Thursday, 24 July 2014

Time for Top of the Pops Action

It looks like tonight's edition, from the 30th August 1979, could be the last for the duration of the BBC Proms season. Since we're about to enter September from 35 years ago, it will at least give 2014 a chance to catch up with 1979! And if the show is to be off the air for a few weeks, what a sensational one to leave us with........

er........who's playing drums?

30-8-79: Presenter: David Jensen

(22) THE BELLAMY BROTHERS – If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me (and charts)
(67) SECRET AFFAIR – Time For Action
(23) DOLLAR – Love’s Gotta Hold On Me
(44) NICK LOWE – Cruel To Be Kind
(24) SISTER SLEDGE – Lost In Music (danced to by Legs & Co)
(10) THE GIBSON BROTHERS – Ooh! What A Life ®
(20) GARY NUMAN – Cars
(3) B.A. ROBERTSON – Bang Bang
(6) THE SPECIAL AKA – Gangsters
(28) JOHNNY MATHIS – Gone Gone Gone (with Gill from Legs & Co)
(25) THE STRANGLERS – Duchess
(1) CLIFF RICHARD – We Don’t Talk Anymore ®
(15) BONEY M – Gotta Go Home (and credits)

The Bellamy Brothers ~ over three years since they let their love flow, here they are back in the charts heading towards an even bigger hit.

Secret Affair ~ A debut on the show for the Mod revivalists, and Time for Action was to be their biggest hit.

Dollar ~ a first lead vocal here for Thereza Bazar, and just like the Brotherhood of Man and the Dooleys before them, the switch to a girl lead paid off, Love's Gotta Hold on Me becoming the duo's first top ten hit. Nice Carpenters-like backing vocals too.

Nick Lowe ~ I guess this in a way was the follow up to Girl's Talk, it's the same band, Rockpile, and here they all are in the studio, Dave Edmunds happy to take the roll of rhythm guitarist whilst Nick sings.

Sister Sledge ~ a perfect song for a Legs routine, this time the girls do their thing trapped inside various cages.

The Gibson Brothers ~ a repeat showing for Ooh What a Life, now at its peak position.

Gary Numan ~ the week's highest new entry, on it's way of course to number one. Cars sounded amazing in the arcades of Pontins, Morecambe in September 1979 - whilst playing that game where those two cowboys have a shoot out as a wagon pulls away, with the loser floating off to heaven. Anybody else remember that one?

BA Robertson ~ edited from the 7.30 show, catch it at 1.30 am ~ looks like a new performance.

The Commodores ~ also edited from the 7.30 show - this would become the first of two top ten hits for the band in 1979.

The Specials ~ also edited from the 7.30 show ~ now at its peak in the charts.

Johnny Mathis ~ After 21 years of hits, Gone Gone Gone was aptly to be Johnny's final top twenty hit - here he performs live in the studio, with Gill from Legs & Co dancing prettily in the background.

The Stranglers ~ in the studio but making it obvious they were not quite performing live, Duchess was their only top twenty hit in 1979, and they would get there again until 1982.

Cliff Richard ~ had also clocked up 21 years of hits by this point, but unlike Johnny Mathis this would be far from his last - indeed, We Don't Talk Anymore sparked a major revival in his fortunes that would see him carry on having hits for another 21 years!

Boney M ~ play us out this week, and we essentially say goodbye to them ~ it seems like only 2 and a half years ago we were watching their, er, interesting, debut on the show with Daddy Cool.

Well, that's got to be one of the best shows we've had so far in the reruns, with arguably the best of 1979 still yet to come. Next up is the 6th September 1979 (didn't August just seem to fly by!) - I'm not sure when it will be broadcast, but when it is we'll be back here too.


  1. Sex appeal on the show this week one again came from Therasa Bazaar, and also Legs & Co at their brilliant best.

    Dollar – not the greatest of their hits, I think due to the fact that for the first time Theresa took lead vocal, whereas it was always shared equally between the two. However, there’s just something mesmerising about Theresa Bazaar as a woman always in love it seemed, and couples in love on TOTP always brought a touch of gold to the show. I always have time for anything by Dollar.

    Nick Lowe – I remember this was THE hit through the month of September – waiting for the adventure ahead in my first month in secondary school as an 11-year old, and this was indeed the sing-along song of the year in 1979.

