We will get round to this in the fulness of time.
"Right, come on! You're not supposed to enjoy yourselves!" It's to be assumed Noel was making a joke, but this is at the start of a TOTP fronted by Noel Edmonds so who really knows.
Bay City Rollers – It's A Game
Ah, the Rollers! Except this is the beginning of the end, down to four and this their first single not to reach the top ten. Les has gone for the open shirt look plus high waisted white jeans and a badge reading 'I CAN DO IT' but more notably there are few strands of hanging on to the tartan tradition, Eric Faulkner with a scarf, Stuart Wood his collar. Not that this matters much to the Rollerites, there's still quite a few scarves and one girl down the front completely losing it. Later, however, when the camera is right behind her she keeps turning back and checking where it is. Fearful of being found out? "Somebody wrote to me and said 'how do you measure tartan? With a Bay City ruler?' Well, close" Someone wrote to Noel, yet it still sounds like the sort of line only he would attempt.
Rod Stewart – The First Cut Is The Deepest
"Rod Stewart also wears tartan". Yes, Noel, maybe so, but not in this video clip. Rod looks uncomfortable playing an acoustic guitar, as if it's physically weighing him down, and notably there's no instrument shots for the difficult bits. That'll be why on the second chorus he suddenly swings it behind his back, as if he's making that Kenny Everett sketch flesh and playing it with the arse cheeks, before bringing it back just to turn his back on camera and then abandoning the instrument entirely regardless of the soundtrack. He then makes like he's using his vertebrae to fingerpick. "What a moody lot of romantic individuals we have here" comments Noel. The Rollers and Rod? We can't hear screaming but we're led to assume it, which is an interesting touch.
Delegation – Where Is The Love (We Used To Know)
And now, The Green Lantern - The Harmonic Soul Years.
It's not a colour that radiates serious minded greatness, is it? As if this weren't undignified enough, a badly timed closeup reveals a massive gap in the front teeth of the lead singer.
The Eagles – Hotel California
"They're touring around the UK at the moment" Noel tells us. So why aren't they on the show? Legs & Co - still Patti-free! Three weeks now - instead, and what says more about Californian decadence then dressing your dancers as matadors in fake moustaches. Well, that's one way of putting paid to the literalism accusations.
Mac & Katie Kissoon - Your Love
"You might well have heard the rumours of Mac & Katie Kissoon in split partnership riddle. Well, here's the truth - they're back together again." What? They don't seem very together to start with, Katie having to descend some stairs to join Mac. She's also been lumbered with an impractical looking Mexican-inspired dress with what seems to be a large peacock feather affixed to the front. A lot of people only seem to come over to watch right at the end.
Leo Sayer – How Much Love
The massed Leos of the VT suite strike again.
Joy Sarney – Naughty Naughty Naughty
This is true. Within the last day another clip of this has appeared on YouTube. Title: 'Punch & judy song on Top of the pops'. Description: 'What the hell is wrong with people from the past....'
The first line of the middle eight is "he's been in trouble with the law for grevious bodily harm", and it's sung like a grand soul statement. As you admire the work of the director, who refuses to let on any sight of Sarney's singing partner or his habitation until right at the end of the first chorus, just think about this for a moment. As this blog post reveals, the recorded version is different. Johnny Pearson had to find out how to play this and then run it through with his orchestra. The Punch operator, wrist blatantly in shot, had to provide live vocals. Someone had to get all those balloons pumped up. Humanity, that whole curing cancer thing can wait for another day, we've got a new performance of a song in which a session singer pretends to be a forgiving rival for Judy's affections in the face of a heavily sexed up Punch to organise. You'll notice the lack of audience shots.
Tavares – Whodunnit
The TopPop clip again, enlivened by Noel picking a fight with a girl in a flat cap behind him.
Frankie Valli – Easily
Surrounded by Rollermania girls, of whom there really are a lot, Noel informs us Valli is "doing some fabulous concerts". How important is he? He gets a walk-on. Presumably the best bits don't include this sappy piano ballad, judging by the fact that half the audience, even the two seemingly transfixed at the front are distracted by the crane camera as it swoops from round the back of a 50p shaped mini-stage we haven't seen before. Some start waving at it. You're not telling me that wouldn't distract Valli, stage veteran or not. Noel, now in front of the balloons, takes quite some time to start talking afterwards.
Andrew Gold – Lonely Boy
"Sounds like a company with Angela Rippon as managing director, doesn't it?" It's taken him this long to think of a line for Legs & Co? The oddest piece of early version editing comes here and must be for timing reasons, even though the edit comes in a good minute or so short of as long as it can run, as the earlier routine was cut but this repeat, Floyd and all, was left in.
Mr Big – Feel Like Calling Home
Noel has got a Union Jack flag ("the only thing that spoils it is it says Made In Hong Kong") and hat from somewhere. That's more intriguing than this leaden number, which the singer tries to enliven with some very odd strained falsetto singing at the start and his bandmates add some "bidibidibidi" backing vocals to at one stage.
Deniece Williams – Free
At last, a new number one! Noel, absolutely surrounded and packed in by people - well, let's be fair, girls - asks one what it will be and gets no answer. He seems to be chiding someone in response as a slow wipe takes him and his kind off the screen in favour of Williams' studio performance from two shows ago now, just before someone holding an autograph book can reach him. He's on telly, woman! "It's been great presenting Top Of The Pops from inside a lift" is Noel's line out of the action and into Sir Duke and the credits as everyone presses in on him, but not before someone clearly pokes him in the eye.