Thursday, 18 May 2017

What is Top of the Pops?

Have you ever wondered what is a hit anyway? What makes a soul want to sing along to a song? Dance to it? Tell their friends about it? What makes someone want it in their lives so much they are willing to go out and splash their hard earned cash on a round plastic disc? Well, all you have to do is join the 10.65 million viewers who tuned into Top of the Pops on December 8th 1983, and all will be revealed.....

Quick lads, back to the Tardis!

08/12/83 (Mike Read & Tommy Vance)

Thompson Twins – “Hold Me Now” (4)
Getting the show underway with the first single from their forthcoming massive number one album, Into the Gap, and it was now at its chart peak.

Billy Joel – “Tell Her About It” (22) (video)
This second single from his top two album, An Innocent Man, peaked at number four.

Paul Young – “Love Of The Common People” (2) (rpt from 24/11/83)
Now at its peak, but edited out of tonight's 7.30 showing.

Tina Turner – “Let’s Stay Together” (6) (video)
Also at its peak and also edited out.

Tears For Fears – “The Way You Are” (31)
With perhaps one of their least known hits, The Way You Are peaked at number 24.

Howard Jones – “What Is Love?” (23)
This Jed-less follow up to New Song made it to number 2.

Culture Club – “Victims” (11) (video)
What a sumptuous and hypnotic video for this captivating song which peaked at number 3.

The Flying Pickets – “Only You” (1)
The first of five weeks at number one for this A capella cover of the Yazoo number two.

Wham! – “Club Fantastic Megamix” (18) (audience dancing/credits)
George and Andy hated this so much they refused to promote it! But it still reached number 15.

Saturday shopping list

December 15th is next.


  1. I haven't seen this episode yet as I only watch the unedited version later. However I was intrigued by the WH Smith advert above. I don't recall videos being so expensive compared to vinyl and tapes! We didn't get a video recorder until at least 1986. I think it was a Ferguson if I remember rightly.

    1. £4.49 ("or less" - even though punters are being ripped-off, they make it sound like they'rgetting a bargain!) is close to a score in today's money. obviously the reason being that it was new technology, as opposed to records that had been around for decades (although i wonder how much the new-fangled CD cost at that point). as dory is always keen to inform us, you can now buy pop videos as downloads from amazon for less than two quid. but why bother with that when you can watch practically all of them on youtube for free?

    2. There are a number of benefits to purchasing pop videos from iTunes over just watching them on Utube:

      1. Once they are on your laptop/ipad/phone, you can just play them without needing wifi or cellular connection, which you would need to have for Utube.

      2. Not all videos stay on Utube indefinitely, and on a number of occasions where I have bookmarked a video from Utube, and go back into it some months later, it has disappeared from Utube, or it says 'this has been removed due to third party notifications of copyright."

      3. iTunes has kept the price for a pop video capped at £1.89 since launching ITunes in 2006, whether it is their won cap, or from the regulators, but it doesn't matter. The £1.89 gives me peace of mind that it won't get taken down on Utube by whoever has put it there in the first place.

      4. With iTunes, once you purchase a pop video, it is in your iTunes library for life, and belongs to you, and there can be no copyright claims by anyone, because it has been approved for iTunes to sell to the public to download and keep.

      The only disadvantage on iTunes, is that there are not as many videos available to download and keep, as there is available on Utube to watch but not keep.

    3. Why not download the videos from you tube when they are available Dory? If I discover anything of decent quality there,I download it and add it to my personal collection.

    4. I wouldn't want to pay anything for a pop video, and to me a price approaching £2 is daylight robbery!

    5. i'm certainly with noax on this one, and given they were originally made for promotional purposes anyway it seems well out of order to ask punters to pay for a copy - then or now. but that's the music industry for you - as mr barnum famously said: "there's s sucker born every minute"!

    6. Taking a closer look at my iTunes library, the video collection alone shows that I have purchased a total of 1799 videos over 11 years since iTunes launch in 2006, which means I have spent somewhere between £250-£300 per year on pop videos.

