Thursday, 4 August 2011

TOTP 22/7/76 (tx 3/8/11): states of independence

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.

40 comments:

Steve Williams said...

Apart from Travis I thought this one was highly entertaining. The dickhead from 5000 Volts, whose grins and smirks to the camera are already irritating me, forgetting the talkbox was brilliant.

I liked how the wedding cake stage was way too small for the whole of Johnny Wakelin's band, though the percussion was having a whale of a time, laughing it right up. Apparently Johnny Wakelin has one leg, I dunno which one it is.

I've always liked the bassist from Cockney Rebel, who I always think looks like a black Jim Rosenthal, because I like how he always grooves along to the music. And his mate, who was pissing himself laughing as well. I also like the laughter during Johnny Cash, and Cash corpsing during the "punchline", and the way he can't be bothered with half the guitar.

It was the first Alex Harvey performance, the stripy shirt, presumably the other one was considering too unsettling to show again. The other bit we lost in the edit was of course, as has been mentioned, Travis back announcing David Dundas and linking into Dorothy Moore and contriving to say "piece of music" four times in quick succession.

It's intriguing to wonder how it was all filmed, though, it's only in the extended version you can tell Travis was even in the studio at the same time as the bands and the audience, he does most of the links alone, yet then he joined Ruby Flipper. But then 1776 were performing on the same massive stage without an audience. But if they were pre-recording huge chunks of it, why are they leaving all the "It's called... from Champs Boys" fluffs in?

ximeremix said...

In Zaire - one of the best worst performances ever on TOTP. The guy 'playing' percussion's whiskers (no beard there) were absolutely fantastic, I couldn't keep my eyes off him.

Was there also a cut on Here Comes The Sun? It sounded like a bad meld just after the first chorus.

Such a shame TSAHB were not shown again, though I'm glad it wasn't the second performance!

Cheers once again for this blog - so much entertainment value comes from your writing. Ever thought of putting it all down book-form?

Simon said...

To be honest, even in these vanity e-publishing days I think the market for sarcastic overviews of the forgotten acts on 35 year old music shows is sluggish if not non-existent. I'm always available for filler quotes in newspaper articles, though, unless they're "BRING BACK TOTP" in nature, in which case I'd only go on about the Star Bar and Richard Bacon at dull length.

Anonymous said...

Here, here; this blog is as entertaining as the show. In fact I have got into the habit of watching the show in tandem with your commentary. One request though - any chance of you blogging the full show rather than the edited one?

For what it's worth I thought 1776 were as, ahem, entertaining as some of the other lost gems. They reminded me of Queen - a bald Freddie and a theatrical arrangement reminescent of Bohemian Rhapsody et al. Perhaps you were being kind to call the ragbag of "square" backing singers Gospel..!!

Anyway, great stuff.

Bobby Morrow said...

Not quite so many special moments this week...

Steve Harley; I always thought I liked this record. Of course, since them I've become more familiar with the Beatles original and haven't heard Harley's take on the song since it's chart life, but even so this is a bit of a shambles. It was so rough I even foolishly imagined they were singing live! Poor Harley was possibly realising that 'Make Me Smile' would be the pinnacle of his career and that he'd have to resort to covers to get attention. Doesn't he look young, though? And why does he have a better head of hair now than he did 35 years ago?

David Dundas; Always liked this and my fondness has endured. What was the advert it was inspired by for though? A mate says it was Shell oil, I seem to think it was Brutus jeans. Better than 'Another Funny Honeymoon' by quite some margin.

Sheer Elegance; I don't believe they ever charted after 'Life Is Too Short Girl' and this song seems to have spectacularly inappropriate lyrics. In fact, I keep having to replay it just to pick out further indecencies. And to think they booted Jonathan King off! (And I would add the future looks bleak for Gary Glitter's remaining hits too...) Still, they get points for their equally indecent costumes and that wonderful little jig in the instrumental break.

1776; Presumably the position this reached in the chart. Now I like a joke but this is taking things just too far! Agree with Simon's Bronson reference, except, of course, he was nowhere near as scary...

5000 Volts; Oh no, gravelly voices are in. Next thing you know someone will invent Bonnie Tyler... There's just something 'off' about this song and the group. The lead singer gives it her all and even carries on valiantly after an improvised head toss sees a good chunk of her hair become embedded in her extremely wide mouth. So wrong it's almost right.

