TOTP 26 APR 1984

After the nudge-nudge-wink -wink pairing recently of boyfriend / girlfriend Peter Powell and Janice Long, the TOTP producers were not having anymore of that thank you very much and put Janice with the much err…safer Simon Bates for this show. Janice is still dressing as if it’s permanently New Year’s Eve in TOTP world.

First up this week is one of the oddest combinations of the decade…Sandie Shaw and The Smiths with “Hand In Glove”. Sandie of course had been a major star in the 60’s but her profile was definitely on the wane by this point. Not so for The Smiths who were in the ascendency and who had added commercial success with their singles “This Charming Man” and “What Difference Does it Make” to their initial critical acclaim. So how exactly did this collaboration come about? Morrissey and Johnny Marr had long wanted to establish themselves not just as rock stars but as songwriters and top of their list of people to cover their songs was Sandie Shaw. Having initially been unsure, eventually Sandie’s services were secured and she recorded this version of the Smiths debut single which had only reached No 124 when released in 1983. I’m not sure I knew the original Smiths version of the song and only knew Sandie Shaw for the Eurovision Song Contest winning “Puppet On A String”. Consequently there wasn’t much appeal for me in this combo back in 1984. Looking back at the performance now though I am struck by three things. Firstly I’d forgotten that Morrissey does not appear on the record at all – its actually a Sandie Shaw solo release with Marr, Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke essentially acting as her backing band. Secondly, and somebody pointed this out on Twitter and he’s right, despite Sandie not doing anything for me back then, in 2017 the 1984 version of her is very attractive with her leather outfit and leopard print tights cavorting over the stage. Err…okay and thirdly, if you look closely, The Smiths are appearing without shoes in homage to Sandie who famously used to perform barefoot in her heyday. The single made No 27 in the charts so an improvement of 97 places on the original and giving Sandie her first chart hit since 1969.

Ok – so here we have the return of Phil Collins last seen over 12 months previous when he was at No 1 with “You Can’t Hurry Love”. Phil basically does two types of songs –  fast ones and slow ones. This is a slow one and was the theme tune to the film of the same name “Against All Odds”. I once went to a wedding where the music played whilst we awaited the bride’s arrival in the registry office was some sort of Phil Collins ballads collection. A safe choice you might think. Not really as the playlist went like this:

  • I Wish It Would Rain Down (Really?! On your wedding day?!)
  • Against All Odds (including the lyrics “You coming back to me is against all odds”)
  • Separate Lives (I don’t need to join the dots here do I?)

This would go all the way to No 2 for Phil (and one place better in the US). Unfortunately for us all, I fear we will be seeing lots more of Phil before the decade is out.

From one Eurovision legend (Sandie Shaw) to ….the UK’s 1984 Eurovision entry who trailed in 7th (hardly legendary in anyone’s book). This is Belle and the Devotions with “Love Games”.  In fairness, its a catchy enough Motown pastiche and apparently (though I had forgotten this), their disappointing showing at the contest (yes younger readers, there was a time when 7th place at Eurovision was seen as disappointing for the UK), was not their fault. The contest was in Luxembourg that year and the previous Autumn English football fans had rioted there which prompted some booing in the auditorium of the UK entry on the night. Strangely enough, the nearly 16 year old me was more taken with Belle and the Devotions and their day-glo outfits and mini-skirts than I was with Sandie Shaw. Amazing what 33 years does to your tastes.

Some reggae on TOTP next with a posthumous release from Bob Marley. Despite originally being recorded for the 1977 album “Exodus”,”One Love” was being released in April 1984 to promote the Greatest Hits package “Legend”. Simon Bates makes a big deal of the “star-studded celebrity package” so lets see who is in it then…Two members of The Belle Stars (no hits for over 12 months), Junior Giscombe (no hits since 1982), two members of Aswad (no hits at all at this point). Hmmm…not quite star studded is it Simes? Who else? Bob Marley? Oh come on, it’s his song, you can’t have him! OK – Paul McCartney is a big name, Suggs and Chas Smash from Madness were also well known at the time. And is the young lad in the lead role Ziggy Marley (Bob’s lad)? No it’s not actually. According to Wikipedia its someone called Jesse Lawrence. Enough star spotting. What about the music? Well, I’m no reggae buff but it’s a nice enough song I guess. Next!

