Thursday, 22 November 2012

TOTP 3/11/77 (tx 22/11/12): Peter's out

Well, if nothing else it's already lasted much longer than the last time the BBC tried a Doctor Who repeat run. For the second week running we have to start with bad tidings, this time not legally but broadcasterly. At the weekend a researcher for the programme let on via Twitter that the 1978 documentary and thus repeat run was going ahead, yet just yesterday at a press launch BBC4 controller Richard Klein said he hadn't decided whether it would continue.

Now, public indecision is not a blanket rejection per se and the quotes do smack a little of someone who wasn't expecting to be asked - and let's be fair, scheduling a repeat run is less about budgets, studios and suchlike then it is ordering some tapes from the BBC Worldwide library - but clearly that's not what we want to hear. Klein also mentioned declining viewer figures, which is kind of borne out and in such not due to recent events. Discounting the Kenny Everett night TOTP has been in BBC4's weekly ratings top ten once between mid-April and the last published figures, compared to thirteen times in the same span in 2011, and has topped 400,000 viewers three times in 2012 (the last that mid-April show, the one recovered from Diddy's collection as it goes) as opposed to eight last year. 1977 hasn't really had any different scheduling or any less wide advertising than 1976 had, and this for I think I'm right in saying the only all year round regular programming the station has. I know some argue people will flock back for 1978 because of the music but that's rot - 1977, for its associations with punk and disco, is regarded as one of pop music's banner years, whereas 1978 is Grease and Boney M in similar strata of popular culture. We shall have to wait and see, and then perhaps think of something else to do here next year.

Mind you, never mind BBC4's treatment of the show in 2013, it's BBC4's treatment in late 2012 that's looking precarious. With The Sky At Night confirmed for the 7th and just the one show for the week after, the as yet unpublished schedules for the week before and the two weeks around the festive season mean three* normal TOTPs will have to be fitted in between 16th December and whenever the Christmas shows are scheduled for, which last year was the 20th and 22nd. It's as if someone lost count. Or doesn't care that much, obviously.

(* One of which is hosted by Dave Lee Travis, but I haven't heard anything about whether all his programmes have been pulled for the time being or if last week was a one-off, but his job on Magic AM has been dropped until enquiries are completed)

Still, I'm pretty sure we're here for the rest of 2012 at least, so we must press on, sword of Damocles overhead as it may be.

So what do you think of when you hear of Peter Powell? Shape Up And Dance? Anthea Turner? Five 45s At 5.45? Being director of the management company that act as agents to several ITV prime-time's worth of talent? The Record Race? This? (Not the kites, that was another Peter Powell) Whatever, he'd almost literally just joined Radio 1 (bar three months in 1972) and was reputedly so excited at the prospect of hosting the show of shows he lost his voice minutes before recording. The excitement, it's fair to say, shows, even though all he has to say is hello and welcome. Positively bursting at the seams, he is, and that's not the half of it. And he's wearing a Radio 1 T-shirt tucked snugly into his jeans. The exciting new youthful face of radio, there. ELO's Turn To Stone over the charts.

The Jam – The Modern World
Rickenbacker on high alert, and one going on close-ups with an unreadable address on an affixed label and 'I AM NOBODY' written in Tipp-Ex or similar on its body. This is the sort of performance that could, and for all the show lets on might have been, recorded last time the trio were in, so used are we already to the suits and the stances, though Rick Buckler does chance a grin at the camera looking up at him. Bar the full upper body movement of a chap in a flat cap and the similar motions of a friend who joins him halfway through, perhaps that being the designated punk appreciation side of the stage, it's not convincing too many down the front to move wholeheartedly no matter how much Weller gurns in anguish at society and stuff. Those two, and this man...



He jumps in the air.

HE JUMPS IN THE AIR.

And whoops. "Woo! Hey! Wild stuff from the Jam" indeed.

The Carpenters – Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft
And just to top off this opening link of opening links: "let's just think about those occupants of interplanetary craft, shall we?" Richard and Karen on video in front of shots of the milky way.

The Barron Knights – Live In Trouble
The Barron Knights! THE BARRON KNIGHTS! The group the Grumbleweeds could have been! Stop the rerun now, BBC4, the apex has been reached. "A bigger bunch of loonies you're never likely to meet" is Peter's somewhat overheated introduction, so much so he then goes and gets the title wrong. Live It Up indeed. What were they, Mental As Anything? This is the song with the celebrated reworking of Angelo, chip shop in Walthamstow and all that, in the middle, so obviously that's the bit of the song the producer made them cut for time reasons. Red satin jackets and ruffled shirts are the order of the day and if they look direct from their cabaret act that's because they probably were. Just before he starts singing... the singer does a leap in the air and air guitar. One of the Barron Knights taking the piss out of Paul Weller. Oh, those were the days of levelled impetuousness. The kids of 1977 are either stony faced or seem to enjoy the You Make Me Feel Like Dancing section, especially when... the singer unveils his comedy pinging braces. That just leaves the Float On section, which it's fair to say has not wethered the changes in moral attitudes well, rare as it is to see a man corpse at the weight of his own comedy Irish accent. Towards the end one of them does a spin on the spot. "Can you spin like that?" Powell enquires of a lady in a very thick pink cashmere sweater. She obliges. Powell does likewise, in the counter direction. I, watching this in the future, have no idea what future anyone saw in this. So wrapped up is Powell in this idea introducing the next song is an afterthought.

Queen – We Are The Champions
The live video clip wherein to a crowd of scarf wavers Freddie dons the black and white catsuit of fate. "Best thing since Bohemian Rhapsody" Powell avers afterwards. What, out of absolutely everything?

Dorothy Moore – I Believe You
"And now, a little bit of beauty" says Powell in voiceover in the tone of a Radio 3 announcer, a very grandiloquent way of introducing Legs & Co. Entering through some McDonalds hoops, Flick clearly had some spare bathroom curtain material she wanted to get rid of and got it fashioned into six green and yellow dresses, matched to leggins. It's a neatly worked out routine, the girls positioning themselves between the hoops and dancing around and between them, but given I think we've even seen those props before it looks like they made it for 80p.

Status Quo – Rockin' All Over The World
I cannot make out what Powell says before introducing this performance video - "well, wolvey guy?" is my best go - maybe because he can't wait to get the title out before chatting a bystander up. "Hello blue eyes." "Hi!" "Hi hi! Let's get down to this one. Yeah!" Afterwards he delivers a succinct summary: "Status Quo, you know?"

