Thursday, 16 February 2012

The disappeared: 10/2/77

Just the four shows have been wiped in 1977, though there may be more that are unbroadcastable for whatever reason - UK Gold and Einsfestival didn't show a lot from this year, and at least one programme has had to be reconstructed from off-air clips. This one, DLT's first outing of the year, is definitely AWOL... at least in vision, as it exists as a hissy homemade audio recording and is preserved on YouTube: part one, part two, part three. That still means we have visuals to fill in:

Sailor – One Drink Too Many
Actually this, Sailor's last visit to the show, does exist albeit in quality little better than flickbook. Sailor have claimed they took the title a trifle too literally but you wouldn't necessarily know on this evidence, apart from they seem to have left the Nickelodeon behind and Henry Marsh has moved on from white suit and Benny Hill minor character glasses to anticipating the look of Andy Partridge from XTC. That set with the triangles at the back debuted last week for Gary Glitter and you'll see it a lot more this year. Not especially lunatic seeming, DLT.

The Detroit Spinners – Wake Up Susan
This must have been in the studio as the pace of the intro on the recording is noticeably slower than the recording. Awkwardly this was a 1976 hit in the States and in the meantime it seems they'd changed lead singer. Compare 1976 and 1977 live version versions, see what you reckon.

Kiki Dee – First Thing In The Morning
I've listened to three versions of this and can't work out whether it's meant to be a ballad or not. This seems to be orchestrally backed, which might explain it. Picturing something long, flowing and maybe taffeta. "It could be a top five sound" enthuses DLT. It was a number 32 sound.

Boston – More Than A Feeling
The video, though it'll be on again if you feel you're really missing out.

Brotherhood Of Man – Oh Boy (The Mood I’m In)
As will this, though not for a month or so. You might have reasonably thought we'd seen the last of them at the end of 1976, but their none too subtle shift into an ersatz Abba was instead first signposted here. There's not so much as a twist on the last line.

Bryan Ferry – This Is Tomorrow
"21 today, or to be precise a couple of days ago..." Does he mean the song? Because Ferry was a full decade older than that and his birthday's in September, and nobody would have believed he'd have been 17 when Virginia Plain was a hit. The video, and again we'll get a rerun.

The Racing Cars – They Shoot Horses Don’t They?
Won't be the Rhondda Valley's slowest finest's last visit either, even though the "top five, I'll be bound" single peaked at 14.

Heatwave – Boogie Nights
"They don't shoot ladies, fortunately" No, I should hope they didn't. Legs & Co at ease. "I've heard of wearing my heart on my sleeve but that is ridiculous" comments DLT and one can only imagine the clothing budget, especially as they've left in the extended intro.

Johnny Nash – Birds Of A Feather
First appearance in eighteen months years for the commercial reggae progenitor with the sort of performance that makes one wonder whether it was with a crack session band Jesse Green-like or whether he had to stand there awkwardly held to the orchestra's whims. There's some definite woodwind there.

Julie Covington – Don’t Cry For Me Argentina
Its only week at number one, meaning 7.30 viewers have missed its entire chart run. It was only the video again, but they've actually dragged Julie in to explain herself, claiming her lack of studio appearances was down to her lack of time - really? - and the need for a symphony orchestra. Johnny Pearson must have been looking daggers at her. Covington plugs Rock Follies "and, erm, that's it" before having to clarify the subject of the song, Evita having been released in 1976 as an album but not becoming a hit until the 1978 stage version. "She made her mark!"


Arthur Nibble said...

Now for a bingo / lottery numbers-type comment...

By definition, this edition breached the Trades Descriptions Act. Only two songs, and none of the first seven in the show, were in the top 20 (Julie Cov, and Heatwave at 16), Racing Cars were at 33, and no less than four were outside the top 50. Apart from Kiki reaching only number 32, Sailor’s effort stalled at 35, and Johnny Nash’s flopped totally.

Further to Erithian’s comments last week (thanks for the birthday wishes - much appreciated), three of last week’s long runners nosedived out of the top twenty - Paul Nick to 38, Mike Oldfield to 42, and Tina Charles plummeted from 15 completely out of the top 50. As a sort of comparison, I checked the complete chart for last week’s edition and noticed that none of the songs from 42 to 49 made the top 30 and only a couple clambered out of the forties. Which brings me onto a related chart subject...

I’m sure I read somewhere that the positions from 41 to 50 were massaged from mid-1974 to some time at the start of this re-run, whereby singles that had dropped for a certain number of weeks or maybe by a given sales percentage would be removed if they dropped into the 41-50 positions and replaced by what would have been ‘breakers’ or songs ‘bubbling under’, giving a completely false picture of the lower end of the charts. I recall reading that Abba were given a leg up in their faltering early chart career when "SOS" went in at 47 when it would actually have been a 'breaker' at 51 in the days before the chart massaging. Can anyone confirm or clarify this?

