Friday, 18 May 2012

TOTP 5/5/77 (tx 17/5/12): no show without Punch

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. Gill Rosie takes a supporting role that's meant to be lead as a Hollywood starlet type, the backdrop is a single door against clouds looking like a painting and none of it really makes much sense.

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.


Arthur Nibble said...

Right, quick rub down with a copy of the Radio Times, and back in the saddle...

Show 2 starts with a tie-less Noel (!), our final look at Brendon's rundown photo which I'm now a bit sad about ("Gimme Some" dropped to 31 the next week) and then some dinosaurs, only four of them now, mind. One Roller’s had enough already. What was that song called again?

“Rod also wears the tartan” – not tonight, but he wears wear enough sharks’ teeth round his neck to endanger the species. Current score Rod 2 Pistols 0.

Hmmm, three men dressed like the Green Goddess. Different order on stage, but the dippy one in Delegation still doesn’t quite get it right – neither does the lead singer, who ballses up a good performance by fluffing midway.

Mac and Katie Kissoon! A hidden treat, as this wasn’t on anyone’s programme listing. Still felt a bit queasy, though, watching bro and sis singing a love song to each other (are they Rednecks?).

No Eagles early doors (and I missed that part of the late show, though not fussed as I hate the song) but we get Leo’s video again. Why? Mike Nesmith must be fuming by now.

I reckon they should do a mash-up of “Naughty Naughty Naughty” with the “Naughty, naughty, very naughty” refrain from “Ebenezer Goode”. Hang on, maybe not.

Whodunit, who cut Tavares early doors? Straight to another soporific Frankie Valli number, only saved by the crowd fending off rigor mortis by waving to the camera and monitors.

Brilliant! A repeat of the “Lonely Boy” routine! That makes up for getting Leo again.

Why was the singer in Mr. Big corpsing all the time? Was it because he was singing "Romeo" with new words accompanied by Sylveste McCoy on unoiled chest this time round?

Then we get Deniece (Deniece), the fourth repeat in the full show – a far cry from the earlier outing. Still, nice to finish (to finish, nice) with Mike and Phyllis!

THX said...

I'm half surprised we didn't get a photo of a car wash for Piero, but presumably they didn't have the rights for a Muppet photo? When's Robin halfway up the stairs again?

Joy Sarney and Mr Punch reminded me of that public information film about not going with strangers, except this was more a domestic violence warning.

Frankie Valli looked massively pissed off, Chris Morris interview level pissed off!

Simon said...

Halfway Up The Stairs appears in the top 30 in three shows' time, along with new entries for the Ramones, Liverpool FC and the cast of Rock Follies. The countdown will be one of the most fascinating bits that week.

Wellieman said...

Nobody can deny that this episode didn't contain a very broad spectrum of musical styles. But still no punk, yet!

The Rollers looked jaded, going through the motions, etc. Hadn't they got through another new member (Pat McGlynn) who joined and left within a few weeks after it dawned on him why Tam Paton had really employed him..?! Still, Alan will be back soon.

Rod managed to turn a pretty decent Cat Stevens/PP Arnold song into a soaring classic in my book. The definitive version. But why did he have to look such a nonce though in this period of his career?

What a great comedy moment when the lead Delegation singer missed his line just after the start of the last verse and gave a Bonnie Tyler-grimace in recognition of the cock-up. Great green jump suits though, very, err, 1976.

Sorry folks, but Hotel California is another of those songs I hated back then but now absolutely love. It must be an age thing; you only get into it at, err, 40 years old or something? Thoroughly enjoyed the Patti-less (again) Legs' performance... not too much dancing to spoil things, eh? Patti must have had a good long holiday by now.

Unfortunately that was pretty much the highlights for me for this week. I have only one word for Mac and Katie; Frankie Valli and Mr Big. Yawn. But hey thats why we love this show: to pick our favourites and tut-tut at the rest.

Finally Joy Sarney and Mr Punch: well at least it was different. Pity the director didn't realise it was a duet until well into the song. I'm sure I saw a hand up Mr Punch's back... surely not?

Angelo Gravity said...

That was a great BBC4 night all round - what with two Top of the Pops 1977s and a Blue Peter 1974!
I quite fancy a decent 3 hour dose of Swap Shop now :-)

wilberforce said...

i agree with angelo about the bbc4 schedule this thursday: shame they had to ruin it by putting coldplay on as well - rubbish like that is the reason i don't listen to pop music these days...

otherwise not a lot to say about the second show of the night other than that delegation (yet another identically-dressed black soul vocal group - yawn) sounded badly out-of-tune, and the guy with the blaxploitation afro still hasn't learnt how to move in time with the others...

