Thursday, 11 October 2018

Top of the Pops of Heaven

This edition of Top of the Pops from 26th June 1986 will not be shown on BBC4 due to the Mike Smith dispute. So a big thanks goes to Neil B for making it available here at WeTransfer.


26/06/86  (Mike Smith & Steve Wright)

Bananarama – “Venus” (15)
Peaked at number 8.

David Bowie – “Underground” (21) (video)
At is peak.

Queen – “Friends Will Be Friends” (14) (video)
Also at its peak.

Claire & Friends – “It’s ‘Orrible Being In Love When You’re 8 ½” (26) (breaker)
Peaked at number 13.

Samantha Fox – “Do Ya Do Ya (Wanna Please Me)” (24) (breaker)
Became her second of three top ten hits when it peaked at number 10.

Owen Paul – “My Favourite Waste Of Time” (7)
Heading for number 3.

Madonna – “Papa Don’t Preach” (13) (video)
Heading for number one.

Wham! – “The Edge Of Heaven” (1)
First of two weeks at number one.

Midge Ure – “Call Of The Wild” (27) (video/credits)
At its peak.

Next up is 3rd July.


  1. Good Lord, there's no let up is there Angelo?

    Bananarama - never appealed to me post-1982, as their dressing up was always black clothing and didn't lift their potential to what it could have been. If you compare with other three-girl groups like Amazulu, for example, who always wore lovely mixture of colours, making it more pleasing on the eye.

    David Bowie - this particular track sounds similar to Meat Loaf in the way that Bowie howls his lines across the song, and I could not help but imagining Meat singing this slightly better than Bowie. I wonder if the two ever met, or collaborated on anything, as Meat could have taught Bowie a thing or two about how to sing, in 1986 at least.

    Chart rundown - No.37 chart entry by Furniture, this was one of my favourite songs of the time, and the new era coming through in the mid-80s, like Cock Robin, The Christians and the like. Gary Numan with a chart entry at No.32 - Good Lord, was he still around by 1986?

    Breakers - Samantha Fox - her second single, and another risque title called Touch Me. It's interesting how things had developed in five years since 1981 when Olivia Newton John's song title Physical was about as far as one could go to describe pleasure in a pop song. It was like Samantha Fox was 15-rated, against a 12-rated ONJ. Of course a year or so later, the charts went X-rated (18) with George Michael's song title I Want Your S*X.

    Talk of the devil, and Wham find themselves at No.1 this week, and with no Pepsi & Shirlie, but instead a about six other men on stage with them. It was a little disappointing that the two girls did not hang around for this final Wham single and performance on TOTP as it was so introduced by our hosts, but then again, perhaps Wham didn't need the girls anymore, as George by now was superstar status on both sides of The Atlantic.

    1. Gary Glitter had asked us if we wanted to touch him there back in 1973, but I think the invitation is rather more enticing coming from Sam Fox...

    2. Gary Numan's still around now - he had a Number 1 album this year.

    3. gazza's last no.1 album ("telekon") was nearly 40 years earlier, although if his latest one sold a tenth of what that one did to get to the top of the charts i'd be flabbergasted

      by the way, is anyone else aware of his sublime version of erik satie's "gynopedies first movement" that was the b-side of "we are glass" (and recorded around the same time as the "telekon" album)?:

    4. Ah yes Wilberforce!!! I played that B Side over and over again. Actually Gary's instrumentals on the B Side were a treat - a piano version of 'Down in the Park' on the back of 'I die: you die' and 'Photograph' on the back of 'This Wreckage'.

    5. i owned both the "we are glass" and "i die you die" singles for a while in the early 80's (strangely enough neither were on the "telekon" album, despite being packaged in the same style i.e. black uniform with military officer-style belt), and remember listening to and quite liking "down in the park (piano version)" too. i suspect it was gazza's trusty right-hand man chris payne (who unlike numan was a trained pianist) that performed it. not impressed by "photograph" though - that sounds like it was written and played by a school kid! of course all these extra tracks are now available on the expanded CD release of telekon:

  2. Another outing for the Gruesome Twosome, indulging in their normal annoying schtick while Wrighty does sod all as usual. The Nanas got an American number 1 out of this cover of Venus, which is arguably the point at which SAW really began to move towards chart domination. The production is full of energy and dynamism, though lacks the depth of the original, and none of the girls is as visually striking as Shocking Blue singer Mariska Veres. They had evidently been practising some new dance moves for this performance, but are as hopelessly uncoordinated as ever - I wonder if the other two ever resented Sara being in the middle all the time?

