Friday, 14 April 2017

Top of the Pops in the Rain

I'm not quite back from my holiday yet, so again I'm writing up this edition from September 1st 1983 before I actually see it.

Slightly dodgy song in danger of the 7.30 chop?

01/09/83 (David Jensen & John Peel)

Modern Romance – “Walking In The Rain” (9)
Went up two more places.

Madness – “Wings Of A Dove” (4) (video)
Also went up two more places.

Gary Numan – “Warriors” (30)
Peaked at number 20.

John Peel – European charts:
Righeira – “Vamos A La Playa” (video clip)
Rose Laurens – “Africa The Voodoo Master” (video clip)
Ryan Paris – interview + “Dolce Vita” (video clip)
Berdian Stenberg – “Rondo Rosso” (video clip)

Genesis – “Mama” (20) (video)
Their biggest hit, peaking at number 4.

Big Country – “Chance” (22)
Made it to number 9.

Stray Cats – “(She’s) Sexy & 17” (32)
Their final top 30 hit, sneaking in at number 29.

UB40 – “Red Red Wine” (1) (rpt from 25/08/83)
First of three weeks at number one.

New Order – “Confusion” (17) (audience dancing/credits)
Peaked at number 12.

Next up is September 8th 1983 when normal transmission will be resumed!


  1. For reasons best known to themselves, the Rhythm Pals have decided to play at cowboys this week. Slightly disappointingly, they don't get much screen time together, but I did enjoy Kid making his "pardner" dance to New Order at the end. Peel also manages to squeeze in a couple of cutting comments in the chart rundown, referring to Gary Numan as a "celebrated aviator" while accidentally-on-purpose suggesting that Roderick's song should begin with "who." Again, I'm amazed he managed to get away with it...

    A new, more casual performance from Modern Romance to get us started, with the singer sitting down for a change, but this still sounds pretty weak to my ears. The still-blonde Numanoid makes his first appearance in the studio in a long while with his leather-clad band. This sounds very similar to his previous few singles, and serves to underline the fact that by this point he had run out of musical ideas and inspiration.

    Just when I was hoping we had seen the back of the Euro charts, JP disappoints us by heading off on a little jaunt to Paris. The first two songs featured are predictably awful, and the chap on the right in Righeira looks far older than I suspect he was. The Rose Laurens video is hilariously naff, and full of the typical African clichés, but we do at least get something half-decent in the shape of the Ryan Paris song, which would very shortly infiltrate our Top 10 - JP's interview with the man himself is also quite amusing. Rondo Rosso evidently considered herself to be the Dutch Ian Anderson, but she is cut off mercifully quickly so that Peel can reveal that the Top 5 is almost completely dominated by UK acts.

    Genesis deliver an appropriately stark, moody video for Mama, a song that starts very promisingly but is spoilt for me by those stupid noises Phil makes, which sound like he is either clearing his throat or about to throw up! He is also unappealingly sweaty here. Back to the studio, and Big Country give us a number which starts surprisingly quietly but grows in melodic swagger as it goes on, until the guitars triumphantly crash in near the end.

    It's Numan rather than The Stray Cats who got the 7.30 chop, but its hard to imagine the latter act getting away with a title like that nowadays. Brian's hair is now much less extravagant than before, but sound-wise nothing has changed, and it's perhaps not surprising that this was their final Top 30 hit in the UK - however, it did make the Top 5 in the States. UB40 proceed to bore us to death once more as they inexplicably get to number 1. Contrary to what Popscene claims, this is actually a new performance complete with celebratory balloons and streamers. Given how genuinely happy the band look here, it does make it rather poignant to think about how much the two factions that developed in recent years now hate each other's guts! New Order close proceedings, with a distinctly tuneless dirge that the audience does well to dance along to...

    1. I was also wondering why the hosts were in cowboy gear, and what was the significance with this week's show? The only connection I can think of is the 'kid' in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. Good lord, could this be what they surmised for choice of costumes this week? The mind boggles.

