Friday, 3 November 2017

Top of the Pops Won't Run Away

If you're chasing after the 15th November 1984 edition of Top of the Pops, there's no need to get all out of breath, because it's waiting for you right here!

Top hat of the pops!

15/11/84 (Bruno Brookes & Mike Read)

Matt Bianco – “Half A Minute” (34)
The show gets off to a sophisticated start this week with Matt Bianco's Half a Minute, which peaked at number 23.

Duran Duran – “The Wild Boys” (2) (video)
There's an urban myth that Simon le Bon nearly drowned whilst filming this video! There's dedication for you, but the song couldn't quite make it to the top of the charts.

Slade – “All Join Hands” (38)
Coming in a little too early for Christmas this year, the song peaked at number 15 and was Slade's final top twenty hit. And edited out of tonight's 7.30 showing.

Eurythmics – “Sex Crime (1984)” (24) (video)
I half expected BBC4 to edit this one out of the early showing, but they bravely left it in! And it made it to number 4.

Jim Diamond – “I Should Have Known Better” (3)
But this future number one was edited out.

The Dazz Band – “Let It All Blow” (28) (video)
And so were the Dazz Band. The song peaked at number 12 and was their only hit.

Alvin Stardust – “I Won’t Run Away” (31)
In the studio showing Billy Ocean how the dad dancing should be done, this was Alvin's seventh and final top ten hit, aptly peaking at number 7.

Nik Kershaw – “The Riddle” (17)
Taken from his top ten album of the same name, The Riddle found its solution at number 3.

Chaka Khan – “I Feel For You” (1) (video + brief interview)
Second of three weeks at the top. And she's even in the studio, though for some reason didn't perform her number one song, not even for showing next week.

The Pointer Sisters – “I’m So Excited” (14) (audience dancing/credits)
Went up three more places.

Tonight's BBC1 lineup

November 22nd is next.


  1. It's very much Little and Large this week as Mike Read is paired up with the diminutive BB, who looks a complete midget when standing next to his colleague. Sadly they both look a bit too pleased with themselves in their dinner jackets, and the whole nightclubbing running joke is tedious; I still can't get on with Bruno's stilted voice, either.

    Matt Bianco return with a lower key image than before, but this bossa nova-flavoured piece of easy listening is not my kind of thing at all, even though it is put together professionally enough. This notorious Duran Duran video seemed to be everywhere at the time and, yes, I was one of the kids who was terrified by the risible monster, which by the look of it went on to play the Polymorph in Red Dwarf. The whole thing reeks of hubris, and if even if Simon didn't come close to drowning here, he would find himself in much more serious trouble the following year when his yacht capsized during the Fastnet Race.

    I don't know why Slade's record label released this more than a month prior to Christmas, but it can't have helped the song's chart performance. It is essentially My Oh My part 2, and the Slade scarves are all being waved in the studio again. While it hasn't become the New Year's Eve standard the band doubtless hoped for, it's a decent enough anthem and would also give them their penultimate hit - the last, 1991's Radio Wall of Sound, would feature a certain Mike Read. Annie and Dave next, but this musical accompaniment to the year's inevitable Orwell adaptation (featuring Richard Burton's cinematic swansong) is far from being their best work. The staccato vocals quickly become annoying, and it is all a bit unmemorable. I didn't notice Burton in the video, but the late great John Hurt cropped up a few times.

    An intense second performance from Jim, minus the band this time, and then the seriously overmanned Dazz Band strut their stuff between various bits of archive clippage. Musically this is very much a product of its time, and not far removed from the kind of thing The Art of Noise would produce over the next few years. Another Glam veteran is in the studio, as Alvin continues his mini-revival. This jaunty little tune is a considerable improvement on his insipid homage to Buddy Holly, and he had clearly worked hard on getting his moves right for the cameras.

    Best song of the night next, as Nik Kershaw serves up my favourite of his hits. Nik subsequently admitted the lyrics were complete gibberish, but this has a great tune and plenty of energy, and it's a bit of a shame it didn't get to the top. He was evidently tired by this point of dancing around on his own in the studio, as this time he brings a band with him and looks considerably more at ease. Like Stevie a few weeks previously, Chaka is in the studio but can't be bothered to perform, so instead she waves her TOTP flag around to The Pointer Sisters. This makes for an excellent playout record, and the audience really seem to get into it.

