Thursday, 11 October 2018

Too Good to be Top of the Pops

Time to slip into your spandex and leg warmers and enjoy this 19th June 1986 edition of Top of the Pops!

My leotard never lies

19/06/86  (Gary Davies)

Bucks Fizz – “New Beginning (Mamba Seyra)” (11)
Beginning tonight's show with new member Shelley Preston, who looked liked she was planning on going to the gym afterwards, this song was to be their seventh and final top ten hit when it peaked at number 8.

A-ha – “Hunting High & Low” (5) (video)
At its peak.

Amazulu – “Too Good To Be Forgotten” (9)
Either my telly was going on the blink, or someone was messing around with the volume control! Their only top ten hit, peaking at number 5.

Bananarama – “Venus” (22) (breaker)
This Shocking Blue cover became their first top ten hit for two years when, just like the 1970 original, it made it to number 8.

Queen – “Friends Will Be Friends” (21) (breaker)
Peaked at number 14.

Owen Paul – “My Favourite Waste Of Time” (14) (breaker)
His only hit, peaking at number 3.

Nu Shooz – “I Can’t Wait” (3)
Making their debut in the studio, and it was worth it - the song went up one more place.

The Housemartins – “Happy Hour” (12) (video)
Became the first of two top ten hits for the band when it peaked at number 3.

Doctor & The Medics – “Spirit In The Sky” (1) (video)
Third and final week at number one.

Miami Sound Machine – “Bad Boy” (18) (video/audience dancing/credits)
Went up two more places.

June 26th is next but it's yet another Mike Smith edition.


  1. Many thanks as ever for posting the missing Mike Smith editions...cheeky request...any chance of making 1 May 86 available again please? Thanking in advance.

    1. For Matt totp 1st May 1986 is here:https//

    2. Gia, I've asked before, but please is thee any chance that you could re-upload 3/10/85 again. It's the only one I've missed.

    3. for Anonymous 3rd October 1985 (it's MKV format) is here:

    4. Thanks so much Gia!

    5. Thanks for posting 01/05/86 again Gia but the link isn't working. Sorry to be a pain!

    6. Try to another link:

    7. Thanks so much Gia, that one worked! Cheers!

  2. Wow, what a show, best of the 1986 year so far, and by a distance. It had everything from sexy girls, fresh new videos, colours, and more. However, it seems that the early part of the show was decomposing film reel/nitrate, as evident on the Amazulu performance, with the sound dropping and returning in parts, so that is your answer Angelo!

    Bucks Fizz - what a start to the show, I was expecting Jay Aston, but what a stunner as replacement for her. Good Lord, you would hardly notice the difference, as the new girl was just as sexy as Aston, and her black t-shirt bearing the word HOT was so fitting for her in more ways than one. Great sexy start to the show, and welcome back the (new) Bucks Fizz!

    Amazulu - apart from the decomposing nitrate on the BBC4 copy, I just love the costumes on the two girls on the side of the lead singer, with the colour-galore clothing showing off their slender figures. Healthy beach bodies no doubt!

    Breakers - then we get three other girls, namely Bananarama, and less appealing than the Amazulu three, who I would rather be sunbathing on the beach with!

    Nu Shooz - it doesn't stop there, cos this tune is really growing on me. From first seeing the lead lady on the video a couple of shows before, sitting bored on a desk, to seeing her fine dance moves and another fit body, I must say. And hey, what a lovely smile. It was definitely worth the travel over from the USA to the TOTP studios just for that smile. i would have her as my No.1 in the charts on any week, but a close No.2 was its peak. Darn!

    The Housemartins - a pub drinking video, and co-incidentally, I was reading a front page on one of the tabloids only yesterday, which had the headline that a third of under-25s in Britain do not drink alcohol at all. I predict that in 50 years from now, alcohol will be obsolete as an ingested item, and a thing of the past, and confined to its traditional place in the chemistry lab for teaching GCSE and A-Level students!

