Thursday, 24 May 2012

TOTP 12/5/77 (tx 24/5/12): bee sharp

So this isn't a vintage run of TOTP2, but given the show numbers limit and the seeming demand to keep it fairly populist I'm not sure we'd have expected much more. Worth it for the universal horror at Claire & Friends and surely KWS' first visual media mention in nearly two decades, though.

Jimmy Savile in restrained mood. For now. And if you thought last week was cryptic...

Answers on a postcard or the back of a sealed envelope.

Honky – Join The Party
It's 1977. They called white disco-funk bands Honky without prejudice back then. They have an analogue synth, a three-man brass section in polyester plus-fours who like marching up and down, and the rest of the band are clad in white bell bottoms, and I can't work out just from that whether they're behind or ahead of the times. The instruments, mike and mike stand are all covered in tinsel and bits of party popper, as if they'd accidentally started their stage I'm-on-telly party before the floor manager had given them the go-ahead. They have a lot of stickers, which crop up on people's backs throughout the rest of the evening. The singer's trying, bless him, in his open sailor shirt and American accented baritone ad-libs, but nobody's ever going to confuse them for an American band, just another British band hoping nobody asks them where they're from. The guitarist, who 'plays' his solo without changing chord or strumming motion, and bassist both looking like they got into white funk because they didn't get into 10cc doesn't help their cause in that respect. By the ending breakdown they've got audience members to throw streamers at them, but as with all recent shows they seem to apathetic to really join in. Most of them don't so much as brush the bell bottoms. Jimmy refers to them as being "all the way from Southampton" as if that were glamour itself. "They're gonna get to number one, definitely!" he states confidently. SPOILER: they didn't.

Barbra Streisand – Love Theme From A Star Is Born (Evergreen)
"A cool-off, straight away". And back to her acting all coy and that at Kristofferson around a ribbon mike.

Blue – I'm Gonna Capture Your Heart
"A disc jockey from Leeds", one with a broad West Indies accent, is dragged on to do Jimmy's job for him. Blue seem to have been stuck away in a corner and the singer-pianist has to find the most low down angles from which his rheumy eyes can meet the camera's glare. He's already on a lower level than his bandmates. The bassist tries to make mad staring eyes on his close-up on the final go-round, but it's partly lost as he's staring out the monitor. Only audience members can make that sort of assumptive mistake, sir. A couple of big wobbles on static shots follow, perhaps old audience members returning to beat up the camera operators who ran them over last year. Or maybe it's bad workmanship, as then it seems the actual stage wobbles. Can't get the chippies these (those) days.

Trinidad Oil Company – The Calendar Song
Over without a throw back to Jim in vision, and... steel band calypso! Innumerable men in Wolverhampton Wanderers colours, half of whom don't actually seem to do anything - there's only five sets of percussion - but move from side to side and sing backing vocals, like a Trinidadian Showaddywaddy. They're even wearing drapes. And they weren't even Trinidadian, they were Dutch. With no set rhythm they have to amuse themselves, one man with a hedge of hair above a Borg headband choosing a moment on screen to get down with his bad self, twirling and shoulder shimmying just to amuse the bloke next to him. He'd make a far more convincing frontman than the actual frontman, who may well have got the job on the basis of his fine set of teeth. Surprisingly, only one stick drop is recorded.

Piero Umiliani – Mah Na Mah Na
It's at this point that television goes into a tailspin for two and a half minutes. Firstly Jim emerges in a suit and brown wig, announcing "Jimmy's had to disappear, this is his twin brother Percy". Maybe Percy's still alive. This of course is the mysterious one (who actually had quite a career if you look it up, even the bloke on lead 'vocals' was a session guitarist who played the riff on the theme to The Good, The Bad And The Ugly), but unable to make the obvious Muppets/Benny Hill connections Flick went with... um... well... oh, just watch it.

She may well be doing all the heavy lifting routine-wise, but what BBC4 really needed at this exact moment was a picture-in-picture live feed from the home of Sue's children. Surely the highlight of this triumph of the art of CSO - and one wonders whether Sue was given strict direction or just flash notes - is the facial work of the other five from 1:53, caught between smiling for the camera and absolute terror. Apart from Lulu, who spoils it by looking at the monitor rather than the camera.