David Bowie – Heroes
My, is he keen to be here. Powell, not (openly) Bowie. "We're rocking on the very best show on television. This is the biggest party in the whole lar." Well, that's what it sounds like. It's not 'world', it's not 'lot', it's not 'bar', again it's not anything distinct. Peter, you're a radio DJ with years of experience. You're supposed to be a clear, enunciating vocal presence. No wonder Sweater Girl back by his side keeps looking at him with some trepidation. As for Bowie, a repeat the original of which we didn't see, the guitarist is clearly no Robert Fripp in style or effects and the drummer is on begrudging session time (though apparently Tony Visconti popped in to play bass) but Bowie is his charismatic self singing live and committed in a shirt with big floppy cuffs. And yes, he's actually there in his pomp and glory, with a crowd, recorded on a proper studio recording night. Now what's your excuse, Mercury? Although having said that Bowie didn't return to Pops until 1995.

Showaddywaddy – Dancin' Party
And to prove the yin and yang of TOTP is in full effect, keeping us all on our critical toes and all that... this is a repeat to everyone but us as well. A cover that still sounds like a ripoff of Runaround Sue, it starts with everyone bar the drummer huddled over Dave Bartram as he launches a call and response, the latter filmed from the crane camera overhead. So was that all in one take or is some of their famed visual perception trickery in evidence again? All in red suits and black shirts Bartram then takes an immediate step into the crowd as two groups of two behind launch into involved routines, including an awkward chorus line. Before we can consider the likely casualty rate from a TOTP camera and its man following Bartram around an audience given their usual GTA-style success with the trolley our man has spotted two people in massive tinfoil top hats like Isembard Kingdom Brunel misunderstanding Noddy Holder and has purloined one for himself. Stolen off the head, in fact, before delving deeper to find its mate, a couple of others following and finding women to dance with as they go, and whomsoever possesses the twin hat shall be joined forever in matrimony, possibly. The hat has written on one side 'HELLO MUM', this being the 70s when that was nearly original, and on the other 'VOTE FONZIE'. Viral Happy Days advertising/vote rigging? On the BBC? Questions must be asked. Powell challenges those given around him to name one each of their other hits. Interactive in this brand new era too.

ABBA – The Name Of The Game
Back to their glares, their anguished soft singing, their dinner table and their Fla. Powell wishes the best "from all of us here to all of you back home" and because the show can't go a week without them, Smokie play out over a weird graphical effect of wavy coloured concentric circles which is never going to overtake the kaleidoscope of studio lights in the nation's affections, I'll tell them that right now. Were this 1977 you'd be about to see the first Citizen Smith. Were this 1977 and you Peter Powell you'd probably be going for quite the lie down with a cool flannel in a darkened room.

65 comments:

Simon said...

Just before you have your turn, given the discussion of viewing figures up there I went and worked out the ten most watched shows of the whole repeat run, discounting Friday night series openers, Christmas and Kenny Everett:

10 20/10/11 (7/10/76), 410K
9 24/11/11 (4/11/76), 412K
8 26/5/11 (20/5/76), 414K
7 18/8/11 (29/7/76), 419K
6 15/9/11 (26/8/76), 423K
5 3/8/11 (22/7/76), 429K
4 17/11/11 (28/10/76), 432K
3 19/1/12 (13/1/77), 440K
2 1/12/11 (25/11/76), 452K
1 29/3/12 (24/3/77), 503K

None of these, it should be noted, are really special occasions - the number one was Marc Bolan's last appearance before his death but you'd need background knowledge for that, and number two was the first Savile show after his death, if you see what I mean, but that wasn't treated any differently by the channel.

Steve Does Top Of The Pops said...

I have nothing I can contribute as regards viewing figures but I loved this week's show. One of my favourite editions of the whole run.

I have no credibility left but Showaddywaddy's performance was my highlight.

Nice to see David Bowie there too.

Mr Disco said...

Yep, agree about the BarrEn Knights. If TOTP78 ever makes an appearance here's hoping 'A taste of aggro' appears on a 'Disallowed'.

Simon said...

Bad news on that front. And it's on twice just to make sure.

daf said...

Excellent article by Tom Cole on the Radio Times website :
http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2012-11-22/dont-scrap-top-of-the-pops-bbc4

I wish some famous fans would get behind this - like they did when 6Music was under threat of closure (Brian Eno was one I think). Maybe that could make some difference?

. . . and back to tonight's edition (which I'm treasuring to my bosom like nobody's business!)

Peter Powell seems a likable fellow doesn't he. Seemingly intent on deploying an ambitious 'downward dip / jump up' presenting technique as the show goes on too.
One word : Enthusiastic.

THE BARRON KNIGHTS – Live In Trouble
The Knights spoil a bit of quality business with some Irish/Gay nonsense during Float on. Come on chaps - this isn't the 1970's! Oh, hang on . . .

QUEEN – We Are The Champions (video)
See, BBC4 Kenny Everett docu-drama - No moustache on old Freddie in the 70's! I just had a Proustian rush on seeing that black and white leotard - must be one of my first Pops memories (unless they showed it on Swap Shop? I'm more likely to have seen it there, actually).
Just imagine - this was brand new then - what a Golden Age!

DOROTHY MOORE – I Believe You (danced to by Legs & Co)
The 'Legs' do their best, but it's it's no Black Betty, that's for sure!

STATUS QUO – Rockin’ All Over The World (video)
Another classic - and surprisingly a cover - Original by John Fogerty :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFs9YAH9Q_c

DAVID BOWIE – Heroes
And yet ANOTHER classic! Dave singing live too (with his lovely wonky teeth - don't get them fixed Dave - your muse will desert you).
It's truly Hit after hit after hit this edition, and is that Giorgio Moroder in the background having a natter?

SHOWADDYWADDY – Dancin’ Party
Well, it couldn't last forever - lets hope the people deciding The Pops' future didn't miss the rest of the show and just tune in at this point - making the song sound as much like 'Moon of Love' as they can possibly manage, but where are the kettle drums?

ABBA – The Name Of The Game (video)
is . . . Ludo, apparently (or 'Fia Spel' in Swedish). Despite being brand new, this bit of film looks charmingly knackered already, and seemingly edited together with sellotape.


All round pretty fantastic show - and I didn't even mention The Carpenters (until now) who were simply fabulous!

Arthur Nibble said...


I didn't realise this until today but, the day before BBC4's documentary celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first UK singles chart, the exemplary Chart Stats website (which I've used for much of my chart placing details on this blog) was told to remove all its charts data by The Official Charts Company, claiming the website was 'in breach of their database copyright by publishing any chart based on UK single sales'. The site can't even show a song's chart positions week by week, just the number of weeks in the chart and the highest position. BASTARDS.

I'm going agaginst the grain of other opinions I've seen, as I didn't enjoy this edition much. The ELO and Queen songs weren't faves of mine, Quo's video was exactly the same as all the others, two loads of rogues in red and black (couldn't they toss a coin to see who'd wear their change kit?) and bloody Smokie over the end credits. Mind you, what end credits! Who hit the psychedelic button on the controls? They were almost as way out as our host tonight. Had Peter been at the space dust before kick off?

