Thursday, 25 September 2014

Strut Your Funky Top of the Pops!

After two months off the air I think we will all agree the return of Top of the Pops 1979 is most welcome! And, with this edition from 6th September, we're getting closer to being back in sync with 2014. On the down side of course we are now certain to miss the four remaining 1979 shows hosted by DLT. But hopefully, surely, once he serves whatever sentence he gets, his editions will be reinstated. Not to do so would be madness.....

6-9-79: Presenter: Peter Powell

(26) FRANTIQUE – Strut Your Funky Stuff (and charts)
(45) THE RUTS – Something That I Said
(9) RANDY VANWARMER – Just When I Needed You Most (danced to by Legs & Co) ®
(52) MADNESS – The Prince
(4) ROXY MUSIC – Angel Eyes (video)
(7) THE CRUSADERS – Street Life
(11) ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA – Don’t Bring Me Down (video)
(19) THE BELLAMY BROTHERS – If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me (danced to by Legs & Co)
(28) RACEY – Boy Oh Boy ®
(27) BILL LOVELADY – Reggae For It Now
(13) BONEY M – Gotta Go Home (video)
(1) CLIFF RICHARD – We Don’t Talk Anymore
(5) THE FLYING LIZARDS – Money (and credits)

Frantique ~ provide a funky soundtrack over the charts this week with their only UK hit.

The Ruts ~ loaded with attitude and graffiti Something That I Said was the follow up to their only top ten hit, Babylon's Burning ~ but 29 was all it had to say for itself.

Randy Vanwarmer ~ almost at its peak of number 8 in the charts now for Mr Randall Van Wormer's only hit, helped out in the studio here by Legs & Co.

Madness ~ who could have guessed that this eccentric group from Camden, seen making their stand out debut here, would go on to be one of the biggest UK groups of the 80's? So many amazing hits to come from them over the next few years.

Roxy Music ~ An eye catching video for this worthy follow up to Dance Away, taken from their comeback album, Manifesto ~ although the single version of Angel Eyes is not the same as the album version.

The Crusaders ~ was it a coincidence that a band with a song called Street Life was on immediately after Roxy Music (who had previously had a hit with a song of the same title)? Anyhow, unlike Roxy, the Crusaders had just the one top ten hit, and this fine record was it.

ELO ~ the third single from their album Discovery, and the biggest hit ~ seen colourfully performed here in an energetic video.

The Bellamy Brothers ~ and Legs & Co were the victim of a not so beautiful 7.30pm edit.

Racey ~ were also edited out of the early showing.

Bill Lovelady ~ an enthusiastic performance from Bill and his band of what was to be his only hit.

Boney M ~ with a clip that was due to be shown on that Saturday's Seaside Special, it peaked at 12 and was their final top 20 hit together.

Cliff Richard ~ with a new performance, clearly recorded for the show but not in front of an audience, though there were some mysterious sightings of people in the background, of his number one hit, featuring a trademark t-shirt sporting his latest album Rock n Roll Juvenile.

The Flying Lizards spend a little time with us playing over this week's credits, but that's all we'll get to hear of them on BBC4, their other appearances were on shows hosted by JS and DLT.

Talking of DLT, the next show from the 13th September was one of his, so I guess that won't be shown now, so we'll be skipping to the 20th September and Mike Read.


  1. hello all, great news that TOTP 79 is finally back on air, not-so-great though that DLT has been found guilty (even though it was only once out of apparently at least a dozen claims - perhaps the fact that the "victim" was a media whore had something to do with it?). in the circumstances, once again I urge the BBC to make compilations of the "banned shows" TOTP 2-style, airbrushing the host "offenders" out so that us fans of the music do not have to suffer the consequences of what has been going on...

    unfortunately i can only access tv programmes and the internet other than at home at present (typing this at the local library!) so my comments are affected adversely (i was watching the earlier edition at a friend's when I was dragged away during boney m to pick up a takeaway as it "would be ready", then had to wait there for half an hour because their estimation was bollocks - bah!), including comments on host peter powell (although i don't suppose there's anything new or different to report!)

    frantique: an ace track that i remember being played at all the discos i went to at that time. apparently concocted somewhere in Europe although for some strange reason it was released on philly int records who normally only released home-grown material. i strongly recommend the 12" version as the best bit on that (the sax solo) was edited out the 7"

    the ruts: i missed them so can make no comment, other than to say i quite liked "babylon's burning" at the time, but remember being disappointed by their follow-up

    randy vanwarmer: good decision by the producer to get legs involved in what would otherwise be a snorefest both musically and visually

    madness: great to see them make their debut, but hardly their finest moment as it's basically just a 12-bar. i think it was marketed as a double a-side single with the flip being "madness", therefore making them one of those acts to have an eponymous hit (others include hi tension and talk talk - hopefully other contributors will add to that list...?)

    roxy music: brilliant song, brilliant video (i was aware that this was a discofied re-recording of the album version - I've never heard that, and don't really ever want to as I'm sure I'd be disappointed!). ferry at the apogee of his sauveness with his boxy pink suit - wish i could get up the courage to wear something like that and not worry about suffering adverse comments or worse!