80sBlokeInThe70s said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
80sBlokeInThe70s said...

To have still been a Bay City Rollers fan at this time must have made you pretty diehard to say the least.18 months is a long time in teeny bopper land.

The Eagles and Andrew Gold both quality tunes - pity we have to put up with Legs & Co demeaning it.

Joy Sarney - remember this at the time - love the seaside organ - an eminently fanciable lady too.

Deniece Williams how often does something this classy get to No 1 - up there with the very best (10cc's 'I'm Not In Love', 'Billie Jean', 'Are Friends Electric', 'Wuthering Heights', 'I Feel Love' - that good)

Delegation - I may have said it before but it's worth checking out the single of this - wicked soaring string arrangement.

IMHO Not a patch on last week's show as a purely visual experience but ok all the same

19 May 2012 02:36

Steve Does Top of the Pops said...

I think I can safely say the memory of Joy Sarney will haunt me forever.

It is surprising to see just how many acts were cut out of the early showing. Was this an especially long show this week?

Simon said...

The things you find: a couple of years later Joy Sarney sang in Stiff Records pub rocker Mickey Jupp's band.

Arthur Nibble said...

Steve, we're going through a phase of six or seven shows which were 40 minutes in length and featured 14 or 15 artists - no idea why the BBC did this, maybe a lull in the rest of their summer (repeat) schedules at the time. With only really enough airtime in half an hour for 10 songs and the playout, that's why so many were cut. I'd expect some repeat videos / appearances will be cut in the future, but that's only a rule of thumb as Leo's video reprieve makes that theory go bang.

Simon said...

And (sorry, I'm slightly obsessed now) the engineer of Naughty Naughty Naughty was novice Chris Tsangardies, who became a big name producer in heavy metal - Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore, Black Sabbath, Bruce Dickinson, Judas Priest, Girlschool, Killing Joke, Yngwie Malmsteen, Tygers Of Pan Tang, Tigertailz (and, um, Gilbert O'Sullivan and Depeche Mode)

Nutty Big D said...

35 years on, some wouldn't have got Noel's joke about Mac Kissoon. Back in the 60's, actor Bernard Miles (famous for his association with the Mermaid theatre) did an advert with the catchphrase "it looks good, tastes good and by golly does you good" about the beer MACKESON

Steve Does Top of the Pops said...

Arthur, thanks for the info about the running times.

Noax said...

A Noel Pops is always something to enjoy, something you can't say about DLT's. Maybe that's why even though there were as many non-hits in this show as the one before, it was fun to watch. Or maybe it's just because my football team won an important match today and I'm very happy as a result.

Bay City Rollers - Not a bad song actually, but the law of diminishing returns always meant this would struggle in the charts I guess. It's certainly less anaemic than their bloody awful cover of I Only Want To Be With You.

Rod Stewart - Wife : 'He's not wearing any pants is he? No VPL'
Me : 'Um, don't know'. Fast forward.

Delegation - I can't think of anything interesting to say about this, in the league of soul groups, they're very League 2 - in fact, judging by what they're wearing, they're Plymouth Argyle.

The Eagles - I'm another one who doesn't really care for this song, and seeing most of the girls - minus Patti again, boo! - wearing cardboard moustaches (were no proper fakes available?) while Gill drags round what appears to be a stuffed weasel doesn't improve it any.

Mac & Katie Kissoon - I wouldn't be surprised if there were rumours of a split. Mainly on the grounds that if I were Katie, I would be asking why Mac sings in such an incredibly weird way.

Leo Sayer - Hooray! I could happily watch this every week.

Joy Sarney - Now, I love this. Mainly down to the fact that it was on the Disco Fever K-Tel compilation which I listened to over and over as a kid. The performance doesn't let it down, although I'm a little disappointed that we didn't see the crocodile with the sausages (Jim's Tadpole could have filled in here) or Judy herself appear in the booth to chase Joy away. Mind you, given that the guy operating Mr Punch couldn't even keep his arm out of shot, that was probably asking a bit much.

Frankie Valli - Zzzzzz

Andrew Gold - When was the last time they repeated a Legs & Co routine? At least this is a good one.

