Thursday, 23 April 2015

Top of the Pops to Cairo

The news breaking this week is that the return of a revamped Top of the Pops on Friday nights hosted by Dermot O'Leary and Fearne Cotton is imminent. Let's hope they are both watching the 1980 repeats to see how it's done.......

Top of the Pops 3-4-80: Presenter: David Jensen

(15) JUDAS PRIEST – Living After Midnight (and charts)
Almost at its chart peak of number 12 now.

 (14) MADNESS – Night Boat To Cairo
Getting the show underway, full of eastend promise. Night Boat to Cairo was actually a track from their e.p. Work, Rest and Play.

 (12) BARBARA DICKSON – January February ®
Now just one place away from its chart peak of 11.

The first stomping appearance on the show for this future number one, which was a tribute to American singer Geno Washington.

 (26) THE PRETENDERS – Talk Of The Town (video)
Kid Jensen introduces this as possibly 'their best one yet' but it didn't become quite as big a hit as their previous single.

 (19)  Legs & Co ~ return to more conventional disco this week for a routine to Don’t Push It, Don’t Force It by Leon Haywood

 (10) UB40 – Food For Thought
This performance was edited out of the 7.30 showing on BBC4 tonight.

 (34) THE SELECTER – Missing Words
Not only were the words missing, but so was the rest of the song, from the 7.30 showing.

 (25) B.A. ROBERTSON – Kool In The Kaftan ®
But this repeat performance was left in, edging its way towards a peak of 17 in the charts.

 (7) THE LAMBRETTAS – Poison Ivy
A colourful and energetic performance from the Lambrettas here for this ditty to VD.

 (NEW) PRIMA DONNA – Love Enough For Two
This was of course the UK's entry for the 1980 Eurovision Song Contest, which the Kid informed us would be held on the 19th April. It came third, but the record failed to make the top 40 in the charts.

 (1) THE JAM – Going Underground ®
A third and final week at number one for the Jam. The apron that Paul Weller has on is in homage to The Who's album, The Who Sell Out, which features Roger Daltrey in a bath of Heinz baked beans.

 (9) DR. HOOK – Sexy Eyes (and credits)
The Kid reminds us that on Easter Monday there's a Dr Hook special on BBC1, and then Sexy Eyes plays over the credits, the group's final top ten hit.

Next week we reach the 10th April 1980 with Simon Bates.


  1. Ah, Prima Donna and the tangled web of the 1980 “Song For Europe” fiasco.

    “Love Enough For Two” tied for first place in the UK final and, with time running out and in “what do we do now?” panic mode, the regional juries were asked which of the two songs they preferred in order to try and find a winner. Prima Donna won the countback 8-6, thus denying Maggie “Name That Tune” Moone a chance of Euro glory with her effort “Happy Everything”.

    Prima Donna was a real MOR supergroup in the making, featuring an ex-member of The New Seekers, Kate Robbins and one of her sisters (who’d been backing vocalists on “Lines" by The Planets), the brother of Bucks Fizz’s Jay Aston, and Sally Ann Triplett, who became one half of Bardo - they managed to have a “best of” album released, despite only recording six tracks in their career!

    We ended up with a New Seekers style song as our Eurovision entry, in place of the actual New Seekers, who were strong favourites to win but were then disqualified for performing their entry on telly before the UK final (entries weren’t allowed to be made public before “A Song For Europe” back then). This was the first UK entry for years not to be in the charts before Eurovision itself, and it only scraped to number 48.

    “A Song For Europe” also featured “Strictly” diva Bruno Tonioli in Duke and the Aces, and The Main Event (Co-Co under a different name) with a certain Cheryl Baker making her third of four “Song For Europe” appearances between 1976 and 1981.

    1. Prima Donna was indeed a cabaret supergroup. Sally Ann Triplett has since become a West End star with credits including 'Acorn Antiques', 'Chicago', 'Cats' and 'Mamma Mia!' Actor/singer Lance Aston (who would participate in 'A Song For Europe' in '83 as a member of vocal trio Audio) is now married to Marcella Detroit, late of Shakespear's Sister, while Kate Robbins' sister Jane is a respected sculptor and collage artist. Alan Coates subsequently backed Bucks Fizz on tour and enjoyed a long spell with The Hollies, but ex-New Seeker Danny Finn (real name Kevin Finn) has long since retired from showbusiness and runs a kitchen design business. He currently lives in Perthshire with his wife and fellow ex-New Seeker, Eve Graham. What a voice he had.

    2. I wasn’t aware until yesterday that Bardo duo Sally Ann Triplett and Stephen Fischer became romantically involved, then took it one step further (ho ho) and had a baby!

    3. You'd think they would have had triplets :-)

      ..........I'll get my coat.......