    (the) crusaders: you may be aware that keyboardist joe sample died a week or so back... although i don't suppose he was waiting around staving off the reaper hoping to see this appearance again! still a classic jazz-funk-disco track even though I'm over-familiar with it. i felt sorry for poor old sax player wilton felder in this situation, who had to stand around like a lemon most of the time waiting for his solo (and randy looked much the same during his and joe's solo's). wilt was actually a fine bassist as well (and actually played that on the recording) so perhaps he should have "played" both? i noticed the pick-up players were white - were they part of the crusaders' touring band or were they just hired for this appearance? by the way both the LP version and 12" disco mix are much longer than the 7" (10 minutes plus!)

    bill lovelady: is this cod reggae? to me only the sense of the dreadfully-punned title (no black/jamaicann artist would ever do such a thing), but musically i think it fairly authentic (and he did have a couple of black guys in his band your honour!)

    arrgghhh! my allotted time is running out fast now so will have to post before I'm timed out (sorry for any spelling mistakes and gibberish!)

  2. Off the top of my head, Mr. Blobby and Doop both had eponymous chart toppers.

    1. There was also Living in a Box. I think Bad Company had an eponymous track, but not sure if that was a hit single or not.

    2. Of course! I forgot about the triple whammy, the first (and only?) time this happened in the UK charts - "Living In A Box" by Living In A Box, from the album "Living In A Box".

    3. I wonder if any of them ever had lived in a cardboard box?

    4. Rich Kids
      Jilted John

  3. Interesting. A suspended sentence for DLT. Does that mean he can use the "Gary Glitter" rule to get shown on TOTP again? I find it ironic that the plaintiff said "I have sought to preserve my anonymity" - is this really the same person who used the incident for comic purposes in her Edinburgh Fringe show last year? Again, not condoning DLT's actions in any manner, but this is a bizarre case.

    1. At least the judge had the sense not to impose a custodial term, which the offence clearly did not warrant. I think we can rule out seeing any of DLT's 1979 shows, but I cling to the hope that the BBC might pluck up the courage to reinstate him for 1980. In the current climate though, I am probably clutching at straws!

    2. so who is it arthur? spill the beans or at least give us a clue...

    3. I don't think we need to give her the air of publicity on here, do we? (A Guardian exclusive is probably only days away in any case)

      It took me about 2 minutes on Google to find out so you should have similar success.

      Nice to know that all of 4 people complaining about the verdict means that it's being looked at again. FFS! (and how does that even work - can anyone complain about any judge's verdict, even if not directly involved in the case?!)

    4. The plaintiff can easily be found by checking a TV / movie website called IMDb and looking down the list of researchers for "Mrs. Merton" in 1995. She's a comedienne, not completely mainstream but a regular on Channel 4 comedy shows, she's diminutive and (from some publicity shots you can see) she's quite proud of her assets.

      While I'm on the subject, thank God that "Doctor" Fox didn't present TOTP - we'd be decimated by now!

  4. Hmm, so who thought the teddy bears were a good idea? I must confess that I didn't think this show was really worth a 2 month wait, not least because there were an awful lot of retreads (though admittedly this was the first time on BBC4 for a lot of these songs). It was interesting to see Madness on their debut, though I have always found them rather irritating, despite their undoubted pop prowess - I am sure no one could have guessed from this performance how popular they would become.

    It was nice to see Randy and the Crusaders in the studio. While this was their only hit, Randy would of course notch up several more over the next few years. What a fabulous voice she has - I have always been puzzled as to why she wasn't as popular back in the States as she was over here.
    The only other performance of real note was from the Ruts, complete with Jimmy Page wannabe treating his guitar like a violin! Sadly, the song was no Babylon's Burning.

    Ah well, time to have a hunt online for any trace of the next show, which we will not be seeing on BBC4, and sadly was not repeated on UK Gold either, by the looks of things.

  5. People still use the phrase "Strut your funky stuff" today, that's Frantique's enduring legacy to the language. And a solid disco tune as well, of course.

