Thursday, 10 August 2017

Top of the Pops Like Us

I'm not back from holiday just yet so I'm posting the blog for May 3rd 1984 before I've had a chance to watch it myself.

Gillian can barely contain her enthusiasm

03/05/84 (Mike Read & Steve Wright)

OMD – “Locomotion” (6)
Went up one more place.

Blancmange – “Don’t Tell Me” (8) (video)
At it's final top ten hit peak.

New Order – “Thieves Like Us” (18)
Another one at its peak.

Kenny Loggins – “Footloose” (28) (video)
His only top ten hit which peaked at number 6.

Jocelyn Brown – “Somebody Else’s Guy” (25)
With her first of eleven top 40 hits, this one peaking at number 13.

The Human League – “The Lebanon” (19)
Their first single in over a year brought to an end a run of six consecutive top ten hits when it peaked at number 11.

Duran Duran – “The Reflex” (1) (video)
The first of four weeks at number one.

Nik Kershaw – “Dancing Girls” (14) (audience dancing/credits)
Went up one more place.

Next up is May 10th 1984


  1. Oh no it's Read and Write, if only they could! I wonder if that's why they were paired up? Read's hair is carefully coiffured to resemble a buzby no doubt to infuriate Wright with his scrawny look and thinning tresses. There's clearly no love lost between them although I note they end up doing a comical mock dance together during the play-out.

    OMD are back and Paul Humphries thankfully without his hairy panto horse trousers opting instead to wear a headache-inducing Testcard shirt. This is a better performance than last time and they even bought along their own mega fans complete with OMD tee shirts and giant flags.

    Blancmange on video which certainly helps sell the song which isn't as good as it thinks it is. Not quite sure what Neil Arthur finds so ammusing on his trip to Valencia but he certainly looks happy about something. This was apparently filmed during the Fallas festival which was a national Spanish feast day and both Neil and Stephen look like they could do with a good meal.

    Beardy bloke Kenny Loggins with the theme to another film I never saw. It's okay I suppose but the dancey visuals mean nothing to me having not seen seen it.

    New Order finally come up with a worthy follow up to The Beach/Blue Monday but mess it up by insisting on doing it live (again). They haven't learned much in a year have they??!! Gillian still looks bored, Hooky is in his own little heavy metal band while Bernie can't even bring himself to look at the audience.

    The charts and there are still several songs that have never/never will be featured. Shame. The new entries are bizarrely counted as movers with UP arrows inc poor Billy Joel who also won't get seen 9again). Can't believe that Silver by Echo and the B Men is stuck at no 30.

    Great to see Jocelyn Brown on the show. This was penned by John Morales and Sergio Munzibai (M&M) who worked with countless soul and disco acts over the years, mainly as re-mixers. Great soulful dance track and a superb voice.

    The Human League very wisely don't play live and look/sound all the better for it. Great guitar sound from Jo Callis on a song that has been criticised for its naff "shops" lyric but full marks for the basd for releasing a political song as their first single from the Hysteria album and full marks for the BBC for not banning it.

    Da Reflex at number one and the video which is frankly a lot better than the studio performance although still gets on my nerves.

    Playout with Nik K and lots of dancing boys and girls. This sounds a lot better the more times you hear it although still lacks the pop punch that his earlier hits had. Interesting to see a close up of a girl holding a Sandie Shaw single which is odd as she was on last week.

    1. Oops, I meant Andy McCluskey with the shirt and trousers, not Paul Humphries, I always did get them mixed up.

    2. Was the Blancmange video really in Spain? It looked liked Malaysia or Asai-Pacific, judging by the female dressing up. It looked like English girls dressed as India girls with Indian hairstyle, so how Spain fitted into this, I'm totally confused now.

    3. As the single features a tabla and a sitar maybe the video should have been shot in India but I guess someone at the record company fancied a break in Spain, so Valencia it was. Those women are in Spanish national costume.

    4. Read and Wright were first paired up on Radio 210 back in the mid 1970s.

    5. To complete the joke they should have been joined by someone called Rick Matic.

    6. doesn't he play football for chelsea? of course back then in our ignorance we would have pronounced such slavic surnames with a hard "c"/"k" sound, rather than as "ch"!

