Friday, 9 December 2016

Top of the Pops Breaker

Well it's October 28th, not quite Halloween yet, but Simon Bates and Top of the Pops are really pushing the pumpkins out tonight like never before! And (although there was no connection, I don't think...) five days later Channel 4 was launched!

Trick or Treat or Top of the Pops??

28-10-82: Presenter: Simon Bates

(33) RAW SILK – Do It To The Music
Getting the cauldron bubbling tonight are three Raw Silk ladies with what became their only visit to the top 30 when they peak-a-booed at number 18.

(4) THE BEATLES – Love Me Do (video)
It got to number 17 twenty years earlier, but now number 4 was Love Me Do's new peak position.

(35) BLUE ZOO – Cry Boy Cry
The only victim of tonight's 7.30pm bloodaxe.

(29) DIONNE WARWICK – Heartbreaker
Another borrowing from the Late Late Breakfast Show here, with Dionne performing what would become her first top ten hit for 14 years, when this Bee Gees written song made it to number 2.

(6) TEARS FOR FEARS – Mad World (video)
Roland was still desperately trying to get his weird little armography dance routine to catch on, doing it all the way through this video whilst Curt desperately pressed his face against a window trying to escape! The song though went up three more places.

(21) MELBA MOORE – Love’s Comin’ At Ya ®
The Halloweeny audience disappears as we get a repeat showing of Melba from a few editions back. The song went up six more places.

(11) EDDY GRANT – I Don’t Wanna Dance (video)
Eddy's up to his neck in women trouble here, though he floats off into the sunset with his girl in the end. A soon to be number one hit.

(1) CULTURE CLUB – Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?
A new studio performance tonight for their second of three weeks at number one. And such a very appropriate song title for a Halloween show!

(10) BARRY MANILOW – I Wanna Do It With You (crowd dancing) (and credits)
We end this spooky special with Barry's only flying visit to the top ten, and he went up two more places.

The next show should of course be November 4th 1982 hosted for the first time by Mike Smith, but for some bizarre and unfathomable reason it will not be shown on BBC4, so instead we will skip to the 11th with David Jensen.


  1. At last...RAW SILK! This trio of New Yorkers, a spin-off from 'You Gave Me Love' hitmakers Crown Heights Affair, would climb as high as No.18 in the UK and No.5 on the US club chart. I remember some late-night disc jockey on Liverpool's Radio City segueing Lindisfarne's flop rock 'n' roll ballad single 'Nights' into 'Do It To The Music' around that time. How bizarre, as the Kiwi duo OMC used to sing.

    I look forward to catching Wigan's Blue Zoo on the extended TOTP later this week, unkind though the message 'Cry Boy Cry' appears to be.

    Dionne Warwick rightly scored a worldwide smash with the Bee Gees' composition 'Heartbreaker', which is arguably her finest post-Bacharach recording.

    What a joy to see Eddy Grant back in business with what would be his only solo British No.1, only weeks after Rocker's Revenge had taken his composition 'Walking On Sunshine' into the British Top 5 (and to the top of the US club chart).

    1. Yeah, Dionne Warwick was the highlight of this week's show for me. If this was, as Angelo puts it, a performance from the Late Late Breakfast show, it was a clear live performance, with no miming, as I could never imagine her miming in the TOTP studio with such a great live singing voice to offer. I did prefer the video though, cos the background music is more crisp and clear, compared to the male backing musicians she had on this Late Late Breakfast show clip.

      The only other performance of note this week was that fabulous 80s video compilation of The Beatles with Love Me Do, which was a clever montage, a whole 20 years since the song first charted when there were no videos in 1962.

    2. The Love Me Do re-issue was the start of The Beatles It Was 20 Years Ago Today where all their singles were re-issued 20 years after the week of their original release.

  2. Just saw the Barry Manilow playout track on the late night repeat, and it seemed the song went on forever after the end credits completed, with so much footage in what seemed to be an all-night party in the studio, and so much happiness and positivity in that studio, it almost brought a tear to the eye.

    There is no way that at the time in 1982, with only one showing early on a Thursday night, that we ever saw all that footage after the end-credits were completed, which is usually where they move onto the next show to fit with the evening schedules, so we were really being blessed now 34 years later to see this much of it, to the final balloon pop you could say.

