Thursday, 29 January 2015

Top of the Pops by Numbers

So here we are with the edition from the 17th January 1980 hosted by Simon Bates. It's quite a big show this stretching close to 45 minutes so BBC4 will no doubt have their editing scissors out to fit it into a half hour slot at 7.30pm.
And before we begin, let's take just a moment to remember the lovely Demis Roussos who passed away earlier this week. He may be gone but his performances and songs will indeed live forever and ever.

One arm is all you need

17-1-80: Presenter: Simon Bates

(26) THE BEE GEES – Spirits (Having Flown) (and charts)
(52) NEW MUSIK – Living By Numbers
(2) BILLY PRESTON & SYREETA – With You I’m Born Again ®
(53) SAD CAFÉ – Strange Little Girl
(47) SISTER SLEDGE – Got To Love Somebody
(4) MADNESS – My Girl ®
(32) POSITIVE FORCE – We Got The Funk
(14) DR. HOOK – Better Love Next Time ®
(58) AMII STEWART – Paradise Bird
(17) STYX – Babe (video)
(12) BOOKER T. & THE M.G.’S – Green Onions (danced to by Legs & Co)
(38) RUPERT HOLMES – Escape (The Piña Colada Song)
(1) THE PRETENDERS – Brass In Pocket
(25) JON & VANGELIS – I Hear You Now (and credits)

Bee Gees ~ play over the charts with the title track from their Spirits Having Flown album, the fourth single to be released from it, and the last we will see of them in the top 30 for seven years.

New Muzik ~ Picking up where Buggles left off (they shared the same drummer) in their white boiler suits, Living By Numbers would soon become their biggest hit.

Billy Preston and Syreeta ~ a third showing for this performance, now at its peak in the charts, but maybe this could have been edited out in favour of something we hadn't seen previously?

Sad Café ~ perform quite a strange little song which didn't quite make the top 30.

Sister Sledge ~ this energetic studio appearance wasn't enough to get this Chic written follow-up (I think.....) to Lost in Music into the top 30.

Madness ~ edited out but we have at least already seen this performance.

Positive Force ~ coming from the same stable as the Sugar Hill Gang, both groups then having their only top 20 hits at around the same time.

Dexy's Midnight Runners ~ make their debut on the show, combining it with a bit of swimming for Kevin Rowland by the looks of things - Dance Stance wasn't quite their breakthrough single, that one would come next.

Dr Hook ~ edited out but again we have seen this one before.

Amii Stewart ~ edited out, the Simon May penned Paradise Bird which perched at 39 in the charts.

Styx ~ were also edited out.  Babe did make the top 10 but this was the only show it was on, so your only chance to see it is to catch it later tonight or on iplayer.

Legs & Co ~ go all 1960's this week for their routine to Green Onions.

Rupert Holmes ~ was edited out too, how could they? It made the top 30 so hopefully we'll get to see it yet.

The Pretenders ~ finally make it to number one, no doubt putting some brass in their pockets in the process, they do look pleased with themselves and who can blame them!

Jon and Vangelis ~ play over the credits with the first hit from this excellently unusual duo. The camera special effects seemed to get stuck half way through, maybe mesmerised by the song.
Next week is the 24th January 1980 hosted by Mike Read.


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  2. Off to a competent, confident start with Simon Bates introducing Spirits Having Flown and the chart rundown. This is an oft-overlooked gem from the Gibbs - one of the few Bee Gee songs I still enjoy listening to.

    New Musik. First up, the name. Why? Second, the outfits. Why? Thirdly, the music- a weedy pop song given an eighties makeover with Gary Numan drums, and an annoying synth coda. And the band are almost entirely charisma-free. Not sure, when taking all that into account, why Mr Bates thought we were going to hear a lot more of them.

    Billy Preston/Syreeta - seen before but worth repeating how bloody good these live vocals are on this.

    Sad Cafe - A change of pace from the Mancs on a song that I can just about remember and which just about prevents them from being one hit wonders.

    Sister Sledge. Pretty sure I have never, ever heard this. It sounds like a fair enough album track but should never, ever have seen the light of day on 7 inch.