  2. As British summertime began in 1980, this show alone featured four successful icons of British pop history, namely Madness, Dexys Midnight Runners and UB40, and The Jam. Wow, we didn’t realize then how spoiled we were becoming at the start of the decade.

    Madness – I remember as a 12-year old in 1980 this new offering from Madness, as being my older brother’s favourite track from the Nutty Boys, while mine was One Step Beyond. Indeed he was 14 and I was 12, and so Night Boat to Cairo won the fave Madness track in Our House. Errm, that is three Madness tracks with Our House! Like it? Ha Ha.

    Dexys – I was always to this day convinced that this made it to No.1 because of its very powerful intro with the trumpets in tandem that just lull the listener to like the rest of the song. A very clever way to ensure a clear path to the No.1 spot, and it was truly a mark of genius by the Dexys crew.

    Leon Haywood – very wise words in this song to urge restraint when fancying someone without spoiling it for yourself by coming on too strong. How ironic that Legs & co was adding to the temptation by wearing skimpy dresses? I wonder whether it gave the opposite message of the song, but it certainly tested our resolve to stay calm despite their tasty look. On another note, I wonder how many of the Legs girls still fit into those dresses now in 2015?

    1. I agree that "Geno" had a very powerful intro, and indeed a strong, memorable brass arrangement overall. The horn section on this recording actually consisted of saxophonists Steve Spooner and Geoff Blythe, trombonist Jim Paterson and trumpeter Geoff Kent, though the latter would leave the band soon afterwards.

      By the end of '80, 5 other members had quit to form The Bureau - whose '81 single 'Let Him Have It' should have been a HUGE hit. Another Dexys spin-off that deserved to court more success was The Blue Ox Babes, a Celtic soul outfit formed by original guitarist Al Archer in '87.

    2. I recall The Bureau getting a lot of airplay for their debut single "Only For Sheep", which also failed to chart.

    3. al archer's given name was also kevin, but true to his egomaniac self mr rowland determined there wasn't room for another kevin in his band (although if i were him i'd have changed my own name to something a lot less naff). al/kevin also apparently had the original idea of doing a celtic rock thing, of which rowland nicked wholesale after dexy's popularity as a soul-style act faded (he supposedly was plagued by guilt enough to offer the other kevin some financial compensation in later years)...

  3. My only real observation here is Chrissie Hynde. Has that woman's look changed even slightly in 35 years????

    1. Probably not. Looking middle-aged in your 20s has its advantages in the long term...

  4. shaky shakerson24 April 2015 at 05:24

    Kid Jensen takes the mic, Judas Priest backdrops the countdown and Madness start us off with - to me - one of their weakest singles. It seems like this started off as an instrumental before someone came up with the first verse before getting stuck and then they couldn't be arsed to work up any more words. Still, a poor Madness song is streets ahead from those offered here by Babs Dickson, BA Robertson, Dr Hook, or The Lambrettas.

    It is also streets ahead, of course, of our Euro song entry, here performed badly - very badly- by Prima Donna. The 'constructed' group comprised Kate Robbins, that bloke who joined New Seekers after the hits dried up, a bloke with a porn tash and three other bods. They were hampered in their attempts to have a hit by having drunk choreographers and a fashion designer with absolutely no fashion sense whatsoever. Oh, and the fact that the song was pants.

    But after all that naffness, what we have left is 1980 cream.

    Dexys in full snarling flow, with a blistering brass riff and Kev Rowlands heart-felt lyrics. I was ahead of the game with this lot having championed Dance Stance/Burn It Down earlier in the year.and I knew - just KNEW - this was going to be massive. Still love it now. But in my head I thought they looked far cooler than they appear here. The red hat was a mistake; Rowland 'playing' guitar was restrictive, and as for the stomping dancing, no no no. Oh, and look out for the drum cymbal falling over halfway through.

    The Pretenders in jingly-jangly guitar Talk Of The Town - and I agree with the Kid, possibly their best single to this date.

    The Selector with THEIR best single too. Pauline Black looking fine in her white suit and a great energetic performance by the whole band, which was almost ruined by the over abundance of smoke which had some of the band choking near the end.

    Repeats for UB40 and The Jam - but neither of these songs has lost their appeal in thirty five years.

    And to cap it all, Legs wearing what look like sheer silk nighties with matching underwear. Very raunchy. But some of the moves, well, they looked a tad clumsy. Still, the outfits!

    So all in all a rather good show 8 each for presenter and show.

  5. Madness: sing, Lofty! I will not 'ave gossip in this jungle! Always liked how they took ages to start the vocals in this, plus the saxophone is tremendous.

    Barbara Dickson: is she a natural curly top or did she have her hair permed especially? Note the gold tie on the drummer, or is it made out of a Caramac wrapper?

