Thursday, 2 April 2015

Top of the Pops for Thought

It's March 20th 1980 and UB40 are making their debut on this week's edition of Top of the Pops.....

Do you think they'll notice this is a Christmas song?

20-3-80: Presenter: Mike Read

(8) THE DETROIT SPINNERS – Working My Way Back To You – Forgive Me Girl (Medley) (and charts)
Play over the charts this week working their way towards number one

 (31) THE BODYSNATCHERS – Let’s Do Rock Steady
This was the only top 30 hit for two toners The Bodysnatchers, although most of the band would eventually return to the charts as the Belle Stars.

 (26) SQUEEZE – Another Nail In My Heart ®
How did this fabulous song only get to 17?

 (16)  Legs & Co  – with a special effects laden routine to Spirit Of Radio by Rush, and joined it would seem by the silhouette lady from Tales of the Unexpected.

 (43) SAD CAFÉ – My Oh My
With a more raucous sound here, My Oh My became the band's second and final top 20 hit.

 (27) THE LAMBRETTAS – Poison Ivy
This Leiber and Stoller song was the band's only top ten hit, and they performed it with some gusto.

 (29) BARBARA DICKSON – January February
This follow-up to the non-top 40 Caravan Song fared much better in the charts, narrowly missing out on the top ten. It was written by Alan Tarney, who'd had a massive success in 1979 with We Don't Talk Anymore.

 (24) SHAKIN’ STEVENS – Hot Dog ®
A third time on the show for the former Cardiff milkman with Hot Dog now in its peak position.
Then just before the next act, who should pop in to the studio but David Soul, about three years too late, to tell Mike Read about his new single, which didn't make the charts.

(40) UB40 – Food For Thought
Making their debut on the show, Food for Thought was the first of three top ten hits in 1980 for UB40.

 (15) MARTHA & THE MUFFINS – Echo Beach (video)
The official video here, though I'd rather have seen their Top of the Pops performance again.

 (45) B.A. ROBERTSON – Kool In The Kaftan
Another cracking tune but not as successful in the charts as his first two singles. Maybe that's why they edited him out of the 7.30 showing.

 (1) THE JAM – Going Underground (video)
Straight into the charts at number one. The first time that had happened for 7 years, since Slade did it with Merry Xmas Everybody.
 (4) THE VAPORS – Turning Japanese (and credits)
Now just one place below its chart peak

Next week it's the 27th March 1980 with Peter Powell.


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  2. As the countdown to Easter continues, this episode was interesting for a number of things:

    The TOTP studio was now taking on a dark lower-lighting look, as per a discotheque, and it did seem to fit with the array of lower-tempo tracks this week with no Liquid Gold , Gibson Brothers or Dooleys which took on a higher lighting level in the studio.

    Side by side with this ambience, and cool tempo studio audience, The Bodysnatchers and The Lambrettas lead singers were dancing more than the audience in front of them.

    Shakin Stevens – his third TOTP appearance for this debut hit at still only at No.24. Perhaps TOTP was missing a trick, by not realizing that this debut was not productive for this particular hit.

    UB40 – for me this was the highlight of the show. What a brilliant debut hit, when you compare with Shaky’s simultaneous debut hit.

    Nice to see David Soul for his second appearance on TOTP, and second time being interviewed and not performing in the studio. There seems to be common theme here with Mr Soul.

  3. A solid if unspectacular show, enlivened by the new number 1. I never used to like Going Underground much, but it has grown on me in recent years and, having listened to the Jam's sound evolve through these repeats, it is clear how far they had advanced musically since 1977.

    Very early on, before they became the most boring band in the world, UB40 did release a couple of decent singles and Food for Thought is definitely one of those; there is an eerie, hypnotic quality to it that makes it quite compelling. It is certainly far superior to the Bodysnatchers' lame effort - I had no idea that the Belle Stars originated here. I also thought Sad Café were rather forgettable. They seemed to have real trouble establishing a coherent musical identity for themselves, changing their style from single to single and falling between two stools as a result.

    You generally know what you are getting from B.A. Robertson, by contrast, but this rather tiresome effort suggests the joke was wearing a bit thin by this point. Barbara Dickson was much more enjoyable - in someone else's hands, this may have come across as a rather slight pop song, but her voice really does lift it.