Johnny Cash; Yes I know he was supposed to be cool, but this type of thing is the reason people hate country music. Remarkably unfunny and not clever in the least. Come back Shania Twain, all is forgiven.

Elton and Kiki; This was the only song from this weeks show I actually bought on vinyl. I loved it then and even today it embodies the summer of 76 for me. Sadly, like so many songs, it was massively overplayed then and I retain little affection for it now. Remember my mum commenting on the unatural shine on Kiki's hair. She never remarked on Elton's. Can you believe he was only 29 when this song/video came out? He looks a good 40!

Old Dave Lee Travis not quite as much of an irritant this week. However, after Noel last week, who could compare?

Simon said...

If there's a demand for a full show blog I'll do it, but the early show is easier as I can think of things to write during it, it's on iPlayer so I can go back through it and spot little things (I'd probably never have seen the 5000 Volts talkbox turmoil otherwise) and on busy weeks it means I can write it all on the same night. Oddly the next show was originally a half hour but the uncut showing is scheduled for 45 minutes. Hope everyone's on the same page.

Dundas was Brutus, there's a link in the review.

Truth be told there's a run of comparatively weaker shows coming up with quite a bit of repetition, understandable in the quieter height of summer. Next really intriguing show will be on round about 15th September, I reckon, with a famously unlikely appearance, a drivetime radio classic and Acker Bilk.

The Man said...

Interesting to see Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - one of the acts blown out of the water by punk and new wave...

wilberforce said...

you may notice a flimsy thread running through my review this week: "air-instruments"...

COCKNEY REBEL - you would have thought steve harley was a strong contender as a candidate as "worst vocals on TOTP", but unlike the rest, his method of masking his puny pipes with mannered affectations was always evident in his recordings, so he doesn't count... the guy employed as "tubular bells ringer" obviously didn't want to stand around like a lemon when not engaged in that activity, so elected to play some "air-congas" as well! of course the master of air-congas was the guy in t rex...

DAVID DUNDAS - even the introduction of a wah-wah halfway through can't raise this extended jingle above the level of mundane... if that really was a proto-version of hot gossip of kenny everett fame being given the floor in front of dave (as a toff i suspect he would have considered that appellation most inappropriate ha ha), then they weren't really making the most of themselves - apart from being very ordinarily-attired, at least two of them appear to be wearing glasses, which hardly gets the juices going...

ISLEY BROTHERS - as soon as i saw them in the charts i thought they were likely fodder for the ruby flipper treatment, and so it came to pass, but it was one of the better routines, and DLT (it wouldn't be a complete show without him participating in some way, would it - was it in his contract?) and the other audience members didn't seem completely clueless when they joined in - i assumed either flick had been putting them through their paces all day, or they were ringers (confirmed by one eagle-eyed viewer!)

JOHNNY WAKELIN - a bit slow off the mark trying to cash in on the ali-foreman fight that had happened nearly two years earlier... also a slight hint of transvestism as johnny seems to have borrowed his fetching fuchsia hat from his wife's/girlfriend's/mother's (delete as appropriate) wardrobe. btw, the only other thing of significance zaire had to offer in its brief existence apart from "the rumble in the jungle" was also in 1974 at the world cup, when one of their players seemingly unfamilar with the rules of the game, ran 10 yards from the wall to boot the ball away before a free kick had been taken!

5000 VOLTS - not only did the cheeky-chappy on guitar not get to do his air-talkbox routine this time, but the georgio moroder lookalike on bass didn't bother with his stethoscope either... you'd have thought the singer would have learnt her lesson last time with bits of her bob sticking in her gob - this time she doesn't even make the effort to flick it away!

JOHNNY CASH - this shouldn't have been on the show in the first place, never mind in the edited edition at the expense of poor old sheer elegance (blighty's answer to the drifters, the stylistics, and archie bell and the drells all rolled into one ha ha). the only bit worth watching at all is at the beginning where johnny affects a most peculiar guitar action, then almost immediately stops to adjust his mike without the slightest bit of difference in the music - air guitar johnny! AIR GUITAR!!

1776 - this really was excruciating! i tried to watch it all the way through, but eventually had no choice but to press fast-forward... i would guess their name is making the most of the bi-centenary of the US declaration of independence, but going by the genghis khan lookalike, perhaps it was more appropriate to call themselves 1176...?

KC AND THE SUNSHINE BAND - in my opinion the classiest music on the show, although the host may not have agreed - as the credits end, a lonesome DLT is spotted shaking his booty rather diffidently, if in fact bothering to shake it at all...

