Some confusion this week, as BBC sources claim this was screened on 27th October but nowhere seems to back up a move to Wednesday night. Unless of course you know differently. Tony Blackburn in charge this week and he's wearing a blue T-shirt on which is the slogan to end all running gags, 'I HATE DIDDY DAVID HAMILTON'. Now, I doubt this story was well known at the time, but just over a year earlier the future Johnny Rotten was spotted by Bernie Rhodes (who was co-conspirating with Malcolm McLaren at the time) on Kings Road wearing a Pink Floyd T-shirt with 'I HATE' written above the name. The idea, however fleeting, that this may not be mere coincidence opens up fascinating alleyways of thought.The chart rundown is worth noting for Harry Nilsson having a new entry with a pointless reissue of Without You (which we won't see on the show), because a) they've spelt his name 'NILLSON' and b) he looks almost exactly like Bon Iver.
Alan Price – Kissed Away The Night
This is a prosaic way to start, a solo single by the former Animals organist, who for reasons best known to himself is wearing an off-yellow T-shirt with a drawing of Andy Capp in the middle. Must be a northern unity thing. The song aims at being a treatise on community and the working day but gets drawn back by some horribly clunky rhyming. The actual opening verse requires archiving in full:
Overhead morning planes are roaring
Under the bed the dog is snoring
Down the street rolls up (something) taxi
Boy, am I glad I'm not on my jacksie
That's roaring/snoring and taxi/jacksie. Lord preserve us. To make matters worse during that last line he delivers a look to his band that equally says "I can't believe I'm being allowed to say the word I'm about to say" and "look at me about to use a very mild curse!" The performance never quite recovers. Tony, duly impressed, looks into the wrong camera and then calls it Kiss Away The Mild Nights. He then remembers to suggest we get a pencil and paper. Actually, Tony, a postcard would be more immediately helpful than paper.
Chicago – If You Leave Me Now
"Doing so well in the charts at the moment" Tony somewhat pointlessly adds. This is the plain studio shot performance video about which little can be said except for noting Peter Cetera's hair, as long and lustrous as on any Head & Shoulders model.
Leo Sayer – You Make Me Feel Like Dancing
But first, comedy. Tony chooses this moment to point out his T-shirt slogan, at which Diddy himself creeps out from behind him in an 'I HATE TONY BLACKBURN' T-shirt. It's a battle for hearts and minds alright. They exchange some light remarks about "the new look for 1977" before indulging in a swift shuffle on the fade into the clip, Diddy with the broadest shit eating grin on his face. Difficult to tell whether this is the video or a specially shot piece, but the presence of a shadowed mike might be a clue even if there is no audience in sight. Sayer begins in silhouette like the start of Bohemian Rhapsody, of which this might be a polar opposite of a song. After that he and his yellow cardigan gets shot in mirror image then standing in the middle of what seems to be a huge soundstage, nobody else visible even when carefully peering into the dark. As for the title he may feel it but doing it is another matter, unless some sort of knee bending or twitching like Alf Ippititimus counts. Then there's a cut back to him with some frantic backlighting, which is what passed for excitement then.
Joan Armatrading – Love And Affection
Now faced with the prospect of jazzing up some lovingly wistful acoustic-led folk-pop, the director goes the close up on strings route with Joan's head superimposed over the sound hole. After about a minute of that followed by slow head and shoulders and top half of body shots the graphics people give up waiting and decide to superimpose many reflected images of that one shot over and over from different distances, because they can. There's an awkward moment during the sax solo when, with our man wailing on one half of the screen in CSO, the main shot stays tight on Armatrading's head instead of following the guitar playing or cutting to a wider angle as would happen now, as after all the singer's face is unlikely to be doing anything when not singing.
Lalo Schifrin – Theme From Jaws
Please remember, this competition is now closed, and has been such since 1st November 1976. "You don't have to have one quite as big as that."
Lovely stamp drawing. Meanwhile the dance to Schifrin's lounge-disco cover is a triumph of staging, as first we get some cut-out waves with a hopelessly realised fin moving around and about over which is superimposed our six new friends expressing facial shock. That's save for Lulu, who when scared for her life apparently reacts by sucking her cheeks in. Then there's some sort of bare legs and feet kicking in mid-air motif, following which comes the meat, those we must either call Our New Dancers or ?????? in short, somewhat figure hugging all in one wetsuits. That's what they paid the money and got shot of the boys for. Not much teamwork is going into the troupe's work yet, there being a lot of jumping about and running around but not much actual evident choreography in front of the sea representation with the fins still moving about as if by magic or underpaid stagehand. Patti gets a lengthy solo spot to close, which is somewhat upfront when attempting to press a favourite on us. "Fins ain't what they used to be" Tony retitles it, which somehow doesn't earn him a solar plexus punch from one of the two girls flanking him. "I wonder what you're going to call them next week" he wonders. Same as we'll call them for years afterwards, Tony.
Simon May – Summer Of My Life
As with Chicago and Leo Sayer Tony presses home that this was his record of the week, which doesn't reflect as well on him as he'd like to think. At last an audience turns up to watch him plod through this again while staring right down the camera, the hint of a smug smile on his lips. Not with that weak a vocal you're getting away with this sort of thing, May. Tony gets caught in a titular reverie: "Didn't we have a lovely summer? All that lovely sunshine, not like all the terrible rain we're getting now. Still, we could do with it, couldn't we." Always the cheaply populist DJ, Tony.
Wild Cherry – Play That Funky Music
The faux-live video, and Wild Cherry's frontman is dressed as 1976 funk men should be - reflective jacket, no shirt, semi-hairy chest, medallion. Textbook "really feeling it" facial expressions for his guitar solo too. Also the drummer's yellow T-shirt reads 'DRUMS'. The amazing self-captioning man there.
Pussycat – Mississippi
Only its third week at number one but it already feels like forever. This week they're back in the studio and keen to show off their new kimonos. The lead sister seems to have a little trouble hitting her correct notes at first but before long we're back into the professionally delivered country lament we know oh so well. Professional delivery is of course no use.