TOTP 06 SEP 1984

It’s early September 1984 and the 16 year old me is waving goodbye to the long hot Summer of relaxation after the stress of ‘O’ levels and am about to assume my place at that rarified table of scholarly learning  – yes I was going to be a 6th former! Let’s have it straight, it wasn’t because I was committed to a pursuit of knowledge and the study of books, I just didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do with my life and the world of work looked a bit scary so I stayed on at school.

The status of 6th former did have one thing going for it though – the 6th form common room. Yes! A space available only for those senior members of the school and out of bounds to anyone in years 1-5. And not only that, it had a stereo cassette player that you could use to play the latest and greatest sounds around! The reality was a bit different though – there was a definite pecking order established pretty early on about who got to play their cassettes and me not being one of the cool kids, I hardly got a look in. And if it wasn’t the cool kids hogging the stereo then it was the 6th form prefects. You had to be a star of one of the various school sports teams to get into that elite club – they even had their own prefects annex off the common room that us err…commoners weren’t allowed to breach. Now I loved football but no sports teacher  had ever recognised my prowess at the game in my previous 5 years at the school so I wasn’t a prefect.

Ah sod ’em. I knew more about music than all of them (or so I thought). What I actually knew about was the charts and not much else so let’s see what was in the charts and on TOTP at this time……

The DJ pairing this week is John Peel and Janice Long. Peel had recently lost his rhythm pal David Jensen to Capital Radio so he needed another foil for his sardonic wit. Enter Janice Long, the likeable scouse early evening Radio 1 DJ. It was a clever choice by the TOTP producers to put these two together and they would form an entertaining partnership to rival the Peel/Jensen axis. From Peel’s introduction of the first act of the night Bucks Fizz, it’s clear there is some back story following on from the previous week’s show (which has not been repeated due to presenter issues). Want to know what happened? Fortunately YouTube has the answer….

Yes – 2.03 minutes into their performance the screen cuts to footage of a train with a very over-excited voice over from Simon Bates. What was this all about? If you recall the last post from the 23 Aug show, Mike Read and Tommy Vance gave us the low down. It was some ill conceived tie -in with British Rail who had unveiled their new Inter City high speed train and called it Top Of The Pops. Not only that but said train was going for the speed record between London and Bristol live on the next TOTP show. And so it came to pass that Bucks Fizz were the unlucky act that had their performance curtailed so that TOTP could show a train arriving in a station! WTF?! Now I don’t want to give train spotters a bad name but I’m guessing that there are more pop fans in the world than trainspotters so why the BBC let the only pop music show on TV be hijacked by this nonsense I have not a clue! I have to say I don’t recall watching this incident unfold live but then I’m not and never have been a trainspotter. I may have been a chart geek at this time but a trainspotter? No.

Anyway, to make up for the truncating of their performance, TOTP invited Bucks Fizz back the next week hence the odd intro from Peel. And what of the song? Well, it was originally a worldwide hit for US new wavers The Romantics not even 12 months previous but crucially not in the UK thereby allowing Bucks Fizz to shamelessly pinch it and have their own hit with it. This was kind of a relaunch for the band whose last two singles had bombed. It was a much harder sound than we were used to and check out the lads with their guitars! Don’t think we had ever seen this side of them before. I thought it was all a bit lame at the time and its certainly not one of their most memorable efforts.

Talking of Bucks Fizz memories, what do we think of when we think of this lot? Eurovision? Velcro skits? Yes of course but the band’s story also includes a traumatic coach crash, splits and years of legal battles over the rights to their name. Three of the original band have just relaunched as The Fizz with a new album. And what of  the other member? Well if you have the time then watch this documentary for one of the most hilarious tales of band acrimony ever. I love how they are so precious over their roles as the keeper of the flame of the band’s name Its hardly The Beatles’ legacy we are talking about here….