Tom Noddy said...

The lead singer of 1776 was obviously Hans Moretti. Sadly he didn't catch a bullet in his teeth, but he looked like he wanted to.

Neil Barker said...

I loved "Jeans On" when I was a kid, but I always thought the "CH CH" bit sounded like he was talking to a cat!

Anonymous said...

Hate to be pedantic but...stage left/right are the performers left/right when looking out at the audience, not the audiences left/right when looking at the stage.

MartS said...

Yeah, but Dundas's best work is still 'FourScore'. The music over the original Channel Four idents.

Paarr papp derr derr..dada dada dumm...

wilberforce said...

i had a recollection that it was gerard kenny who did the channel 4 ident music, but it seems mart is correct in that it was his lordship... going from wikipedia that works out it must have netted him around half a million quid - over a hundred grand per note! nice work if you can get it - not that he probably needed it, but as they say money goes to money...

Bobby Morrow said...

I remember thinking at the time that it was odd Queen's 'You're My Best Friend' never got an airing on TOTP. In 1976 I was at school and didn't get to listen to the radio much, so the show was often the way I became familiar with the charts.

Forgot to mention my boredom at SAHB (AGAIN! It didn't even make the top 10! Play Queen instead!) and also Dorothy Moore's totally miserable 'Misty Blue' which popped up for the 37th time. Don't know why the 'promo film' was of such poor audio and visual quality... It looked like one of those colourized Laurel and Hardy films.

Still struggling to adjust to the Sheer Elegance song/performance. I can only presume they were arrested after the show. They all certainly looked like they could have done time...

Keep meaning to look at my chart book to see what knocks Elton and Kiki off number one. Could it be 'Dancing Queen', or something? I remember 1976 as a heavy Abba year somehow.

wilberforce said...

i've touched on this before in a previous entry, but in a recent documentary on queen, drummer roger taylor was somewhat scathing about the band's experiences appearing on TOTP... i suspect after the beeb allowed them to get away with having THAT video played week after week for their last hit, this time they put their foot down and said "if you don't appear in person then we shan't play this one at all" - if so, good for them!

i don't suppose queen were too bothered about it - certainly not enough to make the effort to turn up! i seem to remember hearing "you're my best friend" a lot on the radio at the time, so no doubt they were part of the "radio one playlist" which as you know usually made the difference between having a hit or not...

as i've said, in my opinon the superstars and legends who refused to lower themselves to appear on the show aren't missed anyway - i'd much rather see the flotsam and jetsam that finally washes up on shore again after years of drifting around the seas of obscurity! and anyway, unlike queen, the likes of sunfighter and 1776 are never going have even one documentary devoted to them, never mind several...

oh yes, regarding my earlier comments on sheer elegance being excommunicated from the edited version, i wasn't listening to the lyrics at all so didn't realise they were singing about "jailbait"! i don't recall them copping any flak as a result, but pehaps it's no coincidence that their career stalled soon afterwards... but then again motorhead actually put out a song of that name in 1980 which if anything enhanced their reputation! it's certainly a thorny issue that is probably even more controversial now than it was back then - if anyone dared to write a song on that taboo subject in these days of paedo-mania they'd have to be a lot more subtle about it...

Simon said...

Bobby: **SPOILERS** yes, it was Dancing Queen, for its own six week run (though two have been wiped). In fact nothing spends less than three weeks at number one for the rest of the year - Pussycat four weeks (all of which shows are still in the archive and they never appeared in the studio, so that'll be a fun period), Chicago three, Showaddywaddy three, Johnny Mathis three over Christmas and new year.

Bobby Morrow said...

wilberforce; Your explanation for Queen's absence with YMBF does make sense. I don't know if they ever made a promo film for the song. If they did, I don't recall it, but whether there's one or not, I'm glad the BBC didn't fall over themselves to please the band and play it regardless. It did seem to be that once an artist/group had sufficiently 'made it', poor old TOTP was soon deemed too lowly to actually appear on in person anymore. Odd really, considering the almighty pull the show had then...

Simon; Had a sneaking suspicion that Abba's DQ was next, though I didn't realise it had 6 weeks at the top! Just be glad 'Money, Money, Money' didn't make #1... Although the over-familiarity of these songs are something of a stumbling block for us all these years later, I did prefer it when singles had a chart life. In recent times it got that even big sellers (by modern standards) were out of the 40 in less than a month. Mind you, I could change my mind after another 5 weeks of Elton and Kiki!

