Sunday, 14 January 2018

Sharp Dressed Top of the Pops

Incredibly disappointingly, the Mike Smith hosted editions of Top of the Pops are still not being shown on BBC4. I really had hoped that they would have sorted this out by now, but clearly not so! So a huge thanks goes to the kind soul who has made this available, probably once again Neil B?, here at WeTransfer.

But alas tomorrow will never come....


10/01/85 (Mike Read & Mike Smith)

Strawberry Switchblade – “Since Yesterday” (32)
Sadly, I don't think we'll get to see our blog theme tune on BBC4. It was the duo's only top ten hit, peaking a number 5.

ZZ Top – “Sharp Dressed Man” (33) (video)
Peaked at number 22.

Alison Moyet – “Invisible” (21)
Peaked at number 21.

Thompson Twins – “Lay Your Hands On Me” (13) (rpt from 20/12/84)
Peaked at number 13.

Elaine Paige & Barbara Dickson – “I Know Him So Well” (34)
The second single from Chess, and a number one hit of course.

Bronski Beat – “It Ain’t Necessarily So” (19)
Peaked at number 16.

Top 10 videos:
Frankie Goes To Hollywood - "The Power Of Love" (10) (video clip)
Paul Young - "Everything Must Change" (9) (video clip)
Ray Parker Jr - "Ghostbusters" (8) (video clip)
Tears For Fears - "Shout" (7) (video clip)
The Toy Dolls - "Nellie The Elephant" (6) (TOTP clip)
Paul McCartney & The Frog Chorus - "We All Stand Together" (5) (video clip)

Foreigner – “I Want To Know What Love Is” (4) (video)
On its way to number one.

Madonna - "Like A Virgin" (3) (video clip)
Wham! - "Last Christmas" (2) (video clip)

Band Aid – “Do They Know It’s Christmas” (1) (video)
Final week at number one.

Council Collective - "Soul Deep" (26) (audience dancing/credits)
Went up two more places.


Next up then is January 17th.

48 comments:

  1. I think it is quite likely Neil B uploaded this link, as it originates from the Popscene Facebook page - thanks to whoever was responsible, anyway! The first of many Smiffed editions this year, alas, made all the more annoying by the fact that he wasn't even a Radio 1 DJ at this point in time, and so shouldn't really have been presenting TOTP - when he did return in 1986, it was to replace his co-host here on the breakfast show. The two Mikes actually make for a better combination on this show than I feared, though Smitty is still inclined to try that bit too hard on occasion. Like him, however, I was intrigued by the Russian inscription on Mike Read's sweater - surely not Communist propaganda, given what we know now about Mr Read's political views?

    Strawberry Switchblade kick us off looking like the ultimate 80s fashion victims, with their garish outfits and big hair full of various ribbons and bows. Nice, dreamy tune, though, and they do sound a bit as if they are picking up where Altered Images left off. My favourite ZZ Top hit next, an irresistible riff propelling it along at a great lick, and a fun video too as the hapless hero gets made over by his three fairy godmothers (and three very hairy godfathers) into the sharp dressed man.

    A pregnant Alf is back in the studio, though given how indistinguishable this is from her previous performance she might have been better advised to put her feet up. Elaine and Babs also turn up to perform their future chart-topper. I have always really liked this, a powerful ballad and a great combination of the talents of Benny/Bjorn and Tim Rice. Both ladies appear to have been let loose on the hairspray, but Babs definitely has the edge both in height and vocal prowess - still, good to see that they both appear to be enjoying themselves.

    The rest of the show consists of 1984 hangovers, including the complete set of videos for that now overfamiliar Top 10, though at least the clips are brief. There is a new performance from Bronski Beat which sees the left-hand keyboardist don one of those formal studded Scottish jackets - sadly, from what I could make out, he chickened out of wearing a kilt as well! Proceedings end on a low note as the audience are forced to dance to the wretched Council Collective. Perhaps sensing a general lack of enthusiasm, Michael Hurll largely keeps the camera on the two cheerleaders dancing together, but this does not make the song sound any better...

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    1. Perfect upload @ 720X576 good bitrate.
      Many thanks to the uploader.

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    2. I'm informed by my partner - so blame them if they got it wrong - that Mike Read's Russian shirt actually reads "M.Read" ('ea' is written as a single character in Russian, so that's why there is one character less than you'd expect.) Dunno where he would've acquired such a thing though, maybe a listener to his radio show made it as a joke and sent it in to him.

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    3. Thanks drykid - that certainly seems a plausible explanation.

