TOTP 30th JUN 1983

Now we have reached the Summer broadcasts of these TOTP repeats from 1983 (its not even Easter in the real world of 2017), it’s brought to mind what a long hot Summer it was that year. I remember it being glorious sunshine day after day and yet I mostly spent said days indoors. You see, I wasn’t the most sociable of teenagers, much preferring my own company and that of the the daytime stable of Radio 1 DJs. Apart from the frustration of not being remotely able to communicate with girls, I recall being quite content that Summer though. Maybe that solitude is why I still have a binding relationship with some of these songs.

Anyway, enough about me, let’s get on with the music, pausing briefly first though to name check this week’s presenters who are Tommy Vance and Richard Skinner. Sadly for female viewers, it wasn’t a vintage week for eye candy in the DJ department.

The first act on tonight are Shalamar with “Dead Giveaway”. You know those artists who you don’t really have any strong feelings about at all to the point where you’re not sure if you like them or loathe them? For me that’s Shalamar. The songs are listenable but simultaneously forgettable, “Dead Giveaway” being a perfect example. Of course, you can’t discuss Shalamar without mentioning Jeffrey Daniels and his dancing. This is the man who taught Michael Jackson to moonwalk for Heaven’s sake! He’s strangely underemployed here though  – there’s a bit of Marcel Marceau with a balloon but not much else as centre stage goes to Jody Watley who basically just does some frock – swishing. Mostly I remember Jody Watley as being the woman who was the target of some lewd gestures made by Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt about the pertness of her bottom at the Band Aid recording session. Not sure that’s how she would like to be remembered to be fair.

The first video of the night is from Heaven 17 with “Come Live With Me”. I love this song. Although a more understated effort than the rip-roaring “Temptation”, its is a slow grower that imprints itself in your brain and never leaves you. Watching this back I realised that I know all the lyrics to it including “If half the things they say are quarter true of me, then how can I eclipse the youth you gave to set me free” – a stand out line amongst many which chronicle the tale of a doomed love between a thirty-something and a teenager. Excellent stuff.

Aha…next up is my boy Mr Nick Heyward with his second solo single “Take That Situation”. This song would be included on his first solo album “North Of A Miracle” which in my (possibly biased) opinion is one of the great undervalued gems of the 1980s. A real lost classic. There are some great songs on there which showcase a number of different styles and moods and also Nick’s musicality. Unfortunately “Take That Situation” is not one of them being the one truly weak track on the album. Not that I thought this at the time – I thought it was great but hindsight is a great thing isn’t it? Indeed the “The trouble is with your old friends…” line sounds a bit cringeworthy today. Still its a nice enough performance with Nick looking cool in his crisp white shirt and slacks. That dancer at the front of the stage will have someone’s eye out though.

Back to the videos and it’s one we have already seen previously by Irene Cara with “Flashdance…What A Feeling!” from the film of the same name. As such there wouldn’t normally be much else to say about this except there is surprise guest appearance at its end in the TOTP studio from actress and star of the film Jennifer Beals. I don’t remember this happening at all. She is interviewed by Richard Skinner who actually does a decent job of asking some rational questions (take note Simon Bates – this is how you do it). One of the questions he poses is “What follows next?’ which led me to check whatever happened to Jennifer Beals. Well, as she alludes to in the Skinner interview she went back to Yale University meaning she didn’t make many more films immediately after Flashdance. However she resumed her film career and she is still working as an actress to this day and has been in more than 50 pictures although the only one I’d heard  of is Devil In A Blue Dress for which she was nominated for an award.

