Thursday, 10 September 2015

I'm Not Your Top of the Pops

Although not included in our Game, here's Alan Fish's 'pilot 2' edition for July 17th 1980, the first time the team have put together a 'new style' Michael Hurll episode, which as you can appreciate involves a higher level of complexity than putting together the Robin Nash ones.......

So which one of us is going to be the celebrity presenter?
Top of the Pops July 17th 1980
Hosted by Mike Read and DLT
We begin with the new style Whole Lotta Love intro to the show.......
(36) AC/DC ~ Whole Lotta Rosie
Launching the new era with a lot of noise, a post Bon Scott AC/DC.
(5) BOB MARLEY ~ Could You Be Loved
Now at its peak.
(4) DETROIT SPINNERS ~ Cupid/I've Loved You for a Long Time
The first of this edition's Legs & Co routines.
(21) SEX PISTOLS ~ I'm Not Your Stepping Stone
Looking slightly older here than in 1980 :-)
This is followed by the chart rundown from 30 to 11 and of course a guest appearance....
Still climbing its way up to 22.
(34) GERARD KENNY ~ Fantasy
This one got no higher than 34 but was his biggest UK hit.
(25) BLACK SABBATH ~ Neon Knights
Post Ozzy Osbourne and on its way to 22.
(3) STACY LATISAW ~ Jump to the Beat
The second of this edition's Legs & Co routines.
(39) GENE CHANDLER ~ Does She Have a Friend?
On its way to a peak of 28.
The Top Ten Rundown:
(10) LEO SAYER ~ More Than I Can Say
On its way to number 2.
(9) PAUL MCCARTNEY ~ Waterfalls
At its peak.
(8) DON MCLEAN ~ Crying
Former number one.
(7) KATE BUSH ~ Babooshka
Still rising towards the top 5.
(6) UB40 ~ My Way of Thinking/I Think it's Going to Rain
At its peak.
(5) BOB MARLEY ~ Could You Be Loved
Peak position for this one.
(4) DETROIT SPINNERS ~ Cupid/I've Loved You for a Long Time
Also at its peak.
(3) STACY LATISAW ~ Jump to the Beat
Another that jumped no higher.
(2) ODYSSEY ~ Use it Up and Wear it Out
About to become the new number one.
Second and final week at the top.
(7) KATE BUSH ~ Babooshka
Plays us out over the credits.
Huge thanks to Alan and the team for this!


  1. This was a very creditable effort from Alan, given the added technical complexities of the "new format." I must say though that the voices were very amusing on the chart rundown - it sounded on occasion as if Loyd Grossman was reading out the positions! When Mike Read "introduced" Bob Marley, meanwhile, it sounded as if he was rehearsing for his UKIP Calypso...

    Musically this wasn't the best week. It was interesting to hear some post-Ozzy Sabbath, however; while the song itself is pretty standard Metal fare, it does underline what a great rock singer Ronnie James Dio was. Gerard Kenny was beyond tedious, but I rather liked Gene "Duke of Earl" Chandler's disco-tinged effort. It seems somewhat ironic that he was striving to sound contemporary at a time when a younger act like Darts were seemingly content to revive the music he had been making some 20 years earlier!

    So, farewell to Xanadu at number 1, but I shan't miss seeing Olivia's annoying big-mouthed boyfriend in the video again...

    1. i thought olivia's screen boyfriend michael beck was super cool in "the warriors", but going by his soppy grinning in this video it looks like he may have been miscast in this film. i remember reading that it was considered too much trouble to try and get olivia to pretend to be an american in "grease", so i wonder what accent she has here?

  2. what a sterling effort by mr fish (wasn't that the name of david bowie's dressmaker?) this week, taking on the more demanding post-strike format with aplomb. i presume siouxsie was deliberately mis-spelt in the opening credits for "ooh-er" effect?

    ac/dc - i liked both the geordie hits from the early/mid 70's and was a bit disappointed when they disappeared after that. but i also thought it was a bit weird that brian johnson was dragged back out of obscurity to become bon scott's replacement a few years on! but fair play to the guy, he's still at it 35 years later...

    detroit spinners: just when i thought this couldn't get any worse, i've now noticed that the bass imitates a wolf-whistle at the beginning!

    sex pistols: my theory has always been that whilst steve jones (for whom the word "corpulent" could have been invented for in this video) did the rhythm/donkey work on the "never mind the bollocks" recordings, it was an uncredited chris spedding who played the fancy overdubbed solo bits. but if so then nobody concerned has ever admitted as such (and if that was the case then by this time steve had worked out how to play like that for himself, in a similar way to the monkees actually becoming creditable musicians through performing live, although they didn't actually play on their early recordings). it's somewhat ironic given their anti-monarchy stance that a: paul cook's drums have the union jack plastered all over them (maybe that was an ironic statement in itself?), and b: that "brenda" has now just officially become blighty's longest-reigning ruler. gawd save the queen! (i don't mean it maaaaaaaaaaaammmm!)

