Friday, 16 March 2018

Top of the Pops Come Home

Here boy! Here Boy! Sit! 
Time for the 20th June 1985 edition of Top of the Pops! 
Good Boy!

All the other acts were wondering where their keyboards had gone....

20/06/85  (Gary Davies & Janice Long)

Fine Young Cannibals – “Johnny Come Home” (15)
Roland and his flesh eating friends get the show underway this week and the song went up ten more places.

Sting – “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” (28)
This first single from his top 3 album 'The Dream of the Blue Turtles' only went up two more places.

Mai Tai – “History” (9)
A second appearance in the studio for the trio and History went up one more place.

Paul Young – “Tomb Of Memories” (30) (breaker)
Peaked at number 16.

Tears For Fears – “Head Over Heels” (24) (breaker)
Peaked at number 12.

Marti Webb – “Ben” (12) (breaker)
This charity record in aid of the Ben Hardwick Memorial Fund peaked at number 5.

China Crisis – “King In A Catholic Style (Wake Up)” (26)
Performing their final top 30 hit, peaking at number 19.

Harold Faltermeyer – “Axel F” (10)
In the studio with all his keyboards to mime this instrumental which peaked at number 2.

The Top .. er .. 9:

Mai Tai - "History" (9) (video clip)
Animotion - "Obsession" (8) (video clip)
Kool & The Gang - "Cherish" (7) (Montreux clip)
Scritti Politti - "The Word Girl" (6) (video clip)
Billy Ocean - "Suddenly" (5) (video clip)
Marillion - "Kayleigh" (4) (video clip)
Madonna - "Crazy For You" (3) (video clip)
Sister Sledge - "Frankie" (2) (video clip)

The Crowd – “You’ll Never Walk Alone” (1) (video)
Final week at number one.

Prince - "Paisley Park" (22) (video/credits)
Peaked at number 18.

27th June is next, but it's a Mike Smith one so BBC4 won't be showing it.


  1. Janice and Gary this time – where’s John? Still quite endearing…

    Fine young Cannibals – Johnny come home – Rousing start to the show. I seem to recall Roland Gift performed one of his songs eating a hamburger – that came later.

    Sting – If you love somebody – Every little thing he did wasn’t magic. Love the specs!

    Mai Tai – History – FF

    Breakers – Some good ones here I’d like to see more of. Paul Young’s ‘Tomb of memories’ was great and featured Squeeze’s Difford and Tilbrook on backing vocals. Tears for Fears ‘Head over heels’ was another cracker from the ‘Songs from the Big Chair’ album and is even better in situ bookended by ‘Broken’. Finally they’re doing their level best to ignore Marti Webb’s wonderful ‘Ben’ and I hope we get to see this video next week as I can’t find it on YT, although there’s a nice performance taken from ‘Pebble Mill’ on there.

    China Crisis – King in a Catholic style – Don’t recall this and I’d never have guessed it was CC. Not bad but it’s wishful thinking that they’d ever have a big hit again.

    Harold Faltermeyer – Axel F – For one minute I thought we’d just see one guy and his keyboards, but luckily they interspersed some movie footage to make it more interesting. A clever piece of music, it fitted the film well and it’s one of those ‘watch over and over again’ films.

    The Crowd – You’ll never walk alone – Another clunky edit to remove Rolf and DLT. A real shame they couldn’t have found a more elegant way and show the song right through. I saw ‘Carousel’ last year at the London Coliseum starring Alfie Boe and Kathryn Jenkins and this is the climax. I think it is one of the few number ones not available on CD; it’s not on the ‘Now’ or ‘Hits’ compilation of the time…unless anyone can prove me wrong!

    Prince – Paisley Park playout – Another blank. I see they’ve shrunk the screen now to accommodate the credits rather than put over the top. End of an era!

    1. Wishful Thinking was a masterpiece, but the latest one wasn't too bad. Strange video for it (not seen on a totp edition).

    2. I loved the part of the Head Over Heels video where Roland Orzabal brings out a toy gun and a 'bang' sheet than rolls down, with the sexy librarian then squeezing his nose and you see her change from a hostile face to a smiling one.

