Friday, 12 May 2017

Top of the Pops and the Rain

This edition of Top of the Pops from November 17th 1983 will not be shown on BBC4 due to one of the hosts being Jimmy Savile. So a very big thank you goes to Xrayfour for making it available
here at vimeo  Obviously do not click it if you wish to avoid Jimmy Savile!

When you find out that Billy Joel is still number one.....

17/11/83 (Gary Davies & Jimmy Savile)

Aztec Camera – “Oblivious” (29)
Making their debut on the show with a song that had peaked at number 47 earlier in the year, but this re-issue did better, reaching number 18.

Shakin’ Stevens – “Cry Just A Little Bit” (3) (video)
At its peak.

Madness – “The Sun & The Rain” (5)
Also at its peak.

Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson – “Say Say Say” (2) (video)
Here it is then, the Mac & Jack wonder video at long last! But number 2 was its peak peak peak.

The Assembly – “Never Never” (10)
Between Yazoo and Erasure came The Assembly, this was their only hit, peaking at number 4, but crickey, doesn't Feargal Sharkey scrub up well!

The Rolling Stones – “Undercover Of The Night” (11) (video)
With a swanky new video of their own, from their top 3 album Undercover, this single was now at its peak.

Billy Joel – “Uptown Girl” (1) (video)
Third week at the top.

Michael Jackson – “Thriller” (24) (audience dancing/credits)
The fifth single from Thriller, this peaked at number 10.

Back to BBC4 next for November 24th.


  1. From East Kilbride rather than Glasgow, Gary, Aztec Camera with one of their seemingly effortless perfect pop miniatures, they deserved to have hits before this, and they never really made it big, but they are fondly remembered. Roddy looks like he's wearing a hat, here.

    Ah, the full Shakin' video, and we see a housewife and mother longing to go see him in concert when her daughter has the tickets. Reminds me of a cautionary tale I heard on a news report about a teenage girl Shaky obsessive whose fixation took over her entire life, so he agreed to meet her and she realised he was just a bloke, not some God on Earth.

    Madness in the studio, and I really hope the sax player is navy blue - actually, what the hell is he dressed as? That mystery aside, another reliable performance from the Nutty Boys.

    Paul and Mike, ah, here's the video in (almost) its entirety, a slice of down home Americana that totally suits the song, erm, OK, maybe not. Mike's been teaching Paul a few dance moves, I see.

    The Assembly, now this song has been forever tainted for me by a withering impersonation of it from a girl in my class at the time. She was right, though, Feargal does sound like a Moaning Minnie.

    Well, you're wrong Jim'll, I have seen this Stones video before. Probably on this show, back in '83. Great, muscular guitar riff on this, one of their best 80s singles.

    Billy Joel is skipped to hear one of the most overplayed records known to mankind (or womankind), Thriller. It was an all right single at the time, but its overexposure since is ridiculous. It's Merry Christmas Everybody for Halloween. Bet the Double Dutchers wondered why they'd turned up.

    1. With regard to the McCartney/Jackson video, it was not about the dance moves, but more about Macca shaving with razor and shaving cream. I mean, does anyone still use shaving cream nowadays?

      In my case, I have never done so, and for the last 33 years since the age of 16, I have only used electric shaver. My dad though, still uses razor and shaving cream to this day as his only method, and he is 86 years old, but in his generation where he started shaving in the 1940's, it was the only way to shave.

    2. i have a chum who grew up in and currently lives in east kilbride - according to him (i don't think he's precious about being called a glaswegian by the way) the other claims to fame from there that he actually knew personally to some extent are formerly-disgraced MP liam fox (who was in his class at school), tv presenter lorraine kelly and talent show singer susan boyle (who was widely regarded locally as a loony before becoming famous)

    3. I use a razor, Dory - I find that electric shavers irritate my skin.

    4. i thought most people used razors rather then electric shavers these days? up until recently i was using shaving gel (as opposed to cream), but due to eczema and allergy problems that have escalated in recent months i was advised to start using dead sea soap (that i got from holland & barrett) instead - which although not as easy to get a lather with, seems to have helped somewhat...

      talking of electric razors, does anyone else remember this guy (in an ad from 1983!):

    5. Of course I remember Vic, he was all over 80s TV, possibly the last great pitchman who was also the owner. You can't imagine the dead eyed corporate money grabbers running multinational companies now showing up in their own ads, can you? Even Dickie Branson doesn't so much.

