Thursday, 8 February 2018

Welcome to the Top of the Pops

It's March 28th 1985 and yet another Mike Smith edition of Top of the Pops that can't be shown on BBC4. But once again (thanks to Neil B again?) here it is on We Transfer

Holly shows why he's head and shoulders above the rest

28/03/85  (Peter Powell & Mike Smith)

Frankie Goes To Hollywood – “Welcome To The Pleasure Dome” (5)
This title track from their number one album peaked at number 2.

Alison Moyet – “That Ole Devil Called Love” (2)
At its peak.

The Damned – “Grimly Fiendish” (33) (breaker)
Peaked at number 21.

The Cool Notes – “Spend The Night” (31) (breaker)
Their biggest hit, peaking at number 11.

King – “Won’t You Hold My Hand Now” (26) (breaker)
Went up two more places.

David Grant & Jaki Graham – “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love?” (24) (breaker)
Peaked at number 5.

Tears For Fears – “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” (16)
From their number 2 album, Songs From the Big Chair, this single also peaked at number 2.

Go West – “We Close Our Eyes” (8)
Went up three more places.

Philip Bailey & Phil Collins – “Easy Lover” (1) (video)
Second of four weeks at number one.

Bruce Springsteen – “Cover Me” (18) (audience dancing/credits)
Went up two more places.

And back to BBC4 next for April 4th 1985.


  1. Long time reader of this blog since Simon's day, first time commenting and it's to thank Angelo for putting it all together with these Smitty shows. Well done it is appreciated.

    1. Cheers Paddyowl! I don't think we've ever had quite so many editions to squeeze into such a short space of time before!

    2. Well played Angelo. Might fine work!

      Thanks also to our contraband provider.

  2. frankie: it's rather incredible that this was as successful as it was, given it's just a mish-mash of their first two hits. but then again the first of those got as high as this did for a second time (having previously been a chart topper) when the second one also hit the summit, so frankie-mania obviously still wasn't over. however on a longer-term basis they probably did themselves no favours in releasing this, as it clearly indicated they were already barrel-scraping in terms of creativity. i can't remember if i got the double meaning of the term "pleasure dome" (ooh er, missus!) at the time or not

    tears for fears: this shuffle is musically quite chipper by their standards, although as such it deflects from the lyrics that are as pessimistic as ever. i liked it quite a lot at the time, especially the two guitar breaks (that were actully played by two different people - roland did one, and a session guy the other). but i've long-since OD'ed on it - not helped by being (mis)appropriated for charidee purposes a year or two later

    go west: i've commented on this track in an earlier edition, but the clip of this particular performance of it on yt also features the first bit of the chart countdown beforehand. and in the anchor position sits what was for me one of the finest releases of the year in "let's go together" by change. but more about that in the next entry

    the boss: wasn't this featured as a playout track on another show a few months back? going back to frankie: much as i loathe it, they would have been much-better advised to have released their version of his so-called classic "born to run" as a fourth single from their debut album, in order to distract from their own lack of songwriting ideas

    1. The Frankie GTH new entry was the highlight of the show for me, and great to see it first up on the show. I particularly likes the lyric, " There goes a supernova, what a pushover-yeah", and "I will give you diamonds by the shower, love your body even when it's old".

      I remember blurting these lyrics out in school in the playground, having just turned 17 at the time as a sixth-former and also feeling a bit sentimental that my days in the grammar school playground were coming to an end with the new 11-12 year-old first-years taking over the lions share of it.

  3. Could It Be I’m Falling In Love is another of those, like California Girls, where I wonder what was the point of a cover. Though in this case I suppose it's not as well known a song, indeed I wouldn't have known the original at the time. Though now I recognise it as being from a classic album and as being what many see as Thom Bell's finest album too.

    Tears for Fears, obviously an 85 classic. Probably a surprise to many that it didn't get to number 1, their album also stalling at number 2 (maybe even more surprisingly).

    Frankie, while not arguably as good as the comparable first two singles I still found this fun. And it re-established what their main sound was after the Christmas ballad.

  4. What's that, Holly? You're going to round 'em up, put 'em in a field, and bomb the bastards? Anyway, really liked this tune at the time, though looking back I hear that was mostly thanks to the production. Apparently the lyrics were a reference to Coleridge, though I imagine that old reprobate Kenneth Anger's short film Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome had a lot to do with it too, maybe even more so.

    Alison resplendent in a frightful nightie for her biggest hit, at least she has company this time.

