Thursday, 4 October 2018

Addicted to Top of the Pops

Slap on your reddest lipstick and slip into your slinkiest black dress, it's time to get your fix of the 29th May 1986 edition of Top of the Pops!

Totty of the Pops

29/05/86  (Janice Long & John Peel)

Doctor & The Medics – “Spirit In The Sky” (3)
Getting this live show off to the best place with what will be number one next week.

Robert Palmer – “Addicted To Love” (10) (video)
This video caused a bit of controversy at the time, but it helped Robert to his first top ten hit when it peaked at number 5.

The Real Thing – “Can’t Get By Without You” (22)
Another re-mix. It had peaked at number 2 in 1976, ten years on it reached number 6.

Nu Shooz – “I Can’t Wait” (21) (breaker)
Their only top 40 hit, and it peaked at number 2.

Cashflow – “Mine All Mine” (18) (breaker)
Their only hit, and it peaked at number 15.

Tears For Fears – “Everybody Wants To Run The World” (13) (video)
Became their sixth of seven top ten hits when it peaked at number 5 for Sport Aid.

Pete Wylie – “Sinful” (20) 
Pete brings his own backing group of sexy nuns into the studio to help Sinful on its way to number 13.

Spitting Image – “The Chicken Song” (1) (video)
Third and final week at number one.

Peter Gabriel – “Sledgehammer” (4) (video/audience dancing/credits)
At its peak.

June 5th is next.


  1. Peel seemed a little grumpy in this one, which may have helped fuel the “dickhead in love” comment. Whetever you think of that video, I thought he was being a bit harsh on Robert Palmer, and more crude than witty. Thankfully Janice was in a more upbeat mood, and seemingly delighted to have so many fellow scousers on the show.

    Another flamboyant turn from Clive Jackson and co to start us off - I wonder if the women's ultra-long hair was real? The Addicted to Love video must certainly rival the one for Sledgehammer as the most famous promo of 1986, even though it is the polar opposite in so many ways thanks to Terence Donovan's defiantly lo-tech directorial approach. Peel was evidently in the camp that thought it was sexist, but I find it more tongue-in-cheek than anything, though those girls do have a definite allure - the keyboardist is probably my favourite. As with Sledgehammer the video tends to overshadow the song, but it still sounds good today with its driving beat and excellent stabs of rock guitar. Not the best song Palmer ever did, but certainly deserving of its success.

    The Real Thing continue to revive and remix their old hits, and do so to good effect with this one, which I have always thought was a better song than You to Me Are Everything anyway. Not sure if that's a live vocal or not, but it sounds a bit like it. We will hear more of those breakers imminently, though I did like Peel's comment about the coffee machine in the Nu Shooz vid, even if the bit about terrorists didn't make sense. I don't think I have heard this charidee version of the TFF classic since 1986, and that's probably just as well as the arrangement here is markedly inferior. Apparently Curt and Roland were motivated to do this by criticism of their absence from Live Aid the previous year, but whatever kudos they gained it didn't do anything to enhance their musical reputation. The video is more interesting, and it is amusing to see Jimmy White and Alex Higgins in it, almost as if this was their riposte to Barry Hearn's Matchroom Mob. The presence of the England football team was also timely, as the World Cup was just about to start in Mexico.

    Peel didn't seem anywhere near as bothered about Pete Wylie's nuns as he was about Robert Palmer's girls, and they certainly help to make this a memorable performance of a powerful and well-produced tune; I think this is the best thing we have heard from Mr Wylie on TOTP, and it should get played more these days. The rest of the line-up we have seen before.

    1. Is it because the keyboardist on Robert Palmer's video was the sexiest one? I noticed that the most to least 'alluring' as you put it was from left to right, from least covered up to most covered up in that direction, with the two on the left with minidresses, and the two on the right with longer dresses, that seems to make sense somewhat. Oh, and Palmer had made some effort on the clothing too.

      It also crossed my mind regarding the three snooker players in the TFF video, were the three who resisted being signed up by Barry Hearn's Matchroom team, and quite rightly looked as though they were forming their own rebel outfit, by not being pulled in by Hearn, and appeared in this video instead of the Chas & Dave Snooker Loopy video still hanging in there in the top 10.

