Thursday, 8 February 2018

Top of the Pops Up My Heart

So we begin a marathon weekend of Top of the Pops with this live edition from March 7th 1985.

When it's your 50th time on Top of the Pops

07/03/85 (Janice Long & John Peel)

Shakin’ Stevens – “Breaking Up My Heart” (15)
Someone's given Shaky way too much Lucozade as he gets tonight's show underway. One of his most contemporary sounding songs, it went up one more place.

Madonna – “Material Girl” (5) (video)
Despite all the diamonds around her neck, it was nice to see that it was the bunch of daisies that won her over in the end. Went up two more places.

Jermaine Jackson – “Do What You Do” (18)
An actual Jackson in the studio. Peaked at number 6.

Loose Ends – “Hanging On A String (Contemplating)” (37) (breaker)
Their joint biggest hit, peaking at number 13.

Go West – “We Close Our Eyes” (31) (breaker)
Their only top ten hit, peaking at number 5.

Philip Bailey & Phil Collins – “Easy Lover” (20) (breaker)
The next number one.

David Cassidy – “The Last Kiss” (11)
An actual 70's icon in the studio. And Janice admitted to 'having him on her wall' surprising John Peel by her agility! This dramatic song featuring George Micheal no less on backing vocals peaked at number 6.

Dead Or Alive – “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” (1)
First of two weeks at number one.

Daryl Hall & John Oates – “Method Of Modern Love” (25) (audience dancing/credits)
Peaked at number 21.

Tonight on BBC1

Next is March 14th, but Mike Smith is hosting......


  1. Shakin Stevens - umpteenth time on TOTP, and still gyrating those hips, and what with the balloons back in the TOTP studio, it seemed like a throwback to 1981-82 where Shakin enjoyed the most success in the charts.

    Madonna - I remember absolutely loving this new video with its Marilyn Monroe-style antics, and all the splendour of the bright pink outfits. A well deserved entry into the Top 5 this week, with more to come.

    Jermaine Jackson - one of the Jacksons in the TOTP studio? Another big coup for TOTP after Don Henley a couple of weeks back. The song itself is an all time classic, even though Jermaine was not noted for a hits catalogue.

    Phil Collins & Philip Bailey - Good Lord, how did these two get together to collaborate on a single? I mean Genesis and Earth Wind & Fire were hardly similar in their type of music!

  2. shakin stevens: actually peelie wasn't that far out by saying he was 50 - he was actually pushing 40 at this point, which back then was a methusalah in pop terms. yet despite that he still kept churning out chart singles. so who exactly was it who kept this guy in business - was it those that bought his early stuff like "this ole house", or a new breed? whoever, the mind boggles at his persistent success with his banal tunes and lack-of-charisma. this time synths have now crept into the recording, although it still sounds old fashioned. and what's with the persistent uppercuts - was he thinking of taking on frank bruno or something?

    jermaine jackson: nearly ten years on from splitting with his bro's thanks to marrying the boss's daughter, jermaine finally makes a chart breakthrough (in blighty, at least). as my dim memory of it confirmed, it's a pleasant enough well-crafted and arranged ballad (if of-its-time - sanborn-style sax noodling alert!), and his relaxed deeper-voiced style is actually much more preferable to wacko's frantic gibbering. but although it's a "live" show it's quite obvious he's miming

    david cassidy: i wasn't particularly looking forward to hearing his comeback song again after many years, as my recollection was it was rather overblown (a bit like his blond mullet ho ho). but it starts off subtly enough, even if the r*lf h*rris wobbleboard effect soon gets on one's nerves. but once the syn drums kick in it soon gets as bombastic and headache-inducing as i remember it

    hall & oates: is this really the same act that did the magical "i can't go for that"? unlike that track where they effortlessly caught the groove, on this they're trying way too hard (the heavily-gated snare is particularly annoying) and coming up short accordingly. and there's not much in the way of a tune either. rather amusingly spare part mr oates "sings" the main line in the video as well as his partner, although it's quite clearly only hall on the actual recording!

    1. Nothing that David Cassidy could bring out would better his 1973 monster hit Daydreamer, not even this lame tune The Last Kiss.

    2. We did see Jermaine on TOTP back in 1980 with Let's Get Serious, which got to 8 in the UK charts.

    3. apologies john - i had forgotten about that one! he was still hardly giving brother wacko (nor the rest for that matter) sleepness nights in the hit single stakes though...

    4. George Michaels backing vocals are quite evident as the song progresses

  3. This edition of TOTP (according to the ratings blog) attracted 9.19m viewers. On the same day John Craven's Newsround had 4.5m and Crossroads 13.83m.

