TOTP 17th FEB 1983

Well we’re really getting into our stride with this now – the year (1983 lest we forget) is rattling along. Mid February already and Thursday night is here again and its a new DJ pairing this week – Peter Powell and Gary Davies. I used to love Peter Powell – he was just the right mix of chart and non-mainstream for my 14 year old tastes. This was reflected in his “drive time” slot, calming things down after the high jinks of Steve Wright and his afternoon posse with a more serious take on proceedings with an emphasis on the music rather than fun.

However, aligned here with Davies, Powell doesn’t shine. There s a fluffed false start of an opening intro and they never really recover from it. I mean, as duos go, they’re hardly Wham are they? Talking of whom…(see that’s how you do an opening intro guys!)

….it’s Wham Rap time again! George is centre stage again and I notice 34 years later that he has one of those skinny pony tail plait things going on at the back of his head. I don’t remember this! It must gave been a fleeting affectation. The only other bloke I ever knew who had one was a guy at Poly (“Scully” I think he was called). He had it all through Poly until one night a girl he was chatting up in the Union bar, emboldened by too much drink, lopped it off with some scissors! Outrageous!

Anyway, back to Wham! and there seems to be a strange lack of camera time for Andrew in this performance with the close ups switching to the hangers on in the chorus when not on George. In fact one of those hangers on is David Austin who would try (unsuccessfully) to forge a solo pop career a year later. Apparently George’s stardust didn’t extend to everyone then (just Ridgeley, Pepsi and Shirley and D.C.Lee) despite his best efforts below.

Then Peter Powell fills our screens again with a link to the video for “Change” by Tears For Fears or TFF as he insists on calling them. Now I may have used the TFF acronym in previous posts for reasons of time and space but I can’t remember anyone at school referring to them as TFF. There was just no need – it was just as quick to say it in full – it’s only 3 syllables after all. It’s not like they were Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark when using the shortened OMD made more sense. Not sure where PP (chortle) was coming from with this.

As for the video itself, I really can’t recall this at all. There’s some grey clad figures following Roland Orzabal around a glass building that reminds me watching it back now of the sketch in The Fast Show where a harassed and hopelessly late family are continually running to some unknown destination. There’s also some more of Orzabal’s freaky dancing that debuted in the previous single “Mad World”. Luckily someone in the band’s camp had a word with him and it didn’t last much longer in their career. Finally there is a shot of Roland playing a shiny silver guitar thereby pre dating Vince Clarke in the Erasure video for “Sometimes” by some 4 years.

Next we’re treated to a camera shot right up Gary Davies’s nostrils as he introduces a band making their TOTP debut and “they’ve come a long way for it, all the way from Australia where they’re probably the number one band…its Icehouse!” Strewth! Don’t tell Men at Work! I really remember when this single started getting airplay in this country and we all thought it was a new Roxy Music song. Lead Icehouser Iva Davies was the epitome of suave back then although ultimately he would submit to 80s fashion and grow a horrible mullet as his band pursued a rockier sound but for now…wow! This guy was cool (even of the rest of his band weren’t).

Another first next with a never- before -seen video from Musical Youth. No, not “Pass the Dutchie” but “Never gonna give you up”. The Youth had a few hits over a 2 year period but “Dutchie” dwarfed all their other output. This is a nice enough tune but of course they were musical kryptonite to school street cred and so were unfairly perhaps ridiculed by all my peers and indeed myself.

This segues into another video from ” the masters of video, this is Madness” as advised by PP. Hmm…of course their videos were great and I have a DVD of them all but I wonder if that’s how the Nutty Boys would like to have been thought of back in 1983? “What about the music Peter?” Suggs would no doubt have cried. By this point in the decade, Madness were massively established pop stars and I was well aware of their sound which I liked.  My Dad on the other hand hated Madness and especially Suggs who he referred to as a “thug” maybe just because it rhymed with Suggs. This one though, “Tomorrow’s (Just Another Day)”, with its bizarre use of brackets was a bit formulaic and not one of my faves.

A quick chart run down is followed by a studio performance by Haysi Fantayzee with “Shiny Shiny”. I think we’ve been here before haven’t we? Well this time Kate Garner has a few more clothes on although the TOTP cameraman still tries for a money shot up her dress. Moving on…

PP does the next section of the chart rundown where he stumbles over No 19 as if he’s lost his place just one number in (amateur!) before we go back to No 14 where we find Fun Boy Three and “Tunnel of Love”. Again we have been here before (this is 1983 remember where singles hung around the charts for ages), but Terry Hall’s remarkably understated performance is worthy of a word or two. Its like he wants to be the antidote to those childish hyper active acts like Modern Romance who have totally bought into the “TOTP as a Pop Party” concept as he looks utterly disinterested and surly. Magnificent!

The Top 10 run down reveals that Men at Work are no longer No 1 – so Gary Davies was right about Icehouse – having been replaced by Kajagoogoo and “Too Shy. Again Peter Powell seems to stumble over his words and starts blathering on about them doing a session for his radio show soon which totally runs over the shimmering intro to the song. Whatever, let Limahl and his pals enjoy their moment as from this point on, things would start going southwards for them…

No fade out music this week, presumably because PP and Garry Davies couldn’t bring the whole shebang in on time

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 only works for about 2 weeks so you’ll have to work fast if you want to enjoy Kate Garner’s dress and I can’t find the full programme on YouTube.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08cgpkf/top-of-the-pops-17021983

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

Wham!

 

Wham Rap

 

Who doesn’t have a bit of Wham! In tier lives?

2

Tears For Fears Change

 

Not at the time but I have a few TFF (Damn!) LPs now.

 

3

Icehouse Hey Little Girl Via iTunes much later in life

 

4

Musical Youth Never Gonna Give You UP Are you mad?

 

5

Madness Tomorrow’s (Just Another Day) On Divine Madness but not the 7”

6

Haysi Fantayzee Shiny Shiny No

 

7

Fun Boy Three Tunnel of Love

 

On CD later in life

 

8

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

 

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