Friday, 7 April 2017

Top of the Pops Summer

It's July 28th 1983, all our bags are packed and it's time for 7.05 million of us to catch our flight to destination Top of the Pops!

I think my band are somewhere in lost luggage......

28/07/83 (Janice Long & Mike Read)

KC & The Sunshine Band – “Give It Up” (19)
Jetting in to start the show and with his eyes already on the number one spot.

Depeche Mode – “Everything Counts” (26) (video)
Surely one of their best singles, but it only peaked at number 6.

Elvis Costello & The Attractions – “Everyday I Write The Book” (30)
A second performance of this song which went up two more places.

The Creatures – “Right Now” (29) (video)
Quite an exotic video here for this Mel Torme cover with Souxsie as Cleopatra for what was their biggest hit reaching number 14.

The Lotus Eaters – “The First Picture Of You” (25)
Janice needs to hold the mic a bit closer I think, either that or I'm going hard of hearing! Here she introduces the Lotus Eaters and their only top 30 hit, but what a good one, peaking at number 15.

Malcolm McLaren – “Double Dutch” (4) (Dynamos skipping)
Went up one more place. But edited out again of the 7.30pm showing ~ somebody at BBC4 doesn't like this one!

Robert Plant – “Big Log” (31)
His biggest solo hit, peaking at number 11. Also edited out, and yet Elvis Costello and Bananrama, who we saw last night, were both left in.....

George Benson – “Feel Like Makin’ Love” (28)
Flick Colby's Zoo are released from their cage for a routine, but this record got no higher.

Bananarama – “Cruel Summer” (10)
They've all had their hair done in the same style, ready for a trip to New York to shoot the video, and the song went up two more places.

Paul Young – “Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)” (1) (video)
Second of three weeks at the top. And still no sign of a hat.

Heaven 17 - "Come Live With Me" (5) (audience dancing/credits)
At its peak.

Tonight's telly

Next up August 4th 1983, but its got Mike Smith so BBC4 will skip to August 11th.


  1. KC & The Sunshine Band - alas the last voyage for this band and last top 40 hit they there were ever to produce, and not bad to get to No.1 with it. KC was looking a bit ravaged with time, and not that young singer from 1975 with That's The Way I like It. The band had by now worked the charts for 10 years or so, and it was coming to an abrupt end in 1983, which was their final year of music offerings.

    The Creatures - what a great idea to add Jazz to their usual style of music. Janice Long tells us at the end of the song that it is a remake of a 1962 hit for someone else. Still, it was a nice touch by TOTP to play the video till the jazz-thumping end. Right Now was the highlight of this TOTP show for me, and like KC & The Sunshine Band, this was also to be their last top 40 hit, and a like KC, probably their best one too.

    The Lotus Eaters - really liked this, especially the podium dancer on the right of the screen, which was a nice distraction from the band, even though this was becoming a summer trend on the show every week.

    Heaven 17 - third time on TOTP, despite being the well-earned playout this week. I don't recall this getting up to as high as No.5 though, but thoroughly deserved, as this was a good one about the 37 year old man going out with a 17 year old girl, cos that rarely happens these days.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. The legendary jazz singer Mel Tormé recorded the first vocal version of 'Right Now' as a B-side in '62 - though it had originally been recorded as an instrumental by jazz flautist Herbie Mann, who co-wrote the piece. There was a brief swing revival in '83 - watch and listen out for The Cure's 'Love Cats' in a few weeks' time!

      Merseyside's Lotus Eaters are, would you believe, still together and have had some success in Japan. Guitarist Jem Kelly has also pursued a parallel career in multimedia theatre, as well as recording an album for Sire as a member of The Wild Swans. 'The First Picture of You' is a minor classic, though I actually preferred the Eaters' less successful follow-up, 'You Don't Need Someone New'.