    1. They did sometimes show a bit of extra footage depending on how much time there was before the next show was due to start but never as much as this.

    2. Exactly, which is why I say it nearly brought a tear to the eye when I saw the late night repeat last week. It's as though the BBC kept this extra playout footage unseen for 34 years, and finally we would get that final part of the playout only now in 2016. You could call it a long term sentence for this track till it was finally free.

  3. i had to catch up with this edition in the local library, and was uncomfortably aware of some bastard coughing and spluttering on a monitor nearby (why don't they have the decency to stay at home when they've got the flu, rather than pass it on to others with their thoughtless behavour?). so i had to rather speed-watch this one accordingly...

    host: somewhat appropriately the slimy one presents what is a scary halloween special. sadly though he neither ended in the witch's cooking pot, nor had his head dunked into the bowl used for eating bobbing apples (what a stupid practice - like most of halloween, it must surely be an american contrivance?). i tend to think that the overkill for this event in blighty is a fairly recent phenomenon, but obviously even back then it was seen as something to celebrate. although to be honest i have no idea what really. and i care even less. kudos though to the production team for making slimy do something a bit more interesting than just stand around like a lemon as he usually does. but he gets a black mark for getting tears for fears name wrong! by the way, did the guy in the skeleton outfit on last week's show get his dates wrong?

    raw silk: the main riff for this is a real monster, and it's only let down a bit by the weaker connecting bits. but what exactly is "it" that they want to do to the music - dance maybe? also, presumably that glittery gunge in the lead lady's hair was sprayed on? somewhat strangely both this and the recent david christie hit came out on the independent KR label, that otherwise almost exclusively focused on reggae releases

    blue zoo: the fact that they were edited out of the early edition and those hoary old dinosaurs the beatles weren't is both scandalous and an insult to the band themselves in my opinion - especially as unlike the fab four this was their one bite of the cherry when it came to being pop stars! i recall thinking they were a bit lightweight at the time (being on the magnet label didn't help in that respect), but listening again now this is actually quite good with what sounded like busy acoustic strumming complimented by sonorous synth lines. the only thing that stops me liking it unreservedly is the all-too-obvious fact that the singer is more-than a little bit influenced by a certain david robert jones. but given how pretty he was, i'm surprised they didn't make more of an impression. pathetic piece of name-dropping #1: about 10 years ago i knew a woman that was in a band signed to polydor records, and she told me their manager had been a member of blue zoo! i don't know which one it was though...

    dionne warwick: she was of course the legendary muse of burt and hal, although after falling out with them in the early 70's she spent much of the previous 10 years in the "where are they now?" category (i watched a re-run of an episode of "the rockford files" a few years back, where she appeared as isaac hayes' girlfriend!). i remember that people were taken-back a bit if not actually shocked at her now-silver mane (although it's still black in the mugshot!), although facially she's still as striking as ever - if any woman can be described as "handsome", then surely it's her? this is quite a pleasant bee gees tune, but the cabaret-style backing (complete with key change up a tone at the end) doesn't do it any favours

    1. The KR label managed one reggae hit ("Your Honour" by Pluto) as well as a number 45 for The Rah Band. Not a bad hit ratio for a label which released just under 20 singles.

  4. pt ii...

    tear(s) for fears: a rather dull video to match the music

    melba moore: i really want to like this as it ticks all the post-disco/dance/club record boxes. and yet it makes the tears for fears video look interesting

    eddy grant: i know the guy was of west indian heritage, and that he's got dreadlocks. but if this crudely-made drivel isn't an example of cod-reggae, then i'm a dutchman!

    culture club: perhaps not surprisingly, george looks more than a little pleased to be in the spotlight knowing his days of being an impoverished and imagined superstar-in-waiting are finally soon to be over (even if he wasn't quite prepared for the roller-coaster life that was to follow). i wonder how much if his make-up was all his own work, and how much of it was down to the programme's stylists? by the way, did anyone else watch that documentary made a year or two back where they reconvened to record a new album? in the end it wasn't completed (or at least certainly not released) due to more rising tensions within the band - not surprisingly, especially between george and jon! pathetic piece of name-dropping #2: in 1984 i went to virgin records with another member of the band i was in at the time for an interview with their a&r staff (sadly it was a case of "don't call us"), and whilst we were waiting in the reception george himself arrived (in full regalia) and swept into the typing pool next door where the middle-aged ladies present immediately started clucking like mother hens and offering him cups of tea!