Weller, are you chewing? Would you like to share that with the rest of the class? Unusually trimmed cymbals being used by Rick there (to deaden the sound perhaps?), and the drumster seemed to enjoy his appearance. I enjoyed it far more than that Carpenters effort, complete with John Noakes soundalike as the alien...er, occupant. All those images of stars and planets in the video just reminded me of my nemesis, The Fecking Sky At Night! Couldn't they have shown Legs & Co doing this instead of giving us the whole song in video form?

Talking of Legs & Co, those outfits were obviously designed by a Norwich City fan (complete with goalnet accessories) and a pre-cursor to the Green Goddess's garb. Couldn't the props department have placed those arches closer together, rather than have one sticking out on its own like a sore thumb? I assume that's the last we'll hear of Dorothy Moore, as this was her last hit and it only went one place higher. Up until last week I could have been more precise for obvious reasons.

The Barron Knights clip was one of the real, real low points of this re-run for me. A cross between The 'Waddy, a group of Chelsea pensioners and The Grumbleweeds, and just as funny, i.e. as funny as piles. Who the Hell bought this and got it to number 7? As for The 'Waddy (bring back Darts!), that other tin foil topper, clearly on view during David Bowie's stint, had the "Happy Days" catchphrase "Cool It" emblazoned on it. I'm deducing the gals had gambled on Pratt and McLean appearing in the studio, as they'd just made number 31 with the show's theme tune. As if TOTP would stoop to allowiing a tune you'd hear on ITV indeed! Er, David Dundas, Peter Blake...

What a treat the Topper(Tron) Girls had instead, a rare appearance by Ver Bowie, although he did look startlingly like Julian Clary in that early side-on shot. I didn't think he did to bad a job, and at least David put some effort into it, unlike two acts I could mention who, during their turns, only had their drummers playing / miming an instrument on stage. Now, someone give Powell a paper bag in case he hyperventilates (again)...

Arthur Nibble (again) said...

Does anyone else reckon Klein was being overly cautious because there was a follow-up ITV programme / carve-up about Savile?

On a purely selfish level, I'd like to thank ITV for helping to completely ruin the re-run. Not that ITV has any saving graces these days. The 1990 Broadcasting Act was the single worst thing to happen to British television. Thanks to a scheme to give the Chancellor millions by making companies bid for the franchise renewals, in my region we lost the majesty and quality of Thames and were foisted the garish, insulting, lowest common denominator shit that was Carlton. ITV died the day that lot took to the air.

Simon said...

Don't think it was last night's update, anything extra (on a TOTP/BBC scale anyway) would have been public knowledge by then and nobody seems that bothered now. The "nothing scheduled yet" line got me because presumably the schedules for new year week, and thus 3rd/4th January, have been completed if not released just yet, but looking back the start of the 1977 run wasn't considered so big a deal that the channel put it in their new year launch or listed in the BBC Programme Information press releases, the news just kind of eked out (through a researcher trying to find audience members, as I recall)

Angelo Gravity said...

Another really great show I thought, you just can't go wrong if you've got Bowie singing live - then throw in Queen, Quo and Jam and its heavenly.

They'd better no even think of ending the run before we get Mull of Kintyre, or they'll be real trouble, I'll be shoving my bagpipes somewhere the BBC4 sun don't shine!

eightiespopkid said...

I think showing 1977 was always going to be a bit awkward in terms of viewing figures. Let's face it, the last couple of editions have shown a marked improvement in terms of quality and before Powell's arrival only the Kid Jensen editions have displayed any energy in terms of presentation. The other shows this year have been too full of flops, MOR music selections and tired, outdated presenting styles - all of which won't have helped viewing figures.

For 1978 there is a huge shift in the right direction. Chart acts are more available to appear in person and there's only the odd instance of Cilla-type acts appearing.

I think there will be a lot more interest in the arrival of Blondie, Kate Bush, Ian Dury et al than there was in the punk stuff we've seen this year. 1978 brings with it the start of the Grange Hill/Smash Hits generation - I'm certain viewing figures will improve once the 'Saturday Night Fever'/'Grease' stuff is aired. Show a half-hour full of hits like they have done tonight and it will bring the viewers in. Fortunately most line-ups for the next 6 years are this good in my opinion!

What I really don't understand is why they insist on showing the early edition at 7:30 against EastEnders. Whilst it's 'cute' to show at this time as it's the most fondly remembered traditional slot, if I remember correctly more often than not in the show's late 70s/early 80s heyday its start time varied: 7:10, 7:20 etc, as it regularly ran for 40 minutes per edition. It really only settled into a 7:30 slot after it moved to Fridays in 1996. When EastEnders began in 1985 it moved to 7:00 for the next 11 years! If Klein moved the show to start at 8:00 or 8:30 it would not be up against a soap and the viewing figures would inevitably see a sharp increase.

They are also burying the late-night repeats by showing them at 2:00am! Put them back on at 11:00/12:00 and viewing figures will rise to their 1976 levels!

Stop scheduling The Sky At Night in the TOTP every 4th week and the viewing figures will rise!

Edit out the Savile links in his 6 shows and show each edition in order in the corresponding week as per the original press release and viewing figures will rise!

Just a bit of food for thought for BBC4 there...

Arthur Nibble said...


I think eightiespopkid missed out today - should have been given the BBC Director General rol e! Fully agree with all the points / sentiments re the recent clumsy and unhelpful scheduling.

The 'Waddy were given a huge, very useful leg-up in this edition. It's the first instance I can recall of a song getting two plays in the re-run firstly as a non-chart new release and again when it still hadn't cracked the top 40 ("Dancing Party" was at 41 but, with all the potential singles wiped from the 41-50 positions, it could actually have been just inside the top 50. I wonder who pulled out at the last minute to allow the repeat showing?

THX said...

Yeah, I don't think showing any programme against Eastenders will do it any favours. Oh well, if it is cancelled we can cry on the shoulder of Danny Baker's new classic album series.

Anyway, tonight's and I think what I liked most about the bubbly Peter Powell was the way he would see-saw between delirium and treacly sincerity depending on the performances. I hope he tuned in this week and felt proud.

At first I thought Paul Weller's guitar said "I AM NODDY" and was bemused, but closer inspection put me right. Put quite an image in my head, I can tell you.

The Carpenters ditty was the Anthem of World Contact Day, an attempt to get in touch with the space brothers. A huge success, I'm sure you'll recall. Actually a cover of a tune by Klaatu (clever!) who some people thought were The Beatles in disguise, bafflingly. Anyway, cosmic video, but all you can think is, "Oh, she's not looking well".

The Barron Knights I found funny at the time, but your sense of humour can be very primitive when you're a little kid. They certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves, and it's the terrible stuff like this I appreciate as much as the gems on these reruns, I guiltily admit.