    sabbath: ronnie james dio may have been diminutive in stature, but certainly not in voice - like his rainbow successor graham bonnet, a classic rock singer that put the squealing efforts of that clown ozzy to shame (if i had been tony iommi i would have been thinking "why did we persist with that prick for so long when there's talent like this around?"). but tragically talent doesn't always win out in popular music, as ozzy continues to bask in global admiration whilst dio and bonnet spent the rest of their careers in relative obscurity

    gene chandler: i really liked gene's disco-bandwagon-jumping effort "get down" at the time, and still quite do so even now (what did he do in the 20-year gap between that and "duke of earl"?). but this? presumably he was trying to hang on to his new-found audience, but it's far too plodding to be dancefloor material. if anything it sounds way ahead of its time, as by the mid 80's similar mid-tempo fare such as "move closer" became popular both on the radio and dancefloors. as a result of listening to this i felt compelled to check out parent album "'80". but there's nothing there of the calibre of "get down", and he even stoops to rehashing his old doo-wop back catalogue to no great effect...

    1. when i wrote the above comment on the pistols i'd forgotten that they were actually covering a monkees' song!

  3. I figure that the TOTP game for the following week, i.e., 24th July is in the old format, Robin Nash style.

  4. So looking through the last 3 episodes...

    In this one I enjoyed the heavier songs with AC/DC and Black Sabbath. And in the first case it just shows how a different sound/performance can change your opinion on the song. I much preferred Rosie in this performance compared to the one in the earlier edition.

    Stacy Latislaw could have been represented by a video performance that's available.

    The Gerard Kenny song isn't a patch on his New York New York song which I remember the tune for as I think it must have been a decent radio hit. This one however is comparatively unknown to me and sounds generic and sentimental, even if the production is ok.

    On the previous edition the later songs from Odyssey onwards really lifted it up, though the Change song doesn't do much for me. Love Will Tear Us Apart is an overrated dirge for me, not their most moving effort.

    And from the edition before the the Yellow Magic Orchestra song is ok, though I think Technopolis and Rydeen are better tunes (I'm not sure if released if they here).

  5. Also a couple of things that Wilberforce brought up recently...

    Darts - if they had done more good songs like It's Raining rather than the cheap cover versions approach I think they could have lasted a bit longer.

    And with The Detroit Spinners their best period was arguably earlier in the 70s when with Thom Bell, they did a great self-titled album. Definitely a very good group at that time.

    1. in reply to starry:

      darts: having seen showaddywaddy get a second wind with covers having run out of steam with their own stuff, maybe darts and their management thought it a good idea to do likewise? as i've said, perhaps they should have gone down the light enterrainment route, but it's a bit surprising that they never managed to hitch a ride on the rockabilly revival bandwagon of stray cats et al in the early 80's...

      (detroit) spinners: i've never been a fan myself, but "i'll be around" is the best of theirs that i've heard. however i prefer the 80's dance cover by terri wells (which was my first exposure). listening to the original again, it seems all the backing vocals are by ladies. so lead singer apart, what did the rest do? take the day off from the studio, or hang around and throw some shapes?

    2. I was never a fan of Showaddywaddy, as a child they simply looked ridiculous to me, I just didn't understand it. And that approach somehow infects the music too. Darts looked more normal, like they were jumping on that retro style but not totally abandoning themselves to some fancy dress costume. But maybe they didn't have so much potential anyway, hard to say. Shakin Stevens had hits right through the 80s, though at times it's hard to see why.

      Terri Wells adds some decent oomph to I'll Be Around, particularly in the chorus, the clapping beat may take me a bit of getting used to for me though. Could It Be I'm Falling In Love was also covered in the 80s I believe. Covers are a tribute to the original songs in a way.

      I like songs by them like We Belong Together, Just You and Me Baby, Just Can't Get You Out of My Mind, I Could Never Repay Your Love . Reading about them it's looks like in that period they had two main vocalists, Robert "Bobby" Smith and Phillipe Wynne. The latter they later lost, along with the songwriting and production of Thom Bell.

  6. The latest news in Top Ten Town is that Top of the Pops 1980 will resume on BBC4 on Thursday October 1st, but not with the 25th September edition, instead it appears BBC4 are rewinding back a few weeks to August 28th again.

    1. Yes, I heard elsewhere they were going to show one of the August editions again on October 1st, but it seems a weird thing to do - why not just shove on another Michael Portillo railway travelogue to fill the gap, as they are doing next week? August 28th was also one of the worst shows of the year, so I don't know why they would want to show that one again!

      In any case, everything is now pointing firmly to the 25/09/80 edition being shown on the 8th, though we will have to wait another week for confirmation of that, in all likelihood.

    2. The online Radio Times is now saying that the 25/09 edition will be shown on the 1st - all very confusing...

    3. I doubt that they would show 28th August again,when they already showed it a few weeks ago, so there must be a mistake somewhere.

    4. Yes the Online Radio Times is now listing the 25th September to show on October 1st, which makes more sense :-) ~ 19:00