Thursday, 26 April 2012

TOTP 14/4/77 (tx 26/4/12): should old acquaintance be forgot

You've read the camera script, right? Good. You've spoilt it for yourself, mind you.

Enter Savile. He's wearing a red, yellow and white curly wig, a paisley patterend jacket and a felt frog over his left shoulder with 'Chief Tadpole' picked out in embroidery. The tone has already been set.

Now, call me a cynic but I don't think this is quite accurate.



The single, I Wanna Get Next To You, was from the film Car Wash, which may explain things, but it's still no Cortina.

The Brothers – Beautiful
Proving that without cod-reggae written by a middle-aged couple from Exeter they might have been easily lost, the Brothers are still running with the matching outfit theme, this time powder blue ruffled shirts under navy blue bolero jackets and matching trousers with bell bottoms one could hide children under. Innovation? Well, the drummer gets to sing a post-chorus section in a strangulated whine and both guitars seem to be playing rhythm, if that all counts. Lots of Union Jack plastic hats in the audience tonight. Perhaps a shipment was expected for Lynsey and Mike the week before last but got delayed.

Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jnr – You Don’t Have To Be A Star (To Be In My Show)
Jimmy's managed to find someone new to be in nearly every link with him tonight. Imagine him in that outfit beckoning you towards his part of the stage. You'd have to wonder what was about to happen. In this case it's some girls from Wrexham and a wider shot which reveals Chief Tadpole has a cigar in, as well as a massive breast pocket. Sets it all off nicely, I'm sure you'll agree. Same Top Pop clip as three shows ago.

Brendon – Gimme Some
Ah! Now, if you haven't read the comments you have to, both for 24/3 and last week, as it seems Brendon's bassist Dave Levy, as WeddingSuit, has joined the conversation with his insight into recording, including that script PDF up there. This week he's brought out the big stuff, a double-necked instrument. Brendon's brought his own acoustic with him, slinging it behind his back to begin like a wayfaring stranger, while one of the guitarists is sporting a Rubettes cap. Well, they didn't need them any more. Must be said, while this never got beyond number 14 the crowd are as into it as the producer evidently was, clapping the off-beat throughout and not minding when the cameraman takes several of them down at once judging by the size of the wobble.

David Soul – Going In With My Eyes Open
Jimmy has found two girls in overcoats and flat caps. He claims they're called Bill and Ben. One of them switches between broadly beaming and grimacing vaguely menacingly. In his mind this all makes perfect sense. Those who are playing along with the script at home will spot this isn't Leo Sayer or Mike Nesmith, it seems they assumed this would be number one by now and when it wasn't chose to throw this straightforward singing with occasional overlaid shots from side angles video in here instead.

The Stylistics – 7000 Dollars And You
"A nice single Yorkshire millionaire" is next on the rostrum of chance, one wearing a pinstripe suit and darkened glasses. Back for a second go in the studio Russell Thompkins Jr doesn't seem any less permanently surprised than before but his colleagues, one of whom is sporting not just a tight afro but also mighty mutton chops, seem happy enough with their matching crimson suits and synchronised hoofing. A very wobbly pan to the lights to close.

John Williams & Cleo Laine – Feelings
"It could only happen on Top Of The Pops - it's classical guitar" If you like, Jimmy. "Where could you get such class except Top Of The Pops?" rhetorically asks a man who chose to dress like that. Both parties sit, the crowd stand pensively around the perimeter of a small circular stage I don't think we've ever seen before. It's pretty much what you'd expect Feelings performed by Cleo Laine with John Williams to sound like, a reminder that throughout this decade you'd get stuff well out of the pop loop - the Shadows were regulars well into the 80s - in an attempt to paint the show as inclusive and classy. The response is appropriately Two Ronnies audience-like.

Andrew Gold – Lonely Boy
"I don't know which one to speak into, my tadpole or this microphone". Er, the electric one that's wired up, Jimmy, but he has given Chief Tadpole to one of the latest pair of girls flanking him, which is asking for trouble. Speaking of which... "Legs & Co with Floyd, no less!" Floyd! It's Floyd! Back for... well, he made a few appearances in the couple of years post-Flipper, but rarely would he get a namecheck such as this, or indeed a role such as this. His being the lonely boy in the routine, keen to show off his full repertoire of spins and star jumps, was about as literal as Flick would get this time while still dealing in some respect with the lyrical concern. In a mini-reunion of old ways Patti gets to play lead Leg as the narrator's sister, getting the sort of double act going they never did before as Patti gets variously grabbed from behind and spun right round, leapfrogged, have her pigtails pulled and have general wrestling-like not quite contacting moves performed on her, though she does get to waggle her arse at him as is her wont, which makes someone - Gill, I think - visibly corpse. The rest of the Co kind of flounce around and stand still, this not being their moment. There isn't a feelgood ending rapprochement either, unless you count the fanservice knicker crotch reveals. One close-up reveals Patti's wearing a wedding ring. Don't break it to the kids of 1977 like that!

