Saturday, 17 March 2018

Top of the Pops of Memories

This edition of Top of the Pops from 27th June 1985 will not be shown on BBC4 unfortunately because Mike Smith refused to sign a repeats contract. So a huge thanks once again goes to Neil B for making it available here at WeTransfer.

n-n-n-nice sweater


27/06/85  (Peter Powell & Mike Smith)

Paul Young – “Tomb Of Memories” (17)
Went up one more place.

Kool & The Gang – “Cherish” (5) (Montreux clip)
Also went up one more place.

The Commentators – “N-N-Nineteen (Not Out)” (23)
The perfect chart peak for this Rory Bremner spoof would have been number 19 of course, but alas it was not to be, and the pesky thing made it to number 13 instead!

Bruce Springsteen – “I’m On Fire” (11) (video)
On its way to number 5.

Marti Webb – “Ben” (9)
Also on its way to number 5.

Elton John & Millie Jackson – “Act Of War” (32) (breaker)
Got no higher.

The Damned – “The Shadow Of Love” (29) (breaker)
Went up four more places.

Howard Jones – “Life In One Day” (22) (breaker)
Peaked at number 14.

Sister Sledge – “Frankie” (1)
We appear to be one sister short for this first of four weeks at number one.

The Conway Brothers – “Turn It Up” (30) (audience dancing/credits)
Their only hit and it peaked at number 11.

July 4th is next.

100 comments:

  1. Unfortunately Smitty is back after a bit of a break, and PP is saddled with him once more. Thankfully there is less horseplay from the former this time, apart from his annoying trademark pointing at his co-host’s jumper at the start, and both men essentially just get on with it. A globe-trotting Paul Young up first, with his Three Tops still in tow, performing a little-played but very heartfelt and soulful tune which I think deserved to be a bigger hit. Paul is dressed like an old-time Country and Western singer for some reason, despite the style of the song, and the guitarist behind him looks very short indeed. Little did Paul know it, but this would be his final Top 20 hit for five years.

    Still no proper video for Kool and the Gang, just the Montreux performance-cum-Pepsi advert once again, before a young Rory Bremner makes what must have been one of his first TV appearances with this opportunistic but clever Paul Hardcastle spoof. I liked the “s-s-side on” and “none of them received a standing ovation” bits in particular, while it looked as if Rory had taken inspiration from Sting’s performance the week before in his choice of backing singers! I liked Bremner a lot in the earlier years of his career on the BBC, but he later became obsessed with heavy-handed and unfunny political satire following his move to Channel 4.

    I’m inclined to agree with Noax that I’m on Fire is Springsteen’s best song, and certainly far preferable to the overly-swaggering and bombastic Born in the USA. Bruce complained about the latter being used in Ronald Reagan’s 1984 re-election campaign, chiding the Reagan team for not listening to the lyrics, but can you really blame them when the song sounds so tub-thumpingly patriotic? Anyway, at least TOTP opted for the other side of this Double-A release, and the video is appropriately moody and sad. I don’t remember Ben Hardwick or Marti Webb’s Jacko cover at all, but I see that Ben was Britain’s youngest liver transplant patient and had died a few months before this show aged just three. The proceeds for the record went to his memorial fund, so all in a good cause, but a shame that Marti chose to wear such a horrible dress for this performance. Musically this version doesn’t really bring anything new to the song, famously written as an ode to a rat.

    Stupidly the rundown, breakers and Top 10 are all run together again this week, though unusually the breakers contained a couple of tunes we will not hear again. Making allowances for the fact these were live performances, the Elton/Millie duet sounded too shouty to me, and Howard Jones’ latest effort was a bit of a mess, Howard’s voice sounding decidedly dodgy. His dress sense here also leaves much to be desired, as he looks like a cross between an American naval officer and Jesus; like Paul Young, his career would soon go into a major downward spiral. If Kim Sledge was about to have her baby, then she did well to participate in the energetic previous performance of the new number 1 two weeks before; despite her absence this return appearance basically offers more of the same, though I am sure the sisters would not have been impressed by Smitty’s rather ungallant comments about their outfits! A large-looking crowd dances to The Conway Brothers to close, a song that seems to rely on production tricks and shouty vocals more than an actual tune.

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    1. I'm surprised that Paul Young was still around on the music scene as late as 1990. I always thought of him as an early 80s package.

      Spot on regarding Rory Bremner's choice of backing singers. I was thinking exactly the same when I watched it. It seems that Sting started off a trend to have one slim and one plump backing singer. I think Helen Terry on Church Of The Poison mind was the first plumpness on backing vocals a couple of years earlier in 1983, and unlike Sting, Boy George put her so far back on stage in the TOTP studio, that she was hardly noticeable while singing her backing vocals!

      I did think that Marti Webb looked much prettier in the video, although we only got to see her face, and not her dress. I didn't like her studio performance this week, probably also because of the horrible dress as you describe it.

      The reason that the Elton John/Millie Jackson Breaker sounded to shouty is because it was trying to emulate Deadringer For Love by Meat Loaf, with Cher shouting with Meat. It was very much in that mould, and there is no getting away from the fact that Elton was an admirer of Meat Loaf's music, as in 1994 he awarded Meat Loaf at the Brit Awards with best single of 1993 with a non-shouty single called I'd Do Anything For Love which was the best selling single of that year.

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    2. Paul Young had a couple of top 30 hits in 1990 but his big comeback was with Senza Una Donna in 1991 followed by a well timed greatest hit collection the same year. He last bothered the top 20 in 1993.

      A few big eighties stars made nineties chart comebacks - OMD in 1991, Duran Duran in 93 and the Human League in 95.