  2. hosts: as always seems the case, there's no complete upload of this "approved" edition on yt but the chart countdown edit is there. so from that i can see that ms long (was "ms" in use at that point?) and mr read work relatively well together (not surprisingly, given their obvious affection for the music rather than for themselves - unlike some of their colleagues!). but readie still referring to george benson as "bad" many years after the guy dropped it from his billing is perhaps demonstrating his interest and knowledge a bit too far

    kc: "the sunshine band" was effectively mainman harry casey's co-writer (and bassist) rick finch and assorted sessioneers, so never really a proper band anyway. he and finch had parted company at this point under what seemed rather acrimonious circumstances (perhaps kc became aware that finch was a latent or even practicing pedo, for which he is currently serving time?), so he was effectively a solo act by now. the fact that he was still active at all was surprising given how closely he was linked to the now-defunct disco scene. at the time i didn't think this was a patch on their classics like "that's the way i like it" and "get down tonight", and i still think that's the case now. but i've heard it so often since then (this clip with the mini-skirted backing singers seemed to appear on every single episode of "totp 2"!) that it's now become an acceptable piece of singalong 80's dance-lite. as for kc himself, he had really boyish good looks in the 70's, but aged rather quickly and very badly afterwards. and the signs of that are already here, even though he's only in his early 30's!

    creatures: another rather sparse effort from them - were they listening to carmel who was soon to arrive on the scene with very similar stuff, or was it the other way around?

    lotus eaters: they were presumably named after the michael j bird mediterranean thriller series of a decade earlier? this is bright and likeable enough (and certainly preferable to depeche mode in that respect), but the sadly unsuccessful follow-up "you don't need someone new" is far superior in my opinion and perhaps one of the finest examples of synth-pop ever recorded. yet another scouse outfit on totp, but they were aided and abetted by the ubiquitous bassist michael dempsey making an appearance on the show with a fourth different act (does he hold the record in that respect?)

    robert plant: like brian may and one or two other aging rockers, plant felt obliged to try and tame his wild hair to some extent to conform to the smart new look of the 80's. but it was obviously somewhat reluctantly, and like may it didn't last for long! the music reflects that as well with it's 80's production of big handclaps, synth washes and police-style guitar effects, but the bluesy playing is still pretty much rooted in the previous decade. unbelievably there were rumours that it was really jimmy "dentist drill" page playing the guitar, as opposed to some guy never heard-of before (or since, really) called robbie something. i thought this was okay back then, but i've come to despise zepplin since as the epitome of all that was wrong with rock music. so i really have no time for it now

    george benson: once he was known as "bad" (as readie reminds us of course) as in "so bad he's good" with regard to his guitar playing. now he's just plain bad as a result of his painful decline into vapid (and cash-generating) pop-soul-lite, to the point where he didn't even bother bringing his guitar into the studio with him this time! who are you, and what have you done with the real george benson?

    1. I would have thought The Lotus Eaters were named after the folks from Greek myth?

  3. You would have thought disco king KC would be better at dancing, wouldn't you? Anyway, a truly great swan song for a good time pop act, if you're going to go, go out on a high. Sounds like a re-record, though, that synth is a bit nasty.

    Depeche Mode looking oddly angelic in their video, a strong hint of the "jaded with the world" direction their music would take, but still with that all important synth melody. Much better than their current single, which sounds really "old man grumbles at the morning papers".

    Mr Costello returns, and you can tell it's hot by the way he sweats his way through the performance - bad jumper choice! Also looks very reluctant to mime, so why bother with the guitar at all? Still like the song.

    The Creatures with a muscular, brassy sound, a surprisingly effective cover version. The video looks like the sort of thing Ken Russell was directing when he lost his Hollywood contracts. Carry On Cleo suits Siouxsie very well.

    The Lotus Eaters, with Mr Lotus looking very nervous (dry mouth?), but it doesn't distract from a dreamy little number, one of the most delicate and memorable one hit wonders of the decade.

    Fresh from Blue Peter, the Double Dutchers take to the floor for Malky's classic and do a very decent job, I certainly could never have done that. Why we needed the muscle Marys to join in, I don't know.

