Here's something entertaining One For The Dads has found - Legs & Co on Larry Grayson's Generation Game in 1978. Patti, Rosie, Gill and Pauline to be exact, plus friend Floyd and a couple of others, doing a very teatime-friendly version of ballroom disco dancing, while Flick is in charge of choreography, scoring and getting a round of applause for not being male. Of course Larry and Isla have a go afterwards.
Meanwhile, here's someone's stream of consciousness version of Pops recappage.
Noel this week, before a chart the captions for which have turned an uncomfortable mushy peas green. Barry Biggs is still in the top ten.
Heatwave – Boogie Nights
Lots of videos this week but none with a more forceful setting than this. Heatwave are in virtual silhouette at the front, some neon pink lines behind, and every so often a set of full beam lights dazzle everything in their path as the two singers sway in a fashion that suggests meaningfulness. Eventually the lighting change reveals a band costume of black jumpsuits with some sort of yellow 'sun rays' motif around the wide collar and belt. On the energetic frontmen it works a treat. On the '70s British detective series criminal of the week' keyboard player and the well built, defiantly English session drummer, less so. Midway through the clip gets the Toppotron™ treatment, excitingly this week at a slight angle to the shot, the proleteriat in at least one Panama hat and who knows how much poor knitwear shuffling before their telescreen. Noel calls it "a somewhat melodic way to get proceedings underway" as if it's MOR pop, while not for the last time this week the applause at the end is overlaid by a medium-sized youthful sounding cheer. One or the other, come on.
The Racing Cars – They Shoot Horses Don't They?
"One of the songs that is particularly beautiful at the moment" is Noel's take on a ballad that takes the average RPM down hugely, before offering a blacksmith-based pun that does nobody any good. Once you've got over how alarmingly singer Morty looks like Bill Bailey with short dark hair and Simon Pegg's eyes it's notable how carefully it treads the line between anthemic and catatonic, never one thing nor the other. At the end the guitarist starts kissing/biting the neck of his instrument, possibly just because he can.
The Real Thing – You’ll Never Know What You’re Missing
And out of the tombola this time comes Eddie in the hat to go with his wedding suit from last time and a jacket that looks like it's made out of his dining room carpet, a white jacket with velvet pantaloons and the other two looking like they were rushed on stage in what they arrived in, including dungarees. Had they still not learned from the Americans about coding their gear? There's an acoustic guitar restored to the lineup too.
Mary McGregor – Torn Between Two Lovers
"She doesn't know whether to marry McTavish or marry McGregor". No. Serious, Noel, no. The video is a series of shots of tight close-ups of McGregor's face, but she still feels it necessary to hold a mike throughout. These were the early days of promo shoots, maybe some still needed the crutch.
Electric Light Orchestra – Rockaria
And another video, a full ELO onstage extravaganza in which the track's opera singer starts high up in a false castle and a quartered screen reveals Jeff's gang going at it ten to the dozen. Duelling cellists drag their instruments at right angles around the stage.
Barbara Dickson – Another Suitcase In Another Hall
Before Barbara can get underway Noel wants to introduce us to some people, Andrew Lloyd Webber looking about twenty while simultaneously not actually looking young at all and Tim Rice looking like a provincial PE teacher. Noel starts with a very strangely worded question: "Everyone says to me you've got so many hits on that LP, so many hits behind Evita, is that true?" Lloyd Webber, understandably confused, points out the first single was a number one and they've released the second. "I think we like this one at the moment best" Rice offers when asked which his favourite is, which is handy. It turns out to be both Noel's record of the week and his prediction for a number one, so its chances are sunk well before it can ever begin. Dickson looks very stern in her knockoff Laura Ashley, choker and ostentatiously huge flower in hair. To add artistic merit there's a shot from the far side of a harp being played by a disembodied hand. At the end a man in a bobble hat looks nonplussed.
Earth Wind & Fire – Saturday Nite
As ever, Noel's off on his own logic perambulation: "The next introduction sounds a bit like the sort of insurance company you'd need cover from if you were going to walk round a volcano". Having given Legs & Co mini-tunics that make no attempt to cover the underwear Flick seems to have set them on autopilot and let them go on the standard uptempo move set. Gill's trying, though, if the addition of what seems to be a Chaplin sped-up shuffle qualifies by itself as trying to add something new. It's not impressing the audience surrounding the dancefloor, who spent three minutes listening to disco, watching professional dancers and don't move a muscle throughout. Some men at the back stand with their arms tightly folded, women at the front look like they're being forced to be there. Is this Legs & Co's first time in front of a live audience on the regular show? They really needed to involve the crowd more, unless Flick's still reeling from the Ruby Flipper reproach - they did crowd participation a few times - and vowed not to go that far again.
Leo Sayer – When I Need You
"Two weeks at number one, it's got to stay there even longer". It did! Noel got a chart prediction right! Stopped clock and all that. Leo, the very definition of 'always available', gets all sort of multiplication camera tricks, but more telling is his standing before a catatonically swaying audience with his hands in his pockets again. It doesn't mean casuality by itself, Leo. Before cueing up Bowie's Sound And Vision to play under the credits - and at this stage of 1977 aren't we all waiting for certain gifts of sound and vision? - Noel promises Leo will be joining "the Swap Shop supergroup this coming Saturday". And yes, this was a thing - the show put together an actual supergroup which recorded covers of Roll Over Beethoven and Bo Diddley under Mickie Most's production. Leo sang, with backing from John Miles, Suzi Quatro, Kenney Jones of the Faces and... John Christie! 1977 was going to be marvellous for him after all.
And yes, he still had that smug face he pulls. Via this set of Swap Shop Book 1978 scans, which also features actual slides used in the chart rundown
EDIT NEWS: videos by Bryan Ferry (This Is Tomorrow) and Boston (More Than A Feeling, which you'd have thought would have been more of a pull than Rockaria)