Friday, 29 January 2016

Something 'Bout Top of the Pops I Like

So, here we are at the end of January 2016, and we're already at the end of February 1981!

Are Madness still staring at me?

26/02/81 (hosted by Peter Powell)

(19) Status Quo – “Something ‘Bout You Baby I Like”
The first of two top ten hits in 1981 for the Quo, this one peaking at number 9.

(6) Roxy Music – “Jealous Guy” (6) (video)
This John Lennon tribute went on to become Roxy Music's one and only number one hit.

(22) Beggar & Co – “(Somebody) Help Me Out” (rpt from 12/02/81)
Still on its way up the charts. But edited out of tonight's 7.30pm slot.

(43) Kim Wilde – “Kids In America”
Kim's debut on the show with her first single which became her joint biggest hit, just missing the number one spot.

(25) The Passions – “I’m In Love With A German Film Star” (rpt from 05/02/81)
Now at its peak in the charts. And then we never heard from them again.

(7) Madness – “The Return Of The Los Palmas 7”
A non-mover at number seven and even turning up in the studio couldn't push it any higher. Still, an easy night out for Suggs though!

(31) Kelly Marie – “Hot Love”
A second time on the show for Kelly's final top 30 hit, which eventually made it to number 22. Edited out of the 7.30pm showing.

(8) Coast To Coast – “(Do) The Hucklebuck”  (rpt from 12/02/81)
Their only top ten hit peaking at number 5. Lots of dancing going on but Legs & Co have gone Awol again!

(2) Ultravox – “Vienna” (video)
I make this five times on the show now for Vienna, and why not its a great song! BBC4 obviously thought five was too many times so it got the 7.30pm chop.

(9) Freeez – “Southern Freeez” (rpt from 12/02/81)
The first of two top ten hits for Freeeze, this one finally froze at number 8.

(40) Kiki Dee – “Star”
Her first hit since 1977, Star reached number 13, and then Kiki had to wait until the end of 1993 for her next (and final) top 20 hit.

(1) Joe Dolce Music Theatre – “Shaddap You Face” (video/credits)
The second of three weeks at numero uno for Joe Dolce.

Next up then is the 5th March 1981 with Mike Read.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

The Oldest Top of the Pops in Town

Massive thanks to Meer for uploading this edition of Top of the Pops from the 19th of February 1981, which won't be shown of BBC4 due to it being hosted by DLT.

And I was so looking forward to being on BBC4....

19/02/81 (hosted by Dave Lee Travis)

(41) The Teardrop Explodes – “Reward”
A Top of the Pops debut for moptop Julian Cope and the trumpet boys enthusiastically performing what would prove to be their biggest hit by far when it reached number 6.

(4) Rainbow – “I Surrender” (video)
The third and final top ten hit for Rainbow, and also their biggest hit, peaking at 3.

(6) Fred Wedlock – “The Oldest Swinger In Town”
Well Fred really has won the jackpot here hasn't he! Not only has he reached a top ten peak of number 6 in the charts but he also gets Legs & Co all to himself too!

(15) Headgirl (Motorhead & Girlschool) – “Please Don’t Touch”
A suave looking Lemmy sporting a white dinner jacket performs a track from the St. Valentines Day Massacre ep which made it all the way to number 5, becoming Motorhead's (and Girlschool's) biggest hit.

(42) Toyah – “It’s A Mystery”
Another moptop debut on tonight's show, bright orange this time, and another ep 'Four From Toyah', which became the first of three top ten hits for Toyah in 1981.

(9) Stray Cats – “Rock This Town”
It looks like the Cats had been raiding the New Romantics' makeup box, but they couldn't rock this tune any higher up the charts.

(35) Talking Heads – “Once In A Lifetime”
Such an unusual song, it really stood out at the time, and Legs & Co here give it an appropriately offbeat routine to a background of watery visual effects, but it didn't get quite as high in the charts as you might think, making it to number 14.

(12) Visage – “Fade To Grey”  (video)
The classic 'snake' video again, still slithering slowly towards the top ten.

(39) Adam & The Ants – “Kings Of The Wild Frontier”
This one had originally been released during the summer of 1980, but failed to make the top 40, but by February 1981 there was no stopping the march of the Ants, and this re-entered the charts and went all the way to number 2.

(1) Joe Dolce Music Theatre – “Shaddap You Face” (rpt from 05/02/81)
Not only displacing John Lennon, but of course leapfrogging Vienna to the top of the charts too!