    1. I remember being disappointed that Duran Duran lost out on the No.1 spot to Chaka Khan. I would much rather have had The Wild Boys at No.1 than their first No.1 a year earlier with The Reflex, which I never thought was worthy of No.1.

      But Chaka Khan at No.1? Good Lord, I can't stand it, and thank goodness she did not perform in the studio and just stayed as a guest on the show with the presenters at the end.

    2. The Reflex wasn't their first No.1 a year earlier, that was Is There Something I Should Know.

    3. Well they were both crap

    4. I like all of those heavier sounding Duran Duran records, ITSISK, The Reflex, Wild Boys and View to a Kill.

  2. I thought this was only a half hour show, because the after midnight edition is the same length, but nope. We missed one of my favourite songs of the year, too.

    Anyway, after catching up on YouTube, we start with Matt Bianco with more jazz pop from le bar de wine, pleasant enough, nice to hear Basia on vocals, but was never going to rock the world.

    Ah, here's the Wild Boys video, directed by Russell Mulcahy I think? You can tell because it's all Aussie post-apocalypse, with Zaphod Beeblebrox's other head, Simon Le Bon strapped to a windmill, and a rubber monster threatening him in't watter. Absolutely ridiculous, but it does make the song seem better than it is. A friend of mine was terrified by this video when he was a kid.

    Slade, not sure why we needed this when we already had Auld Lang Syne, in fact not sure why we needed this even without Auld Lang Syne to be honest. Not the greatest to end their illustrious chart career on, it sounds cynical and that's not Slade at all.

    Eurythmics, now this was on the film version of Nineteen-Eighty-Four, rushed out just in time to be released in the year of the book, but there was controversy when the original orchestral score was replaced by this electropop effort. The version on the DVD thankfully is the original, but heard in isolation the Annie and Dave ditty isn't so bad, though it does run out of ideas well before the end. RIP John Hurt, and nobody mention the pubic hair.

    The Dazz Band, now I thought this was great at the time, possibly thanks to the American Madness style video which is genuinely funny, but it's an excellent dance soul tune with what the heck lyrics and a real groove. No idea who these guys were, though.

    Alvin Stardust, perfectly nice tune sort of anticipating Madonna's Papa Don't Preach lyrically, only from the bloke's point of view. Benevolent is the word to describe it. Cutting edge is not.

    Wow, remember the seismic effect of the revelation Nik's Riddle had no answer, according to the man himself? Mind: blown. Probably because he made it up in a couple of minutes, though it doesn't get the same attention as "why is a raven like a writing desk?" One of his better ditties, with a lilting quality making it memorable.

    Chaka in the studio, ready to party and she's even shorter than Bruno. But she opts against singing, must have been a flying visit.

    Still really like that piano man in the Pointer Sisters' effort, and we get the whole thing which is a bonus, though I would have traded it to see and hear The Dazz Band in HD.

    1. Yeah, they even played the whole Pointer Sisters playout in full on the early evening edition, which was somewhat of a surprise.

    2. I like it when they play a track in full and everyone cheers and claps at the end.

  3. I always wish Nik Kershaw had written the rhyming couplet "Nights in the skullery / With Alan Mullery". For those not in the know, Mr. Mullery played association football for Spurs, Fulham and England.

    1. arthur you have reminded me: when i was at school, a team was entered for a sports quiz series shown on the telly by our local itv franchise (i was in the running for one of the berths, but sadly missed out in the end). anyway, in their second appearance the tie-breaker question was "who was england's captain when they won the world cup in 1966?". and the senior guy on the team inexplicably gave the answer as alan mullery rather than bobby moore! what a tosser - i mean, even my mum knew that!!

  4. Along with More Than I Can Bear arguably the best Matt Bianco of the period. Wonder if they were popular in Brazil? Definitely not just cocktail music as it was introduced as, a well done song.