      I also found it interesting that Geldof and Ure starred in the TFF video, when TFF did not appear in the Band Aid video some 18 months or so earlier, considering they were just as successful as Wham and Duran Duran at the time, so what point were Geldof and Ure trying to make here?

      Also you forgot to mention that apart from Pete Wylie's three sexy nuns on stage, and Robert Palmer's four sexy girls on his video, that Dr & The Medics also had two sexy girls of their own on stage with them, ie, the backing girls doing the psycadelic moves. I thought they were quite stunning in their own way, reliving the 60s psychadelic times on that stage with the flowers in the hair sort of thing, and giving respect to the 60s where the original of Spirit In The Sky was released first time round.

    2. I did mention the Doctor and the Medics girls Dory, as I was wondering if their hair was real. I don't find them the slightest bit sexy, though!

    3. And yes, the Robert Palmer keyboardist was the sexiest for me.

  2. Doctor from Doctor and the Medics doing his best Arthur Brown impersonation (sans flaming crown), it seems to me. Well on their way to the top - but, no, they weren't one hit wonders.

    Robert Palmer and his girl band, yes, it was controversial, but if it was OK by the women involved then fair enough, though that camera has a definite male gaze. As for the song, one of those pop rock efforts that wasn't really metal, despite metal going that way, thanks to the vocal by Bob.

    The ironically-named Real Thing serving up another remix that wasn't as good as the original, and again they look as if they've been called away from their living rooms unexpectedly to do the show. This is not quite as poor as the previous remix they did, but you'd never hear it now, it just wasn't as good as the one we're familiar with.

    What was that Nu Shooz video shot on, lino? Anyway, talking of not as good as the original, the lesser heard Run the World mix from Tears for Fears in which they are nowhere to be seen in the video but Geldof and Ure take their places with much arseing about. Nice to see the late great Barry Chuckle weightlifting at the start. What the hell is Peter Ustinov doing here? Representing the Topkapi division of Turkish wrestling?

    Pete Wylie with a tune I loved at the time, and its bombastic pop stylings still sound great now. He used to observe his fellow Liverpudlians changed the lyrics to "It's simple, it's magic", not quite the same. As fitting the religious theme, Pete makes a bid for damnation by including naughty nuns on stage - how come this was OK and Robert Palmer's models weren't? Irony, I suppose - it didn't begin in the 90s after all.

    Is that a big puff of cocaine in the Spitting Image video, at the customs bit? Interesting to see the David Owen puppet as part of the Labour Party back bench!

    Then giving Peter Gabriel the excuse never to promote this song, Sledgehammer, the video, natch.

    1. I kind of thought this show had plenty of oomph factor, with Pete Wylie's three sexy nuns, Robert palmer's four (or actually only two) sexy girls (on the left of our screen), and the two on Dr & The Medics reliving 60s psycadelia.

      Having got a glimpse of the new Nu Shooz video, it's hard to believe that this sleepy mediocre tune got to the dizzy heights of No.2! Good Lord, were we really scraping the barrel in mid-1986 for strong tunes??!!
      Indeed even Falco now had two singles in the top 40 this week. Whatever next!

      Whatever that puff was in the Spitting Image video, I'm pleased that it is the last time we see it, most notably for the huge nose on Neil Kinnock at the end of the video, which I thought was scary enough for family viewing at the time! I'm just sorry that this crap kept Patti Labelle & Michael Mcdonald off the top spot, as they were still stuck at no.2 for yet another week.

    2. I Can't Wait by Nu Shooz is a terrific tune, with fantastic, ultra-slick 80s production. Is Mr Shooz in the video at all, or did he leave his more photogenic wife to hog the screen?

    3. THX, it appears Mr Shooz doesn’t, er, appear in the video at all.

      “I Can’t Wait” had a very roundabout route to becoming a hit. Nu Shooz were initially rejected at every turn in America. The single was released independently, somehow it reached The Netherlands, where it was re-mixed and then imported back to the USA on a different label, and Atlantic liked what they heard and signed them up.

    4. Well it certainly was magic for them in Britain, getting to No.2. Although I remember Nu Shooz with this single, I certainly don't remember them getting as high as No.2. Good Lord!