    Sister Sledge – probably Legs & Co’s finest performance since forming at the end of 1976 with this particular line-up. The disco outfits were brilliant and among the best I’ve seen with those lovely legs. Great to see Lulu and Pauline’s sex appeal taking lead over the other four girls kept in the cage at the back. The sexy outfits coupled with the gorgeous high heels, made a better video than anything Sister Sledge could produce at the time.

    The Gibson Brothers – disco at it’s very best, but this breakthrough hit was not a jot on what was to come in the months ahead with the brilliant Que Sera Mi Vida, and their finest moment with Cuba in 1980.

    Jonny Mathis – now past his sell by date and into middle age, not even Gill from Legs & Co on this studio performance could salvage his fledgling career in 1979.

    Boney M (closing credits) – one of my favourite Boney M offerings, even though it came at the end of their chart career as a group, but nevertheless a great carnival party tune.

  2. This was a good one, wasn't it? Secret Affair's towering achievement was the great Behind Closed Doors album, but this track showed they hit the ground running. Very pouty lead singer, too.

    Didn't think I recognised this Dollar tune till they got to the chorus, Thereza doing all the vocal heavy lifting, sounds pleasant in summer.

    Nick Lowe bearing a striking resemblance to Mike Berry who would have been on Are You Being Served? at the time. Cracking song, anyway, though Dave looks like he's continually on the verge of bursting out laughing.

    You'd have thought Legs & Co would be restricted by the cage, but not a bit of it, very strong routine. It was always good when they danced to disco. But how did they get in and out?

    Cars with its classic keyboard riff which was also the basis for Armand van Helden's toetapper Coochy twenty five years later. Probably heard this enough times now, but always good to see these things in context.

    Was it hot in the studio this week? B.A. was just one of the artistes who looked a bit sweaty, when he took his jacket off I wasn't surprised - then he put it back on again!

    Not so keen on the slower Commodores songs, but I do like this one, nice and laid back, and Lionel Richie managing to pull off that spangly look was entertaining in itself.

    Really like this Johnny Mathis goes disco ditty, they were all at it, even the easy listening brigade. The TOTP orchestra obviously felt confident about this one. Added bonus of the best Legs & Co person (what's the singular of Legs & Co? Calling them a Leg doesn't sound right) grooving away in the background.

    What was this Stranglers song about? Never could work it out. Very cryptic.

    "Sheeeep!" Cliff was very tanned, had be been overdoing it on the tennis courts? Difficult to be critical about this, it seems like it's been around forever. A bit like Cliff.

    1. i agree that gill is the best legger: not just in looks but her whole style (patti gets runner-up and rosie third). in the johnny mathis routine i noticed for the first time how much she looks like jerry hall... only a lot better! by the way, the only way they could get in and out of the cages was if someone inserted a giant key into the keyhole that was on secret affair's kick drum...

    2. Jimmy Savile called his mum "the Duchess," but presumably she wasn't who the Stranglers had in mind...

    3. Glad it's not just me who appreciates Gill, I was thinking she was the most underrated in the pantheon of TOTP dance troupes. I think she appealed to the little kid version of me because I did tend to be enchanted by pretty blonde ladies at that age.

  3. “Duchess” appears to be about a woman either with some royal / upper class ancestry, or someone pretending to have, who's down on her luck and wants a relationship but with someone of distinction and not a commoner (i.e. a “Rodney”). That countdown shot of The Stranglers in choirboy gear is all we’ll see of the video, which the BBC deemed blasphemous due to the band’s dress sense.

    1. In his excellent 2001 'song by song' book, Cornwell stated Duchess was a girl he was at university with, who claimed she was a direct descendent of Henry VIII. she owned a terrace house in Chelsea.

    2. Thanks to both!

  4. There were some beautiful songs in the chart that week: The Bellamy Brothers, Dollar and, most significantly, The Commodores' 'Sail On' - the antidote to disco. Amid a flurry of hit disco recordings by such Caucasian pop and rock acts as Abba, The Bee Gees and ELO, out came a cod-Dr Hook country-pop crossover ballad - recorded by an African-American funk outfit on Motown.

    Well done to both Johnny Mathis and the BBC orchestra for turning out a live rendition of 'Gone Gone Gone' that was just as good as the studio version, if not better! The song, which remains one of my all-time dancefloor favourites, was actually composed by Leon Haywood, who would have a hit of his own soon afterwards with 'Don't Push It, Don't Force It'.