    Dexy's: I remember hearing an interview with Geno Washington and he was utterly baffled as to why anyone would want to sing a song about him. It probably gave him more fame than his whole career put together.

    The Pretenders: playing in a test card c.1964, by the looks of it. They always did wistful well, this bunch, and the "maybe tomorrow" bit is about as wistful as they could get.

    Legs & Co: I just hope there wasn't a draught in the studio. Anyone else think the intro to Leon's tune sounds like it's going to be Spinning Wheel by Blood Sweat & Tears?

    The Selecter: a lot of energy in this episode, but Pauline beats them all, like a human yo-yo or something. Great tune, too, even if the staging was doing its darnedest to sabotage them.

    Did someone cut half of B.A. Robertson's tie off? A disgruntled Green Party M.P., perhaps?

    The Lambrettas: they were certainly enjoying themselves, with another prominent horn section. Very sharp suits, I thought.

    Prima Donna: urgh, just about recall this, but no wonder it didn't make an impression, I'm not one to slag off Eurovision acts but this wasn't even catchy. If you saw this in a working men's club it would be booed off stage. I most associate Sally Ann Triplett with going down the dumper era Crackerjack.

    The Jam: "You've made your bed, you'd better lion it!"

    I think Kid's promotion for Dr Hook was more threat than promise.

    1. Leon Hayward not only nicked the intro from Spinning Wheel but stole the verse structures from Kiki Dee's I've Got The Music in Me and I love the way he avoids singing the chorus.

    2. I also think that Leon Haywood's chorus sounds a lot like the chorus for Ladies Night by Kool & The Gang, released in late 1979.

  6. madness: in my opinion they released four stupendous tracks in their time and this is one of them, even if perhaps not the best choice as a single. also one of the most enjoyable appearances on this totp run so far. what happened to suggs' helmet at the end? was someone taking the pith?

    dexy's: i know this is considered a classic by others, but not by me. especially when it (more-or-less) follows madness who really expose its stodgyness. and they pulled the plug just as it got to the only half-decent bit of it!

    pretenders: did kid give this much of a listen? contrary to his assessment it's not in the same league as "brass in pocket" and time has proven that. was this a promo video or was it shot in the studio? shame there were only fleeting glimpses of pete farndon - surely the coolest-looking guy to appear on the show thus far

    UB40: i recently saw a poster for a music festival that included "UB40", subtitled "ali - astro - mickey... together at last!" obviously their reunion has far more significance than that by say abba or the smiths. one wonders if they'll get to honour that booking if the "other" UB40 have their way...?

    selecter: it seemed a bit odd to have a similar act follow-on - if i'd been the director i'd have stuck prima donna in here to break things up a bit. in contrast to madness this lot never really did much for me. never mind missing words, there's also distinct absence of tune too. and if i was their producer i'd have told them to stop putting breakdowns at the end of every verse, as they were just losing any momentum they might have built up thus far...

    lambrettas: i see the band have got their dads in to pretend they're the horn section. so embarrassing they're not even allowed to share the same stage! the trombonist was actually in "futuristic" group landscape who may get to appear soon assuming we make it to next year...

    prima donna: this is painful to watch and listen to, but amusing in that whoever put together euro-vision material obviously didn't follow the musical trends of the time back in those days. i stopped watching that nonsense around this time, but i guess that unlike thenthe thing's heaving with rappers and suchlike these days? the contrast between mr shag-haired 70's bloke and mr wedge-and-tash 80's guy was also amusing. i thought i recognised the bardo woman but not kate robbins, despite already being familiar with her from "crossroads" (where she played a pop singer!). she later did some sterling work both speaking and singing in "spitting image"

    1. oh yes, if memory serves right then kate was related to macca...

    2. Kate Robbins is a first cousin of Macca and sister of Ted, a well-known northern comic who played Pater Kaye's nightclub owner nemesis in "Phoenix Nights".

      I forgot to mention, the song which replaced the New Seekers' disqualified effort in "Song For Europe" finished two points away from causing a three-way tie and Wogan's wig to fall off. I'm surprised the competition rules didn't have a "most maximum points from judges if tied" rule, as Prima Donna would have won that 9-5.

      Another member of future hitsters Landscape on TOTP, following the Buggles' drummer. I wonder if we ever get the full set?

    3. Ah yes, Phoenix Nights. The brilliant Den Perry played by Mr Robbins. Kate also had a cameo as an,er, ladies personal entertainment, salesperson.
      Missing words by the Selector, think it was used in Mark and Lards day as the background of a especially hilarious quiz they ran.
      I miss those 2.

  7. Kate Robbins did the women's voices on Eurotrash, too.

    As for Eurovision, if last year's was anything to go by it's not rappers but inspirational fist in the air ballads that rule these days.

