Thursday, 31 May 2012

TOTP 19/5/77 (tx 31/5/12): Jam, Jacko, Joe and Joy

"Time to bop with the best in rock and pop" Say this for Jensen, he goes that extra yard to make his intros stand out. In the background what seems to be the keyboard player with our first act of the evening tries to mime along with the end of his spiel before Kid triumphantly punches the air as final visual punctuation, a la Diddy.

If ever a smile said "I don't really understand what I'm doing here or supposed to be smiling about, but..."

Suzi Quatro – Roxy Roller
Mixed in emerging from the centre of the number one picture, which is a new one. Suzi would be given big billing by Pops for a little while yet, and it'd pay off eventually, but for now it's another, unsuccessful go-round with the glam sound. For some reason the drummer starts with his foot on top of the bass drum, making the kit look children's sized until he realises that's not really a good enough angle to play more than the snare from. Suzi for her part, in a powder blue jumpsuit, is sitting cross-legged on a box at the front of the stage, singing down to the camera, which just means she looks like she's wearing a distracting huge crown of lights until the angle changes to one lengthways on. Eventually Suzi gets up like her music teacher would have told her to, straps on the big bass and... contributes? Well, she plays the instrumental break bit while standing on the box, sadly stepping down rather than take a showbiz flying leap. The director finds Kid a second or two too early at the end, finding him in the midst of some enthusiastic arm swinging to the beat.

Heatwave – Too Hot To Handle
On grainy video with flames superimposed over the top, like someone saw the Bohemian Rhapsody version with flames at the start and took the wrong bit of inspiration. The band seem to be wearing kimonos with individual colour patterns taking up only half the outfit, as if they were meant to stand side to side and make subtitles for the Chinese. Halfway through, and it's not clear for reasons I'll come back to for a later performance whether these were added at the BBC end or not, very bright flashing lights appear in the middle of the screen of a contrast that might have blown out the RGB settings of colour sets of the time. They seem intrusively bright enough on HD. As the video cuts out one of the frontmen is into full-on karate moves. Kid finds it understandably hilarious.

Linda Lewis – The Moon And I
Why Lewis should get special treatment being alone on a stage is anyone's guess - maybe, being a rewrite of a song from The Mikado, they thought it demanded extra culture - but her entire performance is framed in a blue-purple oval, as if a dry run for the graphics of early 80s BBC news. Close-ups of cellos and a clarinet too. None of this overshadows that Lewis' great soul voice is being parlayed into somewhere it barely belongs, and that after Feelings and We'll Gather Lilacs it's the nation's pop program falling back on the classics songbook again. Very few audience shots to determine what the kids think of it, though they hardly need help in coming across as catatonic.

Bay City Rollers – It's A Game
Same as two weeks ago. Health and safety, can't have that many tartan scarves in one built up area too often.

Carol Bayer Sager – You’re Moving Out Today
Kid sees this as "a real treat", and to emphasise how special he is he gets a ride on a camera trolley while introducing it, to the evident delight of several of those he passes. DLT or Jimmy would have done all sorts of business while there; Kid just introduces it without reference or playing up to it, as if nothing were amiss. There's the mark of the man. As it stops he embarks on some self-conscious strutting on the spot as Sayer, hands deep in high waisted white trousered pockets, peppily/quirkily sings like you'd imagine Diane Keaton would, complete with mid-lyric face 'trying to remember' acting, before miming along to the trumpet/scat solo before realising it makes her look foolish. Meanwhile offscreen the male vocal role is shared by a too casual bloke from the office and a Speak & Spell machine. "The grocer told me what you do with bread"?

Joe Tex – Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)
I mean, he's not exactly svelte either, is he? Great as it is and as successful as the single was, strange to see this make the early edit, not least because you'd imagine Soul Train would have to be paid an extra set of export repeat fees. Kid's virtually pissing himself laughing afterwards. It's been on before, man!