    1. Cups of tea?! George had a thing about tea drinking didn't he, saying that he would have a cuppa than sex. A complete lie of course.

      I also stood in the same room as Mr O'Dowd, actually it was in a kebab shop (see my comments below).

  5. Ah, the accursed query of the Halloween costume: "What are you meant to be?" No idea what most of this lot were dressed as, but Bates has come as himself. It was actually quite entertaining to see what they had given him to act out, although these days most people would find Jimmy Savile a lot more frightening.

    Raw Silk, with a, er, slick piece of dance music, a bit repetitive and maybe not standing out that much from a bunch of similar efforts at the time. The ladies perform with gusto, however.

    Blue Zoo, sounds like something that should have been on the soundtrack to The Lost Boys or Fright Night, which makes it appropriate for this edition. All it needed was a wailing saxophone. Kept thinking the singer was stumbling until I twigged that was him dancing.

    My abiding childhood memory of Dionne Warwick singing Heartbreaker was staring at her cavernous nostrils. Once you see it, etc. Anyway, nice enough Bee Gees ditty, a bit sorry for itself and I think I prefer the single version to this.

    Tears for Fears at a lakeside retreat, with Roland trying to guide in a passing plane for landing, or possibly deliver a semaphore message to someone out of camera range. They did better videos.

    Eddy Grant, loved this at the time, must have seen the video about fifty times back in '82 but good to reacquaint myself with it. I fancied a go on his floating platform (excellent solo, but was taking an electric guitar a wise idea?). Great tune.

    Funnily enough, there's a link between Culture Club at no. 1 and recent chart toppers Survivor, because Mr. T was in the A-Team of course, and Boy George famously guest starred (awkwardly) on an episode.

    Then Baz with an offer we can easily refuse to play us out.

  6. Interesting that TOTP decided to go so big on Halloween at a time when it was not such a big deal in this country, particularly when the big night itself was still three days away. Master Bates, naturally, completely overlooks the latter fact and keeps on insisting it is Halloween night. He certainly enters into the spirit of the thing, to a sometimes embarrassing extent, even though he has no need of fangs and costumes to creep the audience out - couldn't they have nailed shut that sarcophagus he came out of at the start?

    At least musically the standard was generally high here. I like this Raw Silk track, a slinky slice of post-disco music, though the group are a bit upstaged by the Halloween costumes surrounding them - I notice the skeleton from the last show was back, indulging in some acrobatics this time. I did wonder for a second if Blue Zoo was a pornographic spin-off of the resident dance troupe, but alas that was not the case! The singer's bouffant hair points the way to future 80s tonsorial crimes, but the song itself is pretty good, with a nice tempo.

    I have never understood the appeal of Dionne Warwick. Her voice has always seemed limited and mediocre to me, and I also don't think she's much to look at (sorry, Wilberforce). From what I've read she is not a very nice person either, and apparently hated this accomplished Bee Gees song even though it rescued her from a long spell in the wilderness. This live performance failed to live up to the record's excellent production, with tame backing that merely helped show up Dionne's vocal deficiencies. Nice to see the Mad World video, a nice moody production that accompanies the song well, despite Roland's dodgy dancing!

    Eddy Grant returns with a great bit of pop-reggae, and a fun, exotic video too - this was a well-deserved number 1. Culture Club celebrate their current chart-topper with a third studio appearance. They all look very pleased with themselves, and why not? The spooky crowd then get on down to Bazza to play us out, his desire to do it with us surely the most frightful thing about this show...

    1. I was disappointed that the audience missed several gilt edged opportunities to get Master Bates - sealing him in the sarcophagus, pushing him in the cauldron, pushing him back in the coffin and throwing garlic at him. Aside from Bates, a much better show musically than Thursday's effort.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. A much better show than last week. Simon Bates was an odd choice for a Halloween episode as he's completely non threatening and looks like an accountant. Dionne Warwick's teeth appeared to be somewhat of a work in progress.

