Friday, 29 April 2011

TOTP 29/4/76: but Spaghetti Junction's nowhere near the M1!

A parish notice first, passed on by TV Cream - so you know there's no TOTP next week but that week's corresponding show will be broadcast on the 13th. However, when it returns, while the first showing will still be edited down to the half hour, the repeat later that night and on the Thursday will be full length. Should we review both? Remember we have a life to lead.

Tony Blackburn, his essential Tony Blackburn-ness shining through. Rather to rub it in, the Stylistics picture is now them on stage three weeks previously, bloke on stool and all.

Slik – Requiem
They'd had a number one in February with Forever And Ever, but Slik are almost entirely now a footnote as being Midge Ure's first band of note, prior to the Rich Kids, not being a Sex Pistol, Visage, Thin Lizzy for a bit, Ultravox, Dolce envy, Geldof lackey, that video with the pin screen, marrying Annabel Giles, his daughter being in girl-group-with-guitars The Faders, and whatever he does now. The start rips off Manuel & the Music Of The Mountains, which had only been a hit in March. That sort of uncertainty is apparent throughout, not least as half the band are in baseball gear. Slik were supposed to be a Bay City Rollers Juniors of sorts, but even that one that was on the other week wasn't quite this ponderous. At least Midge remembers to make a point of looking down the camera at all times. It gets cut off just as a guitar solo starts, but that's their own fault for putting it so late in the show. Tony is with a girl sporting a hat of quite remarkable dimensions, so much so most of it is off the top of the frame. A pity, as its design, mostly crepe paper by the looks of it, seems pretty involved, certainly more so than the bowler titfer still sported by...

Paul Nicholas – Reggae Like It Used To Be
Hooray! Tony calls it "fantastic" in introduction (and then gets the title wrong), and Paul's there in the studio actually wearing a shirt this time. A kid in the audience is quite right to be frantically waving his friends towards the stage. As with Harpo the live version does the recording no favours despite speeding up the tempo, although the song does nothing any favours at all. Although, those lyrics. We've covered reggaeing Beethoven, you may wonder what "reggae pneumonia" would be and how it might be fixed by just taking in more reggae, but can we also draw attention to "if it's good enough for Stevie, if it's good enough for Paul..." Presumably he means Macca in C-Moon terms, but Paul... you are a Paul. Don't go introducing another one in the conversation unbidden. "Don't remember reggae like that, do you?" vaguely chortles Tony, having changed his mind now he's seen the thing in action, even if he does then call it "a really good sound".

Andrea True Connection – More More More
As previously spoilered this was Pan's People's final week, though Tony doesn't say so at any stage and Noel hardly seems bothered with mentioning the end of an eight year stint the following week. The dress code is a memorable way to bow out, though, tube tops, imitation grass skirts, red stilletos and some sort of material tied around the waist, essayed within some sort of cube cage construction seemingly based on a POW prison like Pan's Tenko. "I take it Pan must have at some time been a member of the mafia" says Tony, making no sense at all.

Electric Light Orchestra – Nightrider
A "fantastic sound" now. Cello-heavy, certainly, but sounding much as you'd expect ELO to sound, unlike their best songs which sound little like you'd thought Jeff Lynne would ever pull off. Oh, for disco. Kelly Groucutt is sporting some magnificent mutton chops and is dressed as if part of Robin Hood's gang. This didn't chart, by the way.

Diana Ross – Love Hangover
Not in the studio, but a promo that makes her from-a-train-pensively Theme From Mahogany look like Hype Williams. It's just panned promo photos and old film of her dancing in various dresses. The bit where it stops and starts again as disco doesn't affect things any.

Laurie Lingo & The Dipsticks – Convoy GB
Oh god. DLT and Paul Burnett, of course, with a song that makes even less sense if you don't know CW McCall's original Convoy (and that doesn't make sense if you don't know CB radio language), and given that can't have been purposefully played on the radio for the best part of two and a half decades why would you. Being an attempt at a mid-70s comedy record by Radio 1 DJs there's dubious accents to go and a Jimmy Saville impersonation. Let's not dignify this with much more discussion, especially as nobody's yet uploaded it to YouTube so we can discuss the black studio performance, save to say the B-side was called Rock Is Dead. It's like punk happened.

Eric Carmen – All By Myself
Another one clearly not filmed in front of that week's audience, given away by how he's at the piano and then grasps a microphone in head and shoulders shot. The kaleidoscope lens gets a work-out, the lighting people work their magic, but it's not helping much.

The Bellamy Brothers – Let Your Love Flow
Two hairy men grinning and strumming like their lives depend on it in a pre-recorded promo. Drivetime rock is a very different beast in America, and it's not always likeable.