    Dr & The Medics - rare occasion where I prefer the TOTP studio performances to the video, which I must say looked less energetic than their previous four different studio performance in the previous five weeks, mainly thanks to the two lovelies (sisters?) on the stage, and come to think of it, looking a bit like Siouxie of The Banshees!

    Miami Sound Machine - fantastic video, and second only to the brilliant Dr Beat from 1984. I just love that summer dress on Estefan, and I didn't know she had such a fine north & south! In fact, I love all the costumes on the whole cast in that video, a bit like a pantomime video, and at the end of it, Gloria walks away like Alice In Wonderland, and towards a jealous boyfriend. We didn't see what happens next. I mean, Good Lord, did he lose his rag with her?

    1. I would actually guess that in 50 years' time alcohol will have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, after a new generation of youngsters rebel against the boring sobriety of their parents!

    2. Dory (and everyone), you simply must watch the complete video for 'Bad Boy'. It's a real treat and makes so much more sense of the whole 'Cats' stuff and I love the very end scene!

    3. Oh, you mean the tail between her legs? At least the boyfriend was understanding of her escape to the cats world, even if only for a little while. Pleased it worked out amicably all round.

  3. Gazza makes a genial, if somewhat bland, guide to one of the more entertaining shows of the year so far. We start in style with the big Bucks Fizz comeback, some 18 months after Mike nearly lost his life in that terrible coach crash. He looks fit and well here, and even his mullet isn't as terrible as Bobby's! New member Shelley is certainly attractive, though not as sexy as Jay in my view, but she looks pleased to be there and everyone seems to be enjoying this drum-heavy performance - I am not convinced by Bobby's drumming prowess, however. Good, rousing tune as well, though sadly the new beginning for the Fizz would be short-lived as their chart fortunes declined abruptly after this. I remember the video for this vividly, as it featured quite a bit on Saturday morning kids' TV at the time - Cheryl Baker had actually become co-host of Mark Curry's Saturday Picture Show that summer, so no wonder it featured heavily...

    A good, moody song from A-ha next, which feels like their application to do the next Bond theme, which of course they would end up doing. The video feels a bit like the opening Bond titles as well, with all the silhouettes, the water and the action scenes - I'm glad the lion was spared at the end! There seemed to be countless hair ribbons featuring as part of this Amazulu performance, but they certainly helped to make it colourful. This version of the song is brighter and bouncier than the Chi-Lites' original, but truth be told it is a song that has never done much for me whoever performs it. Like Angelo, I also noticed the volume jumping up and down - given it only affected this song, I wonder if there was some kind of sound recording problem at the time?

    We will see all the breakers next time, so we skip on to Nu Shooz, whose rather basic studio turn is more endearing than the overly-tricksy video. It is interesting to see John Smith (surely one of the most un-rock 'n' roll names ever?) alongside his wife, but you can see why the focus was on her in the promo, as she is very attractive. Such an adjective could not be used in connection with The Housemartins, who look like a bunch of very smackable spotty herberts in their video, Fatboy Slim in particular looking impossibly young. It is an infectiously catchy little tune, though, and the claymation scenes in the vid were very well done - I thought the bloke with the dark hair looked rather like Kenny Dalglish.

    We finally get to see the Dr and the Medics promo, which is another one I remember well from the time thanks to Clive's ladder and rope climbing antics and could have sworn was shown on TOTP more than once, but evidently not. Miami Sound Machine to finish, and a full showing for this bizarre video which apparently sees Gloria interrupting a rehearsal for Cats. An enjoyably fluffy piece of pop, anyway, and Gloria looks good enough here to justify the stiffening of her feline beau's tail...

  4. Here is the 26th June show - thanks to Neil B:

  5. Bucks Fizz with the statement of intent they were back to stay, a new beginning with a new singer in the lineup ("Hot Property" apparently). Of course, it was a false dawn and the nostalgia circuit beckoned, as did the horrors of David Van Day's takeover bid, but they did leave us this over-earnest yet defiantly tuneful final top ten hit. Slightly overdoing it with the drummers, there.

