Wednesday, 8 August 2012

TOTP 14/7/77 (tx 8/8/12): there's no point in asking

"The following few are feeling fine, cos they're this week's Top Of The Pops! *air punch*" Even more than Noel and Tony you can tell which presenter that is just from the style written down, can't you?

Last time we'll hear Whole Lotta Love for a while, this - every Christmas, like a confused uncle, then not until a slight return in 1979. Bob Marley has a chair in his photo. The Wailers are either standing up or uncomfortably crouched down. That's the perk of getting your name at the front.

The Real Thing – Love's Such A Wonderful Thing
Even by his own standards Eddie Amoo has one-upped the fashion stakes right out of the block. Not for him the sensible waistcoats of the two in the middle, albeit one pairing them with shiny light blue trousers. No, there are times when only a gold off-one-shoulder singlet and trousers that aren't so much tight as vaccuum packed, given that extra bit of pizzazz by what seems to be a choker made out of china. Chris, guitar returned, is no slouch either in an all-gold affair presumably made from the same bit of material fashioned into a barely workable workman's overalls effect, if you knew any workmen with braided hair. The one not specifically mentioned above knows his place, like Ronnie Corbett, except his place when not harmonising is to clap and click half-heartedly and generally look like nobody told him he'd be joint third banana when the day came. At the back of the audience, and thus front of shot, a couple slow dance arm in arm to a slower tempo than provided. In the spirit of the song, but maybe not the occasion. Then they realise they're on telly and, perhaps thinking of how he looks in his bow tie, the bloke begins bobbing around and says something to his partner, who by then is watching the band anyway. What a complex relationship that may turn into.

Rita Coolidge – We're All Alone
"Here's a girl who knows a lot about love". And a lot about cactus welfare, judging by the massive size of the plant on the windowsill where she sits in her top embroidered with an outline of a moth. Moths and cacti aren't usually signifiers of true love, but each to their own. The video continues with her wandering through the garden outside and resting contentedly in a hammock, seemingly perfectly content on her own for now. You wait until she drops the window key behind the plant pot, though.

The Saints – This Perfect Day
A bit of that sort of rock, part one. Kid's exclaiming, he likes this one. There's a school of thought that says this might be the first proper punk band on TOTP, taking the Jam as mods and the Stranglers as pub rockers on the chance. They almost certainly aren't the sort of punk band TOTP expected either, playing it straight faced and deadpan, never once acknowledging a camera. Guitarist Ed Kuepper spends a good part of the song staring into the monitors. One kid right at the front kind of jumps about a bit but for the most part this is a nonplussed audience. Perhaps even more so when Chris Bailey rests his wrist on the mic holder, watches it come off in his hand and examines the cord, miming regardless all the while. Before they're off camera Bailey is already wandering off grinning. Still, can't imagine there'll be anything more ABOTSOR-like on this week...

The Commodores – Easy
Oh, the lights have gone funny on Legs & Co again. It's another trip back from the fabric shredder for the costumier, both top (with glittery tube top underneath), skirts, bit in the middle and what looks like an extra bit up the back full-on fringed. The routine is nothing to write home about, just lots of sashaying on a stage with people on three sides in mood lighting. It's just unfortunate the first two audience members picked out by the crane camera are looking away from the stage. Just as the whole team begin faux-headbanging to the guitar solo it's time to leave.

Dave Edmunds – I Knew The Bride
"Something for everyone" says Kid. Rockpile in all but credited artist name, and Nick Lowe in his shaggy dog pudding bowl haircut and sporting what seems to be a picture of Graham Parker on a badge is clearly hogging it for all it's worth, standing further forward than the credited artist this week, so much so the camerman can't keep Edmunds in focus over Lowe's headstock. A number of audience members literally hop from foot to foot.

Jigsaw – If I Have To Go Away
"If you've been wondering what happened to Jigsaw..." No, Kid, nobody thought that, much as Sky High was popular. "...they've been putting it all together again." Oh, I see, it's an elaborate comedy intro. So everyone's in blue satin shirts apart from the frontman in dazzling white and GOOD GOD that's a level of falsetto from Dave Beech we haven't heard even this year. He's already dressed like a Bee Gee, why not copy their vocal style indeed. There doesn't appear to be a drummer. That's presumably why they disappeared.

Supertramp – Give A Little Bit
That Kid introduces this video standing in front of a man with a Union Jack top hat and shit-eating grin is more interesting than the clip. It's nearly longer too, cut to ninety seconds in the early edit and I'm not sure it's much longer in the full length version.

Cilla Black – I Wanted To Call It Off
A girl on each arm like a Canadian love god with a regulation shaggy 'do, and neither of them seems any more sure than you might about how this is going to fit in. Good keeping up appearances, though, as even after his part of the stage has had the lights faded on it the three remain in that tableau until comfortably off screen. Our Cilla hadn't (and hasn't) had a top 50 hit in nearly three and a half years and her BBC and ITV vehicles had ground to a halt, a career flatlining that remained until a Wogan appearance in 1983 was spotted by Alan Boyd, in the process of creating Blind Date at the time. As for now that bloke still has that grin and that hat, and now we see his polo shirt has a cross of St George emblem on, while Cilla stands like a waxwork in front of some of the orchestra, wraps her pink scarf securely around her neck and oversings directly to us. By halfway some people are having a chat, watching the monitors, not entirely taking in the stately pace and showstopper ambition of Cilla's routine. As we pull away at the end Hat Bloke is dancing to something much faster in his own head.

The Sex Pistols – Pretty Vacant
"By way of contrast..." Yeah, you could say that. And now imagine Tony or DLT introducing it. So, a bit of that sort of rock, part two. And indeed ground zero, surely many people's introduction to what this band they've read about actually look, act and sound like, for good or ill. So much of this video, directed by Mike Mansfield only three months after his production/direction/link man job for LWT's Supersonic ended, is part of punk iconography - Johnny's ginger hair, practised sneer and ribbon mike stances, Sid's gormless expression and rock'n'roll textbook stance, Steve Jones' knotted hanky. Then there's all the period stuff, like the overzealous red lighting, the feather cut Paul Cook throwing something to the floor immediately before starting and the hugeness of Rotten/Lydon's sleeve cuffs. And now you can stop waiting for punk to happen. In a further development on the joy of juxtapostion, having already gone from Cilla to Pistols we now jump to Kenny Rogers, subject of this week's Awkward Pre-Number One Stilted Chat. We learn Kenny is on holiday after two weeks' work in Saudi Arabia - we can only speculate what - and announces a UK tour in November.