    Bowie returns with a song he recorded for Labyrinth, a rather weird number which segues into full blown gospel partway through; it's not bad, but far from his best. Good video though, as he sinks through the pavement and then meets up with all his puppet mates at the end. His one-time collaborators Queen are up next, seemingly stuck in stadium rock hell with another tiresomely strident would-be anthem. The video seems like a determined attempt to strengthen the cult of Freddie, with the arm-waving audience hanging on his every move.

    Sad to see the Eurythmics already going down the chart with the superb When Tomorrow Comes, which should have peaked much higher than 30. The breakers will both be on again, unfortunately, so on to Owen Paul in the studio. This is a well-crafted pop song, but there is something about the naggingly insistent chorus which gets on my nerves, not helped by Owen's rather limited vocal range. At least this performance went smoothly for him, unlike the notorious occasion on Pebble Mill at One where he couldn't hear the backing track and just stood there like a lemon while it played. Madge to follow with one of her very best, which would soon deservedly propel her to the top. The video was unusually hard-hitting and realistic for the time, and I remember finding it a bit disturbing when I was very young, though even then I did wonder if "Papa" was being played by Keith Barron - he wasn't, of course!

    Smitty makes much of the fact that he has hosted Wham's first and last TOTP, but he and his co-host are actually wrong on that score, as George and Andrew would appear again the following week with the other side of their farewell single. This is the better known song, of course, and it makes for a rousing farewell with a great vocal from George and a far more anthemic, uplifting chorus than Queen could manage with their new release. A good energetic performance to go with it, though the number of musicians on stage seemed rather excessive and it was a shame Pepsi and Shirlie weren't there - maybe they were too busy planning their own assault on the charts. Did Andrew seriously expect anyone to believe he was playing that guitar? A change of pace to finish, as Midge goes back to nature and is seemingly inspired by the Hello video to fashion his own dodgy bust - who the hell was that meant to be? The song is average fare, but he had not lost his knack for a catchy chorus.

    1. Totally agree on When Tomorrow Comes, their best single I think, and used to great effect on the penultimate episode of Our Friends in the North.

    2. Yes, I think it is a strong contender to be their best single. Thankfully their next release, which I also love, would do a lot better and got a proper TOTP outing.

    3. i am assuming that bananarama originally presented themselves in order according to alphabetical given name (keren, sarah, siobhan), and then kept doing so as a means of corporate identity? however on the single sleeve for "venus" the first two have awapped places. and when they became a duo in later years, it is noticeable that they often "switched places":

    4. It would certainly make sense if the order was decided according to alphabetical first names, but I do wonder if the others ever did come to resent Sara taking the limelight in the centre? After Siobhan left, my memory is that replacement Jacquie took her place on the right, so it seems the alphabetical rule (if such it was) got ditched at that point!

  3. Bananarama go all Hi-NRG on us for their second wave assault on the charts, for what it is, an appeal to the gay clubs, it was OK I suppose, but after a whole bunch of SAW soundalikes immediately afterwards it doesn't seem that exciting now.

    Loved this David Bowie track at the time, and remember being disappointed it wasn't another Absolute Beginners-sized hit for him. This week's song from a movie, of course, that movie being Labyrinth, a film that mainly appeals to those who caught it when they were 14 year old girls. At least Dame Dave is properly trousered in the video. Wish I could remember the name of the lady who did the scratch animation, she did a few things about this time and they would feature on Channel 4's animation shows.

    Queen for some reason trying to be Slade, with their generic concert video getting another airing. The only interesting thing is Freddie operating the spotlight - on himself! A metatextual commentary on fame? Yeah, must be.

    You couldn't escape Owen Paul in the summer of '86, mostly thanks to his sole hit being so insistently catchy - and that was down to him repeating the title about a million times during the course of it. Apparently he's still going on the back of this hit.

    Madonna with one of her biggest successes, but I've probably seen enough of this video by now, even with the nipples.