  5. host: nice shirt kid! business as usual, although i notice he does most of his links solo rather than surrounded by teenage girls - perhaps he had a premonition of things to come?

    bellamy brothers/charts: clever if puerile wordplay, but not a patch musically on "let your love flow". some interesting chart snaps this week: despite being billed as a solo artist, bill lovelady seems to have a band that gives earth, wind & fire and the emotions some competition in the numbers stakes. plus judy tzuke is outdone by the (immediately following) female dooleys in the prominent hampsteads handicap. for no justified reason a couple of acts are still in black and white (including dollar who ironically later released a single with that phrase in the title), whilst randy vanwarmer somewhat bizarrely appears to be emerging from a red telephone box! but good to see that they managed to use that amusing pic of the stranglers as choirboys...

    secret affair: i thought the mod revival thing looked quite cool image-wise, but musically it did little for me, and this lot were a good example of that. i remember the singer getting plenty of attention in the music press at the time for his outspoken opinions and views, but unlike the likes of kevin rowland or morrissey wasn't able to sustain the interest so he quickly headed back to obscurity. talking of mr rowland, the drummer later happily ditched his cool mohair suit for scruffy dungarees when he joined the far-more prominent dexys midnight runners...

    dollar: surely thereza (note the unusual spelling) must have had the feeblest voice in pop? certainly for that era anyway - i can't believe how she got away with it! and this time there's no bright-red lipstick to make up (unintended pun) for that either. for some reason the drummer is standing up...

    nick lowe (rockpile): no surprise to hear from kid that this was doing well stateside as it's pure cod-americana! well done and pleasant enough but no more than that to me. the audience seem to be quite animated for a change though, bouncing about enthusiastically despite it being mid-tempo at best. just in case nick thinks anyone won't spot his influences he wears one of those bootlace tie things much favoured by cowboys. he also seems to be playing a fretless bass - was that his usual choice or was he just doing so for the cameras? i know from experience that not only are they a lot more difficult to play, but that they make a unique sound that is not evident in this recording. i personally don't think dave edmunds looks too happy being stuck at the back, but maybe he was positioned there as he'd only just a hit single under his own name and the director didn't want to confuse anybody?

    sister sledge/legs: another decent chic groove if not quite as strong as their previous two singles. for some reason lulu has her own cage where she does her own (unchoreographed?) thing... maybe because flick considered her the most creative dancer? pauline is superimposed in the same cage just pouting suggestively in close-up... maybe because flick had by now realised she wasn't as good a dancer as the rest?

  6. part ii:

    gary numan: not only dispensing with the band name but with guitars as well, though even with four synth players he still feels the need to do a bit of one-finger work himself. it could be because the second half of this track is virtually instrumental and he didn't want to just stand around like a lemon, although i think he could have used that opportunity to stare impassively (perhaps with arms folded) to far greater effect. an over-made-up billy currie is happy to mug away for the cameras despite playing the role of an android, whilst i can't work out if the synth player behind him has got an attitude problem or is just spaced out on drugs. and the drummer has obviously got hold of some straightening tongs to try and tame his afro, but just ends up looking even worse. (still) fascinatingly futuristic visually all the same despite that, and (apart from the somewhat-basic melody) the music is far superior to "are "friends" electric" - a real mover with fantastic synth sounds, and i especially love the huge crunching handclaps!

    b a robertson: i paid this a bit more attention this time, i can't work out if it's supposed to be a disco cash-in or an early form of synth pop, but whatever it is, with the silly spoken vocal thing it just doesn't work for me. b a rather awkwardly takes his jacket off and then puts it back on again (presumably to act out some lyrics?), and at one point seems to do a larry grayson impression (hadn't he taken over from bruce forsyth as the host of "the generation game" by now? talk about after the lord mayor's show - all the guy had was a "pulling a face" routine, a couple of fey hand movements and a few lame catchphrases!)

    commodores: is it me, but does lionel seem intent on hamming it up with his bandmates as if they're the village people or something? i don't care for his ballads to put it mildly, but give me this over the vomit-inducing likes of "three times a lady" and "endless love" anyday...

    the specials: even terry "miserable git" hall seems a bit more animated this time around. i was thinking "has he got a cigarette stuck behind his right ear?" and that was finally confirmed near the end - don't forget kids that smoking fags was cool back then!

    johnny mathis: a middle-aged pinup/knee trembler trying to keep up with the kids and the latest musical trends whilst bemoaning his decaying relationship with his (female) lover, but in reality probably struggling to come out of the closet. does that remind you of anyone else on this show? i found this discofied easy-listening effort fairly amenable, although i don't care much for his singing style...

    the stranglers: always welcome on the show and visually as good as ever, but musically definitely on the decline at this time. jean-jacques moves up from the back to take his place at the mic, then proceeds not to bother to mime the backing vocals! dave greenfield has what looks like a larger version of a stylophone (whoops - maybe i shouldn't have mentioned that in the current climate) on top of his organ, but clearly there only for effect. he also sports a goatee beard that's a bit more impressive than hugh's straggly tuft of chin hair...