Hot Chocolate – So You Win Again
One of two songs out of ten we've seen already and three artists who's been on this repeat run before. Talk about new brooms. (Er, ignore the next show in that working) Kid gets Kenny to introduce it, perhaps mindful of what happened last time. A repeat from last week, Kid wishes us good love and we're out to horrible green font credits, a camera lens wrapped in tin foil and Fanfare For The Common Man, just to demonstrate the punks don't quite have it all their own way yet.


Julie Joanne Bevan said...

Des Dyer, the lead singer of Jigsaw, was also their drummer; on this occasion, though, he chose not to sing from the kit. It's not a bad record at all - it reminds me very much of The Stylistics.

David H said...

Perhaps the most eclectic Top of the Pops lineup I've ever seen, at least since these repeats started and perhaps won't be matched in terms of sheer mind-boggling variety for a long time.

Plus now I'm wondering exactly how many people in 1977 switched off their TV set in disgust when the Pistols came on, even if they still managed to endure "that sort of rock" in the form of the Saints.

Steve Williams said...

Thought this one was a bit dull, alas, despite the obvious. I do love Kid's links, though, not just his tongue twisters at the start but also his extended Jigsaw riff - you missed "puzzle no longer" - and the announcement that "here endeth another edition", giving proceedings a pleasingly Medeival vibe. I also liked him standing stock still in that Cilla intro, as if he'd been switched off.

Clearly the designer was taken by the spirit of punk, with The Real Thing perfoming in front of a tree (with faces on the branches?) and what looked like an attempt at graffiti for The Saints.

Rita Coolidge had lovely hair, it was like a shampoo advert.

Matra Rancho said...

The Saints looked like they could have come from any year from then until now. A nicely understated image that hasn't dated so much as either the Pistols (who sounded especially fabulous "in context", after a year of mainly easy disco and MOR balladeering on these shows) or the Supertramp video which appeared to have been shot on a pinhole camera in a shoebox.

mr superstar said...

thought the lead singer of the saints looked like the singer from keane - but with an even fatter face.

Noax said...

The picture quality for the rundown seems very clear for once, have they been keeping this one in a special vault?
Actually, given that the running order has seemingly been decided by picking some artist names out of a hat, I can see why they'd do that.
Ooh, and the green font's back - great! We haven't seen that for a while...

The Real Thing - I have many disco compilations, on LP from the time, and on CDs in the years since. Most of them have Real Thing tracks on, yet I've never heard this one before. Oh, that'll be because it wasn't a big hit then. It's actually not bad though.

Rita Coolidge - Another speeded up American clip a la David Soul, which is a shame as it makes a really rather nice song sound quite silly.

The Saints - I'm sure those on here who've been banging on about punk since the turn of the year will be excited about this. I wasn't.

Jigsaw - GOOOO-NNNNNAA make you an offer you can't refuuuuuse. Oh, sorry, wrong song. It is a bit Jimmy Helms-tastic though, isn't it?
Looking in the chart book, I can't believe it actually dented the Top 40!

Supertramp - A quality tune, shame it's on murky speeded up video. Again. Could still have done with a bit more (it is still about 90 seconds long on the late night version!) given what's coming up next....

Cilla Black - Regular readers will know that I absolutely cannot stand this woman. Therefore I wish she really had decided to ****ing call it off at this point.

Sex Pistols - Blimey, this one came out pretty smartish after the last one, didn't it?!
Interesting that they show it as soon as it gets into the charts, so TOTP may not be as anti-punk as it would initially have appeared, bearing in mind that GSTQ was banned so they couldn't have played it even if they'd wanted to.

For what it's worth, although I think a lot of punk is smoke and mirrors (and really quite terrible songs) I think that Pretty Vacant is ace.

Kenny Rogers interlude - A little less stilted than usual, proving that Kid does these better than most. Did Kenny own some racehorses perhaps? They do like their racehorse breeding in Saudi Arabia I believe.

Hot Chocolate - WHAT, they didn't come in again? A disgrace!

Looking forward to the new Number One next week as I know that our giant televisual friend gets an airing at least once.

Bamaboogiewoogie said...

Start the cheap comment...

Why is Mr Jensen wearing his pyjamas in the daytime? Perhaps that's why he's called Kid.

I see they still haven't found a colour photo of The Detroit Emeralds.

The backdrop to The Real Thing may represent something physical but it does rather look as though the set designer had run out of time, panicked and simply chucked some tins of white paint across a black backcloth. The guy right at the back of the crowd seems more interested in it than group. I also like the guy at the front who spends the entire performance with arms folded in contempt. His whole body language is saying "Don't like The Real Thing. Never will". I also noticed the two girls in stainless steel tiaras at the front. The one on right decides to have a good scratch of her nose just at the point that the camera focuses on her. She quickly ducks down out of sight when she spots the camera.

We're All Alone, still a great song but that synth counter melody sounds a bit cheap and nasty now. In that string hammock Rita looks a bit like a giant spider in a web waiting to pounce on her prey..

Seeing Kris Kristofferson’s missus reminds me of a time in the mid 1980s when my mum worked at Watford Town Hall. They had a concert hall there and put on concerts and gigs and one Friday afternoon a huge truck pulled up as Rita Coolidge was playing that night. Then about twenty roadies and assorted crew unloaded musical instruments and assorted gear and began to set it up. It quickly transpired that the gig hadn’t been very well publicised and they had hardly sold any tickets. Everyone who worked at the Town Hall was asked if they wanted to buy a ticket or knew anyone who wanted to come that evening but they still couldn’t sell any. Then in desperation they were forced to give tickets away but they still struggled fill more than the first few rows. Being the trouper she was Ms Coolidge went ahead with the gig anyway playing to a near empty hall. Rather apt considering the title of her hit.

