Let's get down to brass tacks, it's your special guest host Elton John! Sporting a cap, because any port in a storm, and a jacket with red lining that's probably far more expensive than it looks, plus in an interesting development no glasses. The other Donna Summer single, I Love You, goes behind the rundown.
The Dooleys – Love Of My Life
Of course we (points at comments box) have seen this twice already but they (points at viewing public) haven't, which means they miss out on the transmogrification and join the Dooleys as their transformation into all-pearly grinning supper club entertainers with ideas above their station is complete. Jim of the flowing mane has an open-zipped Evil Knievel castoff of a top and a pair of white trousers that are hitched so far up his body, with the aid of a thick belt, he surely couldn't walk properly. Anne and Kathy are more properly dressed than first time around, in fact one of them not far from Catholic girls' school chic. The keyboard player, taking Jim on at his own game despite being stood right next to a large circle, has gone for the open jacket over bare chest. The bassist is standing right next to Jim on stage, which is building up your part somewhat given the usual vocal arrangement.
Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Egyptian Reggae
Elton's body language is all over the place, a ten second link sees him bobbing, weaving, shifting from foot to foot and sticking out his right elbow like he's trying to balance on a ball. Maybe because nobody could believe it first time round, "the fantastic" Legs & Co's meisterwork gets a second airing.
Carl Douglas – Run Back
It's now we can clearly see Elton has some sort of small reflective pendant on, could be diamond, could be glass. Should never leave home without one. As the camera pulls over to Carl we can see about a third of the audience are watching Elton instead. Not unsurprisingly, given his relative stature, but you're there for the music, dammit. And maybe for Douglas' dad clothes, a cream fleece for the larger figure and far too tight light brown cords. He's enthusiastic enough when it comes to improvised fist clenching and taking a step down to the lower part of the stage and when he spots a lurking lens it's little eyebrows and pretend surprise all the way. Then, right on the big brassy first note of the chorus, he delivers an over the top comedy wink. He knows alright. He also knows nobody else knows what melisma is yet as he arches backwards and delivers a big note, and then spoils it with another chorus to which he bounces jauntily about on the spot. There are, we note, two sailors down the front. Wrong week!
Julie Covington – Only Women Bleed
We lose Dooley Wilson's As Time Goes By for film rights reasons and pick up as on tape Covington stands, backlit, and sings to two different cameras from various distances in exactly the same way Bowie does in the Heroes video.
Darts – Daddy Cool/The Girl Can’t Help It
"Time to move yourself about a bit now". Here at the halfway point you begin to understand the problem with this show. It's not that Elton isn't entirely comfortable with performance to camera - ah, how times change - or that he starts every link looking at the floor followed by an "OK!", it's that this is the very famous Elton John and he's doing nothing other than 'that was, this is'. Nerves may be coming into play on that front, but why have a big name present the show - not even the last one before Christmas, by the way - and give him no room for manoevure? Anyway... Darts are back in town, Rita's in her most comfortably fitting leopardskin and Den's wearing a jacket that might be made out of discarded carpet material and what looks like adapted white dungarees underneath, looking for all the world like the lost Dr Who. Clearly the third wheel of the arrangement, Bob Fish tries to make up for it by proffering his fists as big chorus punctuation as if he's offering everyone outside, which may well have been the case. Hegarty then inevitably escapes, and after hurredly untangling his mike cable settles his chin upon one of the big set design rings, which suspiciously seems to be much lower and nearer than usual. It's when he puts his whole bodyweight upon the hanging structure and tries to swing forward on it that Griff Fender, who has up to now been miming along with Hegarty's lines, looks slightly worried. As they face off at the end the pair resemble teacher and problem child. Maybe that was the plan.
Elvis Presley – My Way
Some commotion can still be just about heard in the background as Elton brings in Legs & Co again. I can't work out whether this was thrown in at the last minute, as the unfitting pink dresses and last minute choreography involving lots of turning and arm waving during which a member gets out of sync at least once suggests, or planned so they could get Patti - at least we're led to assume it's her as she's not otherwise involved - into silhouette in wig, turned up jacket collar and guitar strummed in profile despite there being no acoustic guitar on the track.
John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett – Really Free
Finding himself among the audience for the first time all night Elton gets really out of whack, referring to this "making its debut on Top Of The Pops, for the charts anyway". Mind you, knowing what was coming, wouldn't you be stutteringly apprehensive? No amp climbing or place losing from Otway this time but he does do a few laps of the tiny stage with a suitcase amp in the middle, tear open his shirt just as nobody's expecting or requesting it and have to be pushed back towards the mike by Barrett to start the last verse. Four people down the front headbang vigorously. The rest look confused, not least the next band briefly glimpsed on the other stage.
The Emotions – I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love
What must they have told people back home about their experience on Britain's famous pop show? Elton rates Best Of My Love as one of his favourite songs of the year, which doesn't stop the orchestra's blaring brass crashing in early and his having to shout over them. Whichever Emotion is taking lead almost immediately exerts the audience to clap their hands. Two people, one of the sailors inclusive, do so. Nevertheless she's pushing on with energy, grabbing the mike and completely foregoing her bandmates' routine with a series of shoulder exercises and playing to the front row. Fine work.
Wings – Mull Of Kintyre
Different clip this week, from the Mike Yarwood show, with Paul standing alone in the middle of a pretend forest clearing, namely one very plastic tree, some dry ice and an old painted backdrop. It must be catching, even Elton's calling it "the number one sound", and to add to the general DLT-ism he adopts a Yorkshire accent introducing the Floral Dance outro, stumbling over the name as he goes. Does he say anything to acknowledge this very famous and characterful pop star has been your guest host for the night? Of course not. Was he doing it under heavy duress?