    Robert Plant - was this really a song named after a poo? That was the rumour at the time, but Percy would neither confirm or deny. The video for this one, set in a desert, I think? Or a desert motel or something? To YouTube! Anyway, I quite like this, it has a pleasing, laidback vibe though I'm not sure about the trouser suit.

    George Benson, after his previous hit which was among his best, this was a real step back to a nothing cover version. Maybe that's what he was comfortable with, but it's disappointing.

    Did Bananarama always stand in the same order, like Ant and Dec? Always seems to be Keren, Sara and Siobhan, left to right. They go walkabout this time, grinning their way through their tale of woe, which makes you wonder if they understood what they were singing.

    Ah, the video of Paul Young for a change, though it's not all that exciting. Bit late to go to the recording studio, no? Whenever the muse takes you, I suppose.

    I know it was in the Top 10, but Heaven 17 don't quite have the oomph to be a good choice for the credits.

    Incidentally, the Double Dutch countdown pic is the most half-arsed since the days of Rose Royce's Car Wash.

  4. Janice and Mike Read make for an amiable combination this week, and it seems they did get on for real as they were having a bit of a Twitter love-in last night when the repeat went out. Having said that, Mike's shorts were appalling, and his comic schtick left something to be desired. It really must have been hot, as Janice is hatless for I think the first time in these reruns, though she does try to grab someone else's headgear late on.

    A lively start is provided by KC, looking like a dancing deckchair as he heads towards a belated number 1. It's a decent enough summer dance tune and a well-staged performance, though I don't think it matches the highs of his earlier hits. A complete change of tone follows with Depeche Mode, with easily their strongest single since Vince Clarke's exit. The locations used in the slightly dull video all look distinctly unglamorous, but presumably that was the point.

    Elvis adopts an unusually casual look for this return performance, complete with future Soul II Soulers on backing vocal duties once more. Back to video after that with The Creatures, and a cover that sounds very messy indeed to my ears, with none of the hypnotic charm of their earlier hits. Siouxsie's unsuccessful attempts to exude Hollywood glamour make for amusing viewing, however...

    The First Picture of You is a great, summery little record, and it's rather surprising The Lotus Eaters would have no further Top 30 success. I don't know why the singer wasn't given a mic here, as without one he looks a bit awkward and self-conscious, but he acquits himself well in the end. Unfortunately, half the band are covered in shadow and are virtually invisible for most of the performance! The Dynamos than treat us to some Double Dutching in the studio, which certainly looks impressive but does make me wonder how many takes were needed to create this impression of seamlessness. Incidentally, can someone please bar those wretched musclemen from the studio?

    It was something of a coup to get Robert Plant on the show, and this was of course his TOTP debut, given Zeppelin's aversion to releasing singles. Big Log is a great song, packed with atmosphere, but Robert just looks like he fancies himself a little too much here, in that weird jump suit with sweater casually draped around the shoulders. Zoo manage an enjoyable routine for the second week in a row, but are hampered by the weakness of this George Benson cover, which doesn't come close to the Roberta Flack version. The Nanas then get to do an Adam Ant and move their way around the studio, though it's fair to say that they lack Adam's stage presence! Paul Young is still at the top, and this video is one of the first I can ever remember seeing, though the bit that sticks in my mind is the end, cut off here, in which Paul's vengeful lover shoots him and he starts bleeding from the mouth on a bed - I found that quite scary when I was 4! Heaven 17 close proceedings, but this is not really very danceable and the crowd prove as much with a very half-hearted effort. Then again, perhaps the poor things were just overheating...

    1. interesting to read (unintended pun) that this edition's hosts were known to have watched the show and made comments online accordingly afterwards - are there any reports of others doing likewise?

    2. Are they noticing editions are 'missing'?

    3. Pat Sharp and Tony Blackburn have both commented on their shows in the past, but have not made any comments about Yewtreed ones, so far as I have seen. Bates is also on Twitter, but has largely ignored the reruns - however, he did make a rather ungracious comment after the audio links were restored to one of his live 1982 shows, asking why BBC4 had bothered!