      You'll be pleased to know that this was The Stray Cats' last ever single to trouble the charts, so we will not be seeing them again in these re-runs, even though they were signing about (She's) Sexy & 17. Wasn't that what Heaven 17 were singing about in Come Live With Me?

      I also noticed that at last TOTP ditched the podium dancers in front of the stage bands which was a recurring habit across July & Aug 1983.

    2. new order have "two factions" as well these days: hooky and his virtual new order tribute band, and the barney with the other two plus another other two!

  2. A mediocre edition this week, but it featured at least two all-time classics: Big Country's 'Chance', which deserved to be a bigger international hit than it was, and UB40's faultless cover of Neil Diamond's 'Red Red Wine'. Among the 1 million British residents who purchased the latter single was the Dustin Hoffman-alike uncle of mine I mentioned a few weeks back; it helped him through his divorce.

    The Stray Cats' single made me think of Toyah - she didn't want to go to school, either!

    Modern Romance - with John Du Prez deserting his usual trumpet for his secondary instrument, the French horn - proved that there was more to them than upbeat party music with this reggae-tinged ballad. Alas, they would have no more hits - though their cover of The Temptations' 'Just My Imagination' was unfairly overlooked. Here it is:

    1. Modern Romance with Mr Du Prez were to get one more appearance for this hit a couple of weeks later on the 15th Sept show, but that was pretty much it for the group, as the curtain fell on their pop career right here with this single.

  3. OK, so I see we have just had another 4 shows put up this week, and the same goes for next week with 4 shows. When is this steamtrain going to slow down again going back to one or two shows a week?

    So for next week's 4 shows, has anyone got the 15th & 29th Sep shows, as we will need to polish off the whole of Sep 1983 next week. Although 29th Sep was shown on UK Gold, the 15th wasn't and could be tricky to get.

    1. Calvin Henderson has the 15 September show on YouTube, but minus the Culture Club and Genesis videos, and also the number 1:

    2. With three songs missing, it is not a proper show for us, but thanks John for highlighting what we have at hand so far. Hopefully someone with the whole show can come forward by Thursday when the blogs go up.

  4. Hmm, this ToTP lark is a bit like an out-of-control train at the moment isn't it? Thanks as always to Angelo for your efforts.
    But what a shame there isn't really time to properly dwell on each episode and the stories of the musical turns and blog participants involved.

    Anyway this episode was a well presented, Wild West party time, mixed bag of a show.

    Modern Romance to begin, bowing out chartwise with a rather weak last-dance-at-the-school-disco effort.
    The Madness video is a superb, relatively high-budget take on their usual tomfoolery, and yet another superb single from a band who could still do very little wrong at this stage.
    Gary Numan, less than meh. Rather pointless dirge.
    John Peel auditioning for the Foreign Office with his insights into France during the Euro Charts. What with this trip, Ryan Paris (I'd completely forgotten about that jolly little number), and the Style Council á Paris things have gone rather Gallic at this point :)
    Much as I dislike Phil Collins I gave to admit he's been involved in a good half-a-dozen really tiptop singles, of which this moody number is one. I agree that the steamy, largely, monochrome video accompanies it rather well
    I don't recall the Big Country effort at all, but it's a tuneful number that sounds like it could be a bit of a grower given half a chance. In fact Ithought this number had some OMD similarities, and it was a great performance from Stu's crew again too!
    The Stray Cats doing more of their thang, although they left me a little cold with this, even if it does sound rather channel the spirit of Shake, Rattle and Roll.
    Btw would a 20 something singing about a sexy 17 year old gal really be controversial these days? I don't see why someone like the Murs couldn't have done a sing like that when he started?
    And skipping past the over-imbibed mega-million selling case of rather average red wine leads us back to the Age of Consent issue with New Order.
    Of course neither Blue Monday nor Confusion featured on 1983's Power Corruption and Lies LP even though the epic AoC did. I became a big New Order fan later in the 80s but hadn't twigged that the vocals were so flat on the original release of this lovely burbling mess of a play out tune.

