Monday, 17 July 2017

Dance Hall Top of the Pops

This edition of Top of the Pops from March 15th 1984 features Mike Smith and so will not be shown on BBC4 ~ so a huge thanks once more to Neil B for making it available here at WeTransfer

No amount of Help could get Tina higher up the charts


15/03/84 (Simon Bates & Mike Smith)

Julia & Company – “Breakin’ Down (Sugar Samba)” (15)
Flying in from America to get this live show underway with a live vocal, but number 15 was its peak.

Lionel Richie – “Hello” (5) (video)
With his 'story video' on its way to number one of course.

Kajagoogoo – “The Lion’s Mouth” (37)
Their final top 30 hit, peaking at number 25.

Alexei Sayle – “Ullo John Gotta New Motor?” (18) (video)
Went up three more places.

Tina Turner – “Help” (40)
A live studio performance from Tina but this Beatles cover got no higher.

Wang Chung – “Dance Hall Days” (26)
Peaked at number 21.

Richard Hartley – “Bolero” (10) (Torvill & Dean clip)
Didn't quite make the medals, going up one more place.

Nena – “99 Luftballoons” (1) (video)
Final week at number one ~ will we get to see those armpits at last?

Break Machine – “Street Dance” (3) (video/credits)
At its peak.



Back to BBC4 next for March 22nd.

83 comments:

  1. hosts: i think that the "a" team started up about this time, but sadly here we have the "z" team. thankfully there's not too much of them on yt, but slimy sounds like the guy in that "tunes" ad ("i'd like a drain dicket to dottingham please") when he introduces "tina durner"

    julia: i would have put julia and company, but as she's on her lonesome theere seems no point. presumably the record company couldn't afford the air fare for her chums? it suddenly gets a lot more interesting in the middle for a short time as some modulation kicks in

    lionel richie: i had a belly full of this the first time around, and i certainly don't want second helpings. so as far as i'm concerned it's "goodbye". however i do remember lionel relating a story of how once they finished filming the video, the bust of him was destroyed as a result of being used in a kickabout by the crew (ebay obviously not invented yet)

    kajagoogoo: limahl is already a distant memory now, but sadly the rest of them were soon to be too. i remember thinking they were beginning to lose their reputation as a novelty act and were now kicking out some fairly credible stuff. but despite (or maybe bacause of) that this was last saloon-territory. and not even nick's nice new haircut and funny stringed thing (yes, i do know that it's a "stick" as used by tony levin of king crimson and peter gabriel fame) could change that. apparently they reunited with limahl a few years back and are still active (presumably on the nostalgia circuit? it would be interesting to know if limahl now sings this and "the big apple" or not). beggs has also gained a reputation as a roving bassist-for-hire, and was last seen supporting steve hackett on his recent tour. hey, there's more modulation at the end of this

    tina turner: i never knew (or more likely chose to forget) she had a go at this beatles' tune, and to be honest i was dreading what it would sound like. and not surprisingly she turns it from a jolly little upbeat number into a tortuous wail-fest. look what you've gone and started, joe cocker!

    wang chung: there has been mention here that the singer is a bit of an ugly mutha, but i've now watched the video and have to say he's actually the best-looking of the trio. but still, it almost goes without saying that all of them are much better-looking than trio!

    richard hartley: i'd never heard of this guy before, but according to wiki he wrote the music for "the rocky horror show" (so that's who's to blame!) among other things. he didn't write this though, so i presume he was the featured soloist (on clarinet?). if anyone likes this, then forget about this bastardised version and get yourself a recording of the "12 inch megamix" full-length 15 minute-long monster instead. as for t&d, the fact that they did exactly the same thing as entertainment once their competition days were over proves conclusively that they were not sportsmen/women in the slightest!

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    1. I thought that Julia of Julia & Company looked like a younger version of one of the weather girls, i.e., the one with the shorter hair.

      It was not only Kajagoogoo on their last legs at this point in 1984, but also Soft Cell and Ultravox who bowed out at the same time.

      You forgot to mention the Break Machine playout at the end, crumbs, at No.3 already (how did they get this high?). I would have preferred all studio audience dancing without video cos its crap.

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    2. soft cell and ultravox may well have been "bowing out" around this time as far as singles success was concerned (although the latter actually lasted long enough to release an album in 1986), but unlike kajagoogoo they had already racked up two or three years of hit-making

      also i didn't forget to mention the break machine playout at the end - i have already given my comments on this in a previous edition, and thus have nothing to add

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    3. Ultravox still also had one of their biggest hits to come at this point in time.