Bobby Morrow said...

wilberforce; Forgot to say it was probably an over-reaction from a more enlightened me to The Elegance song! I'm sure I wouldn't have batted an eyelid back then. You're right that anyone tackling this thorny issue today would have to be considerably more subtle about it. I suspect they'd also need better costumes and that looking like extras from 'Taxi Driver' wouldn't help terribly either!

Daniel Earwicker said...

This has become a must-read for me. Especially liked "TOCG gets DLT. Of course she does."

To be fair on DLT, his "second thing in the morning" line was accompanied by a slight sideways jerk of one side of his mouth, clearly indicating the risqué nature of the material.

wilberforce said...

the beauty of watching on video (that you couldn't do back then) is that you just fast-forward your way through the kiki & reg, abba and pussycat videos being shown for the umpteenth time...

Bobby Morrow said...

I sort of assumed the 'first thing' Travis meant was his pants. Whether I'm over (or under) thinking I know not! I find 'Diddy' David Hamilton's lewd comments after every performance with any reference to women more troubling. I half expect him to pull a Les Dawson face or start fiddling with his bits!

Noax said...

A bit late for this one (partly for a reason which I shall explain in a few weeks) so a fair few things I was going to say have already been covered.

General observations - Why is the picture of Status Quo not centered properly? Rossi and co look like they've been beheaded!

Also, the set design is a bit rum at the moment isn't it? For the mirrored backdrop it looked like they'd asked Noddy Holder for his old hats, unfurled them, and plastered them to the scenery.

David Dundas - For some reason I expected this to be much more exciting rather than recorded in front of nobody bar Hot Gossip.

Johnny Wakelin - Loved this, surprisingly. Perhaps it was the man waving the lampshades. I love the fact that a guy with a repertoire consisting of songs about one boxing match managed to have 2 sizable hits.

5000 Volts - Strangely subdued compared to last time, though the woman still scares me, especially the bit where she goes 'AAAAHHHH!' on the vocal though at least the camera didn't zoom up her nostrils at that point this time round.

Johnny Cash - Dreadful. His CB bit at the end was much less funny than 'Convoy GB' for a start. Was he just endlessly rehashing 'A Boy Named Sue' at this point? It would seem so.

1776 - There I was, thinking that we hadn't had a spectacular non-hit this time round, when BANG! Here comes this piece of tosh with a lead singer veering dangerously close to Paul 'Baby Bay-BEEEEEHHH!' Shane territory. Marvellous.

Elton / Kiki - I still like this actually, despite its overfamiliarity. I had a crush on Kiki at the time I think. But then I was 4.

If I'd known the edit didn't have Dorothy Moore or SAHB I'd have recorded that given how much I hate them both!
As for Sheer Elegance, well, I could've done without that too given its subject matter. The next Gary Glitter hit isn't about jailbait AFAIK but it may as well be given how he leers and prances round the stage. I'm betting it won't be shown!

Neil Barker said...

Pussycat definitely appeared in the studio at least once so at least we won't just have to suffer the video.

Adam Maunder said...

Well, after Mr. Williams' comment about DLT's last show being 'the most bonkers yet', I think this one has seen that, raised it up to the skies and then some.

The music was such a mix even Peel would've thought it was too eclectic: the Steve Harley was a bit of a damp squib in comparison to 'Make Me Smile', but then what isn't? Old Dundas' jingloid fun 'n' games has weathered the years amazingly well in comparison, though I must say that Brutus ad was utterly awful (Saatchi & Saatchi, what d'you expect?).

The presence of 'Harvest for the World' can be ticked off as a recognised classic, and the Flip's routine is typical in its unparalleled weirdness. And shame on me - I haven't mentioned TOCG this week. Which reminds me: Look what I found! Look what I found!

http://panspeople.com/?q=node/560

Don't really know what to say about Johnny Wakelin, other than that the song's been bouncing around my head for the past few days, so I guess he wins on that score.

5000 Volts, though... I was flabbergasted when I saw the first performance of this a fortnight ago, and I'm still not entirely convinced it ever happened. I bloody love it. Was terribly intrigued by the whole fake vocals/Tina Charles thing, though; I certainly was never aware of Luan Peters miming in their ranks. As I'm sure someone else has said already, her Fawlty Towers appearance is probably what most of us remember her for - I even thought she was Australian! - but she appeared in quite a bit of 70s film & telly. Man About the House, for instance - and she's also in one of the films on the 'sampler' DVD the BFI put out to introduce their 'Flipside' range of forgotten British Bs from the 60s & 70s; Kim Newman's your guide, and it's great stuff.

