TOTP 20 OCT 1983

Amazingly this is the third consecutive broadcast with no skipping of shows due to presenter issues. This week we have the totally uncontroversial but just a little bit dull Andy Peebles and Janice long who is sporting a new flame coloured hair do and this being the 80s, its pretty big. Peebles is wearing some very high waisted white trousers with braces which isn’t really working for him. More Andy Pandy than Andy Peebles.

Talking of white trousers, here’s another geezer wearing some – it’s David Grant with his cure for insomnia otherwise known as his single “Love Will Find A Way”. He’s also still got his headband and big boots on to complete the image. He looks crap, he sounds crap and indeed he is crap.

Enough of the crap, here’s a record that sounded very fresh and new back in 1983. Spearheading the breakdancing movement in the UK come Rocksteady Crew with their oh so nearly eponymous hit “Hey you, the Rocksteady Crew”. Apparently the group is a franchise that is still a going concern and there are different versions of the Rocksteady Crew in different cities around the world. This vintage, I think, was from the Bronx, New York City and the girl lead singer always reminded me of Annabella Lwin from Bow Wow Wow somehow (maybe just me on that one). It sounds a bit dated to our 2017 ears  so comfortable are we with the whole hip hop sound that went global both musically and culturally but back in ’83 we weren’t used to this. The 15 year old me quite liked it and it was a big enough hit to appear on the very first Now that’s what I call… album.

And now for the third time on the show is Howard Jones with his hit “New Song”. Howard is back in the TOTP studio and also, we are informed by Janice Long, about to go into another studio this weekend  – this time of the recording variety to lay down tracks for his debut album. That album would of course be “Human’s Lib” which would spawn four hit singles and be a double platinum selling No 1. Anyway, that is all still to come and back in October ’83, Howard is doing his thing on stage with the eternally tedious Jed in tow. I wonder whatever happened to Jed?

*checks internet*

Oh here he is talking about appearing on TOTP with Howard…

OK OK…he seems like a really nice bloke I have to admit and there is a Jed Hoile appreciation society page on FaceBook so he’s obviously not forgotten either. I still find his performance here excruciating though. Oh and we witness the first signs of Howardhysteria judging by the reaction of the TOTP audience (and possibly my good mate Rob the next day at school).

Up next is a future No 1 from a man whose had been around for a while but whom I didn’t really know much about at the time – Billy Joel with “Uptown Girl”. This one is a real stinker and falls into that category of song that I can’t stand to hear anymore so many times has it been played down the years. Which is a real shame as Billy has done some great work  throughout his carer. Indeed the album “An Innocent Man” that this comes from has some nice tunes on it but this…no sorry Billy…this is godawful. No doubt I’ll have more opportunities to comment on this as it makes it’s way up the chart before settling for a 3 week stint in the No 1 spot so I’ll keep my powder dry until then.

Back to the studio now and a song I genuinely cannot remember and I remember a lot from this period believe me. Its Gary Numan with “Sister Surprise”. Having made a comeback with the “Warriors” project in recent weeks, I’m guessing that this was the second single from the album. It’s just an utter noise, devoid of any musicality and quite pretentious into the bargain. Oh and I don’t want to be pedantic Janice but its not “Numanoid fans”. Numanoids are fans of Gary Numan not fans of some ficticious band called The Numanoids. Look….

Numanoid (plural Numanoids)

(informal) A fan of the English pop musician Gary Numan (born 1958).

Right, English lesson over, here comes another act we’ve only just seen recently – Freeez with “Pop Goes My Love”. I’m surprised that this one got another TOTP run out as a quick check of the chart facts shows that despite this appearance, the single actually went down the Top 40 the following week. Not even Andy Peebles trying to instil some credibility in it by name checking the legendary Arthur Baker as its producer could save this steaming pile of crud.

A genuine massive name is on next – it’s Elton John with “Kiss The Bride”. 1983 was a good year for Elton with four hit singles and a Top 10 album in “Too Low For Zero”. Indeed Janice Long makes this point when she says:

“Elton John’s been doing really great things in the charts this year and I bet he wishes that Watford were doing as well…”.

Hang on, who made Janice the show’s resident football expert? And didn’t Watford make the FA Cup final in this season (83-84)?

*Does some research of football league tables in 1983*

Ahem…OK so it appears Janice was err…right. At the time of this broadcast, Watford were hovering just above the relegation zone in the league. To be fair they rallied and finished 11th and did get to the FA Cup final (ha!) but fair play, Janice was on the money with this one. Well, given the unconvincing balls up Peter Powell made of attempting to talk football on the TOTP FA Cup replay show, maybe Janice was the best candidate for being the show’s football correspondent. What? The song? Oh right….I always though this was pretty much a carbon copy of previous single “I’m Still Standing” and maybe the public did too as this one stalled at No 20 as opposed to the No 4 position that it’s predecessor achieved. The video is some nonsense about a Hell’s Angel wedding or something with Elton camping it up in full top hat and tails. Drivel. Of course Elton did get married in real life just four short months later to a woman called Renate but the marriage was dogged with rumours that it was just a cover for Elton’s homosexuality and they divorced in 1988.

And next it’s….another song we’ve only just seen?! Really?! Oh well at least it’s a good one as we welcome back Depeche Mode with “Love In Itself” for another showing. I’m out of inspiration for this one so I think I’ll just quote the rather brilliant tweet below that was made during the repeat broadcast of this show.

Excellent work there and if you don’t get the Depeche Mode reference there then why are you here?

A classic 80s one hit wonder is up next – it’s only Men Without Hats and “Safety Dance”. This song has endured remarkably well over the years and is still a staple of Absolute 80s radio playlists today. I always assumed the band were American but in fact they were from Canada. And get this, the song is not about safe sex but a protest against bouncers preventing early 80s new wave clubbers from pogoing and slam dancing in nightclubs. Who knew? The video is quite odd, set as it is in a sleepy English village and includes Morris dancers, maypoles and Punch and Judy. If you watch the video with the sound off, it is very creepy and reminded me of the sinister but brilliant film “The Wicker Man” about paganism on a remote Hebridean island. Men Without Hats are still going today after reforming in 2010 but are still only known for this song here in the UK.

The No 1 this week is still (still) “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club. and by this point is a million seller so Andy Peebles informs us. A million sales?! All together now….

“Karma, karma, karma, karma, karma chameleon
You come and go, you come and go”

Please, for the love of God, just go…

This week’s play out music is Meatloaf with “Midnight At The Lost And Found”.

On a personal note, 7 years to the day later I would get married which seems incredible to me now when I remember the 15 year old version of me in ’83. And no, Karma Chameleon was not on the wedding do playlist.

Links and things


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 Janice Long talking football 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?


David Grant Love Will Find A Way No chance – it’s shite


Rocksteady Crew (Hey You) The Rocksteady Crew No but is on Now Vol 1 so technically yes


Howard Jones New Song Its on Now Vol 1 so I’m saying yes


Billy Joel Uptown Girl Not likely – but it’s probably on a Greatest Hits CD somewhere


Gary Numan Sister Surprise No – I’d be surprised if his own sister bought this racket


Freeez Pop Goes My Love Nah


Elton John Kiss The Bride No but again probably on a Greatest Hits CD


Depeche Mode Love In Itself Not the 7” but its on their first Greatest Hits LP which I bought.


Men Without Hats Safety Dance Another one that’s on Now Vol 1


Culture Club Karma Chameleon I don’t care if its on Now 1, I did not buy this!


Meatloaf Midnight At The Lost And Found Nope

Some bed time reading?








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