Thursday, 20 April 2017

Crushed By the Wheels of Top Of The Pops

Ok, so the holidays are over, it's 8th September 1983, and Top of the Pops was being watched tonight by 8.05 million viewers.

When Ryan said he wanted to get to the top, this wasn't what he had in mind!

08/09/83 (Andy Peebles & Peter Powell)

Heaven 17 – “Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry” (28)
The third single from their top four album The Luxury Gap, peaked at number 17.

Rod Stewart – “What Am I Gonna Do (I’m So In Love With You)” (3) (video)
The second single from his top five album Body Wishes, now at its chart peak. And edited out of the 7.30 pm showing.

Annabel Lamb – “Riders On The Storm” (34)
Her only hit, this Doors cover made it to number 27. But edited out of the 7.30pm show.

Status Quo – “Ol’ Rag Blues” (24)
Co-written by bassist Alan Lancaster, who originally sang the lead vocals, only to be replaced by Francis Rossi. It peaked at number 9.

JoBoxers – “Johnny Friendly” (35)
Their final top 40 hit, peaking at number 31.

Peabo Bryson & Roberta Flack – “Tonight I Celebrate My Love” (7) (video)
This crooning twosome didn't quite go all the way, but they got to number 2.

Ryan Paris – “Dolce Vita” (21)
His only UK hit, translated from Italian it means 'the good life' and it peaked at number 5.

Paul Young – “Come Back & Stay” (27)
This second single from his huge number one album No Parlez, peaked at number 4.

UB40 – “Red Red Wine” (1) (video)
Second of three weeks at number one for this Neil Diamond cover.

Level 42 – “The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up)” (10) (audience dancing/credits)
Rose no higher.

Next up should be September 15th, but Jimmy Savile is one of the hosts, so BBC4 will skip along to September 22nd.


  1. I can't recall PP ever wearing a suit for TOTP before, but he looks pretty good in it - just a shame that he seems a bit distracted and disengaged this week. Andy Peebles is more slovenly dressed, but is the livelier of the two and in spite of his untelegenic looks has grown nicely into the presenting role.

    Andy makes a topical reference to the TUC conference while introducing Heaven 17, back in the days (by then nearing their end) when the TUC was still regarded as a significant power in the land. You might reasonably expect from the title of this song that it would be a grandiose affair, instead of the lightweight, underpowered dance ditty that it actually is. Like the song, the performance is functional and unmemorable. I've never been a fan of The Doors and their arty pretensions, but Annabel Lamb does a respectable enough job with this cover, which basically respects the original arrangement while adding a few synths. She had a decent voice and quite a striking appearance, but this would be her only flirtation with the Top 30.

    The Quo are back, doing their normal thing, but they seem to be having a good time and the chorus on this one is reasonably catchy. That's more than can be said for this weak JoBoxers effort, once more percussion heavy but this time lacking a decent tune, while it also goes on for an eternity. The band put in another committed performance, but their 15 minutes of fame was now up. Peabo (what kind of name is that?) and Roberta up next, with another of those treacly romantic duets that became ten-a-penny in the 80s. A bland effort, with a bland video to match - it's certainly no Killing Me Softly, or First Time Ever I Saw Your Face...

    After last week's sneak preview, Ryan Paris brigs his pan-European hit to the studio, while Zoo throw poses around him. This is a confident performance of a catchy little number, though I couldn't make up my mind if the vocals had been rerecorded or not. Paul Young follows up his number 1 with what I regard as his best hit, enhanced by those eerie, wonky synths and great backing vocals from The Royal Family. The bass player looked vaguely familiar - was it Pino Palladino?

    We conclude with UB40's attempt at a gritty, slice-of-life video and then Zoo and the crowd dancing to Level 42. At one point the camera does a 360 degree spin round the studio lights, doubtless making some viewers feel dizzy while inducing epileptic fits in others...

    1. It was indeed Pino Palladino on fretless bass as a member of Paul Young's backing band Royal Family. The song - which I regard as Mr Young's finest 45 - was actually composed by Alaska-born Jack Lee, who was also responsible for penning Blondie's 'Hanging On The Telephone'. Backing singers The Fabulous Wealthy Tarts (Kim & Maz) had wisely fled from The Piranhas by this time!