    I can't recall hearing this Shaky song before - aside from Merry Christmas Everyone, I can't remember any of his hits after 1984 - and his butt shaking to the gated drums around halfway through was wholly unnecessary.

    Nice to have some decent hosts for a change with Peelie on good form.

    1. 4.5 million for Newsround :-)
      Eastenders struggles to get that these days!

    2. Eastenders would've been beaten by the Sooty Show too which got 5 million viewers!

  4. totp 14th March 1985 (thanks Neil B.) is here:

  5. JP and JL at the helm giving us an enthusiastic intro and some very cosy and witty links….

    Shakin’ Stevens – Breaking up my heart – Don’t recall this at all. Congrats to Shaky on reaching 50 and seemingly leaving all the balloons intact and then collapsing at the end. Funnily enough the picture sleeve of this single has Shaky performing amongst balloons.

    Madonna – Material Girl – A slick video and song spoilt only by that irritating ‘ring ring’ sound throughout.

    Jermaine Jackson – Do what you do – A Jackson hit I actually like…shock horror! A ground mist seems to have got up during this performance.

    Breakers – Loose ends sounded quite dreadful. I was never keen on ‘Go West’ and they always brought to mind Village People, plus the dancing in the video looked pretty wooden. Finally Phil and Phil giving the illusion that the making of the ‘Chinese Wall’ album was all a big hoot whereas Phil’s account of it in his book says otherwise. The EWF connection to Phil and Genesis began with the ‘Abacab’ album in 1981 with the track ‘No Reply at all’. This however, was a fabulous record from the sessions and whatever else they may have cooked up, at least it wasn’t a complete waste of time. No mention of David Essex’s ‘Falling Angels rising’ on the breakers and just as well really as it’s not one of his best.

    David Cassidy – The Last Kiss – The last big hit sadly, although ‘I am a Clown’ remains his best single for me. You can hear George in the background but he doesn’t get a credit on the sleeve of the single and I never realised until recently that he was the backing vocalist. Like Janice I knew lots of girls in my class at school who (in 1972) had DC on their walls, exercise books, pencil name it.

    Dead or Alive – You spin me round – Welcome no1 for those much celebrated producers getting everybody spinning onto the dance floor. Curiously the only top10 hit for Dead or Alive.

    Hall & Oates – Methods of Modern Love – Not to be confused with ‘Methods of Dance’ by Japan. A laid back beat for a playout.

    Nice picture of the Fowler children on the Radio Times cutting showing the original Mark played by David Scarboro who sadly took his own life at Beachy Head. Meanwhile in Miss Marple we see the Fifth Doctor Peter Davison after he had left the show and after he had appeared in a production of ‘Anna of the Five Towns’ which the BBC don’t seem to want to give a DVD release. Former Black Beauty star ‘Stacy Dorning’ also appears.

    1. Speaking of Doctor Who, it was at about this point in time that Michael Grade put the show on hiatus, even while Colin Baker's first full series was still being broadcast. Ian Levine's diabolical "Doctor in Distress" single was released a week after this show, and the BBC refused to play it because it was so bad! Mind you, that might have been a convenient excuse, as they probably wouldn't have wanted to play it even if it had been any good...

    2. In fact at this point of time they were broadcasting 'Timelash', one of the all time worst Dr Who stories. The next (and last story in this Colin Baker season) was the much better 'Revelation of the Daleks'.

      A feww weeks earlier had seen the broadcast of a skit called 'A Fix with Sontarans' which feaured on a certain former ToTP presenter's long running Saturday evening show.

    3. I picked up the Timelash DVD a couple of years ago (for completion sake) and it is still bloody awful. Couldn't make it to part two.

      Remember the hiatus well - thought the show was dead and buried for a while but thankfully it came back.

      The single was really bad wasn't it. I remember some of Bucks Fizz being dragged into it and Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant being let loose on it.
      Really not great...

  6. I noticed the dozy continuity announcer at the start got the original transmission date for this show wrong. In any case, this is where the Janice & John partnership became a regular fixture, and you can tell from this how much they enjoy one another's company. It's a different relationship from the Peel-Kid one - much more flirtatious for one thing - but no less enjoyable for all that. JP's comment on Janice's "agility" was incredibly near the knuckle, but she gets her own dig in when describing Paige/Dickson as Peel "discoveries."

