Saturday, 9 April 2011
8/4/76: Vince Pinner Meets Rockers Uptown
At this stage Noel Edmonds was Radio 1 breakfast show host and about to start on Multi-Coloured Swap Shop that autumn. That move seems to have knocked the RP out of his accent, which is often in evidence here and on later TOTP appearances in this run (look up the famous Can intro, for one). Marvellously Hank Mizell is up to number 7 and his countdown still is two of those back-of-the-shop costumes. Fox, incidentally, entered at 41, their appearance making more of an impression 35 years hence than at the time.
Hot Chocolate – Don’t Stop It Now
Unpromisingly, smooth soul man Errol Brown has taken the Rod Stewart approach to mike stand technique, giving it the full base in the air business while holding it with both hands. It has a stand, y'know, Errol. Johnny Pearson's orchestra, while well within Musician's Union rules, seem particularly syrupy this week, which may explain why Errol and the bass player have a chat during the instrumental break during which both seem to be trying to make the other laugh. "They'd go down a wow collecting for charity, all that keep on giving it to me. Outrageous!" Noel gallantly suggests afterwards, seated at an abandoned organ.
ABBA – Fernando
ABBA performances never stand up to being deconstructed as at least they knew stagecraft, though Benny's giving it a go on the close-ups.
Paul Nicholas – Reggae Like It Used To Be
There's a flying start to this one as Noel lists Paul's entire musical and film CV over the intro, then states "this is going to be very successful forrrrrrrr... this man!" Noel, after all that build-up, clearly forgets who's warming up behind him even though he must have had cue cards, a script, access to rehearsals, memory etc. It turns out that's the least of our problems.
The mid-70s has latterly been tagged as the Golden Age Of Reggae. It was the year of King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown, Police And Thieves and Super Ape. Burning Spear, Big Youth, Dillinger, Max Romeo and U-Roy were all active. Marley had his biggest Billboard chart hit. A year later came Heart Of The Congos, Two Sevens Clash and Don Letts playing dub plates to punks at the Roxy. And yet someone saw fit to hire the bloke from Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar, give him a bowler hat and a thick pinstriped jacket (with nothing underneath) and have him sing about how the only reggae for him is from the good old days despite seemingly having no more knowledge of the genre then he would about sheet metal turning. The BBC orchestra and backing vocalists aren't helping, true (here he is miming to the recording elsewhere for comparison), but then the song devolves into a sax solo and an increasingly obtuse manner that turns the titular word into a verb: "You can reggae Beethoven, reggae anything you see". How does one go about reggaeing Beethoven, Paul? We never find out.
What we can say for it, as we were tipped off about this by celebrated DJ about town and latter day Paul Weller associate Andy Lewis, is it had a properly great psychedelic B-side:
The Beatles – Paperback Writer
"The resurgence of interest in the Beatles is going on and on and on" says Noel, which makes me wonder how much of a recursive resugence there could technically have been six years after their split. Four in the top 30, two more between 31 and 50, and commemorated by Pan's People in fringed white jumpsuits reading paperbacks at various distances between spins. In the round too, showing audience members more bemused than fond reminiscence ever suggests. Where do you get that many full book carousels in a hurry anyway? One book on prominent display is about the Third Reich, so they're not picky.
10cc – I’m Mandy Fly Me
An adapted concert clip in which proper live footage has four-part vocal harmonies in a line and acoustic guitar battles edited in amid a new slow fade every second. Studio tape worn through with overdubs, as per.
Linda Lewis – Baby I’m Yours
The old favourite, a disco soul singer put out on her own with no real idea of what to do once there. The forever being revived vocal range scraper gives the uncertain swing a go. "How does she get her hair like that? She must do it with rollers..." Noel envisages, partly as link to the next performance but instead making many wonder about him.
Bay City Rollers – Love Me Like I Love You
Compared to what's been presented as show so far, the Rollers have taken up pop Nuremberg. They start atop a huge globe, spinning clockwise around Eric Faulkner amid showers of sparks in slow motion. Then there's a lengthy close-up of Eric on a swing. One of the band attempts to juggle some small silver spheres. The band are put through lightning quick directorial cuts. There's a lengthy close-up of someone's crotch. Now all five are swinging around for no reason. None of this goes in any way with the song, which is chirpy and upbeat in a forgettable way.
The Four Seasons – Silver Star
Noel uses the intro to plug the later appearance of Frankie Valli. Not entirely sporting when confronted with a band boasting an invisible flute intro and a singing drummer. Not only had they changed since their heyday, they seem to have changed style since the previous year's December 1963 (Oh, What a Night) into a speedy shuffle about Westerns. The drummer really goes at his kit between vocals too.
The Carpenters – There’s A Kind Of Hush
Pan's People are back and they're dancing on podiums next to a large globe ("all over the world", see). Flick very much making do in a rush.
Sheer Elegance – Life Is Too Short Girl
There's some confusion online as to whether these came from Opportunity Knocks or New Faces. They don't seem to have won either, maybe because the world wasn't ready for a poor man's The Real Thing. Mainly because The Real Thing hadn't had any hits yet, in truth. But with their mix of matching tartan waistcoats over yellow dungarees over paisley shirts with collars that stretched to the shoulderblades, who could resist?
Frankie Valli – Fallen Angel
Before Valli, though, Noel gets to talk to Eric Carmen. All By Myself was about to come out but Noel had made his album his record of the week. Carmen, resembling a ruffled Julian Cope and wearing a shirt open enough to reveal a tablespoon sized medallion, really isn't keen on being interviewed and even less so when he realises once that's finished he's got to stand behind Noel for the rest of the intro looking like a lemon. The cameraman then takes so long to zoom onto Valli that we see Carmen get bored and start wandering off, only for Noel to grab him and indulge in further chat. Carmen then has to grab someone else by the arm and get them to move out of the way of the marauding camera as it attempts to mow several more down, unfortunately going nowhere near the man in a huge red and white pillarbox hat with tassles off the back. The performed piano ballad much less interesting. No wonder they cut Valli off early with that competition.
Brotherhood Of Man – Save Your Kisses For Me
Between last week and this the 'hood have gone to The Hague and pissed Eurovision, helping it become the year's biggest selling single. Back over on STN we're going to do some Eurovision-related charts in the week leading up to this year's gathering so we'll save further detail for then, save for this example of what a foreign film crew can achieve with a budget stretching to four bobby's hats from a fancy dress shop. OK, we know Eurovision songs have to be sung live, so when they all gather in the same shot how do we clearly hear the girls' first "I love you"s?
And at the end, some Barry White and a multi-lens shot of that globe. Like the thing now straddled by British pop, eh?