  8. If these rumours about TOTP's return are true, it will certainly be interesting to see how it gets on in today's TV landscape. I won't be watching, however, as I have zero interest in chart music these days...

    Back to 1980, and this is certainly up there as one of the strongest shows of the year. Night Boat to Cairo sounds a bit like One Step Beyond part 2, but a typically colourful performance helps to sell it - the keyboardist in the fez and bow-tie reminded me very much of Matt Smith during his stint as the Doctor. The Dexy's performance was passionate and intense, and it helps that Geno is such a great song - this is really what they should be remembered for, rather than tired old Come on Eileen. Just a shame it got cut off as the brass reached its crescendo.

    I liked the Selecter's effort much better than their previous releases, but I can see why they have lasted less well than their 2 Tone contemporaries, as their songs did lack any truly memorable hooks. A pleasant offering from the Pretenders too, with quite a striking use of multiple straight lines in the video, but they are a band whose music rarely seems to get out of a rather languid comfort zone, and Talk of the Town is no exception. I agree with the comment above that the Leon Heywood tune's intro is very similar to Spinning Wheel - so tight are the Legs' dresses that I do wonder if they had to be pushed and forced into them!

    Turkey of the evening was undoubtedly Prima Donna, with a song that was a decade out of date and a gruesome, sugary performance which made me want to reach for a sick bucket. No wonder it tanked in the charts - I must confess I didn't recognise Kate Robbins, but I do remember her from an ITV comedy show called Saturday Gang which also starred Hale & Pace and Gary Wilmot, of all people...

    1. Interesting that you mention that Prima Donna was a decade out of date, because my initial impression is that they were trying to copy the successful formula and format of Guys & Dolls from 1975 with their top 3 hit There's A Whole Lot Of Lovin, which spawned one of the loving couples to form Dollar in 1978.

      Suffice to say that this attempt by Prima Donna to emulate Guys & Dolls from the 70s did not bear fruit for Prima Donna in the 80s.

    2. Yes, I agree that they were trying to ape the Guys & Dolls formula. The song also sounded like something the New Seekers would have done circa 1971 - appropriate, I guess, as an ex-New Seeker was in the Prima Donna line-up!

  9. Just a few bite-size comments from me for now…

    An extra long mugshot for The Police, while the Dooleys’ photoshoot must have taken place in a coalmine judging by the lighting.

    Surely Suggs and Chas could have put some sand on the floor and done a Wilson, Kepple and Betty- style sand dance? And if ever there was a golden opportunity to bring the “Egyptian Reggae” camel costume out of retirement, this was it.

    Kevin Rowland sings “I’m looking down at you” while staring skywards over his mic.

    Typical – wafer thin clingy outfits for the Leggers, and Patti isn’t involved! Judging by the amount we saw, those outfits must’ve cost five knicker. Boom boom tish!

    What imposters UB40 were. “I’m a prima donna”…we’ve sussed you, chaps, they’re on later!

    Ah, The Selecter with that lesser known ska instrument, the afuché. Get in!

    Come on, Kid, do the math(s)…The Lambrettas are “up five places from twelve to, erm, (counts fingers) seven”. Great colourful whistles. A song with similar sentiment to “Growing On Me” by The Darkness.

    Dig Porno Tache Boy’s dancing in Prima Donna’s elongated wannabe TV jingle. That girl in the front row of the audience wearing a green blouse was belting the words out. I wonder if she bought all those copies to get it into the top 50?

    Was it me, or was Kid visibly glazing over when announcing the Dr. Hook special? Couldn’t blame him!

    1. I wouldn't mind seeing the Dr Hook Special shown on Easter Monday 1980 following this TOTP show.

      Has anyone/Angelo got a copy that they can paste the link, as I do not recall the show, as they probably would have done a special show for the BBC with all their hits while they were here in the UK?

      After all, what a great opening line to Sexy eyes to end this edition of TOTP :
      "I was sitting all alone watching people getting off with each other."

    2. Come to think of it, the song is along the lines of The Diary Of Horace Wimp, by ELO the previous year in 1979 which follows a similar predicament and storyline.

    3. I cant find a full edition of the Dr Hook special on Youtube but most of it is there in separate clips ~ here's the end credits.....

      and here's the guest appearance by Kate Bush....

      There's about 6 or 7 other clips too.

    4. Kate Bush and Dr Hook? Those just don't seem to go together somehow.

    5. Thanks Angelo, if any one an get hold of the whole show, that would be great, but it would be even better if BBC4 could show it on their Friday night programming soon, if anyone on the blog has any links with the right people at BBC4, as this show is rare.

  10. Hi.Lovely Blog and have been following all the comments and reviews for a while.
    Just wanted to add my voice..great episode and Legs and Co..Wow! I wondered why I watched these repeats! Stunning!