    Next up Madness. According to Mr Bates this song is 'going to be enormous'. Well seeing as its sitting at number 4 this week, I think thats pretty much nailed on. Not exactly Mystic Meg is he?

    Positive Force - negative review. A meandering 'meh' of a tune which seems to have been the inspiration - lyrically and thematically- for R Kelly's Shes Got That Vibe some twelve years in the future.

    And now the moment I have been waiting for - the mighty Dexy's Midnight Runners and Dance Stance. And, in truth, its less thrilling than I remember. This version - performed live so props for that! - feels a lot less muscular than the album track, the vocals are too weedy, and the brass doesn't punch you in the face. Still, how many singles throw a list of literary heavyweights into the lyrics?

    Dr Hook shown again.

    Amii Stewart auditioning for the next Bounty advert. Don't remember this either, but on first hearing I quite like it. Its got a bit of an exotic island vibe to it and Amii does a good job on vocals (either live or superbly mimed)

    Styx - Babe. The apex of lighters-in-the-air soft-rock power ballads. Around this time all rock bands were legally obliged to include one slow track per album. This is Styx's. Has not stood the test of time, I'm afraid.

    Legs dancing in mini skirts to Green Onions.

    Rupert Holmes. Weak live performance from Mr Holmes (looking a tad like dj Steve Wright). This isn't too bad, but the follow-up 'HIM' was much much better. Actually, as the performance continues, this gets worse. Vocally all over the place and then an embarrassing air guitar to a piano solo.

    Pretenders becoming the first new number one of the eighties. Chrissie taking her life in her hands being that close to some of that strangely unreceptive audience.

    And we end with a superbly evocative Jon/Vangelis track. Still love this song.

    One of the best shows for a long time, this one. A good strong 8 out of 10 for the music - a 5 for Simon Bates who dropped points for a) looking like a Geography teacher with one hand in his pocket and his collar turned up. b) sounding like a Geography teacher telling us where all the various acts come from and c) telling us we were going to hear a lot more of New Musik

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    2. A good point about Billy Preston & Syreeta, regarding it being worth repeating for its superb live vocals, so Angelo, I can't agree with you on this occasion, about editing them out of the 7.30 show, especially as they had now reached No.2 in the charts, and so it would be a bit cruel to edit out a No.2 from the 7.30 show.

    3. Indeed. I never get tired of hearing this song!

  3. Sister Sledge's sing was indeed another Edwards and Rodgers composition, and Rupert Holmes's performance is repeated once more on an 'unaffected' show.

  4. Simon Bates got his own light fitting with his name on it, how much are you willing to bet that was from his own personal collection?

    A great Bee Gees song from a really good album that was always going to be in the shadow of SNF, but they got cut off before the soaring chorus, worse luck.

    New Muzik, jaunty synth pop with Orwellian bleak lyrics, catchy as hell too. This one is from a very good album as well, and how nice to see Bob Carolgees taking a break from TISWAS to play bass for them.

    Sad Café, don't remember this one, no wonder when it didn't have a discernible tune, and you could hardly hear it anyway over the keyboard player's suit. Not impressed by Bowie/Ronson arm over the shoulder bit, not in their league.

    Sister Sledge versus the TOTP orchestra, just shows how important a decent production is to a song. Not bad, but not the greatest of anyone involved by any means.

    Positive Force, I know it was cold but did they have to show up in their long underwear? Basic but appealing enough, and was that actually the audience getting into it? They were more animated this episode than we've seen for a while. Check out red jumper bloke!

    Dexy's Midnight Runners, can't beat a list song - were A House inspired to record Endless Art by this? - and one of pop's great eccentrics for their frontman. Pretty good version, though they all seemed to be uncomfortably crammed onto a tiny stage.

    Didn't need to see a closeup of Simes bopping his head to Dr Hook.

    Amii Stewart, well, how cold could it have been if she'd shown up wearing that? She looked like she had escaped from a harem or something. As for the song, sort of classy but unmemorable.

    Styx, one of those stadium concert videos, which makes the whiny tune a bit lost every time they faded up the audience's cheers. One for the Quiet Storm.

    Legs & Co channelling the Go-Jos, this was like a flashback to the sixties we'll never see, and a lot of fun with it. They certainly looked to be enjoying themselves.