      Suffice to say, that these videos are across 5 decades, mostly 80s and 90s, and I think this is very good value when you consider that you then have a mobile pop video library anywhere you go, with no wifi or internet connection needed to watch them, and this is most noticeable when on a plane with very little to be able to do otherwise.

      From this week's TOTP alone, the videos for Thompson Twins, Billy Joel and Culture Club are firmly in the collection.

    7. Considering how little money anybody but the biggest artists are making in the internet age of entertainment for free, I don't begrudge any of them, major or minor, getting a few extra pennies for their efforts. It's people like Dory who are keeping these guys solvent! YouTube pay a pittance in royalties and make massive profits as a result.

    8. I don't begrudge the artists making money, but if we accept that to download audio tracks you usually pay somewhere between 69p and 99p, why is it nearly double for a video? I don't suppose for one minute that all the extra goes to the video director and / or the recording artist!

      Besides, I just don't understand the need to have a video collection in the same way you'd collect audio tracks - it's just not something that appeals at all.

    9. Re historic video prices - I can remember seeing VHS tapes of Fawlty Towers for £25 each. Three episodes per tape, therefore £100 for the complete collection! This was around 1985. It's a pretty eye-watering amount by todays standards so it would have been real serious expenditure back then. I wonder how many were sold?

    10. It's the old adage of if someone is determined enough to have something, they will pay whatever the cost, and in the mid-80s, VCRs and video tapes were exciting stuff, and people paid through the nose for them, and in economics speak, when demand exceeds supply, prices go up, and then only go down when supply exceeds demand, which is what happened post-80s, when DVDs took over, and the excitement factor had by then subsided.

    11. just over 20 years ago i knew a guy that had a CD made of his own recordings - despite being around for over 10 years at that point, they were still only available on a commercial basis as read-only. so he had to pay twenty quid for a specialist company to create one for him! how times have changed now, in that you can buy a CD-R to burn whatever you want onto to for less than twenty pence!!

      by the way dory, i'm still not in any way convinced by your argument that music videos are worth buying (especially at £300 a year!). in the unlikely event i was travelling on a plane which didn't have an internet connection, then i would think listening to mp3s on an ipod or similar or even reading a book would be a more than adequate way of passing the time. but as they say: each to their own...

    12. I have always liked the video concept, because it shows what the band are thinking when they write the song. The latest one I purchased this past weekend was the big US No.1 Even The Nights Are Better by Air Supply in 1982, where the video was never shown in the UK (as it peaked at no.44 here) but has become available only recently this year for purchase:

      The video is the story of two men in their early 30s looking for love, and pull two hotties in the fun fair and beach of Coney Island, New York.
      Watching this video over our own Bank Holiday weekend has really made my weekend, over and above just listening to the tune without the video.

  2. 1983 certainly drew to a close with some strong TOTPs, and this is another example. Good hosts too, as Mike and Tommy clearly get along and have some amusing interaction. I have to say though, when I saw their bowler hats and umbrellas in the opening link I was thinking Bradford & Bingley rather than Herge's Thompson Twins...

    As for the group of that name, they are back in the studio and this time, happily, are miming to the actual record. I was glad to see that Alannah still had her hair, as it really did look last time as if she might have shaved it off. Billy Joel next, following one pastiche of late 50s/early 60s music with another. I've always found this song rather annoying, but the Ed Sullivan impersonator in the video is pretty convincing. It is meant to be set in 1963, though Billy's jacket would suggest a date several years before that - admittedly, you could argue that the Yanks didn't leave the 50s behind until the Fabs turned up on the Sullivan show in '64...