Mr.Big - Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Even they seem to know it's rubbish. The lead singer can't be bothered to mime it properly and appears to get distracted by someone or something halfway through and completely misses his cue!
The bidibidibidi (is this where Buck Rogers got it from?) bit is the only good bit, the rest of it seems to be lacking something. It's...oh...that's it, a tune!

Deniece Williams - Still not keen. Especially as this prevented Stevie Wonder from having a Number One hit with a song that isn't shit.

Colm said...

I feel bad making my first comment on this fine blog as a correction, but it's Rosie who is the "starlet" type in the "Hotel California" routine, not Gill.

Lee said...

I remember String driven things version of It's a game but the rollers one I'm sure I would have hated at the time if only I could remember :(
Free, Lonely boy, Sir Duke, Hotel California and Rod's tune are all classics :)

Elsterpie said...

Oh dear another week from my own single collection (gold, deniece, bay city rollers, delegation, rod and yes Mr big. I loved it then (i had a soft spot for obvious hits that actually didnt hit the top 30 : feel like calling home, remember yesterday (john miles), if i have to go away (jigsaw), cheri babe (hot chocolate), didnt u used to be u (dummies aka jimmy lea of slade), think im gonna fall in love (supercharge).........i could go on.

But the revelation of this show is realising that charlize theron has clearly modelled her oscar winning performance of ailleen the serial killer (monster) on rod Stewart in this video

Elsterpie said...

And im with most of you on hotel california. God i hated that but nowhere near as much as other Eagles records.

Dory said...

Couldn't really draw much out of this show, apart from the fact that this No.1 from Deniece Williams may have been an inspiration for a No.1 eight years later in 1985 for Phyllis Nelson with Move Closer. Don't they sound spookily similar?
Could be my imagination though...

Tyrone Jenkins said...

You are spot about the Phyllis Nelson number resembling the Deniece Williams song. I've always thought so myself but was unsure of my judgement in this matter!

Tyrone Jenkins said...

I've just noticed that my above post should read "spot-on". I should proof read my messages before posting them!

wilberforce said...

i can't say that "move closer" ever reminded me of "free", but like the latter (and as with wellieman and "hotel california") it was certainly a song i hated when it was a hit but have now come to actually quite like...

as nobody else has said it, i'd just like to point out that "naughty naughty naughty" is another magnificent addition to the cod-reggae canon... but does "hotel california" also qualify?

Tyrone Jenkins said...

The cod-reggae cannon was gently laying the ground for the more overt examples in the late 70s and early 80s: Police, Blondie, Culture Club etc probably closer to 'lovers rock' than the Ska revival of 79/80. Maybe!

TimT said...

A bit late I know, but my better half and I are getting a bit obsessive about the literal Legs & Co. routines, and there was indeed a corker in this episode: surely the only reason for the door to be there was so that Gill could appear at the precise moment when the Eagles sang "There she stood in the doorway…”

Steve Williams said...

Every number one so far this year has been a ballad, there can't have been this many in a row in the entire history of the charts. And thanks to The Man stopping the Pistols, there's more to come as well, although this will have the happy side-effect of making the first uptempo number one seem even more exciting.

That Rollers song had the most underwhelming chorus. As mentioned the new Roller had long buggered off, apparently saying he was going before he stuck his head in a gas oven. Well, Noel could have told him where to find one of those. His replacement had already been and gone, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves anyway, unlike Eric's scowling last time.

The bloke from Mr Big seemed to be having trouble with his microphone, or at least he kept on grabbing onto it. I don't think he even touched his guitar.

If the audience with Tony two weeks ago were ludicriously underwhelmed, this lot were too far in the other direction and getting way too overexcited, although you'd want to find distraction during that tedious Frankie Valli song. They picked the worst possible angle to show Punch from.

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to the next two episodes, the next one featuring surely the most eclectic line-up of all time and the week after with a very famous star in the studio and a proper Pops landmark.

Anonymous said...

The inability of the blog writer to correctly identify the members of Legs, week after week, frankly beggars belief.

WeddingSuit said...

Just back from a few weeks bbc-iplayer-free in LA to find out that iplayer doesn't do the whole show and I missed Heep although arthur it was not trevor I borrowed the bass from but rather the first 3 albums bass Paul, so where was online Mr Big ? (we almost hired Chalkie the blonde drummer, boy they had a worse record deal than we did). I know you are all zealots but this show is weird... Was a whistletest boy myself. Anyway one recollection. I'm 5'8" (imp size) and pans legs and co were at least 6" shorter than me. It's all camera angles. Still we are back in 2 episodes time. Better set the PVR as we run the risk of being cut.... Best Wishes..