    Rupert Holmes threatening to rock out, really overselling a silly song which only adds to the camp of the lyrics. But just try and forget it.

    And the Pretenders finally make it to the top, it's never going to be my favourite of theirs but it was nice to see them succeed. Plus Chrissie looks just the same.

    Then Demis' old pal Vangelis to finish.

    1. Amii Stewart didn't appear to look cold, even though it was in the middle of winter in January 1980, but she was indeed looking very fertile in that skimpy dress, no doubt giving Legs & Co a good run for their money, but Amii wins hands down this week.

      I too did not remember this track at the time, but it is a great one and on a par with Light My Fire and Knock On Wood. This is where Sad Cafe should have learned to bring out the ballad after the dance offerings, and not put all your food out of the fridge too early, or there will be nothing left to eat afterwards.

  5. New Musik agonisingly missed out on a mugshot by a single position with both of their follow-ups “This World Of Water” and “Sanctuary”, and that was it. Lead Musikian Tony Mansfield became something of a prolific producer. Talking of their bassist, weren’t Saxon credited with the open bass string playing in “Spinal Tap”? Their bassist used to play open strings so he could point at the crowd with his free hand.

    I wonder if Kate Bush heard Rupert Holmes’s effort, thought “I can write that scenario better” and came up with “Babooshka”? Rupert’s follow-up “Him” had the luck of New Musik as it also missed the chart rundown by a single place. Rupert’s earliest Stateside hit as a songwriter was a notorious single by The Buoys called “Timothy”, which told the implied story of cannibalisation of a miner by the other two trapped underground with him.

  6. bee gees: if somebody other than them had recorded this, i'm sure it would be far more highly regarded than it is. and better remembered. i'd like to take this opportunity to bring another track from the album of this name to the attention of readers: a poignant little ballad called "until" that features just barry, a keyboard and some strings. and ends abruptly and somewhat oddly

    new musik: for me by far the most interesting act on the show. it's almost as if they'd had a meeting when they first got together and said "what can we do to make ourselves seem trendy"? 1 - make a statement with our name that we're cutting-edge, including re-spelling "music" to make it look more futuristic (sadly they didn't replace "new" with "nu" in that respect); 2 - plaster the song with some of those new-fangled synths; 3 - get someone to bang together some dustbin lids in the style of the flying lizards; 4 - wear white boiler suits to look like we're some kind of technicians in the digital age; 5 - get the bassist to use only one hand to play whilst sticking the other in his pocket (i was going to mention the saxon guy making a fist with his free hand, but arthur beat me to the punch - ho ho)... yet take away all the gimmicks and all you're left with is a banal tune that could have been (and probably was) written in the early 70's! their follow-up "this world of water" was a bit more interesting, but still smacked of opportunism

    sister sledge: one of the sisters is awol (the one who looks like a llama i think) - that reminds me of the sidelined stylistic in one of the first editions of these reruns! i don't remember this at all, but before i checked i thought it was a chic thing because of the rather familiar-sounding melody... although the bbc orchestra did their best to hide that connection! no wonder they were pensioned off shortly-thereafter...

    positive force: ...although sadly they get the opportunity to maul this as well! i strongly recommend the original recording, even though it's a bit of a late starter in the funk stakes. my favourite bit is when one of the singers starts name-checking the band ("ber-NARD's got the funk!"). there was probably a guy in the beeb orch called bernard (pronounced the english way, which is way less cool than the american style) who obviously didn't get the funk...

  7. like the single release of "american pie", it's another case of part I and part II:

    sad cafe: record company a&r man: "okay boys, you've just had a big hit with a clever and stylish ballad, what are you going to follow it up with?" band: "well, we've got this thing that is basically just a crunching drumbeat with the odd guitar fill here and there, and a complete lack of any noticeable melody - will that do"? what the hell possessed their record company to release this rubbish - it isn't even good enough to be album filler, never mind a critical follow-up single that would cement the band's standing and prevent them going down in flames as one-hit wonders! after this they deserved to fade into obscurity. also not helped by most of the band's desire to remain resolutely stuck in the 70's fashion-wise (in contrast to their singer who thinks he's robert palmer!)...