Billy Ocean – Red Light Spells Danger
"These ladies have just come up from Upminster, would you believe!" As Jimmy embarks on some elbow-led dancing this appears to be a new orchestra-led Ladybirds far too high in the mix version with Billy richly singing live. Suit: purple. Cuffs: white, huge. Collar: wings. Just as things seem to have gone well Ocean gets faded out too early, giving it plenty to very little audible effect before someone realises almost too late.

ABBA – Knowing Me Knowing You
"High speed cameras and things, goodness gracious!" No idea where the two blokes surrounding Jimmy now are from but he says they're DJs, "taking the bread out of my mouth". One of them is wearing a T-shirt reading 'DON'T SHOOT ME, I'm only the DEE-JAY". The other one is wearing a suit, bears a resemblance to the singer from Young Knives and, credit to Bob Stanley with this not least as he's got a book and column to write and an impending album to promote yet is still taking the jeweller's eyepiece to this thing every week, is wearing a safety pin attached to another safety pin through his earlobe. It almost constitutes a watershed, that. The scowling plays out again before Boney M, again, finish a show featuring six new entries, none featured, and five songs in the top ten. Back to shows longer than thirty minutes on original screening next week. I think this tableau from the closing link about sums this week up...

65 comments:

THX said...

Didn't quite catch the name of the Brothers' song, they only repeated it fifty billion times.

Anyway, Floyd was back! Doing his Benny Hill impression with the girls! Hooray! Though I note the theme of violence was continued from last week.

When I was a little kid I used to like seeing Cleo Lane on TV because she would go "boop a boop doop doopy boop!" and so on, but now when I see her I just think of Ronnie Barker.

Oh, and Brendon of course - was the double necked guitar brought in to play two basslines at once? Never could work those instruments out when I used to see them on TV back then.

Arthur Nibble said...

First of all, big thanks to Dave Levy for joining in this week, being a good sport and providing us with heaps of intriguing information. I feel guilty now at berating Brendon earlier in this run – it’s a matter of individual tastes, after all – but those lads managed something I reckon many of us forumites would have loved to have done – have a hit single, appear on TOTP, and live the dream, if only for a few weeks.

Plenty of ‘WTF’ moments this week, starting with the presenter. Is it Jackson Pollock? Is it Bjork? No, it’s Jim’ll, wearing something far punkier than anything worn in its heyday, though he needed to borrow that earring for full effect. I got bored with him introducing loads of strangely hatted numpties, though, topped off by Colonel Teacosy. Not exactly a Gerald Harper look, that.

Plenty of good stuff tonight though, sadly, not The Brothers...now what was that song called again? I thought there’d been some Showaddywaddy-style camera trickery with the singer also on drums – I needed a double take to realise they were two separate people.

Another outing for the disco-dancing ball-balancing exterminator behind the McCooing couple (boom boom) – by the way, good work, Billy, old son, you grabbed yourself a corker there - before we get to the first big moment of the show...

Glad Brendon covered up his completely unbuttoned shirt (!!!) with that guitar, but still plenty of nervous dry-mouth between-line tongue action – give that boy a wine gum! This week, though, he was silver medal position on that stage behind the young imp dwarfed by a double-neck bass! In a disco band! Which had previously been a folk group!?!? Shame Dave didn’t get much camera time, but hope this brought back happy memories.

WTF number 2 – did David Soul wear that shirt for a bet? And we get to see it in triplicate - deep joy! Even Rich Hall would have turned his nose up at that garb. Once again, Bottler Dave does his bit on video – I wonder if his previous non-appearance cost him vital publicity and stopped this mush from hitting the top?

WTF number 3 – Russell Thompkins Jr. sporting a Colonel Sanders goatee? And smiling instead of intently staring? Funny to think that, in 1977, a million dollars equated to about £250,000 as you got about four dollars to a quid back then. Cheers, lads, back to the croupier jobs - at least, i think that's what you've come as.

WTF number 4 – Cleo Laine and John Williams (not Andy Williams as shown on the BBC iPlayer blurb, though I think a duet with Andy would have worked better)! Their record plugger worked an absolute miracle to get this on – but it still stiffed! What on Earth did all those hormonal teenagers think when they saw this? Was Cleo’s dress back to front? The orchestra loved this and really got into it – I can imagine most of them thinking “Ah, proper music, none of that pop rubbish”.

Wahay! The return of Floyd – in a proper, unembarrassing outfit and dance routine. I thought this was ace. Brilliant my-body-is-my-tool work on ‘I ran down the hall and I cried’. Loved the outfits and I was initially disappointed at Patti’s absence, but then her double act with Floyd (in what must have been a mixed marriage if they were sister and brother!) was fantastically scripted and beautifully acted – shame the last verse and chorus were cut as I wanted more.

Ahhh, our Billy – always available, classic performance as always, great collar and cuffs, and a brisk, almost punk-like tempo for this version. Had the orchestra been too slow with “Feelings” and so they needed to speed this up to stop over-running the allotted studio time? They came clattering to an undignified halt prior to Jim’ll’s link into a truncated, stare-free Abba. Woah, there!

Like others on here, I felt a bit cheated that we didn’t get Bobby’s Bez-like dancing for “Sunny” but we'd probably had enough WTF moments for one evening. In the end, a minor disappointment at the end of an enjoyable and surprising show, especially given tonight was the first time I’d anticipated hearing “Gimme Some”!