  8. Calvin Henderson has kindly posted the "Smittied" (or should that be "Smiffed"?) 4 November show on YouTube, in two parts. The Shaky video has been edited out, but that's no great loss:

  9. Well like John G I don’t recall Halloween being this big in the UK in 1982 but ToTP have spared no expenses with some of the props here, even borrowing from the ‘Einstein a go-go lab’ at one point?! Nowadays of course, its big business selling props and pumpkins etc.

    Raw Silk – Do it to the music – I had to listen to this as its one I don’t remember. Pretty standard disco fare. Julie mentions ‘Nights’ above - “I remember the nights, down in deepest December….”. Now I bought that single by Lindisfarne – backed with the very wonderfully named ‘Dog ruff’!

    Beatles – Love me do – Has anyone mentioned that the single release did feature Ringo on drums whereas the album take featured Andy White? Not sure which one this is as it’s hard to tell.

    Blue Zoo – Cry boy cry – Almost another Beatle song title following ‘Love me do’ but again, I only vaguely recall this and it’s Ok.

    Dionne Warwick – Heartbreaker – Ah, I have a lovely memory of this. I came home from college one day and my dear Mum told me excitedly that Pebble Mill had featured and international high calibre star that day and she’d brought along a full orchestra and band and it was a fabulous live performance. I hadn’t heard the song at that point but of course she was right. I’d never seen the Pebble Mill performance before but I had a look on YT and to my delight it’s there:-
    There is a great comment from none other than Junior Campbell (Marmalade) on YT with the video which sums it up; “Heard this on the radio today and remembered this live performance on daytime UK TV which I caught at the time. This is a bare bones, no frills, honest performance of a great song by a great artist. Just shows what happens when you put great writers with a great artist. Magical”.

    Tears for Fears – Mad World – Great video which really matches this great song.

    Melba Moore – Love’s coming at ya – No thanks…

    Eddy Grant – I don’t wanna dance – If ever a song had ‘no1’ written all over it then this is a classic example. Reminds me of when I first heard ‘So you win again’ by Hot Chocolate. Eddy’s song and video is just a great three minutes.

    Culture Club – Do you really want to hurt me – Skip!

    Barry Manilow – I wanna do it with you – We’re spared the casual clothes of Barry and band and it really is a surprise that this was a bigger hit in the UK than some of his classic tracks. As noted above, we get a lot of Barry doing it!

    1. Thanks for the Dionne Warwick link... awesome! There's also similar footage of the Pinkees playing live on that show from around the same time... OK, I'll put the wooden spoon away now...

      Pebble Mill, the Alexandra Palace of the Midlands, mercilessly thrown away [sob sob]. They call it progress.

    2. "pebble mill at one" - one of the few daytime shows back then that wasn't either the test card or for kids. they had a rota of presenters but i remember the most-frequent one was bob langley, who also wrote a pretty good adventure paperback that that i read back in the 80's ("the
      war of the running fox"?)

    3. There's an episode from 1982 with Arthur Lowe who falls asleep live on air when he's being interviewed. Later that same day he died.

    4. I saw that Arthur Lowe interview at the time and thought he was talking strangely. Very sad. Great actor who totally mastered his 'Dads Army' role.

  10. Last week's Powell-helmed edition was so calamitously boring that I couldn't bring myself to comment. To be honest this one wasn't much better, but here goes.

    Bad start. Raw Silk's only British hit is a non-distinct piece of disco, Love Me Do is bubblegum Beatles that nobody really likes that much, and Blue Zoo is a by-numbers synth-pop effort sung by an annoying front man.

    Dionne Warwick. Like others on here, I'm not a big fan of her vocals, but she usually aligns herself with some of the worlds best writers and producers making her records fairly reasonable. But this live performance was diabolical. To me, it sounded like she was only in the general vicinity of the actual tune for most of it, and the backing itself was awful.

    Tears For Fears. Not much to say about a video that surely did little to improve sales or make Roland Orzabal a dance idol.

    Eddy Grant's theme tune. A song that has suffered through over-familiarity over the years, but you can see why it was such a big hit. Decent video.