    I did think Madness were a bit too layed back in their performance in this episode after the run around the stage antics with One Step Beyond.Cairo for me has always been a track that makes me want to get up and move around with that infectious bass line but the nutty boys seemed quite restrained in this one.The audience didn't help to be fair..they really did seem asleep in this episode! Shame these early Madness songs weren't part of the Michael Hurl era as the audience would had been going nuts!
    For a final observation..when Kid announced a special Doctor Hook special during the Easter holidays..when he said "Doctor" I really thought he was going to say "Doctor Who" special which makes no sense in the context of the program but in my head as I'm currently watching all the classic Dr who's from around this made perfect sense to me! Thanks for reading this..and good love!

    1. good to hear from you wayne! just to let other contributors know (if they don't already) that our old chum bama boogie woogie has returned and is commenting on older shows (sometimes under a new monicker "the nightfly"!), so hopefully people will check out his contributions whilst he continues to "catch up" with us...

    2. Hi Wilby. I've reverted to my old name again because Google wouldn't let me log in as the new one.I hate computers!

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. (reposted due to some silly typos in the original and you can't edit...)

      Madness actually released 'Night Boat to Cairo' as the headline track from an EP called 'Work, Rest and Play'. Maybe the BBC didn't want to draw attention to that due to the phrase's association with a certain tasty chocolate bar. The other tracks on the EP were not played much (if at all) and were 'Deceives the eye', 'The Young and the Old' and 'Don't quote me on that'.

      I think as a rule EPs tended to have one lead track that was considered the hit. Kate Bush's 'On Stage' and Genesis's '3x3' EPs are good cases in point with 'Them Heavy People' and 'Paperlate' being their lead songs.

      I felt the Eurovision entry from Prima Donna (love the irony of 'Food for Thought' being on the same show that somebody has pointed out) was particularly weak. If any good did come out of such an insipid song, it was that something decent followed a year later that has gone down in Eurovision folklore.

  12. This was one of the top shows so far this year for me - Madness Lambrettas, Selector, UB40 and The Jam. Ambassador you're really spoiling us!

    I remember this Madness performance from the time and it has to be said that they knock Liquid Gold into a cocked (pith) hat with their zany stage antics. I love the fact that Suggs does nothing until he starts singing but why did they have to fade it before the coda? And what was up with the audience, even the skinhead in Ben Sherman and braces wasn't dancing. Shame on you sir!

    Can I say I'm getting a bit bored with Babs Dickson, it's a good song but she seems to have been on dozens of times and when she wasn't doing TOTP she was on The Two Ronnies.

    I was completely bowled over by Geno and loved everything about Dexys. I had already bought Dance Stance and was disappointed that it only got to number forty but this got to number one and deservedly so.Once again most of the crowd seem unmoved by the experience. Note Kev's mic stand falling over at the end.

    Talk Of The Town has special memories for me because it reminds me of someone I got to know the following year. I bought all The Pretenders singles, they all seemed to possess an edge missing from a lot of pop songs at the time and I just loved Chrissie Hynde.

    I had completely forgotten about the Leon Haywood track until these re-runs. The sassy Legs routine certainly helps sell the song. Leon Haywood was originally Sam Cooke's keyboard player and was nearly forty when this was a hit.

    Another great UB40 performance when the band were still young, raw and at their best. It's Brian's turn to wear the Fred Perry this week. I don't care much for Ali's jumper, it looks like his mum made him wear it ("mum that's dry ice, not fog")

    I only recently rediscovered this Selector track when I bought a Two Tone compilation. It's brilliant! Lyrically it's such an unusual sentiment for a song and strangely appropriate for this show with Madness and their long intro.

    I love the way BA Robertson's band are getting up to all sorts of antics in the background, desperate to be noticed, but the crowd completely ignore them, preferring to stare at Rob Brydon-lookalike Brian who appears to be about 8 feet tall (and two feet of that is his jaw).

    The Lambrettas look like old hands now, really getting into their stride. And the hairy horn players are live and start playing a different tune at the end. The band were signed to Rocket Records and my friend (who I didn't know then) was employed by Rocket at the time. He told me that the bassist Mark Ellis wasn't really into the whole Mod thing and being a few years older than the rest of the band was actually a bit embarrassed about it and wanted to leave (perhaps they weren't paying him enough). He wasn't part of the band when they revived in the 1990s

    There has to be a fly in every ointment, and here it's Prima Bleedin' Donna. Oh dear how wet and dreary can you get. The two lead singers must have been modeled on Kevin Banks and dumpy Glenda Barlow from Crossroads who themselves were a poor man's Brian and Gail Tilsley. Anyone smell home perm fluid?