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  5. 'Another Nail In My Heart' sounded to me like a concerted attempt by Squeeze to break America. After a period of trial separation during the mid-80s, they would eventually reach the Top 20 in that country in '87 with the even more dynamic 'Hourglass'. There's no doubting the songwriting geniuses of Difford and Tilbrook, but if anything held Squeeze back, it was their lack of a strong image. Nevertheless, they were well respected within the industry; even Lindisfarne's '82 album track 'Same Way Down' (which you can find on YT) appears to have been influenced to some extent by 'Another Nail'!

    In Sad Cafe's case, as John G points out, it was their failure to develop a definitive musical identity that prevented them from making the big time. There was plenty of high class musicianship within the band, as proven by the impressive CVs of rhythm guitarist Ian Wilson, keyboardist Vic Emerson and drummer Dave Irving, all of whom have since worked with some of the biggest names in the industry. Late singer Paul Young, of course, went on to court international fame as co-vocalist (with Paul Carrack) of Mike & The Mechanics - many of whose major hits would be co-written by BA Robertson, also on this week's show.

    The Lambrettas, like Secret Affair, represented the sound of fashion - at that time, the mod revival. Both bands' chart careers would be over within a year.

    Barbara Dickson OBE enjoyed a well deserved hit with 'January February', but she would prove to be more consistently successful as an album seller and, of course, as a star of musical theatre, as well as branching out into TV acting via 'Band of Gold' and 'The Missing Postman'.

    Talking of thespians, The Artist Formerly Known As Hutch made a respectable attempt to recapture former chart glories with the ballad 'Surrender To Me', his then-current single, which was actually composed by future Fleetwood Mac/Bob Seger guitarist Rick Vito. It was polished and well executed, with some exquisite vocal harmony work (check it out on YT), but was probably too slow and too MOR for Radio 1. Also, it was released on the independent Energy label, following the demise of Mr Soul's previous recording home, Private Stock.

  6. Not one of the best shows for me but there were some highlights. Here are my thoughts:-

    Bodysnatchers – Very bouncy and appeared to be performed live, or else it was a great mime.

    Squeeze – the keyboard player seems to have been squeezed out! You get brief shots of the keyboard occasionally but anyone could have been playing it.

    Sad Café – Always hated this song of theirs. A few years later they released a great single called ‘Follow you anywhere’ that didn’t chart and didn’t appear on TOTP which was a pity.

    Barbara Dickson – Another great Alan Tarney song…he would pop up again later in the year with Cliff’s ‘Dreamin’ (co-written with Leo Sayer). Not sure if Barbara is singing live?

    B A Robertson. As Julie points out above, B A ‘went serious’ some years later and co-wrote songs with Mike Rutherford (of Genesis and Mike and the Mechanics), notably ‘The Living Years’.

    UB40. Always disliked this and practically every other song they released. However, six months ago I was sitting in a coffee bar and this came on the radio and I thought to myself, “this isn’t bad really”. Seeing this performance on TOTP reinforced that. I probably won’t ‘grow’ into many of their other hits but this is really an enjoyable song. Didn’t realise there were two singers.

    Rush. Mike Read introduces this as “and now Rush”, but we get Legs & Co. I would have loved to have seen the girls faces when they were told, “this week you’re dancing to ‘The Spirit of Radio’ by Rush”. One of the most unsuitable songs for a dance routine that I can think of. There could not have been any concert footage available; something rectified for ‘Tom Sawyer’ a year or so later.

    The Jam. Never could understand why this came straight in at no.1. Could it have been because of the great marketing ploy of a limited edition (100k !) double single featuring live cuts of The Jam’s previous hits? Also, was this really a double ‘A’ side as, like ‘Mull of Kintyre / Girls School’ I don’t ever recall hearing ‘The Dreams of Children’. The Jam’s songs never really appealed to me, but obviously they were hugely popular.

    The Vapors. Why playout with this when it had been on the show twice already?

    1. Regarding UB40 with two lead singers, I remember this well when they first came on the scene in March 1980 on this show, and even as they appeared on other BBC or ITV shows, they started off like this, but it is not too clear as to when Ali Campbell was given the full lead role, as we would see in later years, despite the entire set up of UB40 being unchanged.

      I can understand that for this debut hit, which was brilliant, that it must have been exciting for a Birmingham band to appear on TV for the first time, and they must have been lapping it up, so why not have two singers on lead vocals?