OK – that’s quite enough Bucks Fizz for one post. Who’s next? Ooh it’s the video for “I’ll Fly For You” by Spandau Ballet. You’ll recall I really liked this one and here is the band in New Orleans doing their first ever epic mini-film of a promotional video. The band were always a bit behind the game when it came to videos and trailed in the wake of rivals Duran Duran and their exotic location shoots so this was their attempt to even the score up a bit.

It’s all a bit of a mess really. There’s Tony Hadley mooning about in the Louisiana swamps, a flashback scene with him and his girl at the Mardi Gras carnival, a suggestion that she has two-timed him with Martin Kemp and then some ludicrous courtroom scene where she is on trial for some unknown crime.  This bit of the video seems totally misjudged as there are lots of lingering shots of the actress playing the lead role, the judge, the prosecution and various other court attendants. What it doesn’t do is promote the band who by this point had gone totally mainstream and were playing the game of trying to be one of the world’s biggest pop bands. Eventually the guys spring her from a police car and reunite her with Hadley and it all ends with them killing themselves in a lovers pact by driving into an oncoming truck. You don’t get to see that last bit on TOTP though. Might have sparked a storm of protest letters to Barry Took on Points Of View I suppose.  A feature on the video in No1 magazine quotes Gary Kemp as saying that it is a “conflict between a desire for freedom and escape and the slavery and rough justice of the Deep South”. Yeah right Gary.

A song from the 70s in the charts in 1984 next – it’s the re-released “Lost In Music” by Sister Sledge. How so? Well, they had been in the charts earlier in the year with “Thinking of You” and on the back of that their back catalogue was raided and remixed by Nile Rodgers. Now of course these days Nile is an acclaimed musical genius and regular performer at Glastonbury but back then I think I knew him as that bloke who had remixed Duran Duran’s “The Reflex” single. He worked his magic again on this Sister Sledge classic which went all the way to No 4. Incidentally it included DD’s Simon Le Bon and Andy Taylor on additional backing vocals apparently.  If you listen carefully to the intro from Peel to this one, I’m sure some TOTP floor manager shouts at the audience to “Get involved down there” thus pre-empting the adopting of the phrase “get involved” into the English vernacular by some 30 plus years or so.

Before the next act there is a brief chart run down and if I’m not mistaken that’s a new version of “Yellow Pearl” by Phil Lynott that we had not heard before. Not sure of the reasoning behind it but I don’t like it.

The chart run down leads into a new entry at No 26 and its the return of Level 42 with “Hot Water”. This was one of their best tunes in my opinion (and John Peel’s apparently). It really chugs along at a pace with Mark King’s slap bass style inevitably to the fore. I love the little hooks that they chucked in like the vocoderised Whaaat? reply when King sings Tell you something and it does include the extraordinary rhyming couplet that is:

I don’t need confirmation
For my boyhood extrapolation

I remember that they followed this up with a single entitled “The Chant Has Begun” and bizarrely it was released at the same time as a single by The Alarm called “The Chant Has Just Begun”. What were the chances of that? Despite my liking both singles, both were flops. “Hot Water” though would be a No 18 hit for the band and within 18 months they would be massive.

Its Alphaville next still riding high in the charts with “Big In Japan”. Peel, presumably tongue in cheek, says that the song is a “tribute to the legendary Liverpool band Big In Japan”. Janice chips in with a knowing “Where are they now?”. Now the 16 year old me may well have understood the intended humour here as one of the nuggets of trivia to surface as part of the well documented Frankie Goes To Hollywood story was that Holly Johnson used to be in a punk band called Big In Japan. What I didn’t understand but which I discovered when researching Alphaville was that there was some truth in Peel’s assertion. According to front man Marian Gold, he had been in Berlin in 1977 hoping to meet David Bowie and whilst there had bought an album from a British guy who sold stuff by independent bands from the US and UK. That album was by Big In Japan and Gold pinched the name for the song which is about to lovers trying to get off heroin – hands up who knew that?! I certainly didn’t at the time but I presumably noticed the keyboard player on the right’s magnificent mullet hairdo and longed for my own version.

