Friday, 30 June 2017

One Small Top of the Pops

This edition of Top of the Pops from February 9th 1984 won't be shown on BBC4 tonight because one of the hosts is DLT, so one big thanks goes to D42 for making it available here at Vimeo

Something fishy is going on.....

09/02/84 (Gary Davies & Dave Lee Travis)

The Smiths – “What Difference Does It Make?” (13)
Went up one more place.

Nik Kershaw – “Wouldn’t It Be Good” (32)
His first of five top ten hits, peaking at number 4.

Marillion – “Punch & Judy” (29)
Got no higher.

Elbow Bones & The Racketeers – “A Night In New York” (33) (video)
With a bit of a 70's feel, this was their only hit and it peaked at number 33.

Swans Way – “Soul Train” (34)
Their only top 30 hit, peaking at number 20.

Madness – “Michael Caine” (26) (video)
Didn't quite become their 16th top ten hit, peaking at number 11.

Ultravox – “One Small Day” (37)
Went up 10 more places.

Madonna – “Holiday” (7) (audience dancing/credits)
Went up one more place. Frankie now third of five weeks as the banned number one.

Back to BBC4 for February 16th.


  1. as is usual with yewtree'd editions, this review is pretty much from memory

    nik kershaw: presumably we'll get to see him do this on a non-yewtree'd edition later? so unless someone tells me otherwise i'll reserve judgement (and it will be judgement!) until then

    marillion: i remember watching this at the time and being amused by fish literally punching the air as he mimed the word "punch". can't recall much else about it though, nor do i want to be reminded

    elbow bones: i had a memory of this being some kind of throwback novelty tune a la guy marks and "loving you has made me bananas". but although the band name and video have all the hallmarks of that with the big band, spivs and everything, the music is actually a quite contemporary-sounding dance track. in fact, it's so good that i'm adding it to my wants list. and i've just discovered that it's produced by non other than august darnell - so that's what happened to him after everyone OD'ed on kid creole and the coconuts!

    swan's way: this lot caused a bit of a stir at the time to my recollection, and i think they were darlings of "the tube". but i never thought it was as good as it was cracked up to be, and indeed much preferred "no memory" (perhaps the last great synth-pop track?) that two of this trio went on to do as scarlet fantastic a couple of years later

    madness: "the return of the los palmas 7" part ii, and possibly a reason their popularity suddenly faded shortly thereafter. i've never really understood the appeal of michael caine myself (apart from his breakthrough role in "zulu" he just seems to play himself to me), but i suppose you have to give the guy some credit in that he still gets away with it even now in his 80's (and i do actually like him as a raconteur)

    ultravox: in the same manner that "happy days" should have been renamed "the fonz show" by now, so should this lot have been re-branded simply as "midge ure". for that reason i can't even be bothered to listen to it!

    1. Midge did seem to persevere with Ultravox for longer than most groups considering the limited success that they had, and I'm surprised they went on this long, until Midge eventually saw sense and went solo a year later in 1985 with the debut solo hit called "If I was."

    2. dory the point i was trying to make was that ultravox were in effect midge ure solo by this point, and i certainly have no time for his dull tunes, nasal vocals and whiny guitar!

    3. Mike Barson left Madness at about this time, which was a significant factor in their decline. Somewhat improbably, Paul Carrack briefly took Barson's place while the band went on an American tour!

    4. I don't think that Ultravox had 'limited success', Dory? 3 Top 10 hits, and a fair few more that made the Top 20. I'd be pretty happy with that myself.

    5. not only that noax but their albums always did well in the charts too, with all five ure-related ones making the top 10 over a span of 6 years - not bad for a band that only had "limited success"!

  2. The Smiths - I just love the way the hosts begin the show in a Laurel & Hardy style introduction of the Smiths, where Gary Davies does a superb clothes line on DLT to fell him. This was a common routine by the great L&H, with Laurel always felling Hardy in these type of antics. And then to add to the 'fun with DLT' theme, we see him with a bevy of lovelies on his arm as he introduces the next song by Nik Kershaw. Love it!

    Marillion - this performance was nothing more than fancy dress, to add to the 'fun with DLT' theme, with some superb Adam-Ant style make up and paint on the Marillion lead singer's face, but the song was nothing special.

    Elbow Bones & The Racketeers - I don't recall this one, but I just love the song and superb video. It just gives off vibes of romance and cool summer breeze. I must watch the whole video on Utube when I get the chance, and see if it is available on iTunes to purchase. I wonder who came up with such a quirky name for a band? It sounds a bit like 'Kid Creole & The Coconuts' if you ask me, and the sound is a bit similar too.