WeddingSuit said...

Hmm. A particularly spooky first viewing for me. Apart from being a couple of places above TDEK (same demographic, same teen mag articles, which is our own league 1 tussle) James the drummer has split as he could no longer betray his Billy Cobham roots to be replaced by the (now late) Mick Charleton (was a bit older than us but was for real a part of the 60's Hamburg scene and had stories which make my recollections totally trivial)... Brendon's guitar is his trusty Martin and I guess the whole Cat Stevens thing is squeaking out (he's singing it live thus the wine gum need) and he does a mean "father and son" btw.. Sorry about the double neck axe but I really wanted to be in Genesis.. Evil bass but pretty passable 6 string. So that's it from us for now. Will see you folks for 27.5.77 (for another pasting) where we are back with (the first ever) Abba cover "Rock Me" which has an unexpected intro.. Oh and that's the floaty cheesecloth and fender jazz show.

darnall 42 said...

hooray for the late night uncut showing,we get to see wooley hat man boogeying and sir jimmy signing autographs :)

Steve Williams said...

I was going to say it was clearly a different drummer with Brendon and the gang. Intriguing to see on the script that number one was "Abba?/David Soul?", they must have been working to some very tight deadlines in those days.

Nice to see "The Colonel" in tow, who you may recall had correctly predicted Pussycat getting to number one back in October. The best thing was obviously Jim mentioning Wrexham. I like how he got more and more incoherent and cryptic throughout, some of his links sounded like he was malfunctioning. This week's catchphrase was "Would you believe".

Not much jazz and jewellery from Cleo Laine. And John Williams - learn the tune, don't just read it!

In other news, I dunno if Simon's spotted that the dates on On The Top of the Pops Day are going a bit all over the place, the updates are getting very sporadic.

Angelo Gravity said...

David Soul seemed to be singing live in that video, and those blue lights looked like the ones used in the studio that same show - was this filmed in the TOTP studio specially for the show? And if so does that count as him actually being on the show for proper?

That being said, I'd have much preferred to see Mike Nesmith.

Arthur Nibble said...

I think the first Abba cover on TOTP was actually "Honey Honey" by Sweet Dreams in August 1974. A passable cover of an Abba single, surprisingly not released over here, which made the top 10 and was infamous for Pickettywitch singer Polly Brown blacking up and singing under the alias of Sarah Leone!

I've been a bit (a bit!!) harsh on Brendon in the past but, in fairness, no miming or standing stock still for that lad. He gave it his best shot, and the audience appreciated it.

Now for my "butterfly wing flap causes hurricane on other side of the world " theory - anyone else reckon that David Soul's previous non-appearance put the mockers on "Rio" by Mike Nesmith being a bigger hit? Souly fails to turn up, possibly resulting in fewer record sales, causing him to miss the top spot, causing his video to be played earlier in this show replacing either Mike or Leo. Mike had already made an appearance in the studio, which suggests TOTP were ready to do a 'Thelma Houston' and play him at a later date. Bit of a shame as, apparently, the video for "Rio" was something of a groundbreaker.

Tyrone Jenkins said...

"Lots of Union Jack plastic hats in the audience tonight. Perhaps a shipment was expected for Lynsey and Mike the week before last but got delayed!"
No doubt these hats will become increasingly prevelant in the Pops audience as the country was gearing up for the Jubilee jamboree in June 77. I remember wearing one of these at our street party (I was 10, going on 11). The street party committee or whatever it was called, ordered several boxes of these plastic hats from a warehouse retailer.

Tyrone Jenkins said...

I've just noticed my mis-spelling of the word 'prevalent' in the previous posting. I must remember to proof read my rush-job postings before dispatching them!
My sporadic efforts will be a (no doubt failed) attempt to ad a bit of social history to Top of the Pops 77!

WeddingSuit said...

Yes, it's 35 years ago so watch out who you give a hard time to. Some of those Dead End Kids might be cops now or worst still, dentists..

wilberforce said...

thanks to those pointing out more of jimmy's "catchphrases" - my own observation was that every act was introduced as "the one and only", which would have been highly amusing (not to mention innaccurate) had he been introducing say dave stewart or kurt cobain's nirvana...

i am doing the disco for a school reunion party later this year and am actually considering doing a jimmy savile impression as part of it - if i get up the nerve to do it then that's three more things i can work into the prattle and gobbledygook!

ps - dave/weddingsuit: did you actually have any dealings with the legend that is JS when you were on the show? did he act the same way off-camera as on?

Arthur Nibble (again) said...

Phew! Got lucky. Just checked the web (in fact, a site listing bands who played some venue in Dunfermline - the lads were from nearby Kilmarnock) and it looks like most of The Dead End Kids - Dead End Old Blokes these days, maybe? - are still in the music biz or dabbling in it in some shape or form.

That Rose Royce picture is indeed from 'Car Wash' - from memory, it's from a short scene where two of the washers lark around and have a toe-to-toe dance. I'd probably cringe at the film now, but I really enjoyed it back then.

By the way, Tyrone, sorry, but I can't resist...did you mis-spell 'add' on purpose? :-)

WeddingSuit said...