    2. Me three, that is I also consider this as Paul Young's finest offering. There's just something so lulling about it.

      With regard to Peter Powell in a suit, compare it to this very week in April 1978, when he introduced Legs & Co, and see how he was dressed. Stark contrast...

    3. Thanks for confirming Julie that it was Pino, and for reminding me that it was the band, not specifically the backing singers, who were called The Royal Family!

    4. Dory - yes, I think PP was going for a misguided "sophisticated casual" look there!

    5. And me four, brilliant song from Paul Young although I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down is a close second for me.

      PP looked like he'd come straight from a funeral and AP straight from the local fishing lake but as has been said elsewhere he was the livelier presenter.

  2. Not much I could write about this week's show.

    Peabo Bryson & Roberta Flack - wow, probably the best thing on the show, and wow, already at No.7 so quickly.
    I don't recall the video at the time, but boy do I recall the song. I thought James Ingram & Patti Austin were the romantic couple of the year, but this one overrides it in the romantic stakes. It could only be the Americans, cos the Brits don't get this romantic in public.

    Top ten rundown - Madness at no.2? Good Lord, I certainly don't remember it getting this high in the charts. Now that is a surprise, despite it being one of their best numbers.

    Level 42 - unlucky to be the playout while still rising in the charts, and not to get a third appearance in the studio. Modern Romance somehow did get three main features for Walking In The Rain with a parallel rise up the charts, so Level 42 got the short straw with what was a much better single in my opinion.

  3. Up the workers with Heaven 17, despite the fact they all looked like yuppies (were yuppies a thing yet?). Like a lot of their stuff, very class conscious, which is not something you get in dance music now. Made it quite distinctive in its way.

    Rod and his apparently Scottish boat, another case of a non-No.1 video getting a second showing. Shape of things to come?

    For some reason poor old Annabel Lamb was edited out of both the early AND late showings, so I had to look her up on YT. Not surprisingly, I don't recall this cabaret-style cover version, nothing special and she looked like weatherwoman Suzanne Charlton. Doesn't even have the original's creepy whispering!

    Status Quo back with their song again, and looking about ten years older than the last time we saw them, even though it was a few months. Poignant to see Rick on the show for the first time since his death (telltale wiping of the nose, however).

    Any sense of melody has deserted JoBoxers, no wonder their nascent fanbase deserted them for this third single. Gets a bit more interesting when it speeds up, but not enough to save it. Do they mention Jeremy Lloyd?!

    Another 80s snoozesome ballad from Flack and Bryson, though I do remember the playground hilarity that someone was called Peabo. Disappointed Roberta had ditched her massive afro by that point, she looked positively matronly here.

    Ah, this'll wake us up, a good time Europop ditty with bright, wistful synth and Ryan dancing on top of a canteen table. Zoo's contribution actually pretty good fun here. Not sure if it's anything to do with the film, I didn't take a close listen to the lyrics, but the image of Anita in the fountain sprang to mind. No, not Anita from Legs & Co...

    Another vote from me for Paul Young's Come Back and Stay as his best single, excellent match between his vocals and a strong tune, superbly produced, and the Tarts giving it all they had as back up. Top notch. Not sure about Paul's Freddy Mercury mic technique, however.

    UB40 and the video for Red Red Beer. Eh? They might at least have shot it in a wine bar rather than their local. If you'd matched Heaven 17's sound to these images, you'd have a proper working class amalgam.

    Level 42 to close, but I was more interested in the kung fu kicking Jackie Chan fan on Ryan Paris's table. Sterling work, sir!

    1. The link for the missing Annabel Lamb TOTP studio performance this week, bizarrely also edited out of late night repeat is here:

      As to why the studio performance was edited out is somewhat strange as it appears harmless and like any other, but it could have been because uncensored the video had a knife scene:

      Suffice to say that this is the only episode of TOTP that Lamb appeared, as it did not go up any further than No.27 in the charts.

    2. I have read elsewhere that there might be some kind of copyright issue with Doors songs, that prevented the Beeb from repeating this performance.