      Oh, and I use razors for sensitive skin, because I'm a delicate flower. Still nick myself with the things, though (bah).

  2. Re: Stones - This seems to be an alternative video. I think the original was banned from MTV for being too violent -

  3. Someone had evidently given Jim'll some spangles before this show, as he is about the most hyper I have ever seen him. His interview with the Double Dutchers just goes to illustrate how out of touch he was with popular culture by this point, as he had clearly never heard of the craze even though it had been heavily showcased on TOTP several months earlier. Gazza turns in his strongest presenting performance yet, coming across as much more relaxed than in earlier appearances.

    There is a strong line-up, and Aztec Camera get things off to a great start with this sublime piece of pop perfection. Given Roddy Frame's way with a melody, it's a mystery to me why they were not far more successful than they were, but perhaps they didn't help themselves with that shoes-without-socks look! A proper look at Shaky's video next, with its heartrending story of suburban housewife drudgery and dashed dreams, but to be honest it came as something of a surprise to me that it would be the daughter going to see Shaky rather than the mother...

    Madness make it back to the studio after a lengthy absence, but are relatively restrained on this occasion. The sax player has a model rocket on his back, emblazoned with "XL5". I have never seen actually seen Gerry Anderson's Fireball XL5, but is it a model of the titular spacecraft? We finally get the Say Say Say video in full, but it all feels a bit smug to me. Still, it's amusing to think that just a couple of years after acting like best buddies in this "Mac and Jack" would have a falling out, after the Gloved One bought up the Lennon-McCartney song catalogue...

    Another superb, poignant song from Vince Clarke to follow, a real gem which never seems to get played these days; it really takes me back to early childhood, as my Dad bought the single at the time and played it a lot. Feargal gives a great vocal performance, but he looks like a washed-up music hall entertainer here - at least Vince had had a haircut since his split with Alf! The Stones' new video is perhaps predictably the bit of the show that most excites Jim'll, though it is hardly a very groundbreaking or exciting affair. The same goes for the song, an overlong dirge which demonstrates that the band were now in terminal decline as a creative force. After yet another look at Billy lusting after Christie (Jim'll incorrectly claims this is only his second week at the top), Jacko gets a second bite of the cherry as the audience dance to a song that has now become iconic, though sadly it arrives three weeks too late for Halloween. I don't think the video had been made yet, and sadly the audience don't turn into werewolves or zombies - the Double Dutchers, who are back for reasons that are never explained, look distinctly out of place...

  4. I bought the Assembly single at the time and the B-side is an electro-pop instrumental Stop/Start which is equally brilliant. They played it on 6 Music recently and I hadn't heard it in 30+ years.

    1. bama i had a listen to this, having never heard it before - and it sounds like kraftwerk meets trio!

    2. I discovered that Assembly track on a compilation of electronic music some time ago - it is indeed brilliant!

  5. I enjoyed this one! BBC4 viewers have missed out and thanks Xrayfour…

    Aztec Camera – Oblivious – A re-release no less with the old ‘limited edition double pack’ probably helping greatly. But it’s not a bad song from the Aztecs.

    Shakin’ Stevens – Cry just a little bit – Nice video after seeing the snatch on the chart rundown. I remember those picture pillows from the David Cassidy era!

    Madness – The sun and the rain – Surprised to see the boys back in the studio with another eccentric performance. Good song.

    Macca & Jacka – Say say say – Now I did skip this one…flashy video and all.

    The Assembly – Never Never – Very Yazoo obviously. This is really good. Feargal looks different hair wise to his frantic, Undertones days. Great song, well deserved to be the highest new entry.

    Rolling Stones – Undercover of the Night- Swanky video indeed. Unsatisfying song.

    Billy Joel – Uptown Girl – No studio showing for Billy, but still great.

    Michael Jackson – Thriller – Fifth single from the album and another to come. Zzzzzz

    Top 10 rundown – Hilarious. Gary says artist and song, but JS defiantly refuses and it’s just artists. Did nobody on the production team encourage consistency?

    1. Having played a humungous 4:50 of the Say Say Say video on the show (which I believe is an all time record on TOTP), they then played a fair good whack of the Rolling Stones video i.e., 4:15 it. Goodness me, TOTP gave a rare allegiance to video concept on this one show!