Never spoke to JS. Remember it's a factory on a deadline in a crowded space. I don't recall any of the DJs passing the time of day with us. They only appear for the actual recording anyway. The only interaction (apart from the uniform on the gate) was with the floor manager who herded you around. It's not unlike the film industry with blocks of unionised special interest folks sticking to (just) their jobs, someone in charge who communicates through a series of line producers and the talent (?) who do what they are told. The "machine" is pretty important to everyone involved.

Tyrone Jenkins said...

The incorrect spelling of 'add' is replete with oblique satirical meaning. Either that or it was another non-proof read balls-up!In any event I'm going to stick with the former explanation!

Floid Fan said...

Floyd done good- back in the limelight and doing a brilliant double-act with Patti to a great song.
The best was kept til last this week with Lonely Boy plus Billy Ocean and Boney M, being the stand out songs IMO

Tyrone Jenkins said...

With regards to weddingsuit's comment's about the technicalities of appearing on the Pops,were you required to mime the performance and if so was this requirement annoying? Did the vocalist sing along to the recording or simply move his lips? I've always been interested in this aspect of tv pop music programmes (I need to get out more often!).

WeddingSuit said...

Tyrone, if you look at the other script http://www.simplecountryfolk.com/totp77/totp678.pdf you can see what "sources" are used per act. You have "live" which can be just the vocals or in the case of graham parker the whole band too, "track" which can be the vocals and/or instruments and "orch" which due to MU restrictions has to be Pearson et al. It's your choice.. but they like "track" all round as it's fast to set up. We haven't even got to the argument about the 3 hour session you get the day before to recreate the track. Easy for us but you see why many folks either scammed real backing tapes in there or just walked away from the show. VT recording was 2" Ampex quad in those days those babies were £100k plus to buy, weighed a ton and the Marconi (V ?) cameras (boo, I worked for Link) needed 3 folks to drive them so making videos was V expensive and we have to wait for the Sony EFP/ENG cameras and hi-band 5 years later to crack the BBC content stranglehold.

Simon said...

To go back a bit: David did never come back, did he? Despite being told he'd had to suddenly fly back the replacement repeat of Graham Parker and the Rumour is listed as planned in the script. It's listed officially as a video but this seems to be the only filmed clip on YouTube for the song.

When I completed writing the April posts for On This Day last week I'd naively assumed Blogger might actually post them at the scheduled times rather than me having to later go in and publish them myself. Today's has just gone up, in any case.

Anonymous said...

Wayfaring Stranger made me realise Brendon looks a lot like the late great Tim Buckley.

The final verse was cut out of Lonely Boy.

Tyrone Jenkins said...

Thanks for the info Weddingsuit. Yes, I've read about the Musicians/technicians unions rules vis live performance and the machinations of performers to circumvent these restrictions. I'm a bit of a (centre)leftie but even I can see how absurd and counterproductive a lot of these rules/restrictions were. I'll have a look at the info you have refered to.
On another note, has anyone noticed how dowdy the 76/77 audiences look compared to those of circa 1969/70 or the 72/73 imperial period glam rock? Did this reflect the post-three day week/oil crisis/IMF 'bailout'austerity? economic slump?

Floid Fan said...

The TOTP orchestra seem to be going twice as fast as previously on the Billy Ocean number, and this high-speed version is pretty good. Aren't the lyrics of the Stylistics song bizarre? Quite an unpleasant message: If I had so many thousand dollars, I'd treat you like a queen, but if I had a million dollars I'd dump you. No wonder it was there last hit.
Cleo Laine hit a nice warbly high note part way through her song, but otherwise it was a bit tedious.
Liked the Brothers previous hit 'Sing Me' but this was spolit by the shrill part of the brother on the drums.

Tyrone Jenkins said...

It was good see Floyd again, doing the "Benny Hill" routine. The Flipper were far more entertaining and inventive than Legs etc and are sorely missed. Without being disrespectful to Flick Colby's late 1976/77 efforts, the Legs...routines so far have been yawn-inducing and are almost as uninspiring as the dowdy audiences. Having said this, there is their ground-breaking (!)dance interpretation of the Sex Pistols 'Something Else'(available on youtube)!

Tyrone Jenkins said...

Forgot to mention that the 'Something Else' proto-punk legs and co routine appeared in 78 so perhaps the filtering of the 'New Wave' into the mainstream by this stage allowed a little inventiveness. I don't recall whether this marked the end of the endless flouncy skirt routines.

Dory said...

Having watched the two versions of this show at 7.30pm and 12.00am, it appears that the second showing had more of the legs & co performance of Lonely Boy, ie, more of the Patti & Floyd bit at the end of the song than the earlier show.
My understanding was that any editing in the early evening show was only to remove a song or two. It's more frustrating when the editor is now shortening some songs to try to get more into the show.
The show is short enough as it is, without this practice.
We deserve to see the whole performance of an act as it appeared 1977 with the audience clapping sound as the true end to a song, otherwise this is becoming a Top Of The Pops 2 again, and we had enough of those scissor cuts for Steve Wright & Co.
Let's have the whole show, and if anything needs editing, do the whole song of one act, and then show all the acts in full on the later show. Editors, please put the scissors down, and let us enjoy a song to the end!