Showaddywaddy looked in danger of booting the front row in the heads. Didn't recognise the title when Pete said it, but recognised the tune once they got going - was this a hit after all and the presenter got a prediction right?! Maybe we should be optimistic...

Simon said...

Oh for goodness sake, 1976 was too full of flops, MOR music selections and tired, outdated presenting styles. Sorry, but I really can't see how this year has been approached by BBC4 any differently to last year, apart from having a full year to run at it - I know everyone's ignoring this deliberately, but it's been at 7.30 and interspersed with The Sky At Night since day one so it really shouldn't have been doing the much worse it has been doing this summer (Olympic weeks or not) then it was last summer. The ratings over the whole period have been far too variable, even when it was doing relatively well in BBC4 terms, for it to be about what music is on week by week - there's been a very good number of influential bands on, whether on video or in the studio, amid the dross in recent months.

I know all that because I just referred to it all in the body of the blog which pretty much proves my increasingly held suspicion that next to nobody actually reads it and I'm wasting my Thursday nights doing these recaps. Maybe I won't bother whatever BBC4 do. Saves me loads of time and you can all go off and have your little paranoid theories about a show that doesn't matter elsewhere.

Duncan said...

Bowie didn't appear again on TOTP again until 1995, but this 'Time will crawl' was recorded in 1987. Unfortunately, it's a load of rubbish and was never shown at the time. Is the audience noise pre-recorded?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PFhb4TTrLE

THX said...

Does anyone know how The Sky at Night usually does in the Thursday slot? Might be interesting to compare.

THX said...

Oh, and cool down there, Simon, some of us are here because we like your jokes.

Steve Williams said...

If this repreat run does end in December, that's been twenty months which I'm pretty sure would be the longest repeat run of any series for ages, surely only the constant Dad's Army repeats would top it. As Simon mentioned, the last time they did a Doctor Who repeat run, in 1999, which was billed as being every colour story in order, they showed two stories, panicked at the ratings, started cherry-picking famous episodes, then axed it. And that's a series with a far bigger fanbase than Pops.

If you'd told me this time in 2010 that we were about to enjoy twenty months where BBC4 showed episodes of Top of The Pops in order, I wouldn't have believed you. We've been completely spoiled. They even showed one taped off the telly. And BBC4 isn't the Top of the Pops repeats channel anyway, it's a low priority for them and rightly so. As for being opposite 'stEnders, the audience is completely different, there are a million other channels. University Challenge is opposite 'stEnders and gets one of BBC2's biggest audiences of the week, and viewers of this repeat run are more likely to watch that than watch 'stEnders, I feel. Anyway, if it ends, it's been a bloody good run, and BBC4 have not had the credit for it. I know archive TV fans are a notoriously miserable bunch.

Anyway, back to this week, and Peter Powell is a tit, in the nicest possible way. On YouTube there's a clip from one of his next shows and the highest rated comment by miles is "Peter Powell, though, what a wanker". I liked his quickfire Showaddywaddy quiz, you never got that from Mike Read, the so-called Mr Pop Quiz.

This is a boring observation - and the revolting backdrop of the credits probably distracted most people - but Johnny Pearson and Derek Warne weren't credited in their usual roles of Musical Director and Music Associate, I think for the first time ever. Possibly this was a case of there being no solo acts on the show that required the services of an Orchestra (just Bowie, and he was a repeat) but surely that must have happened before.

In fact, taking out the repeats you're left with only The Jam (it was an address in Brimley) and The Barron Knights in the studio, as well as that self-consciously "pretty" Legs routine (a huge step down from last week's, er, powerful routine). It's thanks to the huge famous songs and Pete's energy that you don't initially realise the show is full of repeats and videos.

Didn't like the Quo video. Not enough Alan Lancaster.

Steve Williams said...

Er, Bromley.

Arthur Nibble said...

Didn't see the address, but could it have been Bramley, a picturesque village the other side of Guildford and about a dozen miles from Weller's Woking homebase?

Woooh, easy now, Simon. You're doing yourself (and some of us forumites) a dis-service. TOTP and your critique is the highlight of my working week. We're all entitled to opinions whether we agree with them or not, BBC4 should be praised for this re-run but there have been obstacles in the way which have fractured the enjoyment, and I hope you carry on with this perceptive and humorous blog as long as the run continues - which may only be another six weeks, but fingers firmly crossed.

70's Boy said...

Very entertaining show, I thought. Arthur Nibble asked who bought the Barron Knights record back in 77 - well, either I did, or my parents did (I can't remember which); I loved it then and I love it now. And by my fondness for Showaddywaddy additionally, I know I'm rather going against the tide of opinion, but that's what I like all the same. The SWW boys certainly made it lively. In fact, I loved all the songs on the show. And PP made an excitable and cheerful debut.

It will be a shame if we don't see the 78 shows as it's a weekly (well, most weeks) highlight for me.

Illegallywatchingelsterpieingermany said...

Er...how do they know how many people are viewing?

Arthur again.... said...


Why are you illegally watching Elsterpie in Germany? Do you need a licence to look at Elsterpie abroad?

The mention of '5.45s at 5.45' reminds me of the time Peter Powell brought part of Thorpe Park to a grinding halt for three minutes in 1984. Unknown to me, my best friend's band was chosen as one of said nightly 45's. As soon as I heard Pete's chirpy announcement, I shouted to my workmates "Shut up, it's my mate's band" and we listened transfixed. Happy days...oh, blimey, another mention of that programme! :-)

By the way, did anyone else see the problems caused by Susan Boyle's PR team yesterday? Promoting her new album, they came up with the hashtag susanalbumparty and nobody noticed it could be read as 'sus 4-letter-word 3-letter-word party'. A bit different to The 'Waddy's dancing party, I'm sure you'd agree!

daf said...

Aw, don't lose heart Simon - your blog is my first port of call on the net - chin up!

As Bill Shankley said :

'Some people believe the continued existance of the repeats of Top of the Pops through 1978 and beyond is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.'

FishyFish said...

While I don't always read the comments, I do always read the actual blog post about each week's episode, so please keep posting them. They're a great companion piece to the show and often highlight details that I might otherwise miss. Plus they've amusing and entertaining.

A for Richard Klein's comments about the possibility of not continuing with the repeats; how does TotP compare with other BBC4 shows in terms of ratings. I can only see the top 30 figures on the BARB website, but the only BBC4 shows getting figures above 600k seem to be Only Connect, imported dramas such as Inspector Montalbano, and the occasional one-off documentary or home-grown biopic, so I wonder if TotP's ratings are actually any worse than most of the channel's output.

Whatever the case, I will be very disappointed if they don't continue, particularly given the era of music we're about to move into. I can understand the Savile and DLT episodes being pulled given the current criminal investigations, but it would be a great shame to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

charlie cook said...

Simon: at least half the fun of TOTP is reading your blog and the comments after the show. It's like Starsky and Hutch, Morecambe and Wise, or Jeremy and Edward...

hackiedj said...