    2. The Bodysnatchers were definitely miming to the record. Those 2-Tone recordings were very 'honest' and high quality, so it's easy to think that they were live. There's a clumsy bit here when the band and audience have been clapping for several seconds before the sound man opens the studio mics...

  7. shaky shakerson3 April 2015 at 09:45

    This week's top thirty trawl is in the company of Mike Read who has ill-advisedly decided to let his hair grow outwards into the shape of a helmet. The chart rundown is presented aurally by The Detroit Spinners and visually by an extremely vivid blue colour.

    First up, one-hit wonders The Bodysnatchers taking advantage of Two-Tone's chart ubiquity with a fairly decent - if simple - tune. Good, energetic, live performance featuring the first of many saxophones tonight.

    Someone on the Legs team seems to have pissed off the BBC hierarchy this week resulting in them having to dance to an undanceable track and then having their performance virtually hidden beneath a pallette of special effects.

    I had forgotten all about My Oh My until it came on. This isn't bad - not bad at all. It's a bit too close to The Stones for comfort but all in all you would have put good money on this lot continuing to grace the charts.

    The Lambrettas strive to keep the Mod revival afloat. And fail.

    Barbara Dickson. She's an excellent singer is ole Babs and she gives her all tonight. The song however is weedy and dull.

    Shaky getting his third appearance for a song that has still only managed to climb into the mid-20s. How was that even possible? Its not as though he was a chart heavyweight at this point either. Nor is this even a half-decent song.

    UB40. Now this is more like it. I loved early-doors UB40 (before they started doing covers) and this - and the rest of the Signing Off album - was my summer soundtrack. Lovely lovely understated performance too. In fact, I am going back to watch it again right now.

    The Jam - Going Underground. Another Weller classic and, as mentioned above, the first song to debut at number 1 for years. I think - and I could be wrong here - that the main reason this entered the charts in pole position was the day it was released on. Instead of a Friday ( which was the norm) the song was released on a Monday giving it an entire week's sales before it entered the charts. .... or something like that. Anyway, its a great end to what was my favourite edition of the year so far. I'm going to give the show a 7 with special mentions to UB40, Sad Cafe, Squeeze and The Jam. Mike Read picks up a decent 7 as well. Minimum messing around and no embarrasing sequeways. A very good show.

    1. I too was very disappointed with this Legs & Co performance being blurred by special effects to the point where it was over the top and could blind some people looking straight into the TV screen, or be harmful to epileptics.

      Was there really any need to cover these beautiful women from our sight with such pathetic special effects/strobes? Hope it does not happen again during the run of Legs & Co to 1982.

    2. Yes, not one of the best Legs routines, though I think the director realised this was not really a danceable tune and perhaps tried to overcompensate with all the effects. Rush seem to be a band with a big cult following, though based on this song and a few others I've heard I can't think why. It doesn't help that I can't stand the singer's voice!

    3. Shaky must be the new Jesse Green. For those of you who are fairly new to the re-runs, Jesse managed a gargantuan four showings (one studio performance, repeated three times) for "Nice And Slow" which peaked at 17.

    4. jesse green! that's a blast from the past. it makes me realise these reruns (and various blogs following them) have now been going for four years!

      regarding the multiple appearances of people with only minor hits, it has to be taken into account that the producer's minions were probably negotiating right up to the last moment with various record companies, managers and so on for bigger acts to make themselves available to perform on the show, and when it didn't happen for whatever reason then the lesser lights with far less commitments (or at least had a totp appearance in the can already) were given their chance instead. either that or some payola was going on!

  8. The Bodysnatchers to start with, Donald Sutherland's looking perky - oh, wait. This was a jaunty little ska tune though I wonder if the all-female line-up was more of a novelty than intended.

    Squeeze, with the patented "share one microphone between two singers" technique. Another jaunty number, but a little light for them, lyrics aside.

    I imagine this is exactly - EXACTLY - what Rush had in mind when they recorded this song. Absolutely bizarre to watch an extremely hyper Legs & Co bounce through this, complete with acting out the lyrics. This is better than a concert video, right?

    Sad Café with Mah oh Mah, sort of a white blues effort, not as haunting as their biggest hit, but it was adequate for its purpose. What was with the shutterbug, though?

    Lambrettas, a spirited version, but I would say Les Dennis and Dustin Gee would have done something sounding much the same. Always liked the lapse into the strong accent with the "She's crazy!" line.

