Wednesday, 1 August 2012

TOTP 7/7/77 (tx 1/8/12): when the two sevens clash

The Jimmy Savile auction took place in Leeds on Monday, to an apparently crammed auction house. The whole thing took the best part of thirteen hours and raised £320,000 or so for Jimmy's own charitable trust, £130,000 of which went on Jimmy's rare silver Rolls Royce Corniche convertible. As you'd expect there were some extraordinary lots among the 549 put up for sale, so before we start here's the Yes It's Number One big top ten, judged on oddness and over-estimate price:

  • A standard 'JIM FIXED IT FOR ME' aluminium badge - £2,000
  • The magic chair from the first two series of Jim'll Fix It - £8,500 (under the 10K estimate)
  • A blow-up of a newspaper's TV viewing figures column from February 1980, Jim'll Fix It at number one with 19.15m viewers - £65
  • A two-piece suit with an all-over print of Superman cartoon images, plus a pair of white leather platform shoes, worn when Jimmy met Prince Charles, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst - £1,600
  • A 60cm long machete on a green canvas belt - £140. SIR JIMMY SAVILE OWNED A MACHETE.
  • A crystal ball - £280
  • A Metropolitan Police helmet with 'To Jimmy Saville from Marylebone Police Station' written inside in ballpoint - £240
  • Four seperate sketches of Jimmy by Rolf Harris, two drawn in a TV canteen - total of £7,950
  • A mounted pebble with the engraved dedication 'By The People Of Keswick For Conquering Latrigg Fell' - £110.
  • This:

    That's an actual Brazil nut, it says here. Not from the people of Keswick, that one. In fact, from one man. A Broadmoor patient - £150

    Back in the real, linear world... well, that's a matter of opinion, really, as it's Tony presenting this week. Shot from below at the start, as he seemed to be most of the time.

    The RAH Band – The Crunch
    Now, this is how you start a pop programme, somewhere far beyond mere description. Spoiler alert for the start of this clip. Everything else alert for the rest. Even the drummer's in an open purple shirt and massive flares.

    Look in the background at the start of the performance, there's three people getting down with their own selves away from the throng and next to someone else's drumkit. But really. Imagine in 1977 seeing this, hitherto unheard and certainly unseen, as the first song on, with no intro, on this great unifying family show, and eventually clocking how everyone else was turning out too. You'd wonder what the hell was going on. You'd likely wonder that in 2012. Tony openly admires the combined balaclava/gimp mask. "I must get one of those for David Hamilton". Aah, it's been a long time.

    Olivia Newton-John – Sam
    Aaaand back down to earth. This performance has been in this slot on three occasions and has never failed to bring down the mood.

    Smokie – It's Your Life
    The warmup man must have really been on it this week, the audience are moving more than we've seen then in months to these first two studio acts tonight. Quite the effort that seems too, as surely never mind Rorschach tests, the psyche would receive a good going over were candidates shown Smokie doing cod-reggae while two girls in zebra patterned plastic top hats look on. One man in shades and a leather jacket really isn't planning on moving when the camera sweeps past him, mind. Then the song takes a weird detour as a phasing effect leads not into a psychedelia section but a slow synth-led ballad middle eight by way of 10cc and seemingly shot through a pint glass. Did they think they really had to use that bit somewhere, never mind its context in the rest of the track? After that it's open season on keeping it together as three members, including bassist Terry Uttley looking like a perm/hippy haired Chris Barrie, gather by Chris Norman's position even though they all had perfectly good mikes of their own. Alan Silson, in a smart suit, puts one hand in his pocket - brazenly, the pocket towards camera - and the other on the back of Norman's neck. Then they start openly giggling for no good reason. Heady days.

    Brotherhood Of Man – Angelo
    Tony refers to BoM winning Eurovision "a couple of years back". It's as if he just doesn't care. As hardened Brotherhood watchers will know the moves don't change from performance to performance, but there is a telling moment when Nicky joins Sandra where they're nearly standing at right angles to each other. But this isn't like Abba at all, remember. Well, with the girls in pink golfing pullovers and the boys in gold jackets over black waistcoats it's not like they were aiming for a sartorial match. One man stands alone near the front in not moving, and while on camera looks across in the opposite direction, just in case. He's still there, immoveable as an Easter Island head, a chorus later. "One of those songs where you hear it and you just keep singing it over and over again" reckons Tony.

