Tuesday, 14 June 2011

TOTP 3/6/76 (tx 13/6/11): here comes the summer

This repeat run is evidently proving so successful BBC4 have to keep moving it around to give other programmes a chance. No messing about for Tone, a fade from a spotlight into his face and small medallion, a simple "hello and welcome" and we're off. Incidentally James & Bobby Purify never appeared in the TOTP studio, perhaps because their label was worried about their cardboard selves getting damaged in transatlatic transit.

The G Band – Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep
The G Band? They did it by themselves, the leader was not present, Tony confirming they've "changed their name since Gary Glitter retired, of course". Glitter would, needless to say, go on to have another five top 40 singles, though none in the rest of this year, so on that score he kept his promise. Fair to say that without the leader's influence the Glittermen have come a little unstuck. For starters they've decided one drummer is enough, though whether the displaced sticksman the one with a Panama hat or the one in what seems to be a judo top with wings wielding a banjo isn't clear. Their idea of stage decoration for something that manages to neither be one style (glam) or another (MOR) is two totem poles, one seemingly painted as a parrot, and small fake cacti. This wasn't a hit. They never had one again, so ruining the reputation of the Glitter Band.

Dolly Parton – Jolene
Clearly too many lights for anything but a US country show and too much taffeta for TOTP styling. Someone seems to be trying to grow a full garden out of window boxes behind Dolly, even though that's clearly not the local fauna of Nashville.

New Edition – Sunshine Saturday
No, not the Bobby Brown one. Tony has two girls with him, Trish and Jackie by name, and it's as if he isn't thinking of informing an audience 35 years into the future as he refers to their appearing "a lot of times on television last year" and "the theme music to a particular show I'm going to tell you about in a moment". In fact they were Mike Batt's studio band, Chris Spedding and all, allied to the resident dancers from Seaside Special, the BBC1 prime time ratings killer for which this was that theme, in which a big top would be transported to a Torbay-level seaside town for a variety showcase typically involving Dana, Mike & Bernie Winters, dog obedience-based humour and Tony Monopoly. Getting some of the 'band' to introduce the rest of the 'band' is a new one, so it's no wonder the audience don't know where to look. In fact, not only are they in the studio, they're also out on the road doing the same routine. A man who looks the embodiment of the 70s pub singer right down to the dark glasses and is wearing white trousers so tight you can, as they say, see his religion sings about how he can't wait for the evening sun over still photos of the dankest, murkiest British (Brighton?) pier, people not so much lapping up the experience as there out of force of expediency. Meanwhile back on location our man is missing coconuts, performing with circus elephants at their back and perform some sort of pushing-based routine on a bus. Then we see lifeboats leaving massive wakes followed by water skiiers and powerboats, all under those same leaden skies that would go on to make Triangle such a glamorous hit. It looks like variety as decreed by communists. You are having fun. You are having fun. You are having fun. Seaside Special is back June 17th. You will have fun.

Gallagher & Lyle – Heart On My Sleeve
Ruby Flipper time, and the timeshare continues as it's just the four this week against a supposed moonlit sky with some very flimsy... are they meant to be palm trees? The choreography this time: walk around in unison a bit like the Monkees, twirl occasionally, then pair off in the middle for a bit and ballroom. It doesn't help that there's no discernible groove to dance to, but if the boys could get through TVC15 the thinking evidently was they could get through anything. Regular readers will not be surprised to learn Cherry's involved and giving it the little eyebrows to camera given half a chance. They will also not be surprised to hear Tony call them Ruby Slipper and make a reference to David Hamilton.

Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back In Town
It's Mr Thin Lizzy! This is pretty much where the withering goes on hold trumped by the weight of subsequent status, except to say that to the oft seen and clearly not TOTP as-live footage of the song footage of the audience hoofing nervously has been added. One girl is being gently moved by the hips by the arms of her boyfriend behind her, aware the camera is closing in on them and desperately not wanting to show that she wants this to stop as she only came in case Mud were on again.

Our Kid – You Just Might See Me Cry
Now this is what we can do. "Two of them are 12, two are 15" Tony approvingly states. You couldn't get away easily with using that age group for pop purposes now, even on Britain's Got Talent. An apposite comparison as Our Kid won the viewers' vote for New Faces about six weeks earlier, beating "Paul and Avis, young brother and older sister, singers and guitarists from Walsall; Chris North and Jill from Norwich, a speciality magic act; Johnny Hammond, a comedian and singer from the North-East; Simone, a singer from Exeter; and Cops, a five-man group." Hammond actually won the panel vote and has since been described as "the best stand up comic of our time" and "the comedian’s comedian, ahead of his time and completely unaware of his talent". By Chubby Brown and Jim Davidson respectively, it should be stressed. Our Kid, meanwhile, seem conflicted about whether they're meant to be a British teen soul sensation, though the orchestra might have given them an undue push in that direction, or are so laden with variety club cheese they should have cut out the middleman and book a lifetime's worth of Seaside Specials now to appeal to the mothers. In fact they pretty much did the latter, a horde of promotion for this single and summer season runs, and before long they'd worked far more days than they were supposed to under local authority rules and couldn't promote their follow-ups. By their big tie knots and lapel roses were we forced to judge them.