The Trammps – Disco Inferno
Big old edit in the early version: "For fans of Legs and Co, we have a bonanza for you today (massive jump cut) as they dance to the Trammps' new record" Hard to see in the light what the costumes are, but they appear to consist of gold bras and pants, quite a bit of tinsel and, for some reason, large gold buttons on fronts and sides. I say hard to see because the whole routine is overlaid with a screen of flashing red lights at epilepsy rates. The routine shows up the problem with still nascent Legs & Co - they're fine dancers, fully conversant in getting down, but the actual choreographed bits don't seem to have much going for them. The version on One For The Dads confirms that it wasn't BBC4 cutting the song off in mid-flow but BBC1 in 1976. Must have been given razor blades for Christmas.

Tony Etoria – I Can Prove It
"Good disco fun" says Kid, the song already long well underway behind him. In a Harry Hill-collared white shirt and elaboratedly knotted snood-cum-neckerchief with with a rarely utilised guitar strapped on, Etoria seems more than a bit nervous, perhaps because orchestra and singers are throwing everything they can at the arrangement. At various points he seems to be singing behind the rhythm, vainly trying but missing the click track altogether.

Joy Sarney – Naughty Naughty Naughty
I think all has been said that neeed to be said here.

The Jacksons – Show You The Way To Go
"From the land of a thousand dances!" Even Michael only exhibits two or three here, but it's enough. This has gone down as the record where Michael really started showing what he'd become, the eighteen year old's voice achieving full range under the new tutelage of Gamble & Huff as writers and producers. As for their actual studio presence, it's a wonder. People are dancing! Kid's swinging his mike cord! The brothers have broken out their colour coded martial jackets with glittery designs on the front that might as well have been based on the outfits from a lost Gerry Anderson series! Michael's straight to the front, leaving Jackie and Marlon to try and pull off a full choreographed synchronised routine when there's two of them and their brother's in front spinning away and adding ad-libs. Unfortunately, after a commanding performance Michael decides he can trust a Top Of The Pops crowd with participation. "Everybody clap your hands! Put 'em up high so I can see 'em!" By the time we cut away five people have done so.

Van McCoy – The Shuffle
Legs & Co again, clearly without time to rehearse new bits for this prime example of Sport On Four Pop as Sue and Lulu pretty much replicate their routine from the other week and everyone else follows their moves in pairs of Patti/Pauline and Gill/Rosie on seperate podiums behind, all sporting bedouin-based trousers.

The Jam – In The City
Ah, the point of no return, how are you.

Well, that was effervescent. Note Kid's brief spate of air guitar when he thinks he's far enough off camera - he did it again at the end - the two blokes pogoing at different speeds from first to last while everyone else remains rigid, fighting that good fight, and that in his indoor shades at that angle at 0:43 Rick Buckler looks a bit like Roger Taylor does now. Note the expert coincidental timing that sees this appear the day before BBC4's Punk Britannia season kicks off, and then wonder, while neither song nor performance are really recognised as major moments in punk's heritage, whether a crack hadn't just appeared in the prime-time pop continuum. "Right at the forefront of a new rock phenomenon known as New Wave", Kid declares confusingly.

Rod Stewart – The First Cut Is The Deepest
Toppotron™'s back! Three months after the last use of a pretend big screen, one seems to grow into the set out of nowhere, giving away its secret with its initial picture-in-picture shot, replicating what we're seeing only with a big blue bit of cloth where Toppotron™ is, eventually replaced by a projection of the countdown still of Rod in full emotive body language which someone then walks in front of, none too cleverly. Song introduced, Kid turns towards it. So does most of the audience. What were they expecting to see there? We see the video in all its back-guitar-playing, arse-waggling glory. Boz Scaggs' Lido Shuffle sees us out. Just one thing for Kid to do before the end, and he doesn't disappoint: "from me it's good love!"


Arthur Nibble said...

The first time this re-run’s left me visibly angry.

I discovered this edition’s first full showing had been shunted to the ludicrous start time of 00:55 to fit in that Celia Imrie lookalike’s series on the 17th Century, later I heard that the Sky falls in on us again next week (what are BBC4 playing at?) and then I sat through the most badly edited edition of the re-run so far. All of the edition’s first six songs shown in full, then some idiot realised too late that they couldn’t fit everything in.