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    4. Dory - you seem intent on killing off Ultravox before their time is done on these repeats. What's Midge Ure ever done to you?!

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    5. i have to admit that i won't be sad to see the back of ultravox when their time does actually come - the shark-jumping moment for me was all the way back to the single they put out after what was for me their finest moment "the thin wall"... at which point they became the midge ure band. and sorry noax, but his whiny vocals and even whinier guitar get on my nerves!

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    6. Took the words out of my mouth

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    7. Re the Hello video, from memory it looked like the crew had been having a kickabout with Lionel's bust BEFORE they made the video.

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  2. I watched this last night (big thanks once again to Neil B) and waited like a hawk to try and get a medal position this time. I was in silver medal position when I started typing and missed the podium altogether. I must be more succinct and less waffly next time!

    It’s Slimes with his earliest bastard timecheck yet followed by a stupid faux panic from Mike Shit, who used the opportunity of a live show to get a bit near the knuckle with remarks on Tina Turner’s, erm, chest and mistaking Nena for Mel Brooks.

    I caster glance at Julia’s Sugar Samba and thought it had a good beet - I was hoping for a Billy Joel appearance tonight but it seems dem are rarer – and I was surprised she didn’t follow this up with a cover of “Michael Cane” or something by Gallagher and Tate and Lyle.

    How rude of Lionel to (a) sing during the couple’s method acting, (b) leave a huge scary gap before saying something down the phone to a lady at home and (c) asking a blind woman if it’s him she’s looking for! A correct chart forecast afterwards by Slimes, but it was already at number five for goodness’ sake!

    Never mind “The Lion’s Mouth” (slapped legs to the caption writer for missing the apostrophe in “Lion’s”), this was Kajagoogoo trying and failing to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. I was going to ask Julie what that nicely coiffured Mister Beggs was mauling on stage, but another top music type’s already answered for me!

    Alexei really should have treated us to another knackering studio routine. You can just about see his eyes in his mugshot.

    No, no, NO, Slimes, Tina Turner wasn’t a new entry, she was a non-mover! Didn’t you check the charts or remember Tommy Vance’s helpful Green Cross Code type explanation of those rundown arrows? Nice pelmet, Tina, but that cover version was absolutely hideous. Surprised it even got as high as 40.

    Apologies for forgetting to say on a previous thread that The Wangers were on a contraband show for their second outing. Interesting to note a previous version of the band featured Glenn Gregory of Heaven 17 and a chap from Bow Wow Wow.

    Next some ballet on ice, with nary a triple Salko or double Lutz in sight. The music was definitely secondary to the routine, though.

    I guess there was no ‘arm in showing the pits-laden European clip of Nena.

    I like the way Break Machine’s energetic video cut straight after the credits to a load of studio-bound Brits all trying to put out a small fire.

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    1. Arthur - as I believe some of today's yoof are wont to say, your sugar-related punning was "sweet!"

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    2. arthur don't worry too much about missing the podium - due to my circumstances of not actually having access to the shows via iplayer (or downloads) i am usually quite late to the party, although i still feel there's always various things i can submit that haven't already been covered or noticed - as do you of course! and wasn't it you that won that competition we had whilst those virtual charts were put together to cover the strike period a few years back?

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    3. i could be wrong about nick beggs' stick arthur, but i do seem to remember reading about him trying it out at the time. what made it different from normal bass guitars was that each fret was amplified, so the player could play the note just by touching the string rather than plucking whilst fretting for the pitch with the other hand. therfore in effect it was a guitar-version of a piano whereby the hands could play independently of each other! however they never really caught on - presumably either because they were too difficult to master, or else they were too expensive?

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    4. Thanks, John, though some might think my pun style was a bit syrupy!

      Thanks, Wilby, as I did indeed win the virtual chart competition, but only because I won the last two weeks when it was a bit easier to put the pieces together. My early weeks' forecasts were way off the mark!

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    5. imagine smarmy or slimy doing this intro: tonight we've julia and company on the show, plus "molasses" in the form of tina turner and nena! did that one hit the sweet spot?

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    6. Boom boom tish! Shame the Sugababes or Sugarcubes weren't around at this stage!

      As for Nick Beggs' stick thing, the description reminded me of when I first saw jazz guitarist Stanley Clarke on "The Tube", playing eight to ten different notes at the same time by hitting both ends of the fretboard at once.