Now, of course, I have to raise my rather limp arm as the blog's only country fan, and say I thought the Johnny Cash was quite the best tune on the show. No please, kick me as much as you wish. What I must say, however, is that everyone - regardless of your feelings about country - everyone must at least take a look at the DVDs of Cash's ABC series. It is, quite simply, the best musical televariety show of all time. Clapton, Dylan, Kristofferson, Orbison, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, the list goes on and on - it is unbelievable stuff.

1776? Well... it seems like they took the Joe Cocker With a Little Help from My Friends approach, and pulverised it into the ground with ridiculous overwroughtness. Just wrong on every level, but strangely compelling all the same.

Which is probably true also of Elton & Kiki, and there's little enough worth saying about that, so I'll again use this space to plug the newish CD of her complete 60s work, which is really ace, cover of Steppenwolf's 'Magic Carpet Ride' & all:

http://www.cherryred.co.uk/rpm/artists/kikidee.php

For those lost in the edit, Alex Harvey would probably have upped the 'unquestionable quality' stakes a bit, and I should also mention in passing that I picked up an excellent Best of TSAHB for about £3 in Tesco's the other day, which has one of the Pops performances of Boston Tea Party on it, not sure which though.

And Sheer Elegance? Well, I dunno - the record's not bad, but it certainly doesn't compare to say, Archie Bell & the Drells' Girl You're Too Young, or this 1957 release by the man also now regarded as 'The Godfather of Rap':

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w09ukTUUhBY

That wasn't a hit, either, funnily enough. Still pretty jawdropping though, eh?

And, lastly, KC & the Sunshine Band: a total classic, even if I can't now hear it without Troy McClure's introduction 'What we all came here to see - hardcore nudity!!'.

But that's more than enough from me for the time being, so now it's ...Over to You!

Arthur Nibble said...

Hi there! Sorry I'm late, but I've got a note from my mum (actually, arrived from hols a few hours ago, and glad to be back amongst my mates here).

What on Earth made Sheer Elegance record that piece of perv soul, and who decided it was a good idea to dress them in two-sizes-too tight outfits to sing about underage pleasures? At least the lads were in synch dance-wise for a change.

Anyone else notice (part 1) that the Shangrilas bike had swapped direction in the chart rundown?

Johnny Wakelin's maraccas man wins the award for best mutton chops since ELO's Kelly Groucott.

After stomaching just some of 1776, I needed to neck a couple of 1664's to get over the shock.

Finally, did anyone else notice (part 2) that Gavin 'Gone Without A' Trace still got an end credit?

Arthur Nibble said...

Me again - is it me, or did the plethora of country hits in the 70's coincide with artists' guest spots on the Val "I luv country, me, Doonican" Show? Enjoyable songs though they were, surely the likes of Billie Jo Spears wouldn't have got into the 30 without a leg-up from old Rafferty's Motor Car himself.

Noax said...

A Pussycat studio performance - really? Bet I'm the only one on here excited by that, as I love 'Mississippi'. I'm betting it's from a Dutch or German show rather than actually on the Pops though.

Neil Barker said...

Nope, definitely in the TOTP studio, and probably the only Dutch country & western band to appear on the show ;-)

Simon said...

Adam: TOCG's post-TOTP activity is something I'll be getting round to eventually, and we've already had an earlier example of TOCG Sings! Great find, though. That's very much 1983 Power Balladress styling, isn't it?

Arthur: I too spotted the Gavin inclusion in the credits. Maybe he was working out his notice.

For those with Spotify, here is Wakelin Sings The Boxers.

Simon said...

Actually, could this be Why? If it is, it's misleading styling if she's picking up on the Mari Wilson/Tracy Ullman dollar.

wilberforce said...

so, life after ruby flipper for TOCG - i wonder why she didn't make it to legs & co? after all she was always a lot more confident than lulu (who did). lulu always seems a bit stilted and hesitant to me - maybe she felt inhibited in the presence of the omnipresent one? anyway i'm sure simon will reveal all soon...

the blonde backing singers in the "hot shoe show" clip are obviously wearing syrups, but i'm not sure about cherry's extraordinary barnet - is that all her own hair, or does she have a dead cat on her head?

Simon said...

