wham

    duran duran: after the rare class of their last single, it's back to trying too hard to make a dance record. and as usual the guitar is the biggest culprit as power chords don't really work with this kind of thing. another image problem rears its ugly head due to someone having the bright idea of featuring a sax solo halfway through. so should they do a showaddywaddy and just ignore it when miming, get le bon to pretend to play one, or bring someone else in who doesn't fit the visual image of the band to stand about like a lemon the majority of the time? i would have gone for the first or second options rather than the last as they did

    blancmange: the producers felt the need to visit the nearest botanical gardens (or the local florist, anyway) to visually aid the asian feel of this - unfortunately the tabla player is almost hidden by the foliage as a result! it looks a bit odd when both the english guys mime the solo riff on synth and guitar whilst the cool sitar player does likewise, but it still seems to work. a couple of other things about this lot (who are probably nowadays regarded as the runt of the synth-duo litter despite this excellent effort): 1 - to my recollection the synth guy was once in the infamous portsmouth sinfonia orchestra (who have to be heard to be believed), 2 - a friend of mine once knew their road manager (whose job was basically to precede the band to the next town on the tour and source drugs from local dealers!) and went to a gig as his guest. being a rock traditionist and not knowing anything about them, he got a bit of a shock when all he could see on stage was a synth rather than things like guitars and drums!

  11. Another show superbly anchored by Peelie, and no embarrassing greetings to The Pig this time.

    Modern Romance ‘do a Piranhas’ and go back to a winning formula for their next (big) hit. I’m guessing the trumpeter thought he was appearing with early 70’s pop group Pilot.

    John Oates was way stage left of main man Daryl Hall, despite those camera cuts. That panther reminded me for some reason of Panther Records, an MCA imprint whose biggest hit was probably Eurovision winner “Diggi Loo Diggi Ley” by The Herrey’s which reached number 46 in 1984.

    I always thought the Human League “Mirror man / People fan” lyric was a pun on redtop newspapers, but the scenario for that first verse was unusual and intricately written. As usual I loved the gals’ outfits and unsynchronised dancing.

    Unlucky for some, John? Certainly for me, as I never liked Duran Duran and especially that smug idiot Le Bon - notice his stupid wide mouthed face during the intro. I randomly looked up ‘People called Rio’ on Google and was shown a page with 5 men (including Plug from The Bash Street Kids – er, Rio Ferdinand) and 3 women.

    Ah, Blancmange. Here come the indie Colin Firth, Vince Clarke light and their mates with an Asi-erotic belter.

    There’s Renato, channelling the fashions of Golf Club Dad, aka Brian Bennett of the Shadows, though Brian never wore a ‘balloon static hair’ shiny jumper like that. He had Samson’s muscles to power that rose to the balcony. Wasn’t Renee camera shy? This was apparently the only number one single distributed by that tenacious indie powerhouse, Pinnacle from Orpington.

    Watching George Michael’s effervescent routine the day after his passing felt incredibly poignant.

    1. rio actually means "river" in portugese (or spanish). so "rio de janeiro" which sounds so cool and glamourous to english language speakers literally translates as the far more mundane "river of january"!

    2. re the piranhas: perhaps that should have read "hark back to a winning formula"?

  12. Quick thoughts on this one..

    Modern Romance - Loved it at the time, maybe not my favourite of theirs now but I still have a soft spot for it.

    Human League - I seem to be one of the few who finds this a middling one of their tunes and nothing to get excited about!

    Duran Duran - Also surprised to see this in the studio, the band are clearly messing around. Possibly because they have clearly sped up the record to (presumably) pack most of the running time in!

    Blancmange - Top pop, glad we got to see it this time.

    Renee & Renato - The song is rubbish but I do regret never going to Renato's restaurant in Tamworth while he was alive.

    Wham! - Feels a bit weird watching it now, but its cast iron proof of his genius that they arrived almost fully formed.

  13. I did a bit more digging on Hollywood, the label Renee and Renato were signed to. It appears to have been a recording studio / music publisher / label based in London E5. Renee and Renato released four follow-ups, the first of which, "Just One More Kiss", peaked at 48. The label's only other mugshot single was our badly sung on the night entry (no, not Jemini) "A Message To Your Heart" by Samantha Janus - yes, her out of EastEnders. Hollywood just missed out on a fourth top 75 hit with a reissue of Boy Meets Girl's "Waiting For A Star To Fall". The label took the rise, though, by releasing a cover of its biggest hit "Save Your Love" by Colt and Colby in 1984!

  14. Modern Romance: according to the captions on the TOTP2 showing - if you can believe these - it was Geoff Deane in the airman's outfit.

    1. Could have been worse - the caption could have said Geoff Capes!