(7) Madness – “The Return Of The Los Palmas 7” (credits)
At its peak but not quite the last we'll see of it.

Next up then is the edition from February 26th 1981.

Just When I Needed Top of the Pops Most

So another (very) busy couple of Top of the Pops 1981 days, with three editions to squeeze in before the weekend, begins with the 12th of February 1981.

You won't see us horsing around, Dolce!

12/02/81 (hosted by Richard Skinner)

(28) Pretenders – “Message Of Love”
Their first single for about a year, and it almost made the top ten, peaking at 11.

(2) Ultravox – “Vienna” (video)
Ah, at last, the much celebrated Vienna video, with next week's number one spot there for the taking, but of course it was a just notta to be.

(31) Barbara Jones – “Just When I Needed You Most”
Her only chart hit, a cover of the Randy Vanwarmer top ten hit from 1979, but this one got no higher than 31.

(39) Coast To Coast – “(Do) The Hucklebuck”
The first of two top 30 hits for Coast to Coast - this one being the more successful of them, reaching number 5. But edited out of tonight's 7.30pm showing.

(32) Gillan – “Mutually Assured Destruction”
The first of four top 40 hits for Gillan in 1981, but this one has already peaked at 32. Also edited out of the 7.30pm broadcast.

(50) George Benson – “What’s On Your Mind”
Legs & Co return from last week's unexplained absence, but this routine could only get What's On Your Mind up to a peak position of 45.

(34) Freeez – “Southern Freeez”
I bet singer Ingrid preferred doing Top of the Pops to being a social worker in Hackney! And she took this Brit funk classic to number 8.

(17) Slade – “We’ll Bring The House Down” (rpt from 29/01/81)
Soon to become the first of three top ten hits in the 1980's for Slade when it peaked at number 10. But edited out of the 7.30pm showing.

(53) Beggar & Co – “(Somebody) Help Me Out”
Perhaps the first of several songs to bring a touch of social commentary to the charts this year, this second Brit funk tune of the night was on its energetic way to number 15.

(54) Kelly Marie – “Hot Love”
Became the third and final top 30 hit for Kelly. She seemed a little subdued compared to last year, but I did like the little nod towards T-Rex in the chorus.

(1) John Lennon – “Woman” (video/credits)
The final week at number one for John Lennon, ever. And was that the temporary return of the Maggie Stredder Singers I noticed in the credits...?

The next edition is from February 19th 1981, though it is hosted by DLT so won't be shown on BBC4. (But Meer to the rescue!) Instead on BBC4 we will see February 26th hosted by Peter Powell.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Shaddup You Top of the Pops

It's February 5th 1981 and Simon Bates hosts for the first time this year, and so many tempting titles on this edition, I'm spoilt for a blog title for this one!

I wanna you to a getta used to a listening the words to a my song, Mr Ultravox!

05/02/81 (Simon Bates)

(35) Stray Cats – “Rock This Town”
The follow-up to Runaway Boys, and like its predecessor on its way to number 9. With some most enthusiastic audience dancing going on around them ~ but where are Legs & Co?

(5) Blondie – “Rapture” (video)
Now at its peak in the chart and it'll be nearly a year and a half before we see them again.

(17) Spandau Ballet – “The Freeze” (rpt from 22/01/81)
A little surprisingly this one froze at number 17 in the charts.

(19) Fred Wedlock – “The Oldest Swinger In Town”
A one hit wonder, making it to number 6. But edited out of the 7.30pm showing tonight. Booo!

(12) Rainbow – “I Surrender” (video)
The third and final of three top ten hits for the band, this one being the biggest hit reaching number 3. Also fell victim to the 7.30pm edit.

(11) Dire Straits – “Romeo & Juliet” (rpt from 15/01/81)
Heading towards its star crossed fate of number 8. But edited out of tonight's 7.30pm slot.

(28) XTC – “Sgt Rock (Is Going To Help Me)” (rpt from 22/01/81)
Soon to become the band's biggest hit to date before it halted at number 16.

(15) Cliff Richard – “A Little In Love” (video)
Already at its peak in the chart, but two much bigger hits were to come his way towards the end of the year.

(34) The Passions – “I’m In Love With A German Film Star”
This siouxsie and the banshees style pop noir looked very likely to be a really big hit but 25 was as good as it got.

(30) Joe Dolce Music Theatre – “Shaddap You Face”
Whereas this Australian number one from Italy didn't look very likely to be a really big hit...... A live vocal though, with audience participation, always impressive to see.

