Parish notices first, in the wake of last week's by far the largest number of comments for one show. Pan's People and TOTP Dance Troupes are interviewing those who strutted for the greater Pops good, one per month, starting with three Gojos but for our timeline purposes getting round to Lulu in October and Sue in December. We suppose you can drop questions off via that site.
Hey ho, it's DLT! He too seems to be riffing on the long hot summer by wearing big shades, but is the rest of his face burnt or has something been chromakeyed over his eyes or... oh, no, they've wrongfooted us all again by superimposing his finishing the opening sentence onto one of the lenses, pointlessly. Billy Connolly's in the top 30, unfortunately not appearing on the show any time soon with his ultra-quick parody No Chance as it doesn't seem to be the most family friendly of songs. At least they've found a picture of him looking his most affable.
Here's a question with no set answer - why was Queen's You're My Best Friend, already on its way down but still in the top ten, never represented on the show when labelmates Sunfighter were?
Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - Here Comes The Sun
Oh, sweet meterological irony. The graphics team do their best with what we must presume to be a rain shower effect but actually seems to be strips of foil overlaid as a far too hairy man prods at far too many keyboards. The second Beatles version we've had in this run (and the first is imprinted on all our brains forever) is one of no fixed pace, rattling away in rhythm and keyboard run even as Harley refuses to budge from its normal speed. The bass player is wearing a Cockney Rebel T-shirt, Harley at one point sings towards a camera at the back of the stage which is quite some queueing and it becomes noticeable that someone has the dual job of bongos, which remain largely untouched, and tuned percussion, the fake playing of which is exemplary. Then there's some varispeeded outro vocals, which Steve makes a valiant attempt of looking cool while miming. Oh, and this actually was a hit for once of an opening song.
David Dundas - Jeans On
DLT, in his Florida World Football League top - how glamorous that must have seemed at the time, the idea Radio 1 disc jockeys got to go right across the Atlantic as a matter of course and then show off about it - claims it's about "something that we do first thing in the morning - well, for me personally it's second thing". There's no wink or little eyebrows to suggest double entrende, so that could mean anything. It could just be he's being scrupulously accurate about how he gets up first thing. It could. Advertising jingle writer made good Dundas is wearing pink trainers and slacks, the big liar, and is playing a keyboard that looks like a typewriter from the side angle, but the attention is instead drawn to a woman right at the front who seems to be enacting St Vitus' Dance, all pointy elbows and physical upper body jerks. Soon enough a wider angle reveals the truth, that there are three women dancing in front of the stage in, well, jeans but also tight white T-shirts bearing the legend 'HOT GOSSIP'. Now, Arlene Phillips' gusset-gyrating Everett sidelings did exist at the time but as far as I can find they had no direct connection with Dundas, and what are they doing on Flick's patch anyway? Had they heard on the interpretative shimmying grapevine that Ruby Flipper were in trouble and decided to cheekily stake an early claim? Surely, with all now six of the residents about to take their marks, any interlopers could be chased out. If they wanted a peaceful resolution, could the unions not have been brought in? Whoever these invaders are they require some work, all three never managing to simultaneously choreograph anything, one just off on a turning round and arms high in the air freestyle. There's a lot of spinning on the spot too, as well as some pushing out of chests to get word in for any viewing competing producers. Whatever, there's a couple of typically uncommittally frugging girls at the front getting increasingly annoyed by it all. Meanwhile Dundas plays on affecting nonchalance.
The Isley Brothers - Harvest For The World
Eventually Ruby Flipper get their oats. "All expense spared on the costume" DLT... jokes or knows? Because at first there's three different routines. Stage right Patti and Floyd are slow dancing, her in evening wear, him in something that seems to be made out of second hand tartan. In the centre Philip lives it up as a silver trousered ringmaster with two flappers, while stage left it's TOCG in some sort of two-tone get-up. Around them an audience clap, more in hope than expectation that this might lead anywhere. Patti gets to mug a kiss to camera. What does it all have to do with the song? Nothing, but it has a rhythm that brings forward awkward body shifting, though Lulu is rather splendidly caught singing along. Philip then gets a solo spot and goes for it with some vigour as the non-Patti girls get together to form an impressive circle of spinning and outreaching. Before long all six are off into the crowd, and in one of those moments of directorial indecisiveness we see the floor manager rush into a shot back from the stage towards the retreating dancers to push some people out of the way. They knew how to handle a crowd then, with force and not caring whether it was seen by the nation or not. Even then the camera has to keep zooming in and eventually just cuts outlying Flipperers out altogether. For a closing piece de resistance, everyone grabs a partner out of the crowd in the hope they'll match their exultations. As Lulu's partner can't even get the moving from side to side in time right that seems a vain hope but the seemingly spontaneous nature is somewhat dulled when you find someone on Pan's People etc has spotted that Floyd's partner is Pan's Person and Flipper co-manager Ruth Pearson. TOCG gets DLT. Of course she does.