  2. It's the dream pairing of Read & Wright tonight. Read, as Bama notes above, has come complete with a busby, Wright is fresh from a trip to Fosters Menswear. He still looks twitchy even after four years on the presenting roster - maybe he has a flea infestation?

    OMD and Blancmange provide a strong start to the show, New Order's latest live performance is less shambolic than last time but this song would've benefitted from Hooky's absence.

    Phil Oakey demonstrates where Michael Bolton and Billy Ray Cyrus got their mullet inspiration from. I didn't like this song at the time but having not heard it for years it sounds pretty good.

    I notice that Wright wasn't let loose on the chart rundown, I wonder why? He can't have done a worse job than Read did. And if Kid Jensen was there, I'm sure he'd have had something to say about that impersonation.

    1. I think the chart rundown was pre-recorded in the afternoon, so Wrighty would have been doing his R1 show at the time.

  3. I think that was OMD up first, I had trouble hearing them over their shirts. A less cluttered staging this time, steel drum a nice touch, but why didn't they think to rhyme all that with "lotion" too?

    Blancmange taking their cue from Duran Duran by twigging that making a video is also a great excuse for a holiday. They certainly look to be enjoying themselves, and it's another decent vid for a good song from the boys.

    Look, there's no shame in miming on TOTP, New Order! Not as bad as the Blue Monday fiasco, but Hooky barges all the other instruments out of the way and the melody is lost somewhat. Not their greatest hit, but a lesser played one which makes it nice to hear.

    Kenny Loggins with yet another of those "saw the movie so bought the single" hits. Kevin Bacon says he dreads being at weddings because inevitably the DJ will put this on and the guests gather around him, clapping, and waiting for him to go into his dance. To be fair, he did dance very well in the movie - who said the screen musical died in the 80s? - though he didn't sing. The plot was about a Bible Belt smalltown with Kev flouting a dancing ban, in case you were wondering. Great to hear Kenny on that Thundercat album this year, incidentally.

    Jocelyn Brown, an excellent vocal on an average song, shows you how far professionalism can take you if you use it to lift the material. Very unflattering frock, though.

    The Human League, Phil about to have his own hit from a movie soundtrack, of course. How catchy can a song about the troubles in the Middle East be, anyway? Pretty darn catchy as it turns out, you can't imagine a hitmaking band using this subject matter so blatantly these days. The 80s was so very long ago...

    Duran Duran with their ultra-glossy concert video, all girls in the audience apart from the poor sod who gets soaked. Next year the band will have, yes, a hit from a movie. Another 80s trend.

    Nik to end on, like Bama above I find myself warming to this. Doubt I'll ever seek it out, however.

    1. The unflattering frock on Jocelyn Brown probably contributed to TOTP bringing back the two podium girls in summer 1983 TOTP studio style, in order to grab the viewers attention instead of the main performer. I don't blame them on this occasion, as the milf in the blue shorts and nice legs looked OK from here.

  4. hosts: not much of read and wright (ho ho) on yt, but i noticed that the latter pronounced the human league the way i do i.e. with the emphasis on the last word. but is that right, or should it be the other way around a la the VILLAGE people?

    omd: i had a listen to this all the way through this time, but although it's pleasant enough and well arranged i'm still ambivalent about it. was that a real steel drum paul was playing, or some kind of synth one?

    new order: they were never the greatest when it came to tunes, but there doesn't seem to be one at all here. and the formula of sequenced drums and keyboards with hooky's bass prowling and growling amidst it all is now becoming somewhat cliched. i like the way gillian stands with her legs crossed, as if she's waiting for a bus or something

    kenny loggins: ah - this gives me the chance to mention a brilliant cartoon strip that viz magazine did a while back, where kenny's trying to do stuff on his computer and ends up smashing it to bits in rage and frustration as he can't remember which password is for which website! and i've managed to find it here in all its glory:

    as for the music: it's just an 80's update of rock n roll, which does nothing for me. the film didn't appeal to me either so i've still not seen it nor ever likely will, even though it stars kevin bacon who has since become one of my favourite actors

    jocelyn brown: probably the most distinctive voice in dance music, although she doesn't really have the looks to go with it - which is probably why she ended up singing as a guest on other people's records, rather than sustained a solo career. i actually wasn't that keen on this at the time, so was probably one of the few that didn't get excited when the drawn-out intro got played in clubs. i like it more now, but i still think it pales in comparison to the failed follow-up "i wish you would". i must also put in a mention for incognito's cover of "almost there" which features perhaps her finest performance, that i remember once listening to as i smoked a joint and watched a girl gyrating to it in a bar in amsterdam... at about 11 o'clock in the morning!