    dexy's: i never understood what all the fuss about this lot was about... in whatever incarnation they looked and sounded! their horns always sound as flat as a pancake to me (somehow i don't think maurice white would have hired them!), and the rhythm section isn't much better. sadly kevin rowland doing the crawl can't save this from sinking without trace...

    amii stewart: i didn't catch slimy's intro so in my ignorance presumed it to be grace kennedy (or some similar light-entertainment singer), and that this was from an andrew lloyd webber musical. as it wasn't it seems a pointless exercise to release it as a single. angelo informs us that our old totp chum simon may was responsible for this - still, at least he didn't "sing" on it!

    rupert holmes: at the time of release i don't think anybody in this country knew exactly what a pina colada was. which probably explained its lack of success here even though it was massive stateside. i've still never actually consumed a cocktail in my life (due to the rip-off prices), although i nurse an ambition to one day (when i'm flush) to go to a tiki bar and get totally smashed on them! as mentioned above, rupert's (roop's?) follow-up single "him" was far superior, with an interesting lyric and a great hook for a chorus, and yet it made even less impact...

    pretenders: i never tire of hearing this, although the audience were so close this time that when it started i thought there was a new member of the band behind chrissie!

    jon and vangelis: i've always liked this, especially the sequenced synth riff that remains constant whilst everything else weaves around it. jon's singing is an acquired taste though (wonder if yes fans had problems separating his vocals from the music?). had this been done by some hip guys in shiny suits or kilts rather than a couple of long-haired and beardy (respectively) prog rock relics, perhaps like "spirits having flown" it might be better remembered. vangelis of course went on to produce one the best soundtracks of all time with "blade runner"...

    1. Have to agree about Sad Cafe. Although I like this song, I guess the reason it did not make top 30 is that their first hit at the back end of 1979 was a pure ballad, and it is not customary to start your career with a ballad and then bring the upbeat dance track as a follow up.

      Most bands do it the other way round, in order to use the ballad as a break from the dance floor offerings. I can't think of anything a apart from their first hit Everyday Hurts when I think of Sad Cafe.

    2. Check out the single 'Follow you anywhere'. Didn't make the charts but was played a lot on Radio2.

  8. A bumper show, full of the good, the indifferent and, in the case of Rupert Holmes, the downright awful. The man himself looked almost as smug as his trite, pointless song, and as mentioned above he did look a little like Steve "Love the Show" Wright, whose debut is now just a few short weeks away...

    Happily there was better fare on offer, not least from Amii Stewart with a pretty tune that I had never heard before - shame that rather jaw-dropping outfit did not propel it into the Top 30! Interesting to see Dexy's make their debut, with another song that is new to me. Dance Stance sounds a bit like a rather ragged warm-up for Geno, but it has its moments and cements my preference for the Mark 1 Dexy's over the raggle-taggle gypsy incarnation of 1982.

    New Musik weren't bad, but perhaps were trying a little too hard to be of the moment. The Sister Sledge effort, meanwhile, sounded far too much like a rehash of their previous Chic-provided hits. It also looks as if they recorded this performance months earlier, as the set was the one used during the summer of 1979. Was the lead singer sporting braces? It looked like it, but was hard to tell for sure.

    I don't mind the Sad Café song, which I am familiar with from the Facades album, though it was so completely different from Every Day Hurts I am not surprised it nonplussed record buyers at the time - not really a smart choice for an important follow-up single. Positive Force were a bit bland, but at least they did get the normally comatose audience moving, while Legs looked fantastic in their Thereza Bazar-inspired 60s outfits, and turned in a great performance as well. The less said about Styx the better - while I do have a soft spot for some AOR power balladry, I am immune to the charms of this one!

    Finally, I must grudgingly admit that Master Bates did a much better hosting job this time than in his shambolic debut, but smarminess and occasional creepiness continue to ooze from his every pore...

    1. I must say that I did not remember the Dexys hit Dance Stance at the time, as they were making their debut on TOTP, and were unheard of, so this fell through the net.