No Tony Etoria, no Joy Sarney repeat (worth it for novelty value), a severely timbered Legs & Co (half of one song and no re-run of a previous routine, and this after Kid had promised us a Legs ‘bonanza’), barely 15 seconds of Boz Scaggs, and yet we got full re-runs of the Rollers and Joe Tex. Sodding appalling. Whoever edited this was a complete cock.

So, what did we get? To start with, another catchphrase from Kid (he needs to rehearse his sign-off, though - ballsed it up again), proof that the last Piero caption was too obtuse, and a second-rate will-this-do Suzi effort which bombed, only livened up by guitarist hubby Len Tuckey visibly morphing into Eddie Large.

Whose bright idea was it to dress Heatwave in mainly black and film them in a dark setting? And why was ‘Joan Collins’ shown singing when it was evidently the voice of his deeper mic mate doing a solo?

First we get Robin Sarstedt, then Cleo and John, then Simon frigging May, now the waste of a superb voice on another prehistoric piece. Who thought that would get anywhere near the chart? I couldn’t help thinking Linda Lewis’s head was stuck in a Venus Flytrap due to the dreadful ‘special’ effects.

Carol Bayer Sager looked the sort Woody Allen would give a starring film role to, but a very clever song, and a mention of a portrait of the Queen in the lyrics to boot. Topical!

Boggling Legs & Co outfits! Were those cymbals, sprayed saucepan lids or gold discs? And where did Lulu’s breast plate go to? Did someone snaffle it mid-song as a souvenir?

Great, so we get The Jacksons dressed like Sgt. Pepper and a reminder of why I hated Michael Jackson so much – all those stupid gasping, hiccuping and braying noises in between lines, just like in his entire solo repertoire. Give him a Ventolin and be done with it!

At least there was one bright spot and, oh, what a bright spot – the light at the end of the tunnel, and the first sighting of pogoing in the audience. More mod than new wave if you ask me, but The Jam were vibrant, angry, committed and thoroughly enjoyable. Not enough to placate me tonight, though, but a step in the right direction.

Early ‘sicknote’ warning – I’m out of the country when the next TOTP is shown (or maybe two in a night again?!) and I’ll be somewhere with next to no chance of obtaining BBC iPlayer, so you’ll have until Saturday the 16th to drown me out and nick my best lines!

Deluded of Kent said...

I think it's disgraceful the Beeb cut the legendary Joy Sarney and yet kept in young upstarts The Jam. Who'll remember them in 30 years time? They won't (re)start a youth movement like 'Naughty Naughty Naughty' did.

Steve Morgan said...