(1) John Lennon – “Woman” (video)
In true Beatles fashion John replaces himself at the top of the charts, but its a different video to the one shown last week - not featuring some of the more controversial stills....... and the credits roll over it.

Next up then is the 12th February 1981 with Richard Skinner.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Top of the Pops'll Bring the House Down

The final January edition of Top of the Pops 1981 sees Tommy Vance playing host and insisting that the show must make an immediate start with.....

"It's nineteen eighty o - n - e!"

29/01/81 (Tommy Vance) 

(58) Slade – “We’ll Bring The House Down”
You've got to hand it to Slade, they kept plugging away even when they were completely out of fashion, and every now and again it paid off. This rocker became their first top ten hit for six years.

(2) John Lennon – “Woman” (video)
The first of two appearances on the show this week for John Lennon, a rarity indeed! I'd like to think that this fine song would have made number one anyway, even if John had not been murdered. The footage of John and Yoko in Central Park is from November 1980.

(44) The Stranglers – “Thrown Away”
It was over a year now since their last top 20 hit, and it would be another year yet before their next one. Thrown Away was discarded after reaching number 42. And edited out of the 7.30 showing.

(18) Madness – “The Return Of The Los Palmas 7” (video)
And most obligingly this tune made it to number 7. But also edited out of 7.30pm.

(46) Sheila Hylton – “The Bed’s Too Big Without You”
Her only other chart single was called Breakfast in Bed, which didn't make the top 50. This time out she did a little better and took this Police cover to number 35. Again, edited out of the 7.30 showing.

(6) Ultravox – “Vienna” (rpt from 15/01/81)
Strange, I only the remember the video being shown on Top of the Pops, but no sign of it yet as Vienna heads towards that number 2 peak.

(26) The Gap Band – “Burn Rubber On Me” (video)
Peaked at 22.

(25) Diana Ross – “It’s My Turn”
The first of five singles for Diana Ross in 1981, but most success came towards the end of the year.This one peaked at 16. And we get a classy Legs & Co this week with each of the girls taking their turn in the spotlight.

(3) Phil Collins – “In The Air Tonight” (rpt from 15/01/81)
Went up one place higher.

(29) Susan Fassbender – “Twilight Café”
Deserved to get higher than the 21 it peaked at.

(1) John Lennon – “Imagine” (video)
Final week at the top before being replaced by....... John Lennon!

(19) Heatwave – “Gangsters Of The Groove”(credits)
The band's final top 20 hit, and 19 was its peak.
But no sign anywhere of Bowie's Scary Monsters...

Tomorrow then we move into February 1981 with the edition from the 5th hosted by Simon Bates.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Top of the Pops (is Going to Help Me)

These 1981 editions really are coming thick and fast aren't they? The BBC4 announcer last night did seem to suggest that the shows would continue to be twice weekly in 2016, maybe someone should mention to them that we've got 17 shows too few not 17 too many!

This year seems to be going soooooo fast!

22/01/81 (Peter Powell)

(6) The Look – “I Am The Beat”
And number 6 was as high as it got. Were they perhaps the last of the New Wave acts before the New Romantics completely took over?

(14) Blondie – “Rapture” (video)
It's hard to believe but Rapture would be the band's final top ten hit until their dramatic comeback single Maria in 1999!

(45) Spandau Ballet – “The Freeze”
The follow-up to Cut a Long Story Short was not quite as successful, surprisingly only making number 17 in the charts.

(13) Racey – “Runaround Sue”  (rpt from 08/01/81)
Now at its peak in the chart and then that's it for Racey ~ it was short and sweet - literally :-) But edited out of tonight's 7.30pm show.

(54) XTC – “Sgt Rock (Is Going To Help Me)”
This was the third single taken from their 1980 album Black Sea, and it became the first one to break into the top 30 and then go top 20. And edited out of the 7.30pm show.

(23) Visage – “Fade To Grey” (video)
The first of 1981s quite extraordinary videos, making perhaps as much impact at the time as Bowie's Ashes to Ashes had a few months earlier ~ and yet somehow this song peaked only at number 8.

(8) Yarbrough & Peoples – “Don’t Stop The Music”
This week's Scottish themed Legs & Co highland fling helped lift this song up one place higher in the charts.

(2) Adam & The Ants – “Antmusic” (rpt from 11/12/80)
Now at its peak, would have been a number one of course were it not for the death of John Lennon. But edited out of the 7.30 show.