Dory said...

By the way, I loved Brendan's Gimmee Some. It's so catchy and very 70s. It was worthy of a No.1 in it's time.
I also saw that the Billy Davis & Marilyn McCoo video was much shorter than their same video on DLTs's show three weeks before. It was a brilliant husband & wife team putting soul into their performance.

Steve Does Top of the Pops said...

25 comments already!

For me it was a mixed bag this week, starting off weakly and only hitting its stride very late on.

Highlights were Billy Ocean and Boney M.

I know she has her fans - my late dad amongst them - but I really couldn't be doing with Cleo Laine.

I'm afraid the Brothers were my personal lowlight of the edition, with a song that seemed determined to bash you over the head with its less than inspired lyrics.

I did find the Stylistics far more enjoyable this time round. There's something oddly endearing about them.

Arthur Nibble (again) said...

Spoiler alert - Sorry, Simon...

Dory, if you hate songs being clipped to fit into the show, and I tend to agree with you, then you're probably going to hate the next couple of months. From next week's edition until the 16th June inclusive, there's only one 'regular fit' programme and all the others have an average of 14 songs, with one edition containing 15!

I'd like to think someone at BBC4's noticed this and is trying to extend the early Thursday night edition for a short while, but I'm not holding my breath. Could be a lot of very late Thursday / early Friday nights coming up for a couple of months if we want to get the full flavour.

Wellieman said...

All these comments already - must be the crap weather keeping people in huddled up to their computer.

I'll mention again what is most memorable for me about Gimme Some. This was the song that started the line-dance/hand-jive craze that we still see today by drunk mums and aunties at weddings and school reunion discos. You know - a bit like Lets Do The Time Warp Again, but this was definitely the first. Nobody else picked up on that comment last time, so perhaps it not as well known as I seem to think. Perhaps WeddingSuit has any recollections whether this craze started at the time of the song's release or has been adopted since?

Thinking about the David Soul song. It is strange how it uses nearly identical chords, arrangement and orchestration as his previous hit, yet that one was brilliant and this one is so lame. Must be one of the worst No2s ever? Oh hold on, we've had much worse No1s haven't we (... Baccarra, anyone?).

Was this the week when John Williams and Cleo Laine turned up to perform on the BBC2 late-night Nana Mouskouri show and famously got herded into the wrong studio? Surely it was?

Now, I'm going to go against popular opinion on here next. The late Andrew Gold... brilliant, brilliant song but the dark subject matter for me was totally trivialised by the dancing dollies (although Floid was a welcome return). Did I recall hearing that this song was semi-autobiographical and he never did make peace with his sister? I'll have to have a root round on the web unless someone knows.

Thanks again to WeddingSuit for his recollections, still gutted that Leo Sayer or Mike Nesmith was binned in favour of Hutch.

Simon said...

Editing songs down has been going on for quite a while, as most will know from the second Graham Parker showing, and indeed this isn't the first Legs & Co shaving down. Thing is, though, looking at the version archived on One For The Dads they've cut off the last... nine seconds! (Only missing some mock-spitting and sticking out of tongues, so we still don't get the happy ending) Was that just for the hell of it, then?

No, the 7.30 show, or at least next week's, hasn't been extended, because BBC4 like the prime-time schedule to begin on the hour/half-hour. It's a bind when this much has to be cut off, but what can you do, we don't even know who's overseeing or editing the shows.

Noax said...

Well, this show really cheered me up, and no mistake. Pretty good tunes all round, with one notable exception, and some quite extraordinary sights, even by Jim's usual standards. Given his position as erm, something to do with the Highland Games, perhaps 'Chief Tadpole' was meant to reflect his standing with the UK Frog & Toad Association. But probably not.

Apart from the comedy 'Rose Royce' picture, I enjoyed the back to back B&W stills of Peter Gabriel and Mike Nesmith. It really did look like they'd slipped some pictures of supply teachers into the thrilling 30.

The Brothers - Dumb moment of the evening for me. No, not the song, but me being amazed at how much the drummer looked like the lead singer. Until I remembered that they are...um...brothers. A shame that the song was so rubbish as they weren't exactly the worst band around.

Brendon - Or the great audience massacre 1977. I bet Dave had to count the bodies as he left the studio floor. I'm not just saying this because he's here, but this was definitely the best performance of the three, much better live than mimed.

David Soul - Astonishing that it took this long to get the video on. It does look like it may have been filmed for TOTP. I couldn't help singing along, god help me.

The Stylistics - Nice to see Jim trying to fix his not at all dodgy looking mate up. I don't think his alleged millions will make up for that look though. Speaking of looks, I'll miss Russell's 'I'm sure I left the gas on...did I?...not sure' face.

John Williams / Cleo Laine - I couldn't bear any of this, I cannot stand Cleo Laine. In my first year at secondary school our music teacher made us do a round of scat singing and I think I was scarred for life after that so Cleo was never going to be a favourite.

