Sunday, 18 February 2018

Top of the Pops Come Back to Me

This edition of Top of the Pops from April 18th 1985 will not be shown on BBC4 because host Mike Smith did not sign his repeats contract. So a huge thanks goes to Neil B for making it available here at We Transfer.

Not a patch on his previous hit

18/04/85  (Peter Powell & Mike Smith)

Dead Or Alive – “Lover Come Back To Me” (23)
After You Spin Me Round, they never had another top ten hit. This came the closest, peaking at number 11.

Simple Minds – “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” (22) (video)
Became the first of eight top ten hits for the band when it peaked at number 7.

Howard Jones – “Look Mama” (20)
His sixth and final top ten hit peaking at number 10.

Chaka Khan – “Eye To Eye” (40) (breaker)
Peaked at number 16.

Chris Rea – “Stainsby Girls” (39) (breaker)
His first top 30 hit for seven years, peaking at number 26.

Dire Straits – “So Far Away” (38) (breaker)
The first single from their massive number one album Brothers in Arms, it reached number 20.

Bronski Beat & Marc Almond – “I Feel Love” (24) (breaker)
This Donna Summer cover peaked at number 3.

China Crisis – “Black Man Ray” (19)
Peaked at number 14.

Top Ten Videos:
Sarah Brightman & Paul Miles-Kingston - "Pie Jesu" (10) (video clip)
RAH Band – “Clouds Across The Moon” (9) (video clip)
Phil Collins - "One More Night" (8) (video clip)
David Grant & Jaki Graham - "Could It Be I'm Falling In Love" (7) (video clip)
Go West - "We Close Our Eyes" (6) (video clip)
Frankie Goes To Hollywood - "Welcome To The Pleasure Dome" (5) (video clip)
Phyllis Nelson – “Move Closer” (4)
Philip Bailey & Phil Collins – “Easy Lover” (3) (video clip)
Tears For Fears - "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" (2) (video clip)

USA For Africa – “We Are The World” (1) (video)
First of two weeks at number one.

Glenn Frey – “The Heat Is On” (12) (audience dancing/credits)
At its peak.

Next up is April 25th.


  1. Thanks as ever to Neil B. PP and Smitty continue on their quest to convince us they are best mates, though I wonder what PP really thought when his pal playfully whacked the back of his head during one link? It was a bit of a shame that he didn't knock Smitty, here sporting an annoying new haircut to match his presenting style, to the ground in response...

    Pete Burns looks like he is auditioning for Doctor Who as Dead or Alive follow up their number 1. I have never heard this before, but it isn't actually a bad effort, with quite an anthemic chorus - the previous hit was always going to be a hard act to follow, however. Simple Minds next, finally achieving international stardom with this song from The Breakfast Club, which hit number 1 in the States. Although I have heard it many times, it stands up as a solid bit of pop-rock, though I still get irritated by Jim's pointy antics in the video - couldn't they have given him a guitar to hold? Interesting that PP mentions bassist Derek Forbes in his outro, who had just been kicked out of the band.

    As PP also mentions, Howard Jones was now enjoying some American success, but here he is in the studio once more, accompanied again by that hairy drummer whose face I cannot place. Not a bad song, this one, though it makes me wonder if Howard's mum really was domineering - in fairness, in her shoes I would definitely have said "get your hair cut." On to the breakers, this week affording us our sole glimpse of the Chaka Khan and Dire Straits hits. Chaka's song starts promisingly, but the chorus lets it down. The proximity of Chris Rea and Dire Straits brings to mind the old joke of what they would have called themselves if they had joined forces! Anyway, I really like the understated So Far Away, one of the best tracks on Brothers in Arms in my view, and it's surprising it wasn't a bigger hit, bearing in mind how massive the album would be. We'll be seeing more of Bronski Beat/Almond, but that video is very cartoonish. It sounds from what Smitty says as if rumours were flying at this point that Jimmy Somerville would be quitting the group, which of course he soon would do.