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    3. Culture Club also managed a short-lived chart comeback in 1998-99, though it wasn't very distinguished musically. By contrast Sailing on the Seven Seas and Pandora's Box gave OMD a well-deserved return to the Top 10 in 1991, even if by then they were essentially just Andy McCluskey on his own.

      I remember Paul Young had quite a good single called Ball and Chain out circa 1997, but despite significant airplay on Radio 2 it failed to chart and his record label dropped him soon afterwards.

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    4. OMD's comeback album Sugar Tax was pretty good, I've still got it on tape somewhere. Their 93 single Dream Of Me was pretty good too.

      A few years ago I took my step son to see OMD in Nottingham and they were an excellent live act. They did several of the nineties songs as well as the hits made by the classic line up in the 80's.

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    5. Born in the USA was made to sound patriotic by the media, but even a cursory listen should have been clear that it was pissed off furious instead.

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    6. Trouble is, how many people listen closely to lyrics? When confronted with that big production and Bruce yelling "Born in the USA" again and again, it doesn't surprise me that lots of people drew the wrong conclusion.

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    7. i'm with you on that one john - i've never been a big listener of lyrics in songs anyway (the music is what counts for me in most cases). but whatever message that song in particular had (something about america not actually being that great after all?) is completely drowned by the bombastic and chest-beating chorus, that did everything it could to suggest otherwise

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    8. Born in the USA is about a Vietnam War veteran not receiving a hero's welcome, and in fact being left on the garbage heap after all he did for his country. The lyric about "the Yellow Man" is a bit non-PC nowadays, though.

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    9. Most people don't concentrate on the lyrics. Now and again you'll see someone invoking a line as being clever or unusual to support a song, but they won't bother looking at the rest of the lyrics. It's probably remarkable how many great melodies and performances have been done to relatively average lyrics, but I suppose the key is that they sing well and don't get in the way of the music and expression. There's some kind of balance there, cleverer lyrics can sometimes get in the way of the music.

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    10. Two of my 90s pet hates have lyrics where it's obvious nobody has listened closely. Babybird's You're Gorgeous is about a horrible, abusive relationship, and House of Pain's Jump Around is about how great it is to kick people's heads in - women as well as men.

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    11. I think "You're Gorgeous" is more about the exploitation used when models are photographed suggestively, but I see what you mean.

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    12. i think that ("born in the usa" apart) the most obvious example of punters taking no notice of the message within the lyrics and just taking the big anthemic chorus literally was with "tubthumping" by chumabwamba. shortly after that was a hit i did a gig in a butlins-style holiday camp, and as soon as my band finished playing the deejay stuck that on. whereupon gangs of sink estate youths on their hols leapt onto the dancefloor and proceeded to physically "get knocked down" and "get up again" on cue to the record with energetic glee, obviously utterly oblivous to what the actual point of the song was!

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    13. My favourite story re Chumbawamba's song is when I was doing that old chestnut feature 'misheard lyrics' on my radio show in the late 90s. Someone phoned up to say 'Doesn't it sound like they're singing "Pissing the night away" in that song'?
      Me: "Ummmm...."

      Glad you mentioned 'Jump Around' THX - even when all my Uni mates were acting like it was one of the best party songs ever, I always absolutely detested it.

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    14. Testify, Noax! Whenever it starts I think, "Please be Harlem Shuffle!"

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    15. thx you've reminded of the mid-90's when i spent a summer working in the kitchens of a holiday camp. radio 1 was usually on, and the same few records were played on rotation every couple of hours or so - including the fugees cover of "killing me softly with his song" that sounded exactly like the roberta flack acapella arrangement in the intro, before descending into a diabolical mess consisting of nothing more than a hip hop beat and the lead vocal plus some talentless twat rapping in the background. and every time it came on, i was practically praying that this time it would be the flack recording for a change. but of course that never happened!

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  2. Was there any other female group acts ever in the same situation as Sister Sledge, where they were at least one member down for a studio performance, due to a pregnancy?

    I can only think of Atomic Kitten & a performance of 'The Tide Is High' when Natasha Hamilton was absent!

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    1. I seem to remember Neneh Cherry was alarmingly close to water breaking time for a studio rendition of "Buffalo Stance"!

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    2. Here's the 'Tash-less' performance of 'The Tide is High' with just Liz and Jenny...and some t-shirts!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ez-rV8L1ziA

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    3. i don't know about female group acts that were short of a member, but (as athur nibble will be pleased to be reminded of) on one of the very first shows of these re-runs the stylistics appeared with one of the backing singers sat down at the edge of the stage and unable to throw shapes with the rest of them (presumably because he had twisted his ankle?)!

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  3. I didn't know that Kool & The Gang got as high as No.5 this week, and even peaking at No.4. Based only on a Montreaux clip on TOTP throughout its climb up the charts, it's testament to how good the song itself was, i.e., on the radio at the time it must have tickled the love branches of listeners.

    As we say goodbye to Kool for one last time on TOTP at the end of a long and distinguished run since 1979 with Ladies Night, I would point out the superb video for Cherish with the noticeable seagulls at the start, and it was certainly one of the most romantic videos of the 80s, bizarrely not shown by TOTP for whatever reason:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s09LuDYX12g

    I for one will miss Kool & The Gang, as they have been a staple of these BBC4 repeats over the last few years, and it won't be the same without them and Chicago, who also unfortunately took their leave from us a couple of months earlier, as the romantic element of the 70s & 80s was gradually coming to a halt in the mid-80s, making way for different forces in pop music.