    Right, the scores. 5 for Sir. Not sure the whole Halloween thing worked, but he did go for it, so fair enough, but yet again he seemed to start a sentence, get distracted, and fail to finish it off properly.

    Music. TFF and Culture Club were the only decent songs on parade. 4.

  11. Another horror of a show (ho ho), though fair play to Simes. Of all the DJs to be asked to partake in Halloween skulduggery, and to join in with relish at that, he would have been an outsider in my book.

    Was it me, or was Raw Silk’s lead singer incredibly (and I mean incredibly) thin?

    Blue Zoo singer Andy Overall thinking he’s making a fashion statement whereas, in fact, he looks a right prawn. The generic white boy indie soul doesn’t help either.

    Give it to Dionne Warwick, she ‘nose’ a hit when she smells one. Boom boom tish! Actually, I never liked this tedious Bee Gees template ballad, but at least the boys didn’t smother her vocals like they did with Samantha Sang!

    Straitjacket for Roland Orzabal! He’s been watching the shapes thrown by Madness’s Chas Smash too often for his own good. Mind you, they were the best part of an intensely dull video.

    Sorry, no love for Eddy Grant’s thin yoghourt reggae or magnolia paint dull video in Nibble Towers.

    Standing room only for Culture Club this week, That George was a natural for the camera.

    How did Flick Colby get a dance director credit when Zoo were absent again? And why did the rundown change ‘chart entry’ from last week to ‘new entry’ this week? And what happened to the ‘R’ at the end of Boring Bob Grover’s name?

    And to finish, I used to work with a bloke called Ian and I’d sometimes greet him with “31st October”. Hallo Ian. Geddit? Harrumph.

    1. Chart entry means a song that is new in the top 30 but made its chart debut outside it.

  12. Given that Simon Bates struggles with the fairly simple task of introducing songs correctly, why not give him some 'comedy' sketches to do inbetween the songs as well? Yeah, that'll help...

    Raw Silk - A lot of love for this here, but I find it all a bit average to be honest.

    Blue Zoo - Whereas this is brilliant. I don't recall seeing the performance at the time, if I had I may have been put off by the singer's appearance, but the song was featured on my beloved Chart Runners compo so I loved it because of that. Mystifying that this was chopped from the early edition rather than The Beatles which we've already seen.

    Dionne Warwick - A good song, but unfortunately this performance replaces the brilliant Bee Gees production with Light Ent style crap and ruins it as a result.

    Tears For Fears - Seen it too often for it to have much impact now, sadly.

    Eddy Grant - I think I liked this for about 5 minutes back then, but very quickly got bored. I see there's also a lot of love for this around these parts but to me it's very thin gruel and nowhere near as good as some of his earlier songs.

    1. You've hit the nail on the head Noax with regard to the Dionne Warwick new entry. When I saw this TOTP offering, I thought it was a crap performance to what is a good song, and I mean crap by the fact that the backing musicians had hardly any volume on their microphones, and it was almost an accapella performance by Dionne Warwick, which gives the song no justice.

      If TOTP had instead shown the video, then you would find that the backing sounds was much more audible, and it was at least 50% contributory to the success of the song getting to the dizzy heights of No.2, which we can blog again this week on David Jensen's show.

      Anyway, here is the official video for Heartbreaker, which unfortunately we will not see on TOTP, in favour of the same crap studio performance on both showings, i.e. 28.10.82 and 11.11.82:

      The nicely audible musical intro on this is just as romantic as the lyrics on Dionne Warwick's voice, and was pivotal I feel in getting this to No.2 in Nov 1982, and only being denied the No.1 buy Eddy Grant, whose song was nowhere near as good as Dionne Warwick.

    2. Oh, and the choice of dress by Ms Warwick on the official video was worthy on its own to take the song to No.1 in place of Eddy 'boring' Grant. Sorry folks, just had to get that off my chest. I'm going make some tea now and enjoy the rest of my afternoon....

  13. Although I hate creepy Slimon to be fair he did a good job at taking part in the daft Halloween skits, although he needn't have worn any make up.