Simon May – We'll Gather Lilacs
Year of punk and all that, granted, but even TOTP acknowledges how out of contemporary pop mores this is by placing May, his piano and the surrounding leaves Elkie Brooks left behind in an oval sepia fringe for the intro. Maybe it's to make his performance seem more tolerable by the nostalgia filter. No man can look that smug and miss that many notes flat. Maybe it's the influence of the open wine bottle on the piano with glass, but on long notes he's ululating all over the shop. No wonder he gets cut off early, and apparently foreshortened in the midway solo too. It's possible they never told him.

10cc – Good Morning Judge
"How am I doing for a beginner?" The video in all its overlaid, braless, bewigged finery.

Martyn Ford Orchestra – Let Your Body Go Downtown
One assumes Martyn Ford and Johnny Pearson had a dust-up in the car park after hours. Jimmy makes sure to mention this is at number 48, which doesn't quite seem the positive he might have intended. Ford is one of the great pop arrangers and could get the De Paul/Moran axis to write this for him - unrecorded whether they did so on facing synths - but given a live group to work with, and it's unclear whether these middle aged men in matching orange jumpers are the in-house collective or Ford's mates, it all falls flat as an in-house orchestra on limited time attempting disco would, though well done to the saxophonist standing up for his solo. He knows his etiquette. Ford is wearing a white suit with a musical note brooch and huge glasses, not so much conducting as experiencing the unfortunate onset of St Vitus' dance. The floor manager has to duck out of shot at one point. And check those backing singers, possibly chosen to visually represent every facet of mid-70s pre-disco/punk night out fashion:

When we next saw them they were trying out some half-synchronised moves. The one on the left (that's not Moran, is it?) appeared not to have received that memo.

Kenny Rogers – Lucille
From behind a drumkit and surrounded by girls, proving Jim's talents for wandering and attracting run in the family, Percy introduces a video of Rogers, who we'll be seeing quite a bit of, sitting louchely sideways on a chair.

Marvin Gaye – Got To Give It Up (Pt 1)
Unusual to get two Legs & Co routines in one edit, introduced here by Percy pretending to play May's piano, but maybe it needed to be proved that Legs & Co could dance properly. Pretty standard fare for Legs '77, restored to full capacity - and isn't Patti glad she came back just in time for that first one - in visions of aquamarine, bras, ruffled shoulder pads and party dresses with cutaway fronts all the better to swing around. The routine ends with a slow zoom into Patti's crotch. "Just a little present for the lads in the pit there" Percy leers. At least be subtle about it, director.

Mud – Slow Talkin' Boy
Say this for Mud, once they got the glam explosion out of their system they never stuck to one formula for long. Rob's bought an electric mandolin and someone's found Hot Butter's synth, represented visually by Les and Ray, sporting a pink jumper and a huge acoustic bass, playing air pong. That's to mark the synthesised pips on the off-beat, each one met by a flash of the cobweb of lights above the stage. Good reaction times, techie. Les gets an uncontrollable and quite sweet fit of the giggles just by briefly tipping his darkened shades before he and Ray have more fun with alternate arm swinging and stare-out. Somewhere along the line Dave has grown a fake tache. Makes up for how underwrung the song is. Again, one assumes this is genuinely unedited from original showing but it does fade out early.

Billy Paul – Let 'Em In
The Pauline Quirke lookalike standing next to Percy with her tracksuit top-warmed arms stoutly folded may not have seemed to impressed with the prospect, neither the hordes of people looking hopefully up at the camera crane who don't notice until almost too late that Paul's actually behind them if they care at all, but soul business picks right up. The man in the big purple floppy felt hat and big overcoat is covering the Wings hit from 1976, replacing the namechecks for Paul's mates and heroes with references to civil rights activists and African American heroes. Pops in turn replaces Ruby Flipper looking coquettishly through novelty doors with Paul with, well, an audience member right in the centre of shot looking away into the middle distance and finding something or other amusing. The record features samples from Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, but with the orchestral requirement he has to recreate them himself. The BBC's supposed to have the world's largest sound archive or something, couldn't they have put some extra research hours in? In any case, what led a downtrodden sector of US society to rise up and get behind the civil rights movement a decade earlier merely bemuses a group of pasty British teenage girls. Paul's added Great Britain to the "bloodless revolution" bit, what else could he have done? Nothing of this is really his fault, he's coursing and occasionally belting his way through it without aforethought.