    Then the Breakers, Grimly Fiendish is one of my favourite Damned ditties, probably because I remember the comic strip they got the title from (in Monster Fun, I think?). Showed they had more strings to their bow, and this lightly menacing effort was one of their best, if not biggest, of the 80s.

    Then The Cool Notes, very formulaic but fair as far as that went. Don't recall this being the hit it was. The King track I didn't recognise till the chorus, it's OK. David and Jackie, well, she had one of my favourite singles of the 80s, and this ho-hum cover wasn't it.

    Those old miseryguts Tears for Fears back with the comparatively jaunty Rule the World, same big, chunky sound and one of their better tunes. It did get played to death, though.

    Go West - still not fussed, and the same goes for the Phils. I will watch their video again, I promise, I just got sick of it at the time.

    The Boss to end on, with an original composition I don't think anyone has covered, so neh to you, Bruce.

    1. Apparently Grimly was in a few comics according to Wikipedia, Wham!, Pow! and Smash! comics from the 1960s, as well as Cor!, Shiver & Shake, Monster Fun and Buster in the 1970s and 1980s.

      Created by Leo Baxendale who also did several Beano characters like The Bash Street Kids. Just found out he died last year.

    2. He did, sadly, Leo Baxendale was an inspired artist, created some wonderful strips.

    3. Apart from his Beano characters I was particularly fond of Willy the Kid, I had two books of that character he created in the late 70s, where he could let his imagination full reign.

    4. Nice "Cover Me" quip there, THX. Boom boom tish!

  5. PP and Smitty seem to have something of a bromance developing, with lots of playful "bantz" during this show. Did they see themselves as the new Rhythm Pals? Anyway, nice to have PP smiling again.

    Anyone else think Holly looked ever so slightly camp in that military dictator's uniform? Frankie revert to their signature sound here, but this is just different enough, with a strong chorus, to avoid being overly derivative - even so, the band's imperial phase was now coming to an end. Alf brings along a backing band with her this time, but I don't think that tent-like coat was a good idea.

    The Damned's pleasingly gothic tune (great title, by the way) is the only one of these breakers that won't be on again, which is rather a shame - I like the dungeon-set video too. Their biggest hit, of course, was still to come, whereas Tears For Fears now turn up in the studio with what would soon become theirs, with Curt looking rather greasy. Like others on this forum I did reach a point where I never wanted to hear this again after it got played to death, but recently I have come once more to appreciate the excellence of the production and arrangement. Smitty is running on the spot like a loon at the end of the performance, which in retrospect is rather appropriate given the way the song got rechristened for Sport Aid the following year.

    Go West are back, ditching the leather for a Miami Vice look, but it doesn't make me like the song any better. Cover Me closes the show, climbing back up the charts having already been used as the playout a few months earlier, in October 1984.

    1. My feeling on the Frankie GTH track going straight in No.5 this week, is that the public had still not shaken off Frankie mania at this point, as their hugely successful 1984 was only months earlier, and this new one for 1985 was still right up there to warrant top 5 status, but simultaneously also the beginning of the decline for them, only getting to No.2 with Welcome To The Pleasuredome.

      Suffice to say that the superb 8-minute video for this, is more like something out of The Fantastic Journey, a 70s American series set in the Bermuda Triangle with Jared Martin and Roddy McDowell. Wonder if anyone remembers this TV series on BBC1?

    2. Yeah, I remember Fantastic Journey! It's one of my earliest TV memories, I used to watch it at my gran's house. I found it a bit scary, but when I found a episode on YT a few years back, I tried to watch it only it was kind of boring after so many years, alas.

    3. Ah yes, Jared Martin; Dusty Farlow!

    4. Yes, Dusty Farlow in Dallas was probably Jared Martin's biggest role and recognition to British viewers, but even before that, we had him on the The Fantastic Journey TV Series with his famous worried look in practically all conversations with fellow cast members. Rowdy McDowell as his co-star on Fantastic Journey was first known more famously for the original Planet Of The Apes movies from the 60s.

  6. Interesting to see that the Cool Notes with Spend The Night was in the same chart this week as Phyllis Nelson's future No.1 Move Closer. I'm feeling a lovers love-in coming on, a-la John Lennon & Yoko Ono, and then staying in bed the follow day while in frisky mode.

    Springsteen's Cover Me seemed to be another re-release a-la Third World's Now That We Found Love. I don't think this was TV-Commercial influenced, but rather because of The Boss's recent top 5 success with Dancing In The Dark, the record company looked to dust off the previous failed releases like Cover Me to get second time success, much like Prince had with the hugely successful 1999/Little Red Corvette at the start of 1985, when it was originally released in 1983 and flopped.

