Thursday, 22 September 2011

TOTP 9/9/76 (tx 22/9/11): the great pub rock revival

Something of a sea change for the rest of the 1976 run as all the remaining shows are half an hour long in their original form, so no excuse for editing from here on it (except possibly the show before Christmas which might run slightly long, and of course we don't yet know what slots the Christmas shows themselves get) The repeats are still on, though.

As a further aside, I liked this blog post about TOTP.

Jimmy Savile in charge, and as offputting as his bright orange tracksuit top with plunging neckline is as a hors d'oeuvre we only get a top half shot for now, which is a blessed relief for three or four minutes.

Eddie & The Hotrods – Get Out Of Denver
Punk! Well, it's not, it's rough-house pub rock by way of rockabilly as punk doesn't arrive in single form until late October and not on TOTP until May 1977, but in comparison insomuch as by this point they'd had a residency at the Nashville Rooms with Strummer's The 101ers and in February had booked the Sex Pistols as tour support only to drop them when at a preliminary gig at the Marquee Lydon smashed up their gear (getting the Pistols their first ever music press coverage, for what it's worth) This was from a live EP and sounds it too, the energy and enthusiasm somewhat stymied by the start of the performance being overlaid with a set design that says less rock'n'roll attitude and more One World Roots Festival 1998 logo and by an audience that don't yet know how to approach this music. Several people attempt some sort of solo jive. Two people with 'RODS' on the back of their jackets, having heard this all before, point at a monitor instead. Barrie Masters, with his migraine-inducing green squiggly jacket over bare chest, has been separated from the rest of his band by a pit full of youths. That band includes a bassist with the logo of the US fanzine Punk on his T-shirt and a drummer pointlessly in just his pants and very long stripy socks. It's not like he'd been sweating the whole night through to that point. Maybe it was his thing. Or he was on a bet. Towards the end the camera definitely, finally runs someone over as it closes in on Masters, swingingly briefly but wildly to the left before crash-zooming in on target. Jimmy then wanders on set, in front of that seperately projected backdrop, a bar too early with the visual effect still on so only his outline can be seen at first, and it's not a pretty outline. "Gonna go to number one, that, as it happens" he confidently predicts. It got to number 43, as it happened.

Twiggy – Here I Go Again
Someone's definitely got into the habit of not cutting Jimmy off when he starts rambling at the end of sentences, just letting him wind down like a Duracell bunny. "And how are all you ladies and gentlemen at home? Very well, we hope. Have a nice time. See you soon. Here's Twig." See you soon? Maybe he anticipated everyone drifting off during this, especially as it's the video with less of a budget than Pops had managed.

The Wurzels – I Am A Cider Drinker
Jimmy Saville surrounded by seamen. Don't. Three of the crew of HMS Daedelus "from the boiling high seas", as he puts it, which suggests he doesn't know that much about the properties of large expanses of water, or for that matter sense as he then calls them "the BBC seas". They don't manage everything, Jimmy. Wonder if the show was recommended by those bored pisstaking sailors in the crowd the other week, and if so what must these three men of the tides have made of the circumstances of the moment at which they had their television break. No sousaphones made their way through this week, so it's rags on sticks all round and collective knee bending. Bizarre as this possibility seems, I wonder if this is an orchestra job - they're definitely re-recorded vocals and the rhythm seems a little flat-footed. We do get the extra bits performed live, though. No samples here.

Lou Rawls – You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine
Haven't mentioned Jimmy's bottom half yet, and for a good reason - it's the smallest pair of red athletic shorts you'll see. You really do fear for shots from anywhere below. Surrounded by people in homemade T-shirts the slogans on which aren't entirely readable - 'MIKE AND MARTYN' something say two - Jimmy has help introducing a real hodge-podge, like Flick had three ideas and just couldn't decide, except that this week it really wouldn't be driven by the lyrics. Stage right, Floyd in a silver reflective suit and matching top hat waves a cane around, another of those short straw efforts he seems to keep being assigned (oh, just you wait for next week). Stage left, three of the girls do the time immemorial ostrich feather routine. Middle front, Cherry and Philip play out a modern morality dance part-trad part-mating ritual, Philip in an entirely car spray silver outfit with cape and hat attached to the top of said cape, Cherry with a toga/throw rug and a huge blue flower in her hair. Although everyone clearly goes through their own fulsome routines throughout it is this pairing that get the bulk of screen time and as you'd expect from that pairing there's an overflow of nods to camera - over the shoulder, little glance, the lot - though at least Philip isn't miming along this week. Jimmy, arm on a girl's shoulder, says "yes indeedy" four times in a row.