      The trumpet sound only really got noticed on Geno later in the year, and I'm sure that if Geno was their debut hit, and Dance Stance released after, then it would have been a much bigger hit, but both songs are very appealing when taken from the same debut album.

      Overall, this TOTP January 1980 chart was a defining moment in chart history, as it gave the public their first glimpse of Dexys, even though this debut hit did not make hay.

  9. if Kate Bush copied Rupert Holmes's idea (who we already knew from his airplay hit Our National Pastime) then Rupert copied Brotherhood of Man - their 1977 non-hit Highwayman is also has the same scenario.

    As mentioned Sister Sledge's recording sounds better than the ToTP orchestra backed version, indeed it along with Thinking of You are my joint favourite singles of theirs (Frankie being my least favourite)

    That's my favourite of Sad Cafe's 3 hits - do they get to do the follow up My Oh My, or is that musician union strike affected?

    1. You're in luck, No less than three unfettered appearances for "My Oh My".

  10. Lots of goodies on the show, including Simon Bates taking a walk outside with Rosie of Legs & Co. Lucky man!

    It's interesting how a number of chart acts from America who were not available to come to the TOTP studio in 1979, were all suddenly available for the TOTP studio in Dec 79 and Jan 1980.

    Examples include Blondie, KC & The Sunshine Band (interviewed on last week's show with David Jensen, but not performing), and from this week's show alone, Dr Hook and Amii Stewart.

    Chart rundown - I noticed a sweet moment on this week's chart for Nile Rodgers who's two groups were in the chart side by side, this week at No. 21 and 22 for for Chic and Sheila B Devotion respectively. Another great moment in chart history for the great disco icon Mr Rodgers.

  11. I forgot to mention above that also Sister Sledge were the third American group to appear in the TOTP studio on the same week, and so that makes three just this week, to add to KC & the sunshine band the week before without actually performing.

    Styx - I don't remember the video at the time, but the song made a big impression for me for the rest of the year. I managed to get the video some 26 years later in 2006 from iTunes, and it's still there for people to download it to have in their collection. Personally, I really like this track, and it's a pity if it only got one showing on TOTP in Jan 1980.

    Booker T & The MGs - I love Green Onions in song only, and what made it even more tasty was seeing Rosie taking Simon Bates out of the studio before joining the other girls in their 60s skimpy dresses. However, no sign of Gillian and Pauline this week??

    1. Gill and Pauline were in the episode I saw!

  12. Now this was a good one - New Musik, Sad Café, Madness and Dexy's, a good sprinkling of American artists with live performances, a flashback to the Sixties Mod scene and a power pop classic at No.1 to top it all off!

    Interesting to see how Simon Bates held his mic in these early appearances - at one point so low as to be off-screen - compared to later in the decade when he looked to be biting a chunk out of it. I did like the way he referenced other song titles in his links, including 'One Step Further', which wasn't to be written for a couple of years yet!

    New Musik songs don't have the most intricate of basslines in them - I think he was just bored.

    This Billy Preston/Syreeta thing seems to have been around for months. Yes I know it's a superb live performance but I for one am starting to grow tired of Mr. Preston's obvious prowess on the ivories. It's the piano equivalent of those 2000-notes-per-minute metalhead guitarists - we had a term for that at hospital radio which we couldn't use on air and I don't think I can use here.

    I'm surprised how folk are dismissing Sad Café as one hit/one-and-a-half hit wonders. A Top 20 record follows this which I'm sure you'll all remember! Paul Young showing off his New Year haircut by the look of things.

    Dexy's Midnight Runners with Dance Stance or Burn It Down, depending on whether you have the single or the LP. The latter version is the one with the naughty word inserted between "shut your" and "mouth".

    Amii Stewart - a very attractive lady marred by make-up applied with a trowel.

    It's been a while since we've had some of that underexposed concert film stuff, but here are Styx with, apparently, the record version overdubbed. If this was live then it's a truly impressive piece of sound mixing.

    Hard to believe today, but Green Onions never made the UK charts until this time, although it was a US No.1 in its day.

    I too noticed how the end title sequence froze on the last two credits - was this done in 1980 or 2015? Let the conspiracy theories begin....