Simon said...

Well, it did take two days for anyone else to point out I'd got the wrong one...

Arthur Nibble said...

Welcome back, WeddingSuit, you jetsetter! We're now learning loads of valuable behind-the-scenes stuff thanks to your snowball effect.

I find it infuriating that BBC iPlayer doesn't update the TOTP episodes and allow you to watch the full-length editions online. You probably didn’t know that we've started going through a patch of half a dozen longer shows (40 minutes) with 14 or 15 acts in each, so there'll be three or four acts chopped from the early editions.

Sadly, Brendon's swansong stands a very good chance of being cut from the early show, as (**spoiler alert**)...

it's one of four 'newies' including the Eurovision winner and, while only one of the others scraped the top 30, Brendon's was the only song in the edition not to chart. Mind you, the show also includes a Legs & Co repeat (one of two routines that night) and two videos, so fingers crossed you avoid the 'drop zone'.

David H said...

Don't be too hard on Simon for not knowing the name of a Pan's, sorry, Legs & Co. dancer because I'm absolutely awful at recognising people. (The only dancer I've learnt the name of so far is Floyd!)

Anyway, the Joy Sarney performance was truly bonkers and provided a laugh-out-loud moment easily equivalent to Ruby Flipper's Disco Duck performance. If I was editing the latest run of TOTP2 I would be sorely tempted to slip in Joy Sarney unannounced after something like The Stranglers just to see what the reaction would be...

Simon said...

Well, TOTP2 did throw in Claire & Friends yesterday, so there's hope yet.

I don't know how long the original was but the Brendon return has twelve songs, one less than the 40 minute shows have been doing so far, without an obviously really long song (and it'll be on BBC4 14th June, I reckon)

Erithian said...

The Rollers’ last top 30 hit, and not a bad song although the writing was on the wall. Bizarrely, though, I suddenly realised that something about the rhythm of the verses reminded me of a later 1977 hit – “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes”! Is it just me or could the Adverts, even subconsciously, have been influenced by this?!

Joy Sarney – as bad as I remember it if not worse. I read somewhere she played clubs in Southend or wherever and was described as having a good blues voice – little evidence of this here. It was either Sounds or Record Mirror that had a feature on her and concluded that it was a blessing that she was a housewife (I think they used that word) with a realistic view of her one-hit wonder status rather than a starlet keen to unleash further dross on the world.

Frankie Valli – it’s a wonder he didn’t pull a strop and order a retake without the Roller girls moronically waving at the camera. Granted, it was a lousy song, but that was plain rude. Mind you yesterday I was happily warbling along to “My Eyes Adored You” on Radio 2 while washing up.

Mr Big – pretty derivative. The opening is straight out of their previous hit, while the “Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo” was lifted from “Take My Breath Away”, from the “Day at the Races” album by their mentors and labelmates Queen the previous autumn.

Deniece – really classy. Going to town on the melisma a good few years before Whitney came along! But yes, you’d want to have heard the conversation between Noel and that girl in the audience once the cameras were off them.

wilberforce said...

i don't think it's surprising that simon has got gill and rosemary mixed up as they look pretty similar i.e. posh-looking long-haired blondes - i still have trouble remembering which one is which!

i've been recording the new totp2's that are being shown on bbc2 this week (and fast-forwarding through anything post 1995!) - great to see an oddity like claire and friends amongst the usual suspects although i can't say i care for the format - there doesn't even seem to be a related theme, just very weak and forced wrighty-style comments by mark radcliffe who really should know better - does he pick the clips on the basis on how "funny" he can make the links?
i'll never turn down the opportunity to watch vintage totp performances, but give me the unabridged original transmissions rather than these lame compilations any day of the week!

Arthur Nibble said...

There's an easy way (well, two really) to distinguish Gill from Rosie, depending on the cut of the costumes.

(Cue impersonation of Les Dawson's 'Cosmo Smallpiece' character)

Tyrone Jenkins said...

The Joy Sarney performance was typical of the cheapskate BBC. Given the song's theme you would have thought the props dept could have knocked together a seaside backdrop instead of those cheapo balloons! Naughty Naughty Naughty!

Bamaboogiewoogie said...

I came to the conclusion this was a naughty record about anal sex - it's all there in the lyrics "That ain't the way to do it" - "Oh yes it is!". Also the singer's name Joy Sarney (ie joy sandwich) must be a clue.