Doesn't the lead singer of The Saints have hairy arms. He's like a gorilla. Facially he reminded me of the vocalist from 90s band The Milltown Bros. Not a bad song and this was on former hippy Harvest label who last bought us The Trinidad Oil Company.

Kid's intro to Legs and Co - "They make it look so Easy". So cheesy. The stainless steel tiara girl is still fascinated by that camera, more interested in what it is doing that what Legs and Co are up to in their String Cheese dresses. Perhaps she later got a job as a camera operator.

The Graham Parker badge Nick Lowe's wearing, there's a copy of that for sale on eBay at the moment for 5.99 (see Item number: 200760484844). It's life size of course.

No one's been wondering what happened to Jigsaw, not even Jigsaw. But give them their due it's not a bad song and the lead singer has a great falsetto voice. I like the half-a-wink he gives to camera during the second verse.

The Supertramp clip is very short and I remember seeing this show at the time and thinking just that. But to be fair the song is called Give A Little Bit and so they did.

And so to Cilla in what looks like a Brentford Nylons nightie in a colour that marches her bad facial skin tone. During the instrumental break the camera focuses on grinning hat guy dancing behind folded arms guy who turns round and gives him a look of disgust. The grinning hat guy carries on dancing with no sense of shame. He's a slut for Cilla. The song features the immortal line "The taste of your love lingers on my tongue". And they said punk was bad...

Bamaboogiewoogie said...

Talking of which. The Sex Pistols on video. What a shame they weren't in the studio. Perhaps the guy with the folded arms might have done a bit of pogo-ing. I'd go up and down for Sid.

Why do they always get the visiting American singers to turn up too early or too late to perform live? Hank Mizell last year, this year it was Alessi and now Kenny Rogers. BTW I saw Kenny on one of those advertising features on TCM promoting Country Music CD box sets. He has now had so many bad facelifts he can't even open his eyes or smile, prompting the line "You took a fine time to leave me loose skin".

Hot Chocolate, a night time beverage that makes you fall asleep. Zzz.

And playout with Fanfare For The Common Man AGAIN. What happened to their policy of not playing the same song two weeks in a row unless it was number one. But I suppose looking at the chart this week there wasn't much else in the chart they could go with. Queen at number 19? Fleetwood Mac at 28? Fat Larry's Band at 31? Jesse Green still at number 36? Why not Chris White's latest single. Kid could always forget to announce it thus ensuring it was a flop.

Good lurve.

Simon Jenkins said...

Up until 5 minutes ago I'd always thought the the chorus to the Rita Coolidge song went, "close the window, come inside", which baffled me as a 7 year old at the time and struck me as still being a dreadful lyric when I heard it again last night. I've just looked it up thanks to the magic of the interweb and found that she's actually singing "Calm the light". Carmalite. Sounds like something you give babies with colic.

wilberforce said...

sorry to have to be the one to point this out again simon, but: chris amoo - lead singer/top banana, eddie amoo - braids/sometime guitar/second banana...

regarding jigsaw, other "singing drummers" from the era included don henley of the eagles and the guy from paper lace, but the fact is that they just look intrinsically naff - no wonder the guy chose to appear up front instead of being stuck behind the traps...

i watched cilla being interviewed on "the story of light entertainment" a while back, but despite her incredible amount of success as an "entertainer" over the years she said she'd rather be remembered as a singer and have that on her gravestone - if it were down to me i would engrave it with the legend "here lies cilla black - screecher", as although i've always liked her as a tv personality in my opinion she can't sing for toffee, and there's no middle ground to her approach - you either get a twee childlike whisper or piercing banshee wail, as epitomised by "step inside love"...

Anonymous said...

I see were being treated to sky at night again come on bbc 4 this was meant to be week for week or thereabouts from 35 years ago so we should at least be into august and looking forward to generation x
the adverts the 2nd appearence of the rah band and the dissapearence of those triangles i have seen every week since start of feb i can handle the circles lol come on a double bill like they did a few months back which i enjoyed im to young to remember this first time around i was born in 76 but i am enjoying the reruns and hope they stick with it at least another 5 years would be great to see emerging new bands blondie/police/madness/blockheads etc and new djs .I will stick with it and hope bbc4 does to please every week thank you .

@jazzy_andy said...

Great to see ver Pistols - not even Auntie Beeb could ignore a new entry at number 7. But presumably the producers made a positive choice to include The Saints despite being outside the Top 30. Would never have thought they'd be the first punk band on TOTP assuming we don't regard Eddie and the Hotrods as punk. Still a long way to go till punk/new wave form the majority of the show, if it ever did. So much for ABOTSOR - any sign of NWOBHM on the horizon?

PS Re Rita Coolidge on speed - is this because our TV had a higher frame rate than the US?

THX said...

Didn't think I recognised The Real Thing tune until they got to the line "I got so much love to give!" which immediately took me back to that dance track Got So Much Love to Give by Together, which is basically an insanely obsessive sample of that line over an ear-blasting beat.

Glad you mentioned Rita's huge cactus, I bet she gets it to flower as well. The Saints may have pipped the Pistols to the first punk band on, but I was happy to hear them both, and the Pretty Vacant video is pretty overplayed now anyway, good as it was that it got on. Plus they shared a disdain for miming properly.

Jigsaw: I think I'd rather have seen Adrian Hedley miming to this, he wouldn't have given us that sleazy wink. Cilla was asking for trouble with a title like that, though she obviously had one fan that night (not the gum-chewing girl, of course).

I like the shows with the crazy mix of tunes, they just sound better.

Simon said...

You turn your back for a few, um, hours...