    Bob Marley & The Wailers – Exodus
    They're no Smokie. Repeat, on this of all days of Rasta/reggae importance.

    Alessi – Oh Lori
    "My very favourite record" says Tony, and we are accordingly prepared. A soft focus video, the brothers in close shot around one mike.

    Barry Biggs – Three Ring Circus
    Oh my. Barry, of course, we remember from his pink working men's club entertainer shirt from Sideshow, and now with the upgrade in travelling show he's graduated to the full ringmaster uniform. Big bow, stripy cummerbund, top hat, he's gone the whole hog. Coupled with his familiar striding back and forth stage style and his familiar light reggae beat it looks faintly unnerving, never mind uninviting. It's only on rewatching that things become weirder - like a spectral presence, a Pops Pipes, there's someone in a full leopard suit and spotted make-up sitting on the stage behind him. The camera never focuses on them or catches them in a full stage still shot, you just see them in passing two or three times, never clear enough even to work out a gender. What a liva bamba aie indeed.

    Boney M – Ma Baker
    I'm sure after Noel's mix-up last week Tony calls them "Bernie M". Legs & Co's go, and so soon after Mah Na Mah Na Sue gets the short straw again for the first in the group's occasional historical characters through disco-pop series, dolled up in decorative hat, big dress, grey wig and every so often swinging a handbag for all she's worth before heading into calisthenic dudgeon, the full jaunty pearly queen without the outfit routine high kicking, hands on hips, bravura expression. Do you reckon she had to get thoroughly pissed before recording to carry it off, a professional ballet-trained dancer like herself? I do. (Lawyer's note: I don't.) We see precious little of her indignity, as it's projected onto the back of a set they can't get to appear in shot whenever there's a close-up on what's happening in front of it. What's in front of it? The rest of Legs & Co in colour-coded jackets and big crinolene skirts thrusting, swaying and kicking over the back of chairs. It looks a little like a late replacement, in truth, what with very similar routines for each verse. Maybe Sue was having to make a 'mother dancing' routine up on the spot. That would be the respectful explanation.

    Andy Gibb – I Just Wanna Be Your Everything
    Gibb the younger with his rhythm guitar, his co-opted falsetto and his Radio 1 Roadshow bomber jacket again.

    Hot Chocolate – So You Win Again
    They do seem to be available a lot. Errol shows a little sign of movement to the groove this week, while sporting a medallion large enough to display in a museum and pass off as a Roman era discovery. Is that an extra member on keyboard pushed off to the side this week? Cutting the number one off literally on the first line of the last verse, evidently it getting even that far a surprise to Errol as he has his mouth shut and his mike far away from it, Tony invites us to join him on Summertime Special come Saturday and out pretty much in the same ballpark as we began, with a sound of the future that must have confused plenty at the time, Donna Summer's I Feel Love.

    Next week's show... well, that's a story in itself.

    Steve Does Top of the Pops said...

    It does worry me that Barry Biggs was my highlight of the show. I'm not sure if that says something about me or if it says something about the show.

    Bamaboogiewoogie said...

    OMG the 7th of the 7th of 77. I remember being at school and my friends and I waiting for ages for this date to come round and expecting something magical to happen. It did...

    The RAH band. A sort-of Lieutenant Pigeon for the punk era, except I don't think that's the keyboard player's mum wearing those thigh-length boots. No suree! I see RAH's wearing two copper bracelets, did he have have arthritis?

    Chris Norman's silvery-blond hair makes him look a bit like Paul Weller looks now. And a fantastic ad for Silvikrin shampoo.

    Is that guy really singing those high vocals in the middle bit, I always thought it was a woman - must be one of Cliff's Ladyboys left from last week!

    At the end I noticed the cameraman changing the mirror filter on his camera - the thing that made Smokie look (vaguely) attractive

    I've heard The Alessi Brothers song hundreds of times but I've never seen a clip of them singing before. Their hair makes them look like 1970s gay porn stars. Bet they don't have any split ends.

    Barry Biggs had done fairgrounds (Sideshow) and now he's having a go at circuses - more impressive falsetto vocals but who persuaded him to dress up as a ringmaster? And is the woman dressed as a cat(?) part of the act or an enthusiastic member of the audience. I was expecting her to dance or something but she just sat there.

    Getting a bit bored with Hot Chocolate now. But not as bored as they are.