  13. I've plenty to say about this week's episode, which was packed with well-crafted songs and classy acts.

    New Musik - signed to CBS subsidiary GTO Records, which was also home to Heatwave and The Dooleys - delivered a perfect pop record for its time, but please tell frontman Tony Mansfield that he's not fingering the G major chord correctly on the 12-string!! No wonder he ended up producing Captain Sensible - whose '84 hit 'Glad It's All Over', co-written and overseen by Mr Mansfield, uses part of the same tune.

    Sad Cafe's song reminded me somewhat of 10cc - which is at least partly explained by the presence of Eric Stewart in the producer's chair. Like Tom Robinson's Peter Gabriel-assisted minor '83 hit 'Atmospherics (Listen To The Radio)', it is of very high artistic quality but lacks a commercial hook. Cafe's real follow-up to 'Every Day Hurts' would be their next 45, the Jagger-inspired 'My Oh My', which made the Top 20.

    Sister Sledge's 'missing' member may well have been attending to her family; it was commonplace in that group for members to take time off when maternal commitments called. Not one of the Chic Organisation's strongest songs, but the composers would redeem themselves in the autumn with Diana Ross's career-reviving international chart-topper 'Upside Down'.

    Amii Stewart's ballad 'Paradise Bird', co-written by Simon 'EastEnders' May, was an exquisite piece of work - but probably too slow for the radio, hence its peak position of 39.

    Styx, like so many US stadium fillers of their ilk, enjoyed only a brief British chart career - though this immaculate ballad made enough of an impression on the British consciousness to inspire an impersonation of lead singer Dennis De Young on ITV's 'Stars In Their Eyes' in '99.

    I was pleased when 'Green Onions' - a big favourite with Georgie Fame, and indeed with Britain's mods - finally made the British Top 10. Legs' black-and-white outfits reflected the then-current mod revival perfectly.

    Finally, British-born American songsmith Rupert Holmes turned out a warm, witty, melodic narrative that rightly made the British Top 30 as well as topping the US chart. His follow-up single 'Him', a more sombre tale of a relationship in jeopardy but again a Top 10 hit Stateside, owed something of a musical debt to the Doobie Brothers circa 'What A Fool Believes' - and even matched the latter's British chart position of 31. The limited acceptance of these two acts, and indeed Styx, among British record buyers underlines the differences in national tastes between this sceptred isle and The Big Country.

    Overall, this is one of the most enjoyable episodes of TOTP - and well worth catching in full on BBC iPlayer.

    1. Hi Julie! Haven't heard from you for a while? GTO was a prolific label, as they also had Donna Summer, Billy Ocean and Fox on their roster, plus they magaed a couple of chart entries by Dana and a one-off comeback hit for Duane Eddy.

      Not too keen on "Babe", but I prefer this to what is probably Styx's second-best known song over here, "Mr. Roboto"!

  14. I'd never noticed Glad It's All Over has the same chorus as Living By Numbers, but now you mention it...

    Sara Cox played it on Sounds of the 80s last night, too. Someone on that show is watching the repeats.

  15. It was many years after the event - possibly 1990s - when it dawned on me that 'Glad It's All Over' had a distinctly New Musik feel to it, which prompted me to examine the small print on the label.

    Forgot to mention that the live performance from Positive Force had some impressive deep bass, which I didn't enjoy at first because my subwoofer had developed a very nasty buzz. Turned out to be a plastic carrier bag on the floor next to it.

  16. A decent showing by Simon Bates, from Birmingham.

    Interesting to have the combination of electronic instruments and 12 string guitar for New Musik, with the catwalks keeping those baying crowds away.

    That Sad Café track sounded like a funky version of The Beatles’ “Baby You’re A Rich Man”. Paul Young loved that tie as he’d worn it before on the show – looking like a young Richard Baker to Tony Mansfield’s chubby Keith Harris.

    Is that a sub-Three Degrees? No, it’s most of the Sledge Sisters with sis left of stage not looking Sledgey facially to me. Sounded like a slower facsimile of “He’s The Greatest Dancer” – what was this called again?

    Aye Aye? Partay? This is Shepherd’s Bush on a Wednesday night! Positive Force with some fantastic outfits from Damart. The only TOTP showing for this song, as it shot into the top 20 the next week then dropped.