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    1. Yes, this will I think be the last we see of Kool and the Gang on TOTP, bar the Top 10 video rundown on the next few shows. They managed one more Top 30 hit, Victory, in early 1987, but that never featured on the show.

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    2. Victory was hardly a top 30 hit, peaking at No.30!

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    3. It still qualifies Dory!

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    4. There's the librarian side of you

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    5. i'm supporting john here, and saying that a top 30 hit is a top 30 hit... be it at number 1 or number 30!

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    6. Thanks for the support, Wilberforce!

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    7. But that 1986/87 'hit' peaking at No.30 was not featured or 'breakered' on TOTP or The Chart Show (Channel 4) at all, so we can safely conclude that this week's main feature on the June 1985 TOTP show with Cherish was effectively the final curtain for Kool & The Gang in the British charts, but nevertheless a long distinguished reign going back to 1979 with Ladies Night.

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  4. paul young: like his last hit, i remember quite liking this one (despite it's rather odd title - was it banned from hospital radio?). and it's pleasant enough to listen to again now, even if i'm never going to rush out and acquire a copy of it. also like the last one there's some electric sitar effect on it, which suggests that johnny turnbull (who puts young's effort to shame in the mullet stakes) wanted to get maximum value for money for his new toy. the rev. ian kewley appears to be awol this time - maybe he was told to stay away until he had grown a sufficient mullet of his own to go along with the rest of the band?

    kool & co: when i was watching a couple of recent shows on iplayer yesterday i unfortunately happened to catch a few seconds of this whilst fast-forwarding - someone pass the sick bucket, quick!

    commentators: when i started watching test cricket coverage in the mid-70's, i found myself intrigued by richie benaud's unique and extremely peculiar accent (not being aware of his history as a player at that point, i didn't know or even realise from his delivery that he was an australian!). then when i moved to london in the spring of 1985 i met a guy in my new workplace who could do dozens of impressions (including a trimphone!), but one of his specialities was mr benaud. and i loved hearing him do richie so much that i even had a go myself (and although i was never going to give rory bremner sleepness nights, i discovered i was actually quite adept at mimicing the guy). therefore unlike most novelty records i was bowled over by this (ho ho). i also remember later on in the decade going to the oval with my chum to watch england play the kiwis in a one-dayer, where for some reason we couldn't drink any booze so were too nervous to do our benaud impressions... unlike the many drunks that we were surrounded by!

    boss: like the rest of his stuff, this bores the pants off me. but at least he's not straining too hard vocally for a change, and i quite liked the thomas dolby-style background/ambient synth effects (that no doubt he now regrets adding). to my recollection his big break-through single was "dancing in the dark". but either that hasn't arrived yet, or it's passed me by? i was actually working a stone's throw from wembley stadium at the time, and there was a massive buzz about him appearing there that summer - to the point where i even considered getting a ticket myself, just for the stadium gig experience that was becoming all the rage. but i'm sure glad i didn't in retrospect (in the end i chose to see genesis there a couple of years later. but even though in my view they are far more musically palatable than the boss, experiencing it once in a lifetime was more than enough for me thank you very much)

    marti webb: i've already reached saturation point for my top 10 turkeys of 1985 (kool have just been added to the "long" list). so in the circumstances this one is so unspeakably bad that it actually goes beyond that, and thus doesn't count (if you see what i mean?)

    elton john/millie jackson: as many regular readers and contributors will probably already know, i simply cannot stand reg. and although i grew up as a fan of 70's black music, one or two brief listens to ms jackson made it quite clear that whatever appeal she may have had to others went straight over my head. so i can't tell you how relieved i am to learn that this duet-from-hell stalled outside the top 20

    conway brothers: i couldn't remember how this one went, but recalled there was something about it that put me off at the time. a listen now tells me the reasons were probably the annoying silly voices on it, plus the "kid let loose in a sweet shop" drum machine programming. which is a shame, as those flaws apart there was actually a pretty decent groove going down (especially in the 12" version)

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    1. Wilberforce - Tomb Of Memories wasn't banned on the hospital radio station I was involved with, but we rarely got requests for Paul Young other than for Wherever I Lay My Hat.

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    2. steve i asked about that thanks to the recent discussion on this blog about records with the word "death" or similar in the title being banned from hospital radio (something i wasn't previously familiar with). this may have been mentioned before, but the thatcher's government did a similarly-stupid thing in the early 90's by banning any slightly-related references from the radio when fighting the first gulf war. and as a result the band massive attack were forced to drop the second half of their name during said conflict in order to get any airplay... which they of course immediately restored the moment it all ended!

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    3. I remember that mainly because Record Mirror did an article at the time about the effect the Gulf War would have on music. Massive Attack dropping the Attack was one, the price of singles going up was another.

      Unfinished Sympathy is still listed as being by Massive on the playout system at the community station I present on. I guess it was ripped from the CD copy of Now 19!

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    4. Wilberforce - Dancing in the Dark definitely passed you by, as it was a Top 10 hit earlier in '85.

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    6. All credit to Rory Bremner who did well to mime all the different commentators, the most difficult one seeming to be Richie Benaud, as it could not have been easy at all at the pace of that tune. He must have been relieved that there was only one visit required of him to the TOTP studio, as the tune then stalled and started falling down the charts a couple of weeks later.

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    7. The Hardcastle track was about Vietnam but with this novelty cover I think it shows that most people were interested in the original much more for the technique than the theme, otherwise why would people buy a novelty cover of it?

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  5. A very loud shirted Smithy here with a subdued PP.

    Paul Young – Tomb of memories – No Messrs Difford and Tilbrook in evidence here (although I have to say their backing vocals are not too much in evidence). A good song I thought at the time as I still have the limited edition double pack with live versions of ‘Bite the Hand that feeds’ and ‘Love will tear us apart’.