Anyhow….next we have a breakthrough TOTP appearance for someone whose career I would follow throughout the 80s. Its Paul Young with “Wherever I Lay My Hat That’s My Home”. This was his first solo hit (not that I’d heard of him before until I realised he was the singer in Streetband who’d had a novelty hit with “Toast”). The song is famously a cover of a Marvin Gaye track and it would make a star out of Young who still commands a following to this day. I liked this enough to buy it at the time and it still stands up as a great cover I think. There are some critics out there who belittle Paul Young for peddling  “blue-eyed soul” which they perceive to be somehow not genuine or a plastic take on real soul music. My take was that he could sing and I wanted to look like him (his hair was great I thought). He was one of the gang of new pop stars that 1983 delivered to us but, unlike most of them, he would become one of the 80s massive names. For sure we will see more of him in future TOTP repeats so deal with it! And by the way Tommy, its “Wherever I Lay My Hat” not “Wherever I Hang My Hat”!

And another great song follows…Tom Robinson with “War Baby”. Now I knew of Tom Robinson as my elder brother had liked “2-4-6-8 Motorway” by Tom Robinson Band in the late 70s but I knew nothing else of him. This is one of those songs that just seems to appear from nowhere as a fully fledged hit  – there was no way it wouldn’t tear up the charts and it would eventually make No 6. In this performance Tom’s strumming action looks a bit odd to me like he’s stroking the strings but then who am I, a man who can strum a few chords and knows just one song all the way through, to tell Tom Robinson about guitars? I also liked his follow up single “Listen To The Radio: Atmospherics” but that only just grazed the Top 40 and he wouldn’t get in the Top 40 again. A long time LGBT rights activist, he remains an influential figure.

We stay in the studio (very few videos tonight) for Bucks Fizz and “When We Were Young”. Now I distinctly remember thinking this sounded like a radical departure for the Fizz at the time and indeed it was compared to say “Making Your Mind Up” or even their last single “Run For Your Life”. It seemed very adult sounding I suppose. Watching it back now though it sounds rather clunky and a bit forced like there had been a band meeting where they said “we’ll show them that we are credible artists”. The performance here doesn’t help I don’t think. Very staged, very deliberately sombre and what on earth are the costumes all about? Jay Aston has gone full on sex kitten and the rest of them…well Cheryl seems to have channelled her inner Sally Bowles from “Cabaret”. And the two lads? Well one has gone for the Rambo look and actually I have no idea what look the guy in the white fedora was trying for. It’s all a bit of a rum do really.

The Top 10 countdown then leads us into the new No 1 by Rod Stewart with “Baby Jane”. Boo!!! The play out music is by The Truth with “Confusion (Hits Us Every Time)”. The Truth were basically a mod revivalist band who had seen a gap in the market with the demise of The Jam and thought they could pick up a following off the back of those members of The Jam Army who were not feeling Weller’s new vehicle The Style Council. That said, I liked this enough at the time and of course my Wellerite elder brother purchased it.

Links and things

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 another month so you’ll have to work fast if you want to see that Jennifer Beals’ interview and I can’t find the full programme on YouTube.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08kvpvx/top-of-the-pops-30061983

However for posterity’s sake I include the Top 40 run down below:

Order of appearance Artist Song Did I buy it?

1

Shalamar Dead Giveaway Nah

2

Heaven 17 Come Live With Me Not the 7” but the album resides in my home

3

Nick Heyward Take That Situation Yes of course

4

Irene Cara Flashdance …What A Feeling! I did not

5

Paul Young Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home) Yes sir I did.

6

Tom Robinson War Baby Yep – another one in my singles box

7

Bucks Fizz When We Were Young No

8

Rod Stewart Baby Jane It’s on the 1st Now album so technically yes but only by default and I always lifted the stylus arm and skipped to the next track honest!

9

The Truth Confusion (Hits Us Every Time) No but my brother did so I owned a copy by proxy

Want to read more about some of the acts on this episode…

01-smash-hits-23-june-6-july-1983-231x300

 

http://www.shanemarais.net/smash-hits-magazine/smash-hits-23-june-6-july-1983/

 

 

 

 

01-No-1-25-june-1983-218x300

 

http://www.shanemarais.net/no-1-magazine/no-1-magazine-25-june-1983/

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