Saturday, 6 October 2018

Top of the Pops in the Sky

This edition of Top of the Pops from 11th June 1986 will not be shown on BBC4 due to the Mike Smith dispute. So a huge thanks goes to Gia for making it available here at WeTransfer.

Dr and the Milk Maids

11/06/86  (Mike Smith)

Sigue Sigue Sputnik – “21st Century Boy” (20)
Got no higher.

Falco – “Vienna Calling” (10) (video)
Also at its peak.

Lovebug Starski – “Amityville (The House On The Hill)” (19)
Their only hit, peaking at number 12.

Bucks Fizz – “New Beginning (Mamba Seyra)” (24) (breaker)
Became their seventh and final top ten hit when it peaked at number 8.

Amazulu – “Too Good To Be Forgotten” (21) (breaker)
Became their only top ten hit when it peaked at number 5.

A-ha – “Hunting High & Low” (16) (breaker)
The title track from their number 2 album, and it peaked at number 5.

The Real Thing – “Can’t Get By Without You” (6)
At its peak.

Robert Palmer – “Addicted To Love” (5) (video)
Also at its peak.

Doctor & The Medics – “Spirit In The Sky” (1)
Second of three weeks at number one.

Janet Jackson – “Nasty” (22) (video/audience dancing/credits)
Peaked at number 19.

Next up is June 19th.


  1. A rare Wednesday outing for TOTP, caused by the need to accommodate World Cup coverage, and another solo outing for Smitty, who this week is weirdly Dallas-obsessed. He is also overflowing with jokes that are either downright bad or bafflingly obscure, alas.

    The show gets off to an unpromising start with another tedious and self-indulgent Sigue Sigue Sputnik appearance and song. This sounds barely any different from the first hit, and it’s no great surprise it stalled at 20 - they would never breach the Top 30 again. I have no memory of Falco’s second hit, and I’m a bit surprised to see it was another Top Tenner. While it does adhere to the basic structure of Rock Me Amadeus - rapped verses and catchy chorus - it actually works quite well, and is a very respectable follow-up to the big hit. The video isn’t quite as memorable this time around, but Falco rivals Robert Palmer and Pete Wylie with his chorus line of phone-wielding lovelies. This reminds me that it wasn’t very long after this that my parents bought their first ever cordless phones.

    The best I can say for Lovebug Starski is that his performance is quite fun, featuring plenty of audience interaction. Otherwise this is a baffling and annoying mix of rap and unfunny impersonations, apparently inspired by The Amityville Horror, that doesn’t seem to have a very obvious target market, or indeed any particular reason for existing. His real name was the distinctly uncool Kevin Smith, and sadly he died of a heart attack earlier this year, aged just 57. Jumping over the breakers, of which more anon, we find The Real Thing threatening to make more appearances on TOTP in 1986 than they had ten years earlier. This revival has come as a real surprise to me, as I don’t remember it at all from the time; an unremarkable performance anyway, distinguished only by the guy in the crowd dancing his little heart out on the raised platform at the end.

    Doctor and the Medics are back yet again, Clive flattening his hair down this time while the girls dress like the ‘Allo ‘Allo waitresses and revert back to being brunettes, with their creepy mannequins standing at the back of the stage. Janet wraps things up, with a song that exemplifies why I’m not a fan - cold and mechanical, with the dance moves in the video seeming to be of more importance than the actual music. No audience dancing over the credits again, I note, so it looks as if that had now stopped completely.

    1. I was wondering when home phones went cordless, cos in the Falco video it was still finger-dial type, as per the Einstein-A-Go-Go video from 1981. Had nothing changed over that time? However, I also liked this new Falco video, thanks to his 'lovelies' as you call them, changing outfits from evening dresses to tuxedo (yes, girls in tuxedo) and swimsuits.

      The bar room and chairs reminded me of the video for Sensa Una Donna by Zucchero & Paul Young in 1990 and was good to see that TOTP gave the full 4 minutes of the Falco video for us to see.

      It seemed like Falco in mid-1986 was all the rage in Britain, with one no.1 to his name already, and now another top ten single for good measure. Vienna is nowadays all the rage in darts with Austria's Mensur Suljovic aready at No.6 in the world rankings, in case anyone follows darts.

  2. Lovebug Starski - I remember this hit well, especially the Star Trek references, and I particularly like the lines "Scotty beamed us up here by mistake.....Spock, yooooou've got to get us outa here", and mentioning that Spock's analysis was that the USS Enterprise were in the presence of an alien called Lovebug.

    Bucks Fizz - I just love this return to the charts by Bucks Fizz, after a solid two years out of action. This new comeback single on the Breakers was just brilliant, cos it had all things fresh and atmospheric about it, and I just couldn't get enough of the song and video. I wonder if TOTP will play it again in the weeks to come?