It may not have got off to the best of starts with a Quatro song that never was destined to be a big hit (but one which got me wholeheartedly singing along), but mostly due to Jensen's ebullient presentation style, I really enjoyed this show and thought it was one of the best in ages.
Loved the disco of Heatwave, can always move to that one, and I also loved Linda Lewis's performance of The Moon And I, I'd totally forgotten about that one, and how soulfully delivered. Linda Lewis was a huge talent that was sadly underrated, her 1972 album, Lark is a forgotten classic of soul.
The Rollers clip we'd seen before but it's sad to see a declining band with a single that stops just short of the top twenty when just a year ago they were still top dogs in the game.
Carol Bayer Sager, now, there's a talented songwriter who's roster of songs is far reaching and recorded by anyone who is anyone, Diana Ross, Streisand, Carly Simon, Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli with The Prayer a favourite of current BGT runners up, the list is endless and You're Moving Out Today a deserved solo hit.
The Legs routine to Trammps Disco Inferno is classic, they can do disco when they try can't they! Unfortunatley the watching crowd are hardly feverish and remain unmoved by the song despite it being an energetic disco number, I found myself shouting at the screen "for crying out loud, it's a disco classic move your asses"
Then we come to Tony Etoria, I haven't seen the longer edition yet, but I remember I hated this song and the guy performing it, unfortunatley the song became a top thirty hit and plagued me all the time it was in the charts.
Joy Sarney's song has become a guilty pleasure hasn't it! Naughty, Naughty, Naughty!
The Jacksons Show You The Way To Go, no matter what anyone thinks of the song or the performer(s) this has become a classic performance and a song which kick started the second phase of their career.
The Legs again! With a Van McCoy single, great performance again. There's another McCoy produced song coming up in a few weeks time, can't wait.
And Now, the one we've all been waiting for, The Messiah that is Paul Weller, I believe this performance opened the floodgates for a multitude of iconic performances over the next couple of years of top of the pops, the appearence here of The Jam with their first hit is nothing short of genius, and look, it's even got some of the audience dancing along, hang on, are they dancing? Or are they jumping up and down on pogo sticks trying to get a glimpse of what's going on on the stage, either way the group's got them moving they must be doing something right.
I remember an album by the great Julian Cope, The Godlike Genius of Scott Walker, it's an epithet that could be used to describe Paul Weller, for to have a successful career with a "Mod" band in the late seventies, and then consistent album sales throughout a solo career over the next 30 odd years is nothing short of phenomenal and deserves the status of genius. This man deserves our accolades and appraisal.
After their performance Rod with his number one seems something of an anti-climax.

Matra Rancho said...

The Jam reminded me of ABBA (not literally, obviously) - in that whatever your opinion of them musically, you can't deny they really stood out from the rest of the acts on show. Watching them "in context" in 1977 rather than looking back nostalgically, they've got a real freshness and quality. I think they'll go far.

Steve Williams said...

Four comments in and nobody's mentioned the return of the Toppotron! If in a rather half-arsed fashion, mind, but it counts.

Kid waa on top form tonight, laughing, dancing and even cadging that lift on the way to Carole Bayer Sager. Incidentally the set at the moment is quite bizarre with that brown backdrop and the slanty pillars everywhere. Disappointed to see The Shuffle get cut out again but I like how it's exactly the same dance as last time but now with all of them, though still Sue and Lulu taking the lead. I liked how at the end of Disco Inferno there were bits of the costumes all over the floor.

Naughty Naughty Naughty is now so famous it doesn't even need an intro, but after the tedious Linda Lewis, one of the dullest songs I think this year, The Jam seemed extra special. In fact compared to last week's attempts with Honky and Martyn Ford the quality of the disco had also skyrocketed, including Heatwave. I liked their head-nodding routine which made up for the fact the one on the left was for the rest of the time doing the same dance as the last single.

riojafan said...

I thought it was a great show - some awesome disco, had forgotten all about Carole Bayer Sager but suddenly I was 5 years old again listening to it, and loved The Jam's debut (especially their one fan who was jumping up and down)

Linda Lewis was guff though...

Dory said...

The Legs & Co bonanza as Kid Jensen describes, was indeed a bonanza, the only disappointing part was the first one Disco Inferno where the disco lights were so intense on the viewer, that it was blurring the sight of the girls in their gold bikinis. What was the cameraman doing to allow this?
The second Legs & Co performance in the show was superb. The Hustle by Van McCoy is forever a classic, and Legs & Co did it a lot of justice with their legs routine.
Onto The Jacksons - is this the only performance of The Jacksons / Michael Jackson in the Top of The Pops studio?
I only recall the use of videos for these guys, as I never imagined they would play for the BBC.

Steve Does Top of the Pops said...

Sadly, the earlier edition, which was the one I saw, seemed to have been edited by Dewhursts but it was good to see the Jam make their debut.

Sad to see the Mighty Sarney dumped but I found Linda Lewis oddly compelling, if only for its unlikelihood.

babblingmouth said...

I really really enjoyed this show, although agree the edits were annoying.

Forgotten about that Suzi Quatro one (not surprisingly)- she really needs a change of direction if she's going to have another top ten hit in, say, March 1978.

