Friday, 30 December 2016

Where the Top of the Pops is

1982 is now rapidly catching up 2016, which is just as well really considering how little of 2016 remains! So here we are with December 9th 1982.......

........And now I hand you over to Simon...

9-12-82: Presenter: Simon Bates

(19) SHALAMAR – Friends
Shalamar are back in the studio with a live performance of Friends which then peaked at number 12.

(3) RENÉE & RENATO – Save Your Love (video)
Soon to be the Christmas number one for the waiter from Sutton Coldfield.

(13) YAZOO – The Other Side Of Love
Another live studio performance but this song got no higher in the charts.

(35) SHAKIN’ STEVENS – Blue Christmas
This 'ep - not a single' became Shaky's fourth top tenner of 1982 when it peaked at number 2.

(5) CULTURE CLUB – Time (Clock Of The Heart) ®
Went up two more places. But edited out of the 7.30pm slot, and yet we get Shaking Stevens twice!

(6) LIONEL RICHIE – Truly ®
Now truly at its chart peak.

(21) SOFT CELL – Where The Heart Is
Marc shows off his muscles but Where the Heart Is got no higher.

(22) DAVID BOWIE & BING CROSBY – Peace On Earth – Little Drummer Boy (video)
Well if Bowie was going to do a Christmas song then it would have to be a weird one! Originally recorded for Bing Crosby's 1977 Christmas Show, about a month before Bing died, it peaked at number 3 five years later.

(1) THE JAM – Beat Surrender ®
Second and final week at number one.

(7) BLANCMANGE – Living On The Ceiling (crowd dancing) (and credits)
At its chart ceiling.

Next up is December 16th 1982, but this is hosted by JS so won't be shown on BBC4.


  1. Shalamar - they were good travellers, weren't they. Coming over again from the US to the TOTP studio, and it was beginning to be a habit for them it seems. They did insist on the dimmed studio lights and artificial smoke which was a sign of things to come in the years ahead, as this was probably one of the first smoke-filled studio performances on TOTP. I think the only other performers to use it on the show was when Hot Chocolate got to No.2 in 1980 with No Doubt About It.

    Renee & Renato - zooming up to No.3 this week, and so in love. I bet no-one remembers the hilarious sketch by Kenny Everett in tribute to the two lovers. Suffice to say that I was nearly rolling about in laughter when I saw this:

    David Bowie & Bing Crosby - although the video was made in 1977 for a American TV Special, and a month before the great Bing Crosby died, I guess it was his last moment of glory, and I remember liking this when it came to our shores in Christmas 1982 for the first time, as it combined the brash young (Bowie) with the mature old (Crosby) as two generations coming together to celebrate Christmas.

  2. i was fortunate that most of the stuff in this edition that wasn't repeats or videos had been loaded up to youtube in song-sized chunks. but for some reason shakin' stevens had gone awol. not that i was bothered

    host: slimey (who i'm sure has has modelled this grey jacket before) gives a completely garbled first intro. and pronounces bowie's name improperly in the chart countdown. you'd think by now that all the confusion over how to pronounce the dame's surname would have passed, but if so then you'd be wrong - i was watching a recent edition of "university challenge" and paxo committed the same crime, even though he once interviewed the man in person!

    shalamar: another single that's not a patch on "a night to remember", although the vocals aren't as grating as usual. jeffrey looks a bit half-hearted as a backing vocalist here, probably wishing he could take the solo spotlight to do his backsliding again. howard clearly forgets to mime the falsetto ad-lib at the end. unless an off-screen jeffrey is doing it, which is unlikely. someone mentioned recently that john oates is the american version of andrew ridgeley, but surely jeffrey should be considered likewise?

    yazoo: this time they've got in three black ladies (who from the look of it are sisters?) to add a bit of interest to proceedings, although it doesn't make the song any more appealing to me. in fact that "computer tennis noise" is really getting on my nerves now! but at least alf no longer looks like she's a renegade cast member of "cats"

    soft cell: another one that's missing from my memories. talk about dreary - no wonder it failed to crack the top 20. note how the girls at the front of the stage are unsurprisingly getting quite restless having to endure this. is this really the same act that did the magnificent "torch" just a few months earlier?

    bowie/bing: is there anyone out there who hasn't seen this bizarre duet on video? whatever possessed bowie to get involved? and why wasn't it a hit until five years after it was originally broadcast? if you watch the rather tortuous "conversation" between them beforehand, you'll quite clearly hear the dame introduce himself as in bow and arrow, not as in leaning forward to greet somebody - slimey and paxo take note!