  3. Interesting to note that Alex Higgins was not quite washed up by 1986, despite his best snooker years having gone by now, and I think his appearance on the TFF video was one of the last glimpses of him on video, as certainly in snooker terms he was appearing less on the televised stages of tournaments by now, than he did in the late 70s and early 80s when he was a lot better.

    In contrast, Jimmy White went on to even bigger things right up to the mid 90s when he finally fell away into snooker history, most notably because Stephen Hendry robbed him of the world snooker title on a number of occasions in a number of world finals.

    Nowadays White is a regular in the Eurosport studios for snooker coverage and commentary, also rivalling the ex-Matchroom players who do that type of work for the BBC. It seems that White will never collaborate with the likes of Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry, even now 20-30 years later in their TV studio careers, with their playing careers well and truly behind them, though White still has a card on the Professionals tour, but never seems to get to the televised stages of any tournaments!

  4. robert palmer: possibly like many i found the video of far more interest than the tune (that was a bit too heavy-sounding for my liking) when it was originally released, although the latter has grown on me since. i don't know how they went about choosing what model "played" what instrument, but i always felt a bit sorry for the "drummer" as she was pretty much completely obscured throughout - that is once i had realised she was actually there, which wasn't the case to start with. it's interesting to note in retrospect that the video wasn't as well-planned as it might have been in other ways too - although similar the dresses are not identical, as if the models had been told to wear their own clothes rather than having them supplied as costumes; they sway and jig about in an unco-ordinated fashion (i once read an interview with one of them, who admitted that they got a bit tipsy on wine whilst doing the shoot - which explains both that and the somewhat glazed expressions on their faces); the guitars used are of differing designs (which means i can easily identify my personal favourite "band member", via the gibson explorer-style guitar she "plays"). all that was rectified in the similarly-themed video that accompanied palmer's (far superior in my opinion) follow-up single "i didn't mean to turn you on". yes i suppose this could be thought-of as exploitation-of-women in this pc age we live in now, but in my view it's got a hell of lot more style than the likes of samantha fox getting their tits out on page 3 of the "scum"

    real thing: another pointless remix/re-release - this time it's "you to me are everything part ii"

    tears for fears: apart from subsituting the word "run" for "rule", they also added a terrible mock-horn section synth patch for this. although i liked the original version quite a lot to begin with, i was already beginning to get bored of it even before it was re-tooled for charidee. so there's no way i'd play it through choice nowadays

    pete wylie: one i haven't heard in eons, and to be frank had no desire to either as i wasn't impressed with his previous hits. however this is actually quite a good piece of belated synth pop as opposed to his earlier cod-soul efforts, and it sounds like he's taken some singing lessons in the interim too. the lady guitarist isn't anywhere near as glamourous as the robert palmer ones, but then again maybe she did actually play on the record? as for the nuns, i'm surprised they didn't work the three wise monkeys thing ("see no evil", etc) into their routine

    spitting image: just to say that my favourites in the series were the davids owen and steel - the former portrayed as an urbane lounge lizard and the latter as owen's own puppet, despite them being co-leaders of their merged politicial parties that were supposed to give the labour-tory oligarchy some serious competition for a change. in fact steel was so cruelly depicted (remember him demanding "a stripey shirt and a white collar"?) that it almost single-handedly destroyed any credibility the guy had gained as a result of taking over the liberals from the disgraced jeremy thorpe, and his stirring-if-deluded "go back to your constituencies and prepare for government!" speech

    1. Was it true that while David Steel was depicted as a tiny wee nyaff on Spitting Image, in David Owen's pocket, he was actually taller than Owen in real life?

      I did note in the excellent BBC drama about the Jeremy Thorpe affair, Steel was not exactly shown in a flattering light either. He can't catch a break on TV!

    2. thx i had a fair idea what "nyaff" might have been, but i had to look it up to discover it's scottish slang for someone considered irritating (appropriate i suppose, given steel is scottish himself). it didn't help steel's cause that he publically objected to the way he was portrayed on the show - he'd have been better off using can of petrol to put out a fire ha ha

    3. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the Jeremy Thorpe drama, the actor who played David Steel looked and sounded nothing like him, which is a bit of a drawback when you are playing a distinctive politician...