    This Tears For Fears offering is so obscure that it doesn't even appear on the compilation album that I own. I'm not sure I have ever heard it before, but while it isn't in the same league as their earlier hits it does have a catchy chorus that builds nicely, and Curt sings well. Roland's mullet is beginning to take shape here, but at this point it looks like he is sporting an afro! More rubbish hair next courtesy of Howard Jones, but this is a cracking tune that for me is his finest moment. Jed is conspicuous by his absence (was Howard getting fed up of him stealing his limelight?), but Howard tries to make up for that by showing off with four separate keyboards plus an utterly superfluous grand piano. Culture Club follow up their mega-hit with a very stately and poignant ballad, a tad over-earnest perhaps but still well done. The video is clearly aiming at the Christmas market with its Busby Berkeley-style production values, but it seemed a bit weird to have George constantly travelling back through those double doors like a cuckoo retreating into its clock...

    Unlike their predecessor at number 1, the Pickets are always available for a studio performance, so here they are again. As Angelo points out, the one on the right does seem to be modelling himself on Tom Baker's Doctor, while the bald one displays a set of very crooked teeth. Like the Tears For Fears tune earlier, Club Fantastic Megamix is probably Wham's least known single, and indeed George and Andrew, at odds with their record label, disowned its release and urged fans not to buy it. Still, it makes for a decent bit of playout music.

    1. The hosts were clearly copying the formula of Peel & Jensen dressing up in fancy dress every time, so now Read & Vance wanted to be on the fun with fancy dress of their own as The Thompson Twins from Herge's Adventures of Tin Tin.

      The other DJ duos at this point had not been sucked in by this tomfoolery, but we will see in the coming months if all the Radio 1 DJs get sucked in to this fancy dress malarkey. I mean what next, Laurel & Hardy next week for Bates & Long? Can you imagine that??

  3. The Thompson Twins with a very cheery Alannah compared to the dour countenances of her bandmates. But who sings the nasal, high-pitched backing vocals at the end? Seems to be a dispute on stage about them!

    I don't know about you, but I'd be pretty freaked out if Billy Joel showed up at my house to mime his latest record, yet the characters here take the umpteenth 80s Motown tribute in their stride. Each of those girls gets their own pizza, too - I know Americans eat a lot, but that does seem excessive. Is that Rodney Dangerfield hoving into view near the start?

    Two repeats next, Paul Young with his invisible trumpeter and Tina Turner demonstrating where the Moldovans got their idea for their dance moves on last Saturday's Eurovision Song Contest.

    Tears for Fears, oh dear, you can tell why this wasn't a bigger hit, droning and repetitive, the lyrics pointing out it's going nowhere not helping in the slightest. Very much an album track that somehow escaped.

    Howard Jones gets to soul-searching now he's lost his little friend. Did Jed go solo? Was he walking into a high wind or getting trapped in a box somewhere? Don't know why he needed all those keyboards when presumably even in '83 one could have done the job. Nice, sweeping chorus, but it does go on a bit.

    Culture Club in what was surely a tribute to the band's friends who were afflicted with AIDS - had the Government "Don't die of ignorance" campaign been announced yet? Strong, classy single, and nice to hear rather than their other, overplayed efforts. Excellent vocal from George, too.

    There was no escape from The Flying Pickets this December, and this is a disarmingly sweet cover, using the technology of the day with voices to mix a memorable sound. Is one of them wearing leopard skin trousers?!

    Wham to end on, no wonder they disowned this, bland and forgettable, not up to their usual standard. The crowd groove obliviously, so long ago...

    1. According to Wikipedia, Victims is another song about the George/Jon Moss relationship. I think AIDS was still quite marginal in the public consciousness at this time - the "don't die of ignorance" campaign was still about three years away.

    2. i wonder if jon moss knew at the time that he was the subject matter of george's somewhat scornful lyrics? even if not then i would imagine that culture club was not the healthiest place to be in terms of feeling good, despite their success - especially for the other two! presumably george gives the lowdown on the sitation from his point of view in his autobiography "take it like a man" (ho ho)?

      talking of which, john is right in that in 1983 aids was still very much being viewed as "the gay sickness" by joe public, if at all. i do remember a colleague in the band i was in back then commenting on the death of klaus nomi (one of the early celebrity victims of the disease), in a jocular manner that suggested it could never impact on him...

