TOTP 3rd FEB 1983

Blimey – is that time again already? Excellent it’s Thursday evening and time for the 1983 version of me’s weekly fix of chart sounds. Whose hosting this week? It’s Kid Jensen and Peel…again.  I’m guessing they had good audience feedback the last time they were paired together. To be fair they do have some chemistry between them even if its a bit dry and based on sending each other up. However, after Simon Bates and Richard Skinner last week they do have that bit of sparkle to them although comparing themselves to Torville and Dean as Peel does is stretching the metaphor a bit.

Anyway, we’re straight into the music and this week’s opener is Haysi Fantayzee and its quite a spectacle even by 1983’s standards. I can’t recall what the 14 year old me made of them – patently they are ridiculous with their …well how would you describe their look? A some sort of foppish Dickensian character and a …hooker? Main HF man Jeremy Healey is on record as saying the song – “Shiny Shiny” – is not about anything, nothing at all – pure nonsense. Maybe they knew the game was up at this point and they were just having a laugh as this was to be their last hit after the previous year’s “John Wayne is big leggy”. I have 2 distinct memories attached to this single. The first is Nick French at school saying ” I love that song by Haysi Fantayzee”  and then pronouncing it “Shinny Shinny” therefore immediately outing himself as someone who had clearly never even heard it. The second is much more recent when my wife put it on the jukebox in a very”rockist” pub in Malvern about 5 years ago thereby nearly causing a riot when a big burly bloke approached us and enquired “Did you put this on? It’s shit”. Luckily my wife is very articulate and managed to diffuse the situation by initiating a discussion about who was better – BobDylan or Tom Waits.

Next up is Indeep with “Last night a DJ saved my life”. Amazingly and to their credit neither Jensen nor Peel take the bait of trying to make a comedic quip based on the song’s title and their own employment by Radio 1. The act themselves are two female singers and a very beardy …ahem…”DJ” (presumably of the titular variety). The song is based around a very Chic sounding backing and features some hip hop style rapping. Kid Jensen informs us afterwards that they are doing some UK concert dates. Can’t imagine the touts made much money on those tickets.

Another studio performance follows with Fun Boy Three – I knew about this lot from their collaborations with Bananarama the previous year and of course that they formed from the ashes of The Specials. The song is “Tunnel of Love” and it’s such an odd sound to be in the charts at  this time  what with a cello to the forefront and some very sombre lyrics about a relationship that goes sour but it’s also brilliant. Terry Hall’s hair is astonishing at this time  – a massive gravity defying bouffant of a thing – but it’s his deadpan delivery that enthrals and he remains a unique vocalist and performer.

Finally, a filmed performance is next but its not an official video as such but from the Late Late Breakfast show as Peel informs us. The act is a strange one being 70s behemoth Fleetwood Mac. I’m not sure I knew much about Fleetwood Mac at this time. Had I been familiar with their previous work (“Rumours”etc), no doubt this fairly trite ditty would have been a disappointment but I recall thinking it was pleasant enough  at the time. The performance is fairly pedestrian probably reflecting the famously strained relations in the band – not that I knew any of that. So boring is the footage that we are treated to  some cut backs to the TOTP studio for some 50s style rock ‘n’roll dancing from the audience. Its all very lame. However, watching it back now I am struck by how bizarre Mick Fleetwood looks – has there ever been a more odd looking musician – except for maybe Marillion’s Fish. His legs look so massive behind that drum kit. Fleetwood would go on to infamously balls up presenting the BRITS in 1989 with Sam Fox and also to become the inspiration for the lead character in one of my favourite novels “Espedair Street” by Iain Banks.

Back to the studio now for “the 2nd great success story of ’83” Jensen informs us and its those Kajagoogoo lads again. “Too Shy” is on its way to its final destination of Number 1 an all is rosy in their garden at this time. Before the Summer is out though, Limahl will be gone and recriminations will form  that will last for years. But for now…

At the song’s finish, Peel asks “What did you mean the no 2 success story of the year?” to which Jensen replies “Well I meant Wah! being Number 1”. Its a curious exchange but obviously refers to Peel’s endorsement of his fellow Liverpudlian Pete Wylie’s act having cracked the Top 3. I would go onto love Pete Wylie throughout my life and only last November I caught him live yet again. But for now, there is no sign of him…

A hot new act are next   – Tears for Fears. Yes I know it sounds ridiculous now to refer to TFF as a hot new act but that’s just what they were. I knew all about this lot – well, I knew and liked their first hit “Mad World” so this made me an authority on them in my head. Their new single was “Change”. In truth, it wasn’t a patch on “Mad World” and hasn’t aged well to my ears but I thought it was pretty good at the time. Greater things would come their way later on in the decade.

A video next and its U2. The promo for “New Year’s Day” is actually quite epic in its cinematography. Set in a snow laden wilderness, nothing is left out. Foreboding sky? Check! The lads (or maybe their stand-ins) on horseback? Check! Some black and white images of war fare complete with tanks? Check! Only the piano keys animation lets it down. A year later Duran Duran would attempt something similar for their single “New Moon on Monday” but fail rather miserably.

A genuine innovation next and its completely dates the show watched through our 2017 digital world eyes which is a shame as no doubt I would have loved this idea in 1983. The Top 10 run down but using actual promo videos instead of a still of the band or artist. Wow! I know! Some 10 years later ITV’s The Chart Show  programme would consist entirely of videos with only computer graphics as the presenters. But for now, in Feb 1983, this was cutting edge. Quaintly, Jensen says the show has received lots of letters from viewers about the high quality of the videos they have been showing. Yes “letters”  – not texts or emails or tweets or posts on Facebook – letters written on paper  with a stamp on the envelope.

We then duly get the Top 9 singles (U2 had just been played at No 10) countdown in video format. Echo and the Bunnymen at 8 have a video that is very similar to U2 (another reason why these two songs are forever twinned in my head). And yes! There he is at last at 7  – Pete Wylie (or rather Wah!) with “Story of the Blues”  – excellent stuff. We wend our way upwards taking in Kajagoogoo at 5 (or ” these little blighters” as Peel refers to them hardly able to hide his disdain) and ending up at Men at Work still at Number 1. At the end, Jensen cranks up the quaintometer again by saying “and I hope you enjoyed that new way of doing the chart with moving pictures if you did please write in and let us know…”

The fade out music is Billy Griffin..again..I’ve still no idea who this person was and apparently neither did the TOTP team as they still haven’t tracked him down to get him to do a studio performance…

Disclaimer

OK – here’s the thing – the TOTP episodes are only available on iPlayer for a limited amount of time so the link to the programme below won’t work come 27th Feb so you’ll have to work fast if you want to marvel at a video Top 10 in 1983 and I can’t find the full programme on YouTube.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08bqdzj/top-of-the-pops-03021983

However for posterity’s sake I include the Top 40 run down below (not including video chart though).

 

Order of appearance Artist Song Did I buy it?

1

Haysi Fantayzee

 

Shiny Shiny

 

No sir

2

Indeep Last night a DJ saved my life

 

Nah

 

3

Fun Boy 3 Tunnel of Love No but I have it on a Terry Hall collection CD

 

4

Fleetwood Mac Diane No

 

5

Kajagoogoo Too Shy It was on my copy of Now Vol 1 so technically yes

6

Tears For Fears Change Not in 1983 but I have Tears for Fears CDs in my collection now

 

7

U2 New Year’s Day

 

I own this – what of it?

 

8

Men at Work Down Under It was on my copy of Now Vol 1 so technically yes

9

Billy Griffin Hold me tighter in the rain Hell to the No!
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