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    7. actually arthur it was stanley jordan doing that amazing guitar thing on "the tube" (although i'm sure you're far from the first to confuse him with stanley clarke!). unlike the stick i don't think each fret is amplified, although he has to have guitars built with extremely low "action" (strings very close to the fretboard) to make his technique possible. also don't forget that eddie van halen pioneered a similar "tapping" technique (as opposed to normal plucking) on the guitar around this time...

      all this talk of the stick has jogged my memory where in late 83 i was recording a demo with a band in the same studio where king crimson were working on their then-latest album "three of a perfect pair". i don't know if crimson bassist tony levin's stick was around, but leader robert fripp's brand-new cutting-edge roland guitar synth (that i don't think was even commercially available at that point) certainly was. so the studio owner made our (somewhat reluctant) guitarist have a go on it and lay down a couple of tracks on the demo. but even though he and fripp were long-term chums, i don't suppose the latter would have been too pleased to have learned that some local oik was mauling his mega-expensive gear!:

      http://www.joness.com/gr300/G-707.html

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    8. Re the Virtual Charts I recall that without even trying I won the first two weeks and someone (I forget who now) accused me of being in league with whoever was setting them. What was the prize, i forget?

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    9. Erm, there wasn't a prize, but I didn't expect or want one. Having a forum like this is prize enough.

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    10. despite my determined efforts, to my recollection i didn't gain a single victory in that "competition" (which is probably why i never gamble on anything). but as baron de coubertin said: the important thing is not winning, but taking part...

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    11. Well I got a prize Arthur as a runner up. I was sent a signed photo of Captain Beaky and an EMI Record Token to spend in "all good record shops".

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  3. Thanks as ever to Neil B for making this available, though I don't think BBC4 viewers will be missing all that much on this occasion. Matters aren't helped by having two of the least likeable hosts paired up; Master Bates is at least pretty professional throughout, but Smitty is once again an irritant, talking all over Bates before the number 1 (I can't say I noticed that the headmaster almost said a rude word), and then pretending to confuse Nena with Mel Brooks, which seemed more tasteless than funny to me...

    Julia at least gets things off to a decent start, and she did genuinely seem to be singing live, though there wasn't much of a company with her! Strange that the neon roundels were switched off for this performance too, as it deadened the atmosphere a bit. Lionel next with one of the year's mega-hits, and one that I recall my older sister absolutely loved at the time. The song itself is musically quite accomplished and stands as one of his better solo releases, but the notorious video, with Lionel acting like a creepy stalker, is truly cringeworthy - at least on this occasion we were spared the sick-making denouement, but we may not be so lucky in future episodes.

    Kajagoogoo are back, and Nick Beggs has finally got himself a reasonable haircut; is the "stick" of Indian origin? This so-so single marked the end of their time as a Top 30 act, though I'm not sure the loss of Limahl was so much to blame as a general lack of top drawer songs. Alexei Sayle gives us a very basic video, which appropriately enough sees him annoying members of the public with his irritating song. Tina Turner then arrives in the studio with another cover to follow up Let's Stay Together. She gives a typically committed performance, but this slowed down gospel version of the Fabs classic fails to hit the mark in the same way as her previous single, and when it stalled at 40 there may have been some worries that her comeback was already over. Fortunately, her next release would blow those fears away...

    The neon roundels are switched back on for Wang Chung, and this song has grown on me a bit, but still suffers from too many longueurs in between the good bits to really make an impact. There's no question that Torvill and Dean made a huge impact with this legendary Bolero routine - their Olympic triumph is the earliest sporting event that I can remember watching, and even then I found Ravel's music very dramatic and stirring. Good to see and hear again, and amusing to see it was the "Mike Reed Orchestra" responsible for the hit version. I am assuming that is not our Mike, given the different spelling, but considering that he has dabbled in writing songs and even a musical (which closed after one night), who knows?

    I am guessing Michael Hurll decided to show the German version of the number 1 for one of two reasons, or perhaps both - either to give Nena's armpits another outing, or to ensure the that there was a new chart topper the following week. Another combination of video and audience dancing to close, as Break Machine get their third outing, even while Billy Joel gets overlooked yet again. While we get to see some impressive breaking in the video, it's a shame nobody in the studio is up for doing a few moves...

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    1. Oh, if only it was the Mike Reid Orchestra doing "Bolero". Triiiific! Runaround -
      now!!!