Noax: I think given the BBC and other bodies that banned GSTQ were gladly allowing Pretty Vacant it'd be natural to give the most talked about band in the country space on the chart show. We don't see it again even though it climbs a place in two weeks' time, so presumably just three weeks after the Sunday Mirror ran the headline 'PUNISH THE PISTOLS' there was still some unease about featuring them in the mainstream. (As, actually, did the band - according to England's Dreaming Malcolm McLaren didn't want them to appear personally in the broadcast media, so Virgin waited until he went to America on business and filmed it then, and when McLaren found out Branson told him they couldn't retreive the tape from the BBC. That clip was directed by Mike Mansfield, who'd been attempting to rival TOTP with Supersonic until three months earlier...)

Bama: I suppose the no two weeks in a row rule only applied to studio performances and videos, so they could bend the rules if so desired. From the next show there's a chart record over the rundown too.

Wilberforce: d'oh! Nobody said anything last time so I assumed it was correct. Very nearly put "whichever Amoo it is" as well.

Anon: I really hope BBC4 have some plan with what they're going to do with these shows. There's two wiped weeks still to come, but I think even straight after those assuming we still have monthly Sky At Night breaks we'll be a month behind. I know there's going to be something on the channel around November's sixtieth anniversary of the singles chart, maybe that could be tied in.

THX: you're right about Together (half of whom was Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk) but it was never properly released here, and three years later in 2005 a dance duo called the Freeloaders virtually copied it with that same sample and reached number nine.

Unfortunately, Adrian Hedley was more of an Ian Dury man.

@jazzy_andy said...

In related news, is anyone watching this bizarre Brit/German Pop Go The Sixties cabaret special on Yesterday with our very own Sir Jimmy and German female co-host? Thursday 8pm repeated 1am. Warning - contains Cilla

wilberforce said...

that "pop goes the sixties" special has been shown on freeview several times already (my favourite bit is arranger/conductor johnny harris' interpretation of "satisfaction")... apart from a co-presenter, all the germans had to offer against our array of pop superstars was a video of horst jankowski puffing away on his pipe whilst plodding about in the snow - perhaps a case of 2 world wars, one world cup and one pop special...?

mr superstar said...

for the speeded up rita - presumably they shot it on film at the cinema standard of 24fps - and then for convenient showing on uk tv sped it up to 25fps resulting in a slightly higher pitch - i always notice this with uk format movie airings while friends and families claim to not notice a thing.

Bamaboogiewoogie said...

Pop Goes The Sixties was originally TX on 31.12.1969 celebrating the music of the decade, the German co-host is Elfi Von Kalckreuth. The Beatles were originally in it as well on film but the footage was deleted at the insistence of Apple. It includes footage of Tom Jones on a giant screen (The old Toppotron?).

I know Johnny Harris, a very nice guy. He was originally in a band called The Shubdubs with one-time Beatle drummer Jimmie Nicol and has arranged/produced artists including Lulu, Richard Harris, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones and even Cilla and did a great funky soundtrack for the film Fragment Of Fear. He now lives in California with his family and does the music for The Palm Springs Follies.

THX said...

@Simon: I'd forgotten about The Freeloaders, fortunately. Not a patch on the Together nuttiness, although I notice if YouTube is correct The Real Thing got a co-credit on the rip-off.

Also, Noseybonk - I especially like him playing the cymbals with his nose. Great find.

@Bamaboogiewoogie: Fragment of Fear has a terrific soundtrack. Weird film, too.

Neil Barker said...

"Fanfare For The Common Man" hadn't been on for two weeks anyway so was eligible for thr playout. By the way, I thought the Cilla Black song sounded a bit like "Sub-Culture" by New Order!

wilberforce said...

"fragment of fear" was one of those films that used to pop up late at night on the telly back in the late 70's (i remember watching it once back then), but has since fallen off the radar - i'd love to see it again, but sadly as far as i know it's still not available on dvd... as i recall, it had similarities to the earlier and more celebrated "blow-up" inasmuch as they featured the same lead (the then-beautiful david hemmings) playing characters who weren't averse to recreational substances failing to convince the authorities that murder most foul had taken place. as others have noted, johnny harris provided the great funky/groovy soundtrack, some of which was released on an album "movements" that unlike the film itself can be tracked down (even if at some cost)...

THX said...

Fragment of Fear is out on DVD-R so it's multi-region. You can import it from It would be nice if it was a bit cheaper, but you can get it, I too watched it on late night TV and was captivated by it even if it was a Blowup imitation.

Stegron said...

Re: The Saints:

Blimey. Never heard of them before, but the song impressed me so much I downloaded the album. Absolutely stunning (the first track's a belter, 70s punk with a Motown horn section!)! And, as someone else pointed out, they could have been beamed in from, well... now.

They stuck out like a sore thumb in terms of timelessness.

wilberforce said...

bamaboogiewoogie: if you're actually in touch with johnny harris, perhaps you could ask him to confirm something that has intrigued me for a while now...

about 10 years ago downtempo/chillout collective kinobe had a hit called "slip into something" (also featured in tv adverts for lager and choc ices to my recollection), built on an old sample/loop that i later discovered purely by chance was the intro to engelbert humperdinck's cover of an old standard "from here to eternity", which like the intro to gene kelly's cover of "singing in the rain" was not actually written by the original composers but the arranger of that version (mr harris). and yet the only composition credit (other than for kinobe themselves) goes to the writers of the original song and not him... even though said intro he wrote/arranged is the only part of the that recording you ever hear! it would be interesting to know if harris ever got any royalties from what i consider an outrageous case of the wrong people getting credit, or if not whether he ever did anything about it?

ps - apologies to others for my anal retentiveness here!

Bamaboogiewoogie said...

Sadly with samples it's always the writers who get the credit/royalty not the musicians or arrangers who only ever got the original session fee - the best example is the Labi Siffre sample used on Eminem's My Name Is, it was famously Chas Hodges who played the bass line but it's Siffre who got the royalty.
I haven't been in contact with Johnny for a while but I don't remember asking him about Kinobe but he seemed quite happy about artists sampling stuff he had written as long as he got a royalty. By contrast I was also in contact with Bill Parkinson who played guitar on a lot of JH tracks inc The Movements LP (he was also in Tom Jones' band The Squires) and he said that when they used his guitar part from Stepping Stone for the Levis ad he didn't get a penny (go to YouTube and look up Bill Parkinson War Dance).