    Ah they've made use of Smokie's mirror filter on the end titles. I Feel Love. Dance music would never be the same again.

    Arthur Nibble said...

    According to Tony, plenty of ‘sounds’ tonight – and what a pearler to start with.

    Rocking the first sighting of the punk bin liner plus a balaclava years before The Manic Street Preachers, the keyboard player (who wanted to remain anonymous, hence the head gear, and it wasn't Richard Hewson) cut an imposing figure. Not easy when there’s a glam chick, a Geisha boy (HOW many knitting needles in that hairdo?)and a Cozy Powell type sharing the stage. I always thought this monster tune should be played before ‘six pointer’ football matches.

    Another repeat of “Sam” – too bored to come in again, Livvy? - then...ah, Smokie – must be at least three weeks since they were last on. Should have been performing something from “Joseph” bearing in mind Chris Norman’s coat. Incredibly libellous Beatles rip-off for the slow middle eight, even down to the first few words, as it blatantly copies a song with the words “How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?” (Is that from “Baby, You’re A Rich Man”?).

    So, Tony, Brotherhood of Man won the Eurovision Song Contest a couple of years back? How many months are there in a Tony year then?

    Plenty of self-promoting T-shirts for “Exodus” – watch that and weep, Cliff! Followed by Alessi, looking like The Fonz’s less attractive brothers. Awful camera direction in that video – and where was the flute solo?

    Roll up, roll up for what has to be costume of the year – but was it ringmaster or childcatcher? Sheer Elegance’s jaws must have dropped on seeing that. Barry’s voice was even more helium rich than usual – small dogs were running towards my telly during that performance.

    The Legs and Co routine was astonishing – Christine Keeler meets Liza Minelli! Is it on YouTube? I must watch it again to fully appreciate the - erm, choreography. The lads in Ruby Flipper couldn’t have done that routine justice, that’s for sure. Poor Sue - a bee one month, an unglamourous granny the next.

    Andy, mate, turn those teeth down! Wahay, it’s that chord again! Big smash, ay, Tony? I believe this week saw the song at its number 26 peak – great prediction as usual.

    Errol looked more animated tonight, almost enjoying himself, though his gold medal was sending a signal out to the coastguard, and what had the drummer done to be located in a different county? The shape of things to come escorts us out...

    ...and this is where I make an appeal to keep the forum burning. I reckon we’ll definitely struggle to make 50 posts this week and next as well, as I’m on holiday from this Friday until the next Friday or Sunday and I won’t be near a computer – and, as you know, I’m good for at least ten boring posts per thread. Do your duty, please, everyone!

    80sBlokeInThe70s said...

    I really liked this show:

    It would have been a great start if the Rah Band hadn't had to re-record this tune - I'd go as far as to say this is the worst re-recording of any song I've heard in TOTP history. What was a really catchy, tight and completely unique sound is completely destroyed by the TOTP musicians/trying to reproduce the keyboard sound.
    I also believe that none of the people we see tonight actually played on the record.
    The Rah Band were back about 3 years later as Britfunkers with such floorfillers as 'Falcon' and the surprisingly hard 'Slide' with its absolutely mental build on the 12". Then they were pop-funk perennials on the London jazz-funk pirates in the early-mid 80s with things like 'Messages From The Stars', 'Sam The Samba Man' and 'Funk Me Down To Rio'(all big coming out of Ford Cortinas and Capris back in the day) they also had the big pop hit 'Clouds Across the Moon'

    Incidentally 'The Crunch' is one of the first records I remember us 1st year secondary school kids were into I have memories of us all breaking into the tune whilst getting changed for PE once probably in between doing Fonz impressions.A year hence everyone was into Showaddywaddy and Darts (just in time for 'Grease') - probably because all the hard 5th years were Teddy Boys.

    Alessi and Andy Gibb - respectively superior jazz-pop and pop dance. I never realised how good the Andy Gibb stuff was until these reruns - I've downloaded it all in the last week or 2 and have had it bangin bigtime in the motor as I drive around at work.

    Barry Biggs- I like most of his stuff although we don't get to see two of his classics 'Wide Awake In A Dream' (big big London sound sound early 80s) and his monsterously good 'Work All Day' from earlier in the 70s - both were minor UK pop hits too.

    Bob Marley - obviously a classic.

    Hot Chocolate - pleasant but not their best or even in their Top 10 IMO.

    Donna Summer - undeniably the record of the year in 1977 (for this old raver)and the sound of the future post-1988.