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    2. I can also imagine him conducting it in his birthday suit with whirly bow tie, as seen on EastEnders...

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  4. Julia No-Mates to start, and she delivers a very fine performance of a fun tune, though the overwhelmingly funereal presentation leaves something to be desired (none more black).

    Lionel Richie and they cut off the hilarious punchline! Maybe we'll see it on Thursday. This video was a big deal at my school because it had talking in it. Simpler times. Watching it now, it's absolutely ridiculous, ruins the song and is camper than a row of tents.

    Kajagoogoo still in search of a tune, though Nick's untangled his hair and gone for a bouffant. Were they hoping for a Lion Sleeps Tonight megahit? I think Nick next troubled the charts with Ellis Beggs and Howard, not that he made much of an impression on history with them.

    Alexei Sayle indulging in the fine British tradition of arseing about. The bus conductor is a Reg Varney looky-likey - good casting or a coincidence?

    Tina Turner, I shamefully admit I slightly snickered at Mike's quip. As a cover it seems to be pointing the way to the current century's habit of making a pop song classy by slowing it right down, which I can't stand usually, but I don't mind this. I recall a video that featured a bunch of skydivers, and thought that was on TOTP, but obviously not. Anyone remember what I'm on about? There's nothing on YouTube.

    Wang Chung: looked like a repeat, might as well have been for all the variation.

    Bolero, ooh, are they a couple? Are they romantically involved? Nope. Somehow simultaneously elegant and cheesy, but I admire the stamina, there's no way I could even attempt something like that. Can't really critique the music!

    Danke Nena, surprised they never showed the video when this was at number one, I associate it more with her than the TOTP performance, or indeed this one, wherever it was from.

    Cheapo video from Break Machine to end on: do NOT try the head spin, one of the guys from the Rocksteady Crew had an accident doing that and paralysed himself.

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    1. Reg Varney was the bus driver in On The Buses, the conductor was Bob Grant. You wouldn't want to see a lookalike of him.

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    2. Another tragic story was Bob Grant. Manic depressive who killed himself.
      I think on the buses is the only 70s sitcom left allowed to be still televised.

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    3. it still reflected the pre-pc times though, as there was an occasionally-seen colleague of stan and jack's that was known as "chalky". no prizes for guessing what the colour of his skin was!

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    4. In reply to Leetree, most of the 70s sitcoms that are no longer PC are available on DVD, for example the full DVD set of ITV's Mind Your Language is very much still funny and enjoyable, but is too racist for television today.

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    5. Mind Your Language was written by the same guy (Vince Powell) who created and co-wrote Love Thy Neighbour which is equally un-pc these days. But the same writers also wrote sitcoms for Harry Worth in the 1960s which were very funny but have sadly been mostly wiped now. You can see some on YouTube. Harry Hill basically stole his whole act from Harry Worth, even stole his name.

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    6. Go to ITV3 and you'll see about a billion 70s sitcoms, from the great (Man About the House, Rising Damp) to the rubbish (er, just about everything else sitcommy on ITV)

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    7. You can see the full, uncut version of the Fawlty Towers 'The Germans' episode on DVD too...

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    8. "the germans" episode seems to be the favourite "fawlty towers" of many, yet i consider it by far the worst one of the lot and a total embarrassment (even if cleese presumably wrote it as a satire on the views many brits held at the time). the classic episode for me is "communication problems" where basil is constantly confounded by an old bag of a guest as played by the splendid joan sanderson...

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    9. i remember watching the opening titles for the harry worth shows as a child and being fascinated by the scene where he appears to be levitating as a result of using a shop window, and indeed i found such a window in the local high street (i think it was john collier or another of those men's outfitters that were popular at the time) to achieve the same effect myself! i can't remember anything else about the series though. however i hope it was better than harry hill, whose appeal is totally lost on me...

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    10. The 'old bag' episode is certainly one of the best - Cleese picking something up from the floor and asking "is that your brain?" never fails to convulse me!

      My favourite episode (and let's face it, they're all good) is the Psychiatrist episode with the Australian 'bird'!

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    11. The Australian lady was played by Luan Peters, original vocalist with 5000 Volts (except she might not have been).

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  5. Shakey Shakerson18 July 2017 at 02:45

    Presenters from Hell and a show to match.

    Julia SANS company. Nope. I sat here for five minutes with my cursor blinking away and could come up with nothing to say. Couldn't tell if it was a live vocal because there was a tiny out-of-synch problem with the download.