    Last week's breakers dominate this week's show. On this single Shaky finally seems to have realised it's the 80s, adopting a much more contemporary production. I vaguely recall this one from the time, though I haven't heard it since, and it's actually a decent effort. Just a shame Shaky chooses to jerk around the stage like he has soiled his pants, though his theatrical collapse at the end is quite fun. Madge next, with her theme tune. This is the first song of hers I remember hearing at the time, and the Gentlemen Prefer Blondes video helped to sear it in my memory. It's a bouncy, perky, well-produced tune, though I don't think it is quite top drawer - incidentally, does anyone really think a bunch of daisies would be enough to woo Madge, of all people?

    Jermaine Jackson graces the studio with his presence, though it's a shame he had to bring that peculiar afro mullet and dreadful shiny top as well. A smooth, soulful ballad anyway, though not one you can get that excited about. I will reserve comment on Loose Ends and Go West until they appear in full, but the video for the former was surprisingly lavish. As for the latter's promo, I didn't like the clunky graphics or Peter Cox's vest at the time, and I like them even less now...

    I wasn't aware until recently that David Cassidy had an 80s comeback, as I have no memory of this at all. Cliff had actually recorded it with different lyrics (under the title "Young Love") four years earlier, but it looks as if Cassidy wrote the new lyrics himself. It all sounds a bit monotonous to me, even at the end when it unexpectedly goes all Meat Loaf! The former heartthrob had already lost his youthful good looks by this point, and developed the rather sinister visage he would have for the rest of his life - the blonde mullet makes him look worse here.

    We get a brief snatch of Stephen Duffy's video, an unfortunate excerpt to choose really as it features two animated characters getting intimate with their tongues. Dead or Alive are once again in the studio to celebrate their incredible ascent to the top, and Pete has decided to wear a lily for some reason. A Mike Read-lookalike then hogs much of the screen time during the Hall & Oates playout. Just before that, BBC4 rather strangely edited out Janice's mention of next week's presenters, even though she said it would be Gary Davies and Dickie Skinner, not Smitty. What a shame it wasn't Dickie in the end...

    1. just yo say that "material girl" was co-written by a guy called peter brown, a 70's disco artist who was a proto-version of the other mid-80's superstar emerging at this point (prince) due to pretty much playing everything on his own records, including this club hit:

    2. also john i agree with you on the suspect nature of jermaine's "afro mullet". but at least he didn't have a tache, unlike most black musicians of that era for whom it seemed to be de riguer (and deeply uncool in retrospect - i bet many of those guys now cringe at the thought of their younger selves wearing the stupid things!)

  7. totp 21st March 1985 is here:

    1. And here is 28th March:

    2. Good Lord, teamwork or what?

    3. You're on overtime Angelo, so get to work lol!

  8. I've been off work all week, as my boss is on holiday in Paris, so I've decided to return to the fold to comment on this week's episode.

    As some of you have pointed out, Shaky had updated his sound - possibly in a bid to conquer the US, and also to appeal to a broader audience. Alas, the Americans would not warm to him despite some TV exposure over there. He would continue to score regular Top 20 hits in Britain until the end of the 80s, when his fortunes would sharply decline.

    It cannot be denied that Madonna is one of the most successful female singers of all time, and 'Material Girl' - in common with most of her numerous smash hits from the 80s and 90s - has stood the test of time. I remember Cheryl Baker covering the song on ITV's 'The Funny Side' with a backing band that included The Royle Family's Ricky Tomlinson on banjo - you can find it on YT.

    With 'Do What You Do', Jermaine Jackson was granted a deserved if brief taste of the spotlight as a soloist. The sublime ballad would have been equally suited to his more successful brother, but it belonged to Jermaine - who was in some ways a superior singer to the late Michael, though not the worldbeating showman that the latter undoubtedly was.

    Loose Ends - including former Jam part-timer Steve Nichol - made a promising start to their middling chart career with an original composition that would make them the first British band to top the R&B chart in the US. Session work and musical arrangements for future chart regulars Five Star would follow, along with an underrated cover of Bowie's 'Golden Years'.

    After Go West's bid to engage the growing stadium rock audience, the two Phils outdo them with an even slicker piece of work. Do you remember the joint CBS-Virgin labels that some British and Irish copies of the single carried?

    David Cassidy made a welcome if fleeting comeback on disc with 'The Last Kiss', which he co-wrote with seasoned British hit songwriter and producer Alan Tarney. It would be the former teen idol's final British Top 10 hit, though he would subsequently appear in the West End musical 'Time', and also in 'Blood Brothers' on Broadway alongside Petula Clark CBE and his real half-brother, 'Hardy Boys' star Shaun Cassidy. Both David and George Michael - who provided backing vocals on 'The Last Kiss' - are greatly missed talents.