    3. That would explain it, John G, good thing it never made No.1.

    4. She looks like a punk Linda McCartney to me.

      Copyright issue with Doors songs? I really have heard it all now.

    5. I did find this online, which may (or may not) be relevant:

      Does anyone have a more complete version of the Annabel Lamb performance than the YT one? Would like to edit it back into the BBC4 version, but it's a bit hard to do without the links at either end.

    6. i'm surprised that we haven't been denied a lot more performances on these re-runs for copyright reasons. despite the majority of copyright holders now being sussed enough to realise that such airings act as free publicity with consequent potential earnings that probably wouldn't have been the case otherwise, as youtube demonstrates there are still some who get rather precious about this kind of thing...

      i recently watched a box set of dvd's called "weird" whereby all the hokey old films in it are now in the public domain. this occurs usually as a result of failure to renew the copyright, which seems to be an obligation every so often in US law. and yet the same doesn't apply to musical recordings - it seems the (record companies or those in possession of them) can keep control without having to lift a finger to do retain that right, until the copyright expires automatically by law (i seem to remember it being recently changed from 50 years after the recording to longer than that, as cliff was making a hoo-hah about potentially losing that source of income from his early recordings)

      this also makes me wonder: are there any cases whereby those who own copyright on either compositions or recordings have voluntarily let go of ownership so that nobody has to seek permission and/or pay for the use of them? if not, then come on macca, reg, sting et al - isn't it time you gave something back to those who can only dream of the fabulous lifestyles you have lived for decades as a result of PRS/MCPS earnings?

    7. Wilberforce, where do you put Mike Smith's ownership/copyright of his TOTP shows into your equation, as we are still not being shown them by BBC4, despite no Yewtree here?

    8. as i understand it mr smith was allowed (wrongly in my view) to veto totp's that he hosted being repeated merely because he didn't want anyone to see him in them again (i'm glad to say that thanks to the internet he failed to succeed on that front - not that i give a shit about him, but i do about the musical performances the selfish cunt would otherwise have denied us). so it was for vanity rather than financial reasons, which is something completely different...

    9. It's free promotion for songs, so I don't know why someone would deny them for copyright. It's not like it's likely to be HQ sound.

    10. The "Jackie Chan" dancer is Phillip Tan, he was also dancing to Heaven 17 at the start and has appeared on the show a few times. He went on to be a film/TV stuntman.

  4. Hi folks! A brief snippet from me - Dad's into his sixth week in hospital.

    Peabo Bryson's first name is Robert. His middle name was actually Peapo but he became known as Peabo in his early teens.

    By the way, make that another vote for Paul Young's best single.

    1. It's a pity that this Peabo Bryson/Roberta Flack single got this one and only showing on TOTP, considering it got to No.2 the following week!

      Considering it is one of the greatest love songs of all time, it is somewhat disappointing, and hence if someone missed this week's show, then they would never have seen this video at the time, like myself for example.

    2. Good to see you are still out there Arthur - I hope your Dad is on the mend.

  5. Any sign of the complete JS/Janice Long TOTP 15th Sep for the blog, as BBC4 will be showing 22nd Sep tonight? So far we only have a calvin henderson upload on tube, but there are three songs missing, so anyone with a complete version would be most welcomed.

  6. 15 Sept 83. Credit to the uploader (not me)

  7. here's this week's "copy" gleaned from yt, so no comment on the hosts

    heaven 17: better than their last two efforts, but that's not saying much. and the title's hardly appropriate for what is presumably intentioned as a dance number (did they nick it from their fellow sheffield band cabaret voltaire?)

    annabel lamb: a rather pointless and redundant cover of the doors' finest moment - i just had to stop listening after 30 seconds, as i was beginning to feel rather nauseous! for some reason i was thinking this had been done by our old chum natasha, but i can certainly see why i made that mistake as they're both (bottle) blonde scrubbers/chancers

    quo: the title is about as contemporary as the music. how the hell were they still in business at this point?

    joboxers: i thought they were a two-hit wonder, but this faux-funk just about gives them a last bite at the cherry. no surprise they never troubled the mugshot compilers given the lack of (a right) hook

    roberta/peabo: how the mighty have fallen. next!

    ryan paris: no sign of the totp appearance on yt, so i watched the official video instead. he's certainly not going to give david sylvian sleepness nights on the looks front is he? i seem to remember hating this at the time, but listening now it's pleasant enough euro-dance-pop

    paul young: it has to be remembered that around this time he and his band were appearing on "the tube" virtually every week, which was probably a big factor in his new-found popularity. although it's a bit clunky production-wise this is certainly preferable to his no. 1 hit, and paul is in particularly fine voice. nowadays he always takes a cobbering for his mullet hairstyle, although there's really no sign of it at the moment - unlike the willie de ville lookalike on guitar!