Heatwave sounded great, and love the line about beer making them pissed up.

Linda Lewis - sweet. She made some great records. This wasn't one of them.

BCR - about to peak at 16, and then one more hit, but they keep trying for a bit. (All of the World is Falling in Love was quite pleasant.)

LOVED Carole Bayer Sager then, love it now, although ruined by the TOTP male singer. Even bought her album with this one, has a lovely track called Aces. She can't sing, but she can write great songs.

Good bumping from Joe, two great Legs routines, an OK Tony Etoria, a repeated Naughty... (love it), a fun Jacksons and then the real deal - The Jam. Just great. The energy. The passion. The crowd going WTF?

Hoping the Pistols knock Rod off this time round, and Boz was a great play off.

Such a shame no Peter Gabriel, and I imagine no Rock Follies coming up either.

Oh, and I thought Kid was great. He enthuses and introduces well, and doesn't need his brother Percy to help.

Great show. (Long post - sorry)

Steve Williams said...

"Onto The Jacksons - is this the only performance of The Jacksons / Michael Jackson in the Top of The Pops studio?"

No, they come back in 1979 to do another song, although I've never seen that one. Cheggers used to tell the story of how they were offered Michael Jackson live on Swap Shop but he'd charge £500, or they could show the video for £50, so they did that.

Steve Williams said...

And, er, of course they'd been on when they were the Jackson Five.

Dory said...

Thanks Steve, I guess that after 1979, The Jacksons were too popular and worldwide stars to come int the TOTP studio to a smaller audience in front of their stage.

The same happened to Electric Light Orchestra in 1976, when they made their last TOTP studio appearance with Evil Woman and Nightrider from the Face The Music album, and then from their next album later that year, we would only get their videos as they were now in demand from big venues in America....oh for the high life!

I see that the next TOTP 1977 show will have another ELO video to follow up Rockaria from a couple of months before....this time Telephone Line. Can't wait!

THX said...

So the audience danced to Tony Etoria, but The Jam in all their fury only got two blokes pogoing heroically and a couple of guys nodding their heads at the side. I suppose these things take a while to bed in.

Carole Bayer Sager: very close to a novelty hit, but seriously catchy or it would have been if the backing wasn't so dreadful. Was that Johnny Pearson himself on vocals? Anyway, what I've always wondered about this song is, what does this deadbeat she's on about do with bread? And if it's so bad, why did he tell the baker? Great pop mysteries of our time.

I found Linda Lewis weirdly charming in the intimacy of it, but it's not the best thing she ever did.

Legs & Co showing they didn't have to rely on going nuts to be memorable at the dance routines, the six woman Shuffle (so to speak) was one of the best in a while, though they must have been exhausted after the Disco Inferno frenzy, no wonder they didn't do the whole song.

One of my favourite Jacksons tunes, but this version is only OK, and we'd seen it already this week on Sounds of the 70s.

Simon said...

There's now an actual recap for you to respond to. I've been true to my word and not read any of the comments until now, which will doubtless confuse future readers.

Michael made five studio appearances - Ben, Rockin' Robin (usually the only one the BBC ever bother showing), Lookin' Through The Windows, this and Destiny.

Anonymous said...

The best edition yet. Kid Jensen presenting, Jackson's, Jam, Disco Inferno, imperial phase Rod Stewart at #1.

I think this is the beginning of THE classic phase of TOTP (1977-82). Of course there's still going to be Simon May-style dross as well as the usual novelties (but that's what made Top of the Pops the show it was) but with the disco hits getting churned out, the new wavers tanks heading towards British pop culture's lawn and the odd hidden gem here and there, the show is heading in the right direction.

Next week will probably be crap, but...

Noax said...

Well, this week was a bit disconomenal, wasn't it?

Suzi Quatro - How much are her PR people slipping the Pops producers? Tear Me Apart was OK but this song has nothing much going for it at all.

Heatwave - 'UH!' Best song on the show for me, this is great. I was surprised to see that it wasn't a Top 10 hit. It was a bit chopped so I hope we see it again (Simon will be along in a minute to say no, as usually happens around here....) as I want to see the rest of the Kung Fu routine. Very entertaining.