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  2. at least half this show is still a hangover from the previous year and as such not worthy of comment, other than to say it's amazing in retrospect it wasn't until the early 90's that record companies started taking advantage of the post-xmas lull by releasing and promoting stuff that perhaps wouldn't have made anywhere near such a big chart impact otherwise (iron maiden were the first to exploit that vacuum to my recollection)

    strawberry switchblade: i probably haven't heard this for about 30 years, so my only recollection was the start of the chorus. when i did again now my first thought was "this is SO 1985". as was my second one. and third. and as i remember at the time, look beyond all the synth frippery and it's pleasant enough but dull. as for the visuals: i love the polka dot 50's dresses throwback, but not the 80's goth add-ons. despite trying to look like twins with their heavy eye make-up it's clear the one on the right is the looker of the two, but sadly she's relegated to air guitar duties. i remember after their 15 minutes of fame it was revealed that one of them suffered from agorophobia (or was it acrophobia?), but i can't remember which one

    zz top: "give me all your lovin" part ii - it's even in the same key! i remember when they appeared on "the tube" around this time, and the guitarist and bassist did their shadows-style dance. which was great for about 2 minutes, but like the music it soon paled when it was apparent that was all they could do (in earlier days they apparently toured with a menagerie of steers and other local livestock. which might have made things a bit more interesting visually. but i would have thought elfin safety would put the kybosh on that now?). i have a friend who told me that he went out and bought cassettes of several of their earlier albums as a result of this rash of hits from "eliminator", and being massively disappointed as it was all very samey but nowhere near as good as that

    elaine paige & barbara dickson: after the first female duo that screamed "1985", we now have one that sounds more like 1975. which made the popularity of this track even more inexplicable in my view. anything involving andrew lloyd webber goes straight down the dumper as far as i'm concerned, although i always laughed at his puppet whenever it appeared on "spitting image" (which for some unexplained reason had a topknot in his hair, that rather pathetically became a trend for real last year!)

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    1. oh dear, i've just read john's review and it appears that mr lloyd webber actually had nothing to do with the paige/dickson hit! although of course his songwriting partner-in-crime tim rice did, and both singers were regular muses of his. but whoever wrote it, it's still very much in his style - which makes me head for the hills!

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    2. According to Google, Jill Bryson had suffered with agoraphobia, while Rose McDowell had other mental health problems.

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  3. i was thinking it was interesting that strawberry switchblade were allowed to use the second part of their name, despite the objects in question being deemed illegal (only a few years later, massive attack were forced to drop the second part of their name thanks to the gulf war). i actually owned a couple of switchblades in the 80's: one of the folding variety and another that slid out of the top of the handle - the reason being that apart from the thrill of owning illegal weapons, i was fascinated by the "secret" mechanism. but you might be relieved to read that they never saw active service!

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    1. Maybe if they'd been called Switchblade Strawberry people would have taken notice, but as it was the emphasis was on strawberry and it just seemed a nice bit of alliteration which flowed off the tongue.

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    2. i'm guessing they were so-called because they wanted to come over as sweet but with a touch of menace about them as well (which the image also suggests)? whatever, i'm still a bit surprised in retrospect there wasn't some controversy at the time

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    3. When I was little, I always used to think the scariest bit of Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks was when Bruce Forsyth (of all people) threatened Angela Lansbury and co with a switchblade!

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    4. i actually went to see "bedknobs and broomsticks" when it was released in the cinema in the early 70's (and i think still have a couple of promotional badges i acquired as a result of seeing the film stashed away somewhere - i wonder what they're worth these days?), but have never seen it since. i don't recall brucie in it, but remember the animated football match between the blues and the yellows and (the best bit of the film by far) at the end where the invading germans are seen off by medieval suits of armour and other inanimate objects that are brought to life!

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    5. I thought of that double intention in their name, but their music is all strawberry really (and good at that), so that's a big reason why most never thought much of the switchblade element.

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    7. (Previous reply deleted as I got the names slightly mixed up in it!)

      Strawberry Switchblade's name came from an unused title for an Orange Juice fanzine - they were mates with the band. Debut single "Trees and Flowers" dealt with Jill Bryson's agoraphobia. Rose McDowall was previously drummer in a band with her husband.

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    8. am i right in remembering reading that the pair used to wear their distinctive stage outfits whenever they were out in public (assuming the one with agoraphobia could manage that), regardless of what they were doing?

      also for anyone into their single, i've just found out via wiki that some archive recordings of theirs have recently been released for the first time

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    9. Correct, Wilby - on one occasion in London they were mocked by someone for pretending to look like Strawberry Switchblade!