    Kool and the Gang – Cherish – Classic slowie. Never fails to move me.

    Commentators – N-n-nineteen (not out) – Another bracketed title for wilberforce! As a cricket fan I ought to love this, but I find it strangely humourless and anything to remind me of ‘19’ itself is unhelpful. Saying that, one of England’s ‘one cap wonders’ gets an unlikely mention – Arnie Sidebottom (Dad to Ryan who won a few more). Arnie played football as well (for Man Utd, Huddersfield and Halifax) which is unthinkable these days.

    Bruce Springsteen – I’m on Fire – Sublime and understated….and cut short.

    Marti Webb – Ben – As I mentioned previously, much as I am a fan of Miss Webb (‘Take that look off your face’ and the fabulous ‘Your ears should be burning now’ in particular) this version is just not in the same league as the original. It’s the lack of backing vocals and the inferior musical arrangement. Marti sings very well, but despite the worthy cause, musically I find it inferior in all respects.

    Breakers – Elton & Millie – horrible!!! The Damned - Punk band? Howard Jones – don’t really recall this one. No mention of Opus?

    Sister Sledge – Frankie – So one of the sisters was pregnant? Looking at the performance two weeks ago it doesn’t really show. Still I am bucking the trend and calling out that I find this record endearing and enjoyable. Just love the dance interlude and Smitty’s comments on the girl’s skirts were definitely near the mark. I have chanced upon this amusing and interesting website about UK number ones written by a guy called Andrew who has a simple brief to not spend more than 30 minutes on each entry and not review and edit afterwards. The guy’s views on ‘Frankie’ are in accord with most people on here:-

    http://eightiesnumberones.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/1985-sister-sledge-frankie.html

    Conway Brothers – Turn it up danceout – Imagine turning up at the studio, getting all the musicians and producers etc. in place….and then recording this. Yuck!

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    1. The reason that only 1:40 of the Springsteen video was shown is because the first 1:20 of it shows Springsteen making conversation with a tasty female client at his garage, and only after that does the song begin, and so the music aspect of it is what TOTP showed, hence why it seemed so little on the show. Here's the full video if anyone is still interested:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrpXArn3hII

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    2. sct i actually approve of the bracketed bit of "n-n-nineteen (not out)" as it's part of the joke. other professional footballers who also played professional cricket (or vice versa) included dennis compton (arsenal/middlesex) and chris balderstone (carlisle/leicestershire). i suppose irons legend geoff hurst qualifies as well in that he played one match for essex (collecting a "pair" in the process). it was said that both the united neville brothers were good enough to turn out for lancs, but by then footballers were getting paid a hell of a lot more money than cricketers!

      also: many thanks for that "number ones" link - going by what he says it seems the guy who did it is a peer of mine, so it sounds of great interest (even though i think most number ones are crap!) and i shall peruse it in future whenever i feel so inclined - probably in date order, at least up until this point i.e. mid-80s. a shame though that he reneged on his original intent of just reviewing the ones he lived through in his youth and giving personal perspectives on each. many years ago now there was another guy on the web who actually reviewed every top 40 single and how they affected him personally (from the early 70's to the mid 80's, so pretty much the span of these totp re-runs), but sadly that disappeared a long time back now. i had thought of doing my own version, but decided not to in the end as a: i would just have been a copycat, and b: i'm doing it to some extent on this blog anyway!

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    3. Hi Wliberforce. I believe that the (now defunct) website you are referring to was called 'Remember when...' and I think it started at 1973. It's crying shame that it was taken down a number of years ago as the guy must have spent ages typing in all those reviews. I used to have it bookmarked and often referred to it as a kind of authority, although it was only one guy's views. But the fact that he had captured them all as a labour of love carried a lot of weight.

      He certainly was a man after my own heart as the intro to the site announced that the charts lost all semblance of musical credibility when Steve 'Silk' Hurley reached no1 with 'Jack your Body' in January 1987. I wish I had saved some of his efforts. The one that does stick in my mind, which had me in stitches at the time was his wry observations on Dana's (excellent) 'Please tell him that I said hello'. He was basically bemoaning how the word 'hello' had becomed used in the middle of sentences in American TV shows, in particular 'Buffy'. The characters would be in the middle of saying something, sense that someone was not paying full attention, and then stick in the word 'hello' with emphasis on 'hall-' bit. Rather than 'hello' being something you say when you greet someone. It was hilarious the way he wrote it and I can't really do it justice, but you get the gist.

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    4. yes i'm pretty sure we are thinking of the same guy who used the pop music of his youth as some kind of personal memoir - the title "remember when" definitely rings a bell, and to my recollection the author's name was nigel. i also had it bookmarked (in fact i actually had it as a link on my own website) and would regularly peruse it, as like yourself i felt a great affinity with the guy and shared many of his views and experiences. and was most disappointed when it disappeared. nigel - if you're still out there and following this blog, then please put it back on line!

      by the way sct, isn't "jack your body" one of your "unholy trinity" of late 80's no. 1 dance hits, along with "pump up the volume" and "theme from s'express"?

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    5. going back to the no.1 website, the guy there says he had a rule where he would limit his time spent analysing each track to 30 minutes. but perhaps he should have confined himself to a limited amount of words (a la twitter) instead? that has reminded me of a guy who would pop up on mike read's 80's radio 1 shows from time to time and describe/summarise any musical act in two or three words - does anybody else here remember him?