Linda Lewis - Lots of people mentioning her good voice, but I thought she sounded a bit weak. Not that I listened to too much of this. I do like 'It's in his kiss', and 'Rock a Doodle Doo' certainly has one of the best titles ever, I'll give her that.

Carole Bayer Sager - 2nd best song on the show, although the backing singers accidentally inventing Marvin the Paranoid Android did their best to ruin it. I loved her singing, and her 'pretending to forget while listing' acting, that's real class. Am I the only one to have a rough idea what the unnamed chap does with bread? I'm guessing that it's hollowing out a loaf know.

Joe Tex - About 3 seconds more of the bug fat woman this time, which is nice.

The Trammps - I used to love this song, but it's a bit overplayed these days (hello Heart, Smooth etc) and after recovering from the 'do you have a nagging pain?' headache ad memories induced by the lights, I could just about see the girls and their lovely gold plates (?)
Shame that they seemed to be playing the song off a dodgy single copy that was wobbling as well.

Tony Etoria - After the previous quality disco, this is a bit flat, though weirdly this is the first time in the show where the audience seem interestred. And is 1977 the year of gap-toothed singers?

Joy Sarney - Still bloody marvellous.

The Jacksons - I've never been that excited by this song to be honest. It certainly didn't deserve to be their only Number 1. At least we get to see the beginning of the 'Ooh! Uh, HEE HEE!' etc. Sorry Arthur.

The Jam - I agree with almost everyone else that this is pretty bloody thrilling, and I'm not even a massive fan of their early stuff. Considering how old he looked (I've no idea how old he actually was at this point) I always thought that Rick Buckler was unspeakably cool.

Rod Stewart - Of all the songs to choose for the return of the massive screen with the name what I accidentally invented, they do it here. I cannot stand his version of First Cut is the deepest, but I don't mind the other Double A song - do we ever get that, or is it arse wiggling to come every bloody week?

Kid's outro reminds me to text him next time he's on Smooth in an attempt to get him to resurrect the catchphrase....

80sBlokeInThe70s said...

Heatwave - nice bit of jazz-funky disco - I used to cane the Heatwave greatest hits back in the day and this was one of lot of decent tackle.

Linda Lewis
this is just plain wrong- like Cleo Laine the other week it was nowhere near the charts, no-one was interested in putting it there, it wasn't popular culture and it just showed how far the show had strayed from the classic late 60s-early 70s days. I don't know what old fuddy duddy was pulling the strings to get these songs on the show...

Carol Bayer Sager
She seems a fun lady despite having to put up with that disembodied male backing voice. I like the comment someone made above about Diane Keaton.

Joe Tex
Not just a novelty record but a genuinely decent piece of disco-funk.

The Trammps - absolute classic but as someone said (what with 'Saturday Night Fever' etc exposure) a bit overplayed now although the Players Association version runs it a close 2nd if anyone wants a change.

Tony Etoria
pleasant enough and the kind of smooth modern soul groove that's always gone down well with the dancers in this country.Popular enough to give Phil Fearon and Galaxy (featuring his wife the soon to be Baby D) a hit cover in the 80s.

Joy Sarney
I think she's so hot! - easily the finest lady I've seen on here Or anywhere else) since the repeats started.Pissed off they cut if from the I-player show.Even her rundown picture is great.She could be naughty naughty naughty with me anyday...

The Jacksons
Easily the most memorable moment from the show in my book. What an amazing surprise I never knew Michael appeared on TOTP around this time. And to carry it off as good as the record whilst dancing and generally lighting up the studio showed the genius was awakening.This to me must be the moment when the phenomenon that dominated my generation in the early/mid 80s began to gather pace.

Van McCoy - not a patch on The Hustle but I still like it.

