Finally…finally *mops brow* I’m up to date once this post is published…until Thursday anyway. OK then who have we got presenting this week? By the looks of things it’s Blue Peter’s John Noakes and Casey Jones (look if you’re old enough to be interested in 1983 TOTP repeats them you’re old enough to know who I mean!). Actually it’s Richard Skinner and Janice Long but just look at them and tell me you can’t see what I mean!
On with the music then and we start with Culture Club and “Church of the poison mind” which Skinner tells us is his tip for next week’s No 1 ( he was wrong by the way). Culture Club were of course a band but, as with Blondie, the focal point that attracted all the fuss was the lead singer. Boy George is so much the public face of the group at this point that the three guys are literally his backing band. Still they seem happy enough with that role judging by their smiles in this performance. Even backing singer Helen Terry gets more camera time than the 3 fellas. For that matter some beardy bloke on harmonica gets more exposure. I don’t remember this guy at all but Skinner helpfully informs afterwards that his name is Judd Lander. All together now….WHO?!!!!
Following this we have a video from The Human League with “(Keep feeling) fascination”. This was the second of their stand alone singles (the first being “Mirror Man”) designed to maintain their profile whilst they wrote a follow up album to the era-defining “Dare”. Its a pretty good effort as well. There’s that slightly odd intro where it sounds like its off key or as if the 7′ single is warped and then we’re into a classy pop song. The video is a basic performance affair with the band running through the track in a house. The only nod towards making the whole thing interesting visually is the house which is as if the ‘You are here’ spot on the map is literally pointing at a location painted in a red circle. I recall liking this enough at the time although I think I preferred “Mirror Man”. We would not see the League in the charts again for 12 months and by then their imperial phase would be coming to an end…
Back to Casey (Janice! I meant Janice!) in the studio to introduce F R David and “Words”. There really isn’t much more to say about this than I did in the last post in which it featured other than that the audience seem to be sat down having a group sway to it as if sat round a camp fire singing “Ging Gang Goolie” or “Kumbaya my Lord”. Needless to say F R David fever didn’t break out across the UK and he promptly disappeared forever once this had dropped out of the charts.
Grebo alert! It’s that war-painted poodle dog Dee Snider and Twisted Sister back for some more senseless but harmless power rock next. I guess they were trying to be the new Kiss but they don’t really convince. I’m trying to remember if the rock fraternity at school were into this but I can’t recall if there even was a rock fraternity. I have a dim memory of there being a Queen vs Madness split (you were either one or the other) although why those two bands were seen as polar opposites I don’t know. Richard Skinner appears at the song’s end to ask “But would you let your sons go out with them?” Eh? Surely that should be daughters or has the Skinner wit baffled me?
Whatever…he segues us into a video for the new single by Toto (of “Africa” fame).I always found this to be a rather dull and very straight forward rock/pop song that didn’t have any of the charm of “Africa”. The video is one long yawn as well. Dreadful. Also, Toto appear to be an even uglier band than Twisted Sister if that were possible.
Ah…a great song next that still gets played to death on Absolute 80s today. Its only Heaven 17 with “Temptation”! Now at this point I didn’t know much about Heaven 17 but this song grabbed me by the ears and wouldn’t let go. I loved it and it was one of the reasons I bought that Chart Stars album as it is Side 1 Track 1. Front man Glenn Gregory looks ace here as well with his slicked back peroxide blonde hair. Big bonus points if you remember that the female vocalist is Carol Kenyon without whom the song would not have had anywhere near the same success.
Next Skinner gives us the chart run down to No 21 where we find the video for “We are detective” by Thompson Twins. Now I defended this lot in previous posts but this is proper garbage and one of those songs that gives 80s music a bad name. It’s slight, lame and drippy and includes the couplet “And now each time the telephone rings, we think of frightening things”. Holy crap! That is …well…crap. They do get better…honestly!
A seminal pop moment next. You can trace the point at which Spandau Ballet became massive to this very performance as they crash straight into the Top 10 with “True”. I already liked what I knew of Spandau (“Lifeline” and “Communication”) and this sealed the deal. You can’t deny it’s a great song – yes it’s overplayed (as is “Temptation”) – but it is superbly crafted and ushered in their majestic period that would last from 1983 – 1986. I quickly got up to speed with their back catalogue by buying a 2nd hand copy of the previous album “Diamond” off my brother’s mate who was flogging off some of his record collection. They would also turn out to be the first band I ever saw live. My mate Neil Lambert really loved Spandau and as he was blonde convinced himself he looked like sax player Steve Norman. He didn’t.
The top 10 countdown reveals that Bowie is No 1 again with “Let’s Dance” but the Ballet boys would take his crown the following week. The play out music for this episode is “Beat it ” by Michael Jackson.
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 3 weeks so you’ll have to work fast if you want to see how ugly Dee Snider really is and I can’t find the full programme on YouTube.
However for posterity’s sake I include the Top 40 run down below.
|Order of appearance||Artist||Song||Did I buy it?|
|Church of the poison mind
|I think I have ` Greatest Hits somewhere.|
|2||The Human League||(Keep feeling) Fascination
|No I didn’t I don’t think|
|3||FR David||Words||Course not!
|4||Twisted Sister||I am(I’m me)||Just checked and it’s on the Chart Stars album so technically I bought it. Gulp!
|5||Toto||Rosanna||Bloody Hell – that’s on Chart Stars as well! What was I thinking!|
|6||Heaven 17||Temptation||Yep – as mentioned, one of the reasons I bought Chart Stars|