Sunday, 10 July 2011

"We were not being given everything that was out there and certain decisions were being made on our behalf"

It's a prime-time music show, Paul Morley. Come on. Anyway, for the next week you can see The Story Of 1976, the season-launching BBC4 documentary that is basically 50 minutes all about how the show, the presenters and nearly all the music was shit, but why not enjoy our thorough re-run anyway. Plus it supposedly strives to cover everything the show did but only mentions Pan's People as show dancers despite their being axed at the end of April.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I watched this again last night. Even if they'd wanted to feature punk bands on the show they couldn't anyway as hardly any records of that genre had been released yet, though of course they conveniently avoid mentioning this! Stanley Appel was wrong though about TOTP only being chart-based as we all know about Tarney & Spencer, New Edition etc.

Neil Barker.

The Man said...

You take a good old fashioned punk band like The Damned. You know when their first appearance on totp was? April 1979...

Simon said...

It was a really odd way to approach the series, demeaning this big long run they're embarking on as of a show out of touch and just another branch of prime-time light entertainment (which arguably it was for its entire life - much as the party vibes of the first half of the 80s kickstarted a golden period they don't have much to do with it being all about the music)

FWIW the first punk record to appear on TOTP was the Jam's In The City in May 1977.

Simon said...

And the Damned were on for their first hit single. Punk was such a pariah for those couple of years that the BBC wouldn't have let it near prime-time out of context.

Adam Maunder said...

These comments have sparked a memory: this piece by Tracy-Ann Oberman struck me at the time as being possibly the most sensible thing I'd ever read about TOTP, and it's still in there punching, I think.

Have a click (having first copy 'n' pasted it into your address bar, of course):

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/jun/28/arts.pop?INTCMP=SRCH

Simon said...

Fair points there - a lot of the online clips of the odder TOTP acts are made better because the presenter clearly doesn't know what's going on, right up to Richard Blackwood introducing John Otway.

However, because I'm an anal retentive, I've just checked and Seven Tears came out two years after A Forest.

Noax said...

Who knew that Tracy-Ann Oberman was a good columnist? I certainly didn't!

As I'm also anally retentive, and assuming that she didn't just make up The Cure as a 'generic scary looking band' and it was a mixed up memory, I've had a look at the Top 40 chart book for some alternatives as to what she might've seen -

Classix Nouveaux? Gary Numan doing 'Music for Chameleons'? Maybe the best candidate would be 'Damned don't cry' by Visage. Now there's a top tune.

Simon said...

In fact I have an episode guide here and A Forest was preceded in the studio by Smokie's Take Good Care Of My Baby, which isn't particularly party friendly either. And in fact here's laughing boy Bob and friends, with a perhaps not in keeping Steve Wright outro.

The Cockney Rejects were on later in the same show. What sort of counselling would that audience have needed?

Adam Maunder said...

Good to know it was as piquant a piece as I remembered, the odd factual inaccuracy notwithstanding.

While I'm here, is there a good tome dealing with the show that's worth heading in the general direction of? I know there's the Beeb's own one they've been flagging up with a pack-shot/voiceover spiel after the repeats:

http://www.bbcshop.com/music/top-of-the-pops-top-40-tv-gold/invt/9781846073274/

Is that worthy of a punt, or are there others of which I know not?

Noax said...

That books not bad actually - there'll be lots of things you already know of course, but there were quite a few things that I didn't. There are some decent pics too.

I haven't come across any other books specifically about the Pops.

Steve Williams said...

You might be able to find on eBay the book Steve Blacknell did about Pops in 1985, or indeed the other Pops book in 2001, although both are full of annoyingly imprecise anecdotes and stuff about drugs and bribes which I don't care about.

The book they plug now is OK, but there's too much swearing in it!

Adam Maunder said...

Thanks, chaps - duly noted! See you (in a virtual, internet-sense) in a day or two.