The Jam
About the nearest I get to liking anything 'punk' but they were never really punk anyway (for one thing they don't look like idiots)as it says on another board they developed completely separately from punk and would have probably made it anyway without any 'punk' momentum. And to those like me who were too young for punk they've always been looked on as Mod anyway. After all it was only when the Mod revival hit in 1979 that their sales went through the roof wasn't it.

Boz Scaggs - I think the 'Silk Degrees' album is great but we didn't even get to the chorus on this unfortunately but I remember a video does get shown on the show at least once soon.

And well down to the Kid - in a different class to the other presenters we've had so far.

Dory said...

Joe Tex - The more I hear this song, the more I seem to like it.
Just saw the whole video on Utube. You get two minutes of the big fat woman, extending the video out, and makes the song a lot more catchy.
Joe would have probably made No.1 if TOTP showed the whole video.

Tyrone Jenkins said...

You are right about post-punk kids association of The Jam with the Mod revival. I turned 13 in September 79 and quickly embraced Mod. We were too young for punk so Mod seemed an antidote to the satorial horrors of the 70s! The Jam were certainly considered to be the leaders of this 60s revivalism, but with an obvious punk-enfluence. The same can be said of the 79/80 Ska revivalists, though I aqm are jumping ahead a little! This Totp Jam appearence does represent a move away from pub rock proto-punk into something closing to the real thing.

Tyrone Jenkins said...

Again I should have copy-read my previous comment before posting it!

artwwweb said...

Giant buttons? Plates? Maybe the dance routine got me too light-headed but surely they were spray-painted 45s?!

I agree that seeing The Jam in context made it much more powerful - most of the interesting stuff must be on You Tube but it wouldn't be the same viewing experience.

charlie cook said...

Love the changed Jam lyric - you still think I'm crepe. Aw, bless...

wilberforce said...

i concur with artwweb that those gold disc things adorning legs & co were sprayed-on 45's - the beeb pushing the boat out as usual, or maybe they got inspiration from watching blue peter?

some great funky disco sounds this week from heatwave, joe tex and the trammps (if you're fed-up with hearing "disco inferno" then just listen to tina turner's mauling of it ten years on - that will re-whet your appetite), although sadly none of them were performed "live", but then again going by tony etoria's performance perhaps just as well...

i see wacko had already got his whooping routine up to speed at this point, but i was far more interested in watching the brother on the left playing the congas... or rather not playing the congas, just standing behind them and shuffling around a bit! this tune was a chart-topper at the time but is now all-but-forgotten, whilst the moderately-performing "blame it on the boogie" has (lamentably in my view) now become an "all-time disco classic"...

as for the jam, i feel the same way about the modfather as arthur feels about wacko - the "we're not worthy" attitude of my peers really does my head in and i can't bear to even listen to the guy never mind watch him, so as far as i'm concerned he's instant fast-forwarding material!

Wellieman said...

I knew this weeks banter would come down to a Jacksons v. Jam/Weller contest. I think Paul and the Jam were winning early doors, but its been evening up latterly. OK here's my vote, for what its worth...

Paul and the Jam really did speak to a generation of teenage boys and young men, maybe not straightaway but by the time All Mod Cons came out mid-78 they had perfected a sound and image truly unique. But Weller's subject matter was always his trump card... who else was talking about things that really mattered - like getting beaten up in a tube station, moving to London and becoming overwhelmed by circumstances (Strange Town) and the Saturday's Girls who work in Tesco and Woolworths??

The string of singles (A and B sides) from David Watts to Beat Surrender were stunning and up there with the run of singles releases from The Beatles, T.Rex and Slade.

Jackson was a totally different kettle of fish, very talented singer, dancer, songwriter and whooper, but did he really speak to a generation? In my opinion his solo output up to and including Thriller was pretty decent but after that? No, just Thriller Mark II (Bad), Mark III etc, etc. And all that weirdness..??

So I give it to Paul by some distance. I rest my case m'lud.

Noax said...

Something I forgot to mention - which Jackson was wearing jodphurs? That seemed a slightly....unusual costume choice.