Brotherhood Of Man – Save Your Kisses For Me
"I think they're going to be there for life" Tony warns. Don't worry, it's the last week of the unilateral head wobbling and leg lifting. For the occasion it's a completely new performance of unknown source and with no audience, Martin Lee in a red sweater rather than his social club frilly shirt suit. You've never seen four women encircling a TOTP presenter looking as anxious as those at the end do. Ironically the last men standing in terms of TOTP play this week are the Stylistics, the kaleidoscope camera shooting, at last, aimlessly dancing audience members.

EDIT NEWS: For some reason most of Twitter thought Fox had been edited out. They weren't, they're on the next one, though it's just the first week's performance repeated. The editing does bear discussion here, because a) it's a quite brilliant edit, showing Tony's back-announcement of Eric Carmen then naturally linking into a brief voiceover at the start of the Bellamy Brothers clip, and b) in between those two three in a row have been removed. The running order this week does seem incredibly awkward, three studio performances out of the first four followed by promo, pre-filmed, pre-filmed, studio, promo, Pan's People, promo, repeat. Yet what's been removed is, in order, Gladys Knight and the Pips' Midnight Train To Georgia (though it's on again a couple more times), that Silver Convention cartoon promo for the second time and... Pan's People's last stand! Now, as we've said their exit was ignominious as it was and they were dancing to something that's already been played in the studio, the Four Seasons' Silver Star. This dancers on TOTP fan site archives it, where as you can tell Flick and the costumiers really went for it (no, they are wearing proper tops, you can see the straps at the back), but it seems to have been excised purely because of how it landed in the running order. Maybe the Bellamy Brothers or Diana Ross promos could have been carefully cut around, but it's possible it wasn't so easy to edit Tony's links, or they really wanted to keep the Bellamys in for Barclaycard reasons. Whatever, there they went, sashaying off into the sunset. Apart from the couple who stayed on for Ruby Flipper, of whom more in a fortnight.


wilberforce said...

the hair-raising adventures of a DJ: part 2...

in recent times a badly-aging tony blackburn has seemingly taken to wearing the most appalling toupee (his "hair" sticks out miles from the back of his neck, which is usually a giveaway). so judging from his carefully combed-forward hairdo on this weeks edition of TOTP, perhaps tony's travails with his tresses had already begun. but was he fortunate or not that long hair was still sufficiently fashionable at that point to think he might get away with such a daft look? anyway, i bet both he and diddy were green with envy at noel's luxuriant bouffant...?

Arthur Nibble said...

Frightening, almost subliminal, picture of a semi-naked Johnny Taylor at number 30 in the rundown - this position gets less airtime than positions 29 to 4 due to the cut of the music. Surely they could have found a picture of Johnny wearing at least a string vest?

Also, unless it's my eyesight, aren't there only four Pan's People dancers this week despite five being listed in the end credits, unless there's a rotation squad for the two dances in this edition?

Simon said...

That's true. That would also explain why the Wiki page only lists four girls as being its final line-up (Cherry, Sue, Mary and original member Ruth) when there were five over the previous few weeks, Lee having appeared and already disappeared towards the end. Cherry and Sue stayed over for Ruby Flipper, by the way.

Steve Williams said...

There's been four Pan's People for the last few weeks, actually, I think since Jungle Rock, and of course in Disco Connection there was only three, Sue, Ruth and Cherry, even though Mary/Lee is still billed in the credits.

I've never heard the second verse of Convoy GB before, as it happens. I do like Travis' corpsing during it, especially in the line "he ain't gonna play no soul, ten four" when he's wetting himself. Surprised that Tony actually gives away who they are, surely you want an air of mystery about your colleagues doing a record, if only to stop people thinking it's a fix?

Steve Williams said...

Oh, by the way, I think he said "the raffia". Big on puns, Tone.

FishyFish said...

Things of note this week...

1) Midge Ure can be seen shedding a tear at the start when he says he's "sorry to see love die". Something in his eye, or a premonition of the entire Joe Dolce tragedy set to blight his future hopes of an Ultravox #1?

2) Eric Carmen's truly atrocious miming - was he in training to be a ventriloquist or something?

Darren said...

Love the blog. Great idea, and your blog will definitely be bookmarked for future reference.

I have to say that the Paul Nicholas single was one the most atrocious pieces of garbage I've ever had the misfortune to witness.

I can't believe enough people bought that single to propel it up the charts.

Anonymous said...

Warning : Laurie Lingo is now on Youtube!

Neil Barker

Mr. X said...

One of the Bellamy Brothers looks like a Bassett hound!

daf said...

What was up with the aspect ratio of the Diana Ross promo? Even when I stretched to widescreen, parts of it were still squished up. Very odd.

Was this the last time ELO came into the studio? Nice to see Jeff Lynne's actual eyes for a change too!
He always seems like a hairy mole peering up into the sunlight for the first time.

This Laurie Lingo performance had a startling bit at the end - the 'suicide jockey' (whatever THAT is) with photo of Jimmy Savile bit.
I can't imagine this being played EVER again!