    Lionel. An overplayed song married to an overplayed video and seen from a distance of 30+ years makes commentating on it somewhat tricky. Not too hard to predict it was going to make number 1, so we can't really believe that the ToTP Mystic Meg curse has been lifted.

    Kajagoogoo. Nick Beggs had a thing for looking stupid didn't he? First he had those bead things in his hair and now he's pulled out some ten-string thing from some musical museum. The song is awful. The drummer looks like the Jock from some US school movie - you know, the one who the cheerleader is going out with even though the geekier kid is better looking and a nicer person.

    Tina Turner. Christ Almighty. I am not musical in any way but I'm willing to bet that whilst the lyrics are definitely Lennon & McCartney, that tune isn't. Woeful cover version with absolutely nothing to commend it.

    Wang Chung again, a bit of Sportsnight With Coleman. and Nena at the top, and thats the lot.

    A poor show. Nena was just about watchable, but the rest? The music scores 2.

    Smith & Bates also get 2. They just didn't come across as liking each other or indeed liking having to do this show. And in fairness you can't blame them for that!

    Come on 1984 - surely you can do better than this?



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    1. You missed out that musical guru Alexi Sayle, surely that made up for all the dross?

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    2. That Alexei Sayle video reminded me of this:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWEZaDr85tQ

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  6. Not missing much by skipping this one, are we?
    All the Top 10 songs featured are on video, and we also get one of the worst singles of the 80s.

    Julia & Co - I haven't changed my opinion on the song, but credit at least for the performance.

    Lionel Richie - Thanks for leaving it to me this time, wilberforce. 1, 2, 3 - HOUSEWIFE CLASSIC!

    Kajagoogoo - It's a bit slight, but do you know what? It's not a bad little pop song. Maybe it just stands out more in this rather poor company though. Follow-up single 'Turn Your Back On Me' missed the Top 40 but is actually really good if you ask me!

    Alexei Sayle - Didn't want to see that again particularly.

    Tina Turner - If she wasn't a superstar (though admittedly only just beginning her comeback) and come along in person there is no way a single that had stayed at No.40 (whatever Bates may try and have us believe) would get a slot on the show. Especially when it is utterly without any merit whatsoever.

    Wang Chung I've discussed before, the Bolero thing is more about than the performance than the music - though I do wonder whether it would've been chopped had this one been on BBC4 - and then a couple more that we've already seen. And Mike Smith proving once more exactly why he was so embarrassed about these being shown.

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    1. noax i think you (and maybe other contributors?) should do a top 10 compilation of "housewife classics" that have been on the show since these re-runs started... even though it will a somewhat onerous task to put it mildly!

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    2. given that the woman in the "hello" video is blind, shouldn't the most memorable line of the song be "hello, is it me you're SEARCHING for"?

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    3. What I thought was funny was that Bates tries to kid us that Tina Turner was a entry just after his co-host had told us that Kajagoogoo were the only new entry (actually he said they were "one of the only new entry" but he was close).

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  7. Shakey Shakerson18 July 2017 at 12:37

    Apropos of nothing - and certainly not connected with this particular ToTp, but I have a question.

    When did the word VIDEO come into general usage? Over the past two year or so on here we have seen the music video come to prominence and the shift in name from FILM to VIDEO by the presenters.

    And yet. . . I have recently started playing my old Bowie stuff while working and I would like to draw your attention to the lyrics in Drive-In Saturday. And I quote. . .

    When people stared in Jagger's eyes and scored, like the video films we saw.

    The song was released in 73 - possibly written in 72 and yet there is the word 'video'. Was that term around then? Was Bowie a visionary? Or was he a time traveller?

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    1. i'm fairly sure that videotape has actually been around since at least the 60's, in which case bowie as a performance artist would almost certainly have been well aware of the format. and sorry to hark on about "paul temple" again, but watching the series (which was made in the late 60's/early 70's) it is clear that the location stuff was shot on film whilst the studio bits were recorded on videotape. and they are sometimes intercut with each other during the same scene - which of course looks pretty dreadful now!

      however despite that, even by the 80's people were asking what the difference was between videotape and film stock, and i remember watching an episode of "the tube" around this time where jools holland kindly demonstrated the two formats to put us out of our misery!