Its a new No 1! Desist with your excitement though as it’s Stevie Wonder with ” I Just Called To Say I Love You”. Yes, after the horror that was “Hello” by Lionel Richie being at No 1 for weeks just a few short months prior to this, the UK record buying public added insult to injury by making this outrage not only a No 1 record but the best selling Motown single in the UK ever! (thanks to @TOTPFacts for that info).

It’s a nausea inducing piece of crap that I still cannot reconcile to having been written by Stevie Wonder. I wasn’t that familiar with his back catalogue at the time and this was certainly no credible introduction to his work. My wife is a fan (of Stevie’s not this song) and she has introduced me to some of the great music he has made but this…?!

I was always going to include this clip from the Hi-Fidelty film but @TOTPFacts beat me to it but I’m going to post it anyway. I think Barry speaks for millions of us here….

The play out music this week is “Passengers” by Elton John. I have nothing to say about that but I do love the intro when Radio 1 DJ Bruno Brookes appears as a “new face” for presenting TOTP. In an obviously staged introduction Janice Long says “Who’s This” to which Peel bluntly replies “Don’t ask me pal” and you can almost believe he doesn’t actually know nor care. Marvellous.

Order of appearance Artist Song Did I Buy it?

1

Bucks Fizz Talking In Your Sleep Some playground credibility suicide with that single sir? No thanks.

2

Spandau Ballet I’ll Fly For You No but I had the “Parade” LP it came from

3

Sister Sledge Lost In Music Disco classic it may be but it wasn’t for me in 1984

4

Level 42 Hot Water No but I really did like it

5

Alphaville Big In Japan No but it was damned catchy

6

Stevie Wonder I Just Called To Say I Love You AARRRGGHHH!

7

Elton John Passengers No

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 relive Peel’s put down of Bruno Brookes as I can’t find the full programme on YouTube.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b096v1lg/top-of-the-pops-06091984

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

Some bed time reading?

 

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http://www.shanemarais.net/no-1-magazine/no-1-magazine-1-september-1984/

 

 

 

 

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http://www.shanemarais.net/smash-hits-magazine/smash-hits-30-august-12-september-1984/

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TOTP 23 AUG 1984

I’ve done some checking and I can say for certain that I did not watch this episode of TOTP at home. How do I know this? I’ll explain later. Where was I? I was on holiday with a friend from school called Paul. It was hardly a lads- do -Ibiza -rites -of -passage trip though. I was in Brean Sands, Somerset …and my Mum was also there…and my younger sister. Yes, yes OK – I know.  Anyway, we must have watched this in the caravan we were staying in on the portable TV. It may have even been in black and white. Let’s see what I watched all those years ago in Somerset..

After a brief flirtation with the German band Nena earlier in the year, the UK public were about to take to another band from the same country  – this time it was Alphaville with their hit “Big In Japan” which had been massive all around Europe (not sure about Japan though). They would prove to be one hit wonders in this country but maybe more importantly they were the John the Baptist of European synth pop trios paving the way for the ultimately more successful A-ha who would arrive from Norway some 12 months later. You would have to say though that lead singer Marian Gold was no Morten Harket in the looks stakes. He looks more like the less attractive brother of another well known purveyor of pop music so popular in Germany – David Hasselhoff. Anyway, I always quite liked this. It was catchy, a little bit quirky and their follow up single “Forever Young” was even better but went straight to bargain bins in record shops around the UK after stalling at no 98 in the charts. Apparently they are still going having released their latest album earlier this year.