  5. Shakey Shakerson9 April 2017 at 04:42

    We must have been going through a heatwave back in 83 judging by the assorted ensembles on display here. I can get on board with that as, outside at the very moment, the sun is belting down on a gorgeously warm Sunday, so this is gonna be short and sweet.

    KC. A so-so song, a boring performance, and a strange sounding re-recording. A bit of a Bertie Bassett jacket for Howard. 5.

    Depeche Mode. Weird one this because I really disliked the verses and I really liked the chorus. The video is all sorts of wrong. 4

    Elvis. See it must be hot if Elvis is going all dress-down-Thursday on us. This isn't bad, but its not a patch on his best work. 6.

    The Creatures. There seemed to have been a bit of a glut of this sort of thing; punk/new wave acts going all Mom & Dad on us ( see Fun Boy 3, The Beat, Capt Sensible etc) This is the worst of the lot - 4

    The Lotus Eaters. Abso-chuffin-lutely brilliant. Liverpool groups seem to have a knack for producing glorious Summer tunes (Black, The Las, Boo Radleys to name just a few). In fact I made a compliation CD on just that theme and got it up to track 16 without any need for fillers!. But this is the best. Fabulous, and probably the best song you will ever hear in your live. 10.

    McClaren. Yeah a guilty pleasure. There's just something really addictive about the song and the chorus. Despite my dislike of him as a chancer, you have to say he knew his music. 8.

    Robert Plant. Not a Led Zep fan but this isn't bad - a bit proggy (especially for this most 80s of years) but from this viewpoint it still sounds kind of decent 7.

    George Benson. Not his best. Kind of smacks of a contract-fulfiller, and the lengthy scat section doesn nother for me either. But still, that voice.... 6.

    6 for The Nanas, 6 for Paul Young, and 5 for Heaven 17.

    Our hosts. Sister Cheggers and Mike Read make an affable and eminently watchable couple. Neat and tidy links, with the cringeometer barely registering. They seem to like each other and have a knowledge of, and love for, the music that many of their compadres simply don't have. A very good outing. 9.

    The show cops for a decent 8, thanks in the main to the Lotus Eaters.

  6. I’ve watched this back to back with the 14th July edition so there is some repetition but at least the performances are different.

    KC & the Sunshine Band – Give it up – It’s pretty corny, bouncy and light weight, but in my slightly depressed state of mind at the time I loved it and still do. Deserved number one but strangely in the States ‘KC’ as it was just billed only managed no18. No less than Five, yes Five of his previous releases made the top spot in the States. This performance sounds slightly different from the normal mix to my ears. Anyway, a cracking starter.

    Depeche Mode – Everything Counts – For me this was one of only a couple of the Basildon bands releases that made any impression on me. Nice video.

    Creatures – Right now – Don’t recall the original nor this….next.

    The Lotus Eaters – The first Picture of you – Average sound from the band named after a Michael J Bird thriller series as noted by wilberforce? Never saw it myself but, as mentioned before, ‘The Aphrodite Inheritance’ is just fabulous.

    Malcolm McLaren – Double Dutch – Brave of the team to come and perform their skipping routine in the TOTP studio. No Malc though..

    Robert Plant – Big Log – Very nice effort, totally un-Zep like. Co-written with ‘Blunt’, but when I checked it was Robbie (who may well be the guitarist here Wilberforce) and not James….

    George Benson – Feel like makin’ love – (not the Bad Company hit). George is introduced as a ‘great guitarist’. Funny, but I never think of him as a guitarist in the Jimmy Page sense at all (to follow on from the previous artist…).

    Bananarama – Cruel Summer – Love the way they hop from the high stage to the low stage and back. Full of fun are our Nanas!

    Paul Young – Wherever I lay my hat – Not seen the video for ages. That bass still grabs me and rightly Pino (and the rest of the band) are credited on the sleeve. Anyone buying the 12” of this single must have been surprised by the third track. Written by Jack ‘Hanging on the Telephone’ Lee, entitled ‘Sex’ and occupying seven minutes on the ‘B’ side, it must have offended a lot of parents at the time with its risqué lyrics. Lee penned Paul’s next single smash which we’ll be seeing very soon – ‘Come back and stay’.