    1. Found it! Dave was playing a Wasp synth:

    2. i thought it might have been one of those... there was an even smaller version too, called the gnat! i remember them being in a music shop i used to visit in the early 80's - they had a special room full of analog synths both new and second-hand, and it was brilliant just being in there surrounded by them as if i was rick wakeman or something! despite being on the dole i eventually managed to scrape together over £200 to buy a Roland SH-09 there... but no sooner had i done so then another cheaper, more advanced model came out - bah!

  7. part iii:

    cliff richard: as i hadn't fast-forwarded anything else i hadn't already watched, i thought to be fair to cliff i'd give him a chance despite my dislike of him. and i have to say this is a vast improvement on the rubbish he'd put out since "devil woman". extremely well-crafted and catchy, it's no surprise it got to number one. even cliff's singing isn't making me cringe like usual!

    boney m: don't remember this at all, and i have to say that (suspect steel drums apart) it's pretty damn good! perhaps in the wake of dross like "brown girl in the ring" and "hooray! hooray! it's a holi-holiday!" i had written them off as disco charlatans and so deliberately failed to listen to or retain any memory of their lesser consequent hits. but now i might have to swallow my pride and trawl a few charity shops for a copy of "oceans of fantasy" (that hasn't yet made it to landfill) that i'd previously sneered at the many times i'd come across it in such places in a decade of crate-digging!

    mark: 9/10 (not that i liked 90% percent of it, more that i only really disliked 10%!)

  8. By my calculations we might have to wait until 25 September for the next TOTP on BBC4, but this particular show was a great way to sign off for the summer, and at least the break means there will be enough shows to take us to Christmas when the repeats resume.

    Gary Numan was the clear highlight here, with an all-time classic that I never tire of hearing, while Nick Lowe and the Stranglers also impressed. I don't think the Orchestra did poor old Johnny Mathis any favours, but he is such a consummate singer and pro that he rose above it effortlessly. The strangest performance was, surprisingly, from the Commodores, with that rather homoerotic stance adopted by Lionel Richie and bandmate at the beginning. Lionel appeared to behave somewhat oddly throughout, making me wonder what he had been smoking in the dressing room beforehand...

  9. End of August already! As someone who has enjoyed tracking my childhood through these re-runs I feel that I've been diddled out of my summer hols! Anyway, another one not seen before - still on holiday. One of those 'I can remember where I was at the time' moments was Lord Mountbatten being blown up on his boat on 27th August 1979.

    A sublime start to the show with Secret Affair's debut performance - this will always sound as fresh as it did in 1979 to my ears.

    Followed by one of Dollar's more forgettable songs - I only remember it for the bloppy synth bit (mimed on an electric piano here!). Looks like I'm the odd one out in that I don't think Thereza Bazar has much sex appeal at all. But as for those close-ups of Pauline a little later - now you're talking!

    I wonder if there was any signifiant internal competition within Rockpile? As things turned out, Dave Edmunds had the greater chart success, but Nick managed a very creditable and well-deserved No.12 with this one.

    Legs & Co - most of 1970 TOTP had been wiped by 1979 but it looks like those 'cages' which had the dancers behind had survived.

    Now just a solo name but the same band - and also a new album. Yes, Gary Numan had joined the 'two albums in one year' club. Funny thing is, although Cars is much more of a commercial single than the previous hit, I have always found Replicas (Tubeway Army) to be more musically accessible than The Pleasure Principle (Gary Numan).

    B. A. Robertson - I wonder how much the guy on the timpanis got paid? Nice work if you can get it. Presumably the timpanis were overdubbed by the drummer on the record?

    I have always been amused by the accents on Sail On, particularly when they sing "wishful thinking". Now you need a good sound system to detect this, and I have to admit I did have the volume up quite high (as you do!), but the Commodores were breaking every rule in the book - they were miming to the record!! I could clearly hear the surface noise of the vinyl disc during the quiet bit. Being American they could get away with it I suppose.

    Gangsters was now in the Top 10 - the West Midlands' ska revival fared rather better than London's mod revival, as things turned out.

    Johnny Mathis, and that somewhat lumpy form of disco music as played by the TOTP Orchestra. I'm going to miss them if we carry on into 1980.