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    6. I first discovered Please Tell Him when I looked through the Billboard charts around 15 years ago.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tb8nT0We_1Q

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    7. It wouldn't surprise me if I came across that review site back in the past, but with those kind of site if it chimes with your opinion on songs then you'll love it, but if it doesn't then it will just annoy you.

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    8. wilberforce, you forgot one of the great cricketer / footballers of the lot - Ian Botham turned out for Scunthorpe United in the 80s!!

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    9. ah yes, i forgot about "beefy" (or "bully beef", as i like to think of him. i would have loved to have been a fly on the wall whenever he and his antithesis boycott clashed with each other - it would have been like alien vs predator!). botham jr played professionally in more than one sport too, but in his case it was cricket and both rugby codes

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  6. 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:

    https://we.tl/fg2ZHuCzEM

    Toothy Chris

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  7. Paul Young, what happened to the tune? Just a random collection of noises from Paul's box of tricks. No wonder people lost interest. Plus it looks like a bird pooed on his jacket (twice).

    Kool and the Gang: no reason to listen to this again.

    Rory, Rory tell us a story... Christ, this is deadly. I have no interest in cricket, then or now, so had no idea what he was on about back then, and time has not been kind to this. I'm sure the impressions are fine, but there's no humour in the jokes. The audience certainly aren't laughing.

    Brief bit of the Boss that's not much longer than his Breakers appearance. Nice, moody song, contrast between the angst-ridden lyrics and the quiet production is a simple but effective touch.

    Marti Webb, even if you didn't know this was about a rat, the lyrics are distinctly rodent-friendly. I recall a joke going around about Ben Hardwick that is too disgusting to repeat here (and wasn't very funny anyway). Appropriate That's Life's crunching gear changes between the "hilarious" misprints and the dying children news should be emulated on this episode, I suppose.

    Millie Jackson best known for her album covers now, rather than her top of the voice stylings. Don't recall this Damned ditty, sounds like Val Doonican in one of his country numbers. I do like the Howard Jones song, though, hope we hear that in full this week.

    Sister Sledge minus one, but I couldn't bring myself to listen to it again.

    The Conway Brothers, any relation to Conway Twitty? Not bad slice of novelty funk, motors along fine and the comedy dialogue snippets were a memory jogger.

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    1. On the video for I'm On Fire, there is only about two minutes of music on it, which TOTP played practically all, as the first 1:20 of the video is just Springsteen as a mechanic talking to his latest customer, which TOTP is not known for playing the intros without the music component.

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    2. i know "that's life" had its critics (and ms rantzen did in particular), but i used to enjoy it in the 70's and 80's and would happily watch any compiliations were they to come out on dvd (as long as they didn't have the shmaltzy bits a la ben on them). of course one of esther's sidekicks (doc cox) did actually have a top 30 hit of his own - under the alias of ivor biggun with "the winker's song (misprint)"*

      *sct that's another bracketed song title that i feel is justified - this is becoming a bit like monty python's "whatever did the romans do for us?" sketch!

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    3. The best thing That's Life ever did was the dog driving the car, because dogs driving cars are comedy gold.

      Found out recently that all round zeitgeisty commentator and supermind Adam Curtis was the researcher who found the dog that said "sausages!" on That's Life. He doesn't mention that much.

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    4. THX, that's all we get to see of Howard Jones doing "Life in One Day".

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    5. Pity, it's a nice little tune.

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    6. That's Life was absolutely fine until Rantzen decided that she would become a campaigner for any bandwagon going, and the light entertainment / fun part disappeared. Sadly the BBC indulging her with 'Hearts Of Gold' made things even worse...

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    7. i don't know if this is seen as a good or bad thing by folks here (definitely the latter in my view as she had a terrible singing voice), but don't forget that esther was also responsible for launching the pop career of sheena easton on an early reality-style tv series called "the big time". luckily for sheena the septics then took a shine to her, and she should be thanking her lucky stars every single day as a result of that. as otherwise despite the help she got from that programme, she would have firmly ended up in the "where are they now?" category not long afterwards!

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  8. ANNOUNCEMENT

    regarding the above discussion between myself and sct353 concerning a long-vanished website that featured personal reviews and memories of the top 40 uk chart singles from the early 1970's to the mid 1980's...

    well, i now have some great news in that i've done some internet digging and (thanks to sct remembering the name of the site) appear to have retrieved much if not all of it via the internet archives wayback machine site!

    here are a couple of links to it, one being the homepage and the other the starting point for the reviews in chronological order:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20080219121850/http://www.yearsofgold.org.uk:80/index.html

    https://web.archive.org/web/20071025211440/http://www.yearsofgold.org.uk/1973WEEK1JAN6.htm

    i for one can't wait to start reading this again, and hopefully it will be well worth it for others here to do so as well?

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    1. i've just started reading the very first review on the above site, and at no.12 is wacko's original recording of "ben". cue "twilight zone" music!

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    2. Hi wilberforce - you're a star!!! Resurrecting this archive gem is a real find! It's gonna waste a lot of my time in the near future! Of course it was Nigel who wrote it as you recollected yourself, and, yes, he was no fan of Steve 'Silk' Hurley and MARRS either! For now I have homed in on that chart from 25th January 1975 to see if my recollection about Dana was right. I wasn't far off!

      38 Dana Please Tell Him That I Said Hello

      Dana was having her first hit for four years, and took eight weeks to reach her peak of number eight, and spent a total of 12 weeks in the 40. I did like this, and at least "Hello" was used in the correct context. That is, it isn't used in the way it gets used by American teenagers in films (and in Buffy the Vampire Slayer). You know, one is speaking to the other about something so interesting that no attention is being paid whatsoever. When the first one realises she says "Hello" as if she's asking a question. How stupid can someone be ? You don't say "Hello" to someone when you've already been in their company for half an hour.