    1. i forgot to mention: does anyone remember those scenes from "band of brothers" where after the cease-fire american army officers are brazenly and systematically looting the nazis' treasures as spoils of war and packing them off back to the states? essentially bing and his people did that with the tape-recording technology that the germans had invented and developed during the second world war. i'm not saying they should have been paid in return, but it would have been nice to think that any profits made from that enterprise went into war widows' pockets rather than his. however it seems as usual money goes to money. but as they say, "god bless america"...

  3. Master Bates seems to have got into something of a groove by this point in his TOTP career. He is still prone to both loquacity and the odd gaffe (here notably calling Shaky's effort a single and then correcting himself), but he has at least reached the point where he is doing a reasonably professional job - it only took three years...

    Anyway, Shalamar are with us in the studio once more, but not only is the song quite pallid and forgettable, we also don't get any exciting dance moves from Jeff this time! Alf sensibly leaves her headscarf at home for this second rendition of The Other Side of Love, and overall it is a superior performance, thanks in no small part to some glamorous backing singers. Vince has sensibly pinned his hair back on this occasion, and is eagerly showing off his computer keyboard and screen, which must have looked wildly futuristic at the time.

    Shaky next, with a lesser known Xmas hit (sorry, EP) for him. This of course is an Elvis cover, which makes it somewhat ironic that Shaky is made to sit down rather than indulge in any hip-shaking, King-like moves - to make up for this, he does put on his best Elvis impression while singing! The Soft Cell track is one I have not come across before, but it is rather good and Marc effortlessly commands the stage and the camera throughout the lengthy running time.

    As has already been mentioned, Bing dropped dead on the golf course a few weeks after recording this with Bowie - let's hope it wasn't a contributory factor! I wonder what he thought of the Thin White Duke, as it's noticeable that he barely makes eye contact with Bowie for the entire length of this bizarre duet. I can't say this does much for me musically, though their voices do actually complement each other quite well. Does anyone know why it was released as a single at this point, 5 years after the event? Bowie was having a bit of a festive moment at this point in time, as he was shortly to star in Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence.

    Not much else to say about this edition, other than that Bates has a brief but wholly pointless interview with Junior before introducing Culture Club, and that a dancer in the crowd, seen behind Shalamar and bopping along to Blancmange at the end, seems to have nicked that horrible ragged top from the Blue Zoo singer...

  4. Shalamar, it's a real pea-souper and no mistake, guvnor, we're lucky to be able to make them out. Noticeably more manageable dance moves for the other two compared with what Jeffrey can get up to. Song's pleasant enough, and at least better than the theme tune to that blasted sitcom. What is a "Shalamar"?

    This Yazoo song is improving with each listen and this is a better staging of it than last time (maybe because Vince has discovered the benefits of a comb). Motown-esque backing singers a bonus.

    To be fair to Shaky, he sounds more engaged with Blue Christmas than Elvis did, his version was a bit "contractual obligation". How come with all that snow falling, none of it lands on Stevensy? We did sort of need a ventriloquist's dummy to offset the look.

    Two more repeats, then Soft Cell. Marc looks absolutely tiny in this performance, not helped by Dave towering over him in the background. Was the tattoo applied with felt tip or was it authentic? Very repetitive tune that I don't remember at all, kitchen sink lyrics don't sound very goodwill to all men either, no wonder it faltered in the Christmas charts.

    Gawd, that awkward Bing and Bowie clip again! The odd thing is how they are singing different songs, and approaching their music in completely different ways, but still complement each other. Drummer Boy is not a song I like very much, though (and it has a horrible link to a notorious crime that curmudgeons trying to be nasty cool always point out).

    Then The Jam, telling us to succumbah to the Beatah Surrender, whatever that meant. All that's left is for Simes to bid us farewell behind a lady who has ripped off Boy George's look with incredible accuracy, and one of Zoo stripping off. One of the blokes, before you get excited. Unless blokes excite you, in which case knock yourself out.