    Tony Blackburn says any old shite but to me at least his hearts in the right place and he does like music.

    Simon said...

    He may have wanted to remain anonymous then, but online suggestion is it was Andrew Clark of Bebop Deluxe (and later Bowie's band circa Scary Monsters) Plus he and band were on the single cover.

    As ever, for Legs & Co clips One For The Dads is your friend.

    THX said...

    I'm surprised the RAH Band record was as big as it was after that shoddy rendition, but for sheer WTF? factor it was a great opener (I thought there was a frogman on keyboards for a second).

    Recognised that Smokie tune, actually, but couldn't have told you what it was. The BOM lyrics trouble me now: why don't we learn the girl's name? And shouldn't the song be called Romeo in light of what happens to the doomed couple?

    Barry Biggs, I didn't even notice the leopard woman, might it have been one of those observation experiments where you're told to watch a scene which has a gorila in, then find you didn't notice the gorilla? His lyrics were ropey too: the circus ring doesn't have the carousel and merry-go-round (what's the difference?)... but the sideshow does.

    Legs & Co looked like one of those infomercials for exercise regimes conducted sitting down. Reputedly Ma Baker was framed, she wasn't the criminal mastermind she was made out to be, just did the cooking and washing for the gang.

    Funny that a Gibb brother should be on right before the number one called You Win Again ten years before his other brothers had a number one with... eh, maybe not that funny.

    @jazzy_andy said...

    Rah Band was just bizarre - visually a precursor to ravers Altern8 and poorer than the recorded version. More significantly, was this Bob Marley's TOTP debut? More than makes up for Barry Biggs, a man even less irie than bowler-hatted trustafarian Paul Nicholas. Even Legs & Co fail to disguise how cool Boney M's brand of Eurodisco was - surely worthy of an Abba-style reappraisal. But the big WTF moment was a brief glimpse of the future with I Feel Love over the closing credits. Like Bob Beamon's magic leap, it still hasn't been surpassed tho Blue Monday came close, as Danny Boyle acknowledged last Friday night...

    Steve Williams said...

    The Crunch has to be the greatest opening to this show ever, knocking Contempt and Eddie and the Hot Rods into a cocked hat. I know it's a bit wimpy next to the record but the bonus is we get to see the guitarist's lovely smile, so swings and roundabouts. This is the first time I'd seen that performance on television rather than YouTube but I'm afraid I still can't work out the gender of the other guitarist.

    Clearly nobody told the guitarist from Smokie they were going for the harlequin look but I did enjoy the corpsing from the afroed one and his mates at the end in their Liverpool Express rip-off, right down to the fish-eye lens. Devastated the drummer has cut his flowing locks, though.

    The Alessi video was so bad you had to assume the other one was playing the piano as we saw shots of his face and some hands playing the piano but never together. The new Hot Chocolate pic in the rundown looks like they're facing a firing squad and this song is so dull it's sapping all their usual good humour and energy.

    I hope it's not too much of a spoiler to say Boney M come into the studio at Christmas to perform this - with a special guest doing the spoken word bit. I say special guest, he was a regular collaborator with the bands on Top of the Pops - like it or not.

    Steve Williams said...

    In other news, that framed newspaper clipping in the Savile auction was bought for £65 by Look North's Peter Levy.

    Arthur Nibble said...

    Just filling in some of the previous points...

    That Rah Band single cover must be from abroad, as the single was released over here on Good Earth, the same bespoke label that brought us The Surprise Sisters (oh yes).

    That was indeed a repeat of Bob Marley's TOTP debut, and he made one other appearance.

    Barry performed his top 38 smash "Work All Day" on TOTP but, sadly, that edition was wiped.

    That Alessi video reminded me of the 'guess the ath;ete' sequence on "A Question Of Sport" where you see assorted limbs and sideways glimpses and had to guess who it was. They may as well have had the backup musicians all in black like that puppet theatre from Prague.

    Simon Jenkins said...

    The frontman from Smokie reminded me of Hywel Bennett, circa "Shelley".

    I spotted a Bob Carolgees lookalike in the audience this week.