    1. when i used to look at the weekly newspaper opinion columns written by the likes of barbara ellen, i always thought although i considered myself quite a creative and imaginative writer i could never produce copy to order to meet a deadline. and yet that's precisely what i feel i'm doing now with the continuing onslaught of totp's! the good news is that i've not found myself wanting in that respect, but the bad news is that unlike the barbara ellen's of this world i'm not getting a penny for my thoughts!

    2. The good news is that after next week we won't have to belt through 4 shows in a couple of days again for a while, but there are still a number of skipped editions to negotiate before the end of 1983...

  5. A show that just about managed to include all the new entries with the strange exception of the highest – Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack with their timeless ‘Tonight I celebrate my love’ and instead we get a pretty run-of-the-mill Stray Cats song that had still to break the top 30. They could have opted instead for Cliff’s ‘Never say die’ (36) or perhaps a new entry at no47 – ‘She loves you’ by a group called the Beatles? Other recent notable misses from ToTPs dip outside the 30 are the Moody Blues radio 2 staple ‘Blue World’ (great title!) and Asia’s ‘Don’t Cry’.

    Modern Romance – Walking in the Rain – Seeing this title pop up again had me reaching for YT and this:-

    Madness – Wings of a Dove – Gave this a miss this time.

    Gary Numan – Warriors – Plenty of instrumentation stuff in the mix but no real tune. That fretless bass sound is retained from the previous album but Pino Palladino was not playing this time as presumably he was too busy with Paul Young.

    JP Euro Charts – Well I loved ‘Dolce Vita’ and what is not noted here is that it was sitting at no45 in our own charts. Nice interview with JPs humour just hilarious! Ryan Monchengladbach indeed! Great taste these Europeans putting Mike Oldfield at no1.

    Genesis – Mama – A classic! I stood on the old sacred Wembley Turf in 1987 as the ‘Invisible Touch’ tour show opened up with this, and what a rousing intro it was too with much dry ice. The laughing riff was inspired by ‘The Message’ by the Grandmaster Flash, but we didn’t know that at the time. Shame the video is cut short just when the drums come in and the song climxes.

    Big Country – Chance – Change of style and quite pleasant even if I don’t really recall it.

    Stray Cats – Sexy and 17 – Very average. Usual Stray Cat sound and sexy lady on the label but no ‘Runaway Boys’.

    UB40 – Red Red Wine – Whatever happened to silly string? Used to be everywhere in the 80s! Great record and deserved no1 (as would ‘Food for Thought’ have done…..).

    New Order – Confusion – Continuing the recent run of using former ELO song titles, this New Order track has the audience really revved up for a dance out.

    1. why has "she loves you" been re-re-re-released yet again? hasn't everyone had enough of the beatles by now?

      by the way sct, i was also at the genesis wembley show in 1987 - the support act was none other than paul young (the one who's just had a no.1 hit here - not the sad cafe guy who ironically at that point was working with genesis member mike rutherford in his sideline band), whose star had waned somewhat by that point!

    2. All the Beatles singles were re-released on their 20th anniversary - remember Love Me Do reached No.4 last year. And no, you can never have enough of The Beatles...!!