Finally, maybe it’s me, but is anyone else getting a bit melancholy when they realise they’ve seen the last picture of a particular act on the chart rundown? Having lost 5000 Volts and Mud, we’ve now waved goodbye to the pic of our adversary with the bowler hat and cane, though Paul Nick returns with a song which underachieved, maybe because it made no reference to reggae or grandma.

Simon said...

Before I forget, Tony and Diddy are together on Saturday's Let's Dance For Sport Relief. Wonder if they'll dig the T-shirts out for the occasion.

Noax said...

Arthur - never heard of that chart 'massaging' theory before, though I wouldn't be surprised. If it gave us ABBA's long chart career as a side effect, then in my opinion it was certainly worthwhile.

And yes, when some of the rundown pics are gone it is a little sad. I think we'll all mourn the disappearance of the Cortina.

Anyway, this week's missing Pops. What a lot of minor hits! I do hope they used the Toppotron at least once (yes, that is a blatant attempt to get it to stick....)

The Detroit Spinners song title is bonkers - it sounds more like the title of a corporate video warning of the dangers of falling asleep at the wheel of a fork-lift truck than the name of a tune!

It also spoils what I thought to be a 'pop fact' - namely, that the only mention of Susan in a song title was Whitney Houston's "My Name Is Not Susan". Which was dreadful, like pretty much everything she did after 1988, not that anyone's admitting that any more. Suddenly 'I will always love you' displays her unique vocal style rather than being a terrible, soulless, by the numbers cover version.

Sorry, went off on one a bit there.

The Kiki Dee song I can't remember at all, but it would've been more than pleasant to see her again.

I'm sure not many will agree with this, but I like that Brotherhood of Man song!

The Racing Cars song is a little on the mogadon side, though I do use the song title as a phrase at work. A lot. I'm not sure anyone gets the reference though.

Legs & Co - Surely flighty dresses for that one?

It's nice to see that Julie Covington's drivel proves my theory that she's just a loony. She didn't need a bloody symphony orchestra when she recreated it acapella, cross legged on her bed and blubbing endlessly, for C4's Top Ten programme.

I'm quite glad that the BBC have removed it from the primetime shows. It's not even the best song from Evita, that'll be "Another suitcase in another hall" or even "Oh, what a circus" if you don't count it as effectively the same song.

Anonymous said...

Susan - Aimee Mann
Susan - The Buckinghams
Susan Van Heusen - Gilbert O'Sullivan
Susan's House - Eels
Too many Susie songs to contemplate.

Noax said...

Oh yes, Susan's House - that's a great song!!

I haven't heard of the rest though, I must say.

Erithian said...

Noax - ah, but do they get the *proper* reference? "They Shoot Horses Don't They?" the song was inspired by the 1969 Jane Fonda film of the same name, in turn based on a 1935 novel by Horace McCoy about the dance marathon craze in the US during the Depression. These events could last for weeks, hence the pace of the song!!

Racing Cars (there was never a "The") were the first band I ever saw live, supporting Manfred Mann's Earth Band in Manchester the previous September, and singer Gareth "Morty" Mortimer explained they were mainly inspired by Jane Fonda ("we're all very Fonda her"). They were a lot funkier live than you'd expect from this song.

Arthur Nibble said...

The "21 today or a couple of days ago" comment derives from the fact that the chart rundown was first announced on a Tuesday lunchtime in those entries and biggest climbers from 30 to 6 played between noon and half past, then a 15-minute news break, then 5 to 2 played in order, then the rundown, then the number onejust before 1.00.

Does anyone else think the backing to the Sailor song sounds like a slower prototype of Denise LaSalle's "My Toot Toot"?

Angelo Gravity said...

Looks like quite an interesting line-up - am absolutely gutted to miss Legs and Co dancing to Boogie Nights.
I wonder why Heatwave seemed reluctant to appear on the show themselves - maybe they needed a symphony orchestra too?

Noax said...

Erithian - No, they don't get either reference. I never explain the song - that would be pretty tragic - but do explain the film about the craze. To bemused looks usually.

Wellieman said...

Birthday greetings to anyone who's 50 this year... you old codgers. At least I have another year to hang on to my forties..!!

Can't remember the Sailor song, or the Kiki song, or the Detroits' song, or Johnny Nash, but at least there are some corkers amongst the rest which we'll get to eventually in the re-runs. (Yes, Noax, me like this Brotherhood of Man song too!!)

Surprised no-one has mentioned Boston's More Than A Feeling much - an absolute classic for my money. Didn't the main man (Tom Scholz) take ten years or something to complete this and the same again for the follow up?