    So we bid farewell to Wham - oh, no, they're on again next week. Pity we didn't get to see this track on BBC Four, they went out on a high with this energetic, bright but oddly reflective final bow. George clambering over Andrew for some reason. "Or I'll dye my beard forever!"

    Midge Ure modelling a Muppet for Jim Henson's Creature Workshop there. Probably. This is a bit Reap the Wild Wind Part 2, not completely awful or anything, but resolutely middling.

    1. Metatextual? hark at you! have you been watching "Call My Bluff" again? :-)

    2. I knew that postmodernism college course would come in handy!

  4. bananarama: the first hit produced by the new hot production team of stock aitken and waterman, having taken over from the previous hot production team of swain and jolley - they might have had next-to-nothing in terms of musical talent, but they certainly knew where to go for help to disguise that. SAW add a dance beat but very little else to an old 60's groover

    bowie: the dame's voice is in fine fettle, but everything else about this is instantly forgettable. in fact i have no memory of it whatsoever - presumably it was a tie-in to that fright-wig muppet movie he did around this time?

    queen: another one by a superstar act i can't remember (and listening again doesn't bring anything back), despite them being mega-hot at this point thanks to "live aid" and selling out wembley stadium in their own that summer - presumably none of the profits went to charidee, even though that was basically the only reason they were able to do so?

    owen paul: with its infernally-catchy chorus, this never seemed to be off the radio when it was a hit. thus making me wonder how he was never able to follow up with something else. obviously having a mullet was an essential requirement to be in his band, although the drummer only just makes the cut. he's also suffering a bit from the graham parker/nik kershaw being-dwarfed-by-fellow-performers malaise

    madonna: if this had been anyone else, then i would have enjoyed listening to this again after many years of not doing so. sadly though everything madonna has ever done has been tainted thanks to carrying on against her better judgement long past her 80's peak and desperately trying to keep up wiv da kidz - why couldn't she have died in a plane crash after "vogue"?

    wham: presumably this came straight in at no. 1? more in the "wake me up before you go go" camp than "club tropicana", but it's not that bad for all that. just like their early totp appearances, their old chum/collaborator david austin is on stage with them for what shitty claims is their last one as they revisit their "bad boys" image for posterity

    midge ure: doing exactly the same thing be it solo or with later ultravox, with some indistinct and heavy-handed synth pop topped with nasty-sounding dentist drill rock guitar. still i suppose you have to give the guy some credit in popping up on the show in one form or other for over a decade now

  5. A few quick notes for you, Wilby.

    Between them, the SAW team had produced and directed (how do you direct a record?) "You Spin Me Round" by Dead Or Alive.

    A probable reason Owen Paul had trouble finding another hit is that he didn't write his biggie - it was by cult American pop / rock artist Marshall Crenshaw, and it was indeed Marshall's biggest hit as a writer or artist. Owen did have a half decent track called "Pleased To Meet You" released before and after his big moment but it did nowt over here.

    Wham!'s swansong entered the chart the previous week at number 2. There was quite a big audience scream when it was announced in the preceding mugshots!

    1. arthur i was of course aware that SAW were behind dead or alive as well as hazell dean and princess prior to this, but it was only really at this point where they were starting to attract already-established clients to do their bidding for them. i remember reading pete waterman bemoaning the fact that bananarama kept interfering with their work, and actually wanting a say in how their records sounded - something he made sure couldn't happen once they could produce whoever they liked!

      however i never knew that "favourite waste of time" was a cover (like the amazulu record last week). but i do happen to know that owen paul is the brother of the original drummer in simple minds

    2. Hi, Wilby. Not knocking your knowledge, just found it funny you could somehow 'direct' a single.

    3. If anyone is curious as to why Wham didn't feature in the 19th June show, after they had entered at number 2, Gazza explains why in the bit of his final link that BBC4 chopped out:

    4. OK, so the video wasn't finished in time, but they could have opened the show with a studio appearance, although I guess that Bananarama were preferred to open the show with the usual energetic opener that TOTP always went for to start things off.

    5. Presumably they weren't available for that show - it was Bucks Fizz who opened that one, of course.

  6. Thanks again, Neil. caught up for a couple of hours at least!

    Dear God, what have we done to deserve these two again? And just what exactly does Nodding Dog bring to the table?

    Plastic sounding karaoke from The ‘Nanas, with Siobhan wearing Keren’s outfit by mistake if you ask me.