    The Legs and Co routine was just bizarre. But very enjoyable.

    wilberforce said...

    i seem to recall owning a machete for a short while in my youth - back then i think they were kind-of in vogue as decoration for the house as they were usually contained in brightly coloured and patterned sheaths that looked like they had been hand-painted by the gurkhas themselves (but were probably mass-produced in a factory in taiwan)...

    i totally agree with the opinion that the rah band's re-recording is probably the worst heard so far in these shows - a rush-recording in more ways than one. i wonder if richard (a) hewson had actually been involved in that, or just sent out some hired hands to do it (it ceratinly sounds like the latter, as by that point hewson had already been working in the music industry for the best part of a decade, including i believe in some capacity for the beatles)... when nick drake recorded his first album, hewson was contracted to write the proposed string accompianments, but upon hearing them drake was not very impressed and insisted his chum robert kirby provided them instead, so hewson's arrangements were scrapped - i wonder if the recordings were ever retained (or failing that the written charts), as it would be fascinating to hear them applied to the master tapes now to see if drake's opinion was justified...

    having been starved of some cod-reggae on the show in recent times, tonight we were spoilt with two such efforts, one by the godawful smokie and another by the totp orch backing barry biggs... talking of which, i spotted the person (presumably female - was it sue of legs & co?) in the animal costume quite early on, and was looking forward to seeing it/her dancing with barry or at least some kind of interaction... so i waited and waited but nothing happened and she/it just sat there behind him - surely one of the most bizarre moments from a programme where we're not stuck for choice...?

    i suspect the reason legs and co were repeating their routine throughout was probably because there's only so many things you can do sitting in a chair... i wonder if flick colby and her associates actually made the effort to come up with something new for every week, or used to keep details of past dance arrangements and recycle them? (had i been her i certainly would - after all, no-one watching is going to remember it was done on another show 5 years earlier)

    the alessi video was quite amusing because although only one of them took the lead vocals, we had to have just as much footage of the other one doing the "oohs and aahs" backing - i wonder if the guitarist always sung lead or if the other one sometimes did as well? maybe they could play both guitar and piano equally ably and for a laugh swapped places from time to time to see if anyone could tell the difference?

    Arthur Nibble said...

    You've reminded me of a wrestling tag team from many years ago called The Borgs - identical twins who needed to wear diferent coloured or numbered singlets to identify who was who. Of course, if they were up against baddies, they'd get fed up after a while, take the tops off, tag confusingly quickly a few times and cheat themselves!

    charlie cook said...

    Contrary to other contributors, I quite enjoyed the TOTP version of The Crunch. And yes, I do know the original - I even bought it at the time - I seem to recall that the b side was an alternate version...

    Rahthur Nibble said...

    Boring but true fact regarding initials. The RAH Band had top 50 hits on five different labels, and the last four only had initials for names - DJM, KR, TMT and RCA.

    There's a tenuous Richard Hewson link to next week's programme, as it features a band who released shedloads of singles, most of which were orchestrated or produced by old RAH himself, but they only managed a top 10 guilty pleasure and a top 40 scraper.

    Bamaboogiewoogie said...

    Tony Blackburn not only thought Brotherhood of Man won Eurovision two years earlier, he also thought the show he hosts on Saturday nights (alternately with David Hamilton) was called Summertime Special - it's actually called Seaside Special (the theme tune was Summertime City by Mike Batt and that was a hit in 1975). The show on 9 July 1977 was indeed hosted by Tone and had the following line up:
    Location – Great Yarmouth,
    Fifth heat of Miss Seaside Special 1977 Natural Beauty Contest.
    Guests Cilla Black (performed "I Wanted To Call It Off"), Vince Hill, Frank Carson, Dream Express, Jeff Phillips, Lennie Bennett.

    I believe one of these artists is also on TOTP next week (NB it's not Frank Carson).

    Does anyone know the official name for the effect that they used on Smokie's performance and for the end titles. It's some lens attachment - you can see the cameraman or his assistant remove it from the camera at the start of Brotherhood of Man's performance.

    Arthur Nibble said...

    Ah, Cilla, promoting a big flop (and won't we know it). Without watching Smokie again (I've seen enough of those Bradford lads in recent months), I'm guessing the lens attachment is a fish eye but I'm open to correction / ridicule.

    Right, off now for either 7 or 9 days (won't know till nearer the time) - loads of peace and quiet for the rest of you. As Kent Walton used to say, have a good week till next week!

    Bamaboogiewoogie said...

    Looking again at Smokie I think it was a fish eye lens as the band looked distorted in the long-shots (although it's hard to tell - lol) but there was also some sort of mirror-lined tunnel which reflected the lights. And in the close-up shots it was not fish-eye lens but they still had the mirror effect mixed in.