    Black Man Ray is another song that deserved to climb higher, and it's certainly one of the best things China Crisis ever did, not that I have much of a clue as to what the song is about. The band are a bit obscured here by dry ice and blue lighting, but it's a nice performance. I noticed in the Rah Band promo that one of the Movellans was sporting a conical bra, several years before Madge followed suit. No such bold fashion statement from Phyllis Nelson, understandably capitalising on her unexpected UK chart success by visiting the studio once more. She again engages nicely with the audience, and is clearly delighted with her sudden stardom. Tears For Fears sadly get pipped to the top spot by USA For Africa, and The Heat is On provides a suitably danceable playout, the most memorable audience member this week being a lady with impressively huge hair, even by the standards of the time...

    1. The Bronski Beat/Marc Almond video was more like cheap budget than cartoonish, but nevertheless quite effective in its reach to the pop music audience for it.

    2. I dare say the budget for that video was limited, but the decision to fill it with bright colours gave it a definite cartoony vibe for me.

    3. In fact the video reminds me of the legendary Tony Hart and his plasticine character Morph, if anyone remembers it:

    4. I used to be a big Morph fan as a kid - the first star of the now-legendary Aardman Animations, of course.

  2. Was the title of China Crisis's song Black Man Ray an anecdote to someone or was it fiction? Nowadays a song title like that would not be accepted in the current PC climate.
    It's a pity there was no video ever made for Move Closer by Phyllis Nelson, cos I could imagine it would be like The Pointer Sisters Slow Hand video, as the suggestions in the lyrics were very similar.
    USA For Africa got less of the video played this week as the new No.1 than the previous week as a new entry at No.7. Funny that, it is usually the other way round!

  3. drykid, Here are the links for the last three edits by BBC4 to avoid mentioning Mike Smith. They are 21/2/85 7/3/85 https// 11/4/85 The first one is the full edition and the third one seems to have a bit missing still as there's no backcheck to the number one. Hope I've been of assistance.

  4. Thanks once again to Neil B.

    I really wish Peter POWELL had smacked Shitty back round the back of that stupid haircut and stopped repeatedly emphasising the last word of his sentences.

    Unlike their first hit, here come Dead Or Alive with an instant hit which, also unlike their first one, is nowhere near as appealing or successful.

    Yes, Shitty, tapping your head when demonstrating Simple Minds. How apt! It’s rude to point, Jim. The monolith starts here.

    At least Howard Jones is better colour co-ordinated this time, but this weak effort which somehow reminded me of “Sorry” with Ronnie Corbett was his weakest at this stage in my opinion. To think he was only two further singles away from never making the top 30 again.

    A completely unremarkable set of breakers, with a very brief glimpse of Chaka Khan’s whopping cleavage, Chris Rea sounding like he’s singing about Sainsbury’s, Dreary Straits, and the non-singing Bronski Beaters dressed like accountants and obviously having a ball.

    So, obviously, “Black Man Ray” is signified by blue spotlighting, which would have obliterated any view of Howard Jones if used for him. Doesn’t it look strange when only one band member decides to scrub up?

    Paul Miles-Kingston doesn’t even get a namecheck this time. Poor sod!

    A correct chart topper prediction from Shitty, unlike Peter's top five forecast for China Crisis,as we get those beaming gnashers and that voice of Phyllis’s again.

    So, Shitty, “We Are The World” is number one in every country of the World? Even Brunei or Mozambique or Papua New Guinea? Hmm, porky pie time if you ask me.

    1. never mind places like brunei and mozambique - according to wiki "we are the world" didn't even top the german charts. which given their reputation for bad taste says a lot

    2. Smutty didn't say it was number one in every country, he said it was in the top ten of every country. Presumably those countries bothering with music charts, that was.

  5. dead or alive: i don't know if it's the poor quality of the video on youtube, but mr burns and co look like they're engulfed in some kind of pink haze. just like king, they follow up a massive hit with something that nobody remembers now (well i can't for one, anyway), and also like king starting a descent into "where are they now" territory, before the singer later regains fame for other reasons. well done angelo with your humourous and totally accurate assessment of this!