    3. If it was the relationship troubles on George's mind, then it must have had some additional resonance to those fans of CC who had been affected by AIDS, intentional or otherwise. But I suppose it took bands like The Communards and the Blow Monkeys to embrace the possibilities of the subject in song.

    4. you might have thought with a name like the blow monkeys that the bandy (or at least leader "dr robert") was of the gay persuasion? but apparently not so, although he did hang out on the gay social scene as he liked the vibe. and the song in question was a response to donna summer's outburst that aids was god's retribution against those of that nature...

  4. hosts: looking back in retrospect it's rather surprising that faces for radio were still being used to front what is now firmly established as the new glitzy totp format. and in this case a couple of four-eyed ones at that - even if more likeable and/or competent than some of their colleagues. unlike his partner mr read might have had some issues with being conceived as a speccy git, hence the shades. or it might have been as breakfast show host he was burning the candle at both ends at this point in time?

    billy joel: he's only just finished at number one, and he's already got another single in the charts! continuing his experiment with 60's pastiches, this time billy not only uses original footage of ed sullivan "introducing him", but also a lookalike standing in the background as he performs. of course mr sullivan never meant anything to viewers in blighty (other than us pop historians), but in the states he was a household name. and a bit like mr as it appens and eamonn andrews rolled into one, in that he was patently far too old and square (the guy looked liked he'd forgotten to take his jacket off the hanger before putting it on!) for the youthful pop revolution that by the early 60's had started dominating his once-cosy and old-fashioned long-running variety show. but despite that he refused to move aside, and still ruled the roost in that if you got the wrong side of him then you could forget it as far as getting valuable media exposure was concerned!

    tears for fears: a definite sign of moving on from the first album in terms of musical development, but it seemed joe public felt it was a step too far as this stage. perhaps as a result of its poor chart showing, the band seemed to view it equally abjectly afterwards - not bothering to include it on the masterful "songs from the big chair" album that they were recording at the time, even though it wouldn't have seemed out-of-place by any means. i always thought it had a catchy chorus, although the gloomy lyrics don't really make it suited to the balloon fest that's going on. rather surprisingly roland (whose hair looks like it has an invisible alice band in it!) seems content to be one of three synth players behind curt, instead of being alongside him as the other "face" of the band

    howard jones: i didn't mind this too much at the time, and certainly preferred it to his other hits. but now it just sounds like more plodding and earnest fare from an ordinary-looking guy whose desperate-to-be-trendy haircut looks even more absurd from the side than from it does from the front. and now that jed has seemingly thrown off his (mental) chains and escaped, there isn't even that sideshow to sustain the interest any more

    culture club: actually quite a decent song, and a definite improvement on the throwaway tripe that preceded it. but because it had a bit of class about it, it was almost inevitable it wouldn't follow that to number one. and nowadays is remembered far more for the lavish video than the music itself

    1. There seemed to be at this stage a flurry of follow-up singles being released by artists where their last single was still in the charts. Billy Joel, Cuture Club and Michael Jackson to name but a few.

      Before 1983, singles were only followed-up with a new release when the previous had well and truly left the top 40, but it seemed now that the new trend was to release the next one as soon as the last one starts to fall in the charts.

      I mean Billy Joel was on only last week at no.1 with uptown Girl, and now he is back on TOTP the following week with Tell Her About It a new entry at No.22 when Uptown girl was at No.3 in the same chart. Good grief!

  5. Thank goodness Mike Read gave the impressions a rest (although we did get one silly voice at the end) as he was much more tolerable, and finally TV's pullovers are in sync with the season!!

    Billy Joel - I can only assume that the record label were as bored with 'Uptown Girl' as I was, and wanted the next single out quick. For me, it's just about better than the aforementioned song but not a favourite.