    This was the Stranglers' first single to move away from their rough, punky sound and I thought that JJ looked a bit out of place here.

    Finally Mr. Lip Sync, for what seems like long enough for me (not that it's a bad song). If you watch carefully he appears to lose his way slightly on the "we don't talk" after the "woo-oo-oo-oo" bit near the end. I think he may have been ad-libbing on the record at this point, which would explain things.

    1. 20th i'm with you on ms dollar: mr dollar is the prettier one!

  10. Quick question - the riff from Boney M's Gotta Go Home: was that used on a Stars on 45 track or similar? Sounds familiar...

    1. it may sound familiar because of the Duck Sauce song Barbra Streisand, which samples heavily from it.

    2. It's not the same as Stars On 45 but very similar. Probably the same notes in a different order.

    3. That intro bit on the Stars on 45 record was the only original part, ironic that they nicked it from Boney M.

    4. Thanks everyone. Yep, on listening to Stars on 45 again, I can see that they're playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order.

      While I knew there was at track called Barbra Streisand, I hadn't heard it until now. Not the most creative use of sampling I've ever heard...

    5. the horn-like bit right at the beginning of "stars on 45" (before the boney m-style vocals) was sampled or copied from a track called "i wanna get with you" by ritz, an early arthur baker production. the first version was a bootleg with actual original recordings spliced together, for one of which ("venus") the copyright was owned by some dutch guy who saw the chance to make a buck (or should i say guilder?), and so got his associate jaap eggermont to recreate the whole thing along with a bookended intro/outro (that he probably owned copyright for too!)

    6. The original bootleg 12 inch was called Bits and Pieces III that did indeed kicked off with the sample from Ritz and then Madness. Here it is:

      Jaap Eggermont copied a large portion of it by using session musicians, the only original part was the intro - "You can boogie like disco, love that disco sound, Turn up the volume and move it all around, But don't, don't, don't, don't, don't forget, Don't, don't, don't, don't, don't forget,
      The Stars on '45 keep on turning in your mind
      Like We Can Work it Out, Remember Twist and Shout, You still don't Tell Me Why and No Reply" and the whoo-whoo part that we now know they nicked from Boney M. In fact it would interesting to know exactly which bits of the medley Mr Eggermont got writing credit for.
      In the USA they has to list all the titles in the Starsound medley on the label making it the longest title in history to make number 1.

      But does anyone recall the medley DiscoBeatleMania which predated in from 1977.

    7. i'm aware of the discobeatlemania 12" and indeed had a copy in my hands a while back, but didn't feel inclined to listen to it! funny how one moment you can't give away a disco/beatles megamix, and the next people can't get enough of it. maybe it was the death of lennon that made the difference, although those with long memories will remember when they started up these totp repeats in 1976 the charts were stuffed with re-released beatles singles, so it was'nt as if they were forgotten about...

    8. Thanks for the link to Bits & Pieces Bama - I had heard that Stars On 45 was made in response to a bootleg medley but never realised that said bootleg was as clever as this. When you think that the only technology available back then was analog tape machines, the time and effort that must have gone into producing something like this (getting the records in sync with the backbeat, etc.) is really quite unbelievable.

    9. in the early 80's i was doing some recording in a professional studio, and after the track was recorded the producer/owner decided it could be cut down a bit, so he got to work on a tape-splicing machine... and took about 15 minutes just to do one edit! of course nowadays it takes about 15 seconds... another thing i remember about the advance of technology, was that 20 years ago a guy i knew wanted his own recordings on a CD rather than a cassette which was still the norm at the time, so he went and paid about £25 (at least a tenner more in today's money) just for ONE copy!

  11. What ho! Choc full of goodies, this one. Hugh Cornwell’s chin tuft was possibly the first ever TV outing for the “Brazilian” template.

    I watched last week’s pretty good BBC4 documentary about Northern Soul and didn’t realise “Mods” was short for “Modernists”. Mind you, if being modern involves doing a pout looking like a cat’s bum, I’ll stay retro, thanks. I was much more a fan of Secret Affair’s top 45 hit “Sound Of Confusion”. Their drummer takes the inaugural “Chewing More Than Paul Weller” award.

    Dollar’s song was supermarket own brand Bee Gees style, and Thereza’s weak lemon tea vocals left a lot to be desired, but she’s up there in the crumpet stakes as far as I’m concerned.