  5. Peelie was highly entertaining on this edition, though Mr. Hurll obviously didn't agree sadly.

    Dr & The Medics - See my commments on a previous thread for exactly what I think of it!

    Robert Palmer - ditto!

    The Real Thing - After the previous 2, this is actually something of a relief. A pointless remix again, but less offensive than the previous one.

    Breakers - Nu Shooz with a brilliant song, Cashflow with one so bland I'd forgotten it almost immediately afterwards.

    Tears For Fears - Here's something that almost certainly wouldn't have been seen at all since 1986 and there's so much to dissect -

    Why Carl Lewis and Peter Ustinov? Were no UK sports personalities available to speak on camera?

    Why is Duncan Goodhew seemingly diving into a children's pool?

    Why are well known Scotsman Midge Ure and well known Irishman Bob Geldof pretending to play with the England football team? (they might have matched the footage better if they'd let Midge and Bob have a kickabout on a gloomier day!)

    The song appears on the CD only compilation NOW 86 which I had to get a copy of for my collection even though the TFF track is the only one I don't own on other compos!

    Pete Wylie - It is very good and probably more deserving of No.1 than Dr & The Medics but it wasn't a massively charismatic performance by Pete here which probably didn't help its cause. Not sure if he was deliberately being moody but he was holding his arms in a very odd way.

  6. Did John Peel arrive at anyone's house and break wind in their kitchen back in '86, as a matter of interest?

    1. It's interesting that BBC4 didn't edit out that 'breaking wind' comment, considering they edit out less shocking stuff on other editions

  7. The same month 'Addicted To Love' stormed the hit parade, British new wave band The Fixx - who were much more popular in the USA and Canada than at home - released THIS single:

    It is in the same key, and is rhythmically very similar, particularly in relation to the guitar part. Does this not make you think of the Palmer smash?

    1. The drums are the same, but I wouldn't say it made me think of Addicted to Love very much, to be honest.

    2. have to agree with thx - i can't really see any resemblance to "addicted to love" at all. the fixx were very similar to wang chung in that their somewhat bland brand of synth pop wasn't really appreciated in their own country, so had to go further afield to find an audience. i remember the singer's name being cy, but still have no idea if it was short for cyril or not. or how it should have been pronounced?

    3. I suppose we all hear things differently. When I first heard the Fixx single on the radio, I found myself imitating one of the models in Mr Palmer's video.

    4. P.S. Fixx lead singer Cy Curnin's real name is Cyril John Curnin. Along with members of The Alarm, Squeeze and Stray Cats, he actively supports the charity Love Hope Strength Foundation. He currently resides in France's Loire Valley.

  8. Well I enjoyed this one so much (no1 aside) that I watched it through twice!! Great hosts and a great set of songs and videos.

    Dr and the Medics – Spirit in the Sky – I just find this an amazing cover of this 1970 hit and the routine of the band sells it so well. What a great start.

    Robert Palmer – Addicted to love – Certainly one of the most iconic videos ever made and one of my favourites (was the drummer wearing a mini dress btw?). I am with JohnG on the keyboard player (Julie Pankhurst btw) being my favourite. On the 1986 feature show, three of these ladies appear and tell the story, and also recount that they received no negative comment from women about. Where were the other two (Patty Kelly and Kathy Davies)? One other point to note, the same models were used in the equally good video for the follow up ‘I didn’t mean to turn you on’ which is where the picture in the chart rundown is taken from.

    The Real Thing – Can’t get by without you – The second great tune of theirs remixed from 1976 and it has aged so well.

    Breakers – Nu Shooz – I can’t wait. Not sure why it’s not ‘New Shoes’ but it’s one of those harmless songs that is unlikely to feature in anyone’s ‘Top 10’, so as Dory points out, how on earth did it sell so well? Cashflow – Mine all mine – When I was in Tenerife later in 1986, the club ‘Chaplin’s that I frequented used to play a segued mix of this into ‘I found lovin’. I have fond memories of this track for that alone.

    Tears for Fears – Everybody wants to run the World – Hard to find on CD this mix is; as Noax notes, it’s on the ‘Now 1986’ compilation (along with many other gems from 1986). The version used was formerly known as the ‘Urban mix’ and came out alongside the original release in 1985 , but here obviously the lyrical overdubs have been applied. Wonderful memories seeing all those well-known sports stars from the era (along with some try harders!). Kirk Stevens is certainly a snooker player I had forgotten about.