    I was searching in vain for a "Kilroy woz ere" on the scenery, but not a bad song for the Ruts' follow up, just forever in the shadow of their biggest hit. Having Mr Rut dressed up as Dick Emery in a Bovver Boy "Dad, I fink I done it wrong again!" outfit wasn't the best idea. Same hair, too.

    Randy warming his van again, what a drippy ditty, though Legs & Co seem to be dancing to Another Suitcase in Another Hall.

    Madness, one of the few bands where just about every member was really charismatic, especially in combination. Not their best, but it made an impression and I'm sure I spotted Suggs' purple suit lurking in the background of Sir Cliff's performance.

    Yes, RIP Mr Crusader, a great song exemplifying his jazz funk values. I forgot how attractive Randy Crawford is, probably because she's mixed up in my mind with Gary Wilmot's impersonation of her.

    A couple of weird-looking animations in the ELO vid, not a patch on the usual flying saucer. They certainly looked to be enjoying themselves, though, fairly flinging themselves around. But who's Bruce?

    Legs & Co looking incredibly sensible waltzing with giant teddy bears, though no dafter than the Bellamy Bros. lyrics. Found out this week Patti appeared in a film bare naked! My goodness!

    Racey, they'd hit on their formula and they were sticking with it, who cares if everyone else had lost interest?

    Bill Lovelady, still with Jennifer Beals on backing vocals. More Typically Tropical than Steel Pulse, really. Not quite the full Paul Nicholas, however.

    Boney M, I'm liking this more the more times I hear it, maybe because I'm less familiar with it. Weirdly desolate sky they're performing under, no?

  6. Never mind the critique - which film was it??? :-)

  7. THX - I can't understand myself why Randy Crawford wasn't as popular in her homeland as she was in this country. I remember when she was an integral part of impressionist Gary Wilmot's act!

    The ELO song always reminds me of The Rutles' 'Get Up And Go', which in turn was a parody of The Beatles' 'Get Back'. ELO were noticeably closer in sound to The Beatles than The Rutles, who were meant to be a spoof of The Fab Four - but then again, Brummies such as Jeff Lynne have always been better at imitating the Scouse accent than Southerners such as Essex-born chief Rutle Neil Innes. Remember Julie Walters in her Oscar-nominated role as the OU-educated Rita?

    Wirral folk such as Bill Lovelady can't satisfactorily imitate a Jamaican accent, though. He is indeed a "country boy", as the lyric states, being native to the woody village of Heswall, on the west side of the peninsula and only 2 railway stations from the border with North Wales. He followed up his only British hit with the predictably similar 'One More Reggae For The Road', which - surprisingly - reached No.1 in Sweden, before Charisma Records dropped him.

    In '84, however, he re-emerged as a member of the MOR superband Oasis - not THAT one - along with Mary Hopkin, Peter Skellern and Julian Lloyd-Webber, not to mention future 'Stars In Their Eyes' guitarist-banjoist Mitch Dalton. This outfit signed to WEA and reached the Top 30 with an accomplished eponymous album.

    Arthur - the film in which Patti appeared was 'Nutcracker' (released in 1983).

  8. Yes, Patti's movie was Nutcracker, though if it's remembered at all it'll be as a Joan Collins film. Don't think it's even been on DVD. Cherry Gillespie is in it too. The trailer is on YouTube and it looks amusingly awful.

  9. Patti AND Cherry Gillespie (my two favourite PanLeggers) in the same movie? That's my Christmas present sorted! :-D

  10. re madness: i went to the manchester central library last week and noticed that an autobiography of suggs was on display in the music section. much as i like madness and suggs, i couldn't help thinking: was there really that much interest to justify such a thing? mind you, madness have previous form when it comes to documenting their past: their self-financed biopic where they played themselves ("take it or leave it"). it happened to be shown somewhere on freeview a couple of years back and i watched it out of interest and it was reasonably entertaining, but again wondered whether it really was worth the time and effort (and money!)...

  11. Boring but true...I owe my nom-de-plume to The Nutty Boys. I was going to a Madness gig at the Hammersmith Odeon circa Christmas 1980 without having any dinner. My mum said "You've got to eat something - half a nibble's better than nothing at all". I thought to myself "Arthur Nibble - that would be a handy nickname if I ever need one, and the rest is history.

    1. not boring at all arthur - it's great that you noted and kept aside something like that from such a long time ago, in what then seemed the unlikely event of you ever actually having the opportunity to use it...although maybe you have nostradamus-like abilities?

    2. I used the nickname when I played my first gig in 1986 and it's stuck ever since, to the point where some mates still call me Nibble instead of my proper name.