    Dear God, the fretless bass, the Devil’s own instrument. Shuddering recollections of Paul Young’s bassist Pino Pallodino or Squeeze’s least enigmatic bassist Keith Wilkinson. Brilliant camera work, moving away from Billy Bremner just as he plays the bridge riff. Was Dave Edmunds in the stage position furthest from the front for a former chart topper?

    Legs & Co’s stage set reminded me of bars in Magalluf – erm, allegedly. Careful not to breathe on those poles, Lulu, they may snap!

    For some weird reason, Gary Numan’s countdown shot reminded me of the “Beans! Beans! Chunky chicken!” learner driver routine in “Man About The House”. I like the way Gary asserted his status in the band by affording himself a two-coloured tie. Didn’t Billy Currie love himself!

    I tried to check if B.A. Robertson was wearing an actual Robertson tartan. Seems there’s loads of them! I see B.A. was made to change the “toke of love” line to “token of love” for this outing.

    The Commodores must have surely have thought “The audience is a bit more lively on “Soul Train”!” Loved the yee-hah country stylings of Lionel Richie. Wishful thee-yank-ing indeed.

    So The Special AKA are now The Specials in the countdown caption. Couldn’t they at least have given Neville a tambourine or kazoo? Terry Hall’s fag took me back to Tim Vine’s stage routine, where he throws pens in the air until he lands one behind his ear.

    Why does Johnny Mathis always look as if he’s star gazing when he’s singing? Why was virtually no-one watching Gill throwing those shapes? Any bet as to which month the next TOTP will be shown? As Spike Milligan used to say in the “Q” series, what are we gonna do now?

  12. What a show - no less than 7 former and future number one artists featured - Gary Numan The Commodores, Johnny Mathis, The Specials. Cliff Richard, Boney M and Dave Edmunds.

    And some unusual song constructions on tonights show - Cars with just two choruses and a long coda, Sail on with two verses followed by one chorus and Gangsters - three verses with no real chorus.

    Horribly low key chart rundown with The Bellamy Brothers and as Wilberforce says it's strange to see them still using black and white photos for the Bellamys and Dollar.

    Secret Affair - now you're talking. What a great way to kick off the show. I really got into this at the time and went all moddy for as while with an Ian Page haircut and narrow ties and shirts with button down collars. I bought the bands first two albums and their first 4 singles. I was for all the world A Glory Boy. I didn't hate the punk elite though.

    The Dollar track is rather obviously influenced by The Bee Gees How Deep Is Your Love but is a nice gentle piece which flows effortlessly. There was a Canadian duo called Lime who appeared at around the same time as Dollar and also featured a girl with equally high vocals. They had a UK hit with Guilty in 1983.

    Back from New York are Rockpile with Nick Lowe taking vocal duties. I really loved this at the time, I know all the words and can't help singing along. Nick Lowe has written so many great songs and would soon be producing Elvis Costello. Billy Bremner looks like a chunky Bruno Brooks.

    Sister Sludge with a very Hot Gossipy "women in cages" dance routine from L&Co, great song with a bass line to die for.

    A welcome repeat of The Gibson Brothers with Danny Baker doing the "disinterested bop".

    And the hits just keep on coming...

    Next up Gary Numan with Cars. Seen this clip many times and it's a shame to fade it early but I guess the producers lose interest when Gary stops singing. Billy Currie in love with the camera again, dreaming of the days when he'll be in Visage and Ultravox.

    BA Robertson or is it Rob Brydon? Nice tartan jacket sir. Interesting to hear him name check Johnny Fruin, because that was the name of our next door neighbour but it turns out that the Johnny Fruin Brian refers to was also the head of WEA at the time who had perhaps upset Mr Robertson. Johnny Fruin was also the chairman of the BPI when and a World In Action special exposed his role in chart hyping.

    Although I was getting into mod and Two Tone I still (secretly) loved The Commodores' Sail On, lyrically this song meant a lot to me at the time and it's such a great song. I found the album a few years later where there is a longer version which has a great ending. Sheer bliss and a shame they have to fade when it (eventually) reaches the chorus..

    The Specials again, another top performance with class written all over it. I love the way the band each have their own little gimmick, Terry looking bored, back to the audience, Jerry staring at the camera showing his teeth gaps, Neville trying to hog the stage, Horace with his bad attempts to dance and play the bass at the same time, etc. Ah what memories. Seeing this just sends a shiver up the back of the neck.

    I remember quite liking the Johny Mathis track as well but I certainly kept quiet about that at the time. Clever to use Legs' Gill to fill in during the instrumental bits.