The Rolling Stones – Fool To Cry
The same studio-live footage that's been on the full version a couple of times and has got no less ponderous in the interim.

JJ Barrie – No Charge
Yeah, we sent it to number one. TOTP repay us with another studio performance with all the smarm elan of a used car salesman, a really marauding camera dolly and, to add spice, some intercut pictures of children from Pears Soap boxes. Maybe he was promised them for next time if it went to number one. At the end, a different boy smiles. Barrie never had another hit, despite recording with Brian Clough (or, more accurately, Clough recording over him). Here's Tammy Wynette's even sappier version, and here's Billy Connolly's. Chris White's Natural Rhythm plays out the light scan, and we're all back next Thursday wherever in time we are.

EDIT NEWS: Perhaps confirming our suspicions that no song will be allowed on these edits more than twice unless it went to number one, Cliff and - that girl will be happy - Mud hit the cutting room floor.


Steve Williams said...

I'm not sure Cliff and Mud were actually in ths show as Robin Carmody on The Mausoleum Club pointed out it was actually only half an hour long anyway. We'll find out on Thursday, presumably.

Anyway, hooray for BBC4 for showing The G Band, not because I particularly liked it, but because it shuts up internet bores going on about PC going mad and saying they'd never show it.

Tony was wearing the same outfit as on April 1st, of course. And some lookalikes...
The one of the right in Our Kid - Stewart Lee
The pissed-off looking guitarist on the left in The G Band - Bill Beaumont
And, of course
Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy - Cat Deeley.

Simon said...

Well, the repeats are 40 minutes long and Mud and Cliff are listed in DigiGuide's billing for all showings, but they could be working from the same inaccurate list I was. Shake It Down is going to prove interesting for my theory of the twice-only rule as they were on again in a couple of weeks. And it still only made number 12.

Simon said...

Oh yes, not to pre-empt any unpleasantness but PC gets another thorough psychological diagnostic test in five shows' time with One Hundred Ton And A Feather.

Steve Williams said...

Yeah, the repeats are forty minutes long, but then they were last time and that episode was only 35 minutes. And the week before the repeat was late because the Richard Clayderman concert ws actually an hour and not the fifty minutes they'd billed. So, not sure, really.

Of course, Channel Fove left King in when they showed the Christmas 85 Pops, but possibly that's just them wanting to do as little work as possible to it before showing it.

Arthur Nibble said...

Another lookalike - the G Band guitarist in the red top looks like 70's Welsh darts player Alun Evans (cue Fred Trueman and 'Indoor League' - I'll see thee!).

Talking of the G Band, it's the third consecutive week a chart flop opened the show, and the 2nd in three that a non-hit was used as the fadeout. Who booked these acts? Someone with a cracked crystal ball?

According to Tone, the Stones are straight in at number 6. Straight in??? Has he not seen or heard the chart for the past few weeks?

I bet a middle-aged couple were spluttering into their cocoa at the sight of some young roustabout with his hands round their daughter's midriff during Thin Lizzy. Bet it hacked off the smooth operator in the check jacket and black shirt who'd been throwing weird camera-grabbing shapes centre stage beforehand.

wilberforce said...

i didn't realise just quite how stagnant the charts were in 1976 - i think the only new entry this week was our kid (see below), so i was expecting the same old tired faces again (i remember back in those days thinking how quickly our charts turned over compared to the american ones ha ha...) however, the beeb sprung a couple of surprises even if they dire, starting with:

THE GLITTER (sorry - G) BAND - this sounded like the kind of thing the bay city rollers would turn down for being too twee. however, it might interest some that the b-side of this deserved flop is the corking funk workout "tuna biscuit", and whilst still trading as the glitter band they also turned out another ace floor-filler "makes you blind" (ooh er, missus)...

NEW EDITION - there's so many of them they make showaddywaddy look like a power trio in comparison! and if that guy with the shades was the best they could find to sing this rubbish, then the rest of them must have been tone deaf. and what was that other guy doing at the front anyway? the words "spare prick" and "wedding" come to mind... (also why was the guitar twice as loud as everything else?)... not only that, but they weren't much cop at dancing either, and the chorography (if there was any) made ruby flipper look like busby berkely... for those too young to remember "seaside special", those clips they showed during the performance do not lie - yes, it was really that naff. i'm pleased to say i not only never watched an episode, but also never went to any of the shows even though several were filmed in my home town (although i have to confess i once went down to the beach to watch the radio 1 roadshow)...

ruminations on the rest:

DOLLY PARTON - i have a memory of watching this clip back then thinking "why would any man in his right mind want jolene (or any other woman come to that) when he's got dolly?" - and i still do!