Andrew Gold - What an ace song this is. Pip Schofield used to play this on Radio 1 all the time. The performance and return of Floyd was of course ace, but amazingly since no-one has mentioned it, would have been even better with the return of TOUCG (I can explain this to newcomers if required or leave Simon to it. The 'O' stands for 'Once')

Billy Ocean - As good as ever, at least until he got drowned out. Perhaps Jimmy's links had gone on for so long that they had to cut Billy short? I have a picture in my head of him sneaking into Jim's dressing room, grabbing the green monstrosity and shouting "Damn you, Tadpole!!!". Except he's too nice for that.

ABBA and Boney M we're now familiar with, 'The Colonel's hat we weren't, but is definitely the one from that trio I'd gladly never see again. The playout is comedy gold - I hope we get some more of these. Maybe if they'd have carried on we'd have seen Tom Baker popping in to grab the tadpole to use as next week's monster (satire)

I wish all TOTP were like this one. I bet it's Blackburn next time though, isn't it? I can just tell...

Simon said...

TOOCG. And as for your last line, well, now you mention it...

Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned how dowdy and unhappening the 1976/77 shows look compared with earlier. I haven't seem much pre-1969 but 1969-73 look like a different programme. I think the unfashionable look post 1973 was at least partly to do with Light entertainment taking over - the audience from 1969/71 look like they've been dragged out of hip London clubs - this lot out of the youth club.
Surprised if it was due to austerity/gloominess as 1976 has been nominated twice now in 2 different surveys as people's happiest year.

I think all David Soul's singles were classy, well produced, well sung perfect adult pop singles I bought a compilation in the mid-90s and still give it some stick today.

I agree with someone above the Legs and Co performance to 'Lonely Boy' completely trivialised a great song. Terrible. And I'm usually the last person to get precious about pop music.

Great performance by Jimmy Savile tonight but what a pity Kenny Everett wasn't still presenting by the time of these repeats.

Noax said...

Simon - I did of course mean TOOCG. Not sure what the 'U' I slipped in there was meant to stand for : Unbelievable? Unstoppable? Underwear? Actually, I'll stop there...

Arthur, let someone else have a go... said...

Underwear? Thank you, Patti!

I loved 'Lonely Boy' as a youngster (and still do) because it sort of summed up my existence at the time. I'd joined a school four years earlier where, out of an intake of 120 new pupils, I was the only one from my previous school so I was at an immediate disadvantage. Being very shy and even more naive didn't help either.

I hope Dave / WeddingSuit sticks around and becomes a regular columnist here. Personally, I'd appreciate getting the perspective of someone on the other side of the goldfish bowl (and, in any case, Dave's taken to this site like a duck to orange) and, while we're at it, seeing as I blew Dave's cover, I'll redress the balance a bit by saying my name isn't actually Arthur, it's Eddie.

Tyrone Jenkins said...

With regard to Anonymous's comment about the relative dowdiness of the 76/77 audience; excellent point about the turn to a light entertainment format/appearance.
Secondly, yes, those two opinion surveys about 76 being the best quality of life post-war year; and of course there was the endless heatwave. Unfortunately a Thatcherite narrative about the seventies being characterised by economic/cultural decline seems to have taken hold. Has anyone watched the BBC2 series 'THE 70s'?

seekenee said...

This one's a keeper, John Williams, Floyd and Savile shoehorning as much audience as possible and some great footage after the credits. V good.

wilberforce said...

arthur/eddie, next you'll be telling us that your surname's not really nibble...

yes, i'm watching "the 70's" and enjoying it... even though i know dominic sandbrook is making it a bit over-dramatic and taking a bit of artistic liberty!

regarding the late night showings, i checked out the schedule of this week's later show on the freeview guide, and as it was listed with the same running time as the earlier showing assumed it would be exactly the same so didn't bother watching/taping it - now i'm going to have to tape tonight's (saturday) repeat to catch the bits the beeb apparently edited out despite it supposedly being the same length!

Dory said...

The true full length of a song as it was on Top of The Pops would have the audience clapping before going back to the presenter, ie, Jimmy Saville in this week's show.
In the case of Legs & co dancing to Lonely boy, the midnight showing did have the performance in full, as you could hear the audience clapping at the end of it before going back to Jimmy Saville, but the earlier show knocked off the last 10 seconds.
It will be interesting to see if we get the whole Billy Davis & Marilyn McCoo video on the Saturday night final repeat up to the audience clapping, as the first two showings on Thursday seemed to have cut the happy couple well before it's end as it was on the show.

Erithian said...

Brothers – I’m picturing the nation’s singles buyers sitting down to watch TOTP, hearing this and thinking, “OK, not as good as Sing Me but I might get this” – then the drummer opens his gob and they go “Or maybe not.” It also features the Ominous Whoo – the moment the singer goes “Whoo!” as if they’re loving the moment when in fact they’re just conscious it’s weak material. We heard it in “Tear Me Apart” and in “Gypsy Roadhog” too IIRC.

Marilyn & Billy – formerly together in the Fifth Dimension, as featured in BBC4’s Bacharach special last night. Hard to dislike.

Brendon – I’ve absolutely loved the contributions from Dave Levy, and like Arthur I hope he sticks around in the comments crew once the band’s days in the spotlight come to an end. Especially the hints of inter-band rivalry with the Dead End Kids (the League 1 tussle – or Third Division as we traditionalists call it). Remember when it was suggested that there could be a fifth series of Blackadder called “The Blackadder Five” with Blackadder as the leader of a 60s beat group and Baldrick as the drummer? I like to think that if it had been made, one of the storylines would have featured a Brendon/TDEK-style face-off.