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    10. thanks for the confirmation of that arthur - i seem to remember that they liked to travel on the london underground in those costumes (i hope they never had the misfortune to sit opposite dory whilst doing so!)

      with regard to being mocked as clones, that reminds me of the apoctyphal tale of charlie chaplin entering and coming second in a lookalike contest!

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  4. This show came off a lot better then the previous week's show, in that there were a lot more quality tunes and videos on offer.

    Strawberry Switchblade - this was the peak of 80s fashion statements, and I just loved the colours and style of those outfits, especially the Oreo milkshake outfit of the sexy lead singer, where you just wanted to put a straw through it and have a taste. Oh and the song was not bad too.

    ZZ Top - highlight of the show for me, and like John G, affirmed as my fave ZZ Top single of all time, largely due to the top class video, with the cool summer breeze night driving of the now infamous ZZ Top car, and the bevy of hotties longing after the sharp-dressed man, where it is true that sharp-dressed men appeal more to women than their scraggy counterparts. Also works much better in job interviews, where I would say it is wise to watch this ZZ Top video and listen to the song before attending any job interviews!

    The Thompson Twins - it's a pity that 1985 (or even late 1984) was where the Twins began their slide to not being able to make the top ten anymore. Especially a shame in that this one now peaking at No.13 was actually one of their very best efforts. While not reaching the same level fame as for example Tears For Fears and Wham, the Twins certainly brought happiness and joy to 80s music lovers, and still sound fantastic today.

    Foreigner - I remember at the time just being full of praise for this and really willing it on to be No.1, especially as some earlier classics of theirs did not reach the level of success in the UK as they had been accustomed to in the US. It was a bit like Meat Loaf in 1993 taking 7 weeks at No.1 with his comeback single after an 80s decade barely troubling the top ten, apart from Deadringer For Love in early 1982.

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  5. Elaine Paige is having a breather today. Last night she finished a stint in pantomime at The London Palladium, playing Queen Rat in "Dick Whittington" and appearing alongside Julian Clary, Nigel Havers and Gary Wilmot. Oh yes she did!

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    1. so she's found her true vocation at last?

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  6. Congrats to Neil B. on scoring a maximum on Ken Bruce's Pop Master this morning on Radio 2!

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    1. Wow! I'm sorry I missed that! Congrats to Neil B indeed!

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  7. Thanks to our mystery saviour for this episode.

    So, when these shows are cut back to half an hour thanks to “EastEnders”, and the Jonathan King bits then have to be lanced, do you think we’ll get a cartoon to fill the scheduling gap on BBC4?

    Shitty Smith with an awful shirt and tie combo. Luckily, Mike Read had the good sense not to badger him about his clobber, unlike Shitty’s ‘hilarious’ running gag.

    Strawberry Switchblade with my fave song of the edition, looking pleased as Punch to be on the show, but surely Jill (who I preferred) should have had a keyboard rather than an air guitar. One of only two top 40 acts to my knowledge on the Korova label (the other being Echo and the Bunnymen), the gals only managed two very minor hits after this, one being a cover of “Jolene”.

    It’s that car again, and yet again ZZ Top (having previously broken out into a Madness-style conga) hand the keys over. Why was the chap trying to gatecrash that do anyway?

    Alison Moyet not showing her bump off Neneh Cherry style, with an earnest but slightly too shouty effort this time. Pardon?

    Elaine and Barbara obviously didn’t want any draughts in the studio to muck up their hair and, whether they liked the song or not, they enjoyed the royalty cheque, mate. See what I did there? Ahem.

    Bronski Beat really should have shared out a braided coat, Tam ‘o’ Shanter and kilt between them for full effect.

    Oo! A namecheck for the “Oxford Road Show” during Paul Young’s video. That’s some stage invasion for Tears For Fears. Eat that, Sal Solo.

    Was the Council Collective single not collecting for Ethiopia, then?

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    1. If it's any consolation, the JK slots end once EastEnders comes along - presumably even Michael Hurll balked at trying to squeeze them in alongside "breakers" and a video Top 10 in 30 minutes!

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    2. i don't remember strawberry switchblade's cover of "jolene", but i saw the sisters of mercy perform a version of it live around this time - it seems dolly parton was already becoming postmodern-ironic as early as the mid-80's!