    Dr & The Medics - wow, third week in a row in the TOTP studio with different performances and outfits, and second week at No.1.... Gosh, I'm really enjoying those two girls on the stage with the lead singer, with each show that goes by. This time they're dressed as French maids. Good Lord!

    Mike Smith - like John G, I'm baffled as to why there was constant mention of the fact that Dallas was following the show. Dallas was in its 8th or 9th year in 1986 and not new to our screens, so why now in 1986 was it all the rave? I mean the 'who shot JR' frenzy was in 1981, already 5 years before this show.

  3. sigue sigue sputnik: "love missile" pt ii. thankfully their 15 minutes was nearly up by now

    falco: didn't even know (or couldn't remember) he had another hit. the backing track is not too bad, but the rapping is painful. still, compare to what's next it's blessed ecstacy

    lovebug starski: (c)rap that goes straight onto the shortlist for my top 10 turkeys of 1986. aren't they a bit behind the times subject-wise? i'm sure a film about the haunted amityville house came out several years before this

    janet jackson: like the last single it's too crunchy for my taste, and not much a tune going on either. just like wacko she does some "street" choreography with backing dancers, and in both cases i think the backing dancers do a better job

    1. Heck, they're still making Amityville horror movies now! There's millions of the bloody things! The second one's the best (weirdest).

  4. Thanks Gia for allowing us access…some good songs on here again. Is it just me or does Smithy host more shows than anyone else? He’s solo this time as well.

    Sigue Sigue Sputnik – 21st Century Boy – Not in any way to be confused with the T Rex classic ‘20th Century Boy’ I gave this about 30 seconds before FF.

    Falco – Vienna Calling – Video shot in a hotel lobby? Love the changing dancers and associates and that stuttering vocal still sounds good.

    Lovebug Starski – Amityville (The House on the Hill) - …and Hutch? Actually this title reminded me of the innovative album of the same name by Audience (featuring lead singer Howard Werth). There the similarity ended and I was quickly onto FF

    Breakers – Bucks Fizz – New Beginning (Mamba Seyra) – Wow what a return to form! Jay Ashton has left the band suddenly and been replaced by Shelly Preston. Love the drumming on this track (Phil and Chester would have enjoyed playing this). Co-written by Mike Myers – is that the Mike Myers? Amazulu – Too good to be forgotten – Not so. A-Ha – Hunting high and low – I have been looking forward to this one (the remixed title track from the album with Alan Tarny helping out on production). Simply wonderful soothing vocals and those seagulls. As with all the Montreux clips, the sound is the studio recording but hopefully we’ll see the wonderful video.

    The Real Thing – Can’t get by without you – Another studio visit from the boys with their memorable song from 1976.

    Robert Palmer – Addicted to Love – This was worth seeing again! The main point of discussion in retrospect seems to be the lack of any close ups of the drummer. It really didn’t strike me at the time. Every close up shot of Robert and the other girls shot is carefully angled so you can’t see the drummer. In fact the closest we get is the drum sticks, otherwise just long shot.

    Dr and the Medics – Spirit in the Sky – Another studio visit from the gang and my attention immediately is on what the sisters will be wearing this time. Yes, another garish outfit. They have got those moves off to a tee.

    Janet Jackson – Nasty – Absolutely awful I’d say…

    As for ‘Dallas’. This was into Season 9 by then and the episode that Smithy harked on about watching was called “The Missing Link”. This was part of the infamous Bobby Ewing dream season. Bloody long dream Pammy had if it lasted 31 episodes!!! At the time nobody would have known any better as Patrick Duffy had yet to return and all seemed normal.

    RIP Montserrat Caballe. Memorable ‘Barcelona’ duet with Freddie Mercury which we’ll be seeing in 1987. My parents loved it, so much so we had ‘Guide me Home’ played at Mum’s Funeral. I only found out today that Montserrat was born on exactly the same day as Mum. Poignant indeed.

    1. I noticed the two foxy girls (sisters sct??) on Dr & The Medics by now had their fourth separate visit to the TOTP studio, that is four invitations to the studio, ie, 15 & 29 May before getting to No.1, and now the first two shows of June 1986 at No.1. If they are once again invited for a fresh performance for their third week at No.1 on the 19th June show, it will mean that the two girls will have had a fifth different costume on show. Can't wait till the next show, and come to think of it, I wouldn't mind an invitation to their wardrobe!

      Oh yes, now I remember that the whole 1985/86 Dallas series was a dream because initially Duffy had resigned from the show and they had to kill him off in a car accident, but then he was persuaded back to the show a year later, so they had to assign the whole series without him as a dream by his wife Pam. Good Lord, no wonder Mike Smith was rumbling on about it!