    Pete Wylie – Sinful! – Exclamation marks again! Josie Jones does play on the record so good to see her here. This studio performance is very good with the storming instrumental break intact – has anyone seen a complete video where this is not edited out? Agree with JP, this should have been no1, but not sure I’d visit everyone’s kitchen in a windy fit when it didn’t!

    Spitting Image – The Chicken Song – The usually non-opinionated commentary in the Guinness Book of number one singles comments “…the musical contributions are often the lowlight of the evening (on Spitting Image). The Simply appalling ‘Chicken Song’ was written by …..”. My thoughts entirely. Another one in the ‘Jack your Body’ category albeit for different reasons. FF

    Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer – With Genesis in with ’Invisible Touch’ we have two related records in the chart at the same time, both of which topped the US charts in consecutive weeks.

    1. You may find this article interesting about the girls in the Robert palmer video being interviewed in 2013, including Julie on keyboards:

    2. Thanks Dory...interesting.

    3. kirk stephens' star was already on the wane at this point, as he was allowing his hard-living coke-snorting sleb lifestyle to get the better of his once-very promising career. a similar thing happened to another of snooker's golden boys tony knowles, who i once noticed was standing at the urinal next to mine in the toilets of a local nightclub when he was in town for a tournament. and it was quite clear he'd had a jug or three, as he briefly animatedly chatted with me as if i was the star and he was a nobody!

  9. If you want to see the Sledgehammer video redone, only crap, here's an ad you may recall:

  10. Surely that's (the very topical) Zoe Ball in the checked trousers during the final link?? Anyone want to confirm this?

  11. Ay! Ay! Calm down our kid! It’s TOTP chock full of Scousers, backing women taking your mind off the acts, and dreadful remixes.

    Doctor and The Medics are a fine show starter, with the singing unicorn backed by one dancer who stops to chat to her cohort early doors, forgets the routine and laughs it off.

    Wonderful miming by the drummer in Robert Palmer’s video! How did she get to play the bass drum at that angle while I’m at it? She probably refused to mime properly as she was unhappy about being lumped at the bank and hardly visible.

    How ironic, The Real Thing with a second facsimile rehash of an old hit. What had Chris done to his hair? Bring back your extravagant hat, sir!

    Nu Shooz sounded different to me. Was that the original recording instead of the hit remix version?

    Cashflow with a complete and utter rip-off of “I Found Loving”. Despicable.

    Followed by a horrible reworking of Tears For Fears’ track. Duncan Goodhew lived for a while in the West Sussex village of Yapton, where they named a new cul-de-sac in his honour following his Olympic gold medal.

    Pete Wylie accompanied by a mugging drummer and a scoreline of Nuns three Bassists nun, er, none!

  12. It's Thursday night (OK Tuesday morning)
    It's Live (or was)
    It's Top of the Pops

    Janice introduces the fabulous Spirit In The sky
    All in white this week and creepy girls still in tow.
    Does anyone remember the Gareth Gates and The Kumars version? Thinks it's much funnier than it actually is,,

    Robert Palmer up next. Nice video☺
    As a kid I used to have a belt that was identical to the stripy guitar strap.
    The full version of this song is over 6 minutes long, no wonder it gets faded out on the radio.
    Did JP just call him a dick head? Ouch.

    Oh look another old song back for more in 86. Real Thing do a good job with this one. Nice song.

    Breakers :
    Nu Shooz. Such a fan of this song. Don't recall the video but the song has aged well. Still gorgeous.
    Cash flow. What rubbish is this. Naff song. Naff video. Oh dear.

    Tears For Fears. Charity alert. Time to Run The world and play spot the celebrity. Bob and Midge NOT funny boys.
    Note that the non Barry Hearne managed snooker stars avoided the novelty record and are on this instead.

    Peelie gets his little dance in as we get to the highlight of the show. Sinful. Great song. Still sounds fab today. Nice use of Nuns.
    Taking their dance moves from the Medics girls.

    Chicken Song STILL number one..

    Another chance to see Sledgehammer. Nice.

    Great show, happy. Of to work now...