    Then the Stranglers. My brother bought this. I always thought they sung "the roadies are queuing up" but of course it's "the Rodneys". This was pre-Only Fools And Horses of course. Anyone know why the band are wearing black armbands. My old mates Jerry Joel and Neil Bacon would have known as they had something to do with the band's fan club.

    Cliff still not counting sheeeep.

    Playout with Boney M which sounds brilliant today, this should be a lot more famous than it is.

  13. can't say i listened too closely to the lyrics in "bang bang" so wasn't aware of the mention of his "boss" - apart from perhaps ill-advisedly biting the hand that feeds, what was the point as no listener was ever likely to get the reference?

    i agree that the best bit of commodores' "sail on" is the chorus, and it was a shame it faded there, but lionel already seemed in a somewhat capricious mood and maybe he did something even more silly at that point?

    i presume "the rodneys" as mentioned by the stranglers is a by-word for toffs as it was a popular name for them? that reminds me of the army grunts' slang for officers from privileged backgrounds: "ruperts"!

  14. RIP TOTP presenter Mike Smith (I wonder if we'll ever see him on the repeats?).

    1. Indeed, RIP Smitty.

      A quick check of the Popscene website shows Mike Smith's first TOTP appearance was in September 1982, as part of a DJ ensemble for a live edition celebrating Radio 1's 15th anniversary. Mike's third appearance was also an ensemble role for the Christmas Day TOTP. In between, he was solo pilot for one show, on 4th November 1982.

    2. It also appears that Mike Smith did a 'Noel Edmonds' and refused permission for any of the solo shows he hosted to be repeated. Hmmmm.

    3. Considering Mike and Noel were very good friends, I wonder if they had an agreement in that "no TOTP repeats" area?

    4. does his demise mean that he can longer give totp repeats the thumbs-down?

  15. Sad news indeed, a great loss.

    At the time in question here (35 years ago) he was on Capital Radio, possibly doing the breakfast show. I recall that in the late '70/early '80s this show was presented by Graham Dene, then Mike Smith and then Graham Dene took over again. Unless heard together I had difficulty telling them apart on air. I also have a tape somewhere of Mike sitting in for Roger Scott on the Capital Countdown (weekdays 5-6pm) from, I think, 1980.

    Then in the 1980s he 'sold out' to the BBC ;o)

    Mike Smith, Roger Scott, Adrian Love (also on LBC) and Jeremy Beadle (LBC).... all gone. Thanks for the memories - RIP.

  16. A bit late to the party so not too much to say about this one, although I agree that is possibly the best of the whole year so far!

    Secret Affair - One of those instances where seeing it on the Pops has made me appreciate how good a song it is. My favourite of theirs is 'My World' though, that's a great tune.

    Dollar - I love it, Mrs. Noax can't stand Therese's voice though. Someone at the radio station I'm on once went out with her (Therese Bazar that is, not Mrs.Noax lest one think I'm giving away too much information) apparently!

    Nick Lowe - Fab. Though 'cut your hair!' shouted all the Dads watching, probably.

    'Cars' sounded just as amazing as 'Are 'Friends' Electric?' to the 7 year old me, and still sounds brilliant today. Much better than the later remixes of it too!

    The Commodores - For me, this is by far their best ballad. I love the way it builds. 'Not my cup of tea" isn't a very American phrase though, is it?

    Johnny Mathis - not great, though by no means the most egregious example of 'established singer goes disco'.

    'Duchess' is a brilliant tune, and by the sound of it effectively invented 'Common People' as well!

  17. Just want to say how great it is to have found this site. I gave up on Chris's site as my old computer couldn't cope with it, so it's only now I've found out where everyone has gone to for 1979. I've been following from when Simon first started his blog, but too shy to post until. I've enjoyed getting up to date, and look forward to the return of the repeats.
    BTW, just want to say Noax, that I've also just discovered your excellent Switchback show, and am working my through them on Mixcloud.

  18. Aw, bless you TOTPFan. Glad that you're enjoying the shows, I certainly have a lot of fun putting them together.
    This coming weekend I'll be tackling 1978 or roughly minus a year in repeat terms!

  19. Anyone out there? Does anyone from the days of Simon's "Yes It's Number One" blog remember Can and the mystery guitarist on their TOTP performance of "I Want More"? Some trawling on YouTube confirms / suggests the stand-in axe man was one of Can's roadies, as guitarist Michael Karoli's wife was about to give birth and he didn't want to be away from her.