  8. A lot of average fare on this edition, which suddenly comes alive towards the end.

    Heaven 17 - I preferred the previous 2 singles, this one doesn't have much going for it.

    Annabel Lamb - We didn't get to see it, but if it really is because there is some issue with licensing Doors tracks then I couldn't care less as in my opinion they are vastly over-rated and I positively detested the 'Jim Morrison is a Rock God' garbage in the early 90s when he suddenly became deified because of that bloody film.

    Status Quo - Not one of their better efforts.

    Joboxers - Desperately in need of a tune, and not a patch on the previous 2 singles.

    Bryson / Flack - Boring ballad.

    Ryan Paris - Finally, something decent! I loved it at the time, though we weren't rich enough to go to Europe so I probably heard it on the radio in the UK instead...

    Paul Young - It seems that we are almost all agreement in thinking that this is his best song. You can certainly count me in on that.

    1. If it's any consolation, none of The Doors liked that rubbish film either, because it turned them into Jim Morrison and the Jim Morrison band. And Hello I Love You, one of their biggest hits, is nowhere to be heard, because it was apparently deemed too silly for the serious image Oliver Stone wanted to put across.

    2. i actually watched that film at the time (i admit that i got caught up in the hype - there's no way i would watch it now), but the only bit i clearly remember about it was the scene where the rest of the band are on a beach and you can hear ray manzarek (the real talent of the doors in my opinion) hacking out the intro for "light my fire" (that jim morrison had nothing to do with compositionally by the way) in the nearby house they were using as a base

    3. The intro to The Doors version of 'Light My Fire' is definitely the best bit! I agree that Ray Manzarek definitely has talent. The fact that I infinitely prefer the Jose Feliciano version of the song says it all really!

    4. Not the Mike Flowers Pops version?

    5. i collect cover versions of "light my fire" and have close to 30 of them so far - mainly late 60's/early 70's cash-ins by easy listening artists who were motivated by the feliciano interpretation (that unlike the original was a big hit in blighty). so few if any feature the distinctive manzarek-written intro that was on the original recording

    6. The best version of Light My Fire came in 1979 with Amii Stewart, turning it into a disco record. It was her follow up to Knock On Wood.

    7. the disco versions of "light my fire" and "sunny" (by boney m) have parallels for me in that they were my first exposure to tunes that i later discovered were originally a big hit for the act that wrote them in the 1960's, before taking up a life of their own with dozens of cover versions being recorded (mainly by easy listening artists, but also soul singers, jazzers and various others as well) in their wake over the next few years! i collect versions of "sunny" as well by the way...

  9. Gazebo, the lyric writer of Dolce Vita, did his own version in 1989. I probably prefer his vocal.

  10. Any sign yet of the full version of this yet?

    1. Someone will need to get the whole show (Neil B possibly?) in order to see how Annabel Lamb was introduced and outroduced on the show, as the tube TOTP studio performance clip goes straight into the lyrics.

  11. Not as well remembered as some of their hits but Crushed By The Wheels was one of my fave Heaven 17 songs and it's good to see them in the studio rather than the video, although the vid's good as well.

    Have no memories of this Rod Stewart song but it all sounds rather jolly and it's a nice video filmed on a schooner.

    More old school with Status Quo with another forgotten song. Okay but nought special.

    Joboxers third bite of the cherry and it is sadly a long way from having the appeal of the fist two. They do a good job but it has album track or B-side written all over it. Nice leather jackets though.

    Roberta Flack and Pepod Bryson with another ho-hum ballad. Mr Bryson has clearly been shopping at the same patch pocket waiistcoat emporium as Andy Peebles.