Please don't stop doing the blog Simon, it's great fun to read and some of the enjoyment of watching TOTP is spotting the moments that'll get commented upon.

Even if the repeats stop at the end of this year we've had a good run. Personally I'd have liked BBC4 to have mixed up the shows so it's not the same year every week, but the 76/77 re-runs have been fun.

Bamaboogiewoogie said...

I watched this show open mouthed, partly because of Peter Powell's hyper-active presentation style (E numbers have a lot to answer for) and partly because it included not one or two but three (count 'em) HUGE songs - We Are The Champions, Rockin' All Over The World and Heroes. It was as though we had jumped forward 8 years to Live Aid.

I love the way ELO's Turn To Stones fades in. This was the first single from their mighty Out Of The Blue Album leading the way for no less than four Top 20 singles, three of which reached number 6.

There's a sharp cut at the end of the rundown suggesting that something had been edited out (Jimmy Savile making a guest appearance perhaps?). Then The Jam with their second single in a row with the word 'World' in the title. Come on Weller, think of some new words. Good performance though and I love Weller's haircut. I went t through a mod phase in 1979 but would never had had the courage to have my hair like that.

The address sticker on his Rickenbacker could be that of his ex girlfriend Gill Price (who he met at a Jam gig), it says: 'Gill, 49 something Avenue Bromley Kent BR1'.

The Carpenters Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft. Not the most inspired video in the world and Karen already looks painfully thin albeit partly disguised by a green jumpsuit, but a great song and it's a shame they had to fade the guitar solo at the end. The song was billed as "the recognized anthem of world contact day" which was March 15th for anyone who wants to take part.

I must admit I hated The Barron Knights at the time. They were supposed to be happy-go-lucky chaps who were always up for a laugh but I just thought they were irritating, creepy and not that funny (it doesn't stop them from laughing at their own jokes).

Queen We Are The Champions on video with Freddie swapping judo suit for an op-art leotard. What can I say except it must have been a bit disappointing as an audience member this week as they only witnesses three acts in the studio, the rest were repeats or on video.

I don't remember this Dorothy Moore song at all but it seems it got to number 20. The dance routine is like an ad for a certain hamburger chain with the girls strolling through those golden arches.

Status Quo with that song and that video. This was the end of them being just another rock and roll band and the start of them being the cliche they became.

Bowie looking relatively normal and quite harmless considering that he had just jinxed Bolan and was about to do the same to Bing.

A lively performance by the Waddy with a cover of Chubby Checker's Dancing Party. Nice to see those hand held cameras back in use again. More big hats this time as a slightly confused tribute to The Fonz in Happy Days (did he ever wear a top hat?). 1977 saw a lot of big cultural references in evidence from Happy Days, Saturday Night Fever, Star Wars and Starsky and Hutch.

The ABBA video again (faded early) and Smokey on the playout represented the way they like to be by a shapeless multi-coloured blob floating in front of some coloured lights rather than the usual wandering fish eye lens effect.

hackiedj said...

I've been reading this blog every week for over a year and it never fails to entertain and amuse - part of the fun is watching TOTP and then seeing which moments get picked up on by Simon. I'm sure there are lots of people who enjoy reading it even if they don't join in the debate on the comments.

Personally I would've liked BBC4 to mix the shows up rather than showing them in order, but then they don't have to show them at all. Let's hope they do continue.

And, as someone else put earlier, Peter Powell is a tit, albeit in an entertaining way.

eightiespopkid said...

I do read and enjoy your blog every week Simon (the very best on the internet in my opinion), and my comments about viewing figures were in response to yours.

I don't post much on forums anymore because of the way fellow posters often jump down your throat at only the slightest provocation, but I do feel very passionate about trying to save these re-runs, hence my comments last night.

To clarify: when 1976 begun I think a large proportion of the audience were intrigued enough to stick with the weekly shows despite the MOR, poor presentation, etc, but interest waned as the show headed quite deep into 1977 without an improvement in quality, thus a large chunk of the audience have sadly moved on.

1978 - if scheduled - would bring in that new generation I talked about. Look at the Top 10 on this 3/11/77 edition - virtually every song is remembered and still played today. The fun is now just beginning.

As great as it was to see, say, The Adverts in the late summer, their appearance was hardly likely to bring with it 100,000 new viewers. Whilst punk's influence on the music scene cannot be disputed, it did - and still does - appeal to a very niche market.

Look how excited BBC4 got about their Punk Britannia season earlier this year - the main event could only bring in 400,000 viewers itself.

Those viewers expecting 1977 to somehow be brilliant after persevering through 1976 must have been very disappointed.

In November 1977 it seemed like the music industry finally woke itelf up, and this is why the re-runs should continue.

I appreciate that The Sky At Night has always been scheduled in its monthly slot, but at least last year we could make sense of the pattern due to the wiped editions. For it to still be causing a severe lag past Spring this year really slowed down an already slow set of charts (and a six-month run of ballads at Number One) and it's almost as if BBC4 had predicted the Savile/Travis scandals months ahead! What exactly would they have done with the backlog otherwise?

A bit of kind scheduling would surely help with ratings. Last year there were occasions when all three TOTP showings were in the BBC4 weekly Top 10 with the late-night showings pulling in more viewers than the earlies. This is because they showed them between 11pm-12am.

When BBC2 showed 20/1/77 randomly in the summer it pulled in 1.3m viewers - the highest-rated programme on BBC2 of the whole evening, despiteit already having been shown on BBC4 earlier in the year and featuring Gary Glitter.

So, there is an appetite for TOTP but whilst I am grateful that BBC4 have stuck with it this long I truly feel they are doing it a disservice by insisting on the 7:30 timeslot and continuing to program it opposite a popular soap opera (memories of the 90s/00s here!). Some TOTP fans are also EaatEnders fans and live with other people who may want to watch TV at the same time.

So let's give 1978 a chance to prove itself. Maybe the Story Of 1978, if it emerges, will present a more positive overview of the year it's promoting.

These re-runs do really mean a lot to me - it's great driving home from work on a Thursday evening knowing it's going to be on, and it's rubbish driving home from work on a Thursday knowing it's not going to be on because of The Sky At Night.

The Sky At Night never gets decent ratings anyway, and they're not to my knowledge taking that off. I think a consistent 250,000 viewers (which I truly believe would gradually increase through the year) would be better than whatever alternative programme they would show should it be axed.

Anyway, that's enough from me.

Arthur - thanks for your kind comments last night.

onehitwanderer said...

Not posted on here before, being merely a lurker reading blog and comments, but another comment to show appreciation for your blog Simon, an absolute must visit after watching show. So many bits I miss while watching that you point out, I have to go back and watch again!