    Swans Way - the best part of this was the jazz theme and beauty coming from the sexy band member in the cocktail dress that was perhaps too sexy for TOTP and a big distraction from the lead singer, but hey, why not? A new version of Siouxie Soux?

    1. dory are you aware that august darnell (who i have noted above produced the elbow bones track) and kid creole are actually one and the same?

    2. Good Lord, how eery, I had no idea, and I thought the group name was a dig at (or admiration for) Kid Creole and The Coconuts, as it had all the hallmarks of their kooky group title. Call it intuition or what!

  3. Smiths up first, Moz with the NHS specs this time, and Johnny looking oddly like mid-80s Bobby Gillespie.

    Nik Kershaw, snood and fingerless gloves present and correct. Another mournful synth tune, there was a lot of it about, but he had the tunes to back it up. Really like the keyboard solo.

    Who thought when Gary said up next were the band who had a hit with Garden Party: "Great, what were Mezzoforte up to next?" Then this lot lumbered on. Again, I know they have a legion of fans, but I never got why.

    Elbow Bones, fantastic bassline in this, no surprise Mr Darnell was involved, his ear for a groove was unimpeachable. The video actually goes on for about ten minutes, a real epic. Deserved to be a bigger hit, this was excellent.

    Another forgotten gem, Swan's Way, killer chorus in its offbeat fashion, very fine orchestration, puts all sorts of dramatic imagery in the mind as it plays. As Wilberforce mentions, two thirds made up Scarlet Fantastic, who were another great almost in pop.

    Madness turn up the sadness, I liked their more reflective, downbeat tunes a lot, and this was one of the better examples. Bit of a coup getting the actual Maurice to do his catchphrase, even if he sounded nothing like the impressionists' version of him (eh, Phil Cornwell?).

    Ultravox with a rather nondescript effort, by the numbers anthem that doesn't amount to much. Curious to see Midge wearing two jumpers simultaneously.

    Madonna to end on, when we thought she was just some disco dolly with a pretentious name...

  4. I'm spending a few days in Manchester next week, so it seems rather appropriate that we get an all-Manc presenting line-up on this one. DLT and Gazza are not perhaps the most obvious pairing, but they spark off each other well and I like the "bribes" they offer each other to do the chart rundown. The bit with the gold bars references the then very recent Brink's-Mat robbery at Heathrow.

    We get off to a strong start with a new Smiths performance, Mozza's specs and big neck chain overshadowing the flowers once again sticking out of his back pocket. In the event of a fight between Howard Jones and Nik Kershaw, there's no doubt I would be on Team Nik. Despite the dodgy haircut, he had better looks and better tunes, and this is one of his finest. I know Nik was a bit embarrassed about this performance on The Story of 1984, but it looks dynamic enough to me, even with the snood and long fingerless gloves. Both my mum and my sister had snoods in the 80s - I remember them wearing said items on cold snowy days (which were quite a common occurrence in that decade), while I donned a balaclava...

    Then we come to Marillion. This sounds less derivative of Genesis than their previous hit, though Fish is clearly trying to ape the make-up Peter Gabriel used to wear on stage. This really doesn't do much for me, though as Punch & Judy themed records go it is still superior to Joy Sarney's infamous Naughty Naughty Naughty! Unlike Angelo, I didn't get much of a 70s feel from the Elbow Bones track. Instead this seemed to me like a pretty successful attempt to bring the old Big Band sound into the 80s, and the video is a suitably lavish and glamorous homage to the Big Band era. I didn't know that August Darnell produced it, but it certainly helps to explain its surprisingly high quality.

    I've never heard of Swans Way or their hit before, and I could quite comfortably live without hearing it again. It had a good beat (and the drummer was certainly worth looking at), but otherwise it was repetitive, tedious and pretentious. Happily Madness then come along with one of their finest records, accompanied by an unusually downbeat video with only a small amount of wackiness at the very end. Suggs is notable by his absence for most of it, perhaps because Chas Smash actually sang lead on this one, and even though Mr Micklewhite guests on the song his appearances in the video are limited to two brief shots of the same photo.

    Ultravox are back in the studio, with their hair getting longer and their music sounding ever more stuck in a rut. This is atmospheric enough, but it doesn't do anything new - a major return to form was now just around the corner, however. No Frankie once again, and we close with Madge and a studio audience who seem to be making rather less effort to dance to it than the lady herself did a couple of weeks previously...