    Bowie with an ’in one ear etc.’ effort for me. The animation reminded me of the cover of the recent album by angsty old man punk trio Interrobang‽ which features a similar style picture of vocalist Dunstan Bruce out of Chumbawamba.

    Queen... F will be F if you get my drift.

    Atlantic Star with one ‘r’ again in the mugshots. I agree about the surprisingly low chart peak of Eurythmics’ track. To think that Claire shit had already reached a higher chart position. What was Britain thinking of?

    Samantha Fox there with the voice of an angel – Dave Angel from “The Fast Show”.

    Owen Paul with a track absolutely made for the Radio 1 Road Show. Candyfloss pop – insubstantial but tasty and moreish. Should have had a bell ringing for that lyric, though. Yes, Steve, a new heartthrob but only for a month or so.

    Madonna’s track was the third and last single I loved and bought. Not the ‘pop-out’ video as you’d expect.

    Our two useless hosts assuming Wham! (singing “The Edge Of Splitting Up”) will only be number one for a week by the sound of it. I bet Pepsi or Shirlie could mime that guitar better. Still, I’m sure Andrew has a sparkling solo career ahead of him. Ahem!

    After Lionel’s clay bust and Peter Gabriel’s Play-Doh video, Midge should really have used plaster of Paris for a change. Lots of brashness and bluster but no Owen Paul. The song title reminded me of a brilliant Gary Larsen cartoon of a stag drinking beer in an armchair while his doe wife, in curlers, hands him the phone and says “It’s the call of the wild for you”.

    1. I was just thinking - Owen Paul could have been called Open Paul, considering he was open for fun in that video, haha. I think I'll refer to him as Open Paul in the coming shows, that is if I can be bothered to comment on his contribution to the show!

    2. Get in while you can, Dory - we're halfway through Owen's sum total of TOTP studio outings!

    3. Shout out to Dave Angel: Ecowarrior!

    4. Arthur - it was the correctly spelt Midnight Star, not Atlantic Starr, in the chart rundown. We will be seeing them on the show very soon.

    5. Oops! Is Ringo Star on soon? :-D

  7. These Smitty shows are getting on my nerves now! Too many of ‘em! Makes keeping up with these shows a challenge but thanks again Neil B. This 1986 music is really good and I’m certainly tuning in to these repeats and the blog for a fair while yet if the quality continues.

    Bananarama – Venus – A very slinky performance from the girls wearing tight outfits rather than the usual kind of loose attire. This certainly catches the eye and the old Shocking Blue hit is given a tasty makeover from SAW. Great start to the show for the second week running.

    David Bowie – Underground – I loved the ‘Labyrinth’ film and although no scenes from the film are shown here, the characters and props are. As for the song, not much cop really.

    Queen – Friends will be Friends – There have been a number of songs called ‘Friends’ (including the eclectic B Side to Police’s ‘Don’t stand so close to me’) but this ain’t one of them. At least they get the correct title on the chart rundown. Great video and I love the way they mix in the Queen fan’s own singing on top of the actual cut. Still can’t see my mate in it!

    Breakers – Claire & Friends – It’s ‘orrible being in love when you’re 8 and a half – More friends, but what the heck is this all about and who the heck bought it? Novelty record indeed. Sam Fox – Do ya do ya (wanna please me) – second Sam Fox single in a row with those wretched brackets! Not a patch on the first release and the video hints at hard rock.

    Owen Paul – You’re my favourite waste of time – undoubtedly catchy but just who was Owen Paul? I still find myself thinking “well baby there you stand, with your little head down in your hands…” every time I hear this.

    Madonna – Papa don’t preach – Well hopefully they’ll show the video in full soon from the amazing instrumental opening to the final denouement of the story being told. Quite controversial at the time was the subject matter, but boy, what an absolute stonker of a song. Fabulous tune, great production…Madonna really was on a wonderful roll at this point in time.

    Wham! – The Edge of Heaven – By far my least favourite Wham! Single. I actually prefer the other three tracks that came out on this double single release, one being a revision of ‘Wham Rap’. This must have made the top spot because of the band and the fact it was their last single as it’s a weak tune for my money. Elton John played piano on this but I can’t hear him.