Cliff Richard – I Can't Ask For Anything More Than You
An advance in the director's art as we get the first few seconds actually off a studio monitor, later overlays giving the impression of infinite Cliffs. Well, it fills the big black space. It's another staging of the same falsetto-friendly arrangement, Cliff back in his too tight jeans as well as a small medallion. You wouldn't think he'd be the type.

Bay City Rollers – I Only Wanna Be With You
Now Jimmy's sitting down, giving those unsettingly thin pins a full airing. We're pretty much towards the end of Rollermania, with a new bassist sporting huge flares and barrelling through a cover without much due care and attention. Only Les even has tartan on, and that's on his shirt. There's a weird bit where a triangle appears at the top of a long shot of the stage with close-ups of the band members' heads as they work through the break. The orchestra adds an unwarranted triumphalist tone.

Kiki Dee – Loving And Free
How come Jimmy always gets the nurses on? It's established he does a lot of charity work, but that's no excuse to keep dragging on, as here, five ladies from Stoke Mandeville. If ever there was a time we needed orange overalls and awkward dancing it's now as Kiki and her fringe sits on a high stool and sings a light acoustic ballad that reeks of Two Ronnies middle bit.

Manfred Mann's Earth Band – Blinded By The Light
Same as last week. You'd better get used to this song. Oh yeah, IT'S NOT DOUCHE.

ABBA – Dancing Queen
Now Jimmy's surrounded by every female in the audience, some of whom are even listening. Presumably they still hadn't found a full broadcastable version of the video as this is a performance from something called ABBA In Australia (the whole thing is on YouTube). In a triumph of 1976 editing Jimmy is intercut to say goodbye before the end of the first verse and over the start of the chorus rather than a sensible point, given the whole clip goes on to be shown. It's not like people really knew it then as well as we know it now, after all. Costume is credited to 'Nicholas Rocker', who is a man that exists and has a costuming iMDB credit, but it seems presumptious to call that a costume, more something nicked from an athletics store cupboard.


Arthur Nibble said...

Our Jim'll couldn't dance in those ballroom! (boom boom tish!)

That rundown shot of Pussycat's been on before, and it's still just as scary, but not as scary as the photo of Manfred Mann's Earth Band (they're good but, let's be honest, they're not Can, are they?) - is Manfred wearing a pair of joke ears in that photo? Pardon?

The Rods' finest momemt was undoubtedly 'Do Anything You Wanna Do', a sort of Thames Estuary ' Born to Run' but, for now, I'll happily accept this Wilko-esque bar'n'B with lyrics similar to that 'lipsmackin' Pepsi advert while still managing to rip off 'Johnny B. Goode'. No mean feat, that.

As for Twiggy, the camera's over here, love. Do pay attention! In comparison, Kiki Dee's smooth vocal charms wipe the floor with that M&S (morose and sh=te) karaoke.

Looks like everybody thought The Wurzels had foot and mouth, apart from a hardy single row of people lining the front of the stage, including she who must be known as Snood Girl.

I love that Lou Rawls song, and the main dance to it wouldn't have looked out of place on Strictly Come, allegedly. Mind you, I can see why the troupe's called Ruby Flipper, at least the Flipper bit - how big were Philip's feet exactly? You know what they say, big feet, big shoes.

As for Jim'll's farewell to us - ergh, no tongues!

Steve Williams said...

Looks like they spent so much on those coloured lightbulbs this week that they couldn't afford the rest of the set, with most performers in a black void and Eddie and The Hot Rods and The Wurzels performing on the worst set in the show's history. I know the sets are probably all made of plywood but normally they try and disguise that.

In any case, ace start with Eddie and The Hot Rods, I love how they put that on first as I can imagine a host of families where parents or grandparents finally relent and allow the young ones to watch Top of the Pops, only to recoil in terror when that starts up.

Since we've had the Earth Band before, that backdrop is of course the cover of their LP The Roaring Silence, which is a regular in debates about the worst album sleeves of all time, and rightly so...