A case of one step forward and two steps back. OCC provide a shedload of info surrounding the 60th anniversary of the charts, and fab chart documentary on BBC4. Then the double whammy of possible cancellation of TOTP repeats, and excellent ChartStats website being forced to effectively close. Nice one OCC. Are they deliberately trying to discourage any interest in the charts?

Sadly, I'll be (pleasantly) surprised if they continue repeats into next year given the situation at the BBC at the moment, and all the naval gazing going on. Nobody there dare do anything remotely controversial to rock the boat, and cancelling the repeats would be the easy option.

Regarding the shows, Peter Powell (and to a lesser extent Kid Jenson) have been a breath of fresh air given the recent turgid presenter performances. I much prefer the, shall we say, rough round the edges style of presenting with the odd mistake thrown in, to the clinical, professional, sterile style of presentation seen these days.

Anonymous said...

great show last night please keep it going for 1978 quo bowie queen legs n co etc

Noax said...

Just replying to others first -

daf - I'm glad that we have some support from Radio Times at least. It would be nice to have some high profile pop star support as well, but who would be ideal? Noddy Holder perhaps from the old stagers, but imagine how cool it would be if one of those modern young whippersnappers stuck up for it.

Arthur - I had heard the news about Chart Stats. A damn shame, which would be more acceptable if the Official Chart Company's website wasn't a) utterly shit and b) clearly had old charts available (which it doesn't I don't think?)

Simon - I really do read your blog every week and it's very insightful and funny so please don't stop!
I'm not a conspiracy theorist but nonetheless do agree with some of eightiespopkid well thought out arguments.

So, this week then, and really a show full of legends regardless of whether you like them (or the particular songs) or not. Queen, ABBA, Bowie, Quo, The Jam, The Carpenters. That's a bloody strong line-up.

The Jam's song is alright but not that great. It does lead Peter Powell to beautifully demonstrate while I call him The Pogoing Prick however.

The Carpenters - One thing that amazed me about this was how long they let the video run for. I kept thinking 'they'll cut it now' but it kept carrying on. Obviously they had to miss the silly into out though. Baby.

Barron Knights - I knew there was a song edited out as the medleys nearly always had 3. I didn't know this one, it's "A Taste of Aggro" that I loved as a kid (and my Dad had one of their albums)
I thought we were going to get some casual racism with the Irish schtick but that turned out to be random. Just as I was about to be disappointed we got some dated homosexual jokes instead, so that's alright then!

Dorothy Moore - Dull song, dull routine. Fast forwarded along with Quo (which was more due to overfamiliarity than anything)

David Bowie - Legendary. And it still reminds me of the Olympics.

Showaddywaddy (who still says that in their head in a Jimmy Savile voice and then feels immense guilt)
One of the few songs of theirs I don't like, this one. Should be called 'Under The Runaround Sue, When?'

Enjoyable this week on the whole, and let's all keep wishing on a star for 1978 (because then, we'll actually get to hear that song) to come round.

Elsterpie without adverbs said...

Thankyou Arthur for pointing out my grammatical ambiguities. Would still like to know how they measure viewing figures though. Is it a statistical survey or a stat based on number of outraged emails they get?

Once upon a time this would have been a treat of a show but living in Germany means, for all its pleasures, that i can no longer bear to listen to ' rocking all over the world' or 'we are the champions' as they are still played all the time over here.

Not good news about 1978 (i think it was79 when the show got really good) and I guess we can forget TOTP ever being brought back again

Given current circumstances, i must say i was v surprised to see jimmy page on 'Later' last week.

Anonymous said...

Very enjoyable show I thought.

Peter Powell - I know he was a bit excitable at first - but he calmed down considerably over a few years.And after Kid Jensen left he was the voice on the radio as I did my homework after getting in from school and he was a pretty knowledgeable decent DJ as I remember it. And he was closely involved with the New Romantic movement down to being the first to play Spandau Ballet (he supported them from day 1)which was the first thing I was old enough to really be into so that's another reason he's always been all right with me. And I've heard from more than one person that he's a really decent bloke too.Probably why he got off Radio 1 and away from all that stood for pretty quickly.

Queen - We Are the Champions
I've always quite liked Queen but was surprised just how good this video/song presentation was.

Showaddywaddy - Dancin' Party - I've never understood why (like the cast off Happy Days)they didn't go the whole hog and actually have 50s hairstyles not dodgy 70s jobs - you'd think if it was your livelihood you'd make the sacrifice wouldn't you.
And that bit when they were down in the audience at the end - you can get in trouble for that these days!

The Carpenters - Calling Occupants
great that we get to see them. In my opinion theres no contest when it comes to naming the greatest female singer in popular music history. Perfect pitch, completely unique sound and complete feeling without thinking you have to bawl to show emotion.
And so sad to see her looking so ill -hard to believe she was only 26/27 when she made this video.And Richard's had his hair cut - probably not for punk!

Barron Knights- Live In Trouble - they missed the most famous bit out (the Walthamstow verse)and that gay sequence would have gone right over my head at the time - TBH I don't even remember that bit at all. Lucky Tom Robinson wasn't in the studio with them this week!

David Bowie - Heroes - what a coup for TOTP Bowie doing such a classic live in the studio.

another classic with Abba and if you've got to have something vaguely punky The Jam are a cut above so yeah I thought this was great.

wilberforce said...

can i also concur with those above that a: i always read and enjoy simon's reviews of the shows, and b: please don't even think of packing it in (at least until the beeb decide to, which now wouldn't surprise me in the slightest thanks to the damage done by s*vilegate)...

regarding tonight's show: i say hoorah for peter powell with his youth and unbridled enthusiasm. i know he has his detractors, but (as i've said in previous contributions) there was more depth to him than met the eye as he had a keen interest in the post-punk/new romantic/synth pop scene in the early 80's, that i was also very much into - for instance, i remember him playing an album track off the then-latest talking heads album "remain in light" on his radio show that really blew me away - thanks peter!

at the risk of seeming like the boy in the emperor's new clothes, i've never liked the modfather, and nowadays can't stand him thanks to the hype, so he was instant fast-forwarding material!

i'd completely forgotten about dorothy moore's second hit and probably not heard it since then, but when listening it came back to me like it was yesterday - i could even remember the harmonies. i have to admit, what a fantastically crafted song (even if a little slushy) - definitely a guilty pleasure! did anyone else notice that poor old rosie (or was it jill? i still can't remember which is which) got faded out at the end just as she was stepping up to give us a come-hither smile like the rest of legs had done?

with regard to the big hats referring to the fonz and "happy days" during the later showaddywaddy appearance, most reading this will probably be aware that the phrase "shark-jumping moment" for something that has run its course originated thanks to this show (fonz jumps over a shark whilst water-skiing) - a good excuse for me to say that as far as quo were concerned,this single was their "shark-jumping moment" for me back then, and hearing it again now hasn't made me feel any more inclined to re-appraise it (unlike others mentioned below), so the fast-forward button was once more pressed into service..