After presenter Mike Read makes some totally unfunny quip about the band’s name, he introduces Elton John next and it’s a bit of a stinker to be honest  – who remembers “Passengers”? Doesn’t come to mind immediately when you think of Elton’s 80s output does it? And yet it reached No 5 in theUK charts. The sentiment of the lyrics is laudable with their anti-apartheid meaning but the tune itself? As weak as British Rail tea back in the day. As for the video, stylistically it’s just another run through of the “I’m Still Standing” promo with its split screen effects and ensemble of dancers but I think the tweet below probably sums it up better than I could.

Seriously? This one trick pony again? Here, and mercifully with their last appearance in our charts, are Break Machine with their third hit “Are You Ready”. The song is, of course, just another version of their original hit “Street Dance”. So no two fast ones then a ballad formula for these boys. How did the UK public fall for this not once, not twice but three times?! Away with you!

Ah now, I recall myself and friend Paul were quite affected by this next performance – or more specifically Gloria Estefan’s legs – it’s Miami Sound Machine with “Dr Beat”. This was their/her debut appearance on the show so I don’t think either of us had seen Gloria before. The following day we went to Weston- Super-Mare to see the Radio 1 Roadshow and I remember we talked about her a lot during the trip over. Gloria of course would go onto be a huge global superstar but at this point she wasn’t a big deal (certainly over here) and wouldn’t be until they changed the name of the act to Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine for the multi-selling “Anything For You” album. I wasn’t that struck on the song but Gloria sure made an impression on us two 16 year old lads.

So yes, me and Paul decided we should go to the Radio 1 roadshow as part of our holiday. I’d listened to them on a daily basis throughout the Summer and they sounded like a lot of fun. Bona fide pop star guests, the Bits ‘n’ Pieces quiz, the presence of an actual Radio 1 DJ. What’s not to like? The reality was a bit different though. The DJ for the Weston-Super-Mare gig was Dave Lee Travis (oh dear) and there was a lot of standing around listening to records. I genuinely cannot recall if there was a pop star guest but I’m guessing not  – I ‘m sure I would have remembered. I’m pretty sure DLT would have played this next single though…Tracey Ullman with “Sunglasses”.  This week we get the video so Trace finally gets to don some sunglasses. The whole things is a bit lacklustre and nowhere near as funny as I’m sure the video director intended. Not even a cameo by Ade Edmondson can rescue it. I think I’m right in saying that this would be the last ever TOTP appearance for Tracey as her subsequent releases all avoided the charts (including another Kirsty MacColl cover – the rather wonderful “Terry”) before she packed the whole game in anyway. It was a good run while it lasted.

Now I definitely remember having this next song floating around in my head all day at the Radio 1 Roadshow – it’s “I’ll Fly For You” by Spandau Ballet. This was the second single to be released from the forthcoming “Parade” album and I thought it sounded great. When I think about my holiday in Somerset in the Summer of 1984 with my mate Paul, I think of this song and the ubiquitous “Careless Whisper”….oh and Gloria Estefan’s legs. Back to Spandau though…I thought this had a really classy sound to it and a great chorus. Since previous single “Only When You Leave” there had obviously been a great deal of mullet cultivation amongst the band with Martin Kemp a clear winner in that particular contest. Only brother Gary seems to have not signed up for the look. Tony Hadley is doing plenty of his trademark fist pumps while he testifies on stage (to quote Smash Hits and Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant) and they all look pretty relaxed about there current standing within the pop world. The single would make No 9 thus failing to replicate the success of singles like “True ” and “Gold” from the previous year by quite some distance. But for now, it all looked rosy enough for the ballet boys….

Bah! We had this the other week. It’s Rod Stewart with his limp version of “Some Guys Have All The Luck”. A quick check of the internet has revealed that Some Guys Have All The Luck is the name of a theatre production currently touring which celebrates the Rod Stewart story. If anyone catches it maybe they could let me know if there has ever been a time during Rod’s career when he hasn’t looked like a knacker?