    The Dazz Band – “Let It All Blow” Better than I expected mainly because of the energy and the hooks in the backing. The vocal part isn't that great, for best full dance melody italo disco is arguably the best of the period. The video with the sporting elements reminds me of Jump.

    Alvin Stardust – “I Won’t Run Away” I'd overlooked this one, definitely jaunty and relatively fresh sounding which harks back well to that rock n roll pop sound. Though the Buddy Holly tribute was ok as well for me.

    Nik Kershaw – “The Riddle” - not big with me at the time but nice folk styled song.

    Eurythmics – “Sex Crime (1984)” I liked this a lot at the time and still great energy to it, even the wordless vocal parts fit really well for me, energise the groove even more. I'm only used to this version as well.

    Slade - new to me really and an ok anthem, can't complain. Guitars roaring away too.

    I didn't mention the I'm So Excited video before, it starts really well though it is a bit like soft porn lol, but then it become a bit more like a standard video.

    It just occurred to me, Bruno Brookes looks a bit like Keith Chegwin.

    1. The Dazz Band's video seems to have inspired Dire Straits' Walk of Life video, too.

    2. The Eurythmics seemed to lift the background riff from Radio Ga Ga by Queen. If you listed particularly at the beginning of the video, the similarity is pretty obvious.

      On a positive note, I liked the way Dave Stewart took the mic towards the end of the video, in a bit of a solo effort, even though his only words were "1984". A bit of solo fame there, eh Dave?

  5. hosts: i wonder if mr read and his pint-sized chum decided to become DJ's in DJ's thanks to the show opening up with the "sophisticated" wine bar sound of matt bianco? still, at least read didn't wear his stupid shades with the monkey suit. in the slade intro bruno is even dwarfed by a lady, so perhaps it's not surprising he resorts to standing on a stool as the show goes on

    matt bianco: they were unwittingly about a decade ahead of their time with what sounds like the cheesy listening pastiches of postmodern ironic practitioners such as nicola conte et al. and if i view it in that respect rather than a serious attempt to leap on the cod-jazz bandwagon, then it's not actually that bad. original frontman mark reilly is now shoved mostly out-of-shot, not-trying-too-hard to pretend to play guitar. perhaps he should have been allocated the cuica instead?

    duran duran: i'm sure i wasn't the only one watching the video back then in the hope of that wheel-thing breaking down whilst whiny le bon's head was in the puddle at the bottom (so the noise he was making would stop if nothing else)? it's a scary premonition in retrospect, given the fate of his yacht soon after (i bet most if not all pop fans of this era still remember it was called "drum"?)

    slade: oh dear, it's this week's sounds-nothing-like-1984 spot. oh dear, how the mighty have fallen since the glory days of "gudbuy t' jane " and "mama weer all crazee now"

    eurythmics: for me they were back on top form with this (although the stuttering sampler thing a la "i feel for you" very much dates when it was recorded - second only to the "orchestral hit" in that respect), having gone off the boil a bit after their impressive breakthrough. i seem to remember the original video having annie & dave plus a fearsome-looking guy with a goatie beard (who was he?) hanging around a brazier in some desolate area whilst wearing floor-length leather coats. but there are only snatches of that in the one on yt, with the rest either "recording the track in in the studio" (yawn) or clips from the film. i think some of the soundtrack album is pretty good as well (especially "julia", which sadly failed to follow up "sexcrime" as a hit single), and also remember the controversy over their music replacing that originally commissioned from a soundtrack specialist chap called dominic muldowney. i'm not aware of any other work of his, and nor have i heard what he put together for this film - by chance i actually got hold of it on dvd a month or two back so watched it for the first time (if you're thinking of doing likewise, then don't invite your mates around with beer and pizza!), but that edition still had the eurythmics soundtrack on it as opposed to some that have now had muldowney's work "restored"

    dazz band: one i liked at the time and still do now, although the cheesiest bits are the orchestral hits that indelibly time-stamp it as 1984. but what the hell does "let it all blow" mean, exactly? hopefully this comment will be construed as postmodern-irony rather than racism (which is my intent), but the video is literally a case of "spot the white man"!