presumably the backing track for "heroes" was done on a shoestring at the beeb? also presumably by bowie's own musicians rather than the totp orchestra? i know from experience by once playing in a bowie tribute band that trying to recreate it live is no easy task thanks to the huge amount of layered frippertronics going on throughout the record, but i thought whoever was responsible for this did a pretty good job in the circumstances. however having said that, i've personally never liked the track very much (unlike the critics), finding it somewhat turgid despite it's uplifting lyrical message, so i was never surprised that it wasn't a very big hit despite bowie going to the trouble of actually appearing on totp. i suppose a bit like "bohemian rhapsody" or "hotel california" i've heard it so often now that it's become kind-of likeable and almost like part of the family, but in my opinion the first single off that album ("beeuty and the beast", which also flopped chartwise") still knocks the title track into a cocked hat!

what can one say about serial offenders showaddywaddy that hasn't been said before? that the singer still persists with his ridiculous david cassidy feathercut whilst fronting a rock n roll revival band? that despite being top-heavy personel-wise (to put it mildly), none of them seemed to have any inclination to even mime playing the sax that invariably honks away throughout all of their records? still, rather them than smokie on the show any day of the week...

Bamaboogiewoogie said...

Funnily enough every week since I discovered this blog (in June this year - I was always the last kid in out street to do anything) I've always read Simon's posts and the other comments first, because it's funny and informative and the stop myself from repeating anything someone else has said.

Except this week because I'm sitting at home recovering from flu I just went in and posted on the show without realising some of the discontentment above.

@Simon please carry on doing this blog, it's one of the few things that's keeping me sane in a mad world.

Regarding the show I have liked every single performance, even if I didn't particularly like the acts. It's nostalgia of the best kind. 1976 was the year that my interest in music really started as I used to not only create my own chart but I used to play it every week (a bit sad I know but I was only 13). I wish they has started in January '76 but it was fascinating seeing things I had forgotten and realising how bad some of the things I thought were good and finally seeing clips that I had seen since on TOTP2 in context of whole shows. This continued into 77 and I was looking forward to the new wave and disco in 78. I think they showed at 7.30 because that was when it usually shown in 1976. perhaps they should move it until it finds a bigger audience (I'm not sure why they show The Sky At Night at 7.30 when that was always on at 11pm or later when it was on BBC 2 - and they repeat it on on BBC 2 anyway!).

But I don't think they should only show the shows that have big, famous names on them I think they should show them warts and all (JS excepted) and regardless of viewing figures, which to be honest are often misleading anyway.

80sblokeinthe70s said...

Interesting points from eighties pop kid especially about punk and the lack of viewers.
The problem is those involved in popular music media seem to confuse the punk loving predilections of a certain type of university educated (often media)professional with that of the population as a whole who in reality were/are completely uninterested in it.
They really believed that suddenly in 1977 everyone would be flocking to watch stuff like the Adverts when I should imagine most casual viewers thought WTF and bring back Mud.TBH most people I've spoken to who've watched it much the preferred 1976 shows.

As has been said disco getting even bigger in 1978/79 and Grease should prove more popular as would the New Pop of the early 80s but will it be popular enough to make people actually watch whole shows from that era?

**PS That "anonymous" post above was me - don't know what happened there.**

eightiespopkid said...

80s bloke: In a word, yes. If they had started the re-runs in 1981 with Duran, Spandau, Human League, Bucks Fizz, Shaky, OMD, Kim Wilde and the like I'm certain BBC4 would have been rewarded with 1m viewers each week, but look what we would have missed out on (and still probably will miss out on!) if they had.

TimT said...

It would be a shame if BBC4 pulled the repeats, just as we’re getting into the dark heart of my teenage years.

The last couple of weeks have been perfect illustrations of the complex emotions and associations the show stirs up. Last week, 2012 me thrilled to see the Tom Robinson Band - but 1977 me went out and bought the Darts album (and its two successors).

Similarly, 2012 me turned the volume up to max for The Jam doing The Modern World. But 1977 me was barely aware of Weller and bought the Barron Knights album instead. And, it has to be said, 2012 me laughed all over again at the Leo Sayer parody.

So it’s complicated, looking back at the music of your youth, and that’s one of the things I love about TOTP 77. I appreciate that there are larger forces at play, but for those of us who were 15 in 1977, it’s THE highlight of the TV week.

Ian Beresford said...

Did anyone spot the Bob Carolgees look-a-like in the crowd again? Must have had some sort of season ticket.

Dory said...

The only highlight of this week's show was the superb Showaddywaddy appearance, which must have been a re-run of the appearance two week's earlier on the DLT edition which was pulled from our schedule.

In fact, of the three appearances of this song on TOTP, two of them were on DLT and JS, so we only got to see this one on Peter Powell's show.

Brilliant as it is, it was to be an intriguing rivalry over 1977/78 between Showaddywaddy and Darts, as they dominated these the period with hit after hit.

In Oct/Nov 1977, six consecutive TOTP shows had either Showaddywaddy or Darts, but alternated between them, ie, never on the same show.
It would be interesting to see if in 1978, they ever appeared on the same show, as this would really have been the makings of a big party!.

In fact, just this week's show with Peter Powell, Showaddywaddy were in such party mood, that it shaped the next few years on TOTP with colours and balloons in the studio well into the 80s.

Thank you Showaddywaddy and Darts.....you were the life and party of TOTP in my opinion.
See you Darts next week on Noel Edmund's show....

Zygon said...

Question for you knowlegable persons here...

the Queen video was new to me (and I love them) was it made for TOTP - there was also a guitar line I'd never heard before in it1

As for the Show - A cracker pity the Barrons didn't get to do the full song!

Simon - Love this blog and look forward to the new bits, It gave me the urge to add now & again.

Bamaboogiewoogie said...

The Queen video was filmed at The New London Theatre on 6 October 1977 with fan club members in the audience. They filmed two versions, the official video (all in colour) and this one which starts with a c/u of Freddie in black and white.

What amazes me is how sporadic Queen were with their chart action, the next single Spread Your Wings only got to number 34.

And The Baron Knights, anyone else recall their song Get Down Shep? I seem to recall seeing them do that on Blue Peter, must have been around this time as John Noakes and Shep left Blue Peter in 1978.

Also weren't Showadywaddy regular guests on Blue Peter as well. Didn't Biddy Baxter live near their manager or something?

PS: Weller's I AM NOBODY Rickenbacker guitar (minus the Gill address sticker) sold at Christie's for 10k in 2008.

http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/memorabilia/the-jam-paul-weller-5101171-details.aspx

Darren said...

I see that the schedules for TOTP 1977 beyond next week are:
13-Dec, 1930 (24/11/77, Kid Jensen)
20-Dec, 2000
20-Dec, 2030

The schedules only go up to 21st December at the moment.