Dr Feelgood – Lights Out
And round about the other end of the subtlety spectrum... just four albums, one a live number one, into their career and having already lost their talismanic guitarist, Canvey Island's own make their TOTP debut with something not far from that mythical beast punk, albeit through a cover of a 1958 US rock'n'roll hit that was actually a B-side (Wilko Johnson, for it had been he, had written the A-side, Sneakin' Suspicion - who's trying to deny him performance rights royalties now?) Lee Brilleaux stalks the stage, ducking to the floor when the director's least expecting it, sweating like a man even though it's only two minutes long, in a suit jacket that could charitably be described as off-cream, looking constantly like he's about to offer everyone out. Bassist John B Sparks, with his walrus tache, open waistcoat and distressed jeans, looks ever more like a truck driver. The audience react with pretty much absolute neutrality/boredom, one man side of stage seemingly sitting down, so the director cuts to some flashing green lights instead.

Deniece Williams – Free
Our Leodensian friend gets to introduces that staircased performance again. Jimmy takes back over for the final link with a conspicuous lack of people around him. Kaleidovision plays us out with Joe Tex and the sight of precisely three people dancing.


Simon said...

Actually, is it a rear view of an old English sheepdog?

David H said...

Looked at the picture and had a 'Eureka!' moment (of sorts) - it's a stuffed toy dog or a hand puppet looking to the left from our perspective, I think? The nose (?) is the dark grey patch at the very top of the white head, with the right eye visible at the top of the central patch of black. What looks like a fur drape is actually the dog's big floppy right ear. (Or is it meant to be a rabbit?)

Well that's what it looks like to me anyway, and at least it looks a little more like a Muppet compared to last week's cryptic toy character :)

Steve Does Top of the Pops said...

Sadly, the spectre of the dire Piero Umiliani hung too heavily over the show for my liking. And the sight of Billy Paul having to half-heartedly do the speeches on what should have been the show's highlight performance can only be viewed as a major let-down.

On the plus side, it was good to see Dr Feelgood injecting a dose of stroppiness into proceedings.

Arthur Nibble said...

A slightly shorter report than usual this week, seeing as Simon's done some great psychic work and nicked all my best bits subliminally. By the way, Simon, great use of the word Leodensian, previously only heard of by me in the Kaiser Chiefs' "I Predict A Riot".

Hugely relieved we didn't get Simon May early doors (I'd have skipped that torture anyway), but sad that Mud's swansong was only post-watershed, meaning the lads missed out on a 7.30 slot for their last four appearances if you include the multiple wipes of "Lean On Me". Also worried about the early chop for Kenny Rogers' video, which doesn't bode well for the edition when Brendon are next on...

Didn't realise Southampton was Perm City! Liked the regulation red / yellow / black socks worn by the boys at the back, not so keen on the singer 'showing his religion' in that outfit.

Was that David Dundas's dad standing moodily stage left of Blue at the start? They're back - this year's Can! Better group lighting five weeks on from their debut, but severe mic droop for the pianist / singer / stage dominator.

I bet Sue loved getting that bee routine (Cheery and Pauline get emotive solo efforts...), but she threw herself into it - unlike Lulu, who either stropped or looked thoroughly pi$$ed off. Had Patti been away on honeymoon? We saw her ring (harumph) during "Lonely Boy", and she looked positively tanned during the dancing-while-keeping-feet-in-the-same-place Marvin Gaye romp.

Couldn't understand why Billy Paul did such an immediate cover of "Let 'Em In" and trampled all over the original, marvelled at the Sheers / EWF / Bobby Farrell hybrid that was the Trinidads, intrigued at the blues-but-getting-closer-to-punk Feelgood factor and, leaving the best to last...

Couldn't quite get my head around "Downtown". A conductor / singer (eat that, Ronnie Hazlehurst) and a poor man's Steve Wright to boot, trying to orchestrate what looked like an octogenarian Star Trek convention and backed by whst looked like a till queue at KwikSave.

Now, what were the words to that "Calendar Song" again?

HerMajesty said...