(64) Honey Bane – “Turn Me On, Turn Me Off”
I did consider this song for the new blog title, but was discouraged by the 'turn me off' bit and also the fact it was a little known song that peaked at 37. Still, an interesting performance though from what can only be described as a prototype Toyah.

(22) Bad Manners – “Lorraine” (rpt from 08/01/81)
One place higher was Lorraine's peak before the axe came down.

(1) John Lennon – “Imagine” (video)
Third of four weeks in the top spot, with Woman already at number 3 waiting to take over.

(30) The Gap Band – “Burn Rubber On Me” (credits)
Peaked at 22. And back to the old style swirly credits.

The next edition then is the 29th January 1981 with Tommy Vance.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Top of the Pops Café

The second show of 1981 and already we come to a skipped edition, this time its January 15th hosted by DLT, and just take a look a the line-up - lots of acts who were currently outside the top 40 but what a show! .....

Massive thanks to Meer for coming to the rescue with this edition at vimeo!

Any sign of that Joe Dolce geezer?

15/01/81 (Dave Lee Travis) ~

(63) Susan Fassbender – “Twilight Café”
Her only hit, reaching number 21.

(20) Gary Numan – “This Wreckage” (rpt from 18/12/80)
Now at its peak in the charts.

(68) Light Of The World – “I Shot The Sheriff”
This band had a number of singles between 1979 and 1981 but never made the top 30.

(49) Dire Straits – “Romeo & Juliet”
The first of tonight's all time classics just entering the charts, this being the first single released from their stonkingly successful Making Movies album, and on its way towards the top ten.

(17) Stevie Wonder – “I Ain’t Gonna Stand For It”
This week's Legs & Co routine garnishing the first of three top ten hits for Stevie Wonder in 1981.

(36) Phil Collins – “In The Air Tonight”
The second of tonight's all time classics, taken from Phil's first solo album Face Value, which outsold all the Genesis albums that preceded it, and on its way to number 2.

(61) UFO – “Lonely Heart”
A band that never quite made the top 30, though I do believe that this track was the red record spinning through the air in the show's upcoming new title sequence.

(27) Mac Davis – “It’s Hard To Be Humble” (US TV clip)
His only previous top 30 hit had been nine years earlier with Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me, and this one beat it by two places peaking at number 27.

(52) Ultravox – “Vienna”
And so we come to the third of tonight's all time classics. And its not the video but a studio performance. Surprisingly this was the third single taken from the album of the same name, the other two being far less successful than this one was soon to become.

(10) Queen – “Flash” (video)
Another showing for Flash, which had been stuck at number 10 for a couple of weeks.

(1) John Lennon – “Imagine”  (video)
And of course the fourth all time classic on the show.

(19) Yarbrough & Peoples – “Don’t Stop The Music” (credits)
Became the band's only top ten hit, indeed their only top 50 hit.

Next then is the edition from 22nd January 1981 hosted by Peter Powell!

I am the Top of the Pops

The end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 has seen the deaths of John Bradbury of The Specials, Lemmy and of course most recently David Bowie. We will see all of them featured on Top of the Pops 1981, when they were in their prime and at their very best, performing the songs for which they no doubt wished to be remembered, and so here's to them all, thank you for the wonderful music and memories, and here's to 1981......

So come on then The Beat, do you have a song called I am the Look?

08/01/81  presented by Richard Skinner (and no special guests!)

(29) Racey – “Runaround Sue”
Gone now completely is the 'whats on the show' intro and we're straight into the last ever chart hit for Racey, peaking at 13.

(4) Adam & The Ants – “Antmusic” (rpt from 11/12/80)
About to embark on the most amazing year, Antmusic peaked at number 2. And edited out of the 7.30 showing.

(30) The Look – “I Am The Beat”
The band's only top 10 hit when it peaked at 6, and a record famous for its run-out groove which repeated the line 'the beat.....the beat.....' forever!

(21) Barry Manilow – “Lonely Together"
The first Legs & Co routine of their final year for this song that had already reached its chart peak.

(20) The Beat – “Too Nice To Talk To”  (rpt from 18/12/80)
On its way to number 7.

(59) Sad Café – “I’m In Love Again”
This was the band's final chart entry, making it to number 40.

(18) Matchbox – “Over The Rainbow/You Belong To Me”  (rpt from 11/12/80)
Somehow this one got even higher in the charts until it reached number 15. But it was their final top 40 hit.