    Heaven 17 – Come live with me – Still got this one in my brain from the 14th July show!

    This show went out shortly after one of the most disappointing sporting events I have ever seen. Nowadays we don’t get to see cricket on normal TV, but the Saturday before this show I sat in agonising despair as Essex somehow lost to Middlesex in the Benson and Hedges Cup final when Gooch had more or less put the match in the bag.

    1. Yeah sct353, I remember that Benson & Hedges Cup Final vey well, where Essex were 127-1 chasing a target of 196 to win, and were all out for 192. A 39-year old losing captain Keith Fletcher somehow remained upbeat at the interview with Peter West at the end:

    2. sct i still haven't got around to getting "the aphrodite inheritance" yet, but i'm keeping an eye out for both that and "the lotus eaters" if they come up cheap on ebay. i have been filling my boots with other stuff from the era though: recently watched "follyfoot", now started on "fox", and have just won "please sir!"...

      by the way: yes, plant's guitarist was called robbie blunt. i thought as such, but couldn't be bothered to check! as regards george benson as a great guitarist: it's all subjective of course, but i browsed through a book in a library many moons ago called "greatest guitarists ever" or somesuch. and george was in the top 10 to my reollection. in my view he's very good at what he does, but somewhat of a one-trick pony (to the extent that the likes of steve lukather had to be called in to perform rock-style solos on his bland 80's stuff). but rather him than the dentist's drill of jimmy page any day of the week!

    3. Again, the Lotus Eaters are from Greek mythology, the Odyssey, and were the complacent islanders who got high on the fruit of the lotus flowers which left them unwilling to do anything else. Did nobody here do Classics at school? Or watch Ulysses 31?!

    4. i never did classics at school, but i was aware that the tv series of that name was not the origin of the phrase (seeing as it was set in crete, it was almost certainly inspired by the greek mythology)

      although the band's website doesn't supply an explanation for the choice of name, a picture on the homepage suggests it's more likely due to the greek mythology than the tv series

    5. Don't worry THX, I was aware of the original mythological Lotus Eaters! I also used to watch Ulysses 31, and that particular episode gave me the creeps as a kid...

    6. Classics was compulsory in the first two years of my secondary education, something that's not the case now. Despite the grumblings of my classmates about how useless it was, I found it really interesting, it can be nice to learn things simply to increase the breadth of your knowledge rather than any practical application.

      Plus it helped me get the references in the aforementioned Ulysses 31!

    7. i've certainly never heard of "ulysses 31" before - perhaps as it was a kids show and i was in my early 20's at that point? but then again, i watched "grange hill" virtually continuously until well into the 80's!

    8. Ulysses 31 was one of a number of Spanish cartoon serials, seemingly all about 500 episodes long, that Children's BBC broadcast almost on a loop in the mid-to-late 80s. Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds is probably the best remembered - I was very much in the target audience, and used to watch them all. They also tended to have very distinctive theme tunes which quickly wormed their way into your brain, and stayed there for ever after - here's the Ulysses 31 theme:

    9. Ulysses 31 was actually a French/Japanese co-production, but apart from that, absolutely correct, John. Mysterious Cities of Gold was the other one I stuck with, again with a memorable theme tune!

    10. I remember reading somewhere that they were all Spanish, but looking at Wikipedia I see that Ulysses and Mysterious Cities were both French-Japanese, and Dogtanian and Willy Fog Spanish-Japanese. Given the French literary roots of the latter two, and the Spanish characters in Mysterious Cities, that seems rather perverse!

  7. Ps. I see that 'The Life and Times of David Lloyd George' was being repeated. Shame the excellent theme music didn't chart again...

  8. KC & The Sunshine Band - A song that after a time of rarely getting played, is on the radio a little TOO often these days, which has reduced its appeal to me. And didn't they watch the Freeez performance to work out why you shouldn't re-record the song for a TOTP performance?!