Stylistics – their last TOTP and almost the end of their 143-week chart career. And what an apologetic way to finish – perhaps their weakest single. The “if this happens then I’d still be with you ‘cos you’re ace” theme was done so much better in “Stone In Love With You”.

Legs & Co – marvellous song which I remember rushing out and buying. What was that you said, Simon, about it not being the first Legs & Co shaving down? Quite a mental image…

Billy Ocean – another good performance and the record accelerated up the chart the following week. It had gone 20-13-8-6 but climbed to 2 as David Soul and the ‘Waddy ran out of steam.

Boney M – another odd chart career, at 3 this week at the peak of a run that went 22-15-7-9-3-8-10-27-30.

Anonymous said...

Never mind Brendon. Were you a member of Sheer Elegance? Or Glamourpussycat? Are you Steve Harley's keyboard player? Or Steve himself? Or any other TOTPopster of the era. We demand you make your presence known, and tell us of those times!

Noax said...

OK, well, since Arthur has owned up to half of his real identity and 'Anonymous' (itself surely a front for a pop star?) has made such a polite request, I can reveal that I am in fact Paul Nicholas.

Keeping quiet about this when you were all slagging me off last year and making me quite upset was quite difficult you know.
My framed gold disc for 'Dancing with the Captain' and my cane and hat collection kept me going through some hard times after the pop career ended and I get the last laugh 'cos I got to snog Jan Francis!
>
>
>
>
>
>
PS Not really.

wilberforce said...

i've just watched the bacharach compilation mentioned above, and the fifth dimension appearance underlines what i said before about marilyn mccoo - with beauty and a voice like that, why didn't she go solo? if she had, surely she could easily have been as successful as the likes of donna summer?

btw, did anyone else notice the nolans in the audience in the jack jones clip?

Suefan said...

Sorry but I cannot leave without replying to the ridiculous assertion that the Legs routines to date have been yawn inspiring. If Maid In Heaven, Chanson D'Amour, or Love Hit Me can't keep you awake then I would advise a visit to the doc. You clearly have a dose of sleeping sickness.

Nicola said...

Thank goodness for Billy Ocean is all I can say about this episode. Really couldn't stand the Cleo Laine cover, always had a bit of a crush on Hutch but not this song and a stoopid routine from Legs&Co. Much preferred last weeks girly punches!

Elsterpie said...

Arthur : I loved Sweet Dreams Honey Honey (not a typical ABBA structure is it?), i have 'same old feeling' and remembered Polly trying for Eurovision. But i did not know about the blacking up....so a tour round wikipedia and you tube etc was definately a must. And blow me down with a black and white minstrel, there she is; a blond woman with dark wig and blacked up. Was the time of 'love thy neighbour', 'mind your language' and the lionel messi of racist comdey, 'curry and chips'.

Saw 'i love 1972' tonight. Why do they spoil those programmes by splicing in the inane talking heads adding no value? Particularly Vanilla ice lookalike, John 'what was that all about' Robb, who never appears on anything else

THX said...

Did anyone else see when Billy Ocean was singing Red Light, he noticed a girl at the front of the audience with red hair and patted her on the head, as if for good luck? What a nice man!

Tyrone Jenkins said...

Does anybody know who has the distinction of being the first punk band/performer to appear on TOTP? I know there can be problems of definition, for example does pub rock e.g. Eddy and the Hotrods constitute'Punk'?

Hersheybar said...

As probably one of the 'younger' readers here I have to say that much of this did pass me by in 1977. Apart from Cleo Laine who I found extremly scary at the time and had to leave the room while she was on. I have to say she still had that effect on me 30 odd years later!! boop boop be do.....

Simon said...

This post has now had more comments than any other. Of all the shows...

Tyrone: I made a list of 1977 Pops punk last year. The point to make is by this stage we still hadn't seen many punk singles - White Riot was just outside the top 30 at this point but they famously refused to ever appear on the show, the Damned were presumably considered too loose cannons (and didn't make the top 50 til 1979) and when a punk affiliate breaks that top 30 glass ceiling in a couple of shows' time they weren't around to promote it. You'll also notice a blank in June, presumably the mainstream coverage of God Save The Queen scaring off the Light Ent department.

Stegron said...

Okay, I'm going to say it, as it seems nobody else will (and I can't believe nobody noticed)...

Legs & Co's seemingly bra-less performance made my jaw drop! I can only assume that must have been a fairly draughty studio. At one point, in of the close-ups, it looked as if one of the girls was wearing body paint, so tight were their tops!

And in case I come across as an old perv: sorry, but I couldn't get over the sheer amount of 'nippleage' on display!

Surely there'd have been a bit of outrage, however slight, in fusty old 1977?

Arthur Nibble said...

The viewers were probably used to pointy parts in women's tops by now, having witnessed Thelma Houston's unsupported efforts a few weeks back...

...and up comes the 50! (appluase from the pavilion)

Tyrone Jenkins said...