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  8. Not often you get a hit record sung in a Glaswegian accent (was Andy Cameron the previous one?), but here were Strawberry Switchblade to redress that balance. Classic one hit wonder, adapting a Sibelius riff (also used in Beach Baby by First Class about ten years before) for a wistful, nostalgic ditty that sounds even more nostalgic with the passing of time. Best thing on the show.

    ZZ Top, well, you don't mess with a winning formula I guess, and they had certainly found their signature sound. And signature video, too, with the boys teleporting like Mr Claypole in Rentaghost.

    Well, if you will wear black against a black background, no wonder you're invisible, Alf. Middling tune with the big voice present, the needy lyrics too, but not one of her more memorable hits.

    When you see Alannah with her xylophone, is anyone else reminded of the Fast Show sketch where Caroline Aherne was in Jazz Club doing the same, only to meet with a musical mishap? I thought it was hilarious at the time.

    First of the '85 big bastard behemoth ballads with Elaine and Babs, Ms Paige reminding us she does other things than laff her head orf on the radio. You can imagine Agnetha and Anni-Frid performing this, but they didn't.

    Bronski Beat with their mellow rendition of an old tune, Jimmy barely audible over that shirt.

    Foreigner the second of the big bastard behemoth ballads this episode, and like the other one about to go to Number One.

    Then Band Aid for the final time... so far, and the cacophonous Council Collective to end things on a downer.

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    1. THX, the accent was milder than Andy Cameron's, but there was a wee dram of Glaswegian in the air when Clare Grogan appeared with Altered Images.

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    2. Ah, "Jazz Club" - always niiiice to watch the nine-minute best-of compilation on YouTube, tailed by Simon Day's superb mickeytake of Jamiroquai!

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    3. I forgot about Clare! I suppose she does have a slight burr in her vocals.

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  9. It's a shame that we're denied 'Since Yesterday' on BBC4 as it's a nice little pop song. You can hear it on my radio show this weekend though, as I try yet another blatant plug on here. Switch Radio, from 5pm this Sunday (21st)

    The ZZ Top song is alright, mildly distinguishable from their previous hit.

    At first I thought we'd been denied the Alf song on BBC4 then remembered that we had actually seen it what seems like AGES ago. The practically identical staging helped bring it back to mind. This single spent 7 weeks bouncing around the 20s in the charts!

    Paige / Dickson I can't get excited about and Elaine is wearing a truly horrid dress. She's truly awful on the radio, she should stick to panto.

    Everything else we've heard before and in the case of the last song, I hoped we'd never hear again.

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    1. noax i'm sure you piss all over elaine paige when it comes to being a radio DJ, but the trouble is that you didn't have any hits singing bloody awful andrew lloyd webber (and sound-alike) songs from musicals!

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    2. I never heard of this radio station. What wavelength, channel is it?

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    3. Switch Radio's a Birmingham based station on 107.5 FM and also DAB and online.

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    4. How do you know I haven't had a Lloyd Webber written hit wilberforca? Oh alright then, I haven't. I am not Steve Harley in disguise.

      Thanks for the plug Arthur! Switch is only on DAB in Birmingham Dory, though you can listen live on switchradio.co.uk or TuneIn / Radioplayer apps.

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    5. noax you could have been michael ball in disguise! actually the reason you're not is because you only have a regional radio show and not a national one - where the "qualification" seems these days to have had a lot of success as a musical performer or in some other field of celebrity, rather than any experience as an actual DJ in any form!

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    6. Some Lloyd Webber stuff is bad, but I wouldn't say all. Elaine Paige gives a good performance of Memory.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWNWt3kiTWc

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    7. Reminds me of a recent occasion in the office when a colleague of mine starting humming the tune to "Memory" but couldn't remember the song title!

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    8. unfortunately i can still remember that one...

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  10. The ZZ Top video reminds me of a rarely played Laurel & Hardy short called Double Whoopee (1929) which was in their last year of silent films before going to sound. The storyline is similar, although their 'hottie' in those days was none other than Jean Harlow who got her break on the Hal Roach studios with Laurel & hardy, before becoming a Hollywood movie icon in her own right soon after.

    Anyway, here's Double Whoopee, and can you spot an early version of the ZZ Top car (a la 1929) and the sharp dressed men (Laurel & Hardy)? as hoteliers:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-eM7w4bVvo

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  11. I loved that Strawberry Switchblade song and also their first single Trees & Flowes which made it into John Peel's Festive 50 despite not troubling the top 75.