  7. Thanks again Neil B? Not one of the best episodes music wise for me and boy weren’t the hosts irritating towards the end?

    Frankie goes to Hollywood – Welcome to the Pleasure Dome – Return to the dross of the first two hits after the wonderful ‘Power of Love’. The novelty and hype were surely wearing a bit thin by now? FF

    Alison Moyet – That ole Devil – FF

    Breakers – didn’t like any of ‘em!

    Tears for Fears – Everybody wants to rule the World – One of two ‘Magic FM’ staples and classics on the show. So this didn’t make no1 in the UK (unlike such ‘classic contemporaries’ such as ‘Candy Girl’ by New Edition and later ‘Jack your Body’ by Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley) but did hit the top in the USA. The notes in the Billboard book of no1 hits explain that one more song was needed to complete the ‘Songs from the Big Chair’ album and they had three to choose from. Producer Chris Thomas liked a half finished song that Roland was working on but didn’t rate. Hughes insisted that Roland completed the lyrics and added a guitar line and the rest is history. The guitar solo at the end is played by session man Neil Taylor, rather than Roland as he appears to do in this performance.

    Go West – We close our eyes – Still can’t get too excited about this song.

    Phil Bailey and Phil Collins – Easy Lover - …didn’t get to no1 in the USA.

    Bruce Springsteen - Cover me dance out – Not a patch on the previous hit which it had no doubt been reignited by, just like Pat Benatar.

  8. Another one of those unseen shows has appeared today, from 29/01/70. Don't know how long it will be up for on YT but it contains the wonderful 'Sympathy' by Rare Bird, the first Charisma hit, which I have never seen before.

    1. Wasn't Jimmy Saville presenting the show every week from 1964 to 1972 with no other presenters to join him?

      It's interesting that in the chart rundown at the start of this 29th Jan 1970 show that Chicago was at No.12, and exactly 15 years later in Feb 1985 had their last ever hit in Britain with the top 20 hit You're The Inspiration which incidentally we have just had in the current 1985 re-runs.

      And what about Jonathan King at No.26 in this same Jan 1970 chart , and then also having his last hurrah on TOTP in February 1985 with his last appearance in the studio to present the US hits section? Eeery, in that both phenomena lasted nearly a generation in the TOTP story, and both bowing out in early 1985.

    2. I don't know why people put things up where they will just be taken down,maybe they don't want to keep them up long.

    3. I liked the most uptempo songs in that 1970 edition, so Rare Bird wasn't one of my favourites.

    4. Dory - Jim'll was never the sole presenter of TOTP. During the 60s he would normally only host once every three or four weeks - originally Alan Freeman, Pete Murray and David Jacobs were the other presenters, and later in the decade Simon Dee and Stuart Henry both hosted for a while. For some reason, during 1970-71 Jim'll and Tony Blackburn were the only presenters, so in that period JS would normally appear every other week.

  9. Dory - did you watch the 1970 edition? The Chicago song 'I'm a Man' is featured with Pans People dancing to it. It's quite the most energetic and frenetic routine I have ever seen by the girls and one of my favourites!

    The song itself is a cover of the Spencer Davis Group hit from a few years earlier, sung and co-written by Steve Winwood. Chicago's version featured Terry Kath, Peter Cetera and Robert Lamm singing the three verses. and the routine can be viewed in islotion here:-

    Somebody has offered up their own thoughts on 'You're the Inspiration' in the comments section!

    1. It's quite startling how much harder Chicago's sound was in the early years. The follow-up hit to I'm a Man, 25 or 6 to 4, is my favourite single of theirs.

    2. Checkout the live version on YT John. Recorded at Tanglewood. Terry Kath was a genius guitarist.

    3. Thanks for the tip sct. That was indeed a remarkable performance from Terry Kath - what a shame he tossed his life away so stupidly.

  10. Points for Pete for mentioning Big Daddy’s hit was an EP, points deducted for joining in Shitty’s stupid renaming of hit acts at the top end of the video section.

    Talking of which, I was intrigued enough to watch the video for ”Wide Boy” tonight for the first time. Brilliant straight faced comedic acting by Nik Kershaw, obviously not taking himself seriously – something Howard Jones could never have done.

    Holly Johnson looking like an emperor traffic warden, a vested interest by most of the band, and a cobbled-together slower tempo rehash of Frankie’s first two hits.

    Erm, Pete, more points deducted for forgetting we’d already been told Alison Moyet’s single was released by public demand. You’re nuts! Nice camouflage there, Alf.