      I remember the last time they did such a thing was when they played the video for ELO's Wild West Hero in 1978, where they played 4:45 of that video. These post-4 minute video occasions are very rare on TOTP it has to be said.

    2. Bohemian Rhapsody Dory?!!!

  6. I found this summary on wikipedia regarding the McCartney/Jackson video Say Say say, and the controversy around it with The Late Late Breakfast Show:

    "The video of the Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson single 'Say Say Say' had its controversial UK TV premiere on the programme. The $500,000 video had not been ready when the track debuted in the UK singles chart. By the time it was finalised, the track had fallen in the chart.

    McCartney flew to London with the intention of premiering the video on the BBC's flagship music programme Top of the Pops, but the show had a strict policy that no single that had dropped in position could feature, and refused to show it. A furious argument ensued, with BBC staff reporting McCartney was threatening to withdraw all his music from the corporation.

    As a compromise, the BBC offered to air the video two days later on The Late, Late Breakfast Show, which featured weekly live music performances, but rarely aired videos. The BBC agreed to air it on the programme only if McCartney appeared live and gave an interview. He reluctantly agreed and appeared with his wife Linda live on the show on 29 October 1983; his first live UK TV appearance since 1973.

    The interview was stilted and the McCartneys made little or no effort to answer any of Edmonds' questions. After some reportedly hostile backstage production negotiations, the programme's entire show was built around the 'medicine men' theme of the video and the guest who had been booked to appear that week Olivia Newton John had to agree to appear to promote the video in a skit, reportedly against her will and she expressed anger at having her 'starring' role in the show downgraded into a lesser guest spot to make way for the video and McCartney.

    The airing of the video on this highly rated show was successful as the track climbed back up the chart the following week and aired on Top of the Pops on 4 November 1983".

    1. I think this story just demonstrates what an arrogant, egotistical arse Macca really is under the "man of the people," thumbs aloft exterior...

    2. I do agree, and his fame and fortune forced his nose upwards at this point in time, and Linda's I would assume.

  7. Did you notice Savile groping that girl in the pink jumper. The rancid old bastard.

    1. Even by 1983, they still had not moved into total political correctness in TV, so this is not new Stu, even though we were already into Thatcher's second term in office at this stage.

    2. Political correctness!? Judging by the way her eyes bulged I think it was probably used in the Yewtree investigation! Talk about hiding in plain sight.

    3. Oh yes, I don't look that closely.

  8. It's interesting that when Jim'll introduced Madness this week, he says, "now at no.5 and on its way to No.1".
    Seemed like it was the kiss of death for that one, as Madness began the slide down the charts straight after this performance!

  9. hosts: no trace of this pairing on yt, but i don't suppose gary davies was thrilled at pulling the co-host short straw for this one?

    aztec camera: was there ever a more 80's-sounding band name than this? i remember the music press getting very excited at what they saw as a teenage prodigy (i think roddy frame was around 17 at the time). but i can't say his rather workmanlike tunes ever got me excited

    macca/wacko: presumably the video for this was made at the same time as the one for "thriller"? and it follows the same format in that there's some "drama" before the music itself starts. but unlike "thriller" it certainly never got the same acclaim or coverage - in fact i can't even remember watching it. i did so now on yt for the purposes of this review, but found little of interest other than noting that once again mrs macca gets to prominently feature despite having a lack of any discernable talent. plus it was quite amusing when the three of them went into the boozer, as it seemed like they were trying to be the thompson twins!

    madness: the good news is that since their last appearance chas has lost the face fuzz and suggs' magnificent flat-top has been restored to its full glory. other than that it's business as normal, although i don't suppose they realised at that point that they would practically go out of fashion overnight very soon? by the way, does anyone know what that board on the stage actually said?

    assembly: like thx my memory of this is skewed somewhat by the fact that a chum of mine constantly parodies it. and i'm never averse to doing a feargal sharkey impression either, although my favourite is the first line of his chart-topping solo hit ("i hear these rumours, i s'pose they could be true"...) when he was rather preposterously promoted as some kind of lounge lizard

    stones: the last thing they did where they were still viewed as a contemporary force of some kind rather than a nostalgia act, and as such in that respect it's a rather good track to bow out on in my opinion. although not at the "thriller" level of hysteria, i do remember that the unveiling of the video (directed by julian temple, which i correctly recalled) was a hyped-up media event. and that keef rather notoriously pulled out a shooter in it, which i think was the reason it got banned?