    2. Yes, RIP Montserrat, by coincidence Gary Davies played Barcelona the night before she died on Sounds of the 80s. What a voice (Montserrat, not Gary).

    3. Wendi and Colette Anadin.

    4. Sct, regarding those 'moves' by the two girls on Dr & The Medics, one of these moves is identical to Laurel & Hardy's dance routine in 1937 on Way Out West, one of their most famous movies.

      If you look closely at the last 15 seconds of this L&H clip, this is the same as part of the girls routine on Dr & The Medics. Incredible isn't it, some 49 years after Way Out West:

    5. The part of the Dr & The Medics girls dance that matches the above L&H clip is from 1:52 to 2:08 of this clip on TOTP:

    6. The dance similarity is uncanny! What popped up next on my YT feed was 'The Trail of the Lonesome Pine' - two weeks at no2 at the end of 1975 and start of 1976 behind 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. It always makes me laugh.

    7. sct - I think Smitty was the BBC's golden boy around this time, hence the frequency with which he was presenting TOTP, even in the period from 1984-86 when he wasn't actually on Radio 1. The irony is that his relationship with the Beeb turned very sour, which is at least part of the reason why we can't see his shows on BBC4 now. I think the first cracks in the relationship were opened up a few months after this edition, when the Late Late Breakfast Show was abruptly cancelled after the Michael Lush tragedy and Smitty felt that his employers didn't give him sufficient support in dealing with the subsequent media attention.

      Re Dallas, I remember it being a Wednesday evening staple in the late 80s, normally followed by Points of View at 8.50. The fact this TOTP went out on a Wednesday was obviously Smitty's cue to enthuse. I think it is generally accepted these days that when Bobby emerged from the shower a few months later it was the beginning of the end...

    8. i remember avidly watching "dallas" in the early 80's, but had long-since lost interest by this point - probably like many, once the mystery of "who shot jr?" was resolved in a somewhat anti-climactic manner (it was a minor character as opposed to one of his main rivals) that was enough for me!

    9. Season 9 Opening Credits. I'd quite forgotten that old Petrocelli's wife was in it!

    10. i remember watching a couple of episodes of "petrocelli", although i have no recollection of mrs p other than that she and her hubby hung around in the foundations of their house that never seemed to get built. the titular character was played by barry newman, who also starred in a couple of cult films featuring long car chases... and not much else really!

    11. Alistair McLean's 'Fear is the Key' was one such film starring Newman. Film and novel were both superb.

    12. Vanishing Point was the other, fantastic action sequences mixed with ultra-pretentious "wild-eyed loner at the gates of oblivion" stuff. Also inspired a hit album by Primal Scream, which we may hear the title track of if these repeats continue into the 90s.

    13. Used to watch Dallas every week with my Mum. One of the few shows I was allowed to stay up for so it can do no wrong for me.
      However if you thought the original was cheesy you should have seen the revival a few years back.

  5. Here's those crazy kids Sigue Sigue Sputnik with another cut from their LP, but even those who fell for the hype were losing patience with them by now. Some of the vocal samples are at least amusing - I spotted "Shall we play a game?" from WarGames, for instance.

    Falco, see? Not a one-hit wonder, and this follow-up was a lot of fun, as was the telephone-based video with everyone grooving away to the delights of the Viennese phone exchange. To be honest, I can't say I ever heard anything else from Falco, so don't know if his knack for a catchy tune extended beyond these two singles, but he was a card, judging by his videos.

    More novelty rap with Lovebug Starski, and I loved this at the time, pushing all the right pop culture buttons for me at that age (old horror movies, Star Trek, true life ghost stories). I'm pretty sure that's not him doing all the impressions, mind you. You just don't get rap like this now, more's the pity.

    The Breakers will be on again, so I'll reserve judgement, but that leaves me with very little to say about the rest, which have all been on before. I will mention The Anadin Brothers seem to have a new, ultra-long pair of wigs every week too - coloured red this time. Does this make this a Goth cover, one wonders?

    Oh, yeah, Janet showed up at the credits with one of her dance workouts (she could have cashed in with an aerobics video), and this is the mean, forbidding, industrial sounding answer to The Miami Sound Machine's warm embrace of bad boys in the charts at the same time. Prefer Janet, to be honest, just sounds cooler.

  6. Don't think the "brothers" are milk maids, Angelo, they're two feather dusters away from French maids!

    1. Dr and the French Maids doesn't quite have to same ring to it though ~ or maybe it does :-)

  7. Mike Smith was sadly back to his cringeworthy worst on this edition, with a baffling 'have Sigue Sigue gone yet?' link 2 songs after they'd been on the lowlight. Speaking of which.

    Sigue Sigue Sputnik - Not even attempting to make something different was probably the point but they were lucky to scrape the 20. As I've said before, I like their SAW collaboration 'Success' which comes later though.