Eric from The Bay City Rollers looked unbelievably pissed off throughout that performance, chewing gum and scowling. Looks like he knew the game was almost up.

wilberforce said...

just a couple of things to reflect on this week...

presumably barrie masters is still mistakenly referred to by those with their finger not quite on the pulse as "eddie", in the same manner that debbie harry is "blondie" and ian anderson is "jethro tull"? i once had occasion to visit a house in a posh part of bournemouth (having said that, most of bournemouth is posh!), and the elderly owner enthusiastically informed me "mungo jerry lives over the road!"
i don't know if this performance was actually live or not, but the rhythm section make a horrible hash of things in the guitar solo! i remember the same thing happening when the smiths did "barbarism begins at home" on the tube a few years later, which was a shame as it was much better than the over-produced and homogenised album version...

i also note that woody from the bay city rollers has "done a macca" and kindly switched to bass-playing duties so that the new boy can play guitar (so f*cking what! you may respond as they never played on their records anyway)... despite eric's less-than-enthusiastic participation this perfunctory cover of the old dusty hit still somehow managed to reach no. 4, a feat rather spookily emulated by the tourists three years later with their equally-run-of-the-mill effort...

Angelo Gravity said...

My 12 year old has become a big fan of the Wurzels ever since I forced him to watch TOTP76 earlier this year ~ I've already got this weeks episode set up on iplayer for when he gets home from school - the lucky boy :-)

Son of the Sheik said...

I believe Philip from RF was dressed up as a shiny Rudolph Valentino from The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The obvious choice, really.

Steve Williams said...

Incidentally, Jim was smart enough to palm off the crap predictions on the bands themselves, so he only said Eddie and The Hot Rods were going to be number one because "they promised me it would be".

That said, there's that great anecdote from Jerry Dammers where he says they were in their dressing room and Jim walked in and said "Brilliant, lads, this is a number one!", and they were all very excited, then ten seconds later they heard him going into the dressing room next door and saying "Brilliant, lads, this is a number one!"

Anonymous said...

You may like to know that the Thurs evening version was 29.10, and the later version was 30.54. I didn't watch it, just timed it so I don't know what's missing. Not enough time for a full song, but still edited.

Simon said...

Hmm. I wonder what that could be, as Abba played to the end and there were no jolting edits elsewhere as far as I could tell. Maybe a little bit of trimming all round, as when the Ruby Flipper Let Em In lost its last twelve seconds or so.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Bay City Rollers, when shot from above with those wide trousers looked like midgets!

Anonymous said...

Just thought I'd mention it. It looks like the 30 min versions may still be trimmed to fit a modern 30min slot. So the late version will be the one I'll stick to.

Simon said...

Now that 'that word' has come up, and as I've got the 1977 bit of the episode guide at the moment, I thought I'd have a look at how punk spread onto the show in 1977. Slowly and not always accurately, it turns out.

19/5/77 Eddie and the Hotrods are on again twice in between, but something we'd recognise as being at least near punk appears only here with the Jam's In The City. They'd return on 21/7 with All Around The World and 3/11 with The Modern World, the latter the famous 'Peter Powell jumps in the air in excitement' appearance.

26/5/77 The Stranglers got onto enough punk pub bills to justify a mention, Go Buddy Go (the other half of the double A side that featured the banned Peaches) getting on and repeated twice. They were back for No More Heroes on 22/9.

14/7/77 The Sex Pistols are pretty conclusively punk, though only the Pretty Vacant video gets shown. We have some influential visitors, though, in the shape of The Saints' This Perfect Day.

28/7/77 Do Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers count? Well, if so Legs & Co got to them twice, here with Roadrunner, again on 24/11 with the more palatable to mainstream Egyptian Reggae.

4/8/77 Jimmy Savile introducing Television's Prove It! Wouldn't you love to see this? Well, you'll have to pipe down, it's been wiped.

11/8/77 Now just The Rods, Do Anything You Wanna Do gets on.

25/8/77 The Adverts' Gary Gilmore's Eyes (as well as the debut of the Boomtown Rats, who certainly hitched a ride on the back of the whole thing)

1/9/77 Elvis Costello's Red Shoes, the broadcast re-record his first recording with the Attractions. He and they were back on 10/11 for Watching The Detectives.

15/9/77 Generation X's Your Generation, possibly saying hello to post-Wilko Dr Feelgood in the canteen.

27/10/77 Tom Robinson Band's 2-4-6-8 Motorway in the studio, the Pistols' Holiday In The Sun under the credits.

1/2/77 John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett's ramshackle spirit wouldn't have charted without punk so Really Free counts if you ask me.