Obviously when TOCG becomes less O I'll be doing some sort of retrospective - there's a few things online, including an odd acting role - but she'd been dancing on TOTP for four years by the time she left and maybe didn't feel she had the commitment of, say, Ruth, who did all eight years of Pan's People and then graduated to work alongside Flick. She did always have plenty of hair when it was curly so it could easily have been artist's own.

Old Applejack said...

Top blogging and top commenting all. I can't really add anything here. The 1776 thing really had my jaw on the ground. Just what the world was waiting for, wasn't it?

A four-timer for Boston Tea-Party, which is putting it level with Shake it Down, I think. Four shows for a non-top ten hit is some going. Did that ever happen post 1980? From my Pops viewing era (84-2000ish), I really don't remember things getting on that much. Not that I was counting in those days...

Arthur Nibble said...

We've also seen quite a few examples in this re-run of songs getting two airings despite not reaching the top 30, or maybe even top 50, at the time. Even the latest dodgy effort by our mates 'The Sheers' got two outings, despite peaking outside the top 40.

Steve Morgan said...

What can I say here that hasn't already been said? That edition of TOTPs was another good one, despite DLT, who was a little more restrained than in previous editions, and all the better for it I think, less annoying.
It was good to see a Steve Harley clip other than the usual "Come Up And See Me" which we always get on clip shows, although there was a seemingly odd cut/edit?? about a minute into the song (just after the first chorus) which, for me, was quite a jump. Was that the way the song was edited on original transmission?
Good to see the David Dundas performance too, it brought back many memories of Brutus Jeans, Brut deoderant and Denim Aftershave, my fashion choices back then mirrored that exactly.
That Sheer Elegance performance was unbelievable, however did they get away with that in 1976? That was their one single I didn't buy, perhaps I did have some taste after all.
Good too that Harvest for the World turned up at last, albeit a Ruby Flipper routine which actually wasn't too bad, nice to see a livelier audience participation too as some of them (including DLT) were dragged in. I've always like The Isley Brothers and I'm listening to the Harvest For The World album as I type this, I bought the cassette version on on of those long hot summer days on a visit to Hereford market back then, the latest cd version has a bonus track of a live version of Summer Breeze on it, just the thing on a hot summer afternoon, not that today's weather reflects that of '76 mind you.
The 1776 performance seems like it could possibly have come from a stage show, there were definately some around celebrating America's independence around that time, god knows they let us know about it often enough, it's not beyond the realms of possibility that this could have come from something celebrating America's musical heritage.
I'll defend to the death the Elton/Kiki video. I've always loved the song and never tired of it, but someone here said the video was recorded in one take, I don't think it was, look carefully at Elton's left hand about halfway through the song as he puts it into his left pocket, in the very next shot it's just above his waist, evidence there I think of a re-take.
Shame we don't get another edition this week, I really look forward to these repeats, long may they continue, but I'm away for a couple of weeks and they'll be waiting on Sky+ for me to come back to, so I'll comment on them when I get back.

Simon said...

Checking iPlayer and YouTube it seems to be an unedited edit, if you see what I mean. I didn't really clock it at the time, maybe because there's been a few crash edits so far. Doing that also reminded me I forgot to mention the iPlayer blurb refers to 'Steve Harley and the Cockney Rebels', which in my head became Harley and the Cockney Rejects, imagining Harley's languid way with vowels added to Oi! punk.

dunkiep said...

Watch the ruby flipped routine carefully... you'll see one of the male dancers has a major wardrobe malfunction; his fly busts open during a spin!

Arthur Nibble said...

Sorry, too busy watching TOCG while she's still there to notice the zip rip.

Come on folks, let's beat last week's record. Just two more responses needed!

Erithian said...

Off-topic but just to help this comments thread towards the magic 40:
Wilberforce above has a chuckle at the expense of Zaire’s “naive” defender at the 1974 World Cup. I used to chuckle too before I learned this: the defender in question, Mwepu Ilunga, explained that after Zaire’s 9-0 defeat to Yugoslavia the team had been visited in their hotel by President Mobutu’s guards, who warned them that if they lost to Brazil by more than three goals, they wouldn’t see their homes or families again. With that ringing in your ears, when you’re 3-0 down and facing a Rivelino free-kick, anybody might try to think of a way of wasting time such as kicking the ball as far away as possible.

Anonymous said...

HI GUYS JUST WONDERING IF SOMEBODY COULD POST A COPY OF THIS SHOW TO UTUBE AS SOMEHOW I MISSED THIS ONE WHEN IT WAS ON
THANKS GUYS
Pat