  5. Just found out Moz is getting his own biopic called England is Mine. Yeah, that's going to be a fun night out at the pictures. It's unauthorised, so expect all the songs to be cover versions. A Golden Lights not as good as the original - hurrah.

    1. will morrissey be played by david morrissey?

    2. Heh. It's basically Morrissey: The Early Years, so Dave would be a bit old.

    3. that's a shame as they are a similar age and not unlike each other in looks. presumably they are not bothering with the last 25 years of morrissey's life and times as all he's done in that has period is regurgitate his schtick ad nauseum?

  6. Shame this is off the air as it’s quite a good one.

    The Smiths – What difference does it make – Quick FF to start with.

    Nik Kershaw – Wouldn’t it be good – Start of Nik’s run of hits it certainly is good.

    Marillion – Punch and Judy – Start of a run of singles that really should have done better. Clever lyrics this on one (“compliments on unnatural size” indeed!). Link for Marillion and Nik is Steve Hackett as Nik sung a song on one of Steve’s recent ‘Genesis revisited’ tours (‘The Lamia’) and Marillion featured dummer Ian Moseley who played with Steve Hackett in the early 80s as well as guitarist Steve Rothery who also guested on recent Steve Hackett tours.

    Elbow Bones and the Racketeers – A Night in New York – No recollection of this whatsoever. Not too bad as it goes but seemed to be cut short.

    Swans Way – Soul Train – Nope, this doesn’t ring a bell either. Not so keen on this.

    Madness – Michael Caine – Fabulous. Probably one of my favourite tracks from the boys and rather this any day to some of the previous few hits. Great video.

    Ultravox – One small Day – A small hit surprisingly. The first single from the ‘Lament’ album (the last as a foursome) and I thought it was a stonker in the vein of ‘Hymn’. Midge seems to have lost his ‘Vienna’ ‘tache here. Next single would, of course be huge.

    No number one on here again so no need to even mention what it was!

    Madonna – Holiday playout – Ideal playout fodder.

    Hosts – worked well together I thought. Nice banter.

    1. I meant to also comment on 'One Small Day' featuring the line 'My Sentimental Friend' which conjures up Herman's Hermits whenever I hear it!

  7. Ta for the link, D42. I find Vimeo instantaneous to use and watch, whereas WeTransfer takes between five and ten minutes to download and appear.

    I noticed there are no longer numbers on the intro telly now we’ve gone from a top 30 to a 40.

    Real shame Cyndi Lauper’s mad rush up and down the chart (and that pesky Queen record) meant we only got to see “Girls” the once.

    Dave and Gary, the Manchester boys? I thought DLT was originally from Buxton in Derbyshire. Still, they worked well as a pair, with some wonderful early slapstick.

    A great start with The Smiths, and Johnny Marr front stage - and as the late great Barry Norman would have said, “and why not?”

    Interesting lyrical and mime use of those fingerless mittens for the cold / frozen lyrics by Nik Kershaw. Not overly animated but, still, eat that, Elton and Howard.

    It’s Brian Pern! With a 7/8 start to the song. As you probably know, Marillion’s singer’s name is (ahem) Derek Willie Dick, and his Fish moniker derives from the amount of time he’d spend in the bath after his previous day job as a lumberjack with the Forestry Commission.

    So, which one was Elbow Bones? Good job by their record plugger to get a video played for a non-mover, and a fine period piece ManTran style vid at that.

    Those Thompson Twins have scrubbed up well tonight. Swans Way were pretentious yet stylish, and I loved this. First use of a cloth partially over a drumskin to my knowledge.

    I loved the Maurice Micklewhite production credit at the start of Madness’s subtle “Prisoner” / ”Sweeney” / Callan” video which at least gave Mike Barson a role call start despite his departure. I never knew Cathal (much better without that beard) was the lead vocalist on this.

    Here comes the fourth song from within the new mugshots but outside the old, and it’s a bit of a duffer to these ears, complete with Ultravox’s Chris Cross stick bass, goggle shades and ponytail ensemble.

    Very few armpits on show this time for Madonna’s track. Nena will soon put that right.

    1. Going forward for those of you uploading shows for us, Vimeo is the best because you can just play it without waiting for it to download, and it stays online for good. The second best is WeTransfer, but it automatically vanishes after 7 days, so those late to the party would not be able to find it. As for, it is a pungent vehicle for viruses and worms entering our computers, so I recommend staying well clear!

    2. I remember Record Mirror reviewing Fish's debut solo album in less than complimentary terms and suggesting he was 'one Fish that needed to be battered.'