    I was never a fan of 'You Spin Me Round', but Hall & Oates' sleek offering deserves to be covered by Mick Hucknall.

    1. Nice to see you back for a one-off, Julie, pop literate as ever.

  9. Fifty appearances for Shaky as here he looks in danger of putting his back out. Do you think he was miming? He reminded me of Bob Mortimer's dancing on Shooting Stars. As for the song, inoffensive bit of pop, but not up to his earworm standards.

    Madonna next with one of the anthems of the 80s, a great single with ultra-cynical lyrics and polished production (Nile Rodgers, I think). No matter what Peelie says, it was actually Keith Carradine in the classic video.

    Now Jermaine Jackson is singing live judging by his ad libs, and if he had recorded this song now it would be called Do What You Do Do, because everyone says do-do instead of just do these days, even though do-do means poo and one do is more than sufficient. Anyway, all very slick but a shade too plastic to be truly soulful. Lest we forget, Jermaine named one of his sons Jermajesty, which is in no way a stupid name.

    The Breakers we'll see again, especially that last one, so onto David Cassidy, legs akimbo and looking weird and creepy as he emotes through what starts moody and ends up way over the top. At least he was moving with the times sonically.

    Dead or Alive, rightly at number one with a fine slice of pop dance. The day after he was on TOTP, Pete Burns was chased down the street by a crowd of teenage girls in Liverpool. Not because they loved him, because they wanted to beat him up - they were screaming "You fat f*cking p**f!" all the way. No pleasing some people.

    Hall and Oates with a forgotten single I rather like, a catchy little number with clever-clever arrangement and gimmicky chorus, but I like the production and still find this popping into my head sometimes.

    1. i never knew about jermaine's amusingly if ridiculously-named son - that puts bolan and bowie junior to shame! perhaps like the dame's scion, jackson junior now prefers to be known by something more prosaic? by the way, i have long-thought it rather a rather stupid custom for someone to be given a name that they are intended to be stuck with for life (and that could even affect that life accordingly), when they are nothing but a screaming bundle of piss and shit

      also: maybe the local reaction to pete burns' success was the reason he started an exercise regime that involved running several miles a day?

  10. Shakey Shakerson9 February 2018 at 03:08

    Another proper curates egg of a show tonight, but at least our hosts were smart and engaging - especially Peel whose 'agility' remark appeared to completely throw Ms Long.

    Shakin Stevens. Holds no place in my memory bank at all, this one. A more contempory feel to it, but all the trademark Shakey dance moves are present and correct if a bit too fast for the tempo of the song. During the double drumbeat bits he - in order- does a double fist pump, a double chest pump and then finally a double arse pump. The last three words of which are a perfectly apt way to describe the song.

    Madonna. This falls into her early 'meh' run of singles that did nothing for me. Her mid-period run was loaded with some great tunes, though, inc Las Isla Bonita, Papa Don't Preach and many more. A few more years before we get to them sadly.

    Jermajesty's dad. (Dont all his children have weird names beginning with J?) Ropey haircut, ropey miming, ropey song - although I think I quite liked it back in 85.

    Breakers. Go West. I much preferred King Of Wishful Thinking. Naff vid. Loose Ends - a new sound for British soul music. Really rather brilliant. Phil & Phillip. Much to be said about this, but plenty of time to do so in the weeks ahead.

    David Cassidy. Peak mullet time for the former Partridge.The pretty boy face may have aged, but the vocals are still good enough to hold a song which doesn't really go anywhere, albeit in a pleasant way.

    Pirate Pete at number one and Hall & Oates playing Boggle to see us out.

    Scores. Peel and Long settling into their partnership nicely. A natural sounding interplay, genuine warmth between them and Peel's customary wit. A fine job. 8.

    We're still struggling to run up a decent score on the music front. In fact, if anything, this is a worse set of songs than the last edition 3.

    1. The speed we're getting through these reruns, two per week on BBC4, two Smitty shows per month and goodness knows what other reason for 'no shows', we'll be up to the Madonna 'True Blue' era in no time. I'm with you there Shakey, this was Madonna's golden era although we've got the wonderful 'Crazy for you' coming up very shortly.

  11. Jermaine Jackson’s children are called Jermaine La Juane, Autumn Joy, Jaimy Jermaine, Jeremy Maldonado, Jourdynn Michael, Jaafar and Jermajesty.

    On a similar note, my mum and her three siblings were all born in the same month and given first names starting with the letter “J”, which was also the first letter of their dad’s name!