But didn't our Leodensian friend become an Algerino in later life??

Elsterpie said...

Obsessed as i was by totp, the charts ( i used to write them all down and file them.....only getting rid of them when i hit 22. How sad was that ? Indeed i even wrote down radio luxembourg charts for a while) it is with surprise that i now see an episode which i dont recall at all, with songs i dont remember at all. Or maybe because the mud song, the martyn ford horror show , honky or especially that simon may dirge were so bad, i wiped my brain of them.

At times 1977 seems to have been far worse than 1976. Still a while before punk and disco barge in isnt it?

Arthur Nibble said...

Funny that, Elsterpie - I started writing down the lunchtime chart as a 9-year-old when I went home for lunch on a Tuesday and I'd take it back to my classmates before the first lesson of the afternoon, and I carried on doing this until I graduated from polytechnic.

Having seen the late show, Simon May was even more excruciating than I could have feared, and Mud were the most 'fun' act on, way more fun than Honky could ever imagine. Horseplay between Les and Ray, Dave's "Good Old Days" tache, and some great mandolin by Rob. Shame the song was terrible but, in terms of performances, the boys bowed out on a high note.

babblingmouth said...

Weren't Mud on again in 1978 with Cut Across Shorty??

Arthur Nibble (again) said...

Blimey, yes, you're right, babblingmouth. I didn't realise that! Schoolboy error on my part.

A bit of detention homework reveals they were on again in March 1978 in an edition which also included Gerry Rafferty, Elvis Costello, Richard Myhill, Don Williams, Kate Bush and Andy Cameron with "Ally's Tartan Army". A real bag of Revels, that one!

By the way, did anyone else see the announcememt this week of a TOTP 70s/80s/90s stage show, complete with tribute acts and archive clips? My first impression's one of horror. Any other thoughts?

Steve Williams said...


I've been waiting for this episode for ages after reading the line-up and being convinced it couldn't have seemed weirder on screen than it looked written down, and if anything it was even more bizarre. And Jim and Percy were just the perfect hosts. I loved "Ooh! It's the Trinidad Oil Company!"

The Honky link was on Never Mind The Buzzcocks a decade or so ago when the panellists were invited to guess what number that "definite number one" actually got to. It was a toss-up between them and Martyn Ford as to who was the least convincing, it looked like Ford was signing for the deaf. I like the singer's "MUSIC" T-shirt. He's not a fan of any band, just music in general.

Glad Simon Msy, last seen on TV Hell, got the chop but sad to see Mud left out in primetime (and they are on again next year, and first on so they won't be skipped - if the repeats are still going, natch) because after inventing disco last year, they're now inventing electronica. Yazoo could have done that one. Let 'Em In is the first song we've heard twice in different versions, isn't it?

I liked in Mah-Nah-Mah-Nah how there's a bit where the CSO is so bad you can see the frame around Sue disappear off the screen, almost exactly like that bit in The Simpsons where Poochie goes back to his home planet.

Blue were far too normal to stand out in such company, and they'd taken an age to crawl into the chart. And Dr Feelgood were just plain terrifying. What a show.

Angelo Gravity said...

I think Simon May was staking his claim to be the first punk performance on Top of The Pops - with every note so deliberately out of tune - even Sid Vicious couldn't have not sung it any better :-)

WeddingSuit said...

Haven't heard it called CSO since I was demoing a switcher to some ancient beeb technocrat last century. Certainly some kind of low point reached. Walk past that car park in the 10cc spot most days. I'm considered an old timer in post production so 1977, who was making these spots ? All the folks who'd know are dead.

riojafan said...

Well, my four year old son thought 'Mah Na Mah Na' was hilarious. 'Especially the bit with the bee...' was his assessment

It wasn't half as funny as the Martyn Ford Orchestra though - great conducting!

THX said...

Firstly, thanks to TV Cream for retelling my T.V. Smith joke in Creamguide this week, made my night, although you told it better than I did.

Anyway, Honky's lead singer was one dangerous step away from Jim Davidson's Chalky, either that or a playground impersonation of South Park's Chef circa 1999.

In a parallel universe that was Elvis Presley smooching Babs' hand and doing the backing vocals on Evergreen.