80sBlokeInThe70s said...

Real Thing - not one of their best is it? - when Together were mentioned I thought you were on about the act who did that not-very-good pop dance track "Hardcore Uproar" in about 1990 (not Hardcore and not much of an uproar).But probably the first time that the word hardcore made the pop charts!

Supertramp - good track but so violently edited what was the point?

The Saints - pretty unmemorable - if the deadpan look of the group is the best thing about it the Rolling Stones were doing it better over 10 years before.

Rita Coolidge - one of those that I remember seeing at the time and haven't seen since - didn't think much of her as a little kid but think she's quite sexy now. She's famously part-American Indian and you can see that straight away - a real one not one of those celebrities who claim the Indian ancestry but look about as Indian as the Queen.

Sex Pistols - hate punk but always liked the Sex Pistols - to me there was no need for any other punk band. They had it all the cartoon aspect, the originality (to a greater or lesser extent all other punks followed them), no pathetic politics, loads of excitement and they had the finished article soundwise right from the word go starting with'Anarchy In The UK' which IMO WAS punk and couldn't be improved upon.

As someone said most of punk is a bit of a con - a massive case of the emperor's new clothes.But as this clip shows the Sex Pistols had it all.I think it'd have been even better if they should have been the final conventional guitar rock band (as I think John Lydon himself has said they should have been).

Kenny Rogers and Kid Jensen's chat actually sounded vaguely natural and not one of the embarrassment fests these spots usually are.

wilberforce said...

more mention of the pistols jogs my memory to ask: has anyone ever ascertained or not if chris spedding played guitar on their records? my belief is that he did the solos in "pretty vacant" as otherwise steve jones was a far better player than he was ever given credit for...

Bamaboogiewoogie said...

@Neil Barker - you're right ELP weren't on last week but the week before - it just feels like they're on every week!! But I just checked and they used it for the playout on on 9 June and then they showed the video the following week, so they are repeating themselves. They use Boney M's Ma baker for the playout again soon. Surely they could vary it by using other songs.

Also I see that Queen's Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy gets another repeat showing next week even though it only goes back up to number 17 (that's just four places higher than were when they entered the chart on 9 June).

Love the idea of Rita Coolidge being on speed and the comment about 'Carmalite'. Calls to mind Hot Chocolate's Everyone's A winner with the opening line 'I believe in Milko'.

The 90 second glimpse of Supertramp didn't serve them very well as it goes down next week to number 31 and never recovers.

Simon said...

Although as someone pointed out elsewhere the first two weeks of this entire re-run featured the same non-number one (at the time), with Fernando on video on 1/4/76 and in the studio 8/4/76.

We don't see the Real Thing again in 1977 as this was the atypical first single from their album 4 From 8, their more socially inclined record about the Amoos' childhood in the Liverpool 8 estate, featuring the much covered Children Of The Ghetto, also the title of a compilation which on Amazon features a quite intriguing product description.

Bamaboogiewoogie said...

They may have worn daft clothes but The Real Thing made some decent singles. I remember seeing their performance of a song called Watch Out Carolina’s Finer on Supersonic, which was pretty heavy in comparison to their usual stuff.

Richard Thompson said...

I thought it was close the window come inside as well, I was 14 then.
Noel Edmonds used to play the highest new entry on the breakfast show, he didn't on this occasion.
The Sunday Post had a letter which said TOTP is a family show and we don't want The Pistols on there.

@jazzy_andy said...

If memory serves, in his excellent Beat Merchants book chronicling the 60s music scene, Alan Clayson suggests the Sex Pistols as being the last Beat group, which i assume would depend on a Pete Frame rock family tree type link referring to a previous band of Glen Matlock's unless it hinges on the often cited session role of Chris Spedding.

My guess is that on his death bed Jimmy Page will confess to playing the Pistols guitar parts as well as inventing metal as a Kinks sessioneer...

Anonymous said...

Richard Thompson - I do hope you're aware you share a name with one of the greatest artists in the entire history of music.

Arthur Nibble said...

Hi folks! Back a day early after staying overnight on ther Sussex coast, having endured a PC-free week away on the Isle of Wight staying in a resort hotel which was more like a nursing home. If I see another stick, wheelchair or Zimmer frame ever again! To give you an idea of the place, the bar entertainment for two nights was the guitarist in The Tornados...who are gigging again next year!

Haven't watched the latest show yet, but sad to hear that we've seen the last of 'Whole Lotta Love' for now. Jigsaw (produced by that sort of Richard Hewson bloke) were under-rated and could have had a follow-up hit to "Sky High" with "Love Fire", which was completely ignored by Radio One. Singing drummer Des Dyer tried out a few times for Eurovision (you can find him on YouTube appearing on "Wogan" singing "Energy" which came fourth in the UK final in 1984, and also in Casablanca who came third in the UK heats another year, and Des was backing vocalist for Scott Fitzgerald who finished second in the grand final to, I think, Celine Fecking Dion, who I detest with a passion. Des was also the 'secret' singing voice for either Robson or Jerome and was told to keep quiet about the fact otherwise he'd have been 'seen to' by the powers that be. And who was behind Robson and Jerome? That piece of scum Simon Cowell. Right, off now to watch a lorra lorra pop songs...

Arthur Nibble said...

...And if we're gonna talk punk, you know what song should have been covered in a punk style? The theme tune to "The Flashing Blade"*, that's what! 'You've got to fight for what you want'...would have been a fantastic anthem!

(* released as "Fight" by The Musketeers on Philips circa 1969, with a second verse not heard on the telly theme tune, then the first one's repeated again - you can find it on the 'Tube.)

Arthur Nibble (again) said...

Me again - sorry!!! Loved the rundown shot for the number 7 single!

Why didn't The Real thing all wear gold? Could have got sponsorship from Terry's! Decent song - surprised it missed the top 30.

Carmalite? Where can I buy some to placate the missus? That cactus reminded me of the Viz character Buster Gonads!