    The mumsy Barbara Dickson with a wistful tune I always notice the heavy bassline on. Listen out for it, it's really prominent in the mix.

    Shaky more animated than last time, though did two girls dancing in the audience accidentally butt heads? Looked like it, but difficult to tell.

    UB40, yes they turned into a cabaret covers band alarmingly quickly, but the early stuff was really very good. The one I like is The Earth Dies Screaming, such a menacing song, but this is good too. Nice to see a leaf logo on Ali's guitar - he did like his gardening.

    Singing Martha apparently goes to the same tailor as Shaky, but this was a prime slice of Canadian pop, always reminds me of Annie Nightingale's Request Show where she often used to play this.

    B.A. Robertson, not sure what accent he's using on this one, it's all over the place, but his anti-hippy tirade would seem to have arrived a little late, maybe that's why it wasn't as big as his previous hits. One girl in the audience was certainly getting into it.

    The Jam, always notice how Weller spits out the "t" in the lyrics in this song, he does sound genuinely venomous. Ah, it wouldn't be an 80s video without a reference to nuclear war, would it?

    1. if UB40 hadn't turned into a cabaret band with their covers-on-autopilot then they would probably would have ended up signing on the dole again (and whatever form had replaced the UB40!)

    2. They all went bankrupt a few years ago (except Robin Campbell who 'did a deal') so sadly some of them may well have signed on again.

  9. I also gave David Soul's new (in 1980) single a listen on YouTube and er... I could hear why it wasn't a hit, no real hook to it as his imperial phase had produced. Not being allowed to perform it on TOTP can't have helped, anyway.

  10. i settled down to watch this edition on i-player at a friend's house earlier this evening... and the the bloody thing wouldn't play! hopefully i will get another chance soon, but in the meantime i want to be first to mention UB40's "i'm a prima donna" misheard lyric! i also read recently that there are now two UB40's operating, one with lead singer ali campbell (who left the original band some years ago for a solo career) along with a couple of the other original members, and the other being the rest who haven't (yet) jumped ship. that includes bother robin who along with the rest of "his" UB40 is apparently taking legal action against ali's lot, thus proving that blood is not always thicker than water...

    1. If this is true, then this is a terrible shame for such a fantastic band, although in my opinion their music evolved in a downward spiral over the years.

      What I mean is that UB40's best years were the first four years 1980-1983 from Food For Thought up to Red Red Wine. After that, I feel quality of their output was lower, with the exception of their collaboration with Afrikaa Bambaata in 1987:

    2. Good grief, having one version of UB40 still active is bad enough, let alone two...

  11. Did anyone see Pop Gold on ITV on Wednesday night?

    The Three Degrees in rare 1974 TV footage, playing in front of a middle-aged TV audience close up, and plumes of smoke from cigarettes and cigars. Wow, how TV allowed this in those days when no-one batted an eyelid, and no-one cared.

    Blue Mink playing on Frost On Sunday in 1970, with their hit Melting pot, is truly rare footage, and one where I have never known what this group looked like till now in 2015, but what a great song, and TV performance, in excellent colour, which for 1970 is impressive. Worthy of a TV award, if such existed in those days.

    Another example of where ITV has footage that BBC and TOTP have none, is Elton John singing Candle In The Wind on the Russell Harty show in 1974, with pictures in the background of Marilyn Monroe, and with the quality of a promo video despite none officially existing for this 1974 original.

    1. Yes I've been impressed with Pop Gold, lots of great clips and I like the fact that each episode has some kind of theme to bind it all together

    2. There seems to be some real gems on Pop Gold, where incredibly ITV shows managed to get some bands playing where the BBC failed to get them for TOTP, and this has been largely overlooked for decades until now.

      By now we know all that TOTP2 has to offer, and these new ITV revamped footage from ITV shows is so refreshing to see, as for many of us, this is in effect 'new or rarely seen' footage over the years.

    3. Fully agree about "Pop Gold". I'm intrigued by the clips from shows I'd heard of but never seen before, such as the Den Hegarty fronted "Alright Now", and shows I didn't have a clue about, such as "Out Front" and "Raw Soup", the latter apparently a typically ramshackle effort from the days of Carlton (shudder), recorded at a venue in Deptford.

      Spooky to see David Bowie's performance the week before Marc Bolan (or MARK Bolan as the strapline called him) died. The duo famously played a song together for the show but stopped when Marc tripped off the stage, and they had no time to re-record it as their studio time was about to run out and the technicians either refused to allow them to continue or wanted overtime pay. What a way to end.