      And then the next scene of the video clip moves on to a orthodox jew in the library walking behind Orzabal, but the props department forgot to put a moustache on him, i.e., it looked odd with the customary long black Jewish beard having no moustache with it. I wonder of anyone spotted this awful error on the video, albeit that seemed to be the only odd part of what was one of the best videos and song of the year I thought.

    3. Gaz was pretending to sleep so he could "wake up!" as per the lyrics of the China Crisis tune. Little visual pun from the card, there.

    4. Thanks for that THX, I hadn't made the connection. I guess Gazza could have been showing his boredom too, though...

  2. No Peel again, but Gazza makes a decent enough foil for Janice this week, and they both seem to be having a good time. The Fine Young Cannibals' first and arguably best hit gets the show off to a flying start, though Cox and Steele appeared to auditioning for the Ministry of Silly Walks! Roland Gift was a stylish frontman, however, and as Janice expresses rather inelegantly he does have a great voice; there is also a nice touch towards the end of this performance with the band all going down on their knees simultaneously.

    This Sting appearance looks like a pre-record from a couple of weeks earlier, as the old studio set is still being used. Mr Sumner's solo career was now beginning in earnest, but there would be far better to come than this rather dull effort. The performance is more memorable for the main man's asymmetrical specs, and for his "Little and Large" backing singers. There follows some more energetic Pointer Sisters-style schtick from Mai Tai, while all the breakers will be on again. There will however sadly be no full showing of the Head Over Heels video, which as a librarian myself I am rather fond of!

    China Crisis are back, with the singer's mullet becoming increasingly ludicrous. The song has a nice jaunty feel to it, but is that little bit too underpowered to stick in the mind for long, and it's perhaps not altogether surprising that they would soon fade from the charts, given their low-key style. Was Gazza's pretend sleep in the ensuing link intended to convey his view of the song? Like sct I thought we would have to endure several tedious minutes of Harold Faltermeyer playing keyboards in his best Miami Vice jacket, but Michael Hurll sensibly breaks it up with clips from the video. The music is very much of its time, but the urgency of the tune still grabs.

    Given there was a video for Cherish, it's strange that the Montreux performance is used again in the Top 10, but perhaps it just wasn't ready yet. We get a somewhat smoother edit from the pruned number 1 to the last link this time, and then another mix of studio and (psychedelic) video for this rather weird and little-played Prince tune. The Purple One presumably liked it, as he would name his record label and recording studios after it, but it doesn't do much for me. What exactly was the point of shrinking the picture into a small box while the credits rolled?

    1. The beat on the Prince song is mindnumbing. It's not that I can't appreciate a big beat on some songs, the Jagger one recently was ok. But it just feels out of place here, loud and extraneous.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. The 'little and large' backing singers seemed to take some attention off Sting himself, and they could also have been called 'chalk and cheese' as the female pair seemed to be on opposite ends of the sex appeal ratings.

      I must admit I never saw the video for Cherish by Kool & The Gang until years later in the 90s or early 2000s. It's one of those that passed me by in the 80s because it was never shown on TOTP, choosing to show a Montreaux clip throughout its journey up the charts in June 1985.

      I'm still disappointed that they didn't play the whole first half of The Crowd, i.e., the first 1:18 of it, cos there was none of the BBC4-disliked people like DLT, etc, until after that point. Very poor showing BBC4!

    4. While The Crowd edit was clunky, we should probably be grateful that BBC4 didn't just skip the whole show, as could quite easily have happened.

    5. I still don't understand why in three weeks in a row that it had a main feature on TOTP, they only played 35 seconds of it, the same part, i.e. ending with Jim Diamond's rant. Is there something wrong with the Nolan Sisters for example?

  3. No point whatsoever but as it's also employed on the top 10 rundown shrinking the picture must have been Michael Hurll'a favourite special effect of the time. I don't think mixing the video and the audience dancing worked very well here.