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    2. In answer to Shakey, the first time the word VIDEO was used on TOTP was in October 1981hosted by DLT. I remember commenting on the blog for that episode that this was the first one. All TOTP episodes before that, the presenters called it 'film'

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    3. But in 1979 the Buggles had a big hit with Video Killed The Radio Star, so we can at least go back to 1979 Shakey, which is the first time I heard the word 'video', so why it took TOTP another two years till they used the term for the first time in October 1981 is somewhat baffling.

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    4. Videotape was invented in the 50s, and the BBC were definitely using it by the early 60s.

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    5. I always thought that Bohemian Rhapsody was the first bona fide 'video' (recorded on videotape with electronic effects), but it was the advent of MTV which was responsible for changing the terminology from 'promo film' to 'video'?

      I can remember that Jools Holland thing too, Wilb. Video looked "like an Omo ad". Personally I prefer VT to film and can't stand the 'film look' which has been popular since the 1990s, but my late mother claimed that she couldn't tell the difference.

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    6. i have a chum who has the latest HD tv, and to me everything (even feature films that costs millions to make) just looks like it was recorded on poor-quality videotape, with all the background scenes looking like CGI rather than real. so when my non-hd one packs up on me i certainly shan't be replacing it with one of those things!

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    7. I think one of the problems is that old programmes were made for TVs with a 4:3 screen ratio (i.e. 4 inches horzontally to 3 inches vertically) but new tellies are made with a 16:9 ratio so any old programmes (who would be a comparable 12:9) would need to be blown up sizewize to fill the side gaps thus giving that horrible grainy quality, otherwise you'd have blank screen on either side.

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    8. i'm watching loads of old 60's and 70's tv programmes on dvd at the moment on a pre-HD wide-screen telly that is about 10 years old and i don't have a problem with that, so i'm convinced it's the HD format that's the problem. however, somebody has suggested it might be a problem peculiar to me in that i have a lazy eye (that serves as little more than for symmetry and decoration), and my only properly-working one can't handle HD!

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  8. I suspect that Bowie was making an educated guess that films would be available on video tape in the future in which the song is set. Coincidentally, I write plays and many years ago wrote a one act set in the distant future with people watching 'vidi-discs' - not a bad guess as it turned out :-)

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    1. Shakey Shakerson18 July 2017 at 13:37

      Well that blows my Bowie-As-Time-Traveller theory clear out of the water. Pity, we could have spent weeks and weeks going through his lyrics for other potential clues to support the it.

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    2. Bowie was predicting the future though. DIS's lyric also mentions 'The Astronette' which was surely the Internet wasn't it?

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    3. i remember going to watch "blade runner" at one of the scala all-nighters in 1984, and being mesmerised by the scene where harrison ford instructs his computer scanning device to zoom in on a polaroid photo to the point where he finds a vital clue that is only the size of a few pixels. and i recall thinking "i wonder if anything like that will ever be invented for real?". but of course i do that kind of thing all the time nowadays on photoshop!

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  9. Oh no it's the terrible Slimon-Smitty combination. Another pointless live episode and this time it's Smitty's turn to keep checking his watch and wear the hideous knitwear.

    Good to see Julia and Co, or Just Julia at least, in the flesh. Very impressive that she is singing live. I didn't know that she flew in from America especially to be on the show, Slimon should have told us.

    Viewed today the Lionel Richie video looks a bit creepy with a college professor having secret passionate thoughts for one of his students who just happens to be blind. It must be an arts college because the students seem to study drama, sculpture and dance. They must be knackered, poor things. Sadly we don't get to see the unveiling of The Bust of Lionel on this occasion, maybe next time. Musically I had a secret liking of this especially the lovely jazzy octaves guitar part on the middle.

    Without his braided hair Nick Beggs seems to have morphed into Green from Scritti Politti. Kajagoogoo seem to have given up writing songs and just chant over a repetitive backing whilst wearing nasty pullovers and pleated trousers, no wonder the hits dried up. I love it when a band has a brass section on their record and presumably the MU rules state that only those who play on the record can perform it, so they try to get the slightly-past-it session horn players to look trendy by making them wear Kajagoogoo-ish gear and dark glasses to hide their piss-hole-in-the-snow eyes. It isn't working.

    Great to see the manic Alexi Sayle video but I can't believe that this is still in the chart and going up.

    Is Tina Turner's career ever going to restart? Certainly not with this dreary Beatles cover stuck at number 40 for the second week. This is a really bad choice for a first single off her album. Clearly the producers had heard Joe Cocker's With A Little Help From My Friends and thought they'd do the same thing with Help. But if ever a song was designed not to be sung as slowie it's this one. I couldn't wait for this to end.