Seemingly content to let the video promote his current No 1 single “Careless Whisper”, George Michael has finally made it into the TOTP studio for a performance in person. And OH WOW! The HAIR! It’s HUGE! Yes its the Princess Di cut in full effect here. It really wouldn’t have looked out of place on top of the head of some actress from Dynasty or Dallas. It’s impossible to watch this clip without just staring at the hair.

Watching this back dislodged a memory that had been hidden for 33 years. Whilst on that holiday in Brean Sands, spurred on by the sound of “Careless Whisper” and the image of George Michael seemingly everywhere, I asked my mate Paul to take this photo of me:

16388188_1880047502271257_1311085412059636243_n

However, what I know realise to my horror , is that I was trying to recreate this photo:

15-No-1-11-august-1984-218x300

Bloody Hell! What did  I think I was doing?!!!

Anyway, the single was released in the US as “Careless Whisper” by Wham! featuring George Michael presumably to help break the band over there or maybe Andrew Ridgeley had a hissy fit.

And how did I know that this was the TOTP show that I saw on holiday in Somerset all those years ago? Because two days later on Sat 25th Aug when I returned home, my beloved Chelsea played their first game back in the First Division for 5 years. And one of my favourite ever goals was scored. Happy days.

 

The play out music this week is “Self Control” by Laura Branigan

Order of appearance Artist Song Did I Buy it?

1

Alphaville Big In Japan No but it was OK

2

Elton John Passengers No. Obvs.

3

Break Machine Are You Ready? No I wasn’t

4

Miami Sound Machine Dr Beat No –not even for the picture sleeve

5

Tracey Ullman Sunglasses No

6

Spandau Ballet I’ll Fly For You No but I had the “Parade” LP it came from

7

Rod Stewart Some Guys Have All The Luck Luckily for me no I didn’t

8

George Michael Careless Whisper No – but I did try and look like him – CRINGE!

9

Laura Branigan Self Control Nah

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 experience the whole show as I did in Brean Sands all those years ago as I can’t find the full programme on YouTube.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b096v0jw/top-of-the-pops-23081984

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

Some bed time reading?

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http://www.shanemarais.net/no-1-magazine/no-1-magazine-25-august-1984/

 

 

 

 

01-smash-hits-16-29-august-1984-226x300

 

http://www.shanemarais.net/smash-hits-magazine/smash-hits-16-29-august-1984/

 

 

 

 

16388188_1880047502271257_1311085412059636243_n15-No-1-11-august-1984-218x300

 

 

TOTP 16 AUG 1984

So Radio 1 was 50 years old over the weekend just gone and to commemorate the anniversary the BBC created a 3 day pop up digital station called Radio 1 Vintage. It filled its schedules with retrospectives from the archives based around past DJs that had broadcast for the station down the years. And it was brilliant! It was so great to be reminded of how Radio 1 used to sound before the heap of grime, tweets and banal personalities masquerading as DJs that it is today.

Listening to Peter Powell being interviewed about his time at the station he remarked that “TOTP supported Radio 1 and Radio 1 supported TOTP and the two brands put together made Radio 1 into this phenomenal… sort of…entertainment battleship”. Could you say that about Nick Grimshaw and his oppos now?

So let’s drop in on the TV strand of the brand for a show from mid August 1984. Sadly the two Radio 1 DJs this week are Andy Peebles and Steve Wright who were not the best examples of the species in my opinion.

Hey ho….first up are the returning Tears For Fears with brand new single “Mother’s Talk”. This was the first sighting in public of the band that calendar year and was a taster of their new album following the huge success of debut album “The Hurting”. That album would be multi-platinum selling “Songs From The Big Chair” but I have to say that I was initially a little underwhelmed by the new song. It sounded a bit experimental and avant-garde to my ears which was quite contrary to the heavily commercial direction the band and the parent album would actually take. For that reason this track has always stood out as a separate entity from the band’s other releases at this time for me. Listening to it today though I can  appreciate the the track much more with its pummeling bass line, angular guitar riffs and intriguing lyrics.