    Was Simon Bates standing above a ski jump slope prior to the Kevin Rowland workout video? “Dance Stance” was punchy yet eminently forgettable.

    Jesus Christ, it’s a Bounty bar ad! “What have I got to do to keep a hold on you”? Keep wearing that (lack of) outfit, Amii! Makes me wonder what she actually wore down to the supermarket. Fine vocal performance of a slow, dreary song and lots of facial close-ups. Boo!.

    Were Styx singing about a talking pig? Tasty with some green onions. Talking of which, great outfits and a spritely routine which the Leggers enjoyed.

    Rupert Holmes looked like the smug office prat. Hated the spoken ends to some of those lines. His wife must have answered that ad quickly for them to meet the same day as his ad in the paper. Imagine how quickly they’d have met in this day and age.

    So, after the crowds were kept away for our first studio act, almost a moshing scenario with the same stage for an obviously pleased Chrissie Hynde. I bet the lads in the band loved their fleeting cameos as Chrissie stole the show camera–wise. Still, she’s special!

  17. I must say I found Rupert Holmes' talk of making love in the dunes of the Cape rather unsavoury. With that beard, the guy from the Joy of Sex books was brought to mind. Was it subtitled "(The Piña Colada Song)" to assist the record buying public in identifying it in the shops more easily, rather like Crystal Waters' "Gypsy Woman (La Da Dee)" some years later?

    Interesting about the similarities between Living by Numbers and Glad It's All over, one that makes you think, oh yeah I suppose so, in the same way as you do about Tom Petty's I Won't Back Down and Sam Smith's Stay With Me now that Tom has secured himself 12.5% of Sam's royalties (although listening to the ubiquitous Stay with Me for the umpteenth time on the way home the inference is one of pure coincidence).

    I thought Tony Mansfield was solely a producer and didn't know he was the lead singer of New Musik so put his lack of charisma aside to bow down before the knob twiddler on one of the great undiscovered classics of the 1980s, Search Party's "Urban Foxes".

    1. i watched that kratwerk bbc4 doc last week, and was rather disconcerted to find out that those talentless tw*ts coldplay filched from "computer love" hook line and sinker - hopefully ralf hutter ensured he got all the royalties?

  18. One thing I took away from this edition was the huge gulf between the look of American and British musicians in early 1980.

    On the one side you've got the perms and taches of Styx and Doctor Hook (with what must be the uncoolest back line of any band ever), plus Rupert Holmes with his Miami Vice-style outfit: on the other, the short-haired Madness, the docker-styled Dexys and the rocker cool, leather-jacketed Pretenders. Mind you, Sad Café, still stuck in the mid-70s, did let the side down a bit.

  19. A bit late to the party on this one, so I'll be brief.

    The Bee Gees song is pretty good - when I started on the radio it used to get the odd play but sadly not any more.

    I love all of New Musik's singles. I'm glad that we get to see 'Living by numbers' even though it's probably my least favourite of them all through familiarity.
    'Straight lines' was on a banned show and - I'll be delirious if I'm proved wrong - I don't think the other 2 ever got on the show. One of them was probably out during the strike period in any case.
    I've probably said it before, but 'Sanctuary' is my absolute favourite.

    The Sad Cafe song was weird and distracting, the Sister Sledge song quite the opposite. The Positive Force track I've never been keen on and the performance on this show didn't help matters.

    Dexy's Midnight Runners I also prefer in this phase of their career. 'There there my dear' is never on the radio but I think it's the best of their run of singles in 1980 /1. 'Dance stance' is OK, certainly their look alone must have got them some new fans.

    Amii Stewart's song was unusual, but unlike Sad Cafe's had me strangely glued to the screen (and not just because of the outfit, thank you very much!)

    Styx on the other hand made me hit the fast forward button.

    Rupert Holmes looks like an accountant. I can say that without offence because I am one. But I can't sing. Oh, hang on - it turns out that he can't either!

    The Jon & Vangelis song is lovely, although 'I'll find my way home' is the one I'm really waiting for. One of my favourite songs ever, that.

    1. And will have added poignancy by being Sue Menhenick's last ever performance.