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    3. thanks sct - i'm pleased to be of service, and i'm looking forward to wasting a lot of my time ploughing through it myself*. but it wouldn't have happened had you not mentioned the "uk number ones" website!

      * i've already made my way through 1973, where i discovered another annoying and pointlessly-bracketed song title in t.rex's "truck on (tyke)". and that cliff richard made a film that year called "take me high" (it sounds like a religious thing, but is actually a comedy/drama set on the birmingham canals) that i'd not heard of before...

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    4. I remember vaguely Dana in the mid seventies when I was a small boy of around 7-8 years old when she was on TV a lot, and really fancying her, as there was a real cutie there, even though I was not old enough to choose my viewing in those days where we had only one TV in the house, and you had to be lucky if the parents or older brother were not watching another channel. She seemed to be on more TV programmes than just TOTP in those days, even though many of those TOTP shows with her in it are now considered lost (wiped).

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    5. Interesting little diversion this....

      wilberforce - I watched 'Take me High' for the first time ever just a few months ago funnily enough. It's a fairly lightweight cheesy affair but it does co-star the late Deborah Watling (as Cliff's love interest), who as Victoria was the first female Doctor Who companion I can remember. Deborah also sings a duet with Cliff in the film and in one scene sports a fetching 'Pink Panther' T-shirt.

      Dory - All is not wiped in the Dana stakes. Have a look at this wonderful live rendition from ToTP of the song that I have been harking on about:-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbU6tfhcv3M

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    6. Take Me High was Cliff's last film, and while the title track managed to get to 27 in the charts I think the film itself was both a critical and commercial failure. Still, the fact it features the odd couple of George Cole and Anthony Andrews probably makes it worth seeking out for the sake of curiosity...

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    7. Some 'Take me High' Canal action and that 'Pink Panther' top!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6zoiO5Lqpk

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    8. sct, yes indeed I watched your link, and doesn't Dana look splendidly pretty in that clip. Good Lord, memories come flooding back of our black & white TV at home in 1975, and the only tv in the house.

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    9. Technically Cliff's last movie was a cameo in Run for Your Wife, where he appears as a busker with that all-round family entertainer, Rolf Harris. This means it will never be shown ever again on UK TV. Which is good, because it's diabolical.

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    10. Looking at the very extensive list of cameos in Run For Your Wife, I notice that they include Derren Nesbitt (who has been mentioned before on this blog) as "man on bus," while Giles Watling, the brother of Cliff's Take Me High co-star (and now also MP for Clacton) is "man in pub." I have to say the release of this film completely passed me by...

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    11. I am a massive Cooney fan and was very disappointed when it got pulled after only two days at the only local theatre. I later bought it on DVD - it is truly dire!! At the time there were rumours it only grossed £600 at the theatre...

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  9. I’ll watch this edition later in the week, but I’ll admit to being sad we miss out on seeing Howard Jones perform “Life In One Day”. Yes, the song was another of his cod-psychology ones, but it was quite a bouncy, breezy number.

    Strangely, it got a breakers slot but missed out on a studio outing or video in the next edition, when another of the previous week’s breakers which a) went up only half as many places as Howard and b) was lower down the chart was given studio time instead, for whatever reason. Whether the lack of TOTP airtime contributed to its downfall or not, “Life In One Day” then starting dropping down the chart in its third week and became his worst chart placing at the time, peaking at 14.

    That was the beginning of the end for poor old Howard. Two singles later he couldn’t even crack the top 30, and after that he never got near the mugshots again.

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  10. Elton looks so uncool in that video :D He definitely got where he was because of his melodies.

    The Damned effort is ok, makes more impression than Grimly Fiendish to me, the video has a kind of sepia look to it which seems to signify its lack of pop intent.

    Tun it Up, this style isn't where the dance invention was now perhaps. Some sounds hark back to the 70s even.

    The Howard Jones song is ok, a bit of a folk influence there, some Afro-Latin rhythm influence, more African maybe.



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  11. Tenuous TOTP link alert! If you've seen the news recently about those chalets on the Norfolk coast which are about to disappear into the sea because their clifftop formations were eroded by the recent bad weather, those chalets are in Hemsby - birthplace of the lovely Cherry Gillespie. Sigh.

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  12. Shakey Shakerson20 March 2018 at 04:30

    A return to sub-standard editions, not helped by the sub-sub-standard pair hosting.

    Paul Young. Running on fumes here isn't her? It's not a terrible song but it certainly lacks the hookiness of his earlier run of hits.

    Kool & Gang. Ah, the Montreaux Pop Festival. I remember this as being an annual treat in the days before wall-to-wall video stations were commonplace. Distinctly remember Danny Wilson doing a barnstorming 'Mary's Prayer' and something called, I think, 'Second Summer Of Love'. Good days. Cherish does nothing for me, however.

    Springsteen. I once had a lengthy argument with a friend (alcohol was involved) debating who was the better singer, Bruce or Whitney Houston. I maintained - as I do now- that for all her vocal gymnastics, I didn't believe a word Ms Houston sang, whereas I DID believe Bruce and for me that was more important than being able to hit all thoseweirdnoted that noone really likes listening to. Anyway Im On Fire is brilliant.Nice vid too.

    Marti Webb. Just because it was a worthwhile charity doersn't make it a worthwhile record.

    Breakers. The Damned was the best of the three - but thats not saying much.

    Once again the charts and breakers and number 1 all run on from one another meaning the show kinda shudders to a half three quarters of the way through.