THIN LIZZY - i remember my nan practically shaking her fist at the telly in fury at phil lynott and the boys, ranting how disgusting those reprobates' long hair was!

OUR KID - this one's right up there with neil reid, the sparrows, and st winifred's school choir in the sickly-pre-pubescent-singing stakes. some may think the lead singer had a cherubic look, but i thought he had a face that screamed to be smashed in, which must have been particularly unfortunate for him bearing in mind where he came from... i'm ashamed to say that i owned (and wore) a whistle very similar to theirs as late as 1979! and there's worse to come - for some reason i never chucked it out, so a few years later when i moved to a new job in london, my mother not only bullied my other grandmother into altering the flares and aircraft-carrier lapels in a doomed attempt to make it look more fashionable, but also bullied me to wear it on my first day at work to create an impression. that i certainly did, but only a bad one - i was told later on that everyone thought i looked a right plonker! shortly after that i disposed of it in to one of those charity collection bins that sprung up in the wake of "live aid" - writing this jogs my memory of thinking how amusing it would be if some ethiopian was wandering around in it thinking he looked really cool!

CHRIS WHITE - how did you know about this one simon? i'd never heard of the guy, never mind the track. i find it baffling that they would play what was presumably a recently-released record without a mention of who it was by - small wonder it never charted (white's record company must have been tearing their hair out at such a waste of valuable plugging opportunity). i checked mr white out on discogs, and he is such a shadowy figure it seems there are actually two separate entries for him, one relating to his time in 60's band the zombies, and another to his short-lived solo career that yielded one minor hit single.

Arthur Nibble said...

I can't check the Chart Stats site as it's been hacked, but there was definitely more than one new entry as Billy Paul was new at 30. Chris White had that one minor hit, a gentle Beach Boys influenced swayer called Spanish Wine (released on Charisma - I'll get my coat) which I think reached number 32. I remember Chris made ToTP, sitting on a stool looking petrified but placated by some appreciative people in the front row.

Arthur Nibble (again) said...

Sorry, just one last email. Chart Stats is up and running again, and I worked out there were 3 new entries this particular week, the missing one being The Real Thing - not even in the top 50 last week despite an appearance, now straight in at 22.

wilberforce said...

oops, looks like the chris white in question here is not the zombies' chris white after all:


Anonymous said...

Doesn't JJ Barrie bear a strong resemblance to our Prime Minister David "just call me Dave" Cameron?

Anonymous said...

Just to confirm: the unedited repeat of 3/6/76 did include repeat performances of Cliff and Mud (in that order) from 20/5/76, in between the Stones and JJ Barrie.

Neil Barker

Steve Williams said...

Yes, I do beg your pardon. Presumably the Radio Times rounded it down that week. We also had the longest playout ever, a good two minutes, with the cameraman getting very bored at the end and just swinging it around anywhere.

Noax said...

A lot of repeat performances and videos this week made for a pretty dull show.

However, I did enjoy the fact that the guitarist on the far left in the G Band looked like Peter Baynham (of many Armando Iannucci shows fame) wearing a wig.

I also found the section of what can only be described as 'boat porn' during the New Edition performance about 10 times as entertaining as the rest of it. My Grandad bought one of those awful Summertime Special theme song records. I remember it was called 'Get a little sand between your toes' and I can't remember the artist but suspect it was The New Edition again. It wasn't a hit.

Simon said...

While we're all here, a word about the Guardian blog piece about the repeats from the 2nd which somehow manages to confuse David Hamilton for David Jensen, who was admittedly on the TOTP roster from early 1977 after joining Radio 1 in September 1976, but neither of those dates are before June 1976.

wilberforce said...

a belated thought: as you probably know, around this time there were next-to-no mainstream music programmes on the telly other than TOTP, yet i remember watching one such show around this time...

i can't remember if it was an ITV show (possibly), if it was a kids' show (likely), or even if it was a dedicated music show (probably not), but i do remember it featured gallagher and lyle performing 3 or 4 numbers off their new album "breakaway", including the shortly-to-be hits "i wanna be with you" and "heart on my sleeve" (i quite liked the latter at the time, but find it a bit schmaltzy these days)...

does anyone else remember that show and what it was called?

Steve Williams said...