Johnny Wakelin & The Kinshasa Band – In Zaire
In another triumph of the editor's art we cut from DLT being frankly flung about, and not before time, to DLT in a different part of the studio looking across and feigning weariness. It's at this point he tries to affect a black American accent, possibly in tribute to Ali ahead of Wakelin's Rumble In The Jungle tribute. It doesn't suit... anyone. And it's a drum circle! Or at least two drummers plus a self-consciously I'm-mad-me bloke in the middle in a pilot jacket and polka dotted trousers wielding a massive maraca in one hand and two tambourines in the other. Meanwhile the guitarist has on voluminous flares and Wakelin has gone for the pimp Sly Stone camouflaged in a carpet warehouse look. Pink fedora, outgrown pencil tache, ageing supper club comedian shades, jacket-cum-waistcoat with card suit symbols sewn in ("an explosion in a paint factory" DLT says when Wakelin's safely out of earshot, which can't be right given it has definite patterns), the lot. Bearing in mind he was a club singer in his late thirties from pre-hip Brighton it feels wrong to hear him emote about Elijah Mohammed while having to write in two seperate goes at pronouncing the titular country, but that's Love Thy Neighbour-era Britain for you. Only to add that on Spotify there's a whole album of Wakelin songs about boxers, proving there's a man who knows his market as much as he knows his wardrobe.
5000 Volts – Dr Kiss Kiss
It's her again! It's a new performance but Linda Kelly still moves like it's a works night out and is now sporting something that can't decide whether it's dress, robe or curtain. Her bandmates just look even sleazier, guitarist and bassist alike favouring the plunging neckline, the latter with a silk shirt and more top lip hair, the former in a red playsuit. The whole charade crashes down, though, as we get to the talkbox bit and the guitarist - let's dignify him with a name, Martin Jay, who was later involved with Tight Fit somehow - realises they didn't bring it. His solution is to make a "ooh" face, grin and look to his right, where the bassist is trying not to look at him for fear of giggling too much. The bass drum and panels around the back of the stage start flashing via the magic of CSO but it's far too late to distract from the moment. Quite a few people start wandering towards the stage right at the end of the song, perhaps in wanton hope. This is on twice more, by the way. It's the new Shake It Down.
Johnny Cash – One Piece At A Time
While going through his full range of expressions DLT extends an arm as if showing us the other stage. Cash is, of course, on tape on a much grander stage. Because he's Johnny Cash and he's singing about essentially stealing a car he can get away with abandoning his guitar halfway through with no change in the sound. Because it's US TV they feel no shame in adding canned laughter that doesn't match the crowd size or imagined ambience at all. DLT claims his engine fell out in Amersham last Sunday. He may or may not mean his car.
1776 – Oh Susannah
Well, this is a mess. First off, it's a grandstanding arrangement of a California Gold Rush song traditionally performed by blackface minstrel troupes by a French band named after the year of American independence. Secondly, singer Jacques Mercier (who in his previous band Dynastie Crisis had invented rap) is rum indeed, bald and with an extravagant moustache he's either the prototype for cartoons of dumb-bell lifting strongmen or the violent prisoner Charles Bronson, were the latter ever to favour purple trousers of a width you could hold Summertime Special in. There's some staging going on here as we begin on a close up of him before slowly panning out and a lighting change revealing bloody loads of people, four extra musicians and eight gospel singers. Mercier certainly has an expressive way of singing, lots of muso looking into the lights and the occasional Eric Clapton feint. It's hard to know what to make of all this. That's probably why nobody bought it and 1776 didn't make a second single.
Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
Again with Kiki's pink dungarees for its first week of six (sorry) at number one. If this video ever looks rushed that's because it was, being shot in one take with three cameras and no rehearsal at a tiny dressed up soundstage round the back of a Rod Stewart TV special taping. DLT introduces the closing KC & the Sunshine Band and says goodbye "on behalf of Phil, Brian and the rest of the maniacs who work here". Don't drag them all into your private hell!
EDIT NEWS: The Sensational Alex Harvey Band again - no idea at time of writing which of the two performances, though it does mean two very differing songs about the American War of Independence in one show - and the grand return of Sheer Elegance, who by now are well beyond the reasoning of mortals. Check the evidence of It's Temptation - the outfits of a boxing Santa Claus with their trademark wing collars, some sort of early business with beads, a Hitler moustache and the half-hidden confession that the object of their love is under 16.
Next show Thursday 18th. Alternative Canon Week next week.