  12. Did anyone spot that the BBC doctored the Jam video changing at 1:16 at the point where it says 'to choose your leaders and place your trust'?'

    In the original video which you can see on Utube, with these words there are photos of all the prime ministers from Winston Churchill up to Margaret Thatcher, and the photos are then on a table getting pushed aside. In the video shown in this week's repeat, these photos were replaced images of the boys coming out of an underground station, then sitting with Eton uniforms next to Eton schoolboys.

    Another case of the BBC tampering with the original video, but does anyone know if this was edited on the original show in 1980, or only now in 2015?

    As this episode was not shown on UK Gold, I wonder if anyone has the original 1980 TOTP to know if they allowed the prime ministers pictures at that time in 1980. Anyway, I wonder if the next two weeks at No.1 for this single has the same editing!

    1. I think the Jam video was only shown the once, the next two were a studio performance.
      I would wager that the edit is from 1980, the Beeb never really liked mixing politics and pop music back then, its a little more relaxed about it these days I think.

    2. The tube station clip is from (appropriately) the video for 'Down in the tube station at midnight'. So which tube station are the boys at here? Looking at the brief clip you can see ' Circle' and 'Victoria' and the 'ct' of 'District'. Can't see 'Metropolitan'. So I deduce that it's Victoria Station rather than Kings Cross, as the District & Circle lines interchange with the Victoria line there.

    3. Noted, but it still does not retract from the fact that the tube station image as well as the Eton images on the bench, are merely covering up the images from the original video with the prime ministers and their photos in that part of the video:

      That makes it two weeks in a row in March 1980 where the beeb meddled with the original video at the time in 1980. First with Rainbow's All Night Long, and then the following week with The Jam's Going Underground.

      One can be excused for wishing TOTP was an ITV programme and not a BBC one, cos they would not have meddled with original promo video footage.

  13. host: probably his best effort so far on what is in general a disappointing show. but there's a weird moment when he has a couple of punters onstage with him as if he's about to begin an interview, and then just introduces the martha & the muffins video without saying a word to them!

    bodysnatchers: take out the ska rhythms and its just a tuneless 12-bar. would they have got signed up by a label if they were a bunch of geezers? going by this then i'd say highly unlikely

    squeeze: having already been disappointed by "up the junction" after really digging "cool for cats", this was another nail in the coffin as far as i was concerned

    rush: i'm quite getting into this again like i did the first time around. but given there are only 3 of them, how did they manage to re-produce their studio sound live?

    sad cafe: why does the singer need an acoustic guitar when there are already two guys with electric ones?

    lambrettas: the singer has a nice brightly-coloured suit. the track has a hint of cod-reggae about it (or should that be cod-ska?)

    barbara dickson: her offerings aren't ever going to be my cup of tea, but better than her abysmal last effort (that only seemed to be on about a month earlier!)

    UB40: talking of cod-reggae... i liked this, but preferred the other "a" side "king" which (like the other side of "going underground") never got played on the radio. two things i recall reading about them: that they were so skint when they started that they lived on tins of baked beans, and the studio their early hits were recorded in were so cramped that some of them had to play standing outside the window. given the first fact, they were probably the lucky ones. also: air-congas alert!

    martha & muffins: does anyone know what any of the geezers' names are? does anyone care? keyboard martha looks particularly geeky in this - i mentioned before about her later appearing with the associates as a glamourpuss, but she also turned up looking just as divine as the "backing singer" when roxy music did "avalon" on totp (if we get that far, then i hope it isn't on a "banned" show!). also: the picture sleeve for this single featured a photo of chesil beach, which was very close to the town i grew up in - as you can imagine, living in such a musical backwater us carrot-crunchers got quite excited about that...

    ba robertson: whatever the intentions of his first two singles, at least they had hooks. unlike this. not even the keyboard player's manicness can save it

  14. Replies
    1. Good for you. Everyone avoids me like a cyclone ranger.

  15. Looks like opinions vary for this one, then. For me, it's got to be the best ever! If I had to pick just two editions of TOTP for a desert island it would have to be the fortuitously-surviving 15/02/68 show and this one.