    And a repeat of the be-aproned Jam only let down by following it with Dr Hook whose one eye was never remotely sexy.

    1. bama it was actually glenda brownlow in crossroads (as opposed to deirdre barlow in coronation street)! i'm rather embarrassed to say i was an avid watcher of crossroads circa 1980, when the brownlow family had interminable not-so epic adventures in their living room (dad was called arthur and mum was doris to my recollection)...

    2. knowing i wouldn't be able to sleep tonight otherwise, i've checked on the internet and mrs brownlow was actually called kath - not doris! apparently there was also a brother called ron, but i have no recollection of him...

    3. Crossroads was always copying Corrie, eg Benny was a copy of Eddie Yeats. Someone bought me some Crossroads DVDs a few years ago, the memories/nightmares came flooding back including seeing Jeff Stewart (Reg Hollis) from The Bill as a skinhead who ran over Miss Luke (Nora Battey from Summer Wine).

    4. Ah, Reg Hollis, whose first ever TV appearance was in the audience for a 1980 TOTP edition (from memory, he might have been on someone else's shoulders!).

    5. There is a poor quality clip on Youtube of a very young Peter Davison in the audience on a 1970 edition, while the Dave Clark Five perform Everybody Get Together. He appears in close-up at one point, singing along heartily - this was some five years before his TV acting debut in The Tomorrow People.

  13. I've got here in reasonable time this week, hooray!

    I thought they threw everything at the Madness performance, lots of visual effects, explosions behind the drum kit etc. Just as well as the song is one of their worst sadly.

    Dexy's are always welcome, and 'Geno' took an age to get to Number 1, didn't it? It's not as overplayed as 'Come On Eileen' but then what is? I still prefer 'There There My Dear' though. Hopefully we get to see that later on this year.

    I agree with Kid's comment about 'Talk Of The Town' - it's one of their best I think. Mrs. Noax cannot stand Mrs. Hynde's voice however, and hates them all equally.

    I liked the Campbell brothers trying and failing to look serious during the UB40 performance, obviously failing to contain their excitement at having a big hit!

    Pauline Black looked as cool as she always does, but 'Missing Words' is for me the weakest Selecter single yet.

    What is the obsession with showing the TOTP orchestra in vision lately? This time The Lambrettas suffer from the intrusion, although admittedly if you listen carefully it does sound like the song has been re-recorded (though not necessarily the vocals) for this performance so I suppose there's the slight chance that the brass players did appear on it.

    I spotted Kate Robbins in the Prima Donna line-up but I'm annoyed that I didn't spot the ex-New Seeker as I knew that I'd seen him on the TOTP repeats before. It is a very insipid song, thank goodness we got better tunes for the next 3 years (no, that isn't a typo, I actually liked Sweet Dreams!)

    1. Ah. “Geno” got five studio showings, including at Christmas, plus an outro (though two of those are Yewtreed), but “There There My Dear” was a casualty of the summer TOTP strike and we never get to see it.

      I just watched the latest edition of ITV’s “Pop Gold”, and Elton John’s TOTP video for “Part Time Love” (where he looks like a “Clockwork Orange” outcast) was on – it seems to have also been shown on “Get It Together”.

    2. Yes, I noticed that it was the same Elton John clip that we saw on TOTP. Pop Gold implied that the performance is actually from Get it Together, rather than just being a video - if so, it was an unusual move for TOTP to source performance footage from an ITV show. Incidentally, was that Sandie Shaw sitting down by Elton's piano?

      I looked up Get it Together online, and apparently it was presented by Roy "Basil Brush" North, with Mike "Rock Bottom" Moran as musical director!

    3. Roy North used to do a "Crackerjack" in this show and sing a tune which, admittedly, wasn't always current. I recall Mister Roy in a routine where he got into a steel bath tub wearing olden days swimming combinations and treated us to "Splish Splash", a hit for both Bobby Darin and Charile Drake back in 1958!

    4. John G, I have every reason to believe that this Elton John video was from the ITV show Get It Together, as it has all the hallmarks of an ITV show, i.e, the big Elton logo in the background, the schoolboy type clothing on some of the audience, etc, I mean it is too wacky for a BBC production or guest appearance on a BBC show.

      There was no official video for the song, and this video was the one used as the promo video, and you're right, it is an unusual move for the BBC to show a clip from an ITV show on TOTP, but I think it was given to the BBC by Elton himself if he was not available for the TOTP studio, and I believe that the success of this 'video' for Part Time Love, was to be the first of his promo videos, as I remember that before this hit, he had not made promo videos, just studio performances, and it was the start of a pop video career at the end of 1978 after the 'video' here for Part Time Love.