8/12/77 The Banned - some chancer members of prog also-rans Gryphon under silly pseudonyms - and Little Girl.

Anonymous said...

Television on Top of the Pops and it gets wiped!


Anonymous said...

Having watched the late Sat edition, it's clear that the Wurzels were edited, and heavily so.

Simon said...

Quite conclusively so, checking iPlayer against the YT upload from the UK Gold showing - 50 seconds' worth. Last week's first showing, going on iPlayer, was 30:30 in length so clearly cutting it down to fit trails etc isn't an exact science, which leads me to wonder if rather than some sort of ironic statement Can got cut (and that really does seem to have provoked a negative reaction, maybe because quite a few music journalists on Twitter picked up on it) because it's nearly four minutes long including intro and that edit was the closest they could get to cutting two successive songs out. You'd think this week they might have trimmed Twiggy or the Manfreds instead, given how often we've seen them by now.

Noax said...

I've only just watched this week's edition and immediately noticed that The Wurzels was cut to shreds, mainly because I loved 'I am a cider drinker' when I was 4!!
I presume it'll be on again though...

Jimmy's shorts really were quite disturbing. I actually worked at Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio (don't worry, there's no cue for autographs!) and used to be disappointed that Jim never popped in while I was there but having seen this and the kilt I've changed my mind now.

Pretty sure the Eddie and the Hot Rods was a live performance as at one point Barrie forgets to put his mic to his mouth and you can't hear any vocal. Pub rock is right given that it looked like he'd had a skinful!

Here, for the record is the list of best versions of 'I only want to be with you' in order of quality :-

The Tourists
Sam Fox
Bay City Rollers

Clearly at this point even the Rollers fans had given up because usually they had to record a performance to no audience in case they were torn apart.

I don't think I'd seen the ABBA clip before and it was an unusual way to end the show I suppose. Agnetha clearly wasn't bothered though, making strange faces at times in a 'are we nearly done with this?' type way.

Wellieman said...

Here's my choice:

The Tourists
Rollers (come on guys, it's not that bad!)
Sam Fox

Each to their own I suppose.

Adam Maunder said...

Oh, put them away, Jimmy - British legs really shouldn't ever be seen in shorts.

Still, Eddie & the Hot Rods at least got us off to what by law is called 'a roaring start', crap CSO an' all. Question: is 'Get Out of Denver' a Bob Seger song? I don't know if it's still available (Amazon says no), but there is a rather good double-CD pub rock comp on Castle called 'Goodbye Nashville, Hello Camden Town', with lots of the Rods, Brinsley Schwarz, Dr. Feelgood et al.

'Here I Go Again' again? Do us a favour, Simon, and post the Country Joe MacDonald original again, will you, it's so much better. She'd have had more luck with 'Section 43' (a 7-minute instrumental 'Frisco psych excursion, if you've not heard it).

Makes me glad to see the Wurzels again, even if they are doing one of Ol' Wonky Gob's biggies. They generally did their vocals live on Pops, I think, so's they could bellow & interject properly.

Ah, Lou Rawls. I'm guessing that, given the shortened running time, Flick obviously wanted to pack in as much into her numbers as possible, hence the tri-partite job. Worked for me: that bit with Cherry on her knees, beseeching Philip with those huge eyes of hers... I was damn near in tears. I was.

Speaking of which, as I know Simon's busily compiling a 'Whither Cherry?' thing for when she goes, may I offer the following piece of happenstance: I came across a copy of the Hot Shoe Show LP - BBC REB 476 - whilst out charity-shopping the other day. There's another piece I found on the Pan's site, too - Ms. Gillespie talks hair & fitness on the eve of the 1st HSS series:

Right - that's enough of that. Let's talk Cliff. No, on second thoughts, let's not, given he's just screwed record companies all over Europe with the implementation of a new law he's pushed for. Anyone seen this? Allow Bob Stanley to elucidate:

The Rollers? Well, what one can say - they didn't end up with any money anyway, did they? (Some of y'all may know more on that than me, tho', so if so, speak up.) Thank you to Noax for reminding me that there was another version of 'I Only Want to be with You', too:

They were Madagascan, by the way.

What with my deep & abiding love for Dusty, and Kiki Dee, my heterosexual status is obviously now being confirmed to be what it really always was: totally nominal. Grabbed me by the lapels & wouldn't let me go - I'm a wreck.

