Tony Blackburn in his casual golfing top welcomes us, Donna Summer's Love's Unkind takes us down the countdown, and we all get to admire the inch-perfect skill of the designer.
Generation X – Wild Youth
A close-up of a guitar? With Tony around are we in A Bit Of That Sort Of Rock mode? We're certainly in the bleach'n'sneer department for Gen X's second appearance but the first we've seen on telly, though Billy, gloves to match his leather jacket, really has to try and gain the gaps where he can do that lip snarl thing. The guitarist meanwhile has the drooping blonde fringe that the Police would sport for a bit and Birdland would later take up. (Hands up who thought Birdland would get a relevant reference on here?) Tony James on bass manages to break his strap and has to perform some running repairs in the break. By the end Billy's just shouting and James has abandoned the instrument almost completely, lifting it high on the punch-along beat.
Hot Chocolate – Put Your Love In Me
"Here's a group that never made a bad record" Tony avers. It's another triumph of the directorial art, using both fish-eye lens and fading shots of the band members in turn up over a long shot of the stage before Errol gets to do his straight-faced, big-collared thing in closeup. Then on the way towards the end the effects budget gets blown for another week as everything briefly goes into flickering psychedelic colours, violins cascade, Errol hits a falsetto note or two and then things just continue as if nothing untoward had happened.
Chic – Dance Dance Dance (Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah)
Or as Tony calls them, Chick. No Francophile he. Nile Rodgers tells a story of coming to TOTP in 1975, we think with Labelle, and having only known genre divided radio up til then was surprised to find following them on stage at the recording of what he'd been told was this big modern pop show was Mike Reid's telling of The Ugly Duckling. He's not here, it's Legs & Co in their showgirl outfits, shiny boob tubes/small tops and pants each with a trailing set of feather boas like psychedelic Pepe le Pews and a matching armband. Dancing under a set of geometric shapes hung from the ceiling that wobble occasionally just as the girls move under them there's very much a flapper dancing vibe going on, though you can't really get away with much else dressed like that.
Manfred Mann's Earth Band – California
"I was in California a little bit earlier on this year, and to sing all about that here's Manfred Mann's Earth Band". Either the song actually is about Tony's holiday, which seems unlikely if not overdoing it, or it's not the greatest holiday destination tip I've ever heard. The guitarist, looking like a lost member of 10cc, opens by strumming his guitar unconvincingly before his singing colleague, who with beard and woolly hat seems to be a prototype for Badly Drawn Boy, except in a barely forgiveable rainbow jumper that even a Playaway host would pass by, exudes. It sounds like American country rock, as so many tried to back then. It turns out, though, that it's the drummer we should have been watching, as not only is he wearing a massive headband despite being bald but he bursts out laughing at the guitar solo, surely something he'd be used to by now.
Bonnie Tyler – It’s A Heartache
The show seems to have been edited by pinning the 3.5" videotape to a wall and firing a staple gun at it. Bonnie's back, a vision in a country singer white suit. No room for band theatrics this week with a tiny stage, but she sounds like she's getting used to her new voice. Tony makes sure to credit her as being from "beautiful Wales".
The Bee Gees – How Deep Is Your Love
"Number five in our sensational chart", they're under the lights again. This time with audio wobbles!
Graham Parker & The Rumour – New York Shuffle
The smallest man in pub rock returns! Still in shades, as expected, the Rumour run through some rhythm and blues (as opposed to rhythm and rock) enlivened when Parker joins in the guitar solo by mouthing it right at camera with a circular mouth as if he were a particularly rock-conversant goldfish, all while pumping his right arm to indicate some form of excitement. We lose Bing Crosby's White Christmas here presumably for film rights reasons, though it used to be a staple of TOTP2's festive show. Still, we jump straight on to a song that's just as legendary...
The Banned – Little Girl
Yeeeees. In all senses of the drawn-out sucking of air through teeth. The Banned were members of prog rockers Gryphon chancing it for the quick buck - their past members list on Wiki includes such delights as Rick Mansworth, Ben Dover, Tommy Steal and naturally John Thomas - though with their clipped, reedy riffs, Mockney singing drummer, skinny ties and cheap shades they actually seem to have accidentally invented new wave. Halfway through drummer Paul Sordid - that doesn't even work! - in his cream scarf runs to the proper mike and with the beat merrily carrying on regardless he goes through the motions of pointing and glaring through the shades. The audience look appropriately bemused. "I love that one" Tony lies.
Wings – Mull Of Kintyre
Tony slings his arm around a woman who seems less than enthused about the prospect and introduces a clip we're just going to have to get used to. The gift that keeps on giving, Belfast sees us out.