  12. Thank goodness for Peel and Long, as the music in this edition was pretty ropey.

    Shaky at least was entertaining, maybe he'd had a few shandies in the BBC bar beforehand to celebrate appearance No.50? The song isn't bad, at least it isn't another rock'n'roll throwback.

    Jermaine's song bores me, but I like the first 2 breakers. Neither of which we'll see ih full on BBC4 I believe. The Loose Ends track is very of its time but unlike most mid-80s soul, there's something that endears it to me. And I loved the Go West video at the time! Less so now though, I admit.

    David Cassidy - I think I said before that I think his songs were uniformly awful. The only good thing about him turning up here is that we wouldn't have got the hilarious Peel link afterwards otherwise.

    Dead Or Alive - Shame they get shoved on a tiny stage. Nobody else has mentioned this, but the song sounds subtly different this time too. It seems like there are extra keyboard flourishes at the start and end of the verses.

    Since Peelie did his Russ Abbot / Joy Division joke again, I shall mention here that 'Method Of Modern Love' was a song title also used by Saint Etienne though sadly no-one bought their single.

    4 more to get through before next week? God help me...

  13. The most joyfully presented show in the re-run with both hosts smiley and playful, especially Peelie. Who’d have ever thought it?

    With his striped jacket and rolled up sleeves and a synthy number, Shakey reminded me more of Glenn Frey. Must’ve got through some calories with that routine.

    Janice, love, I don’t think Madonna’s been a virgin for years!

    A smooth enough song from Jermaine, who must have had freezing feet after all that low lying dry ice.

    I thought Loose Ends’ video was a bit ropey. Boom boom tish!

    I hated those wooden dummies in the Go West video – not, not the band members! Didn’t the awful Jim Davidson era “Generation game” give out booby prizes which look a bit like them? Enough said.

    That’s a big chopper, Phils. Ooer!

    Oo! David Cassidy wearing a cummerbund. A decent performance but the song’s ticking rhythm and bloopy background noise were unbearable.

    Keep it together during the vids, Janice!

    Errgh, that Tin Tin one was awful. I liked those lantern Commodore mics.

    Before the O-U-T-R-O, we get Pete Burns disposing of something (a flower?) from his mouth pre- vocals, and Dead Or Alive monochrome co-ordinated but a song full of colour and vibrancy.

  14. It's half term week.
    Wifey is at work
    Son on the PS4

    So one a day we go...

    Hooray - JP is back and with the lovely Janice too. What a great pairing these two are. Uncool father and embarrassed daughter..
    And a "live" show too.

    Shakey kicks us off with a number I was unfamiliar with until last week. Much more 80s than 50s and all the better for it. 50 appearances it quiet some achievement. Biggest selling male artist of the 80s - no surprise there..

    Remember this video well. Probably my introduction to Madonna. Loved this song then and now. And a great video. Really thought this was a number one... memory cheats..

    JP has the flowers...funny...

    A lesser known "Jackson" up next. This song has come back to me now. It is a nice song but very much in the Jacksons/Michael style. Can imagine my Mum liking this one.
    A good performance, easy to see why this went Top Ten, worth the trip over for Jermaine. One of his kids is called Jer-Majesty if I recall correctly.

    Breakers time:
    Loose Ends - Classic record. Not seen the video before.
    Go West - I love this song. One of my sing-a-long songs at the time.. Amazed this was their only Top Ten.
    Phil and Philip with another of 11 year old me's favourites of the year. Although it quickly became "cheesy lover" in the school playground. So where was Philip Bailey from?

    A load of new entries this week - could really have done with a longer show! Paul Young missing out this week I think.. oh well.

    Then onto Jason Donovan (sorry David Cassidy) with a bloody awful record and an even worse shirt..

    Dead or Alive - Hooray - a great 80s number one. Was this a repeat or a pre-record? Didn't seem live???

    Nice H+O song on play out.
    Nice little edition of TOTP that. Great presenters as well.

    Right off to get some homework and SATS revision done with the 11 year old...

    Same time tomorrow...?

    1. for morgie and others possibly unaware: philip bailey was a long-time member of earth, wind & fire (and still leads the current touring version). band founder and head honcho maurice white's baritone took the main vocal on the majority of their material, but the golden falsetto of bailey would usually also feature in some way at some point. and sometimes as the lead too, as on this beautiful track (that blows away piffle like "easy lover" off the grid in my opinion):

    2. Thanks Wilberforce. Earth Wind and Fire a few years before my time,