    human league: one of very few countries that is a definitive article, the only other one that comes to mind (and this seems optional) is (the) ukraine. it seems amazing that in the swinging sixties its capital beirut was promoted as a destination for the jet set, and yet by the 80's it was seen as nothing more than an anarchic war zone as sung about by mr oakey and his chums. musically this is not bad but nowhere near the best of "dare". phil looks a bit rough with his stubble and leather gear, but his singing is a lot rougher - were his vocals re-recorded for the show? the girls rather bravely actually have a go at harmonies in the chorus, although it sounds like one's singing the major third and the other the minor one!

    duran: i'm not sure if i was watching the video shown on totp or not, but the one i saw on yt was a bogstandard "live" performance, complete with awful crowd overdub. despite roger having one of the biggest drumkits i've ever seen, it still doesn't seem to include any timbales!

    1. I remember when Eurovision went to Ukraine that we were told Ukrainians find calling their country *The* Ukraine incredibly offensive for some reason, so probably best to leave off the definite article.

      There's a 1960s thriller with Mickey Rooney called 24 Hours to Kill which features Beirut in all its tourist era prime, if you're interested in seeing what it was like before the bombs started falling.

    2. ah yes, one of the harry alan towers swinging sixties spy/adventure films! they were super glamourous on the surface, but the budgets were wafer thin (which was why the inevitable all-american lead actors were has-beens or never-weres) and apparently mr towers had a reputation as a fly-by-night with a string of creditors on his tail. still, at least unlike lew grade he did actually shoot his productions in the exotic locations they were set in, rather than try and recreate them on a sound stage in borehamwood! i've seen most of them, and the best by far in my view is "our man in marrakesh"...

    3. 'Always There' was with Incognito.

    4. Aren't we The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, that's pretty definitive.

    5. we must not only be the only country in the world that has several variations of its name, but (since the soviet union collapsed) also the only country with other official countries within it!

    6. anonymous, did i not say that jocelyn brown did "always there" with incognito? methinks i did. i don't think i knew it was a cover at the time, but i have since heard both the original jazz-funk version by ronnie laws plus the slightly more discofied cover by side effect. and in my view jocelyn and co. took it into a different league!

    7. Moving to the west coast of Africa, Ivory Coast and Gambia are also both sometimes introduced by the definite article, though that happens less than it once did. As far as the UK is concerned, England and Scotland are the only official countries to form part of it. Wales is officially a principality, and legally became a part of England in 1536, and Northern Ireland is a mere province. Other countries do contain states that were once either fully or quasi-independent. Bavaria leaps to mind, and it still has a distinct identity today, though given that it was always part of either the Holy Roman Empire or the successor German confederations prior to the creation of a unified Germany, I don't know that it properly counts as ever having been a country - it certainly isn't regarded as one now.

    8. i wish this country (or should i say these countries?) would decide what it wants to be and keep it that way, instead of pandering to the celtic minorities in some ways (international football) and not others (the olympics). of course the scots recently had a chance to become a totally separate entitiy, but deluded nationalists apart they're canny enough to know where they're well off with their own quasi government and laws that are heavily subsidised by the auld enemy!

    9. Even when it comes to many of the Olympic sports British competitors don't always compete as one country, as next year's Commonwealth Games will once again demonstrate. I find it amusing that, while the English football and rugby teams doggedly (and quite inappropriately) stick to using God Save the Queen as their anthem, the English Commonwealth Games team have used both Land of Hope and Glory and Jerusalem in the past. I think this rather reflects wider English attitudes to their identity, in which some people feel English first and foremost, while others continue to think England and Britain are interchangeable terms.

  5. Great pairing here of a very smartly dressed Steve Wright with Mike Read still attempting some dodgy accent impersonations! Love the ‘Read and Write’ joke Bama!