Kid seemed very much at ease with ABOTSOR. The lads missed a trick - should've worn ripped The Saint T-shirts...and why was the song called "This Perfect Day" when that phrase isn't mentioned in the song at all? Old proggy Harvest also branched out a bit in later years, with Wire (why wasn't "Outdoor Miner" a massive hit?), Marshall Hain and La Belle Epoque.

Couldn't they afford floodlights or another 10p in the meter for Legs & Co? Sadly, this is the point where Lionel and The Commodores eschewed stuff like the sublime "Brick House" having realised that mushy ballads equals more moolah.

Loved Kid having to shout over the intro to "I Knew The Bride". Also loved Nick Lowe's Ramone haircut and huuuuuge bass. A thousand dollars for a lover's nest? Blimey, you could just about fill a Cadillac for that over here these days.

Very unusual drum-less set-up for Jigsaw. Why didn't Des have some timbales round his neck or some bongos? My mind obviously played tricks, because I thought I remembered the lads sitting on stools for this one.

Always liked "Give A Little Bit", but did the video suffer from T-Connection Seaweed Syndrome? i'd rather have had six-and-a-half minutes of this than...

Surprise surprise, where's Biggins? Who on Earth thought this deserved a TOTP slot? The rude lyric remined me of Diansa Ross's "Chain Reaction" ('you make me tremble when your hand moves lower'). Cilla's dress made me hungry for peach Angel Delight, and Hatty Dancing Bloke not only desevres an end-of-year credit, at least hewas up with fashion as shown by his Adidas top.

Then we have the first top ten (in fact, top twenty) single of the night and, typically, like buses, we get three at once. Due to my cotton-woll effect radio, originally I thought this was called "Pretty Bacon". Bloody Hell, Sid was so bad he couldn't even play the simple bass line. For the record, my pave Pistols track has always been "EMI".

A good interview with Kenny Rogers, finished with a Ron manager-style "Isn't it?" and a re-run of Hot Chocolate Drinking Chocolate (if you remember the 60's Cadbury's advert) but then Kid ballses up twice. Have all tonight's songs been chart toppers, Kid? Really? And yea verily, forsooth, no credit for ye olde ELP. Into the stocks with him!

PS - Just turned the telly on at 11.22 in order to watch TOTP again on BBC4, only to find the show finishing! Simon Tweeted that it started at 11.25, so what happened?

charlie cook said...

Doesn't saints song go 'this perfect day what's more to say'?...

Saint Arthur said...

Sorry, I just thought it kept going "Oh, perfect day". Anyway, no complaints, just added this Oz punk classic and Supertramp to my iTunes collection. The power of nostalgia!

Elsterpie said...

Aaagh, at a friend's house here in Germany who has a satellite but we tuned in late ( even worse, during cilla. God she cannot sing, how did she get away with it?) so like 35 years ago ( then because of playing cricket) i miss the best punk record ever.....The Saints. (they also had one called I'm stranded which was also fantastic). Never understood how 'this perfect day' did not become a hit.

Looks like an eclectic show (incl an ace jigsaw record). Does this episode get shown again ?

Simon said...

No, sorry, but it will be on iPlayer if that's any help. According to Wiki This Perfect Day fell victim to stock shortages. Ah, the old, old story.

Sorry for any confusion, it was TOTP2 that started at 11.25, immediately after the BBC4 repeat had finished.

Elsterpie said...

Simon, yes if i run expat shield but am nervous doing that as my laptop (does not work on ipad of course) usually screws up within a week or 2.... Could be something else of course

I paid half the licence fee for iplayer ' abroad version' but that is a right con. Nothing decent (apart from 100 year old sitcoms plus 'getting on' surprisingly) and the only recent stuff is crap such as recent eastenders, top gear or grham norton, god forbid. Oh and reruns of click and hardtalk from bbc world service: a channel i have never known anyone, in my 30 years of travelling the globe, to watch

wilberforce said...

arthur: hasn't the internet reached the isle of wight yet? i suppose if the place is coffin-dodger central then there's not much of a demand...

richard thompson: i do hope you're aware you share a name with one of the greatest sprinters in the entire history of athletics...

anyone: i still haven't worked out what the acronym ABOTSOR is - is it somthing to do with punk not being approved by the beeb? i know what NWOBHM is though!

Simon said...

It's Tony Blackburn's official genre term

Elsterpie said...

I risked expat shield on my son's anyway infested laptop. Now i need not wonder why jigsaw did not score, looking like david nixon's resident band on the hull zeebrugge ferry. Mind you that didnt stop supertramp having hits despite totp chopping them in half.

Also, the saints' bored looking performance ( looking like tom chaplin's dad so the keane ref was spot on) did not do perfect day justice. I think the lead singer looks 100 times worse now however if i recall . Ie very fat and slovenly.

Arthur Nibble said...

Wilberforce, I stayed at a resort hotel with no internet available, and I don't have a phone with web access, hence my delay in getting back in the groove.

At first I thought Chris bailey looked like a fat - well, fatter - Steve Bruce.

Bamaboogiewoogie said...

I always thought it was amusing that the BBC banned God Save The Queen because of its anti-Royalty lyric but were quite happy to have Johnny Rotten saying Va - c**t for three minutes on a Thursday teatime. They just didn't get it did they?

It's criminal that I Knew The Bride Only Got To number 26. I know it's essentially Nick lowe's take on Chuck Berry's You Never Can Tell but it's a superb song and a great performance even if the camera focuses on Billy Bremner at all the wrong moments.

Re Jigsaw's drummer-less performance I think there is a drummer present to the left of the stage. You can just see the cybal in the background at the start of the song behind the keyboard player and you get a glimpse of the drummer at the end.

I've just realised who the Union Jack hat wearing dancing geek reminds me of - David Walliams. I love the way his eyes dart about nervously when Kid introduces Supertramp. Is Matt Lucas there as well?

Noax said...

Here's something I've only just noticed - that there Fleetwood Mac song is the only one from Rumours to hit the Top 30. I'm guessing that TOTP ignore it though?

Arthur Nibble said...