Right, possibly the biggest band of the 80s up now…Duran Duran with “The Reflex”. This is a monster tune and would be their last (so far) No 1 record. We all know that the single version was remixed by Nile Rodgers and is very different to the album version which doesn’t have the “tra-la-la” opening or the weird belchy noises in the middle eight. Apparently EMI were not keen on the remix and didn’t want to release it but the band had absolute faith in it and they were rewarded with a huge international smash hit. Watching this episode with my wife, she remarked that this was the very worst of Duran Duran (and she had bought their first album back in the day). She went as far as to call it a “turd”. She is of course wrong.

Yeeeuuuuch! That is the only word for the next song…it’s “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before” by Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson. “What fresh Hell is this?” I no doubt screamed at the TV screen back in April 1984. Julio Iglesias would have been known to me as that bloke who sang “Begin The Beguine” that my Mum liked back at the start of the decade and Willie Nelson was …well at the time I only knew him as that guy with the weird , trembly voice but of course I now know him as a Country legend (though still with that trembly voice). Let’s just say this did nothing for me then or now and move on….

…to a quality tune! Here are Echo and the Bunnymen with “Silver”. We have already missed seeing them perform the greatest song ever written (according to Ian McCulloch) which is of course “The Killing Moon” but we do get to see this the follow up which is also majestic in its greatness. McCulloch’s soaring vocals , the orchestral strings …just great…and there’s even a Byrds-esque instrumental guitar break which is given even more authenticity by Will Sergeant’s haircut. I saw them live for the first time a couple of months back supporting Priam Scream and, after a slow start, they were brilliant although they didn’t play this song. How this stalled at No 30 is beyond me.

Hands up all those who thought The Flying Pickets were a one hit wonder? You are all wrong. They had a follow up hit and this is it – “When You’re Young And In Love”. Another cover given the acappella treatment , this did very well to reach No 7 in the charts so soon after we had all been wowed then get bored of these guys when they scored the 1983 Xmas No 1. This would be the end of the road for the band though in charts terms but their place in Top 40 history is assured.

Finally, finally…its the 6th and LAST week at No 1 for Lionel Richie and “Hello”. This week’s “Hello” fact is that the song’s video was voted the worst music video of all time in a poll of 8,000 music fans by UK TV music channel The Box. And all 8,000 people are dead right.

The play out music this week is “Automatic’ by The Pointer Sisters whom I knew of from their 1981 Top 10 hit “Slow Hand” because they used to play it all the time on the sound system on match days at my local non-league club Worcester City.  This was a totally different sound though  – a disco-influenced dance track that heavily featured Ruth Pointer’s growling low register vocals. It would go all the way to No 2 in the UK charts thus becoming the band’s biggest hit here. The parent album “Breakout” would spawn a slew of hit singles which no doubt we will get to see in subsequent TOTP repeats. I liked it enough but it wasn’t really my thing in 1984.



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 check out Janice Long’s  party outfit as I can’t find the full programme on YouTube.

I make no claim to the rights of this show and all ownership and contents including logos and graphics belongs totally to the BBC.

Order of appearance Artist Song Did I Buy it?


Sandie Shaw / The Smiths Hand In Glove No – I still hadn’t got The Smiths by this point


Phil Collins Against All Odds Ooh no


Belle & The Devotions Love Games No – credibility suicide beckoned if this was found on my person!


Bob Marley One Love No – not a big Reggae fan


Duran Duran


The Reflex Not the single but I had the album “Seven and the Ragged Tiger”


Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before I refer you to my earlier comment of Yeeeuuuuuch!


Echo and the Bunnymen Silver No but I have it on their Greatest Hits CD


Flying Pickets When You’re Young and in Love Nah


Lionel Richie Hello


No!   No! No!


Pointer Sisters Automatic Nope

Some bed time reading?









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