(11) Chas & Dave – “Rabbit” (repeat?)
About to become their first top ten hit when it made number 8.

(15) The Specials – “Do Nothing”  (rpt from 18/12/80)
Only a year and half after Gangsters and it was nearly the end already for the original line-up of The Specials, this one reaching number 4. Edited out of tonight's 7.30pm slot. Yeah, thoughtful tribute to John Bradbury that was.

(24) The Nolans – “Who’s Gonna Rock You?”  (rpt from 18/12/80)
The third single from their Making Waves album and on its way to number 12. Also edited out from 7.30pm.

(33) Bad Manners – “Lorraine”
Buster Bloodvessel, dressed as Henry VIII, singing to a blow up doll the follow-up to Special Brew, but despite all this it was not as successful, peaking at 21.

(1) John Lennon – “Imagine” (video)
In a year of amazing videos, here's one that was made ten years earlier, and it was simple but quite magnificent. I love the symbolism of the light being let into the room while John asks us to do nothing more than imagine.

(10) Queen – “Flash”  (credits)
From the movie Flash Gordon, this song peaked at number 10. And gone is the crowd dancing at the end, instead we get a new perspective design with lights flashing to the music.

The next edition is the 15th of January 1981, but hosted by DLT it will not be shown on BBC4. Now manorak did have this one ready and waiting for us on vimeo, but sadly his account has been closed down....

Whilst tomorrow on BBC4 its January 22nd 1981!

Friday, 8 January 2016

Just Can't Get Enough ~ The Story of 1981

The annual curtain raiser to a new Top of the Pops year is a story of hair, make-up, synthesisers, silly string in mouths, cheerleaders planted in the audience, the end of Legs & Co's clothes, the end of Legs & Co, the beginning of Zoo, the devil's chord, Brit Funk, New Romantics, amazing videos, multi-coloured flying record opening titles, riots, mass unemployment, Michael Hurll, fire-eaters, mums coming into school to take their kids to be stars on Top of the Pops, a royal wedding, getting on bikes, Mike Read not looking much older, Richard Skinner looking very much older, and horses in Covent Garden. But most of all, some quite brilliant pop songs!

1981 really is going to be a fantastic year to re-live again and as if the Story Of hadn't whetted your appetite for it enough then straight afterwards it was time for some Big Hits ~

Big Hits 1981:

The Ants' only appearance in the studio in a phenomenally successful 1981.

Ultravox ~ VIENNA
A song famed for its stunning video, this looks like the studio performance from the Xmas 81 special.

Teardrop Explodes ~ REWARD
Surprisingly, this was the band's only top ten hit

Apparently Kim was totally in awe of being the same studio as Madness while she performed this amazing song.

Duran Duran ~ PLANET EARTH
The classic hits keep on coming, this time with a bespoke planet earth made for the band by the show.

His only top ten hit, indeed his only top 40 hit.

Not a very 80's look but it certainly is a very 80's sound for Phil's mega-classic. And some similar camera effects they used for Turn it on Again last year.

The only top ten hit for this 'Brit Funk' band headed by David Grant.

Still flying the flag for punk! I never realised he's been in Game of Thrones!

Still flying the flag for disco!

The Specials ~ GHOST TOWN
A song that captured an era like very few others ever have, and with Terry's hair almost in place, the birth of the Fun Boy Three!

Shaking Stevens ~ GREEN DOOR
Who could have predicted what an astonishing year 1981 would be for Shaky?

One of the first 12 inch singles I was ever aware of, and the second biggest seller of 1981.

With a little help from their friends Beggar & Co in the horn section.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark ~ SOUVENIR
Paul Humphreys taking the lead vocal on this ghostly tune.

This was the band's final single with Vince Clarke before he left for Yazoo.

Altered Images ~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Gregory's Girl actress Clare Grogan couldn't have looked more 80's than this if she tried! And a bit of help from the last days of Legs & Co at the end.

Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin ~ IT'S MY PARTY
The only top 40 hit for the duo, but it did get to number one.

Human League ~ DON'T YOU WANT ME
We'll miss nearly all of their studio performances on BBC4 unfortunately due to yewtree, but here they are with the year's biggest selling song, and some silly string right in the cake hole!

Coming up next then is the edition from January 8th 1981 next Thursday, swiftly followed a day later with January 22nd.

Meaning that we get our first skipped show of the year, the DLT hosted edition from January 15th.
It's going to be a busy time on here!