    alvin stardust: shouldn't this have have been on the following week in the "sounds-nothing-like-1984" spot? sub-shakin stevens stuff (and that's saying something!). oh, how the mighty have fallen since the glory days of "my coo cha coo" and "jealous mind"

    nik kershaw: i suppose this is pleasant enough, has a fairly decent tune and unlike his other stuff doesn't sound like two different songs stuffed into one (oh, hang on - i've just the heard the middle eight, so scrap the last comment). but it can't help but remind me of the goombay dance band! maybe nik should have asked bruno to be a bandmate, as they seem equally virtually challenged

    1. I also like Julia, though I had no idea of it at the time, maybe it didn't get much radio play as it is downbeat.

      Not bothered about things sounding of their time, that's what most people want anyway, a period to have specific sounds and to take you back to that time when you hear it later. The 80s had various sounds and developments to paint it.

    2. You really need to see Nineteen Eighty-Four with the orchestral soundtrack to get the full effect, it is an excellent film, although not surprisingly with that source, unbelievably depressing. The Region 2 DVD is the one to go for, I think.

    3. Talking of Alvin Stardust, that new Noel Gallagher Holy Mountain record has had loads of people going, "ooh, it sounds like..." I think it sounds like My Coo-ca-Choo. It's also the first song from him I've liked in ages.

    4. The other 'Julia' by Rick Wakeman from his 1984 album is an amazing song. Chaka Khan sings the album version whilst Cori Josias sang on the single mix and the tour.

      It's one of Rick's finest.

  6. Another largely enjoyable edition.

    Matt Bianco – Half a minute – I checked in my copy of ‘The Guinness book of hit singles’ and couldn’t find an entry for Matt’s hits under ‘B’. Then I tried ‘M’ and there they were. Weird. An enjoyable start to the show from Matt and Basia.
    Duran – Duran – Wild Boys – What a song and video! Miles away from the ‘Rio’ fun and games.

    Slade – All join hands – Not on the edition I watched, and more’s the pity.

    Eurythmics – Sexcrime – Clips of the film with John Hurt briefly in shot but no Richard Burton. One of the Eurythmics more appealing tracks for me. Rick Wakeman released a concept album ‘1984’ a couple of years earlier (on the Charisma label, to return to a previous topic) and it featured two songs sung by, would you believe, Chaka Khan.

    Jim Diamond – I should have known better – Also not on the edition on iplayer up there on Saturday (4th) afternoon. Come on BBC!

    Dazz Band – Let it all blow – Ditto. Actually if you look 26 seconds into the video on YT, it must surely be the inspiration for Genesis’s ‘I can’t dance’ routine?

    Alvin Stardust – I won’t run away – Everyone had good words for the late Bernard and it is indeed to see him back with a pleasant tune, if not scaling the heights of his first clutch of releases. However, he is singing this rather than Pete Shelly.

    Nik Kershaw – The Riddle – I have always felt this song was very Christmassy. It must be those pipes. Great song and look forward to seeing the video.

    Chaka Khan – I feel for you – Like Stevie, Chaka rocks up to the studio just to say a few words.

    Pointer Sisters – I’m so excited – The whole shooting match down to audience handclaps. An exciting was to dance out.

    1. It was a little strange that the Friday late night edition was exactly the same edited down edition shown early evening, which means I still haven't seen the full show with Slade, Jim Diamond and The Dazz Band in it. I wonder why BBC4 did not show the full show as they usually do on the late night repeat?

      Hope they make amends by showing the full show on the Saturday night repeat, as it is our last chance, otherwise we may need Neil B's copy!
      Some consolation though, in that as you say, they played The Pointer Sisters in full on the playout, which came off very well, and which was unlikely to have been shown in this length when first broadcast in 1984.

    2. Surely they are under 'M' in the Guinness book as they are a band, not a person?

      When I started sorting out the record library at my student radio station, the filing system had put Matt Bianco under 'B', Danny Wilson under 'D', and - most hilariously of all - had Jesus Jones listed as 'Jones, Jesus'!!