    5. Upon further examination, it appears that any 'videos' from Elton before Part Time Love were mainly from performances on TV shows of BBC and ITV, and Part Time Love was a continuation of that, because the promo video era was just arriving towards the end of 1978, and most videos prior to that were pulled out of TV shows.

      Nevertheless, it's a fun song and a very well made performance on Get It Together, that I think the BBC were impressed enough to show the clip on TOTP, whether Elton himself gave it to the BBC, or there were in fact discussions with ITV directly from BBC, which is highly unlikely.

      Let's remember, that at the time, there were a number of performers that only performed on ITV shows and not TOTP, which is what makes Pop Gold a producer of rare performances of artists.

    6. The Part Time Love Video is actually introduced by Cathy McGowan, clearly influenced by Ready Steady Go with the faux mods in the crowd. Similarly she introduced an episode of Supersonic in 1975 which featured a lot of 60s artists, Mike Berry. Arthur Brown and Justin Hayward.

      The episode of Get It Together was shown on Tuesday 31 Oct 1978 and other guests were Frankie Miller, Tina Charles and Quint. The previous week the guests were Arthur Mullard and Hylda Baker with their 'video' for You're The One That I Want). Link below:

    7. In other words, it appears that early promo videos were preferred from ITV shows that BBC shows, and I presume because they had weirder, more-eye catching studio sets, never mind the constantly changings studio sets like the Part Time Love video.

      There must be so many other hidden gems from these ITV shows from the 70s which were not deemed gems at the time, but now in 2015 these would be seen as rare gems,and if Pop Gold can continue to access them from the ITV vaults, then they can be made as new promo videos for songs that sty ill have no video associated with them, as this was technically pre-pop video era.

    8. Nice research, Bama! I had to check Quint out. They were named after band founder and songwriter Graeme Quinton-Jones, and they released at least five singles on United Artists and RCA between 1977 and 1979. An unfortunate name for the band - as well as being a sequence of five cards of the same suit, it's also Jamaican slang for certain female muscles being clenched during, erm, pleasures of the flesh!

    9. Quint certainly sounds like it's going have a double meaning, like Clout. Re Supersonic, my brother worked at LWT in the early 1990s and at one point his job was to check and catalogue all the master video tapes (I should point out he did this in his spare time and was not very well paid). It was just him and one other person doing the job. They discovered all manner of gems including unedited versions of Supersonic which are quite funny with extra performances, fluffed takes, background noises left in them, plus a never broadcast live Supersonic show from Christmas 1976 with Trex and others and a superb 1970 pop showcase called South Bank Summer. He made viewing copies on VHS and lent them to me which was fantastic. This was how I discovered the Cathy McGowan edition of Supersonic.

    10. Last word on the Part Time Love video shown on Pop Gold last week, I just watched the original whole video on Utube today, and to highlight all the hallmarks of ITV in the 1970s in this video production, is at 2:47 of the video, when the camera fixates on an audience member's boobs in her silver party dress while dancing. Now that would certainly not have been filmed on a BBC TV show.

      Here it is:

    11. Elton's video may well have been made specially for 'Get It Together' - it looks very much like the Granada studio to me. The BBC would never have got three hairdressers - two of them male - to lip-sync the all-female backing vocals!

    12. Correction to above comment: the backing choir actually consisted of 3 females and 2 males. (See Wiki.) In which case there should have been 2 more females miming to the vocals! Sloppy staging - but that's what you would have expected from ITV in the era of 'Mind Your Language'!

    13. It's an era that I remember enjoying in 1978 when i was 10 years old! Elton John and Mind your Language, both on ITV.

  14. This one is quite fresh in the memory thanks to its presence on YouTube and a clicky on Chris Retro's blog two years ago. Viewed here in context it's the same generally high standard of other shows from this time - I commented in 2013 that 1979/80 was my personal 'nostalgia central' in musical terms and it's good to be living it again!

    I seem to recall that Night Boat To Cairo wasn't originally intended to be released as a single/EP lead track - I remember Bed & Breakfast Man getting some airplay and many years later discovered that a promo had been made for it.

    Spot the cymbal stand going over! I wouldn't have thought that Dexy's Midnight Runners ever considered themselves a punk band but this gave them some proper punk cred...

    I would agree that amongst all the quality on offer here, Prima Donna stood out like a sore thumb - surely the most forgettable UK Eurovision entry up to this time. Indeed, I think I can honestly say that my mind was a complete blank from the Sunday morning after the Contest until well into the YouTube era (unlike the winning entry from Ireland, which I found to be very much a 'grower'). Following on from the previous year's Smokie rip-off we have here an out-and-out Guys 'n' Dolls rip-off which just had me wanting to go and crack open a can of Coke. Or maybe hit the biscuit tin. Something like that anyway. The guy on the right with the 'tache was the male counterpart of 'so 1980' Ellie Hope.