Spoiler alert 1 - fear not, Noax, the video for "Dreams" will be on next week and again three weeks later, during which time the single had climbed just one place (veeery lucky to get a second chance, then), thanks to it plummeting and then rising slowly.

Spoiler alert 2 - we get "The Crunch" again soon, but a third portion is lost due to a wiped edition. Bah!

Now, any takers for a couple of quick singles to get the pavilion clapping again?

Arthur Nibble (again) said...

Surprised no-one's yet mentioned Chris Bailey's nervous tic of nodding or raising his head before delivering virtually every line. I counted 19 "head-pogo's" by Chris - not bad for a 130-second song during which time the camera isn't always on the big fella.

wilberforce said...

allow me to appropriately bring up another half-century by mentioning that both the observer and times reports on the recent test match at headingly made reference to the "jimmy saviles" in the crowd (drunken cheering from them as well as polite applause from the pavillion)...

simon, thanks for the explanation of ABOTSOR - as a techno-no-no i'm impressed that you can mark the appropriate place within the youtube video to play from...

talking of which: arthur, don't worry about lagging behind in the technology stakes - i've never even owned a mobile phone, never mind one with internet access!

Noax said...

I think we should forget the cricket metaphors this week. Since 50 is also a Bullseye in Darts, let's have this instead from the late great Sid Waddell :

"When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer...Eric Bristow's only 27."

Anonymous said...

Nice to see the Saints looking like they couldn't give a fuck.

(The) Sex Pistols. I can imagine Robin Nash thoughtfully sucking on his pipe in the production office and then saying "Well, we've got to have them on at some point..."

Arthur on the oche said...

Talking of Sid Waddell RIP, looking forward to the upcoming doo-wop revival. To namecheck the act, as the great man once said "There's only one word for that - magic darts!"

David H said...

I'm sure Johnny Rotten's saying Vay-Cant (as in Brian Cant) as opposed to Vay-you-know-what, though there could be regional variations for the pronunciation of the swear word that might fit with this? Plus surely they would keep it clean for the video? (But this might also explain why they hired him for a Country Life butter advert - think about it.)

As for Whole Lotta Love, I don't recall the (one) Christmas 1978 special using it either, but it's a generally weird show anyway, having been produced in a hurry following a period of industrial action. (From memory, the Top of the Pops logo is displayed at the beginning with a Noel Edmonds voiceover.)

Simon said...

Just a note to say there's no Pops this week and due to my doing other bits and pieces no posts here until the next show, which starts unusually and is one of only three shows between now and Christmas to come in at over half an hour in original form.

Bamamboogiewoogie said...

@David H No Johnny really was singing vay-c**t, they did it on purpose. They were naughty them Pistols.

Re Whole Lotta Love it was used for the titles of the 1978 Christmas show in a strangely edited form (I just checked). The whole show has a look of last minute about it. Nasty cheap animated graphics, Noel Edmonds in unfeasibly tight jeans decorating a fake tree and introducing re-runs of previous performances. Was WLL used for the 1977 Christmas show as well?

Simon - not sure I can wait over a week for the next one, I'm going to have to re-watch some old shows to tide me over until then.

Simon said...

Yes, it is used at Xmas '77, the first five minutes are on YouTube.

If you or anyone else wants sustenance during this long week... well, the link for On This TOTP Day's just over there, but there have been a few already seen 1977 shows uploaded in full, or at least in the 7.30 edit form on YouTube. Like the one with Tom Petty, the one with Joy Sarney, the one with Neil Innes, the one with Noel taking the proverbial out of the Four Seasons and the one with Deniece Williams before she was number one.

Arthur Nibble said...

The next show's got 14 songs, but can be easily chopped down to 11 for the early showing if they remove some of the repeat performances, of which there are at least three...oh, hang on, that includes "The Crunch". Skip that idea!

Bamamboogiewoogie said...

Re the presenters there seems to be a rotation of Kid Jensen (who seems to have replaced David Hamilton), DLT, Tony Blackburn, Noel Edmonds and Jimmy Savile but only the one appearence of Paul Burnett. He used to irritate me when I listened to Radio one in the 70s but I thought he did an excellent job on his solitary show in February. Was he covering for someone else and why didn't he do it more often?

Arthur Nibble said...

Paul didn't enjoy doing television work and I think he was cajoled into making a token TOTP appearance a year. A real shame, because I also thought he did a very good job in the edition we saw - I reckon he wouldn't have been too far behind Kid in terms of credibility and knowledge of the acts.

80sBlokeInThe70s said...

Yeah he used to annoy me too when i had a year of listening to him in about 1986/87 - I hadn't listened to Radio 1 since I was about 15 at the start of the 1980s but the wreck of a radio I used in this factory I was working in could literally only seem to pick up Radio 1.But like you've said I thought he was very good on TOTP the other week. Pity Dave Lee Travis and Noel Edmunds liked TV work...and a pity the "coolest" British radio DJ ever Johnnie Walker thought TOTP was too unhip for him.And then of course the tragedy that all Kenny Everett's appearances aside from a couple of fragments have been wiped...

Simon Mclean said...

At least one Paul Burnett TOTP exists in raw unedited form, and while he does a decent enough job it's fairly apparent he's not having a great time with all the retakes (it takes three goes before the Three Degrees manage to get through 'Giving Up, Giving In'.)

80sblokeinthe70s - there's a complete Kenny Everett edition in the archives from 1973, once again in unedited form with retakes etc. At the end of the tape, Ev is interviewed by a couple of kids for what appears to be a schools programme on the TOTP set, though nobody seems to be enjoying the experience too much!

wilberforce said...

in an effort to get our highest "score" yet i thought i'd add this thought (but there is some relevence):
perhaps if time allows (or he can be bothered!) simon could do some kind of chart showing the amount of comments responses to each show since they started showing them last year. to my recollection we've risen from around 20 or so per show, to the point where i think people would be disappointed if we didn't manage a half-century at least. however, i'd also like to (gladly) point out that it's not just a case of quantity, as pretty much all the comments i read still have a significance and relevance to the subject matter and are usually entertaining in some way as well (and not falling into the facebook/twitter airhead trap - were that the case i would have stopped participating by now!)