Funny, but this week’s Top 3 are also the top-three selling songs of the year (not quite in the same order though). That’s according to Tony Jasper's 'British Record Charts 1955-79' book I have and also Tom Browne’s Top 20 Rundown of 1977 broadcast from the years’ end. Ah, but hold on a minute, there was also a blaze of publicity around Christmas time acclaiming Mull of Kintyre to now be the best selling British song of all time. It had already racked up 1.5m (and thus had beaten the 1.4m sold by She Loves You) and eventually topped 2m as it’s run continued into 1978. So which is right? Well I did a little research and found out… they both are!!

What happened was that the chart compiling people at the BMRB stopped counting sometime around 9th December 1977. (In the following year’s BBC Top 20 Rundown of 1978 broadcast, Simon Bates specifically made the point of saying the chart was compiled up to and including sales on December 9, 1978 – so we assume it was the same in 1977). No computers back then and the guys in the office obviously needed three weeks to add up a few million record sales..!!) So the “official” year-end chart had Don’t Give Up On Us as the best seller of the year, but the rest of the media already acknowledged Macca’s finest to be top song. Just in case anyone was interested… and I see Wikipedia has given it Mull of Kintyre! For what it's worth my teenage self bought both records, so I claim it either way!

Erithian said...

Wellieman - OK, I'll mention More Than A Feeling (was waiting for it to be shown later but now will do fine) - an utter, utter classic rock song and what air guitar was invented for. That do you? :)

wilberforce said...

"more than a feeling" is surely a contender for the ultimate cruising-down-the-freeway track (or the M6 in my case)... on a good day i can almost match brad delp!

Arthur Nibble said...

Another fan of "More Than A Feeling". Classic track, deserved top five and didn't even make the top 20. Wellieman's right about the delay when making at least one of their albums - was it "Third Stage" which was almost ten years after the previous album? I remember seeing part of a documentary about the album which demonstrated that the master tapes had gone sticky over time for some reason, and it took a miraculous amount of time and patience to make the tapes usable for the album.

Arthur Nibble said...

Forgot to say - good call with the Detroit Spinners, Simon. Lead singer Philippé Wynne had left the group only the previous month and he was replaced by John Edwards.

nigeyb said...

For some reason my normally reliable hard disc recorder didn't record this episode. However I have just watched one from last night that opened with Suzi Quatro and finished with the audience dancing to Tavares ands was introduced by Paul Burnett. Will you be writing this one up? Here's a few thoughts...

Suzi Quatro follows recent appearances from fellow Glam vets T.Rex, Gary Glitter, & Slade, all of whom are on their last legs and most of whom (not GG but this includes The Rubettes) seem to be going for a curious Boogie Woogie/Country direction. Where did that come from? Sad to see how quickly they were chewed up and spat out. Suzi still sporting a pair of silver platform boots on this clip. Still to one degree or another they all carved out a post-Glam career of sorts.

Thelma Houston was a real highlight. I thought Thelma puts in a great performance. I'd never heard her version of the Harold Melvin classic before. (I don't acknowledge the Somerville versh).

I thought she was great. Both sexy and wholesome at the same time. And what a voice. I was transfixed. Great stuff.

As so often the real highlight was the audience dancing at the end. This time to a Tavares track. I love the self consciousness as the audience try to cop a sly peep at the monitor to see if they're on screen. One or two audience members seem ready to embrace disco as it was poised to sweep the nation. Most though, just shuffle about looking thoroughly miserable. Meanwhile, down the road at the Nashville, I daresay Lew Lewis's Roogalator were about to take to the stage.

Elsterpie said...

Indeed. Thelma's version far better than all others.
Boston: i remember listening to Gambo's billboard 100 countdown where i discovered this (climbing 2 places at a time every week) , 'dream on', 'come sail away' and 'dust in the wind' and then to get annoyed that none reached the top 30 except Boston (and that only 20 i think). I hardly admitted this to mates as we went to see punk bands and the Runaways (my first ).

Racing cars. Brings back Nightmares. They and roy harper did the manchester uni freshers ball the year after, a bore fest organised by the unsocial social secretary where we got excited by 'horses'

Robbie said...

Arthur - the BMRB did indeed bring in chart rules to remove old hits from the 41 to 50 portion of the chart. The rule came into effect from the chart dated 12 July 1975 and lasted until May 6 1978, the last week the chart was a top 50 (it expanded to a top 75 the following week and the exclusion rules were dropped).

The BMRB put out an announcement at the time which read "It has been decided by the BPI that in order to stimulate activity at the lower end of the chart for new records, those titles between positions 41-50 which two weeks running show a decline of sales and placing will be dropped from the chart altogether. As a result of the BPI’s decision, it has been agreed to omit the longer list of breakers but to retain the star-breakers section."

On average about 5 records were removed each week.

Arthur Nibble said...

Aha! Thanks for the confirmation, Robbie. So, in theory, Tina Charles might have dropped from 15 to somewhere between 41 and 50, still a huge drop in those days, only to find herself dumped out of the 50 altogether due to the ruling.