    It had slipped my mind how annoying the Ryan Paris song was. Very catchy certainly but then so is herpes. This has dated terribly and there is something amusing about his high waisted strides and waiscoat, he looks like he has come straight from a wedding.

    And a bit of class with Paul Young which I thought was better than the last hit. I was fascinated with the backing singers (The Fabulous Wealthy Tarts) who I think deserved more recognition that they got and are a large part of the sound and look.

    UB40 still at the top. I remember the video better than last week's studio performance. From memory there was also a video album with a different video for every song on the album. Soft Cell also did that with their first album but is largely forgotten now.

    Great playout this week with Level 42 and focus on former disco dance champion (and future stunt man) Phillip Tan doing back flips and more dance moves.

    1. come on bama, you're now almost in contact with the pack again!

    2. The The did a video album too, for Infected. I taped it off late night Channel 4 and watched it a few times before foolishly recording over it.

    3. I have the The The video album on a video CD, it's for the album Infected. I bought it at a car boot thinking it was the CD but it turned out to be video which was a nice surprise.

  12. Me, I am late to the Party this week...

    What memories of this era I have! A friend asked me to buy the 12” of Paul Young’s new single because he thought it was superb (and I agree with everyone here – it’s his best ever!!!); I bought it for him and, also bought the tape version of ‘No Parlez’ with the ‘scratch mix’ on it. I played it back to him when he came round before giving him the single and he thought I’d mucked about scratching his brand new 12”. As if…. If was funny at the time, you had to be there.

    This show starts off with a few quick skips and most notable audience member appears to be a dead ringer for Bonnie Tyler!

    Heaven 17 – Crushed by the wheels – Definite 3rd single syndrome.

    Rod Stewart – What am I gonna do – Fine single still.

    Annabel Lamb – Riders on the Storm – Missing from the show I watched on catch up…

    Status Quo – Ol Rag Blues – Same old green guitar from Francis Rossi and some very prominent keyboards on this rare hit co-written by Alan Lancaster.

    Joboxers – Johnny Friendly – zzzzzzzzz

    Peabo Bryson / Roberta Flack – Tonight I celebrate my love – Classy ballad that never tires. Love the video.

    Ryan Monchengladbach – Dolce vita – that synth on this track is just hypnotic. Ryan clearly loves being on the show but there is some strange robotic dancing in places from the audience. When PP mentions the artist he says it like ‘Rolf Harris’..

    Paul Young – Come back and stay – Now for the celebrated second hit from the album. What a track. Written by Jack Lee (‘Hanging on the Telephone’ and its B Side ‘Will anything Happen’ and also wrote the final track on Paul’s album called ‘Sex’ – the less said about that the better!) and what a performance by Kim and Maz, the Fabulous Wealthy Tarts who put their heart and soul into their performance. Pino Palladino’s bass is much to the fore here, as it is on the entire album and was surely a major factor in the classic Paul Young sound.

    UB0 – Red Red Wine – Never tire of this but can’t make out what the video is telling as a narrative. Does he get the girl who comes into the Pub with her boyfriend? We’ll never know.

    Level 42 – The Sun goes down – So that’s ‘17’ and ‘42’ on the same show! Played right to the final notes and rippled applause to savour the whole track!

    1. Re the UB40 video, as I mentioned above, they did a video for each song on the album which ran as a narrative on the whole video, so following with the lyrics of the song Ali is getting plastered to forget that his girlfriend has left him for another bloke. I can't remember what happens next.

    2. I seem to recall the video for Cherry Oh Baby to have the same girl in the video where Ali gets off with her, I mean snogs her in the video. Although it was a couple of single releases after Red Red Wine, Is that the story follow-up?

    3. sct your paul young 12" story reminds me of an incident about 30 years ago when i visited someone and played him a recording of one of my gigs whilst we smoked some dope, and at one point he asked me to turn the volume up. but just as i began reaching out for the controls, the music seemingly did that of its own accord*! at which he was rather astounded, as it seemed the weed had given me the mystic power of having remote control at my fingerstips...!

      * what happened in reality was that there was a sudden volume spike in the recording as a result of some mixing desk error. but although the guy worked that out afterwards, he didn't realise at the time!