    3. i remember an episode of "pop quiz" (in the early 90's i think) where the producers decided to have a bit of fun and pair fish up with the prince associate known as cat. sadly though they couldn't find any other pop personalities with a non-human name to complete the team!

    4. Fish's debut solo album had the arty farty title of 'Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors'. I ask you, what a title!

    5. Although the album was patchy I liked Big Wedge, one of the singles off it. In fact it was my first cassette single, from the bargain bin in Woolies.

      Presumably if Fish had stayed with Marillion much of Vigil... would've been on their next album and a lot more successful.

  8. Such a shame that we didn't get to see this one on the telly as most of it was really good!

    Nik Kershaw - The first of many good songs from him (though of course 'I Won't Let The Sun...' hasd already just missed the 40) and of course the snood is present & correct.

    Marillion - Arthur beat me to the Brian Pern comment! Other than that, not much to say about this average tune.

    Elbow Bones - Really good song, this one. I remember it got a lot of airplay despite spending 3 (or was it 4?) weeks at No.33.

    Swans Way - Best thing on the show. Moody. Atmosperic. Brilliant. Please tell me we get to see them on BBC4 on a later edition....

    Madness - Unlucky to miss out on the Top 10 as I think it's a great single. Maybe not enough of a 'hook' for the casual record buyers I guess.

    Ultravox - A bit of a duffer, sadly. Not very memorable.

    Madonna to play out with is a good choice. One more of this week's left, and I might just get to see it before the weekend's out...

    1. noax, don't you mean that nik kershaw's snood was present and incorrect? that reminds me of that brief fad a few years back when carlos tevez and other namby-pamby footballers from gentler climes wore the stupid things as some kind of attempt to protect themselves from the unforgiving english winter!

    2. Sorry, Noax, that's all we get if Swans Way. "Soul Train" leapt to 20 the next week then started dropping down the chart.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. I thought as much. Which makes it even more disappointing that we didn't get to see this one.

  10. The thing that always amused me about Marillion is that while Fish larked about with no mic the rest of the band were oh-so-serious, keeping in perfect sync and trying desperately to convince us that they were playing live!

  11. Gary Davies and Dave Lee Travis are on good form but perhaps don't quite work together as a believable double act. Nice try though.

    The Smiths miss out on a second showing of their second hit, a great shame. Moz with NHS specs and his mum's jewellery, the rest of the band act like it's nothing unusual.

    Little Nik K was always good value for money with a superb catchy song which repeats the first verse as a coda and has a superb instrumental break. On the downside he made snoods and fingerless gloves fashionable.

    I never understood the appeal of Derek Dick and Co but the song is okay-ish. The cameraman has a hard time keeping up with Fish's "dancing" antics much as they were Morrissey who also kept dipping out of sight.

    Elbow Bones and Co amply fill the gap left by Kid Creole but somehow lack the ppmph to get any higher with this goodie. This actually sounds more like August Darnell's previous band Dr Buzzard's Original Savannah Band.

    Swans Way had a stupid name and I instantly dismissed them based on that fact. Hearing it again now I can see why I wouldn't have been keen as it isn't up to much and seems to consist of endlessly name-checking a rival pop show with a sub-jazz/art rock backing. I'm surprised that this got as high as number 20.

    Madness with the video of Michael Caine, not their best but a good tune and nice to see Carl/Chase taking the lead vocal for a change. The song is about IRA informers and the video loosely based on The Ipcress File and is lacking the band's usual humour. Sadly this was the beginning of the decline of the band's first incarnation.

    You had to admire Ultravox despite the hits receeding, they kept trying. They had some more goodies to come ("Dancing With Tears In My Eyes" and "Love's Great Adventure") but this tosh was water treading at its worst.

    I don't know how they can call it a Top 40 when they don't play the number one, it's a Top 39. They should have persuaded someone to record an instrumental version of Relax so they could play that as they did in 1969 with Sounds Nice's version of Je T'aime Moi Non Plus.

    Madonna plays us out with the interminably annoying Holiday. Another patchy show grinds to a halt.

    1. it is often assumed that just because people are in a band together, then they must be mates as well. but like the manchester united superstar trio of best, law amd charlton and the legendary comedy duo morecambe & wise, i suspect morrissey and the rest of the smiths had little if anything to do with each other once they left the studio. in fact i wonder if morrissey was even present at rehearsals where the music was developed (from ideas, riffs and improvised jams, rather than any properly formulated home demos by johnny marr?), instead being given recorded highlights of the sessions to add his contributions to afterwards?