    1. arthur, you must be seriously suffering from totp 79 withdrawal symptons if you're rambling on about something that happened three years earlier ha ha! i'm sure the rest of the gang will reconvene once they get around to showing more episodes... although with cliff now on the yewtree radar i fear the beeb might finally decide it's becoming more trouble than it's worth!

      i note to fill the gap that tonight (fri 22nd aug) there's a "totp 79" - big hits" compilation on bbc4, featuring dame edna everage among others - i would hardly call her effort a big hit, and it was on a "banned show", so here's hoping that it is in fact a totp 2-style compilation of all the bits that we've been denied thus far due to supposed disc jockey aberations...

  20. Showaddywaddy's Dave Bartram was on Pointless Celebs this weekend! Smart guy!

  21. He was surprisingly good. Just as well given that he had to carry Dave Hill throughout the episode.

    Nice of Alexander Armstrong to get Carol Decker to explain where T'Pau's name from for the 3 remaining people in the country who don't know.

  22. Isn't Dave Bartam tall? Doesn't Dave Hill try to hide any impending or existing baldness? Isn't Carol Decker looking half half-gorgeous/half-old? Isn't Limahl dyslexic?

    1. Shame Carol doesn't have a twin sister - would have been a double Decker. Boom boom tish!

  23. anybody know when TOTP is back on BBC4 ?

  24. It's not been confirmed at this stage, but my guess is September 25th - the Proms finish on Saturday 13th, and I think Thursday 18th will be a Sky at Night day, so the 25th looks the most likely return date.

  25. So, we could have a two month gap between editions in this re-run? I'll have forgotten what you all look like by then!

    1. On the positive side, a two month gap will mean we have just enough Yewtree-free shows left to take us to the end of the year, assuming things stay as they are. If DLT is acquitted over the next few weeks, then BBC4 would have three extra shows to pack in before Christmas...

    2. I wouldn't hold your breath on that one.

      And finally there's the half century, with a smattering of applause from the pavilion.....

    3. DLT's been found guilty of one count, so those three extra shows won't be broadcast.

    4. I fear you are right Julie. In a rational world, it might be possible to take the view that the conviction is for a relatively minor offence and it should not stop DLT's shows being repeated (after all, the offence occurred at a much later date). Realistically, though, the Beeb is bound to get it in the neck from the Daily Mail and other participants in the Yewtree hysteria if it dared to do so.

    5. I don't think the Mail have shown that kind of attitude during the current climate. I'd say they're more likely to accuse the BBC of oversensitivity if they *didn't* show the remaining episodes.

      My guess is that they won't show the last three DLT shows of 1979 whilst the court case is still fresh in memory. But here's hoping for sensible heads come 1980...

    6. I had the opposite impression, as the Mail (and others) were making a fuss the other day about the BBC's failure to edit Savile out of a performance on a TOTP2 repeat. As you say though, perhaps cooler heads will prevail once we get to 1980. My hopes aren't high though...

    7. I honestly can't believe he's been done on that charge. The lady in question (who I used to like and respect) was using the incident in a comedy routine a couple of years ago. If it's fair game for that how can it suddenly become serious?!

      Of course, we don't know how much pressure was put on her by the Met and the Yewtree mob....

    8. Not condoning the original actions, but a quick check on the net shows that the incident was being used in that comedy routine as recently as October last year.

  26. Good episode. Got to hand it to Gary Numan. He was a decade or two ahead of his time. Nick Lowe and Stranglers, other standout songs.

  27. I've heard it on the grapevine that TOTPs 1980 has just been given the go-ahead, so that's good news!
    Next Thursday (the 18th September) is a Sky at Night week, so 1979 should resume the week after, hopefully.

    1. Yes, Radio Times have now confirmed that the 06/09/79 show will be broadcast on the 25th. Brilliant news about 1980, if confirmed - I'm hoping BBC4 will keep the repeats going until at least 1984...

  28. Could well be another spate of ice bucket challenges if we get TOTP next year. The Tiswas team (aka The Four Bucketeers) appeared on TOTP in 1980 with their top 30 hit "The Bucket Of Water Song". Can't wait to see Sally James again. Happy memories!

  29. Ah yes, I can remember that, with them throwing buckets of silver stuff at each other. After all, one can't have water being thrown around in a TV studio, with all the expensive equipment and so on. Seems that ATV had no such qualms.

    Don't know about Sally James, but it's gonna be good seeing Kelly Marie and her WOBBLY BITS ! (he says in his best Kenny Everett voice.)