Should do open threads every week. But I won't.
What's with David Hamilton climaxing his intro about "number one sounds" with a heroic air punch? And anyway by Blackburn's lore they can't all be number one sounds.
Tavares – Don’t Take Away The Music
And we start with... a video. Would have been weird enough in the video age, here it just makes you wonder who pulled out too late to properly replace. Instead we get a video clip filmed in a right pea-souper of dry ice, Tavares' five members mere shadows in the mist from the opening angle. This despite the light refraction safety consciousness of wearing bolero jackets festooned with sequins. They can't quite decide whether their moves should be synchronised or not, leading to awkward moments where some are spinning and some ski-shuffling. They then approach the mikes a bar early and their shadows can't save them from awkwardness. With their afros those are some shadows too. The lead singer gets to hold his mike. That's how important he is. Diddy sticks his arm out at the end as if they were just across the studio, grin of gratification writ large.
Sherbet – Howzat
Or as Diddy and his starched collars pronounces it, How's Dat. It sounds like he's approximating an Australian accent, though of course it sounds more West Indian. Maybe he's channelling a concerned Pluto Shervington. This is a repeat from two weeks ago, which Diddy still animatedly clicks his fingers to before the beat has started.
Simon May – Summer Of My Life
Someone shouts something unintelligible over the applause, to which Diddy remarks "yes, more indeed". Didn't sound like anything that concise. According to David "it's always nice to welcome a newcomer to the top 30, especially when it's somebody who has written the song that they sing". REAL MUSIC. A pan out reveals Diddy is on a massive platform well above May's piano on the studio floor. It's little man syndrome. Spotting an audience very much in the shade and for the most part watching the monitor instead is more interesting than the Crossroads-originating song (which May's Wiki claims was "one of the best selling singles of the year", which I suppose is true if you count down far enough) which starts as a poor man's Gilbert O'Sullivan until a truck driver's gear change which turns him into a poor man's John Miles. The director has realised it needs spicing up so has wedged Lulu into a blue taffeta dress and got her to twirl round and fling her arms about a bit in overlay. Between times... well, you can see why May largely stayed off screen.
Wild Cherry – Play That Funky Music
Ah, time for Diddy's Tony Blackburn jibe. This time it's a crowbar in for the line "you've got the body of a 20 year old man". You know the rest, but it still gets huge laugh from techs and a decent one from the man who's just told it. So overwhelmed is he he forgets to namecheck the artist. So this is the final fling for Flick's dream of a mixed sex Top Of The Pops dance troupe (until Zoo, but not even their members remember them) and if you didn't know, which is likely given as expected we're given no hints, that Floyd and Philip's days were numbered the fact they're in casual gear and the girls are in nothing more than midriff/bra exposing shawls and dresses slit to constantly expose the stocking tops, and by the three second mark all three females have flashed their knickers at camera, might just give a hint. After an opening which invents vogueing a decade or so before it was ever necessary to do so there's some tight choreography going on on a massive stage. Go on, guess which member the first "play that funky music, white boy" is implicitly addressed to. Ah, you'll miss his boggle eyes to camera, admit it. As for the boys' only dual/solo moment they seem to be re-enacting, of all things, the Tiger Feet shoulder-lean back-other shoulder routine. Floyd does get a lengthy solo, his conditions for being in the mother goose costume presumably still being enacted right at the death. And off they sail into a forgotten status that will befall their unique presence in the show's storied history until a station the existence of which they surely could not have anticipated back then resurrects their entire oeuvre 35 years later. Wonder if they've deigned to watch themselves. "Some fabulous outfits there" Diddy approvingly nods, presumably not of the T-shirts. Or indeed Philip's jacket, which has something written on the back. From freeze frame I can make out 'WHEEL & BRAKE' and half a phone number. A fallback job already set up?
Liverpool Express – Hold Tight
"If you want more music on Top Of The Pops"... well, yeah, that's the idea. Kids must think Liverpool Express were one of the biggest bands of the era. On the set that some say looks like Blockbusters but I reckon looks more like giant Duplo bricks they've come as a slightly seconded Pilot. What the bassist has physically come as in a broad brimmed hat, wide lapelled black jacket with white lining over black shirt and big cream coloured bow tie one can only speculate. The person who's brought their Wolves scarf is keen, at least.
David Essex – Coming Home
"This is Bev and you can all see who Bev likes - who is it, Bev?" Diddy enquires of a girl in big glasses, Rubettes cap and, tellingly, Essex monographed pink scarf. "About to do his new tour" Essex's chirpy charm, aided by a large red with white spots handkerchief rakishly tumbling from his breast pocket and silver musical note brooch on the other lapel, has every effect in the book without resorting to effects thrown at it - fish eye, overlay, picture-in-picture (capturing David in the throes of elbow dancing) turning the lens round, unforgiving extreme close-up. Then at an appropriate moment the director finds a girl singing along to it. The producer threw a lot at the song too, incorporating both sleigh bells and two clarinet solos, both played right down the camera. If only TOTP76 was 3D retrofitted. (FAO BBC: never do this) The player is wearing shades and sports a tache too. Still the song feels like it lasts hours. David Essex and Simon May on the same show. Who'd have thought, so far down the line, there'd be a more direct connection.
J.A.L.N. Band – Disco Music (I Like It)
You'd think such shows would have standard audience waiting list procedure, but along with a bunch of early 30s women surrounding Diddy for his link, two of whom start it by indulging his desire for an arm in arm jig as if he'd been listening all along, are two sailors. What was it with sailors and these links? Had they been waiting around all week just in case? Did Jimmy invite them and they got the dates confused? One of them looks about eleven years old. As the disco funk drops the women get their dance back on while Diddy graduates to pretend clicking with both hands. The Brummies are really not bad at the fat grooves thing either but the attention is taken by their huge scarf-wearing singer's perpetual motion, running back and forth, sometimes on the spot, his bandmates that can move vainly attempting to do so in the style of a good soul revue. It's supposed to get across the restless energy of the genre. Instead it reminds the modern viewer (me, anyway) that Buster Bloodvessel also moves like that, though he was less keen on the jumping from left to right the singer has broken into by the end. Also worth noting is the saxophonist using a break to put in the least effort ever put into playing bongos.
Pussycat – Mississippi
"I'll see you on Radio 1 and Radio 2 tomorrow afternoon" - ah, those were the days - says Diddy before announcing the new number one, receiving a snatched kiss from a woman and reacting with the time honoured swoon and faux-faint. Where would you stage a video for a Dutch country band with harmony female vocals? Yeah, on a paddle steamer, thought so - 'Crazy-BOAT', in fact. To mix the visual metaphors even further cowboy hats and pretend guns are in evidence. The slide guitar player ends up using one of the latter's barrel in close-up. One of the men, presumably the drummer, basically spends the video sitting around looking distant. More interestingly, so far there's been two rundown pictures and two performances by Pussycat and they've had a different look in each. You'll never gain a lasting image that way.