    The funny thing is, much of it is familiar. The Bodysnatchers and Squeeze (complete with "snatch my body any time" link), the Lambrettas, UB40 and Martha & The Muffins (TOTP edit) have all popped up since the original broadcast, I think that most if not all was on the DJ Heaven episode featuring Mike Read, which I recorded on VHS (going to have to dig this out now!).

    You can see why the Bodysnatchers never made it huge, though. There's just something lacking in the visual presence department, although I couldn't say what.

    Legs & Co - yes, well, once again it's something that may have worked with 'proper' video but not with iPlayer. Great song with fascinating lyrics though. It starts with "Begin the day with a friendly voice / A companion unobtrusive / Plays a song that's so elusive", evoking memories of those halcyon days before the advent of tightly-formatted playlists and SHOUTY, ATTENTION-SEEKING BREAKFAST SHOW PRESENTERS but then goes on to say "But glittering prizes and endless compromises / Shatter the illusion of integrity" and "And echoes with the sound of salesmen". As we now know, the salesmen won. Together with the Ramones Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio, it would seem that there was a disillusionment of radio across the pond from as long ago as 1979/80.

    Just two further comments - could somebody who saw the show as broadcast on their big flat telly confirm that Sad Café's guitarist was trying to take photos with his lens cap on? And boy, did the Lambrettas' drummer look uncomfortable about being put at the front of the stage!

  16. At last! Finally got round to watching this edition. Just in time for the next one! Anyway…

    A fine show, with a few dodgy moments but including six of the best for my palate – Squeeze, Rush, Barbara (best thing Alan Tarney ever did), Marthas, Jam and Vapors. Certainly a high strike rate.

    An enjoyable and knowledgeable host, making a nice cool cat / hot dog allegorical link for two of the acts, informing us of the Canadian influence in the show and namechecking two indie labels. I bet Graduate were ecstatic at the publicity. Mike handled David reasonably well (ah, Soul!) and only let himself down with that owl link which wasn’t a hoot.

    Did The Bodysnatchers have anyone called Burke and Hare in the group? I once saw The Belle Stars at one of those retro gigs many years ago, and only two of the band bothered to reunite for the tour. This song was just 12-bar ska blah blah blah.

    I didn’t realise the young David Cameron started out in Squeeze. Jools needed all of five seconds in make-up for his cameo.

    Loved the scenario just before Sad Café, when that bloke pulled the girl away from the advancing camera at full stretch, as if yanking her out of the way of a runaway train.

    The Lambrettas were signed to Rocket, who lampooned Two-Tone by releasing this single on the Two-Stroke subsidiary, complete with a mickey take of “Jabsco”, the cool 2Tone dude, on the sleeve. Amy Winehouse also tried the latter ‘tribute’ to lesser effect. The Lambrettas had a later single re-named as its original title, ”Page Three”, was deemed to breach some sort of copyright “The Sun” had.

    UB40’s lead vocalists were Ai and Robin Campbell, but their band wasn’t condensed. Boom boom tish!

    BA Robertson reminds me of Jeremy Clarkson for some reason. He comes across as a bit of a “Ravi Shankar” (if you get my drift) here. Had he been egocentric enough to demand his band perform in a different postcode?

    See, Lambrettas, this is how you ‘do’ mod. Crowning glory for The Jam, with their neighbours from seven miles away giving a different slant (oh dear) to the fade-out.

    1. i can actually still remember most of the belle stars' names... without cheating! jenny - vocals (of course replaced rhoda when they rose from the ashes of the bodysnatchers), sarah-jane - guitar, stella - guitar, clair - bass, miranda - sax. i can picture the drummer but can't remember her name. that's all mainly courtesy of reading "smash hits" magazine over 30 years ago - does it get any sadder...?

    2. ha! i'm now pretty sure the drummer's name was judy (had to dig deep for that one)...

    3. i can't remember the keyboard player's name, or even if they had one. but if so then she's definitely the "brad dexter" of that not-so-magnificent seven...

    4. I cheated and Wiki'ed - there was a Penny on keyboards in 1981 but she left after a year and sax player Clare took over dual duties.

    5. Of the original line-up of The Bodysnatchers, guitarists Stella and Sarah-Jane and alto saxophonist Miranda would return to the hit parade as members of The Belle Stars, along with drummer Jane's latter-day replacement Judy. Keyboardist Penny was a Belle Star in their early days before making way for tenor saxophonist/keyboardist Clare, who would appear on all the hits. Also in The Belle Stars were singer Jennie, as Wilberforce points out above, and bassist Lesley, who replaced Rhoda and Nicky respectively.