  7. Just noticed some strange scheduling for next week: TOTP as normal on Thursday and Friday, but straight after the Friday 8.30pm edition BBC4 are showing the 22nd Nov 84 edition again!

    Looks like the full unedited 29th Nov 84 show is being broadcast at 8.30 though.

    1. Not 8:30, it's actually on at 8:20, if you want to watch it live.

  8. Ah right sorry it said 8.30 in the tv guide.

  9. Catching up later than I wanted, as the truncated show was still on BBC iPlayer at 11.00 last (Saturday) night.

    Read and Brookes looking and sounding as funny as ‘Ron and Ron’ Hale and Pace, apart from the riddle 10-to-1 joke which was clever. Bruno has trouble remembering song titles, doesn’t he?

    An interesting mention of ‘spot the white man’ re The Dazz Band, as their mugshot included a nine-piece with a sole white chap, not in the video!

    Why was Guitar Boy in Matt Bianco dancing way too fast and to a different rhythm? Was he on the mushrooms mentioned later by Ready?

    Duran Duran – FF, no contest.

    I had to wait until today to see Slade and wished I hadn’t bothered. Still, great marketing with those Goombay Dance Band style scarves.

    Oh God, it’s Ready with a guitar! Phew, he doesn’t get to play it or try and sing. For those new(ish) to the blog, Mike was actually in a band called Esprit De Corps who got a new release slot on TOTP in the 1960’s, but he arrived at the studio only to be refused permission to mime as he didn’t have Musician’s Union membership.

    Scary square pupil at the start of the Eurythmics video. Sadly, (a) that was the best bit for me, (b) year namecheck apart, the title could easily have made this an anthem for at least three ogres previously on the re-run, and I don’t include DLT in that.

    Jim Diamond, wearing the definitive design rolled-up 80’s jacket and flanked by two daft dancers who added nothing to the song instead of Rory McGrath on guitarlike last time.

    It’s the Yank ‘Waddy! Here come The Dazz Band, an eight-piece with only four musicians, a video containing loads of sports (mainly American -yawn) and a horrible way of pronouncing “Blow”.

    Alvin was gripping that mic for all it was worth. He would’ve gained brownie points for running on the spot when singing the title.

    Nik Kershaw surrounding himself with musicians to avoid his specialist dancing – where’s your posse, Howard? He would’ve done better by having someone the same height and not sticking out like the shortie leader a la Graham parker and the Rumour.

    Chaka, you’re in the studio. At least earn that hat and try to mime the chart topper for us!

    Who was that look-at-me knob wearing grey at the start of the outro?

    1. I could imagine that it would not be easy to perform the No.1 in the studio, even though Chaka Khan was in the studio, as a lot of the song including male rapping, and it was really a double act, with the male rapper having as much voice on the record as Chaka, and could even have upstaged her, had they performed it in the studio!

    2. Could've jetted Billy Paul in to recreate the rapping, seeing as he had to 'rap' the speech samples when performing "Let 'Em In"!

    3. the white guy was in the dazz band video i watched on youtube (it was so poor-quality that it almost rivalled the t-connection one!) - he's clearly seen (if only fleetingly) at approx 1m30s when the band stand in a line and then all drop away from the front! otherwise he's playing keyboards behind the massed ranks of vocalists with his back to the camera, thus (deliberately?) all-but hiding his honkiness:

    4. Ah, apologies. I gave up with the Dazz Band after a while. There's still one more of them in the mugshot, though.

    5. You didn't pass the Dazz challenge Artur.

  10. Hark at the late night Saturday BBC4 announcer straying into (whispers) Savile Old Record Club territory by giving us the full title of the Eurythmics hit complete with open and close brackets. Naughty.

    And this week its Sue Perkins and Cheggars at the helm, oh, sorry it's Mike read and Bruno Brooks. Very small isn't he?

    Back to some slick jazz-pop with Matt Bianco. I liked this sort of music, there I've said it. Not sure why we get a close up of the pianist but hear the acoustic guitar but the camera work gets better as it progresses.