    Falco - It's alright, but not a patch on 'Rock Me Amadeus'. His earlier single 'Der Kommisar' is better but missed the chart when released earlier in the decade AND on re-release. As someone mentioned previously, UK band After The Fire couldn't manage ot breach the 40 with it either!

    Lovebug Starski - This was mystifyingly popular at school. I hated it then and I still can't bear it now. Unfunny and uninteresting.

    Sounds like we get to see all the breakers in full which is good as for once, I like 'em all.

    I would gladly not have seen The Real Thing, Robert Palmer & Dr And The Medics again though. In the case of the first of those, extremely lucky to get on twice yet again with other songs not even getting a Breaker spot.

    Janet Jackson - This one completely passed me by at the time, maybe because I heard it on the radio and assumed it was her first hit playing. It's certainly not great, anyway.

  8. Thanks for this edition, Gia.

    Oh God, Shitty’s right on it tonight. Bring back Paul Jordan. It isn’t too late!

    20th Century shite to start with. SSS? FFF!

    It’s auf wiedersehn to Falco already, reaching the chart peak with his second and final mugshot botherer. I discovered he was the only survivor of triplets, with twins in another ovum sadly passing away. Nice flute on this track.

    Starski with something I didn’t love and bugged me enough to hit FF. I’d much rather have seen Billy Howard’s “King Of The Cops” (comedy impressions of TV sleuths which made the charts in 1976 but just before these re-runs started).

    FIVE people in The Smiths’ mugshot??

    Mullets ahoy for the Bucks Fizz boys. Where’s Jay gone???

    An okay Chi-Lites cover by Amazulu, with Annie showing surely one of the earliest tattoos on video.

    A ridiculously short clip of A-Ha’s sumptuous keening ballad. Why the ‘stage’ sign behind them? Surely artistes wouldn’t get mixed up and perform from the audience for goodness sake!

    As Noax says (by the way, it was me who mentioned After The Fire c.f. Falco recently), we missed out completely on a number of new entries and lower level risers to suffer The Real Thing for a third time. Their PR people were brilliant. Not only were The Real Thing the first act with a single out on EMI but they’d previously been on Bell.

    The return of the brilliant miming drummer behind Robert Palmer.

    Better hair and much better attire this week, Clive! That Doctor and the Medics backdrop image seems to have been inspired slightly by the Dr. Feelgood logo.

    Oh, great, “Thriller” part 36 and an awfully dated sounding track. Nasty indeed.

    1. the extra smiths member was craig gannon, who was originally hired as replacement for bassist andy rourke and then moved to second guitar when rourke was re-instated. i once heard a story that gannon was messing about with something he'd come up with when johnny marr asked him to show it to him, and it ended up as the central riff for the song "ask" and was credited to marr and morrissey! i suffered a similar experience in a band i was in after the singer took a guitar riff i'd showed him and claimed the consequent song he wrote was all his own work, but fortunately in my case nobody ever made any money out of it!

      if the real thing released the first-ever EMI single, then that would have been circa 1970 when the record company decided to amalgamate all its labels (columbia, hmv, parlophone etc). but i read somewhere that the amoos and co were active even long before that, performing in the cavern club in the merseybeat era!

    2. The Real Thing formed in 1970, their first single was on Bell in 1972, apparently EMI signed them after they won an edition of "Opportunity Knocks" and the label's first single was one of theirs in early 1973. Their fourth EMI single was a re-recording of that Bell release!

  9. Another "live" edition this time because of the move to Wednesday night and Smithey in fine form with the presenting duties.

    Sigue Sigue Sputnick kick off with a racket that they have clearly just learnt as the lead singer misses his cue on a number of occasions. Never understood the appeal of this lot but they won't be around for long thank goodness.

    Falco up next and I owe this song an apology. The clip last week didn't do it justice and I actually really enjoyed it. Good video as well. Will have to listen again to this one.

    Lovebug Starski - Now I do remember this one but not the Star Trek impressions. Remove the impressions and it's not a bad little number. Well performed, lots of charisma and energy. Not surprised it did well.

    Bucks Fizz with more of a False Dawn than a New Beginning which was a shame as this is their best since My Camera Never Lies. More comment next week as they get to open the show.
    Big fan of this Amazulu song at the time and nice to hear it again.
    Bit of Montreaux soppiness from A-ha that I wasn't a fan of aged 11 (12 next week) but has grown on me and is a good song.

    The Real Thing back again, Same performance, same ok song.

    Robert Palmer - seen the video a few times now, would have been nice for someone else to get a go.

    Dr and The Medics giving the Director a workout by not staying in shot at all. Creepy as f*#k mannequins in the background.

    Great to see Janet Jackson on playout. Good song from a good album. Great dancing as well.

    Another solid show.