  17. Didn't realise until today that Lambrettas singer Jez Bird passed away six years ago at the age of 50. Deep sigh.

  18. Regarding the "Do you think they'll notice this is a Christmas song?" strapline under the UB40 photo, I checked the lyrics online (they make "One In Ten" seem like "Atmosphere" by Russ Abbot in comparison) and, judging by the line "Jesus, Son of Mary, is born again today" I'd counter it's more of an Easter song.

    1. ali campbell always sang like he had a couple of gobstoppers in his mouth, so i never had any real idea what he was going on about!

  19. My my! an "F" word in Radiohead's performance on "Pop Gold" this week! BBC4 would have had kittens! Superb "PG" this week (even if the theme was a bit tenuous and stretched at times), topped off by The Carpenters' drummer's multi-coloured kit. If I could play drums, that's the kit I'd have wanted.

  20. Still catching up but I'm getting there. For me this was a special show as I would have thought at the time with no less than 6 of my faves on it.

    While I liked The Detroit Spinners output from the 1970s I was never a huge fan of their later work, although this is pretty special although I didn't buy it at the time.

    Now I loved the Bodysnatchers, this and the follow up Easy Life (which stalled at number 50). Admittedly the performance is a bit lacklustre but I don't think that's the bands fault.

    I loved Squeeze too at this point and bought every one of their singles which were all on different coloured vinyl. Strangely the opening shots of the band with the screen divided into four with close ups of their feet, etc, was almost duplicated on the sleeve of their later single Tempted. This song deserves to be as famous as Up The junction and Cool For Cats but it's easy to see why Jools would exit the band soon when he was sidelined by the cameras in this performance. Message to director -the lyrics mention the piano man.

    I have absolutely no memory of Rush from the time but I have discovered it since when the guitar part was sampled on Saint Etienne's second album So Tough. I like it.

    I can't believe that this effort by Sad Cafe got to number 13. It's so average compared to Every Day Hurts and the band have a serious image problem.

    I have to confess that I was really into The Lambrettas at the time. I have never heard Poison Ivy before and thought this was pretty cool. My mate used to work at Rocket Records and recently told me that Jez Bird (R.I.P.) was a bit full of himself and the bass player was a lot older than the others and was a bit embarrassed about the dressing up as a mods in little suits. The drummer was only 17 which is probably why he looks so nervous.

    Barbara Dickson, great song but it seems a little out of place here. The band were very big on braces.

    Even at the time I thought it was a bit odd singing a song about hot dogs but I have to admit that this is a lot preferable to Shaky's later output.

    I loved UB40 from the start and their first two albums are classics. Politically charged reggae with though-provoking lyrics that still sound good today. Looking at old photos of myself from the time I bore an uncanny resemblance to Robin Campbell down to the hairstyle and the tight white Fred Perry although no one said so at the time (some small children did once mistake me for Terry Hall but that's another story).

    I bought Echo Beach at the time and just loved it as a great pop tune. Although Chesil Beach is pictured on the sleeve it apparently isn't about any particular beach.

    Having bought B B Robertsons first two singles this once escaped me and I can see why. Too self consciously comical and not that good really.

    This was the first Jam single that I actually bought. My brother was into them from the start and I used to borrow his Jam Records but as he was at Manchester Poly by this point I had to buy my own. Looking forward to the Heinz apron next time.

    1. good to see you contributing nightfly, and hopefully you'll be fully caught-up with the latest edition soon as otherwise not all of us may read your comments...

      presumably chesil beach was used for the pic sleeve of the muffins' single as someone in the art department was familiar with it? although it's quite well known in blighty (ian mcewan later had a best-selling novel called "on chesil beach), i don't suppose it had any resonance for a bunch of canadians?

    2. i've just read the previous "archive" blog edition and have discovered you are in fact our old chum bama boogie woogie masquerading under another alias! perhaps inspired by punk artist spizz who changed the name of his band every year (in this year they were known as "athletico spizz 80)? also maybe the name is influenced by the donald fagan solo album of that name? i used it when i once had a late-night easy listening show on a community radio station, although it spelt it "nitefly"...

    3. Yep it's me. Bama B, alias The Nightfly, real name Dave.

      I had a problem logging in under my new name (I can't work out why) which was indeed in tribute to Donald Fagin, so I have had to revert to my old name for now.