    I noticed Harold Faltermeyer had a dry ice hose attached to his keyboards to spice the performance up. Like A View To A Kill there was some dodgy special effects work going on in the Faltermeyer video.

    Sting's album of the time did a lot better than any of the singles. This wasn't one of his finest moments, although I seem to recall it got a lot of airplay at the time.

  4. Shakey Shakerson17 March 2018 at 00:24

    FYC. When this lot first started I was a big admirer. Gift's smooth vocals allied with the quirky sound of the backing and the weird Cox/Steele on-stage movements made for arresting performances. I dont know why, but my interest quickly faded. This, though, still sounds Fine to me.

    Sting. One of many frontmen-going-solo in the charts around this time (Freddie, Ferry, Marc Almond amomngst others). Clearly he's a talented singer/songwriter and he has plenty of stagecraft to back it up. . . but he's just . . . I dunno, there's something a bit 'off' about him. Just my opinion of course, and its hardly going to bother him too unduly, but there you are. Sting - a bit of a prat.

    Mai Tai. One of the first song titles to also fit onto a school timetable. You can also add 'Biology' and 'Chemistry' and the best-of-the-lot-but-not-a-hit Mathematics by Cherry Ghost. Great song and a decent Pops performance.

    Breakers. Looking forward to seeing Head Over Heels in full soon.

    China Crisis drinking in the last hit saloon. That's a proper mullet there.

    Number1. As an Everton fan I have a solid reason to dislike this song, but its the fact that its a godawful funereal dirge that makes me dislike it even more.Awful.

    Play out with His Purpleness and the quite excellent Paisley Park.

    6 for the presenting duo and 6 for the music with FYC and Mai Tai being the best in breed.

    1. My initial thoughts when seeing Sting performing this in the TOTP studio was firstly that it was a rare appearance by him in the TOTP studio, and secondly that his two female back up singers resembled Kim Wilde and Alison Moyet I thought.

      With regard to Head Over Heels, as John stated above, we will not get to see it in full, and nor do I think they came to the TOTP studio to sing it. Sadly, they will only show a Montreal Festival clip, much like for Kool & The Gang, but oddly the video was shunned on the 4th July edition in favour of the Montreaux clip, despite the video being available in June, as per this week's Breakers.

    2. "Mathematics" by Cherry Ghost - brilliant call there! Wonderful uptempo waltz-time ballad with heartflt vocals.

    3. Sting great song writer but so up his own, all of the singles from Dream of the Blue Turtles would have faired much better as Police singles with added Summers and Copeland. Especially Fortress Around Your Heart

  5. Any sightings of the 27th June edition (Neil B, John G?) with Mike Smith presenting? I for one just can't wait to see the follow up to Paul Hardcastle's 19, called N-N-Nineteen (Not Out) by The Commentators, and in the TOTP studio for good measure. "Lords, Headingley, Oval, Cucumber Sandwich." Come on everyone, get the cricket pads out, the cricket season is shortly upon us!

    1. Here it is Dory, courtesy of Neil B:

    2. Any chance of the full version of the 20/6/85 edition, with the unedited Crowd video and follow up link to Mike Smith next week?

    3. As far as I can see nobody has made the full version of that show available as yet, or the previous one for that matter.

    4. Anyone fancy seeing a copy of the studio script, for the 27th June episode??

    5. Greetings (ageing) Pop Pickers,

      Here's a little something that I was given on the 26th of June 1985 at Television Centre.

      I hope you enjoy it:

      Toothy Chris

    6. Hopefully this link will work - Glenn posted 13th June on the Popscene Facebook. No idea about the 20th June, but someone sent Neil 30/05 but he hasn't posted that yet.

    7. Many thanks for this! :)

  6. Janice going a bit Valley Girl with the "likes", there.

    I was not much of a fan of FYC at the time because Roland Gift's distinctive vocals sounded too much like the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons, but hearing this again it's not bad at all, the muted trumpet well-used. Who was the trumpeter who used to incorporate a bowler hat to mute his instrument? Used to be on Pebble Mill a lot. Anyway, interesting Ray Bolger tribute in the dancing.