  6. hosts: oh look, it's butch cassidy and the sundance kid! although the aptly-named kid (oh sorry, he's not called that anymore, is he?) is a more than adequate stand-in for robert redford, peel is not exactly going to give paul newman sleepness nights. the latter has probably never handled a pistol in his life before (or at least not since he was a kid himself), so his ineptitude at gunslinging is likely genuine. but kid... sorry david's fumbling looks a bit-too over-rehearsed, as coming from a land where firearms are part of everyday life i suspect he was a bit of a sharpshooter on the side

    gary numan: this starts off quite funkily, but as soon as the numanoid opens his gob it becomes just another one of his tune-free dirges

    genesis: if this had been a new act then i think most would have thought this was okay as a more serious piece of synth-pop (phil's ever-more annoying whine apart). but what were those who lapped up "supper's ready" and other gabriel-era "classics" thinking of it?

    big country: a middling effort both tempo and quality-wise, but at least it's not "fields of fire pt iii". not a good idea for stuart adamson to keep his guitar in its case, as he doesn't really know what to do without it

    stray cats: guys like brian setzer and glenn gregory are copping some stick here in this yewtree/bottom inspectors era of morality for their liking of teenage girls. but it's totally legal to have sex with a 17-year old female, the only real issue here being the morality of the guy in question being somewhat older than they are. placing artificial social and legal limitations on sexual activity is ridiculous in my view, as nature has actually devised a method (that we called puberty) that determines when a human being is ready for intercourse - as the saying goes "old enough to bleed, old enough to breed" (perhaps a male equivalent expression would be "old enough to get stiff as a rake, old enough to procreate"?). as it stands, a 16-year old male cannot legally have sex with a 15-year old female (or vice versa), but an 80-year old male can with a 16-year old female (or vice versa) - as they say, the law is an ass! but what about the music, i hear you say? well i'm surprised this lot got another bite of the cherry (ho ho) given their sound hasn't developed one iota since their breakthrough a couple of years earlier. but at least brian's quiff is a bit more 80's than 50's now

    new order: i had to check if this was in my mp3 collection or not - it's not, so i presumed it wasn't one of their better efforts in my view. and another listen on yt confirms that - it's a bit too hip-hop-like for my liking, and barney's morose (not to mention seriously out-of-tune) vocals don't do it any favours either

    1. Peel did come quite close to seeing a gun fired in anger, as he was in the same room at Dallas police HQ as both Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby about 24 hours before Ruby killed Oswald, though he wasn't present when the murder actually took place.

      Regarding The Stray Cats, as you say it is perfectly legal to have sex with a 17-year-old (unless you happen to be their teacher), but such is the hysteria today about anything which can be associated with paedophilia that I bet a record company would think twice about releasing a song with this kind of title.

    2. Peel was also in a bar in Dallas when the news came through that JFK had been assassinated, and said that one of the biggest cheers he had ever heard went up among the assembled patrons, which left him feeling very worried.

    3. That's Texas for you, I guess...

  7. Saddle up and get off your horse and drink your milk etc, er, first up it's Modern Romance who I imagine wore those see-through plastic rain hats little old ladies put on to keep their exquisitely coiffed barnets dry and in place.

    Ooh, did you enjoy Mad Max 2, Gary? It was good, wasn't it? Great chase at the end, yeah? Bit more entertaining than this record of yours, wasn't it?

    Then the ever ill-advised European charts, the Italian nuclear war song sounded like the Wiggles, the African voodoo tune featured that well-known African animal a tiger in the video, and the Dutch Jamesalina Galway wouldn't give Rondo Venezaino sleepless nights. But Ryan Paris seemed like a nice boy, and that's a nice little pop tune he was promoting.

    When I was little I found Genesis' Mama very offputting because of the hacking smoker's cough Phil insisted on doing, though apparently he's supposed to be laughing. Anyway, the rest of it is no less overblown, with a faux-Central American video to match.

    Big Country to the rescue with a yearning little ditty that evokes windswept Highland landscapes - oh, all their songs did that, didn't they? Anyway, Stu looks a bit stuck for something to do without his guitar but cheers up when he gets to do a dance.

    Stray Cats, presumably because they were available, show up to perform a very by the numbers effort, getting all sentimental about being a teenager which is something you can do when you're no longer a teenager, I suppose, you don't feel like that at the time.

    UB40 in cheery mood as they hit the top, by no means the worst cover they ever did, that may well be their version of Can't Help Falling in Love which has some of the worst vocals on a No.1 ever.