    OMD – Locomotion – Enthusiastic performance (probably relief that they’ve started having hits again) and that steel drum sound still reminds me of ‘Co-co’ by the Sweet.

    Blancmange – Don’t tell me – Sound and video remind me of the wonderful ‘living on the ceiling’. Blancmange were great while they lasted.

    New Order – Thieves live us – As Anglo observes, Gillian puts everything into this performance and I can’t help wonder why they bravely opted to play live again after ‘Blue Monday’? All credit to them for playing live though (maybe the Flying Pickets should have had a crack?).

    Kenny Loggins – Footloose – Kenny looks and sounds like Lindsey Buckingham to me. Great tune which I contributed to in a team building exercise a few years ago. The last verse was fun!

    Jocelyn Brown – Somebody else’s Guy – Next

    Human League – The Lebanon – One of my favourite singles of theirs. The notes they put out to accompany the ‘Greatest Hits’ album started by saying “guitars at last!”. Indeed. Suzanne looks great in the leather skirt and make up. Can’t believe this stalled outside the top10.

    Duran Duran – The Reflex – After 6 weeks of Lionel we get Simon and co. The ‘live’ video captures the popularity of the band at the time but I could have done without some of the strange effects. Good song.

    Billy Joel – The Longest time – In at no33 but, ooops, no, it wasn’t featured.

    Nick Kershaw – Dancing Girls – Wouldn’t it be good if Nik re-released his excellent first single rather than this? The label says ‘Produced by P Collins’ but further inspection reveals this to be one Peter Collins.

    1. If Nik Kershaw's single was produced by Phil Collins it would have to be a dreary dirge about his wife leaving him.

    2. although he never gave the likes of trevor horn sleepness nights in the "we're not worthy" stakes, peter collins was in fact one of the busiest and in-demand producers of the 80's with other totp-appearing clients including matchbox, the lambrettas, the piranhas, the belle stars, musical youth and tracey ullman. my problem with him is that whenever he comes onto my radar, i can't help but think of his 70's speedway rider namesake!

    3. sct - that sounds like a mortal insult to Lindsey Buckingham to me!

    4. Big thumbs up from me too regarding the Human League this week, and Susan's grey leather skirt which scrubbed up well on her on this occasion.

      However, while I agree with others here that it was a great tune from Human League, it was now the start of the downward curve for them, much like the Thompson Twins, as both groups had chalked up their last top ten hit, but still persevered for a few more years with little to show for their talents.

    5. The League would do a lot better than The Twins in the coming years, with more hits to come, some top ten.

    6. Let's not forget that the League topped the US Charts in November 1986 with 'Human' and returned to the top 10 over here too.

    7. Yes, but I never felt that 'Human' was a typical Human League sound, and diverted into a different type of sound which seemed to confuse me somewhat in 1986 when it came out.

    8. by 1986 the league were down to the trio of singers, and in a surprising move sought out the services of premier black american r&b/dance songwriters and producers jam & lewis (sos band, change, alexander o'neal, etc). so that might explain why "human" sounded somewhat different!

    9. Good Lord, I could understand that move, because the 1984-1986 period was less successful for Human League, and by 1984 the synth pop era of 1981 was no longer in fashion, so I guess that had to evolve with the times, but still, Human League could not seem to shake off that synth pop image, and they were no Rolling Stones or Elton John or Cliff Richard who successfully evolved their music over 20 years or so.

    10. A great run of US no1s flanked 'Human' with such gems as 'True Colours' by Cyndi Lauper, 'Amanda' by Boston,'You give love a bad name' by Bon Jovi and 'The next time I fall' by Peter Cetera and Amy Grant ('Human' hit the top after Boston).

      'Human' was written by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis who also wrote 'When I think of you' by Janet Jackson, which ironically was also a US number 1 before Cyndi Lauper...

    11. after boston's first mega-successful album, their record company pushed head honcho tom scholz into releasing a follow-up within a year. that might have been standard industry practice, but perfectionist scholz was not a happy bunny as he felt he was being leaned on and his vision stifled accordingly. so after (i think) threatening or even taking legal action, he gained the right to take as much time as he felt he needed to record their third album. which was finally released about eight years later... and by all accounts sounded pretty much the same as the previous two!