    wacko: like millions of others i made sure that i got to see the official event launch of this much-anticipated and drooled-over video (on channel 4 at midnight?). although it was enjoyable to watch (apart from wacko's chronic "acting"), i always felt that the army of zombie backing dancers were more in sync with the music track than wacko himelf was! did anyone mention the music? that was also good by the way (did rod temperton ever do anything that stank?), but with regard to the well-worn tale that he cobbled together the vincent price monolgue in the back of a cab whilst price himself was practically walking into the studio to record it: well frankly, that shows in places ("rot inside a corpse's shell"). talking of vincent price, my above-mentioned chum also does an excellent impression of him. or rather an impression of a guy doing an impression of the master of horror for some local radio advert for a car dealer ("driving a stake through the heart of the competition")!

    1. Angelo has posted a Vimeo link for this show, if you wanted to satisfy your curiosity as to the hosts' rapport - in a nutshell, there isn't any!

    2. Linda McCartney was a talented photographer, for what it's worth. Musically, it seems "At least she wasn't Yoko" was the best most could say about her at the time.

  10. One good thing about the Thriller video: Lenny Henry's parody of it, which was hilarious when I was a kid. It's on YT and still pretty funny. "Goodnight Michael!"

    1. I remember seeing the Lenny Henry parody before I ever got to watch the real thing, and I still found it funny even though I didn't get the references at that point!

    2. Lenny was my favourite comedian when I was little, and I wish the sketch shows he did immediately after Three of a Kind were on DVD, I'd snap them up.

  11. Some good tunes on this edition, and Gary Davies seems to be much more at home now, which is particularly impressive given that Savile is back to his demented 'hey hey hey!' persona again.

    Aztec Camera - A great pop song, and they never really put out a terrible single to be honest.

    Shaky - Oh good, a chance to see this tragic video in full!

    Madness - Surprising to see them in the studio so late in this song's chart run, and it obviously didn't help much.

    Macca / Jacko - Another one promoted from the 'Top 10 Video Show' to be shown (almost) in full. I could do without the guff at the beginning though.

    The Assembly - Another good song, and an album with Feargal would have been interesting. As it was, Vince went on to have a flop single with Paul Quinn before hooking up with Andy Bell. It's often forgotten that all the singles from their first album missed the Top 40 so we won't be seeing him again for a while!

    Rolling Stones - Not overly excited by the video, but I do think the tune is their best single of the 80s.

    Jacko again - Yes, we all know that the video is very exciting etc. etc. however....I've never thought that the song itself is in any way amongst his best tracks.

  12. I remember the Aztec camera performance well because it was on the first video tape of TOTP clips that I saved back in the days when blank tapes were £20 each. I dug it out the other day and amazingly it still plays. Loved this a lot at the time and bought the album although I was always disappointed with the muddy sound on the album which is true of the CD as well.

    Don't care for the Shaky song much but it's okay. Strange low key video which shows the audience he was aiming at. Interesting use of product placement for Kellogs cornflakes and Alpen and on the BBC as well. Tut, tut.

    Great to see Madness in the flesh and on very good form. Somehow this clip wasn't on my video compilation, I must have missed it probably still getting to grips with the pause button on the VCR.

    The Mac and Jack video it all its controversial glory. I quite liked this at the time and admired the video a lot but there was something slightly off-putting about it which meant I didn't bother buying it. A lot of other people did though.

    The Assembly song I did buy and played it a lot even though it is very miserable and downbeat. I liked the fact that the band was put together as a project and disbanded shortly afterwards. Not sure I care for Fergal's weird Elephant man haircut though.

    I recall seeing a different version of the Rolling Stones video from this one which must have been cleaned up for TV use.

    Billy Joel still at the top and playout with Thriller which seems odd as its now such a classic thanks to its video which presumably hadn't been unveiled yet.

  13. Great site. The vimeo link no longer works unfortunately. In response to the above...The XL5 on Madness' Lee Thompson's jet pack was a nod to B-Side of "The Sun and the Rain", a track called "Fireball XL5". And the cards being he;d up at the end are just the "lyrics". This was Mike Barson's last TV appearance of the 80s with Madness, having announced his departure the previous month.