    1. shalamar (who it must be remembered were originally an anonymous group of session singers and musicians) were i believe almost-named (thus avoiding contravening trademark laws) after an expensive perfume of the era called shalimar, in order to give the suggestion of something with a bit of class

    2. Right, thanks! Sort of like a UK band calling themselves Old Spice or Brut 33? There was a Super-Tramp, of course.

    3. sort-of, but in order not to be sued for unauthorised use of trademarked names they would have to be something like "auld spice" (in which case it might help if the act in question were scottish like yourself!) and "brute 33". another case like that does actually exist in that when chuck berry was looking for a girl's name for one of his song titles, inspiration came from some maybelline cosmetic product that happened to be hanging around in the recording studio (quite why is a mystery worth knowing in itself, but i digress). however crafty old chuck (who is probably quite schooled in legal matters given that he mostly managed himself) changed the spelling slightly to "maybellene"!

    4. Chuck should know where he stands legally because he's been arrested more than once!

  5. I never watch the Christmas TOTP re-runs, but can I critique the last three regular 1982 shows before the new year hits us?It’s half past ten on New Year’s Eve - let’s ‘ave it!

    A better than usual hosting by Slimes. Regarding the mugshots, that’s Kevin Rowland actually smiling, Madness’s Mike Barson blacked up as a snake charmer, and The Jam’s Bruce Foxton centre photo probably because Paul said “It’s our last single, you take a turn in the middle”.

    Good vocals, gentle choreography and a nice song by Shalamar, with Jody more involved and Jeffrey not allowed to body pop. That scamp!

    Only one novelty Christmas chart single every year, Simes? How wrong you’ll be this year. Where was mention of Renee in that intro? Renato would be the ideal Latin lover if you like ‘em chopsy and in static yielding clobber.

    Yazoo with backing singers, and Rockabilly Vince showing his eyes! Nice outfit there by Alf.

    Shakin’s totally scraping the Elvis barrel – were the other three EP tracks massacres of other Presley tunes? – even down to the all blue (peter) clothing.

    Nice clock effect for Culture Club’s outro, though the hands should really have read 9 to 5, as that’s how the song had moved up the chart. You think this is all thrown together, don’t you?

    A slower and less effective companion to “Bedsitter” for Soft cell, though the conch shell and the twig did their best to give this a bit of interest.

    David and Bing were already in the top ten of this chart (remember these spoof rundowns, TOTPites of old?)….

    1. wouldn't it have been brilliant if bing had performed with the ziggy flash? and the superimposed hair
      makes him look much better than in the syrup he's actually wearing in the video!

  6. Bates was a bit all over the place for this one, and that guy with his shirt open made Fairbrass look shy and retiring. As for the music...

    Shalamar - Not an overplayed 'housewife classic' this time. Just a very boring song.

    Yazoo - I've said before that I like this one. Is that a VIC 20 that Vince has got there?

    Shaky - Never to be heard again once the 'other' Christmas single by him (actually, he had 3!) came out 3 years later. It's not a bad version to be fair.

    Culture Club - They really were idiots to edit this one out of the early showing!

    Soft Cell - Usually, re-recorded version are not something I agree with. However, the (very slight) remix of this one for the 91 Greatest Hits collection did actually improve it. I don't think it's a bad tune but they absolutely shouldn't have released it at Christmas time!

    Bowie / Bing - Strangely enough, this one hasn't turned up much on the music video channels this Yuletide when you might have expected it to get more airplay if anything. I think it has a certain charm.

  7. A few things that no one's mentioned yet:

    After a few weeks where various TOTP presenters have dutifully listed Marvin Gaye's hit in the chart rundown as 'Healing', Slimes can't even bring himself to do that, and doesn't mention a title at all.

    Is it just me, or had Soft Cell blatantly ripped off the riff to 'Are 'friends' electric?' for this single, which I have no memory of?

    In the playout of the Blancmange song at the end, they used the proper version, complete with 'I'm up the bloody tree'. I wonder if someone got into trouble for introducing sensitive pre-watershed viewers to such a terrible swear word?

    1. what was so absurd about the "healing" saga was that we were apparently allowed to hear someone sing the word "sexual", but not say it!

      and it makes me laugh that "bloody" was seen as such a rude word (© johnny rotten 1976) back then, when people of my both my parents' and grandparents' generations routinely used the swear word "bugger". and even funnier, i'm sure a lot that did so didn't even know the actual meaning of the word!

      oh, and i thought that soft cell effort was more like a pale xerox of "wave hello, say goodbye"

    2. I meant to mention the use of 'bloody' in the Blancmange song but forgot! Definitely double standards there.

      There was one further incidence of Marvin Gaye's song title not being mentioned at all in the rundown, I think it was Peter Powell but then he's useless at doing it anyway so it may have been incompetence rather than censorship going on there!