    Hot Chocolate's rundown pic, they do look uber serious and the drummer reminded me of actor Richard Griffiths.

    Bamaboogiewoogie said...

    Meant to say 'The Crunch' put me in mind of this:

    wilberforce said...

    great groovy ad for smith's crisps - where the hell did that come from?! with swinging simon dee and all... there are some copies of the smith's crisps "when it comes to the crunch" flexi-discs available on discogs, but they're not cheap (would love to hear the instrumental (?) "rhythm and crunch")

    THX said...

    Was the organist in The RAH Band given a microphone as a matter of courtesy and decided to use it for two words, or was it supplied especially so he could say two words?

    Noax said...

    Oh, please don't tell me we have to suffer a Cilla song. Do we?!
    That will be fast-forwarded very quickly if so.

    A decent mix this week I thought, though you can definitely tell they're rushing through the songs now the shows are half an hour long. Most of them were chopped off before the end. Why don't they just have one less song?

    RAH Band - I love this song. Surely Richard Hewson must have had something to do with this re-recording? For the record, I think it's not bad, just different. Certainly not the worst re-recording, as there was one that I found absolutely appalling, though annoyingly I can't remember what it was right now.

    Anyway, the public were obviously not so horrifed that they didn't buy this, unlike many other show openers!

    Smokie - The only one of their songs that I really like, probably due to its inclusion on the same compilation album as the above song. Said album was played a lot when I was a kid.

    It was nice to see them messing around a bit, as in previous performances they've sometimes looked like they were taking themselves too seriously.

    Alessi - I'm not allowed to watch them. Lift music, according to the wife. I don't mind it, for the record.

    Barry Biggs - As his 2 biggest hits were very much on a similar theme, it's perhaps surprising that he didn't carry it on a bit longer.

    Another possible song title could have been 'The Unicycle of Life (I Keep Falling Off)' - Barry could have had that if I'd been a songwriter. In the 70s.

    Boney M - Granny outfit presumably left over from the Paul Nicholas appearance last year with 'Grandma's Party' and chairs possibly from the BBC canteen. Unless the girls other than Lulu had all had horrific leg injuries that week, this routine is insanely dull really.

    Hot Chocolate - Fair play for coming in yet again, and Errol's outfit is a little more normal this week. There's also the faint hint of a smile occasionally.

    Donna Summer - Heard in context, this sounds even more like it's from another planet than usual. Awesome tune, and the first 7" I ever bought (although that was the Patrick Cowley mix in 82)

    Bamaboogiewoogie said...

    wilberforce - here's a link to the Smiths Crisp flexi disc instrumental:

    [Sorry I don't know how to post proper clickable links - if someone can tell me I'd appreciate it]

    don simon said...

    To be fair to Tone, he does say 'Seaside' not 'Summertime'.

    A quick google suggests that Summertime Special was an 80s version of the same thing.

    Steve Williams said...

    The Seaside/Summertime Special lineage is quite complicated, because the Beeb show was originally called Seaside Special but at some point in the late seventies it was renamed Summertime Special before it was axed. But then ITV launched their own Summertime Special in the miod-eighties, and in 1987 you had that and the Beeb's revived Seaside Special 87, with Mike Smith presenting Beat the Clock, though as I didn't remember the original I thought of that as nothing more than a rip-off of the ITV show.

    No thanks to BBC2 for starting TOTP2 ten minutes early last night - on a night when surely nobody was watching BBC2 live and recording it instead.

    Simon Mclean said...

    Richard Hewson had nothing to do with the people masquerading as the Rah Band on TOTP - in fact, he was absolutely furious about it! They were a bunch of people thrown together by the record company without his knowledge, and Hewson went to great efforts to stop them.

    I actually really like the original and the TOTP version - the TOTP version sounds like a theme tune for a particularly bawdy sitcom.

    Bamaboogiewoogie said...

    Sorry for the mix up, I meant to say that Tony says Seaside Special but meant Summertime Special (as I thought it was called Summertime special) but actually he was right, it was Seaside special in 1977. Sorry Tone. I think the sight of Barry Biggs in his red satin ringmasters outfit was affecting my mind.