Hmm, this is only a guess but I wonder if it might be The Geordie Scene. I mention this because in one of the Look-In Annuals there's a review of all the ITV pop shows, which includes 45 with Kid Jensen, Saturday Scene and Shang-a-Lang, plus also The Geordie Scene, a Tyne Tees production, which despite the name didn't exclusively feature North East bands and was networked, and I remember the article saying bands were able to perform a complete set on it. That's the only reason I suggest it.

wilberforce said...

steve you're probably right about this - thanks! here's some confirmation:

it seems tyne tees made quite a lot of these shows (often featuring quite credible acts) judging from this:

wouldn't it be great if someone could re-show them like the old TOTP's?
i only ever saw that one episode, probably because the regional ITV franchise in my area (Westward TV) only used them when they had nothing else to show...
for the record, Westward's greatest (in fact only) contribution to broadcasting history was a glove puppet called Gus Honeybun, whose act consisted solely of jumping up and down, the number of times dependent on the birthday of the child whose card was being read out by the presenter who also did the news... real groundbreaking stuff!

ps - steve, why isn't "geordie scene" featured in "TV Cream"...?

Old Applejack said...

Gus Honeybun was the highlight of my childhood holidays in Paignton. Don't forget the magic button.

Anyhow, meagre fare for the studio audience this week - I'd have felt really short-changed with that shower performing in front of me.

Steve Williams said...

Someone pointed out on another forum that there were only two acts in front of the audience, New Edition and The G Band, with Our Kid being pre-recorded. Thin gruel indeed.

Not wishing to recycle stuff from Creamguide, but someone wrote in the other week to say they were in the audience in 1985 and the acts they saw were Opus, Denise LeSalle, The Conway Brothers and, pre-recording for a future show, Russ Abbott. Now that's a ropey line-up, and they pointed out all four were making their one and only appearance on the show.

In the long-forgotten men's mag Later, there was a piece about Pops where somebody said they were in the audience one week and only about twenty people turned up, so they all had to cram in really close to each other. I'd love to know what episode that was.

Can I say that Geordie Scene suggestion was a complete guess, so hooray for me.

wilberforce said...

oh yes, gus honeybun's magic button - i forgot about that... as well as that and the bunny hops, (i needed to refer to wikipedia to remimd me) the ubiquitous gus also managed other incredible feats such as ear waggles, headstands, winks, and putting out the lights.

in the light of this i obviously have to retract my views and concede that with these amazing innovations westward tv was in fact the colossus of regional ITV companies, far outstripping the likes of granada and tyne tees and their dismal shows such as coronation street and the tube...

Adam Maunder said...

Probably too bloody late for this to make any difference, but I add my two penn'orth nonetheless:

For Seaside Special, I refer to Andrew Pixley's superb book 'The Goodies: Super Chaps Three' (now available from Kaleidoscope); the lads appeared on that June 19th show: 'Viewed now, the edition featuring the Goodies is a pungent example of the sort of 1970s programme that has now died out. It is simultaneously aweful & awful.'

Lest you forget, it featured Ken Dodd, Tony B, the cast of Are You Being Served?, Charlie Cairoli & Showaddywaddy. The Goods sang 'Bounce!', and bantered with Tony to the effect that he said he liked their records, but not their jokes. Oddie's reply: 'That's funny - we get them all from this book [The Tony Blackburn Book of Jokes]!' This got 13 million viewers. Just so you know.

Oh, and "It looks like variety as decreed by communists"? Sounds like Blackpool to me.

I thought 'Heart on My Sleeve' was the musical equivalent of that fabulous remark (I'm afraid I forget who said it) which suggested Edward Woodward's name sounded like a fart in a bath.

Surprised nobody's mentioned the woman 'dancing' to Thin Lizzy was so flagrantly braless. ... (OK, now I understand why nobody mentioned it.)

Re: 'No Charge'. Now, I'm not sure that this'll mean anything here, but as a country fan, I thought it at least worthy of a going-over, namely - the most distressing thing about that bloody song is that its author, Harlan Howard, wrote so many of the very greatest songs to come out of Nashville; 'I Fall to Pieces', 'He Called Me Baby', 'Busted'... 'Three chords & the truth' was his motto, and it's sad that he was clearly so hard-up as to have to resort to such shit-eating cynicism as 'No Charge' to disprove himself.

The song itself was initially a hit in the States for sometime duet-partner of George Jones, Melba Montgomery, but I was most astonished recently to find a 45 in amongst my father's old stuff of a rendition by black gospel firebrand the Rev. Shirley Caesar. It's crap, too.

I think whoever it was suggested it was a Mother's Day tune was probably right; such craven commercialism makes 'Save All Your Kisses for Me' sound like a masterpiece in comparison.

OK, done with boring y'all now. Laters...