    It’s The Damned sounding like The Goth Smiths with a torch song. Ahem.

    The Cool Notes ladies miming the blokes’ backing vocals? Great video editing there.

    King with “Won’t you Buy My Song Now”?, their smallest hit and you could see why. So it was the drummer who was the hired hand for TOTP outings then.

    I always had a bit of a crush on Jaki Graham. Just out of shot you would have seen the jilted Sketch from Linx huffing at David with arms folded.

    I never tire of this Tears For Fears classic. Great rhythm, great guitars, excellent fist pump mid-solo. Not so sure about Curt “Rambo” Smith’s Muscle top.

    Go West aren’t on video! Black vests this time to avoid us seeing any oil or sweat. Urrgh! Another tune I don’t really tire of, which I can’t say about the chart topper.

    “Cover Me”? I wish they’d cover those hosts in blankets and wheel them off.

  11. I forgot to say about Frankie...HOO HAH!!

    1. Indeed, it seems the words Hoo Hah on this record was as frequent as the words Welcome To The Pleasuredome. I still like this one as much as their first two hits Relax and Two Tribes.

  12. I fast forwarded through most of this one, Smitty being in 'unfunny prick' mode again didn't help.

    FGTH - I think this is a really good song, though if they wanted to keep the momentum up they probably should've released it a bit earlier in the year. The album version really showcases the excellent production.

    Breakers - The Damned song is OK, though I prefer some of their later 80s output. The Cool Notes is bland mid 80s soul, King's song pretty nondescript and Grant / Graham's cover is alright but nothing special.

    Tears For Fears - Nothing particularly wrong with it but yet another one from this era that I've heard / played quite enough.

    And that's pretty much it for the new stuff, we've even heard Bruce before!

    1. You could say that Welcome To The Pleasuredome was Frankie GTH's first 'failure', i.e. their first one not to reach No.1, after their first three singles did, and so yes, they lost their momentum by releasing this one quite late (in momentum terms) after The Power Of Love.

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  14. and here we are again.. this time with a very annoying Smithy, but at least he put some life into PP so job done.

    Frankie up first, scraping the bottom of the barrel and desperately in need of a tune. Easily the weakest of their 4 singles but clearly the public had not had enough of them quite yet - that bubble will burst boys!

    ALF up next with this OK cover - seems to have turned some old 70s curtains into a coat.

    Breakers more miss than hit again this week.
    Didn't know The Damned song but sounds OK so might give it another listen.
    Cool Notes - heard it all before, something of nothing really.
    King - amazed he didn't get a performance on the show after the success of Love and Pride, although maybe TOTP had listened to the song and discovered it wasn't up to much.
    Grant and Graham with a really strong ballad to finish up which I think we will see again - perfectly timed for Valentines.....what do you mean it's nearly's been a long week :-)

    Tears For Fears with a song that should have been Number 1 (as should Shout) - at their real peak here - and a great album too.

    Go West get another go - like this one as I've said before.

    The 2 Phils still at the top - top tune. "Greasy Lover" not a patch on our playground version "Cheesy Lover" Smithy...

    And a nothing of a song from Bruce on playout.

    Not a great edition this one - TFF and GW the highlights for me.

    Back to the TV for tomorrows show....hooray!

  15. Following Frankies British Tour they become tax exiled and had to spend the rest of 1985 out of the country

    1. Ah, so that explains why we will not see them until their next single release a whole year-and-a-half later in Sep 1986 from a new album. They could have had much more than four single releases from their first album Pleasuredome, had they still been around for the rest of 1985, as this is the only decent album from their career, and they could quite easily have had more top ten singles from this first album, especially War, Born To Run, and San Jose, but alas it was not to be.

    2. I watched the full video this weekend for Welcome To The Pleasuredome, and it is interesting that the group of 5 members split up into two (Holly Johnson and Paul Rutherford) and three (the other three in the group). The minor three start off by stealing an open top car from a couple going into a nightclub together, and then joyride across town with the stolen car, picking up three girls on the way, and then leave the girls behind in the car, so that they can join up with Johnson and Rutherford travelling in a helicopter to the Pleasuredome. Suffice to say, that once inside the Pleasuredome, bad things befall the minor three, as justice for stealing a car and treating their girls badly, while Johnson and Rutherford avoid the bad luck and come out of the Pleasuredome unscathed, and alone without their other three band colleagues who do not manage to escape from the Pleasuredome, and no-one knows what eventually happened to them. Spooky, but a great video!