    Talking of terrible vocals, here's New Order, and they weren't live voices, they actually put them on the record. Not their finest hour.

  8. The unedited version of the 14 July show is now on WeTransfer. As I suspected, there was a JK slot within it that was not mentioned on Popscene. It doesn't feature anything we haven't already heard, but there is a short snippet of The Kinks' video for Come Dancing:

    1. Plus there's a dodgy Jim'll impression by Andy Peebles at the end when he tells us he's doing next week's show!

    2. Great find John. Interesting that Popscene left out the JK slot, let alone BBC4! It was a little odd I thought that there would be a 3-month JK break from beginning of June to the end of August, but now we can see that there was not such a long break, and he appeared on the show in July.

    3. Yes, and now we know what Powell said at the start of the show which BBC4 edited out, i.e., that JK was coming up later in the show. Good Lord, BBC4 are really anal about all of this. JK was no JS, so what is their problem?

    4. The Popscene listings for the 14 July show have now been updated.

  9. Apparently there are quite a few Page 3 Girls/glamour models in the studio in this current incarnation of TOTP, which would explain some of the dancers. We'd have to wait for Samantha Fox actually making a record, though. Lucky us.

    1. thx you've just remimded me of why i regard the end of 1984 as a watershed moment in the history of pop music!

    2. I would say end of 1987, cos by the time 1988 came along, we were beginning to see the manufactured /factory type music of stock aitken waterman which began to do away with musician talent, and used recurring formulas for new pop acts and records.

      The period between 1987-1989 saw the changing of the guards with proper bands like Fleetwood Mac and Genesis gradually falling away to make way for the 'next generation', i.e., Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Sinitta, Rick Astley, etc who were affable to managers giving them instructions.

    3. ironically in the midst of the stock aitken as waterman asasult, fleetwood mac made their biggest impact in the uk singles charts... albeit with stuff that was almost as "manufactured"!

    4. Genesis would also remain successful into the early 90s, though their attempt later to carry on with a new singer (Ray Wilson from Stiltskin) after Phil quit would prove a dismal failure.

  10. Any news of the 15th & 29th Sep editions, apart from the Calvin Henderson Utube link so far for the 15th Sep missing three songs?

    Anyone with these two full episodes ready to upload them for this weeks blogs, as they will not be shown this week by BBC4?

    1. Here is the link for the UK Gold showing of the 29/09/83

    2. Thanks Anonymous, DLT and Jonathan King in the same show. Good Lord, a big no no for BBC4 this week.

  11. Shakey Shakerson18 April 2017 at 11:31

    Another edition that struggles to illicit any sort of positive comment from me. Oh well. . . .

    Kid and Peel host, so that's ONE positive, although for a goodly portion of the show The Canadian One is on his own.

    Unusually we start with a slowie, rather than the 'party' song which has become the norm of late. Maybe the Producers just saw the band name 'Modern Romance' and thought it was another of their dance numbers and shoved them up front without listening to the song. Which, by the way, is awful. Two Zooologist girls are dressed as Parisienne Streetwalkers for some insane reason.

    Gary Numan. Nonsense of the highest order.

    Genesis. One of their better singles, but still not great.

    I can't bring myself to say anything bad about Big Country, but this is a weak effort compared to their other hits. And Stuart Adamson looked a bit uneasy without his guitar. It is, however, comfortably the best song of the week.

    Stray Cats, running on fumes now.

    UB40. 'Stuff the politics, lads, lets just do some chicken-in-the-basket cover versions'

    New Order. A bit of a blip in an otherwise excellent run of singles from the morose Mancunians.

    The hosts score 9 and were more entertaining than any of the songs on show.

    The Music. Genesis was ok, and Big Country weren't bad either, but really, this was mundane fare; more of a nut roast than a Sunday roast. 4

  12. Better than the previous edition as at least there were a couple of songs for me to enjoy this time!

    Again, just to tackle the new stuff -

    Gary Numan - Seemingly another variation on 'Music For Chameleons' and not particularly great.