    simple minds: shark-jumping time as my five-year fascination with the minds comes to an end. i don't know if this was a deliberate attempt to break the states or not, but i am aware that they never wrote it (boney m's drummer did!) which explains why it sounds like a poor-man's version (if not parody) of the band. apparently mrs kerr (aka chrissie hynde of pretenders fame) was to blame for them having recorded it (having previously been given the thumbs-down by bryan ferry among others), thus paving the way to commercial success and creative sterility

    howard jones: it comes to something when i think the latest effort by howard jones (vying with shitty as the face on the show i'd most like to smash in with a lumphammer) is better than the latest simple minds one (even if it does sound very recent-genesis/phil collins-like). presumably the "mama" in question is his girlfriend/wife rather than his actual mother? if so, then a decidedly outdated if not demeaning reference to one's paramour by this point (rod stewart was doing that kind of thing at least 10 years earlier). hairy drummer (who someone else recently informed us was trevor morais, seen previously on the show several years earlier with quantum jump) makes a big thing about hitting a crash cymbal at one point - even though there isn't one on stage!

    breakers: have no recollection of the chaka effort despite it becoming a top 20 hit. don't remember the chris rea effort either, although i'll put in a good word for his late-80's loungecore-like hit "on the beach" as i'll be long-gone from here by then. i always thought "money for nothing" was the debut single from the coma-inducing "brothers in arms" album (memory playing tricks again!), and jimmy somerville does the first of several pointlessly redundant covers from his 70's disco record collection

    china crisis: pleasant enough i suppose, but it's no "wishful thinking". it was produced by walter becker of steely dan fame, although there's nothing there to suggest that if one didn't know. what's the point of pretending to play a grand piano (presumably requested by the singer - i bet the scenery shifters didn't thank him for that if so) on stage if there isn't one on the record?

    1. Ah, thanks for the hairy drummer's name Wilberforce, I knew we had seen him before. On the subject of the China Crisis grand piano, presumably the singer thought it would add a bit of visual class to the performance, even if it doesn't feature on the record?

      Incidentally, I forgot to mention in my review that chronologically speaking this edition lies at the halfway point of TOTP's run as a regular show. From my memory, it would spend the greater part of the second half of the run dogged by rumours that the axe would soon fall...

    2. So TOTP had now run 21 years up to 1985, with another 21 less memorable years up to 2006? Good Lord, I'm surprised it went on that long till the end, considering that the show's initial slower romantic style with Pans People, Ruby Flipper, Legs & Co in the earlier days in the first 20 years or so, made way for a faster, less romantic, more stressful era in the following 20 years. No wonder people some people on here have left, or considered leaving but had second thoughts.

    3. I remember from the early 90s onwards the show's future being continually questioned, as it went through ill-advised revamps and got shunted to Fridays opposite Coronation Street, eventually ending up on BBC2 on Sunday nights. There was a brief rally during the Britpop era, but the growing fragmentation of the music scene after that, and the diminished importance of the charts, helped in no small part to kill TOTP off.

    4. You get the impression the Beeb wanted rid of TOTP for most of the second half of its run. There was serious consideration being given to shunting it to BBC2 or axing it altogether in 1993, only for the ratings to go up when Ric Blaxill was brought in as producer. Moving the show against Corrie in 1996 was as good as sidelining it. And the 2003 relaunch under Andi Peters was billed as 'make or break' - ultimately of course it would be the latter.

      The irony is that a few months after the axe had fallen the charts got a lot more interesting again, with songs climbing over several weeks instead of entering high and dropping straight down.

    5. I was typing my reply as you were writing your comment John! I think TOTP may have lasted longer had it stayed on Thursday, as it was still attracting around 6 million viewers at the start of 1996.

      Some of the revamps were ill advised but I thought the 1998 refresh was pretty sensible - concentrating on studio performances and doing away with the guest presenters. The downside was that some of the songs around at the time were pure dross, I can remember one edition where they had the Tweenies in the studio!

    6. Yes, the show's style during the Chris Cowey era did seem pretty solid, though I only saw bits and pieces of it at the time as I had largely lost interest in the charts by then. I also wonder what would have happened if it had remained on Thursdays, though I still suspect that the way music and the charts were changing would have led to its demise eventually. Britpop was really the last time that there seemed to be a mass musical movement in this country, appealing to a wide section of the population and causing people to get excited about the charts.

    7. Now the charts are released on Fridays, if TOTP had still been around it wouldn't have stayed on Thursdays anyway.

    8. TOTP really started losing its relevance in 1987 when the charts moved from Tuesday to Sunday. Up to then I would imagine that the first time many people saw the rundown was on TOTP.