    Tina Turner - Tommy's mention of Tina Turner looking great makes me think how many times I've heard that down the years. My landlord in the mid-90s said it when Tina was pushing 40! I just don't get what people see in her at all.

    Tears For Fears - A welcome showing of a lesser heard single which while being a bit repetitive, has a nice enough tune and it's good to hear it.

    Howard Jones - Why did he sack Jed? As I mentioned previously, when I interviewed Howard he came over as a bit of an arse so that may be why. As for the song, I find it rather dull to be honest.

    Culture Club - Another one you never hear these days despite being a big hit. Lovely song with a good video.

    The 6 Doctors...erm..The Flying Pickets - Funny what you should say about them always turning up John G, as my Jim Lea anecdote relates to that. I was going to save it, but what the hell...apparently they acted just like real pickets ie refusing to perform unless x,y, or z were perfect for them. As a result I understand there was a delay in recording one show that both they & Slade were on.

    Wham! - Pretty average stuff, quite rightly shunned by the duo but considering some of the playout music chosen recently, at least you can actually dance to it!!

  6. Sorry, that comment about Tina Turner above should have read "....when Tina was pushing 60!"

    1. i thought the tina turner age seemed a bit wrong! the fact that she's a serial syrup-wearer probably helps a great deal with regard to the "isn't she amazing for her age" debate?

      i wouldn't go and see her perform live if you paid me, but i read a while back that she did a "retirement" tour, and then a few years after that announced she was touring again. what a con - she should have been reported to the trading standards authority!

    2. In the 80s I wasn't convinced by Tina Turner's "glamorous granny" status, but then I saw her interviewed on Wogan and rather than being brash and in your face as I expected, she was demure and quiet, and I started to get why she was attractive. Then I saw Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and thought she was terrific in it (and she is!) - she could have had a great parallel career as a movie star if she'd wanted it.

  7. The Thompson Twins open with an instant, if insubstantial, offering. Frankie Goes To Hollywood guitarist Brian 'Nasher' Nash would subsequently describe them in 'Smash Hits' as being "really wimpy". A bit harsh, though percussionist Joe Leeway is a prototype for Happy Mondays' Bez if ever there was one.

    Billy Joel's 'An Innocent Man', from which both 'Tell Her About It' and 'Uptown Girl' were culled, is a truly classic album packed with well-crafted songs. I remember I loved 'Tell Her About It' so much, I scratched my hand on a door while dancing to it! His summit meeting with Sir Elton remains one of the industry's defining moments.

    Each to his/her own, Noax - I feel the same way about One Direction. I've been a fan of Tina's since her comeback began, and not just because some of her biggest hits were co-written by the lead singer of a certain folk-rock duo I follow. This is a hackneyed phrase, I know - but like Petula Clark CBE, she makes every song her own.

    As THX rightly points out above, 'The Way You Are' is not one of Tears For Fears' better efforts, being too repetitive to register in the Top 10, or indeed to be included on the compilation album 'Tears Roll Down'. Happily, Curt and Roland would soon regain their form with their hit-laden, world-conquering second album, 'Songs From The Big Chair'.

    Like his contemporary Nik Kershaw and Brummie forerunner Steve Winwood, Buckinghamshire-bred Howard Jones has been honoured with a cover version by Barbara Dickson OBE - and it was this very tune that earned him the West End star's seal of approval. Here's her take on the song:

    Continuing the audience-pleasing theme, here's a live rendition of Nik's 'Wouldn't It Be Good' by the pint-sized East Anglian himself, with Howard on keys:

    Isn't Culture Club's 'Victims' a splendid piece of work? I bet Sir Elton John likes this; it reminds me very much of his classic ballads such as 'Someone Saved My Life Tonight'. For once, ALL the band members were dressed to the nines - including part-timer Helen Terry, who would have been the Adele of her time were it not for Alison Moyet.