Simon...thank's for the reminder of your 1977 punk Top of the Pops item. You have refreshed my memory because I now remember reading it at the time. The onset of middle age seems to have addled my memory!

WeddingSuit said...

Wellieman I have no idea on the line dance thing. We seemed to spend a lot of time in our old transit van going up the M1 to places further north than I'd ever been before and playing on stages with bacofoil backdrops and mirrorballs to a lot of hairspray dancing around a large pile of square handbags. Maybe these young things became hand-jive enthusiasts after the hips gave out. And from the punk on TOTP thing I always said we ushered in the revolution as we're on that Stranglers show. Can't find any more yellow scripts though sorry chaps.

WeddingSuit said...

I see the stranglers have been updating their imdb entries getting ready for the big date.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0730397

Simon said...

In case anyone was wondering, Chief Tadpole was kept safely and successfully by Jimmy and returned to the show two years later.

Arthur Nibble said...

Dave / WeddingSuit, you gave us two more camera scripts than we ever expected! By the turn of your prose, there's a book in you about your exploits. Gonna hang around these parts a bit longer?

Steve Morgan said...

I think the most interesting thing about this particular show was Saville's choice of outfit!! I think we're all agreed though that one of the better acts at the moment is Brendan, his song has certainly grown on a few posters here.
Just a comment on the inclusion of Cleo Laine, what on earth were the producers thinking of to include her? Laine was never a serious contender for a hit single, her jazzy meanderings and doop dooping seriously used to piss me off, and for her to appear on the BBC's flagship music show wouldn't have made any difference. Considering that the mood of the nation was veering towards punk, punk acts had already appeared on music shows on "the other side", I wonder why the BBC, and the producers of Top of the Pops ignored the movement, they certainly didn't have the fingers on the pulse of Britain's youth did they!

Arthur Nibble said...

Watched the current show on BBCiPlayer one last time prior to tomorrow's '14 into 30 minutes will go, honest' effort and noted two things:

1) Surely Billy Ocean's high tempo effort counts as the first ever punk song on TOTP?

2) At 7:30 into the show, Brendon turns round during the instrumental break and gives Dave a huge smile and a thumbs up, You see? Those boys had an affinity way back then.

David H said...

The first ever punk-ish song on TOTP just has to be the Eddie and the Hot Rods appearance in 1976; if they had worn safety pins and sung rebellious lyrics then it would have been easily classed as punk, no if's and but's.

As for punk in general on TOTP, don't forget that daytime radio basically ignored punk and such music was usually restricted to being heard from people's open windows and independent record shops, at least to begin with. Punk culture in particular wasn't something that could be openly endorsed on family-friendly, primetime BBC1!

Also agreed that Brendon's Gimme Some is a definite grower with a very catchy chorus, and I'm not saying that just because of who frequents this blog :)

Simon said...

The whole Eddie & The Hot Rods thing is a grey area, they certainly wanted to be seen as part of punk and booked the Sex Pistols as tour support in mid-1976 (only to drop them after the Pistols smashed up their gear at the first gig) but really they're more on the lineage of high speed rhythm and blues/pub rock a la Dr Feelgood, who had had a number one album in 1976.

Also "this is why punk happened" is borne of circumstantial nostalgia, that Damned clip I embedded the other week was the only time Supersonic would go remotely near punk and MOR acts got on Pops well past Year Zero, right up to the end if you count pop-opera. Were this TOTP 1978 I'd have been writing in this week about Johnny Mathis, Alan Price, the extraordinary Richard Myhill and Brian & Michael at number one. This same week in 1979, meanwhile, starts with the Damned followed by Elike Brooks and ends with Sparks followed by the Shadows.

Simon said...

Sixty and...last? Unless one of the Brothers turns up or something. Anyway, this is to say the recap for this week will be up tomorrow, including some mind-melting news about the next showing.

WeddingSuit said...

Agreed. The "Rods" were not punk and I still have a limited edition white cover 12" 45rpm "Do anything you wanna do" but eddie is the 4th form exhibitionist and not really [that] new wave. Oh and the thumbs up was because I'd successfully negotiated the 5 available notes for 3 minutes without laughing.

ps. we lose the league 1 tussle this week.

WeddingSuit said...

BARRIE !!

wilberforce said...

"gimme some" was a complete blank in my memory and the first time i saw brendon and co doing it on totp i thought it was rubbish, but having now heard it several times i have to say i don't think it's as bad as i first thought and have even almost come to like it... but how much of that is down to the presence on this blog of band member dave aka weddingsuit?

i remember a similar thing happening around 77/78 when i was at school - every year they put on a gilbert & sullivan operetta at the local theatre, and although i had absolutely no interest in such things i joined the stage gang just to bunk off school. however, by the end of the show's run myself and the rest of the skivers had become so involved and familiar with it all we would be merrily singing along with tunes from "the mikado" and "iolanthe"!

Arthur Nibble (again) said...

I'd say Brendon's hit is contagious more than catchy, and WeddingSuit's presence hasn't blunted me too much, though his openness on the subject matter's made me see things in a slightly different light, and I'd say the song sneaks into your consciousness with its simple yet effective formula. It's what the old-style DJ's used to call 'a grower'.