    12. Boston's 'Third Stage' came out on the MCA label after a legal battle to escape from Epic.

    13. Interesting that you mention the Cetera & Grant number called "The next time I fall in love", as I remember listening to the American charts every week on Radio 1 with Paul Gambaccini, and I was really frustrated that this gem of a song was never released or never charted here in Britain.

    14. Released in UK - yes
      Charted - no

      It's still in my record collection and what a cracker of a duet it is!

    15. Just managed to watch the video on Utube, and also a cracker:

    16. why do you refer to youtube as "Utube"?

    17. It's quicker to type, for example I also usually type 'cos' instead of 'because', given that we are such informal individuals on this blog. "No way to control it, it's totally Automatic......"

    18. Good Lord, those Pointer Sisters lyrics do come in handy when answering others on this blog!

    19. Peter Cetera's lesser known duet was with Karen Carpenter and included on her posthumous solo album released in 1996. Entitled 'Making love in the Afternoon' it featured Billy Joel's backing band (and Producer Phil Ramone) which is quite topical at the moment.

  6. Michael Hurll pairs up his two favourite presenters once more, perhaps to get them out of the way more quickly! Mike continues to be the more likeable of the two, even if his presenting style has become a bit too poised and cocksure - with his Kid impersonation getting another outing, he must have been very disappointed when the likeable Canadian left the BBC soon afterwards. He indulges in some faux-chumminess with Wrighty, who is less irritating than on some previous appearances but whose lack of genuine interest in the music is pretty obvious.

    Some more loud shirts from OMD to start us off, but Andy has put the hideous trousers back in the wardrobe, and there are no mic mishaps this time. Having already gone to Egypt for Living on the Ceiling, Blancmange treat us to another travelogue. It initially looks like it will be India, but it soon becomes apparent that Spain is the true destination. It all looks pretty enough, though the endless shots of fireworks get a bit wearisome.

    I'm glad Wrighty confirmed that New Order were live, because I don't think I have ever heard the original recording so would have been none the wiser if he hadn't said! This sounded OK to my ears, though Bernard's vocals were strained and Gillian's almost complete lack of movement, arm excepted, was unintentionally amusing. Footloose is another "iconic" 80s film that I've never seen, in part because I have never liked this tedious AOR theme tune. Some nice dancing and acrobatics from Kev and his body double, anyway.

    Going on her appearance, I would have had Jocelyn Brown down as one of the Weather Girls rather than an ex-Sex-O-Lette, but she does have a great voice and this is another first-rate club track. The League then make their big return after a year away, during which time they have developed a political conscience and Phil has sprouted some moody stubble and a particularly hideous mullet. I imagine the embrace of guitars probably horrified some fans at the time, but this has always been one of my favourite League tracks, thanks in no small part to the excellence of the guitar part. I've always thought the criticism of the lyrics was overdone too - yes, they are a little clunky in parts, but I've heard far worse. Unfortunately, the subsequent singles from Hysteria would fail to live up to this one.

    Duran Duran take the easy option of a fake concert setting for their new video, adding some equally fake static and a ludicrusly unrealistic animated wave for good measure. Nik plays us out, prompting some fierce arm movements from the studio dancers down at the front. It's a shame they couldn't get New Order's Gillian to show us her moves...

    1. Kenny Loggins could only be seen on the chart rundown caption, because as mentioned by people already in the above comments it was Kevin Bacon in the video, of which I noticed the following:
      1. He was the only character in the video, which was unusual for a pop video, but it was short and sweet, taking up about two-and-a-half minutes on TOTP this week.
      2. The image of Bacon taking a cigarette and a beer in one go with two hands would not be filmed in videos nowadays in the PC era, shock horror!

  7. Shakey Shakerson11 August 2017 at 11:57

    Mike Read (channelling his inner-Ian McCulloch) and Steve Wright (channelling his inner Estate Agent)are this week's hosts and start us off with OMD. Technically not really Scousers as they hail from The Wirral (a British definitive article you might think, except its not- its properly just called Wirral and the inhabitants get just as miffed as Ukranians if you say 'The'. Mardy buggers that they are). Anyway, the song is no less poppy than it was a fortnight ago, but its a decent-enough performance. Proper woolyback clothes, though!.