    To the best of my knowledge, there have only been two 'a capella' Christmas chart-toppers in Britain: The Flying Pickets' 'Only You', and The Housemartins' 'Caravan of Love'. (Steeleye Span's 'Gaudete' peaked at No.14.)

    In a letter to 'Smash Hits' around that time, a reader described the Pickets' bald member David Brett - aka Red Stripe - as looking like "one of the Addams Family". Mr Brett would subsequently play Dedalus Diggle in the box-office smash that was 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' - so he would have been ideal as Uncle Fester in the current West End musical version of 'The Addams Family'. Still, Les Dennis, being more famous and more of a family (!) entertainer, was chosen instead.

    1. there's no way i would attended the elton john/billy joel "summit" as i'm not that keen on the latter, and as i think everybody knows here i can't stand reg. but i do remember seeing it billed at the time, and wondered how it worked. did billy support reg throughout, or did they take it in turns with the running order from gig to gig? presumably they also did spent some time together on stage doing each others' songs?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Here's a clip of Sir Elton and Billy duetting on the latter's 'Piano Man':

      CORRECTION ALERT: In my paragraph on seasonal chart-toppers above, I overlooked the fact that Jackie Wilson's reissued 'Reet Petite' had dethroned The Housemartins' Isley-Jasper-Isley cover just in time for Christmas!

    4. I seem to recall that the first time EJ and BJ attempted to tour together, it had to be cancelled owing to one of them being ill. They did eventually get around to doing a full tour, however.

  8. A very strong show musically I thought. Never that keen on Billy Joel's throwback stuff including that hideous We Didn't Start The Fire. I love Ms Bullock's voice in this song. A belter from Howard Jones. Never get bored of this one. Was trying to identify his Adidas trainers. A nice change of pace from Culture Club and one of their best in my opinion. I prefer the Yazoo version really. Another track that hangs around far too long.

    1. The other Culture Club song in the same chart Karma Chameleon, a former No.1 song, actually went up one place this week to no.28. Wouldn't it have been funny if they played that one again instead of Victims at No.11, haha!

  9. The Thompson Twins - already at No.4, and I've run out of superlatives for this group. Hold Me Now is so good and clearly their best hit do far, narrowly edging their first top 40 hit called Love On Your Side, earlier in the year. Hold Me Now capped a brilliant debut year for The Thompson Twins in 1983, where in one calendar year they knocked out four brilliant hits from January to December 1983. Bring on 1984 for you guys!

    Billy Joel - as Wilberforce says, we only just had Billy Joel last week at No.1, and now the following week we have a new entry from him at No.22. Good Lord, the record companies were too quick. Couldn't this follow up single have waited till the new year to give us a nice surprise? Anyway, I did like the girlies in their lingerie in this video, especially the pillow fight on the bed.

    Wham - this playout I thought would be a montage of their first full year of music, like a normal megamix, but no, it was a new single which we had not heard before, and not a megamix at all. What was all that about then, and why call it a megamix? On the positive side, it got a fair old play on the playout, with some good studio audience dancing this week.

    1. I agree, 'megamix' was a bit of an exaggeration, but it was a mix of three different songs taken from their album, Fantastic.

  10. Got off to a good start this one then somewhat petered out….

    Thomson Twins – Hold me now – Great stuff. Audience are enjoying themselves too. TT were going through a purple patch.

    Billy Joel – Tell her about it – I believe the original release in August 1983 came with a different sleeve, but by this re-release it sported a scene from the fascinating video (also used as the photo for the chart rundown for ‘Uptown Girl’). It’s catchy and quirky and catapulted the parent album which everyone seemed to have at the time and rightly so as it’s wonderful and features the same bit of Beethoven ‘Pathetique Sonata’ music on ‘This Night’ as used on Louise Tucker’s ‘Midnight Blue’ which JK raved about earlier in the year.

    Paul Young – Love of the common people – So why didn’t they show the video rather than repeating the studio performance? It’s fabulous and features Pino Palladino and Rico Rodriguez (on trombone) and, well, definitely the Fabulous wealthy tarts!