The Trinidad Oil Company! Blue Peter must have had them on when they were over, they loved a steel band.

If only Simon May had called in Anita Dobson to sing his tune we would have been spared three minutes of off key whining. Well, maybe.

Was there ever a more aggressive orchestra leader than Martyn Ford? Delia Smith levels of forcing the crowd to get with it, there. To no avail, naturally.

Billy Paul was great in reduced circumstances, putting a brave face on nobody in the audience giving a toss about his impassioned plea for racial harmony. Loved the way he improvised the speeches, ploughing ahead no matter what. Actually inspirational in a funny way.

I know this was one of the nuttier TOTPs, but is it wrong to prefer those? Rather them than a boring one. The first Legs & Co routine was insane, yes, he does sound a bit like a bee, but really.

Erithian said...

All the way through "Mah Na Mah Na" I was imagining Sue thinking "now where did I put my contract"? There were a couple of fixed grins from the others too. Mind you my kids (12, 12 and 5) loved it, though we spent much of the song arguing about whether the Muppets version came first (it didn't).

Much of this edition was Exhibit A for "disco shit". Martyn Ford himself struck me as a cross between Austin Powers and David Guetta, while the backing singer on the right was surely a model for Derek Smalls. This and Joy Sarney were both used in the "Story of 77" show, weren't they, as an example of how bad 1977 got.

Oh, and I'll miss Niecy, her sweet smile and talking hands. See you again soon?

THX said...

Mah Na Mah Na was actually from a sixties mondo movie called Sweden Heaven and Hell, which I haven't seen but can't imagine would be any weirder than what we saw on TOTP this week.

Simon said...

Full version recap up now. What do you want me to do with these given there's always already some discussion going on regarding those songs by the time I get round to recapping them, just leave the titles up without elucidation or continue making it complete?

Simon said...

Also, I notice Lights Out is on the recent box set of everything Dr Feelgood recorded with Wilko Johnson, which may explain why for the guitar solo we saw everyone but his replacement Gypie Mayo, chiefly Sparks' braggadocious playing style.

Arthur Nibble said...

Simon, please keep filling in all the gaps. It wouldn't look right without your critique, you have a knack of adding nuances that the rest of us miss or forget to mention, and I don't mean any harm by namechecking the late arrivals before you.

Erithian said...

Those we are about to lose from the chart rundown: Rose Royce, Boney M, David Soul and (never to return) Marilyn & Billy and Berni Flint. Two days after this edition of TOTP, I celebrated my 15th birthday with Bonnie Tyler's debut album. Phwooarr.

@Simon_Constable said...

My word Simon May was truly awful wasn't he? Hard to believe that this was the man who wrote Nick Berry's "Every Loser Wins."

Oh wait a minute!!!

80sBlokeInThe70s said...

I really enjoyed this - and the Top 30 with Joe Tex, Stevie Wonder, Van McCoy, Heatwave, Bily Ocean, Deniece Williams, Billy Paul amongst others etc must be one of the best ever.

Honky - average British pop-disco of the type you could sometimes see a slightly funkier version of in nightclubs if you went on a weekday around in the early/mid 80s.Done far better when Britfunk proper started in 2 or 3 years time.But at least they were trying.

Kris Kristofferson modelling the classic porn star look when it was still being used in the films.

Trinidad Oil Company - steel bands got pretty big in Britain mid-late 70s so it's good to see them with a TOTP representation.

Martyn Ford Orchestra- Jimmy Saville again proving to be the only DJ who mentioned the chart positions outside the Top 30.
To be honest this is whole lot funkier than the TOTP orchestra could ever do and I don't know why people are ridiculing the ages of the orchestra have you ever seen MFSB?
Although like Honky its strictly mainstream high street pop disco or wedding tackle (I'm not suree wedding discos had quite become the norm in 1977 though).

Marvin Gaye - bit of a classic been even better if they'd managed to entice him in the TOTP studio. Wasn't he sometimes seen at Highbury watching the Gooners in this era. And his fellow Gooner David Soul also in the charts at the same time!

Billy Paul - what a privilege to have Billy Paul on the show and giving it his all - always one of the more clued in soul singers as he remains - check out the film he made a few years ago.He was already 42 when he made this!