    A-ha seemingly inspired my Manimal for their Hunting High and Low video with its shapeshifting beasts. Always hear Morten singing "Through the dog" at one of the more dramatic moments. Bombastic pop, but well-crafted for all that.

    Amazulu with their joyous cover version, perfect for hearing over the radio that summer (and judging by the sheen of perspiration on Gary's upper lip, it was already getting up there in temperature). Proof that a cover version can inject new life into an oldie.

    Breakers, breakers... get back you there, good buddy.

    Nu Shooz hop on a flight over here now they have a hit in Europe, and they seem like a fun couple. Also, my memory was right about the leopard print leggings - probably saw it on TOTP2, mind you. Anyway, a jaunty little number with amusing synths, love that production.

    The Housemartins were one of my favourite bands at the time, got the album and everything, and this jolly attack on sexist office culture was a justifiable hit. That video must have helped, they didn't look or sound like anyone else in the charts at the time, and ploughed their own furrow with humour and awareness. All that said, I probably have heard this too many times now!

    Hey, the Doctor and the Medics' video is finally ready, everyone! Black and white psychedelia - must have been what it looked like back in the 60s if you didn't have a colour TV.

    Miami Sound Machine to complete a run of good time singles for this episode. Best bit of the song is the countermelody in the middle eight, nicely sung by Glo. The video with the werecats is pretty weird in the way they commit to the concept. "Playcat"?!

    1. The Dr & The Medics video was ready well before it got to no.1, as the competing show over on Channel 4 called The Chart Show I remember were famously showing the video week in week out. I think TOTP loved having the group in the studio with all the charisma to bolster the viewing figures, but after four consecutive and different studio performances on four of the last five shows, Dr & The Medics had probably gone through their whole wardrobe by now, and with this final week at No.1, TOTP could finally show the video at the last opportunity!

      For some reason, the Miami Sound Machine video & costumes and fooling around, reminded me of the Stray Cat Strut video by The Stray Cats some five years earlier in 1981.

  6. I watched this TOTP edition on BBC iPlayer, checked the site and found there was yet another episode up to watch on the forum. These things are sprouting like Japanese knotweed!

    Not exactly a new beginning for Bucks Fizz, despite Shelley’s attempt to make an entrance, as this was the group’s final TOTP studio outing. Interesting idea to keep Bobby G apart from the rest of the troupe via a load of drums he couldn’t mime properly.

    Bugger! Beaten to the “Manimal” mention. Not exactly Simon MacCorkindale’s finest moment, that. Criminal we had the first verse of A-Ha’s smouldering epic completely chopped.

    Okay, where’s the rest of Amazulu gone? This trio obviously keeping the fabric industry going.

    It’s the future lady razor song, with sublime harmonies from the ‘Nanas as ever.

    Spitting Image Lord Lucan’s back with his mates and a stadium plodder.

    Here comes former Celtic apprentice Owen Paul, who heard the Sex Pistols and decided a career in, er, pop beckoned. I love this summery track, though Owen’s no Adonis, is he?

    A great turn there by Mrs. Shooz, especially as she has to lug a double cowbell throughout.

    The Housemartins were already big John Peel faves, with Norman Cook their second bassist. I love this but it reminds me of Freddie and the Dreamers for some reason and, lo and behold, drummer Hugh Whitaker played for the 60’s combo some years later, having been being imprisoned for trying to kill a former business associate.

    Gary, it’s actually the first time Doctor and the Medics couldn’t be arsed to come in. The vid’s not as exciting as the studio outings while we’re at it, and Clive liked overemphasising his miming of the lyrics, didn’t he?

    I couldn’t make out if Gloria’s song was a cat-atrosphe or not and whether I should hit FF or the ’paws’ button. Ahem!

    1. Not only did Hugh try to kill someone, he did it with an axe, full-on The Shining style. Seemed such a cheerful chappie in The Housemartins. I remember when he left, there was a photo of him in Smash Hits over the caption "Bidding a fond farewell to showbiz", but the photo was of him giving the two-fingered salute!