    Scores. 3 for the Smith & Powell duo. Their countdown constantly overran, they had nothing to say about anything; Powell was horribly falsely sincere during the Ben intro; Smith called Kool & The Gang just 'Kool'.

    Musically we are looking at a 4 - thanks mainly to the man from Ashbury Park.

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    1. so who is the man from ashbury park? there's an ashbury in oxfordshire, so maybe it's howard jones? or rory bremner perhaps, as he sounds quite posh? not paul young though, who i think was from luton

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    2. Shakey Shakerson20 March 2018 at 11:20

      Wilby. Tis Bruce - who grew up in an area of New Jersey called that and who had an early LP called Greetings From Ash bury Park

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    3. i was joking shakey - i knew it was the boss really, but the place he came from is actually called asbury park!

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    4. Shakey Shakerson22 March 2018 at 11:42

      Well, aren't I knob? The Greetings From... album is one of the few albums I bought in the 80s that I still have and play occasionally. Of course there is no H in the name and I have no idea why I have renamed it. Possibly a 'senior moment' or 'senhior momhent' as I shall no doubt be calling it some day soon.

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    5. isn't senior moment a spaniard? i don't know if getting something you think you know wrong or mis-imagined is a symptom of old age or not, but surely we didn't all get every single thing right even when we were young? it also had to be taken into account that we take in more information every day we live, so the average 60 year old is likely to have three times the amount of stuff in their head that the average 20 year old has. and thus by sheer logic is going to more difficulty of recall

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  13. Thanks once again to Neil B though, sadly, the musical quality matched our dreadful hosts. I wished Shitty would disappear to Hawaii with that shirt.

    Seeing all those clips, why didn’t TOTP go the whole hog and just make the show in Montreux?

    Paul Young’s jacket embellishment reminded me this song was on the fringe of the top 20. Ahem.

    We then get another act with more vocalists than instrumentalists. Showaddywaddy must have been watching this and seething.

    Did Rory Bremner’s cover, complete with John Arlott / Zippy impersonation, cross the boundary of good taste? I couldn’t give a full toss about this and couldn’t wait till it was over.

    A good Johnny Cash vibe for Brooooce there but, in similar mode to wanting Russ Abbot to cover the other “Atmosphere”, I’d have preferred Mister Springsteen to have a crack at 5000 Volts’ disco track of the same name.

    Was “Ben” about a rat? Marti Webb’s first note sounded more like a sheep bleating, then she and the orchestra went completely out of synch. That was the cue for me to FF.

    Elton and Millie, STOP BELLOWING! THIS IS TRIPE! While you’re at it, Reg, give Tommy Cooper his fez back.

    The Damned with a Goth theme tune to a Western?

    Howard Jones’s track was my second favourite of his. Shame we heard bugger all of it with Shitty blathering over a good portion of the snippet.

    The chart rundown was dreadful, with Shitty consistently running way over his allotted time per mugshot and both hosts then mangled the video links.“KayLEIGH”? “AxELL F”? WanKERS!

    Sister Sledge with 75% of the usual personnel, 50% of their normal amount of clothing and 2% of their song’s usual quality.

    And we finish with some kitchen sink disco, as in everything but the kitchen sink’s been used to make this row.

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    1. Funnily enough, Rory Bremner won the Golden Rose of Montreux for one of his TV series.

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  14. PP has cheered up a bit and wifey is back as we get half way through 85. How time flies.

    Listened to this Paul Young song earlier after it was a breaker and although I hadnt heard it before I like it. Not sure about the jacket though. Wifey asking what album this from. She hasn't heard it before either.

    Slight pause to explain to Wifey about the drop in picture quality.

    "Oh not these" again says wifey as Kool and his gang arrive from Montreaux. Remember my Dad liked this one a lot.

    Rory up next with his 19 spoof. Well done live. Very clever a looking very like David Gower...
    Wifey is in shock... 😀

    Bruce next and why are we not playing Born In The USA.
    I know this track has some fans on here but I can't get on with this one.

    Marti up next with her charity version of Ben. Wifey has gone to sleep. Think I will join her...
    Feels and looks like TOTP has gone back to 1975..

    Quite a bit of new stuff from 31-40 to check out later.

    Breakers
    Elton and Millie. Never heard this before. Not too bad..
    The Damned. This is not as good as their last outing. Hmmm
    Howard Jones with a live song from... Where was it again ?? 😁 😁 😁
    New to me again and it's ok

    Madonna getting married Mike.. Never.

    Frankie x3 and one in labour. 😀
    Hey Frankie.... 😀😀
    Do the baby will come on for a dance in 3 weeks time. 😀 😀 😀

    Conway brother on playout. Good choice.

    Apart from PY at the start a bit of naff show bringing a strong run to an end.

    Oh well, always next week and I'M UP TO DATE....

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    1. Just wondering why you need to mention your wife in every single post. I think we know by now that you are attached like a barbie doll.

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    2. i don't have a problem with reviewer's spouses/partners being mentioned in dispatches if they happen to be watching the show as well, and it can actually make a change to hear of their views - even if they are more likely going to be into "housewife classics" (© noax) than the good stuff. however, were i mrs m then i would certainly take exception to being referred to as (the somewhat derogatory in my view) "wifey"!

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    3. Mrs. Noax fortunately doesn't love housewife classics as a general rule. I wouldn't have married her otherwise!!

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    4. i am reminded here of one of the record shop owner's staff/sidekicks in "hi fidelity" who gets himself a girlfriend who is into housewife classics and the lighter side of pop, then proceeds to wean her off such bland fare and "trains" her to get into the same cool bands that he likes!