      When the music was exciting like Britpop the day didn't matter so much as lots of people would still tune in, but moving TOTP to Friday only made it less relevant as the show was effectively reflecting a chart that was already almost a week old.

    9. I doubt we'll ever see the return of a weekly Top of the Pops, not without a radical shake up of how the charts are compiled, but the Beeb do seem to value the heritage of the show, and are not willing to completely let go. I think that besides Xmas and New Year they should do more specials spread throughout the year ~ one in the spring, one in the summer, one in the autumn, just to keep us up to date musically. I don't know about anyone else, but I've generally no idea what the number one song is, or even for that matter what most pop stars even look like. I haven't got time for trawling around on Youtube. I need to see them on the telly.

    10. going by other reviews, it seems howard jones was actually singing about the woman who gave birth to him rather than a reference to his squeeze. that in itself is rather suspect (especially for a man entering his thirties at this point), but i've never heard anyone in this country refer to their mother in that way!

    11. I could tell you who's number one (Drake for yet another week) but I couldn't tell you what the song sounds like or what the majority of the top 10 sounds like. There is Sounds Like Friday Night which is coming back in the Spring, but a few more TOTP specials would definitely help.

    12. a few years back i was aware of some of the names that were riding high in the contemporary charts (by dint of selling a few hundred units), but thankfully not the recordings. but now i'm pleased to say that i've lost touch to the point i am not familar with most if not all the "artists" - i certainly wouldn't know drake if he/they passed me in the street!

    13. Drake's a he but I couldn't tell you what he looked like! It's sad that the charts are less relevant now and dominated by streaming but that's progress - once upon a time it was sheet music that dominated sales.

    14. The recent Christmas and New Year shows were dire, as were the presenters.

      The show can only be as good as the music and to me it all sounded the same formulaic tripe.

      I recorded both shows and fast forwarded the rubbish bits, both shows were done in 15 minutes.

      I guess I'm sounding like my Dad here but even he as a 60 year old in 1985 had a soft spot for Wham and Spandau Ballet, they were good positive songs.
      I as a slightly younger old bloke don't have a spot spot for any of today's rubbish bar the odd decent new track that comes along.

      In 30 years will Pick Of The Pops be playing the hits of 2020 and 2038? I don't think so.

    15. I always thought the show should go monthly with an exclusive monthly chart based totally on sales

      I think that could work

  6. This was the last chart hit for The RAH Band. Between this and “The Crunch” they’d had five minor hits peaking at 35, 50, 45, 42 and 70 respectively. They also managed to chart on no less than five labels – Good Earth, DJM, KR, TMT and RCA. Anyone interested in maths might chuckle at my discovery that the seven mugshot chart placings for “Clouds Across The Moon” were all divisible by three with only one number repeated.

  7. Pete Burns going for more of a pop tune after what I would consider more the dance music of his big hit, and I don't think it works as well. Sounds a bit shouty in the chorus.

    Black Man Ray is ok.

    I always liked So Far Away, that and One More Night added a nice relaxing touch to the charts.

    The latest Chaka effort I like more than her previous song, it goes more for a smooth flow and it works ok.

  8. Shiver me timbers, Dead or Alive fail to hit the heights of their smash hit, but I think this is a perfectly respectable pop record and at the time preferred it to You Spin, really like the chorus to this day.

    Simple Minds with this week's movie tune, I thought they weren't going to reference it, but there's Anthony, Molly, Judd, Ally and Emilio on the TVs. Way overrated that film, John Hughes irritated me back then, and though I've mellowed to Pretty in Pink, this one had that ending where Ally is turned into Molly and that's supposed to be a good thing, urgh. 80s nonconformists were really conformists when you scratched the surface. Don't get me started on Home Alone! Anyway, where were we? Oh, yeah, the song is inspirational by numbers, plastic but pushes nostalgia buttons for Generation X. Happy birthday Molly, 50 yesterday.

    Howard Jones with apparently a song inspired by a fraught phone call with mummy, this sounds really whiny and entitled. I'm not surprised his popularity started to slide after this, is there anything less cool than arguing with your mum in public?