Therefore, I wonder if that double bill on 20th December will be 1/12/77 (DLT) and 8/12/77 (Tony Blackburn), or 8/12/77 and 15/12/77 (Elton John)? Given 22/12 is presented by he who should not be mentioned, I suspect the latter.

Steve Morgan said...

Great show this week, enjoyed every act and performance, as usual it was my tv highlight of the week. Very surprised though that no one has noticed that The Bee Gees have slipped quietly into the charts at number 22 with their first hit from Saturday Night Fever. I expected a few chart facts about that one when I noticed it.

malmo58 said...

Simon : please keep the blog going, I love to read every week even if I'm not much of a commenter.

Really fearing the worst about these repeats' possible demise. Like others before me on this thread TOTP is the highlight of my TV week, and it being axed really would leave me with a hole.

Yes, we've been lucky to get what we've had, but if it's axed, for me it'll be a case of, in the words of James :

"Now I've swung back down again
It's worse than it was before
If I hadn't seen such riches
I could live with being poor" ;(

Hope you're all posting on the BB Points of View message board and emailing them via BBC website's Feedback page.

Arthur Nibble said...

"Get Down Shep"! I remember that on Blue Peter. Not The Barron Knights' only ode to dogs, as they also released almost-top-40-hit "The Sit Song" as a cap doff to Barbara Woodhouse.

Changing tack slightly, who was it amongst you (maybe Wilberforce?) who was umming and ahhing about buying Donald Fagen's latest album called something like "Sunken Condos"? I heard some of it in a mate's car tonight coming back from a jasz gig (yes, really, and why not?) - he's a big Dan fan and loves the new album. Very smooth, very relaxing, very Fagen apparently, and some nice understated guitar solos from - I think he said - Jeff "Skunk" Baxter. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Arthur Nibble (again) said...

Tell you what, that's a very decent height Peter Powell reaches with that jump. Could've made a really good centre half!

Anonymous said...

I feel moved to leave a comment for the first time: Simon, please don't give up. I read your blog every week after watching the repeat of TOTP on Saturday and I very much appreciate it.

I hope the run continues into 1978. We are a small niche audience, but the sort that is the staple of BBC4's output. It will be a great shame if the BBC allows itself to be intimidated by the Daily Mail into shelving this great archive of popular music.

Ian Beresford said...

Simon , if you stop the blog we'll all come and form a tent city outside your house as per the modern trend in protesting

Zygon said...

Thanks Bama

I think I prefer the TOTP shown one, maybe 'cos of it's 'Newness' and the added guitar line adding a suprise freshness to the song.

Arthur Nibble said...

Has anyone else had trouble accessing the TV Cream website? I check it before each TOTP and I've been trying since Thursday morning to read their preview of Peter Powell's debut, but all I get is a blank white screen.

wilberforce said...

arthur: yes it was me wondering whether to bother with donald fagen's latest CD after being somewhat disappointed with the last couple of steely dan-related releases... i'm sure as is normal now in this day and age that i can listen to tracks from it on youtube, which i probably will sooner or later - if i'm not impressed then no harm done... interesting to read though that donald has jeff "skunk" baxter (of doobie brothers fame) playing with him again for the first time in nearly 40 years - some of you may be aware that in more recent times he has somewhat bizarrely become better known as some kind of consultant for the US government's arms and defence programmes!

wilberforce said...

i'm just getting a blank screen for the tv cream website as well - hope it's only temporary... (?)

Bamaboogiewoogie said...

@Steve Morgan - re The Bee Gees and Saturday Night Fever, of course Jive Talking and You Should Be dancing had already charted in '75 and '76 although they never appeared singing the latter, even on video. In fact it wasn't until SNF That I realised what a great song it was.

@Arthur Nibble - re The Barron Knights' "The Sit Song" are you sure there's not an h missing from that?

If BBC4 do stop showing TOTP (and I sincerely hope they don't) perhaps someone can persuade ITV2 or Sky Arts to show the likes of Supersonic and Get It Together.

Steve Morgan said...

@Bamaboogiewoogie re Bee Gees, yes, those two previous tracks were hits as you say, but How Deep Is Your Love was the first hit specially written for SNF, the others were taken from previous albums Main Course and Children of the World, both excellent albums in my opinion.

Matty B said...

I had to explain to my American wife who 'The Barron Knights' are. I said that they are a 'comedy' group who did pastiches of popular hits of the day like erm.. Weird Al Yankovic. Oh dear.

wilberforce said...

when it comes to people parodying pop hits, neither of these are as good as the heebeegeebees with the brilliant "meaningless songs (in very high voices)" 45 (barry gibb was probably not amused). they actually went on to produce a couple of albums lampooning stars of the day such as the police (the pee cees), dolly parton (dolly hardon) and gary numan (gary inhuman), but unlike the above who merely replaced the song lyrics actually crafted wickedly-observed musical pastiches too - they even produced their own version of then-popular pop mag "smash hits" ("smashed twits")! among their ranks were future tv comedy star angus deayton and musical mastermind philip pope who later made use of his talent supplying musical spoofs for "spitting image", but despite that they were not very successful so their albums are real collector's items these days...

Arthur Nibble said...

"Meaningless Songs" (featuring the keening couplet "The world is very big / And bacon comes from a pig") wasn't a hit here, but it made number 2 in Australia.

wilberforce said...

further to the last post, i checked the internet out and discovered both heebeegeebees albums have now finally been released on one CD... so i snapped one up from amazon!

Andee Bee said...

Now this is something of interest, not the body of the article but the bottom footnote, that the BBC maybe editing out JS links for TV broadcast (not actually from the episode but from the digital broadcast on BBC4)


http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2012/nov/27/jimmy-savile-desert-island-discs?CMP=twt_fd


Now if this was true, I would assume it will start with the Xmas show of 77, and if it is true then hopefully we will get back dates of the missing Savile ones.

This is also mentioned on Missing episodes as well....fingers X'd

Steve Williams said...

We don't know why TV Cream was down, but it's back. Nothing fishy about it, we have no power or influence whatsoever (and whatever I write in Creamguide abnout Pops is just rehashed from what I write here).

Zygon said...

Interesting, If they are Re-editing then they must be planning to show them otherwise why go to the expense of doing it?.

Fingers crossed

Bamaboogiewoogie said...

I can see why they would edit Jimmy Savile out of the shows, and at least it means we will get to see the acts (although it's too late for John Forde), but I hope they don't do any thing too silly like wiping the originals or bringing Steve Wright in to do a voice over.

darnall 42 said...

there was a episode from 1971 repeated on uk gold that had mute links -UK Gold edited out all the links and just captioned the acts (it was a jimmy savile show and all we got to see of him was a few seconds of him dancing with his face covered up) Surely BBC Four could do that for the 1978 savile hosted shows for not too much cash :-)