    Midge Ure – Call of the Wild – The video that gave rise to the expression ‘Midge Ure is all windswept landscapes’. I must admit, hearing this after ‘The Edge of Heaven’ I actually enjoyed this more and no27 seems a poor return for a pretty fine tune.

    1. Samantha Fox's music improved considerably the following year when she moved across to the USA and collaborated with Full Force, giving her at least two giant singles, notably I Wanna Have Some Fun, and Naughty Girls Need Love Too.

      The one we have here this week in the UK chart is just a drop in the ocean compared to her later success over in the USA with Full Force, and I remember Saturday afternoons listening to Paul Gambaccini's American Charts on Radio 1 in the 80s, where she featured regularly, so we've only barely started here in 1986 with her singing career!

  8. Bananarama - Lots of people I know regard this as their finest single but I've always found it rather average. The record buying public seemed to take a while to be convinced given how long it took to climb the chart, this being its 4th week in the Top 40 I think?

    David Bowie - Middling song, and would you believe I only saw 'Labyrinth' for the first time this year? Bowie is good value in it but I really don't see what the fuss is about, particularly as the lady in the lead role defines whole new levels of 'wooden'.

    Queen - One of their most forgettable songs.

    Breakers - We'll come back to these later, but why does everyone involved in this show seem not to notice that Sam Fox's song is actually called 'Do Ya Do Ya Wanna Please Me' (NOT ...'Touch Me') - there's even a clue in the clip where she, you know, sings the actual words....

    Owen Paul - Great fluffy pop tune, and I think his non-hit mentioned above isn't too bad either.

    Madonna - I never took to this one. For me it's one of her most over-rated singles.

    Wham - Such a shame that we don't get to see this on BBC4 (though I think it may have been on the 'Big Hits' show?) as it's my favourite single of theirs. You don't seem to hear it much on the radio at all now.

    Midge Ure - Understated stuff but this is another one that I rather enjoy. It made NOW 7 like a lot of these songs (for the 2nd show running!) despite being a minor hit.

    1. The lead actress in Labyrinth went on to win an Oscar. But not for Labyrinth.

  9. An bit of a mixed bag tonight including the hosts. Smithy playing up as he has someone to show off to and Wrighty there for no reason whatsoever.

    Kicking off with possibly Bananarama's best song Venus (Cruel Summer is my other fave).
    A great performance and a fine start to the show, Siobhan still seems to be having fun although she will bail out fairly soon as the sound becomes a bit more SAW.

    Great video up next from Bowie. I had honestly never heard this before, but I've never seen Labyrinth so no surprise. Quiet a style change from verse to chorus but I liked it and the video was good too.

    Mike tell us we have another great video to follow but unfortunately they show the crappy Queen one from last week. Badly shot, boring and a hugely over-rated song as well.
    Have we ever had two videos in a row before?

    Only two breakers this week:
    Clare and Friends - a Saturday Superstore talent winner - I seem to remember there being a bit of controversy at the time as she wasn't quite the "normal everyday" kid that just entered and was related to someone in the business. Can't remember the details but I do remember the song but didn't realise it was quite so awful.
    Sam Fox with an awful number next. The lady can actually sing so they should have given her something better than this.

    "Heartthrob" Owen Paul (is that what the girls went for in the mid 80s - all that hair?) with a great song but he ran out of steam fairly quickly. Maybe someone cut his hair off and he lost the power of songwriting???

    An iconic music video next. Papa Don't Preach was on the banned list in our house as my Dad didn't approve of the subject matter.
    Its is easily one of her best records, a fabulous video as well. At the peak of her powers. Will enjoy seeing this again.

    Wham! Number One! Fabulous tune. Great performance. Loved watching them on these re-runs.
    Interesting to note that thanks to Smithy BBC4 have missed Wham's first AND last performances on the show, Thank Mike.

    Midge Ure playouts with a naff video to quite a good song (again not one I'm familiar with). I was enjoying that so will dig it out for another listen.

    An OK show this week. Wham stole it...from Bananrama!

    1. i remember siobhan carping that the reason she left bananarama was as the other two had been friends since childhood (as opposed to when they were students), so felt like the odd one out - a case of two's company and three's a crowd ha ha

      as someone else here enlightened me, own paul's (only) hit wasn't actually written by him. although he did write about half the tracks on his only album. that included two of his three other flop singles