    The Breakers, Chaka's tune I have no recollection of but it's not something I had a violent reaction to, Chris should have picked a nicer-named place to call his song after, Stainsby sounds grubby, Dire Straits about to make the CD age take off ballistically with a moody, sad faced little number, and Bronski Beat with a truly superfluous cover - Marc Almond conspicuous by his absence in the video clip.

    China Crisis with their enigmatic tribute to surrealist photographer Man Ray (who wasn't black, but never mind), a slow-paced but relaxing piece with warm production and a reflective tone. Not bad at all.

    Then I skipped Phyllis and the USA for Africa bunch to watch the crowd dance to Glenn, so technically two movie tunes this time.

    1. Marc Almond was briefly in the video clip. I assume he isn't a very good surfer!

    2. Marc's so tiny I missed him!

    3. Marc Almond looked like he may have been more into the song than Jimmy with his performance.

      The Donna Summer version isn't superseded or equaled of course, however it does look like they have some fun playing around with it. And it's interesting in clearly stating the link between it and the Hi-NRG style of the time. So I feel ok with it.

  9. If you had told me two years ago that there would soon be a ToTP presenter more irritating than Peter Powell, I would have guffawed and said 'Not on YOUR life'. Turns out I was wrong, so well done for that Mike Smith.

    Dead Or Alive have the difficult task of following up a megahit - and pretty much fail. But, you know what?,I kind of like this, especially the rhyming couplet "so lonely - telephone me". The SAW production is a bit intrusive though.

    Simple Minds. Like Wilby, here is where me and the Minds part company. Compared to the really rather excellent Glittering Prize, and Someone Somewhere of a couple of years ago this is bombastic Stadium Rock of the worst kind. No wonder the Yanks liked it.

    Howerd Jones.Awful. Just awful.

    Of the Breakers; Chaka Khan is a decent effort and sounds like a Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis production (one of my favourite production teams of the 80s. Chris Rea's is also pretty good. I like his voice and his guitar style too. Dire straits records tend to fall into the 'love it' category (Sultans/Romeo/Latest Trick) or 'hate it' (Walk of Life/Twisting By The Pool/Money For Nothing) Annoyingly for me, this one plops slap bang in the middle. Couldn't care less about it.

    China Crisis. This isn't bad either, but unfortunately for this lot, their best songs and chart positions were behind them. The bass player here is Gary Johnson -who co-wrote their Flaunt The Imperfection album with Lundon and Daly, and whose sister I dated for a while.

    The assembled do-gooders of the American musical industry are top, and we play out with Glen Frey.

    A better musical offering after last week's atrocity, but we are still struggling to climb much above 5.

    Powell and Smith are patently NOT bezzies. Nor are they good enough actors to make us believe they are. Their interplay is embarrassing, their links contained a number of non-sequitors, and even combined their charisma is non-existent. 3.

    1. shakey, thanks to you i am now connected to my musical hero donald fagen within the "six degrees of kevin bacon" game:

      1 - me
      2 - you
      3 - gary johnson's sister
      4 - gary johnson (member of china crisis)
      5 - walter becker (producer of china crisis/co-founder of steely dan
      6 - donald fagen (fellow co-founder of steely dan

      also: i had to look up "non-sequitor" to sort-of remind me what it was (inanity that has little if anything to do with the subject matter at hand, as i understand it), but i still have no idea what a "bezzie" is

  10. Haha Wilby - so glad to have helped you. Its always good to get close to your heroes. As for 'bezzie' - its a slang thing common in Liverpool and probably loads of other places. It means 'best mate'.

    1. not that i'd actually want to meet the don, even if he happened to live next door to me - he may be a brilliant musician and songwriter, but is by reputation somewhat of a curmudgeon to go with it!

  11. Thanks Neil B once again for the opportunity. Not the best show it has to be said but it had its moments. Nice smart tie from Mr Smith.

    Dead or Alive – Lover come back to me – Very similar to the big hit, just not as good. The eyepatch is getting a bit old hat now.

    Simple Minds – Don’t you forget about me – I admired rather than particularly liked Simple Minds. This was probably their most famous song (no1 in the States) eclipsing even their no1 ‘Belfast Child’ EP. Pure stadium rock with fists pumping….which this video ‘simply’ fails to conjure up.

    Howard Jones – Look Mama – Big in America? Two top ten hits there (this wasn’t one of them). This song demonstrated ‘reverse prophecy’ of the previous hit’s title.