    I wondered about the RAH Band keyboardist's microphone as he only has the two words. I love the fact that he had to pull down his balaclava in order to say them. I thought he looked a bit like The Attractions' keyboardist Steve Naieve but a lot of people refernced Andy Clark who worked with Bill Nelson. Someone on YouTube said the CD release of the RAH Band album includes an interview in which Richard Hewson and he says they asked him to appear on TOTP but he was busy, so the record label put together this band of people without Hewson's permission. They were also booked to do a tour and Hewson had to personally pay off these guys to stop it happening.

    Did anyone else notice those two guys in peaked caps in the background towards the end of this performcance. Were they policemen ready to arrest the band for crimes against fashion? Or St Johns Ambulance volunteers ready to attend to members of the audience who fainted in disbelief?

    Bamaboogiewoogie said...

    Sorry Simon I've just posted the same info as you (great minds think alike).

    Simon said...

    Don't know if this is accurate but it's said Clark plays on the record (and is the only one there who does), which may, as well as his Bebop Deluxe membership, explain the disguise. Of course without that appearance it might never have been a hit, so swings and roundabouts.

    It's not as unusual as you'd imagine at that time for singers and musicians other than those who recorded the released version to do the promo at the label's behest at least initially, essentially hiring the band as live sessioneers - the Rubettes, Kenny, even Slik (Midge Ure says when he went to add his first studio vocals thinking the rest of the band would be there he was surprised to find the backing tracks were already in place)

    THX said...

    I'm another one who tuned into TOTP2 last night to see Bobby Goldsboro halfway through Summer The First Time, which is traumatic enough in itself, so thank goodness for iPlayer which allowed me to watch what I'd missed.

    I prefer The Mark Radcliffe Witty Snark Show to The Steve Wright Insults Singers and Bands Show, but Summer Nights better than The Barracudas? Not in my world!

    Noax said...

    I'd be happier with Mark Radcliffe if his babble wasn't placed all over the start and end of songs, sometimes all over the lyrics!

    Better than Steve Wright, yes, but not better than Radcliffe the first time round!

    wilberforce said...

    i'd prefer it if there was no babbling DJ interjecting with pathetic jokes or other verbal diarrhea at all - and also if they didn't show anything after 1995...

    80sBlokeInThe70s said...

    Re Simon's comment about non-players on records doing TOTP and other promotional duties.

    Surely this had its apotheosis in the old skool era 1988-92 and especially 1991-92 when the majority (?) of rave/hardcore acts used a sexy model as their "singer" on TOTP when it was either a sample or a session singer on the actual disc.Often there weren't even actually any vocals to speak off on the boss club tune and they quickly made a commercial "radio" mix just for such appearances/any grudging pop radio play they might pick up.
    I believe this type of thing really pissed of TOTP and heralded the end of miming and the start of "live" performances again.

    PS I agree with Wilberforce there - why do the powers that be think we want anyone's comments over the music as they never actually add anything to the experience.

    Bamaboogiewoogie said...

    I'm old enough to remember when Johnnie Walker did TOTP2 in the mid 1990s. No funny comments at all with him, he left it to the viewers to make up their own.

    wilberforce said...

    80'sblokeinthe70s' above comments puts me in mind of altern 8's appearance on totp in 1991, that i found hilarious at the time if somewhat baffling (being a non-raver fast-approaching 30 at that point):

    taking a look at the video again on youtube 20 years later, ironically, judging by the poor vocal delivery the catsuited "sexy model" was actually doing it live, and along with her somewhat ill-at-ease gyrating perhaps it was no surprise she was replaced for their next totp appearance...

    btw, whatever happened to claudia simon who introduced them?

    Noax said...

    Ah, Altern8 - they were bloody fantastic.

    That would be the period when they'd just started insisting on people singing live though (as referred to above) and all the dance acts were routinely terrible at this point.

    Of course, Altern8 would get someone who could sing very well indeed for their next song - PP Arnold!

    Arthur Nibble said...

    Right, let's try and get this thread near the 40 mark! Barry Biggs's two biggest fun-fair related singles were both covers of songs recorded by a pretty good and under-rated soul group called Blue Magic. Maybe Baz should have plundered more of their catalogue for potential hits? Or maybe he should have covered "Tears Of A Clown" or "White Horses" or "Me And The Elephant"?

    Arthur Nibble said...

    Felt a bit sorry for Tony Etoria - up eight places in two weeks to number 21 and a third TOTP helping might have made "I Can Prove It" a big hit, but not to be.