    Sting... nobody mention Divine... anyway, away from his backing singers the posh Geordie manages to annoy with his novelty glasses he sports to make him look interesting. Doesn't help the song, a bland item of blue-eyed soul (or blue-eyed turtle).

    Ah, that's better, Mai Tai adding a dash of colour to the show, shoulder pads present and correct. Really enjoy hearing this again.

    Skipping nimbly over the Breakers, China Crisis and a little-heard song I liked a lot, it trips jauntily through its electronic panpipe melody. Footballer's mullet alert.

    Harold "Why did I bother turning up?" Faltermeyer, playing those keyboards like a demon, a man possessed, or maybe a member of a wedding band. It is kind of nice to see one of the 80s keyboard whizzes in the studio, he did loads of soundtracks that sound not dissimilar to this. John Williams didn't show up for The Theme from E.T., did he?

    I keep meaning to check out The Crowd video in full out of morbid curiosity, but still haven't.

    Paisley Park, not one of Prince's most played hits so refreshing to hear again, nice swing to it and an almost nursery rhyme melody that suits the playground imagery in the video.

    1. Is Kenny Ball the trumpeter you're thinking of? I think I remember seeing him do that in a clip from Pebble Mill, though his contemporary Acker Bilk (not a trumpeter, obviously) was most associated with bowler hats.

    2. I just Googled "Kenny Ball bowler hat" and got loads of images of Acker Bilk. Undeterred, I tried "Chris Barber bowler hat" and got... loads of pictures of Acker Bilk. So I assume it wasn't them. But who knows?

    3. The 'bowler hat' you mention was actually a similarly shaped mute device also used for a trombone - maybe you were thinking of the late, great George Chisholm?

    4. He could have been the great George Chisholm, but that's not who matches my memory. Might have been some random trumpeter who wasn't famous at all.

  7. Spare a thought for Marillion. A band who never had a number one single and were denied their week at the top due to events outside the music industry. Earlier in the run we saw Ultravox and Jona Lewie were stuck at number two behind John Lennon (and, in the case of Ultravox, insult was to be piled upon injury). I'm sure there must be other bands who missed out for similar reasons.

    On the positive side, judging by the comments on this site, "Kayleigh" has stood the test of time far better than any of the songs that did top the charts during this period.

    1. We've got Lavendee to come next which, if it doesn't get Smittied, sees Fish point out the words on a board as he'd lost his voice (even though he would've been miming).

    2. We should get to see that performance on BBC4, as it was on a Read & Wright show.

    3. Thanks John. I've always preferred the single version of Lavender to the album mix which was quite a bit shorter.

    4. Indeed - unusual for songs to be extended. 'Kayleigh' had the guitar solo chopped. 'I want to break free' by Queen is another example of a track being extended for single release.

    5. I'd forgotten Queen had done that until I purchased The Works on CD a couple of years back. The Levellers did it too with Just The One in 1995 with the original 1m 30s album track getting extended for the single.

    6. Art-punk band Wire made number 51 with "Outdoor Miner", which they wanted released in its original 90-second or so form, but the record company said "Don't be so daft" and got them to record a lovely piano-led instrumental bridge passage which was added to the single to make it more acceptable for airplay and punters' pockets.

  8. fine young cannibals: i don't think anyone has yet pointed out that their name is a truncation of the title of an early 60's film starring robert wagner and natalie wood called "all the..."? i am rather ashamed to say here that i actually quite liked this at the time, although i soon realised it was obviously a taste of the dire music that to come later in the decade with its in-yer-face gated snare and other strident production tricks glossing over the superficiality of the song. not surprisingly i remember charity shops heaving with the album this came from a few years back

    sting: was this debut single (discounting his excursion into soundtrack/memory lane territory with "spread a little happiness") meant to be some kind of dig at his ex-police colleagues? as i've recently mentioned, all their albums were tainted to some extent by messrs copeland and summers demanding that some rubbish of their own be included so they had their snouts in the publishing royalties trough. so that and other problems exerting control over his more-seasoned colleagues led to his departure and a much-anticipated solo career... which turned out to be absolute rubbish! well, at least to start with anyway. and it was a huge mistake in retrospect to hire black american jazzers who thought themselves far above that kind of thing and were only in it for the money, as it patently shows on this and the rest of his first album