    Depeche Mode - A fantastic song, I never get bored of hearing this one even if lyrically it's not exactly breaking new ground. Capitalism is bad, m'kay? (For the record, I very much disagree with that, just making a joke!)

    Elvis Costello - God knows why this plodder got another push (which didn't work evidently)

    The Creatures - Not particularly interesting.

    The Lotus Eaters - Now we're talking! This is a truly magnificent song that is these days quite rightly regarded as one of the best one-hit wonders of the decade. Their follow-up single 'You Don't Need Someone New' is also brilliant, by the way.
    I think the producers have ever so slightly speeded it up though, which is a bit naughty.

    Malcolm McLaren - Here's the performance that everyone remembers. There's no way I could do that. Editing this out of the early showing again instead of tedious Elvis Costello is madness!

    Robert Plant - Cue endless jokes about the song title....not one of my favourites.

    George Benson - Oh, not again. Can't stand him.
    Even less attractive is that ugly moustachioed man standing behind Janice for the next link.

    Bananarama - This is the performance that mysteriously got included on Big Hits. I say that because the song is not even their best of 83 but presumably it's because they move about a bit. Woohoo!

    Then the dull No.1 and Heaven 17 (again?) and we're done. Nicely clunky link into the last one BBC4, seriously - we cannot deny that people existed so stop this pathetic charade of not even mentioning them now.

    1. if they can't bear the thought of their names being mentioned out loud, then maybe the beeb could put "bleeps" in whenever there is reference to mr as it appens and/or dlt - like they used to do with swear words?

    2. The daft thing is that in this case, it's Mike Smith who is not associated with any such beahviour.

      It's simply pandering to the 0.01% of the audience who might hear the end of this show and then complain that it's not the next one after all and that they've shown the 'wrong one'.
      It's high time the Beeb stopped worrying about this sort of thing, and for that matter, the Daily Mail brigade who get offended by any little thing and instead grow a pair!

  9. This was another show I don't recall seeing at the time. KC and The Sunshine Band, loved this at the time. Not sure about Howard's striped jacket. Someone's missing a deckchair.

    After a few so-so singles Depeche Mode are back on form with a cracking song and a good video to boot. Haven't heard this in ages.

    EC. No Hofner violin bass for Bruce this time and a nasty baggy sweater (but no strange hands) for Elvis. I had memories of this being a bigger hit, maybe because it was on the show twice, but it only got as far as number 28. A shame. Elvis is playing tricks again by making it obvious that he's not evening pretending to mime.

    The Creatures Right Now was a fave of mine back then, not that I bought it. I knew about the Mel Torme original at the time. It's always great to see covers of old songs in the charts especially when they're faithful to the original. Great video too.

    I loved the Lotus Eaters single that summer, a superb slice of jangly harmony pop. And it sat so well alongside The Fantastic Something's If She doesn't Smile It'll Rain (which sadly wasn't a massive hit). We used to play both tracks to death in the record shop I worked in. The 12 inch version is on Youtube and is even better.

    Thank God Malcolm McLaren himself wasn't encouraged to take part in the Double Dutch skipping. I have seen this clip before and it is very impressive stuff, it's just a shame they have intercut to those two muscle guys skipping which is a pointless distraction.

    I must confess I didn't like Big Log at the time dismissing Robert Plant as a hairy old fogey but it's actually rather nice and is the sort of thing Mark Knophler did but only better.

    For a minute I thought that George Benson was actually going to appear in the flesh but no it's bloody Zoo again. Oh well.

    I feel sorry for Janice Long, the male deejays get the leggy blond girls and fit dancers, she gets an assortment of 40-something weirdos and loons with bad moustaches mouthing along with the words as she says them.

    Nice to see Paul Young still at the top but a poor choice of playout track because it's not the most danceable song and we've heard it a few times now.

  10. Not much t day about this. Most of the tracks I'm very familiar with.

    Creatures - great video

    Robert Plant - never seen him live with this, but very familiar with the video. The guitar solo is an almost note for note copy of Happy Together

    Bananarama - but of a lack lustre performance