Dr Feelgood - what a bloody racket. And it didn't even get anywhere near the charts!
If you were out on your Friday or Saturday night pubcrawl with your friends in London/South-East in the 1980s and you made the mistake of wandering into a pub where they had "live music" you could more or less guarantee there would be a band playing this boring old rubbish whilst being watched by a load of 30 or 40 something blokes with beards and beer-guts. Took me right back to someone in my group usually saying "right let's drink up and get away from this shit!"

Deniece Williams - one of TOTP most sublime offerings - even the Americans used to SoulTrain like this clip.

Tyrone Jenkins said...

Please continue with your critiques, they are what makes this such an enjoyable and humorously insightful blogsight.

Simon Mclean said...

This has to be a contender for the best TOTP BBC 4 has shown yet - some genuinely brilliant stuff (Honky, Billy Paul, Dr Feelgood), awful (Simon May - our hearts will learn to sing again when you do, mate), and just plain odd (Savile on top form!)

Having a slightly unhealthy obsession with the TOTP orchestra, I can confirm it was Johnny Pearson's resident band of drunks and vagabonds playing the role of the Martyn Ford Orchestra (it's actually Johnny P you can see ducking out of camera shot, the man just can't let go!) The trumpeter on the right is Kenny Wheeler, who was (and is) an internationally famous and well-respected jazz musician, but even jazz legends have to pay the bills.

wilberforce said...

probably like most, i had to look up both "leodensian" and "algerino" as i had no idea what they were - i think jimmy bought a flat in scarborough as a retirement home for his mum "the duchess", and used to keep it in exactly the same condition for decades after she died (including of course getting her dresses dry-cleaned every year, as shown on that amazing louis theroux program - they really must show that again some time)... i've asked this before, but what's going to to happen to the duchess's wardrobe now that jimmy's no longer around to maintain it? maybe his brother percy will step in...

that "thing" representing piero umiliani in the chart rundown is almost certainly some kind of (puppet?) dog with floppy ears facing to the left... although it took me ages to work that out! what exactly is the connection to piero with that and the other thing they used last week? i can't see one...

having taken in arthur "cosmo smallpiece" nibble's recent comments on the attributes of certain legs and co personnel, i was given the ideal opportunity to make my own assessment when they got on down to marvin gaye (almost to distraction i'm afraid!)... i have to agree that rosie at the back (or is it gill?) is probably the "winner" in the well-endowed stakes, with patti and gill (or is it rosie?) vying for second place. sue and pauline are fairly well down the field but still some way ahead of poor old lulu!

overall as others have noted, one of the best episodes so far... if also one of the most excruciating at times! (take a bow simon may and martyn ford)...

Dory said...

I have to say that I preferred Mah Na Mah Na on The Benny Hill Show as his regular music for sketches, much more than the Legs & Co performance on Top of The Pops. This track was used by BH well into the 80s I think

80sBlokeInThe70s said...

re Simon McLean's comment above - as you say they contained amongst their number (this week at least)well respected jazz musicians who would have graced any funky US recording so I wonder if it was just Johnny Pearson's direction that made the TOTP orchestra so notoriously unfunky. Or were a few more clued in players given the gig this week by Martyn Ford?

Re Mah Na Mah Na: I wonder what came first The Muppets using it, Benny Hill or did they just pick up on an already hit record - I remember it being played a lot on Radio 2 at the time/maybe even before it was hit.

Simon said...

Mah Na Mah Na was a US hit in 1969, a year after first release on an Swedish soundtrack album, was used for a Sesame Street sketch and a Jim Henson routine for The Ed Sullivan Show that same year and was reworked for the Muppet Show when that started in 1976. There appears to be no agreement on when Benny Hill first used it, but presumably it was after Henson's adoption.

Noax said...

A bit late to the party (sorry Honky, got there in the end!) as I've been on holiday this week. I'm now watching Eurovision, god help me, so I'll be brief...

Honky - I actually quite like this, I have heard it before on some dodgy compilation or other, so perhaps it had ingrained in my brain somewhat.

Blue - 2 acts with names that were reused later on in this show then!
This is about as inoffensive as you can get, but I rather like it.

Trinidad Oil Company - I knew this lot had to be Dutch, for the simple reason that if you have a 70s compilation by the Dutch Disky record company, this is probably on it!