    china crisis: note that the full title if this is "king in a catholic style (wake up)", thus rivalling the boomtown rats' "elephant's graveyard (guilty)" in the stupid/nonsensical-bracketed song title stakes (why do they do it?). another that came to back to me once it started, and it is quite catchy (as well as upbeat by their standards) so somwhat surprising that it didn't do better chart-wise. maybe that was because it veers into a steely dan-style interlude (that's not surprising, given dan mainstay walter becker was producer) half way through? unfortunately on the visual front singer gary daly has now fully succumbed to the mullet malaise. i think the drummer here is one kevin wilkinson, who sadly committed suicide about 10 years after this

    harold faltermeyer: surrounding this beardy boffin with a million keyboards and constantly intercutting with pre-filmed scenes does not disguise the fact that this was probably the most boring synth-pop-dance instrumental track ever recorded. why the hell was it so popular? presumably it was a knock-on effect of eddie murphy's phenomenal pulling power at the time?

    prince: not one i remember at all. nor like at all listening now. aboslute half-baked nonsense- someone please get that man a producer to channel his talents properly!

    1. Wilberforce, how about 'When a Child is born (Soleado)' by Johnny Mathis?

    2. sct i didn't actually know the johnny mathis song had a bracketed part in the title, but having looked it up at least in this case it's justified in that his is a vocal version of what was originally an (italian) instrumental piece of that name

      in the case of the china crisis record: i realise that both "king in a catholic style" and "wake up" are part of the lyrics, but why not just choose one or the other for the title (without putting the other one in brackets afterwards)?

  9. New at 97 this week folks was Jennifer Rush with 'The Power of Love'. About to commence an incredible 33 week chart run with NINE weeks in the 40s before bursting up the charts (c/o a remix) to hit the stratosphere with 5 weeks at no1, and become a wedding 'first dance' staple for years to come.

    I do remember at this very moment in time first hearing the song on the radio and thinking what a fabulous sound it was. The album is good too.

    1. At the lightning speed that BBC4 is going with churning out these repeats, I guess we'll be seeing Miss Rush within a couple of weeks!

  10. Very much a mixed bag, this one.

    FYC - For some reason, I really don't like anything they released from their first album, yet I really like 'The Raw And The Cooked'. So in other words, I don't like this.

    Sting - Anyone who's seen Don McDiarmid on the old TV show Absolutely will wonder if he based his spectacle decision on Sting here. This was all over the radio at the time, so the fact that it didn't make the Top 20 is a surprise. Sting gets a lot of stick for his solo career yet songs like this are perfectly fine to me, if not overly thrilling.

    Breakers - Paul Young: Burying his career more like. A terrible song. TFF: Best single from the album by a mile! Marti Webb: Utterly awful. I HATE Rantzen, she's so self-righteous it makes me sick. The second Yewtree et al kicked off she was all over the TV. So that gives me another reason to hate this version of 'Ben'. Did no-one point out what the subject of the original actually was?!

    China Crisis - My favourite song on the show, a good jaunty pop tune.

    Harold Faltermeyer - Unwittingly giving us a preview of the early 90s rave era on TOTP with people standing behind keyboards. I really don't understand why this song became so popular.

    Prince - Plodding rubbish. There's an Erasure album track called 'Love Is A Loser' which has a very similar melody, but that's probably a coincidence.

    1. Noax - Ben was a song about a rat. I have to say somewhat grudgingly, that Jacko's original is miles better than Marti's. Those backing vocals and that wonderful musical arrangement and some great lyrics from Don Black.

    2. That was my point - did anyone check it's suitability for a charity campaign in aid of a sick kiddie that just happened to have the same name?!

    3. Ben (where the song comes from) was the sequel to horror movie Willard, and they're both out on Blu-ray. Ben is particularly weird, like a Disney movie about a killer rat.