    New Order. Morris and Gilbert plinky-plonk their keyboards in the manner of a teacher dragged onto stage by their unruly sixth form class, while Bernard Sumner is so terrified of a live audience that he keeps his eyes tightly shut. Only Hooky looks at home with his low-slung bass and his constant prowling. The song is a non-event, missing - as it does- what people in the music business like to call 'a tune'.

    Kenny Loggins. Like Flashdance and Up Where We Belong this is an 80s movie theme that has been played to death at millions of weddings. Unlike them, however, this doesn't have a floor-clearing slow beginning, preferring instead to just jump straight in to the main meat of the song. That alone makes it the best of the three. Not great, just the best of those.

    Jocelyn Brown. Talking of songs with a floor-clearing beginning here comes 'Somebody Elses Guy' or 'Somebody Else's Love' as finger-on-the-pulse Steve Wright has it. This is brilliant and boasts one of the finest female vocals you will hear. Yeah, she's not a looker. Or a mover. But my word, what a voice. A lovely three minutes for me, the best of the show.

    Yet another socio/political song up next, and who would have thought it would be The Human League to come up with it? And that it would feature a genuine guitar? Not the Shaky Shakerson from 1984 I can tell you. Haven't heard this for years and it was quite a pleasant listen. And watch.

    The Durannies end Lionel's far-too-lengthy stay on top with their semi-industrial Re-flec-flec-flex. Not a great song but at least there's no cringey video to put up with.

    Scores. 4 for the hosts. Wright has no charisma and Read loves himself more than he has any right to. There were a couple of slip-ups and the forced bonhomie didn't ring true.

    Musically we are looking at a 6, thanks in no small part to Jocelyn Brown and The Human League.

    1. It might have been mentioned here before, and as I'm a soft Southerner I hope I get this right, but Woolyback is a term related to folk from the outskirts of Liverpool, derived from the practice of sheep farmers travelling to market in the city carrying sheared fleeces on their backs.

  8. Read and Wright were at their most smackable here, particularly Wright constantly talking over the pre-recorded chart rundown voiceovers and failing to correctly back-announce a title for a song that's just been on...

    Moving past OMD (still hate it) and Blancmange (fun video for a good song) we get to New Order. Unlike most here it seems, I am aware of the 'Thieves Like Us' single. It's good, and better than this live performance by a mile. Having said that, it wasn't a car-crash like 'Blue Monday' live had been I suppose.

    Kenny Loggins - 3..2..1..HOUSEWIFE CLASSIC!
    Actually, although this is indeed a staple of Heart, Smooth et al it's less hateful than some of the other drivel they repeat endlessly.

    Jocelyn Brown - This also got overplayed on the radio at one point, less so these days. She's a great vocalist of course, and I enjoyed her pair of silly dance covers with Kym Mazelle in 1994.

    The Human League - I've always loved this single, however 'uncool' we're supposed to find it due to the lyrical content. Balls to that, it's a cracking pop song that should have been a bigger hit.

    Duran Duran - Ah, the famous video with the giant screen being sick. Filmed at the venue that pays my wife's wages, fact fans.

  9. It’s the nodding dog, and I really wish he’d been partnered by Mike Reid – the one we saw here forgot to reinstate “Goodbye and good love” when impersonating Kid Jensen. Nice mis-spelling of Chaka Khan in those mugshots.

    OMD’s wallpaper shirts reminded me of Ian Dury’s album “Do It Yourself” which came in a number of wallpaper covered album sleeves.

    I’d never noticed Neil Arthur’s top lip scar before. Those pretend pan pipes in the bridge were more Andean than Indian.

    Let’s rock with New Order! A real Legs & Co performance there from Gillian.

    Oo, it’s that twat from the EE ads in the Heart FM hourly ‘classic’, followed by a track you couldn’t scrape off the Heart airwaves 15 years ago. Excellent miming by Jocelyn, mind you.

    And where there used to be some shops! It’s Phil Oakey looking like an Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder, flanked to his right by a laced-up vision. I can feel the inner Leslie Phillips channelling out!

    DD- FF.

    I hate the end credits in that horrible child-friendly round-ended font.