    3. Arthur I went to the same gig as you and I had a bacon and mushroom Toast Topper for my tea after I came home from college. On the same bill were The Swinging Cats and John Otway, the crowd gave Otway a hard time as I recall and everyone was annoyed because there was no room to dance, so some of us danced in the aisles and got reprimanded by the security. Happy days.

  12. TOTP 13.09.79 is now available on

  13. forgot to mention in my review that one thing i like about the roxy music track is that the end/fadeout is completely different to the rest of the song. other tracks that i liked for the same reason are bowie's cover of "sorrow", the sutherland brothers' "arms of mary", and various versions of the jim webb classic "by the time i get to phoenix". can anyone think of any other similar tracks?

    1. Status Quo's Living On An Island springs to mind (must be coming up soon?), and it even has a cool key change.

      Then there's Rat Trap, but that sounds like a number of different compositions cobbled together anyway...

    2. just remembered abc "all of my heart" that falls into said category - in my opinion the ending is much better than the rest of the song...

  14. I've checked out the full length video of that ELO track on YouTube and I take it back, the flying saucer is indeed there, TOTP just cut it off before it appeared.

  15. It seems like months since we've got to see a repeat! Oh yeah, it is....

    A bit of a slow start too. Frantique's effort is OK, nothing more, and I'd never heard The Ruts song before. I'm not particularly keen to hear it again.

    Randy Vanwarmer - Ahhh, Mr.Transit-fondler. Am I the only one hear who doesn't mind this song? I can see why they brought on the ladies to spice it up visually though.

    Madness - Certainly not their best single (that'll be 'One Better Day' for me, millions would disagree) but a typical performance and a taste of things to come.

    Roxy Music - Marvellous. Who wouldn't want to be Bryan Ferry in his late 70s / early 80s pomp? Looking forward to more of their great singles from this period.

    The Crusaders - I was never that excited by this when it was out. Then I had to play it 1,000 times on the radio. So while I appreciate it, I don't enjoy it.

    ELO - Top tune. Another fairly bland video (why the pink wash?) and I really don't understand why they wouldn't turn up to perform on the show.

    Bellamy Brothers - I prefer the Barron Knights version (which I'm guessing we might hear later in the year if we're lucky) which was 'If I jumped into the back of your lorry would you take me to Finchley.....'
    This is bland and the Legs routine is awful.

    Racey - I like this! I know that's wrong, but leave me to my sadness.

    Bill Lovelady - See above.

    Boney M - And again, though I guess this has some minor element of cool since 'Barbra Streisand'.

    Cliff - Oh, the vanity. Not so long ago he was performing this in front of an audience, now he has to have a stage to himself. Though I do wonder if this was because he wanted some of the lighting effects to be just so and needed a separate space (or adjacent studio?)
    Peter Powell wanders off halfway through and surely he wouldn't need to do that on a pre-record?

  16. A show of highs and lows I thought, the lows being Legs & Co in particular, poorly represented here in my opinion: first of all picking up and putting down suitcases and then dancing with giant teddy bears (what on earth was Flick smoking when she thought that one up?).

    Good opener though, but yes, I agree that it doesn't have the commercial impact of Babylon's Burning and I realise that you have to be a funny age and into that type of music in the first place to appreciate it.

    Good stuff from Madness, Roxy Music, the Crusaders (an electric piano solo - so 1979!) and ELO. In fact it was Don't Bring Me Down which made me sit up and take notice of ELO - until then I had thought of their music as little more than overblown stuff with cellos and things. I can remember being a bit on-off them during the following two years but from the Time LP onwards I was a fan!

    The show then seemed to go downhill towards the end with repeats and stuff we've heard before, although Seaside Special always evokes a warm nostalgic feeling (Saturday evenings at my grandparents and all that). And then finishing up again with Mr. Lip Sync - notice that on this performance he turns away from the camera during that ad-lib bit towards the end....

    1. yes, no 70's jazz-funk-fusion outfit was worth its salt without the "electric" piano (that was usually a fender rhodes) - due to the unique gloopy sound, keyboard whizzes like joe sample always seemed to do things on them that they couldn't have duplicated on the traditional joanna. my first "in the flesh" encounter with a rhodes was in the late 90's, and i was surprised to learn there was no on/off switch to make it work - you just plugged it into an amplifer the same way as solid-bodied guitars. i then discovered that any rhodes being sold anywhere in blighty (in working order or not) were being snapped up by employees of jamiroquai to be cannibalised for spare parts!

  17. Okay, so writing a critique after two months' absence should be as easy as riding a bike. Trouble is, I can’t actually ride a bike!