    The charts and dopey Slimon thinks Madness' song is a tribute to Michael Caine and he thinks Tina Turner is a chart entry. No Thornbirds theme, no Fraggles theme and only one new enrty - Kajagoogoo - or as Smitty put it earlier they were "one of the only new entry"!.

    Wank Chunk are back again. I had memories of this being a much bigger hit. Still sounds good.

    No longer described as Various we finally get to hear the Bolero theme and Torville and Dean with Christopher slipping over/collapsing at the end. Obviously there were dozens of recordings of this you could get at the time but this was the one that sold in huge quantities as it was a single.

    At last a chance to see Nena and her 99 Achselhaare. Wunderbar!

    They end with Break Machine AGAIN. Why not give The SoulSonic Force or Billy Bloody Joel a chance? Fix, Fix!

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    1. Bama, I noticed your reference to Wang Chung with the g's swopped for k's as I'd mentioned previously - I was in a bus queue last night when I saw your comment and got looked at for chuckling very loudly!

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    2. there is something known as an "arts college" near where i live. however in my day we used to call places like that "schools"!

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    3. Arthur, I'm glad I've made someone happy.

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    4. Switch channels and you'd hear the Fraggles theme every week, that show was flogged to death. I tried an episode on YouTube a few years ago, having enjoyed it as a kid, and it was cloyingly sanctimonious I'm sorry to say. The Muppets will always have a place in my heart, though (sad to see the news about their troubles recently).

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  10. It's surprising how many live vocal performances there were around this time, although the backings were presumably all on tape?

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  11. Just checked out Michael Reed on Discogs and found out that he was one of the guy's behind this naff/cheesy spoken word single, this wouldn't be out of place in Kenny Everett's Bottom 30/Worlds Worst Record Show. Listen at your peril:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6OF6L1v-os

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    1. i had a listen to this, and like most such records the spoken word bit is squirm-inducing. but the backing music is actually quite good in my opinion (and is apparently on the b-side of the single)

      other spoken word recordings that (unfortunately)come to my recollection are wink martindale's and max bygrave's versions of "deck of cards" (that were both in the charts at the same time!), les crane with "desiderata", and of course telly "kojak" savalas's unique interpretation of the old bread song "if". can anyone think of others? does anyone actually want to?

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    2. funnily enough mr reed seems to have done a similar thing with topping's fellow thesp peter barkworth shortly afterwards, with a single called "goodnight my son". by even stranger coincidence i have just seen barkworth not only as a guest star in "paul temple" last week, but as the featured detective in an episode of "the rivals of sherlock holmes" on dvd last night!

      i looked at his wiki entry to see of there was more info regarding the single - there wasn't, however there was a comment that "he never married". what could they possibly be implying by stating that?

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    3. The talkie record that sticks in my mind, because it is so completely and utterly horrible in every way, is Pat Campbell's The Deal. Listen if you dare...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyNNGTn9KwM

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    4. Has everybody forgotten "No Charge" by J.J. Barrie and "Teddy Bear" by Red Sovine? Pass the bucket!

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    5. According to a note on the 45Cat site it seems that Frank Topping had his own unintentionally funny religious show on Radio 2 in the late 1970s. I wonder if Mr Reed just wiped his vocals and got Peter Barkworth to add his own with the same backing.

      Peter Barkworth was in a great drama series called Telford's change at this point. There's also an equally good 1970s Francis Durbridge series called Melissa which stars Peter Barkworth, you can get it quite cheaply on DVD. The theme music was by Brian Bennett, Steve Gray and Alan Hawkshaw recorded under the name group name Wasp.

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    6. I have not thought about Frank Topping in decades! My religious mum had a book by him, he was a beardy man I seem to recall.

      As for spoken word hits, Baz Luhrmann's (Everybody's Free to Wear) Sunscreen was a huge hit about fifteen years ago. Baz wasn't even the know-it-all on the recording, he got a voiceover man to do it.

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    7. bama thanks for the notification on the "melissa" 70's tv series - i'll add that to my list. as a result i have now discovered that mr barkworth also starred in what looks another interesting series i'd never heard of before about the french resistance in the second world war called "manhunt" (now ordered from ebay!)

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    8. Manhunt is a good series with an excellent cast but it does go on a bit. It was filmed in rural Oxfordshire doubling for occupied France.