    4. whatever the subject matter, the fact was that "ben" was a syupy ballad that punters (most of whom were unaware of its origins) didn't listen to the lyrics too closely and probably thus presumed that the ben in question was one of wacko's (human) childhood chums. as such then it's ideal fodder for this particular charidee appeal

  11. just to say that having watched this show on iplayer for a change yesterday, i am fairly sure that one of sting's backing singers (the one who didn't have extra big hair and an even bigger body) was the ubiquitous tessa niles?

  12. I’m truly baffled. BBC dropped the recent edition with Nik Kershaw performing “Wide Boy” because of apparently epilepsy inducing lighting so, on that basis, how the Hell did they allow this edition with those huge flashes of light emanating from that rig at regular intervals behind Mai Tai?

    Janice “Like” Long and Gazza made a good bouncy pairing. Not the same as Janice and Peelie, but a decent silver medal attempt.

    FYC with that juxtaposition of a cool singer and two irritating Monty Python wannabees on guitar and bass. Did they perform live like that and, if so, how could they play their instruments properly? Still, great song and admirable synchronised kneeling.

    Sting. Wanker. Were his glasses lenses at right angles to each other? I always thought the ‘set them free’ part meant opening your legs. Sorry, just me, then.

    Talking of “Synchronicity” (ahem), once again Mai Tai mismatch their clobber. Middle Mai Tai should have worn a green dress so they all had a jacket and dress the same colour between them. Sheesh.

    I don’t remember that Paul Young song at all. Not missing much.

    Tears For Fears, SSSHHHHH! You’re in a library. File under 'superb track'.

    I wonder if Marti Webb got ratted before recording “Ben”? Erm...

    China Crisis needed someone playing panpipes on stage for the backing, and which heavy metal band was the singer moonlighting with to desire that haircut?

    “Axel F” – gripping. Sort of on the same wavelength as Janice, I though the lyrics were the best part.

    We finish with Prince and another song I can’t remember. From that racket, no wonder.

    1. arthur i couldn't agree with you more regarding the tff track - if it's not going to get a full showing on the show, then that's criminal in my book. definitely one of the best of the year, and it vies with "the working hour" for my favourite track on the "songs from the big chair" album - especially (as someone else has pointed out here) when bookended by the "broken" segments. apart from both being dazzling in terms of playing and arrangements, they are also great to sing along to - in fact, i'm going to do that right now as a result of writing this!

  13. Axel F is ok, it's at least good to see something with a bit of an electro influence charting well. The counter theme is decent, maybe that's even the highlight. A break towards the end treads water a bit.

    Other songs like Crockett's Theme and the Miami Vice theme might be seen as more italo-disco influenced.

  14. Onwards towards the end of June. Sun is finally shining through the window...

    Janice is back and with Gary this time.
    A well rehearsed opening leads us into the wonderful FYC.
    Such an odd voice but works so well here. What is the guitarist on though. And can I have some in my tea...
    Love the pink guitars...
    Janice loved it..

    And so begins Stings solo career with a song that isn't too far removed from the Police.
    The hair police should be after the backing singer though. 😀
    This is a quality song. Another greatest hits I own and its full of great songs.

    Mai Tai back again. Happy poppy record. Like.

    Paul Young back again. Unfamiliar song. Not an instant classic Have to dig it out for a listen.
    TFF another classic record. Better than Rule The World.
    Marti Webb. What was this for raising money for I wonder? These charity records had really taken hold by now.

    China Crisis. Becoming a big fave of mine on these repeats. Gonna have to listen to some more of them...

    Elton and Millie who???
    Prince not getting an outing this time.
    19 is dropping like a stone isn't it.

    Axel F up next. Where are Zoo when you need them. Good idea to cut to the video. Although does defeat the object of having Harold in the studio. Would have made a good play out song.

    Quick look at the top ten. And a very shortened number one. Still don't know who most these people are...

    Prince gets the playout... Honestly didn't know that was coming.. Hooray.