    2. Hugh also put things on fire through his ex-associate's letterbox at least three times. And he looked so smiley and cheeky!

    3. i can't help but think that hugh's "business associate" must have shafted him big-time in some manner in order to do what he did?

  7. Mostly good stuff on this show but shame about the chopped videos; one in particular would have really benefitted from a full showing….

    Bucks Fizz – New Beginning (Mamba seyra) – All is forgiven for the parenthesised title with this storming studio performance. Wow’ What a start to the show? Shelly Preston has fitted into the line-up seamlessly and definitely looks en route to a work out in the gym! Four drummers are pounding away to emphasise this drum heavy cracker. As noted before, co-written by Mike Myers but is it THE Mike Myers? What a shame this wasn’t the start of another run of hits; the next release ‘Love the one you’re with’ was a Stephen Stills cover but only made no47…despite an appearance on ‘Cheggars Plays Pop’ which is here if anyone wants more Shelly…

    A-Ha – Hunting High and Low – Wonderful soothing song I never get tired of hearing. The video showing here omits the first verse set against a polar landscape which definitely matches the plaintive vocal. Only reached no5 this whereas Nu Shooz gets to no2 (sigh!).

    Amazulu – Too good to be forgotten – I don’t know if the sound or picture played up on this as on FF you really can’t tell….

    Breakers – Venus – Bananarama – Love this cover and can’t wait for the sexy studio performance! Queen –Friends will be Friends – A true anthem from the peerless band. A good friend of mine has been a Queen Fan Club member all his life more or less and he was invited to appear in the crowd for this video (receiving an ‘I am a Friend’ T-Shirt for his trouble), but he’s never been able to make out if he’s in shot anywhere. Owen Paul – You’re my favourite waste of time’ – Catchy number that many people went around singing to themselves at the time, but my favourite ‘waste of time’ is definitely a track on ‘Hotel Califorinia’.

    Nu Shooz – I can’t wait – A song whose popularity still eludes me, despite the photogenic Mrs Shooz.

    Housemartins – Happy Hour – I used to frequent a stables when my daughter had a loan Pony and there was a bird’s nest in one of the corners of a barn and it was, yep, Housemartins. I’d always trot out either this or ‘Caravan of Love’ whenever we saw one. Infectious.

    Doctor and the Medics – Spirit in the Sky – Another one chopped with the opening dance from the sisters missed out. What you see of the dance is that it’s the same routine as performed a number of times in the studio and like others have already commented, I prefer the studio showings to this video.

    Miami Sound Machine – Bad Boy – OK, I’ll admit a u-turn on this one! Just love this feline video. My ‘memory’ has certainly cheated on this song and I’m just so in love with Gloria and her pretty frock and the ‘Cats’ crew. As I have noted early on in this thread (with the link), you simply must watch the whole video to fully appreciate it.

    1. No wonder Bucks Fizz saw their comeback stall, that cover was absolutely horrible. What were they thinking?

    2. The Mike Myers who co-wrote 'New Beginning (Mamba Seyra)' is a British songwriter who was at his most succecssful during the late 70s and early 80s, when he co-wrote numerous hits for The Dooleys and The Nolans. The first act to record 'New Beginning' was not Bucks Fizz, but actually Force 8 - an outfit that included some former members of The Dooleys. Jim and Frank Dooley, BTW, quit rock and roll soon afterwards to head a business that supplied mobility equipment.

    3. P.S. BF's cover of 'Love The One You're With' was suitably arranged for its time; it had to be rockier and less acoustic than the original, or it would have sounded dated. I would certainly not describe it as 'horrible'! If anything hindered its progress, it was a similar cover that Tight Fit - remember them? - had released only 3 years earlier. The three-piece's polished version, not dissimilar to BF'z take, had missed the Top 75 despite garnering a fair share of airplay.

      Both Strawberry Switchblade's messy remake of 'Jolene' and The New Vaudeville Band's pathetic attempt at 'Thank You For The Music' were absolutely horrible.