    Breakers – Chaka Khan - Eye to Eye – Ugh horrible! Chris Rea – Stainsby Girls – At the time this came out there was a girl called Karen Stainsby working in my office. Guess how everyone referred to her! Dire Straits – So far away – Well I was at one of those 10 Wembley gigs and where I was sitting the band certainly were so far away. Good concert though. As for this being the first single, well either the record company or MK got it slightly wrong as they plonked ‘Walk of Life’ on the B Side! Bronski Beat & Marc Almond – I feel love – first we had the unnecessary Donna Summer remix and then we get this absolute stinker. If it ain’t broken don’t fix it!

    China Crisis – Black Man Ray – One of their finest. Smooth and lilting.

    Phyllis Nelson – Move closer – The slow progress to the top continued. I remember being pleasantly surprised that it went all the way. I never thought it would.

    USA for Africa – We are the World – Tears for Fears were marooned at no2 for the two weeks that this tosh was no1. FF

    Glenn Frey – The heat is on danceout – Mike got the ‘Fry’ right on the chart rundown and then PP reverts back to ‘Fray’ when introducing this and it looks like Mike is trying to correct him but can’t quite get the words in.

    1. If only Pete Burns had worn the patch over his other eye this time to confuse people...

    2. Or two eyepatches!

    3. it might have been a good idea for glen frey to have changed the spelling of his surname to look as it sounded (in the same manner as one andy somers did), so that ill-informed deejays wouldn't mispronounce it?

      as for the pete burns eyepatch: maybe that was down to his big gob attracting the wrong kind of attention from local "fans"?

  12. There was quite a lot to enjoy on this one, but not the presenters or hairstyles on display (as usual for this era)

    Dead Or Alive - Clearly not as immediate as their debut smash but it's still a pretty fine pop song.

    Simple Minds - I know it's been heard a million times and is not in any way credible, but for some strange reason I still really like this song. It's also one of the few that I can adequately do in karaoke - evidently Jim Kerr's range is the same as mine for this one.

    Howard Jones - Not his best single.

    Breakers - The Chaka Khan and Chris Rea songs are really dull. Usually I'd say the same about Dire Straits but 'So Far Away' is a rare example of one of their songs that I actually like. And it is incredible to think that it was the first one off the album!
    I don't mind the Bronski / Almond medley even though it's a bit of fluff. I prefer the 'Johnny Remember Me' section though.

    China Crisis - Nice enough if fairly insubstantial.

    And that's it, I refuse to comment on the drivel at No.1.

  13. So after a week of being back at work and being ill I find myself four behind again. Time for a TOTP week again then..

    Wasn't aware Dead or Alive had any other hits which is odd as I quite liked this one and would have enjoyed it at the time. Passed me by. Really nailing that SAW sound. .

    What has Smithey done to his hair!

    Now this is a classy tune from Simple Minds. Remember this song being everywhere at the time. Due to the film tie in I think I had them down as another US guitar band for a while,
    It's a quality video as well.

    PP still looks completely disinterested

    Howard up next. Look Mama doesn't bring back any memories. Must have heard it before but didnt leave a lasting impression. How many keyboards does he need. Liked the tune now though.

    Chaka Khan with the law of diminishing returns and ANOTHER concert video. Yawn..
    Chris Rea. Didn't know he'd had a hit in the 70s. Will have to check that out. This one isn't great though,
    Dire Straits. Had some great hits. And some dross. This being the latter I'm afraid.
    Bronski Beat. Good choice of cover. I do remember this but not realising it was a cover at the time. Hasn't aged well.

    China Crisis. Like this one. Discovered from these repeats.

    Smithey annoying PP was quite funny.

    Still find that Rah band song annoying. Can't get into it.

    Another chance to see Phyllis. Great tune.

    USA for Africa number one. Kenny got the tshirt

    A good show this week featuring all the new entires. They got the balance just right.

    Now back to the cold and flu remedy. ..

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  14. As others have mentioned Breakfast Club was a stand out film of the 80s. All us 80s kids watched it, and loved it,
    Saw it a couple of years ago and it's a bit dull with not a lot happening. Couldn't say that at the time though, that's was not cool.