    Tina Turner – Let’s stay together – Argghh! FF Like Noax, TT has an appeal that is lost on me…

    Tears for Fears – The way you are – TFF’s ‘burp’ moment, this is as bad as I recall it. So bad it didn’t even make an album. Much better was to come. One of the synth players looks like the guy from ‘For your eyes only’ who appeared underwater in a mini submarine armed with cutters!

    Howard Jones – What is love – Definitely on a roll Mr Jones with this and he manages to dance sing and tinkle the keyboards here.

    Culture Club – Victims – FF

    Flying Pickets – Only You – No ‘live’ rendition again. I wonder if they ever did perform it live?

    Wham – Club Fantastic – Extended dance mix of a track I don’t recall. Good for a dance, but hardly memorable.

    WHS Advert – I was working in WH Smiths as a Saturday Job at this time. I well recall the singles chart on the wall with all the picture sleeves. Like Stu observes, I don’t recall videos being so expensive though; they must have been quite new as we also never had a player at home until around 1986.

    1. We got our first VCR in 1985. Thereafter, Dad would take my sister and me down to the newly-opened local video shop every Saturday morning to hire a VHS cassette for the weekend. Happy days...

  11. Great start with The Thompson Twins a song that I never get tired of hearing and probably their best song.

    I also loved this Billy Joel track and especially the video which spoofed the 1960s Ed Sullivan show and a lot more. Interesting that this made the chart the same week that he slipped down from the number one spot. He could do no wrong at this point.

    Repeat of Paul Young from before. Love the trombone solo courtesy of Rico Rodriguez, strangely absent here. The only down side here is Paul tucking his jumper into leather trousers, not a good look.

    Tina Turner on video again but always worth a second look.

    I have no memory of the TFF song and small wonder as it has nothing especially memorable about it. More synthy than their previous hits it was the start of their fallow period before they returned to the big hits with Shout. Roland's nasty grey tabard thing doesn't help along with Kurt's zips-on-display trousers. Did that look ever take off?

    Howard Jones - this is more like it even if he has dumped his baldy mate. You have to admire old Howard (and he was pretty old), he can play 5 keyboards at one time and then stop playing them but the music carries on.

    Culture Club are like Billy Joel in that their previous number one hit was still in the 30 when the next single charted (in fact Karma Chameleon had just gone up again). This was the end of my interest in them as this was too syrupy for its own good and George is trying to prove that he's a real singer but his vocals are pretty average. And the video is well OTT with poor George looking a bit uncomfortable on that cherry picker crane or whatever it was he was perched on, it's a bit wobbly in some shots and he keeps looking down as if he can't wait to get off the thing.

    While I quite admired the Flying Pickets largely a capella version of Only You, I did have a big problem with the band's look. The tall guy with the shaved head who went by the name of Red Stripe (real name Dave) scared the hell out of me and it does look as if he's singing the song as a love song to Bryan the guy with the massive sideburns. The rest of them look out like 30-something out-of-work actors (which they were) and have a bad image problem. But none of that matters as it was a huge hit and people just loved the music.

    The Wham mega-mix they are playing out with is pretty bad and is clearly made up of all the other tracks from the Wham album that weren't singles. No wonder they jumped ship and sued the record label.

    1. one reason wham! left their first record company was although (to paraphrase the title of their second album) they had made it big, they were still only getting peanuts as per the contract they originally signed as nobodies. even though he no doubt became a very rich man as a result of that move, in later years george michael accused the company he left innervision for (sony) of much the same unfair split of the moolah!

  12. An 'OK' show.

    BIlly Joel's Innocent Man was the first album I bought on CD (along with Abba The Singles). Were the backing singers in the Billy Joel video anybody famous ? - they looked familiar

    I was in a band in the early 80s which broke up when I went to the States in 83. Recently the singer got in touch through Facebook, and we did a one-off charity gig - all covers - and one of the covers was Only You. What goes around comes around...