    4. Thanks for the Mike Myers clarity Julie. Od course, the 'Myers' as in 'Findon / Myers / Puzey' who composed my favourite Nolans hit 'Attention to me'.

    5. You're welcome, Sct353. Typo in my last paragraph: "...BF's take..."

    6. Whilst were on the trail of singles released by the new BF that won't feature on ToTP, I hope everyone will appreciate the next one that came out. On the seminal 'The Songs 1975 - 1990' double CD released by Barry Manilow is a lovely song called 'Keep each other warm'. I never realised that it was an Andy Hill/Pete Sinfield penned song and it was beautifully sung by BF....if not beautifully enough to penetrate the top40. Give it a listen THX!

    7. Oooops....and here it is!

    8. OK, I gave it a listen and it sounds like a Christmas single. No bad thing in itself, but a bit twee.

  8. Oh no! There doesn't appear to be a third showing for this and tonight's show on late Saturday/early Sunday on BBC4 - have they stopped doing that? Please does anyone have this one downloadable in full?

  9. bucks fizz: presumably the song was chosen with new member shelley preston in mind? she was one of the few people who appeared on the show to have been raised in my home county of dorset (as opposed to scousers, who seen to be on it every other week). this is synth-pop with an afro-tribal feel and very reminiscent of donna summer's cover of "state of independence. it came back to me as i listened, and actually it's not too bad

    a ha: i never really had much time for them in their heyday, but this is another one that's triggered my subconscious and is sounding better now than my memory tells me. some excellent orchestral arrangements, and there's very little of the gimmicky productions of the era to (badly) date it either

    amazulu: i don't suppose this goes into the "cod reggae" category as there are black people involved, but it's certainly of the lightweight pop variety. however listening again now after decades it's catchy (never realised it was cover until now) and inoffensive, and it wouldn't bother me unduly if i heard it again (blimey, that's three in a row now!). half of them seem to have disappeared since the last time on the show

    nu shooz: although i've heard this a few times in the last week not having done so for ages prior to that, i still can't make my mind up if i like it or not. i suppose like all the above it's something i don't mind hearing in terms of nostalgia, even though i'm not going to rush out and add it to my music collection. i don't normally add links to my reviews, but amazingly despite practically being one hit wonders they are still going:

    housemartins: i remember this lot were very keen to portray themselves as the antithesis of the capital's yuppies, with a stereotype image of the flat-capped whippet-breeding working-class notherner with old-fashioned names like stan and norman to match. but of course "norman" turned out to be a middle-class southern softy university student with the given name quentin! therefore surely their debut album should have been called "hull 3 london 1"? as for this single, okay i suppose but nothing to get excited about

    miami sound machine: not as hideous as "dr beat", but this is one i'll gladly not miss ever hearing again

    1. The Housemartins' album title was an in-joke reference to a local paper whose music section had previously labelled them the fourth best band in Kingston-Upon-Hull.

  10. Also, the Amazulu footage looks "filmic" as opposed to the proper studio look seen on the rest of the show. This wasn't an effect that existed in 1986 so it's probably come from different footage. This would account for the audio fluctuations also.

    1. Indeed, it was particularly strange to see such disturbance to the sound and film on the BBC4 showing. I considered it as decomposing film reel in the BBC vaults, but perhaps there is another explanation.

  11. I thought this was one of the best editions of 86, with only the last 2 songs being FF material. Also, as a NOW album fanatic, it's interesting that many of the songs featured on this show ended up on NOW 7.

    Bucks Fizz - Great comeback song, though I'm not sure why Shelley forgot to put some clothes on. Just a shame that they couldn't keep the momentum up with later releases.

    a-ha - Gorgeous song which I always say epitomises the importance of production. The album version is fine, but the single remix with Alan Tarney's simple introduction of instruments, especially in the orchestral part, really makes it shine. A shame that the 'rush through half an hour' format of this era of the Pops means we're deprived of the first verse.