    I had completely forgotten just how good the Raw Silk track was, and a superb performance to go with it. The cheerleader people struggle to dance convincingly in their spooky costumes.

    Blue Zoo was another one that had slipped from my memory bank. I didn't buy this at the time but it is a catchy slice of synth pop and a very slick performance. The lead singer looks a bit like Curt Smith from TFF but has a better haircut. The 8 foot tall keyboard player Matthew Flowers used to be in punk band Sore Throat. He runs an art gallery now.

    Sad ballads being a guilty pleasure of mine I loved Heartbreaker at the time. It just glides along beautifully and DW delivers a good live vocal here. I like the bass players head movements in time with his bass plucking.

    I recall this Tears For Fears video well, it's very early 80s in style. I can hear the director selling the band the idea - "Curt you sit in an old house staring at a table, while outside the window Roland can wear a crombie coat and make shapes while staring out over a lake. Later Kurt can mime-act like he's trapped behind a window pane. Intercut with a kid's party and end on a moody shot of both of you standing in the shadows".

    Eddy Grant proves that he's a master at writing a simple pop tune, vetoing the obvious reggae vibe for a simple synth melody and adding a guitar solo. Brilliant.

    Boy George looks happier and more confident in this performance of Do Really Want to Strap Me To A Radiator. And he's learnt a few more hand gestures and dance moves.

    By this point in time in 1982 I had moved back home to live with my parents after I quit my job, got evicted from my flat and got robbed all in the same week (almost my entire record collection got stolen!). But while I still lived in London I recall bumping into Culture Club in a kebab shop of all places.

    Actually they bumped into me, almost literally. I lived in a flat in Chalk Farm in North London, half a mile from the Chalk Farm Recording Studio where they were recording their first album. I didn't know this at the time and didn't know who they were, even though they had already released a couple of singles. The kebab shop was opposite The Roundhouse and I was standing in the queue one weekday evening getting a kebab when they all piled in presumably
    during a break from recording and they were all laughing and joking.

    Because they were a pop group (albeit not a famous one) they tried to push in the queue but the people ahead weren't having any of it, so they had to queue up which was quite funny. I was fascinated by Boy George's appearance who even when he was recording was eccentrically dressed. I didn't stop to chat after I got my food but I now wished that I had spoken to them. That was it, A month later they were on TOTP and I realised who they were. I wonder if George still eats kebabs?

    1. A few months ago I went on one of those London Walks where a tour guide takes you by walk through a popularistic part of London. On the Camden walk on a sunny Saturday afternoon in the summer, the tour guide explained that the kebab shop opposite the Roundhouse was the place that pop groups would jam at the back of the shop, and people would queue up outside to see them.

      I wonder whether when you bumped into Culture Club in that shop, they were planning to do a set for the kebab eaters inside, as well as tucking into one themselves? Apparently the famous kebab shop only recently had a stop put on them by the local council of having the live jamming at the back, and now is only allowed to serve as a kebab shop and no other activities inside!

    2. bama your 1982 multiple mishaps remind me of the short time period in the early 90's where i was a: suspended from work for 3 months for fighting, b: arrested for being drunk & disorderly with intent on causing malicious damamge, and c: strip-searched at heathrow airport after returning from amsterdam and informing customs officers i had done nothing there that was illegal! well, they do say that trouble comes in threes...

      by the way, i think george is a vegan these days, so probably no longer eat kebabs!

  14. Well well, I'm almost back up-to-date with this epic run of shows, although this one was quite frankly a bit of a disappointment. I have no time for Dionne and Eddy, altho I do remember I Don't Wanna Dance being a bit of an ear worm at the time.
    But I'll never tire of TFF, rubbish hair and dance moves notwithstanding, and though I don't recall the Blue Zoo moment at all and thought it was alright actually.

    The highlight for me was the way Boy George confidently held the camera with his gaze during the slow start to a still wonderful no,1 and practically invented the look of early Madonna in the process!

    The odious Slimes was a good sport too and this might be the first time I'd score him more than zero for a presenting effort...if I could be bothered with that sort of thing.

    Never mind roll on the ToTP debut of the magnificent Blancmange in high-def on BBC4 next time around.....oh nooooo, "Smitty", what were you thinking????