    Then the mighty video for Wild Boys which we have seen countless times. I prefer to see this than their studio performance. It's all a bit OTT and must have cost a fortune but once seen never forgotten. I bet they were hoping this would push it to number one but not quite.

    Slade get all anthemic again. Doesn't quite work for me but full marks for having another go and getting the crowd in on the act with the scarves and flags. Curly haired Noddy Holder's no oil painting is he, or if he is it's one by Dali. He and fellow Brummie Jeff Lynne both shared a love of home perm fluid didn't they.

    Mike read trying to be funny and failing miserably. Stick to the day job.

    Never liked this Eurythmics hit much but it's quite catchy. I think its the robotic voice and horrible cut up vocals that lets it down for me. Good video but I never saw the film. Dave Stewart is another ugly Brummie with a bad perm.

    Jim Diamond on his way to the top this time flying solo but with a dancing woman for some reason dressed like a pint of Guinness.

    The Dazz Band were like a Brass Construction for the 1980s. The production is horribly of its time but I admire the hard funky vibe and the repeated vocals. The video is like a the grooviest episode of You've Been framed ever.

    The Charts and good to see The Human League in there with Louise.

    Alvin Stardust next but I think I would rather have seen The Temptations, The Human League or even Huey Lewis. It's okay but nothing special. I had forgotten that he had so many hits in the 1980s.

    Nik Kershaw goes all Mike Oldfield with the Riddle. I liked this at the time, it's probably the best thing he did even if it is a wee bit pretentious.

    The CK video again and a wasted opportunity to interview the lady properly. Oh well. what did we expect.

    Play out with The Pointer Sisters in full making it the longest show in years. Great way to end a brilliant show.

    1. I think The Eurythmics' Dave Stewart's originally from Sunderland.

    2. yes i'm sure you're right there arthur (which makes him a "mackem") - why does bama think he was a brummie?

    3. I thought he had a Brummie accent. He still had the bad perms though.

  11. this has nothing to do with this show, but i've just read the news that phil collins has had to cancel his comeback tour as a result of injuries sustained as a result of a fall - maybe fate has taken a hand (and it serves him right anyway) for having billed his previous one as a "retirement tour"!

    also: i'm sure i'm not the only one here who was familar with the work of tv composer dudley simpson who has just died? in my case it was via "blake's 7", but apparently he did a lot of "dr who" stuff as well...

    1. Yes, Dudley had a very long association with Doctor Who, providing incidental music for it over a 15 year period in the 60s and 70s - it was that which got him the B7 gig. He also worked on shows like The Brothers (featuring future Doctor Colin Baker) and The Tomorrow People.

    2. RIP Dudley. Lots of Dr Who shows feature his amazing music. Genesis of the Daleks wouldn't have been the same without it. Dudley also composed the theme for 'Moonbase 3'. Not one many people would recall, but did star Ralph 'Warleggan' Bates who died far too young.

  12. I wonder why we got the edited version in the late slot? Presumably just the usual incompetence. As a result I can only comment on what was in that plus the songs (and not performances) of the other new stuff.

    Matt Bianco - As I've said before, I simply cannot stand their drivel.

    Slade - The fact that I can't really recall the tune says it all.

    Eurythmics - I'm not keen on this at all. We watched the film at school a year or 2 after it was released and were given no warning AT ALL about the gratutious muff shot. Our class were almost scarred for life.

    The Dazz Band - This one I do remember. And it's rubbish.

    Alvin Stardust - I was pleasantly surprised by this, much better than I recalled.

    Nik Kershaw - Best song on the show by far, one of his very best singles.

    1. The full unedited version was only shown on the Saturday night repeat, but at least it was shown at the last attempt.

  13. (I linked to the following in the comments under the 18/10/84 entry, but I guess not many people are going to read it there anymore. Apologies for the deliberate duplication anyway..)

    A bit late but the restored BBC4HD version of 18/10/84 with JK (plus final link) added back from Neil B's upload is available here:

    TOTP 18/10/1984

    Full list of restorations:

  14. I have no recollection of the Alvin Stardust song, but quite liked it. I had assumed that it was a cover of a Buddy Holly song until we got to the baby details, and then was forced to look up the author.