    European Charts - That Righeira track I did recognise, I think it turns up on those 80s compilations produced by the Dutch 'Disky' company. Rose Laurens not stereotyping anyway there at all, oh no. The Ryan Paris track is one that I really like, but unsurprisingly the European female James Galway is less to my taste...

    Genesis - I always forget that this is their biggest hit, as you NEVER hear it. I think it's great with its moody and slightly scary vibe.
    An example of the poor state of radio currently: I was listening to Absolute when for some unknown reason the presenter decided to compile a list of songs with coughing in. Great entertainment I don't think. Anyhow, the dopey prick included 'Mama'. No, you tool, he's not coughing in it, he's *snarling*.

    Big Country - At last, their good single! I like the lyrics in this one, and the chiming sound that it has.

    Stray Cats - Never mind the fact that it's dodgy, the rockabilly revival (bar Shaky) is over, daddio!

    New Order - Tuneless piffle. Like all the rejected bits from 'Blue Monday' were stitched together.

  13. The Rhythm Pals have found the dressing up box again but full marks to them because the show was in need of this type of antics which breathed new life into what had become a dull format. I still don't care for the excessive number of cheerleaders though but at least they're varying them a bit so we don't see the same annoying faces week-in, week-out.

    I have zero memories of this Modern Romance hit but surprised to see it got in the top ten. This is a complete change of style for them and is the type of blue-eyed soul ballad George Michael did later on. I like it. Feel a bit sorry for John Du Pres stuck at the back with his French horn, the more luxuriant the other band members barnets get the balder he seems to get.

    The Madness video was created entirely around the last shot which the director found and wanted to use. Not their best song but god use of a gospel chorus and steel drums and it proves they still had a few tricks up their sleeve. Even better was to come next.

    Gary Numan and his band of Mad Max clones creep into the Thirty with another so-so song. To me Gary Numan only released three and a half worthy songs and this wasn't one of them.

    I was never a Genesis fan but had grudging respect for some of their songs inc this one. The video is dramatic but a bit boring because the band are boring and I'm not sure I want to see close up shots of Phil Collins bathed in red light.

    I really liked the Big Country songs and bought their album The Crossing but remember being disappointed by its muddy sound. This was probably my fave track from the album and it's great to see it again.

    While not a fan The Stray Cats song is pretty good and creates a great atmosphere in the studio.

    Even at the time I was not a fan of UB40s version of Red Red Wine having discovered the original Tony Tribe reggae version for myself a few years earlier and lost any faith/interest in them from this point on. Their Labour Of Love album sold by the bucket load on the strength of this hit and while they are worthy enough covers it's a shame more people didn't check out the originals.

    While I admired Blue Monday I hated Confusion at the time and still do, it sounds like a very bad demo sung by someone who has never sung before and is bored to death. Much like we are listening to it. How the hell did this get to number 12?! They had a cheek to release this at the time, it's truly dreadful.

    1. bama, what was the half-worthy numan track? i'm sure anyone who follows this blog is well aware of my loathing for reg, but whenever i meet up with an old chum he always reminds me that i like (or at least used to like) "one and a half" songs of his!

      i don't think anyone's mentioned this as yet, but what makes the abomination that is new order's "confusion" even more bemusing is that it was the result of a collaboration with the hot new dance producer arthur baker who had recently scored with the ace rockers revenge track "walking on sunshine"!

    2. Modern Romance apparently visited their barbers clutching photos of Princess Di and asked for one like that.

    3. The Numan songs I liked were Are Friends Electric, Cars and the oft-overlooked Complex. The one I half-like is Music for Chameleons, but in common with Alan Partridge I only like it for the bassline.

  14. Comes to something when the best bits are the presenters!
    Modern Romance - zzzzzzzzzzzzzz
    Gary Numan forgot to write a tune