    Amazulu - I also noticed the filmised look to this one and wondered whether the director was just trying something different but the awful sound fluctuation does indeed make it seem like it's been edited back in from someone's VHS copy. I'm not at all sure why it would have been cut out in the first place though. As for the song, it's the one and only Amazulu song that I would say improves on the original.

    Nu Shooz - Nice to see the symbol of this era, the cowbell, on stage. And nice to see a performance too, I honestly thought it was only ever the video that was shown.

    The Housemartins - This was incredibly popular at the time and I was convinced it would be a No.1. Instead a much duller song gave them their only chart topper. For me, 'Build' was their finest moment.

    1. Indeed Noax. 'Hunting high and low' sounds much better on the single remix. Not always the case, a remix can destroy songs, a good case in point being Chicago's 'Along came a Woman'.

  12. Happy 12th Birthday to me... birthday money taken into WHSmith and I came away with a great 7" single..

    The return (and final appearance) of Bucks Fizz their finest moment that unfortunately was the (new) beginning of the end for the foursome.
    Post Jay being dumped from the band and Shelley joining, the group got dropped by RCA and despite interest from SAW ended up with Polydor who had no idea what to do with them.
    The album this is from "Writing on the Wall" stalled at Number 89 and it was no surprise as it was full of MOR songs, rehashed tracks from RCA and even a 12" version of I Hear Talk (which was on their previous album 2 years previously). Although Keep Each Other Warm could have been a big Xmas hit if they'd promoted it properly.
    The group managed a comeback single back with RCA in 88 (Heart of Stone) which just missed the Top 40 and that was it. By 1991 it was all over...
    ...except it wasn't and The Fizz (Mike, Jay and Cheryl) released a new album last year (The F-Z of Pop) which made Number 25 in the charts. A Xmas album awaits and a new album to follow in 2019.
    You can even still catch up with Bucks Fizz (Bobby, his wife and a couple of redcoats) murdering 80s classic with the odd Fizz song thrown in at a holiday camp near you - if you're desperate.

    Next up is a really clever video from A-ha. As I said last week not a fan at the time but I now recognise this is a very good record.

    Some sound quality issues as Amazulu perform a fairly standard cover of Too Good To Be Forgotten which I loved at the time - very summery record.

    Bananarama did make a pact with the devil (SAW?) and came up with this storming cover of Shocking Blues Venus. Still one of the best pop songs of all time and one of the best videos of the 80s.
    They produced some good stuff with SAW and then dropped off a bit in the 90s before making a triumphant return last year.

    Queen with a disappointing number by their standards - bit twee and a naff video as well.

    Next up a song that caused much amusement and singing in our household. My brother (Owen) and I (Paul) took full advantage of our namesake hitting the charts and used to drive everyone mad with this song. The video is rubbish but I still like the song.

    Nu Shooz - Said already I like this song and a fairly standards TOTP performance.

    Great video next from the Housemartins and a catchy number as well.
    One little Housemartin formed The Beautiful South
    One little Housemartin became Fat Boy Slim
    One little Housemartin went to prison
    and One little Housemartin…..I have no idea??? Anyone?

    Top Ten next and WHERE THE HELL WERE WHAM!
    NUMBER TWO - not even the playout video.
    Poor show TOTP.
    The band may have been in China I guess so we will have to assume nothing was available.

    Like the Bad Boy video on playout. Very cheeky.

    Gary Davies could not have been more laid back if he tried could he..

    Best show of the year so a mile..

    1. ha ha morgie i like your owen paul story!

      without looking, i think the fourth housemartin ended up writing music for kids' tv shows, and maybe even wrote the shows as well? but don't quote me on that...

    2. Morgie - BBC4 cut short Gazza's last link, in which he explains that Wham didn't appear in this show because their video wasn't ready, and they presumably were not available for a studio appearance.

      Wilberforce - I have looked, and Stan Cullimore did indeed end up writing kids' TV music. He has also worked as a journalist, author and music teacher.