    The Ruts single was the least accessible of their four top 50 hits. I loved the other three – “Babylon’s Burning”, “Staring AtThe Rude Boys” and “West One (Shine On Me)”. Malcolm Owen was dressed like one of those aggressive Weetabix in the TV ads but, if he hadn’t succumbed to drug abuse, I reckon The Ruts might have made it over the precipice and been more successful.

    Aha, Cathal Smth, aka Chas Smash, the pre-Bez Bez! In fairness to Madness, they were decent musicians. Check sax player Lee Thompson’s ultra-long early note at the start of “My Girl”. Suggs may not be the best vocalist, but he gave us one of the best chart rundown moments, when guest presenter and top lisper Chris Eubank had to say “at six, it’s “Cecilia” by Suggs”.

    Nice matching peach and black garb by The Crusaders, complete with the second Randy on the show. Mind you, this Randy was the randier and won the Thelma Houston Award for best unsupported actress. Joe Sample had a very apt surname bearing in mind how many pieces of his work have been plagiarised, erm, reworked by lesser artists. Loved the eclectic drumkit set-up.

    Not The Eclectic Light Orchestra. File the video under Gerry Rafferty.

    A grizzly routine for Legs & Co, at polar opposites to their talent. They should have used the teddies for Thom Bell’s theme tune to the kiddies’ show about the man and bear, or even for Randy Vanwarmer, whose single was released on the Bearsville label. Yes, I know, I really should get out more.

    Bill Lovelady’s effort set a new record for the most people on stage for a lightweight piece of fluff. That harmonica player really looked slappable.

    Okay, so which one of Boney M was Barbra Streisand?

    Rubbish grammar on Cliff’s T-shirt. It’s either Rock AND Roll or Rock ‘N’ Roll. And they complain about chavs’ spelling thees daiz.

  18. just the mention of chris eubank starts me up in fits of mirth, so i had to see if his totp presenting was on youtube. and it's in this extremely rare footage of something funny actually happening on "never mind the buzzcocks":

    well remembered arthur!

  19. Took about a minute to find out L*cy Por*er is the "complainant". I agree with the person who says an exclusive is imminent......

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. A bit late here but better late than never, I now have four shows to comment on and another one tomorrow

    Frantique I never really liked but it's pretty harmless now. Nice new shiny chart graphics.

    I liked The Ruts and bought this at the time. I briefly adopted Malcolm Owen's braces and narrow jeans look which looked equally cool with plimsolls or boots. It's pretty obvious here that the rest of the band have an image problem (they wanted to be in a heavy metal band and Owen waned to be in a punk/skinhead band) and sadly by the time they sorted it out he would be dead.

    I hated Vandy Ramraider with a vengance. Not sure if it was the fact that his face looked as though it was trapped between two lift doors, the general dreariness of the song or the fact that the lyrics don't make sense, but just when I had forgotten about it along came the lover's rock cover.

    "Something for everyone". They're certainly is sir. Madness. What can you say. I have seen this clip countless times but never with Peter's intro and the skinhead fan which kind of makes it all the better. Perfection.

    That Roxy video again which is fun and then The Crusaders which is pretty damn fine. I never cared much for Randy Crawford's solo stuff but this is superb. They're miming of course but its nice to see them in the flesh.

    I had forgotten about this ELO song and the video, pretty heavy stuff and a nice variation on their usual sound. Apparently this was the first ELO song with no strings. After recording it, they fired their string section, leaving 4 members in the band who did the next four ELO albums. Who was Bruce though?

    The Legs routine with the giant teddys for The Bellamy Bros is pretty weird, not least because of the extras watching them sat at tables. I hadn't realised at the time how C&W flavoured this tune is.

    Nice organ sound on the Racey song. Is it a Farfisa? Strange how the band have now dropped the 1950s college boy look except for the rat-toothed lead singer. Hearing this now it sounds as though they were coming out and singing about being in love with a boy.

    Bill Lovelady, a self-confessed country boy singing about reggae with steel drums. Confused, I know I am. Also I checked out the lyric which is :

    Called her up at midnight, Cadogan Kate
    Take your Interceptor right to her gate
    Let her do the driving
    Soon you will find
    Man, that girl will drive you right out of your mind

    Anyone know what all that mans?

    That weird Boney M clip again, spot the little guy in the undergrowth. Great verses, awful chorus.

    Cliff in black leather and black lame. Nice EMI belt buckle. This performance clearly recorded before the audience arrived or after they left to go home apart from Suggs who is visible in the background.

    One down, three to go.

    1. good to see you back and catching up with us bama...

  21. Isn't it 'Groos' on the ELO song? That's what I've been led to believe, gibberish though it is.

    As for Bill Lovelady, I think we can all guess what he really means when he's talking about his 'Interceptor'. As for the rest, gawd knows.