    On a sadder note Kid Jensen has just announced he's been living with Parkinson's for the last 5 years. We're all getting old!

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    1. I had thought that the Kid didn't look quite right when he appeared on one of the documentaries (the TOTP 84 one possibly) so that explains it. Sad day for radio yesterday what with local radio legend Ed Doolan passing away here in Brum.

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  12. It's a shame to hear that Kid has Parkinson's, but good for him for speaking out and raising awareness, and hopefully he can live as normal a life as possible for as long as possible. It can of course strike people at a much younger age, as Michael J Fox can attest.

    While her voice was a taste I never acquired, the news of Dolores O'Riordan's death this week came as a shock - 46 is no age to go.

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  13. Like a Virgin video - looks like beauty and the beast.

    Lay you hands on me - decent though I prefer the singles just before as they seem to have punchier melodies.

    Invisible - I always liked, the chimes at the opening at least related it to the release around Christmas.

    Strawberry Switchblade - Big in Japan, their fashion was an influence there. I like the single Let Her Go too, though I didn't know it then. Resourceful use of the motif of the last movement of Sibelius's 5th symphony. The video is good too (don't know if it gets show on totp), and the clockwork toy like movements of them in the video help relate to the vocal and backing style in the music.

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    1. Hmm, just took a first look at the Strawberry Switchblade video, and the girls are wearing the same outfits as in the studio performance, and the lead of the two girls is again in the Oreo milkshake minidress with those fine pins, and only the stockings are different to the studio performance. Ooh er! Must look into the rest of their music collection, not that there can be much of it, as this group were seemingly not around the music scene for long. I wonder what they're doing nowadays.

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  14. I was watching a programme about Elton John and the nations favourite song of his (it wasn’t a surprise) and one of the hits featured was ‘Sacrifice’, and I do recall watching TOTP with that on, so I definitely persevered with the show until mid-1990 at least (albeit sporadically) so I’ll keep going with this blog for now, although I suspect it is going to get painful at times.

    Strawberry Switchblade – Since Yesterday – Nothing painful about this opener. It is one of my favourite singles of 1985 although in reality it had been bobbing around the lower chart regions for weeks. Not sure about the audience handclaps though. The girls look suitably gothic and mysterious whilst fun loving. As THX observes above, the intro is from Sibelius’ Symphony no3 and can also be heard at 3:05 here:-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpsmHfDqsl8

    ZZTop – Sharp dressed Man – I don’t recall this being so good…but it is! Great video too and just a touch of Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted to love’ maybe. Kept hearing it during the intro breaks too so it was popular with the production team.

    Alison Moyet – Invisible – The best Moyet solo single for me. Don’t get me started on her cover of ‘Love Letters’…anyone who watched BBC’s ‘The Last Post’ would have heard Ketty Lester’s fabulous original repeatedly. I digress….

    Thompson Twins – Lay your hands on me – A great anthem that surprisingly got no higher. Very enthusiastic performance from the trio.

    Elaine Paige & Barbara Dickson – I know him so well – When I was at home for the Christmas break I heard Radio2 in the house all the time and this was played to death. I loved it and thought it would never be a hit as it was too MOR for the charts of the day. This performance absolutely nailed it. What a classy record and one of my favourites of 1985, so that’s two in one show already…

    Bronksi Beat – It ain’t necessarily so – The low point of this show for me.

    Foreigner – I want to know what love is – I’m being spoilt on this show! One of my favourite singles of 1985 so that makes three in one show now. Great to see more of the wonderful video this time too. Just can’t get enough of this single. Anyone with the 12” knows the chorus fade goes on even longer.

    Band Aid – Do they know it’s Christmas – THE best version of THE best Christmas song for me. Never get tired of hearing and seeing this. I notice this is the video edit that doesn’t show Boy George taking the big swig of brandy.

    Council Collective – Soul deep – Relatively inoffensive. Don’t remember it at all.

    Thank you Neil B if it was you who loaded it for us to see. Having started out by saying the 1985 shows were going to be painful at times, this was a superb edition which BBC4 viewers are being denied for almost unfathomable reasons as Mike and Mike were great hosts. I spotted Mike Read in Windsor in early December as it happens.



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    1. i remember neil tennant of pet shop boys fame commenting on "sacrifice" and (quite rightfully) sneering at the fact that reg added an extra syllable to the word ("sa-ca-ri-fice"). mind you, as they say people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones as neil himself used both three and four syllables pronounciations of "suburbia"!

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  15. Disappointed that my download of this didn't save on my computer properly so missing out this week

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