Still, there's always 'Blinded by the Light' to laugh at. No, I know they don't say 'wrapped up like a douche', but it's like the mishearing of 'Purple Haze' - once you know it could just as easily be ''Scuse me while I kiss this guy', it's terribly hard to think of it in any other way.

I'll broach Abba next time, as we've still got another 4 weeks of that left, so I shall close with a bit about the original 'Morning Glory'. Its author was one of the top Nashville session bods: Mac Gayden. He also wrote 'Everlasting Love', played in Area Code 615, Barefoot Jerry, and J.J. Cale's band, and cut 3 albums on his own. His MG isn't on YouTube - I'm not on Spotify, so if you really wanna hear it, check if it's there, too - but there is a fragment of what looks like phone-camera footage from a few years ago:

The record is as mildly astonishing as that clip suggests, and it's available on a couple of CDs on Ace as well, so I'll leave it at that for now.

Phew-wee, knackered now. All this just to avoid Downton Abbey. Think I might go watch Stephen Fry now then. 'Byeee...

Simon said...

Get Out Of Denver is indeed a Bob Seger original (here), substantially less choogling bar band in the Hotrods (some debate on whether that's supposed to beone word or not) version. It's actually track 2 on the Live At The Marquee EP, led by a version of 96 Tears and followed by a medley of pub covers band staples Gloria and Satisfaction. Their previous single had been Wooly Bully, so they weren't big on self-penned work just yet. As you asked kindly, here's Here I Go Again as it should be.

In fact, this is a right PRS minefield of a show, isn't it? Two covers and a reworded cover to begin, then a Gamble & Huff, then Cliff running through work by Ken Gold and Michael Denne (who wrote You To Me Are Everything), another cover, and only then do we get to a song penned by the artist (Loving And Free), and there's still a cover to go - this song with slightly rewritten lyrics, in fact.

Never got to mention how Twiggy nearly took This Morning down, her and Colleen Nolan taking over from Richard and Judy and lasting mere months so quickly did viewing figures evaporate. Her only real TV success seems to have come in her original field of expertise of looking coquettishly at a camera.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do in commemorative terms when Cherry moves on, obviously apart from the lone candle lighting, though there is a fallow period the week before her last appearance. I went looking for inspiration last night and dredged up no end of stuff from across her career, from voiceover work to what seems to be a photo of her at school. Basically I can trace her entire professional career from about 1972 to 1991, and I'm not sure I ever wanted to.

Simon said...

Oh, before I forget and you stop caring, a Slik best of has just recently been added to Spotify, featuring all the hits including The Kid's A Punk plus the rather eye opening Slik Shuffle, a brazen attempt by Midge and co to harness that Van McCoy dollar.

wilberforce said...

adam, thanks for allowing me to exhale a sigh of relief with the knowledge that cliff richard will continue to get his royalties - after all, he does has his family to think of... oh hang on, as they somewhat euphemistically state in the obituaries of loveys and theatrical types "he never married"...

btw i'd love to hear slik going disco - if anyone can get "slik shuffle" up on youtube that would be great (don't forget slik's drummer kenny hyslop went on to do his own dance project in the early 80's with "set the tone"...)

Noax said...

Adam - that cover by Les Surfs is brilliant!

Some songs just sound right in French and this is definitely one of them. Just working out now where to put that in my Top 5.

Anonymous said...

@Simon - you're obviously a Denim fan so you've gone up in my estimation even more!!
Andy (the person who prattled on about Pilot & Hello a while ago)

PreciousBox27 said...

There must have been an edit to a song, in the early Thursday 7:30 edition its only 29:10 while the repeats were 30:56 ?


Bamaboogiewoogie said...

Here's more of my better-late-than-never comments:

Never mind Jimmy's shorts what about his hair! He looks like Bette Davis in the film Dead Ringer (she plays twins - perhaps he was the other twin!)

Amazing to think that Twiggy was only 15 at this point in her career.

The Wurzels used to make feel physically sick when I was 14. I never liked records when they're forcing you to laugh, they're usually not funny. I remember going on holiday with my family in 1974 and we stopped in a pub somewhere in Somerset and the landlord played nothing but The Wurzels. My dad asked him if he would mind turning it down as we were the only people in the place and he actually turned it up!

It's hard to say whether Cliff's performance was a video or done in the studio because with no audience present it could be either. The same is true of Kiki Dee. If these were filmed earlier (or on video) it means that all the audience actually saw in the studio were Eddie and The Hot Rods, The Rollers and The friggin' Wurzels. Very thin gruel indeed.