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    5. i am also reminded here of an old chum who played in bands and ran his own recording studio - when he started "going steady" with a woman he met, i asked him what kind of music she was into. the answer was "oh you know, phil collins, simply red, stuff like that...". so as one with as much of an obsession with music as myself, i asked him why he would be attracted to someone with such peripheral interest. to which he replied "because i'm involved with music and musicians all day long, and she gives me a welcome break from all that!"

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  15. From 19 not out to 58 all out against New Zealand!!!

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  16. Let's see if we can - appropriately enough - knock up a century for this TOTP (in association with the Montreux Rock'n'Pop festival)

    Paul Young - Look up the dictionary definition of 'average song' and it probably plays a clip of this.

    Kool & The Gang - Christ, they really love this, don't they? I don't.

    The Commentators - I also thought Rory Bremner was very funny in his early days, and I love cricket too so this was always going to appeal to me. The funniest bit is the 'Side On' section.

    Bruce - As I've said before, this is his finest moment for me. Nice to see an understated video that fits in with the feel of the song as well.

    Marti Webb - I've already said how horrid I find this.

    Breakers - I too am surprised that Howard Jones didn't feature with his song given that he seemed to be a friend of the programme. It's a good one too. The Damned song isn't and the Elton / Millie one was lucky to get to No.32!

    Then one of the worst chart toppers of all time and a pretty standard soul tune of this era to finish. Shame not to see the 2 songs I really liked on BBC4, not too fussed about the rest.

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    1. i agree with others that rory bremner was much more amusing in his early days, where he focused on parodying those from the worlds of entertainment and sport rather than politics - as opposed to the other way around in later years. in fact his career has been a bit like the typical innings scorecard of a cricket team, with the openers and top order amassing a big score (and in style too) before a middle order collapse and the tailenders not troubling the scorekeepers too much!

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  17. in a rather laboured effort to get to a century bearing in mind the main theme of this particular edition, did any cricket teams make a single (ho ho) in the manner that far-too-numerous-to-mention football teams did?

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    1. also on the subject (and getting an "extra" in the process): i remember alec stewart complaining that during his time playing for the english cricket team, unlike his counterparts in other international sports the national anthem didn't get played before the start of a match. unlike in my youth, like most sports i never watch it nowadays. so i wonder if that has changed now?

      and talking of national anthems: why can't us brits (or english, depending on the sport and/or tournament we're involved in) have a national anthem that celebrates the country itself (as most others do), rather than a freeloader who is fortunate to have won the lottery of birth? had i been picked to represent england as a sportsman, i would have waited until it was over before coming onto the field of play! and it's a fucking dirge to boot - unlike the rousing and inspiring anthems of the united states, france and (especially) italy, where i get highly envious every time i hear them played at sporting events!

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    2. It mystifies me why England can't have its own national anthem for football and rugby - the English Commonwealth Games team has used Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory in the past, so I don't know why the FA and RFU cling doggedly on to what is meant to be the British national anthem.

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    3. Reminds me of that Billy Connolly skit where he says our athletes are so slow because of the pace of the "National Anthem" compared to other countries', and suggests we should replace our anthem with something quicker like the theme tune to "The Archers"!

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    4. further to my query about cricket teams making singles of the vinyl variety: although there don't seem to be any, perhaps not surprisingly at the height of his sporting fame in the mid-80's "bully beef" botham had a bash at being a pop star with a charidee single (sadly not on youtube!):

      https://www.discogs.com/Bobby-Buck-Ian-Botham-Poacher-Take-Time-To-Care/release/4538621

      i also have a memory of botham being the instigator and/or prime mover for another (cricket-related) charidee called "the bunbury tails", where he got his sleb music mates (not surprisingly including the likes of clappo and reg, although somewhat bizarrely hip hoppers tony! toni! tone! were also involved) to chip in with contributions to it. although the man himself appears to be absent as a recording artist this time:

      https://www.discogs.com/Various-The-Bunbury-Tails/release/1370385

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  18. despite doing my best to keep this innings going to get to a century, it seems i'm like a batsman that running out of partners at the other end!

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    1. I'd blame the Aussies...

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  19. this talk of cricket and the current australian ball-tampering crisis has reminded me of when i was living in london in the late 80's/early 90's, when the then-current (and rampant) aussie team were featured in an ad for castlemaine lager that seemed to be on the side of every bus that drove past me - they were lined up in a row with the moustachio'd captain allan border in the centre who was flanked on either side by merv hughes and david boon, who were both had ones of the walrus/handlebar variety - i'm not a fan of such things, but i have to say that i found that quite impressive! sadly i can't find any pics of that on the internet though...

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    1. of course boon broke (and probably still holds) the "record" of drinking the most cans of lager on a flight from australia to blighty with an effort of more than a half century. but going by my recollection of castlemaine (which despite the best efforts of the aussie team didn't have much of an innings in blighty), if that's what he consumed then no it's no big surprise!

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    2. I don't think anyone is listening Wilberforce, but hey, I'll join you at the crease to make the final runs to the century. N-N-N-Nineteen, Nineteen. NOT OUT!

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    3. My abiding cricketing memory is of school where we were playing indoor cricket in the gym and I managed to catch the ball, which was significant for some reason or other, and everyone proceeded to pile on top of me, cheering. Total fluke, but that's my claim to sporting glory.

      One more post to go!

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  20. i shall do the honours then, with what is the nearest-to i can find on the internet regarding that aussie cricket team castlemaine xxxx ad i mentioned above:

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-eIU_RW6RUoE/UhNRAuz89rI/AAAAAAAABIA/1xgcd0BOH7I/s1600/1989+Merv+Hughes+XXXX.jpg

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