    Just a shame that the show was ruined by those flippin' (in both senses of the word!) Quantel effects....

  15. Since no one else has mentioned it, I thought I'd point out that this was a highly UKIP-friendly edition, as we didn't see a single non-UK act. The only foreigners were Leon Haywood (heard while Legs caused middle-aged men around the country to cross their legs) and Dr Hook (over the end titles).

    As others have pointed out, this was truly a golden era of British rock and pop, and this edition featured songs, and bands, that have endured to this day. And Prima Donna.

  16. And another thing about “A Song For Europe” (sorry, REALLY sorry)…

    I forgot to mention that the writers of our 1980 Eurovision entry, Stephanie De Sykes and Stuart Slater, also penned “The Bad Old Days” for Co-Co (who finished in last place in the 1980 “SFE” as The Main Event). Thus, they penned both our worst Eurovision placing at the time and the first UK entry not to chart before the main event (ho ho) since 1964. You can see some form of pattern emerging here.

    Funny how the worst song on the show and the song that performed worst in the chart has become this week’s forum fulcrum.

    PS - Welcome back, Bama!

    1. Thanks Arthur. Stephanie De Sykes was also responsible for Steve Bent's Bottom 30 favourite I'm Going to Spain. They were working together and he told her he had written some songs she introduced him to her record label Bradleys. I'm Going To Spain was originally a part of a musical her had written but they persuaded him to record it as a single and to perform it on New Faces. It didn't win but got to number 18 in Kenny Everett's Bottom 30.

    2. I actually like "I'm Going To Spain". The orchestration does the song no favours, and some of the lyrics are clunky, but it's heartfelt and straightforward. The song was covered by The Fall, no less, on their "Infotainment Scam" album.

  17. A quick update on ITV's "Pop Gold", and it doesn't look good.

    Apparently, a second series was being considered, but a number of ITV regions pulled the plug during the current run due to negative feedback and poor ratings, and the edition scheduled for tonight (April 29th) has been pulled, at least for the time being.

  18. I'm not surprised as the captions were banal and (even worse) incorrect on many occasions, making the TOTP2 ones look like the work of a genius.

    I also think that Andy Kershaw was an extremely poor choice as link man. He was editorialising an awful lot last week, basically slagging off Duran Duran for no apparent reason.
    I don't particularly like the Bhundu Boys (one of his favourites as I recall), but I wouldn't present a programme on World Music and slag them off.

    The clips have, on the whole, been great but the show itself was not.

  19. shaky shakerson29 April 2015 at 10:10

    Yeah, I too, don't hold out much hope of this show ever darkening our screens again. Whilst the idea was a good one - and the amount and variety of clips extensive - there was something a bit slapdash and badly-thought out about it. From the banal show title, to the 'facts' to the voice-over, it all seemed as though it was cobbled together by someone with little or no love for pop music. Shame, because as mentioned elsewhere there must be hundreds of rarely-seen clips that would make for a fascinating series.

  20. That said, ITV has in its vaults a number of music performances from TV shows that could double up as music videos, where BBC had no pull for some of these groups which would only perform on ITV.

    The Pop Gold edition of last week had the last ever performance on film in the UK of John Lennon in 1975 doing Imagine for ITV only, and also Russell Harty Plus on ITV in 1974 had The Hollies performing The Air That I Breath, which is of music video style and quality, unlike the BBC performances they did, which were either black & white in the 60s or that 1989 TOTP performance which is poor quality and has largely decomposed.

    The other point to note is that the BBC wiped most of the TOTP editions and chat shows in the early to mid-70s which was a valuable alternative to TOTP for performers, but it appears that ITV kept everything with no wiping, and so if someone can do this work in getting everything from the ITV vaults, there is potential to make some of these performances into official music videos, which in the 1970s were a new concept just beginning.

    It's basically doing for several performers now what ITV did for Elton in 1978 to make that performance of Part Time Love on Get It Together the official music video for the song across global TV channels, BBC, MTV, VH1, etc.

    1. Not true that ITV did no wiping, I'm afraid, loads of tapes were subjected to the magnet - just ask any fan of Pipkins.

    2. Agreed. For example, of the 144 editions made of Granada's children's pop show "Lift Off With Ayshea", only three still exist.

  21. It will be a shame if we don't see any more of Pop Gold, despite its flaws. I didn't mind Kershaw's voiceover, but it wasn't really needed, and the "themes" applied to each episode were rather flimsy and silly. As far as ratings are concerned, sticking the show on late on a Wednesday night was never going to attract a big audience. However, many of the clips were fascinating and it would be good to see more. Assuming that doesn't happen though, I will still be glad that we have seen what we have.

    1. True, but I'd like to see the ABC clip tantalisingly shown in the intro montage.