As for the punk/mod debate, punk completely passed me by given that I was 5 in 1977. By 1982/3 and secondary school time some kids in my class were huge Mod fans and worshipped The Jam.
I quite liked the Mod stuff but I guess it was in my genes given that Mum was a huge fan of The Kinks!

THX said...

@Noax: Thanks for offering an explanation for the Sayer/bread conundrum, I'm sort of sorry I asked now! Reminds me of an anecdote in John Lydon's autobiography involving Glenn Matlock, Steve Jones and a loaf which I won't repeat here.

Some would say Linda Lewis' greatest work was the cover to Woman Overboard.

Incidentally, I was watching the David Bowie episode of 1979 Saturday Night Live and if Dame Dave thought his interpretation of TVC 15 with the pink poodle containing a television in its mouth was weirder than what Flick Colby came up with for Ruby Flipper, he was sorely mistaken.

Arthur Nibble said...

Just watched the early morning Sunday edition and I've got three more points to add...

1) That wasn't a clarinet on "The Moon And I", that was a Cor Anglais - amazing what doing 'O' Level music teaches you.

2) Hilarious guitar use by Tony Etoria - he barely acknowledges its presence until failing miserably to ape the guitar solo admirably crafted by the orchestra axe man.

3) Doesn't Joy Sarney's tongue stick out a long way before she sings the word "That" in the chorus? I bet you'll check the clip again out of curiosity - at least 80sblokeinthe70s will!

babblingmouth said...

Well, The Jam never really spoke to me in 1977, as I wasn't living anywhere near the city. But I do remember needing to ask someone the way to go once, so The Jacksons came in handy there.

THX said...

By the way, what was the body part close up at the beginning of the Heatwave clip? I couldn't work out what I was looking at.

Simon said...

To open up a third way on the Jam punk/mod debate, Wiki's etymology of New Wave suggests the term was in music press use as early as the Velvet Underground and by 1976-77 was mostly shorthand for punk-but-not-actually-punk.

Arthur Nibble (again) said...

I know the tune's title was of its time, and the song's probably rubbish, but I do think BBC4 missed a trick with the scheduling. Two less rounds of "The Sky At Night", and we would have had Neil Innes's tribute to Her Madge last Thursday in time for the jubilee.

Simon said...

Just thought - the title should have been 'Jam, Sarney', shouldn't it?

Arthur Nibble (again) said...

You could still update this week's blog with the alternate title and I'm sure none of us would mind - after all, it's your gig.

80sBlokeInThe70s said...

Whatever the merits of the debate the 18 year old Michael Jackson followed by the 18 year old (ok he had turned 19 the week before) Paul Weller was great television considering what they were both on the cusp of doing in the following 10 years.

And the 18 year old Kate Bush, the 18 year old Prince and the 18 year old Madonna all waiting in the wings. (The late Spring/Summer of 1958 seems to have spawned more important pop stars than any other few weeks going by that!)

Jorrox said...

Hi gus - just found this site. Hope this post gets through.

Is there a difference in the BBC4 slots then? Are some shows more edited depending on the time slot?

Re the above episode - I am in love with Carol Bayer Sager! But that has to be the worst I have ever heard the studio band (maybe Althea & Donna but that's about it!)

Simon said...

Hi. Yes, the 7.30 showing is edited to half an hour because BBC4 want their prime-time programming to begin on the hour or half hour. All other screenings are unedited.

WeddingSuit said...

Arthur, you'll miss our last appearance next week unless you are back for the saturday show. Just preparing the recollection comments....

WeddingSuit said...

Oh and on the 18 thing. I was just 18 too (you can be on the way up or down as a teenager) and to be fair to the show in 77 it was far more age and background inclusive than an imaginary 2012 line up populated by carefully packaged highly trained stage school folks backed up by some 6 figure promos and a bunch of VFX jockeys. Not that I'm complaining about the latter nowadays...

Simon said...

Had a Google hit overnight for 'toppotron'. Our work here is done.

Noax said...

I'm simultaneously very proud and bemused.

Simon said...

The next recap will be up Friday night.