Simon said...


Well, I can tell you that over 59 shows 1648 comments have been posted (including this one), an average of 27.93 comments per show. In terms of a show by show breakdown:

1/4 3
8/4 9
15/4 8
22/4 8
29/4 9
6/5 10
13/5 14
20/5 10
27/5 11
3/6 21
10/6 14
17/6 16
24/6 21
8/7 23
15/7 39 [1]
22/7 39
29/7 15
5/8 36
19/8 13
26/8 19
9/9 23
23/9 16
30/9 26
7/10 24
14/10 20
21/10 38
28/10 26
4/11 22
25/11 25
9/12 19
23/12 15
25/12 14
26/12 16
6/1 25
13/1 35
20/1 16
27/1 20
3/2 27
17/2 24
24/2 46 [2]
10/3 27
17/3 23
24/3 25
31/3 31
7/4 27
14/4 65 [3]
21/4 45
28/4 31
5/5 37
12/5 41
19/5 41
26/5 59
2/6 53
9/6 53
16/6 56
23/6 53
30/6 64
7/7 38
14/7 64

[1] Quite properly, Glamourpuss send us over 30 comments for the first time
[2] A new record set by the one the Boogie Nights video opened, the first time the actual recap has invoked Toppotron™
[3] Not just the first half-century, but sailing past the mark, aided by WeddingSuit's camera script PDF but also John Williams & Cleo Laine, the Lonely Boy Floyd dance and Chief Tadpole

wilberforce said...

just had a look at the first (1/4/11) totp show comments, and i see i've contributed one of the three (with a rant about old beatles reissues clogging up the charts)... and i don't think i've missed making some comment on every episode since - yes i know, it's very sad but anyway thanks to tv cream for bringing this brilliant blog to my notice in the first place!

Regina said...

The Real Thing - Chris Amoo and the other two really should have taken a good look at the Pips in the "Baby, Don't Change your mind" video and done a little bit more than their usual half-arsed aimless shuffling around. Eddie's top is all kinds of amazeballs obviously.

Rita Coolidge - "lovely hair"? Don't make me laugh - looks dry, damaged and with split ends to me. And pretty blatant camel toe in the long shot.

The Saints - great stuff, the singer's couldn't-care-less reaction to the mike slipping is hilarious.

Easy - Flick and the girls always struggle interpreting vocal-led songs like this. Lots of meaningless hand-dancing in this one.

Dave Edmunds - always had a bit of a funny crush on Dave. Better hair then Rita Coolidge anyway.

Jigsaw - as someone pointed out earlier it's The Sylistics crossed with the Bee Gees and cancelling each other out. Only the outfits are interesting here.

Cilla - desperate times for Cilla lost in the MOR wilderness and made worse by a wheezing TOTP accompaniment. She brings to mind Andrew Collins' description of Florence and the Machine - sounding like "a seagull trapped in a mangle". Kid's freeze at the beginning is indeed to be commended - other DJs would have been trundling off-set before Cilla started bellowing.

Pistols - not at all tarnished by over-familiarity and Va-c*nt sounds even more blatant then ever these days (obviously I had no idea of the entendre as an innocent 11-year-old). Paul Cook looking gorgeous as always.

Hot Chocolate - it's a well-delivered song but it just doesn't sound like a real Number One. Surprised it lasted three weeks.

And what was Kenny up to in Saudi? Maybe he was investigating potential franchises for Kenny Rogers Roasters?

Bamaboogiewoogie said...

I had a look on YouTube to see if I could find some footage of The Detroit Spinners singing Feel The Need but there isn't any. Or indeed of them singing any of their other singles. They're one of those artists like Hamilton Bohannon and Van McCoy who slipped through the net without ever being filmed, or if they were the footage hasn't survived. This leads to wonder who had the biggest hit without ever appearing or being represented on TOTP?

I discovered today that Baby Don't Change You're Mind was originally recorded by The Stylistics in 1976. It's funny the number of songs you think are original but turn out to be covers.

Further down the chart at number 37 was Little Richard with Good Golly Miss Molly. It never makes the Top 30 but does anyone know how/why this made a reappearance in the chart?

I see no one's bought that 'lifesize' Graham Parker badge on eBay yet.

wilberforce said...

bamaboogiewoogie: it was actually the detroit emeralds who did "feel the need", but yes, although there are several videos of the recording(s) on youtube there are no actual live performances. however, i don't think you're missing out on anything radical - like most black soul vocal groups of the era, they almost certainly did their thing in identical loud suits (or jumpsuits) with one singing lead and the rest doing bv's and throwing shapes in unison... just think of the moments, sheer elegance, delegation et al on these totp's to see what i mean!

if anyone's interested, youtube actually has a rather frantic "live" cover of this tune from the soul train show by the (vastly overated in my opinion) funk outfit graham central station:

ps - does van mccoy's appearance in the recording studio control room in the gladys knight/pips video count as being filmed?

Bamaboogiewoogie said...

@wilberforce - Sorry I had insomnia, it was 1.30am, I meant The Detroit Emeralds. I think it says a lot about the quality of a song that can get so high in the chart without any visual promotion apart from a Legs and Co dance routine. Does anyone know if the Detroit Emeralds were on TOTP the first time it was a hit?

I saw that Larry Graham clip on YT (although its flagged as The Detroit Emeralds). I wish BBC4 would repeat a run of classic 1970s Soul Train shows. I'm sure they all exist and there are hundreds of gems including a lot of acts never seen on UK TV.

Arthur Nibble said...

Regina, if you think rita Coolidge showed obvious camel toe, you need to watch the clip of Andrea True from last year which was a biology lesson!

wilberforce said...

i've not heard of "camel toe" before, but going by the comments i had a fair idea of what it might be... and wikipedia confirmed it:

i remember a few years back some girl i knew pointing out that sharon stone had rather a severe case of it...

Arthur Nibble said...

As Louis Balfour said on "The Fast Show"...hmmm, nice!

I'd also like to second a previous comment and thank TV Cream for alerting me to a website which has given my midweeks a whole new lease of life.