Piero Umiliani - Genius, in a totally warped sense.

Simon May - In our house, it went like this :
Simon "We'll gather lilacs when springtime returns.."
Me "Oh, **** right off!"

So I can't tell you any more, sorry.

Martyn Ford Orchestra - In the old days of the Guinness book of hits, this lot would be called a 'Disco Aggregation' right? The backing singer on the far right doesn't really need to let his hair down much further.

Kenny Rogers - Kenny, Kenny, Kenny, what am I always telling you? Posture darling! You'll fall off that chair...

Marvin Gaye - Loads of people seem to think that this song's ace. I'm not one of them.

Mud - Is this Greek music? Spanish? Cod reggae? God knows. Good job the band are as entertaining as ever to make up for the tune.

Billy Paul - I really enjoyed this, and fair play to Billy for making a good performance out of what could have been a complete disaster.

Dr Feelgood - Awful.

My goodness, what a weird collection of acts and large proportion of non-hits!

charlie cook said...

Anyone know where I can get the lyrics for the Trinidadi Oil Company song?

Simon said...

Try here.

Wellieman said...

Just for the record, I don't like TV progs like Britains Got No Talent and Crap Factor but I would be intrigued what Cowell at al would make of some of these acts. I mean Simon May was so unspeakably bad, he would surely have been stopped after two bars and ridiculed off the stage. If Mr May has been watching these reruns surely he can see what we all see? Actually its a disgrace that songs like this got on the show and much more deserving acts could only dream. Same goes for Martyn Ford Orchestra and the Oil Company.

Now actually thought Honky was OK for what it was (reminded me of the JALN band) and Dr Feelgood did deserve a chance, even though this was a bit rough round the ages.

Like all the other glam-era acts on recently Mud's time was just about up, I do really enjoy their performances and I thought the song was OK. They've had so many TOTP highlights over the years. Ones that spring to mind are the performance of Tiger Feet with the Roadies joining them onstage for the dance; the Christmas song with the ventriloquist dummy; and the same song with the buckets of polystyrene 'snow' being thrown on them from the step-ladder. Can't see the rap merchants of today entertaining the audience like that....

Vintage Reading said...

Dr Feelgood. OK it wasn't Milk and Alcohol but imo they were the only band on the show who sang like they meant it.

charlie cook said...

Nice one Simon

@howardbowden said...

If anyone ever does a Pete Frame-style 'rock family tree' of Southampton (which to be honest is unlikely) it's fair to say there'll be a line joining Honky with Artful Dodger and Craig David.

Arthur Nibble said...

Howard, you forgot The Delays, a slightly fey Southampton band who, in fairness, released a couple of fine singles.

I forgot to confirm that Simon May is definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, the worst act on this re-run by miles. Absolutely nails-on-blackboard appalling. I'd have preferred to hear Simon Mayo singing "We'll Gather Lilacs" instead.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy and Percy. Put them together. What do you get? Jimmy Pursey! Could Savile be cooler than suspected?

Erithian said...

As we know, according to Alan Partridge, Wings were “the band the Beatles could have been”. But how many know that Dr Feelgood were the band that could have been the Tornados? As you might remember from the excellent “Oil City Confidential”, Heinz Burt, a decade after leaving the Tornados, was on the comeback trail, and played a rock’n’roll revival festival at Wembley in 1972 with the Feelgoods as his backing band (on the same bill as Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry!) Heinz asked the band if they would change their name to the Tornados and make it a permanent arrangement, but it never happened.

David H said...

There's also a pop star called Howard (Jones) from Southampton, plus one member of Coldplay or Keane (forget which) comes from the city as well. (I used to live in Southampton.)

Anonymous said...

Simon May.

If you did the aural equivalent of squinting your eyes and imagine chiming guitars, you could almost picture Ian Brown!

Bamaboogiewoogie said...

Re-watching this edition and I've just noticed that there are 12 members of The Trinidad Oil Company - one for every month of the year (suddenly it all makes sense).

Piero Umiliani - at the time I thought the male vocalist sounded like Mike Yarwood doing Harold Wilson. BTW there's a great Piero Umiliani album called Today's Sound full of early electro funk instrumentals. The man was a musical genius.