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    9. this talk of "manhunt" has reminded me of a similar WWII-era adventure tv serial also made in the 70's called "rogue male" where peter o'toole (rather surprisingly given he still had hollywood status at the time) plays an englishman that tries and and fails to assassinate the fuhrer before the war starts, and then gets relentlessly pursued by nazi agents as a result. i remember watching it at the time and thinking it pretty good... so another one i must put on my dvd list!

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  12. Huge thanks again to Neil B but boy this show is rotten! I agree with John G that it’s no loss for BBC4 viewers. Sorry I’m late to the Party!

    I’m not even bothering to do my usual song by song comment for all on here, but suffice to say:-

    Lionel Richie – Hello – Loved it then but much prefer ‘Running with the Night’ these days (“Hi There Steve Lukather!”). Don’t recall the spoken bit on the video intro nor the continuous ‘soundtrack’ and no denouement shown here! The whistle like instrumental sound near the beginning was used on another Commodores hit I believe. I always thought that the Toto guys played on this one, but no, according to the credits on the ‘Can’t slow down’ album they didn’t.

    Kajagoogoo – The Lion’s Mouth - Definitely diminishing returns and I don’t recall this. As Wilberforce points out, Nick Beggs has been playing (non-stick) bass with Steve Hackett for some years and a damn fine show that was earlier this year at the London Palladium.

    Tina Turner – Help – Why?????? Simply the worst. The best cover of ‘Help’ I have heard is actually The Carpenters from the ‘Close to me’ album (they did a great version of ‘Ticket to Ride’ too which is much more well-known).

    Wang Chung – Dance Hall Days – I dug out the ‘Strictly Inc.’ album that Jack Hues sung on with Tony Banks from Genesis and it’s a cracking album. A lot better than this.

    Richard Hartley – Bolero – I have a soft spot for this and its fabulous to see it again and watch in awe. Definitely a case of Winter Olympic frenzy to get this in the charts that we actually won something rather than no-hopers like Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards. Do we win anything at the Winter Olympics these days I wonder? Don’t hear much about them. Oh yes, and T&D coming fourth on their Olympic comeback was an absolute disgrace on the judges.

    Nena – 99 Balloons – This must be the showing that I recall for obvious reasons!

    Break Machine – Street Dance playout again!!

    Hosts – No comment….

    Now then; “Some people stay far away from the door if there’s a chance of it opening up….”

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    1. the reason i was aware of nick beggs being part of steve hackett's band (his albums "spectral mornings" and "defector" are excellent in my opinion by the way) was because a friend of mine went to the above gig and told me it looked like there was a transvestite on stage! so having recently discovered mr beggs' penchant for wearing leather skirts (which i reported on here when kajagoogoo first appeared on the show), i put two and two together... and made four for a change!

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    2. Yes, Mr Beggs did look weird dressed like that. Steve played 'Every Day' and 'The Steppes' from those two albums that night which, as you say, are excellent. He also did a storming version of 'Shadow of the Hierophant' from his first solo album 'Voyage of the Acolyte' with Amanda Lehmann on vocals and Gary O'Toole simply awesome on drums.

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    3. the original recording of "the steppes" surely features the most booming and ominous drum sound ever?:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4SwHDD6wzA

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    4. Reminds me of the 'Denim' advert!

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    5. thanks for reminding me sct - i remember thinking that when i heard "the steppes" for the first time. perhaps it was even actually influenced by that?

      i remember really getting off on the music whenever the "denim" ads came on (and the deep cod-macho voice was brilliant as well), never for one moment believing i would ever hear it elsewhere afterwards. the drummer on it (originally a library piece called "confunktion") was the above-mentioned brian "golf dad" bennett by the way...

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  13. Good grief the nips on Bullock were amazing!

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    1. what? were there some japanese people atop a bovine creature on the show? i must have missed that bit...

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    2. The file has been removed already, I thought they stayed up for 2 weeks? Is it possible to repost the link please?

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    3. WeTransfer files only stay up for 7 days, as per WeTransfer policy, so it is important to download the file before then, to make sure you don't lose out.

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  14. My God, that Hello video is drrrrrrrrreary!
    FF was very busy on this one.
    I like Tina Turner, but you could hear the song crying Help (amusingly, when i fast forwarded, it looked the right speed)
    Nena - i bought that in the states in 1983 in the german version, so it was a nice flashback.

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