The band’s sound was not the only thing to have changed  – Curt and Roland seemed to have swapped roles with the latter taking on the main vocal duties and the former now on guitar. This would become the template for their success with Orzabal doing the singing on most of the massive hits from here on in. No doubt I would have been very interested in Roland’s new hairstyle as well. Gone was his standard indie shoe gazer cut and in its place was some weird monstrosity that seemed seemed like a hairy helmet. It had a bouffant bit, cropped sides and the beginnings of a mullet. It really was very odd and not something I tried to recreate.

Someone who was ubiquitous at this time next…here’s Howie! Yes its that man Howard Jones again with “Like To Get To Know You Well”. This was one of those stop-gap singles to keep the artist’s profile high whilst they were in between albums. In Howard’s case he had released his debut album and four attendant singles in less than 12 months so he needed to get some new tracks down in the studio. To make sure those fickle pop fans didn’t forget about him, he released this ditty to keep him in the charts. I have to say I always thought this was one of his weaker efforts although its sentiment of world peace and tolerance of different races was admirable. It just seemed very simple and repetitive and it didn’t grab me.

The single sleeve carried the motto “Dedicated to the original spirt of the Olympic Games” and was released to coincide with the start of that year’s Summer Olympics. @TOTPFacts tells me that just 5 days prior to this show being broadcast this had happened…Olympic Spirit? Pah….

Right…I gave into completism the last time this next song was on. I am not making the same mistake twice. Channelling my inner Mike Read I hereby ban the dreadful “Agadoo” by Black Lace. NEXT!!!

“It’s good to have some heavy metal on the programme’ says Andy Peebles as he introduces Iron Maiden with “Two Minutes To Midnight”. Is it? Is it really Andy? This sounded like a racket to my pop sensitive ears back in ’84 and that’s because it was. Apparently its about nuclear war. Back then if I needed a song about that subject I had “Two Tribes” thank you very much. NEXT!!!

OK – this song is decent but its been on a recent previous show – its “The More You Live the More You Love” by A Flock Of Seagulls. Or “The More You Love the More You Live” as Andy Peebles introduces it before realising his error and repeating the title the right way around. Honestly you had one job Peebles….

Oh come on…not Trevor Walters again. For one thing I thought his version of Lionel Richie’s “Stuck On You” was incredibly boring and for another there is absolutely nothing to say about Trevor Walters of any consequence. Exactly two years later to the month we would be terrorised by another lowest common denominator lovers rock song by Boris Gardiner that would somehow go all the way to No 1. But for now we have this…..

And so the King is dead, long live the King….finally after 9 weeks there is a changing of the guard at the top of the charts as George Michael ascends to the No 1 spot with “Careless Whisper”. It took him 3 weeks but after entering the charts at No 12, and then rising to No 2  he finally deposed Frankie the following week. His reign would be 3 weeks which is a pretty decent run but the legacy of the song would eclipse any chart standings.

Apparently George recorded three versions of the song that he rejected before settling on the self produced version we all know now. One of those versions was recorded with veteran soul producer Jerry Wexler and a quick search of YouTube has turned up that version. The tune and melody are obviously the same but the whole sound of it does reek of cheapness and I can see why he rejected it.

The play out music this week is “I Need You” by The Pointer Sisters. This was a ballad released from their “Breakout” album following the success of “Automatic” and “Jump (For My Love)” and I always quite liked it. It was reminiscent of their big hit from earlier in the decade “Slow Hand” but it only made No 25 in the charts so was seen as a failure next to the top 10 placings of their previous two singles. They rectified this by going back to the pop song formula for “I’m So Excited” for the next single that served them so well earlier in the year. But for me, I always thought this was the pick of their singles.

Order of appearance Artist Song Did I Buy it?

1

Tears For Fears Mother’s talk No but I did by the album Songs From The Big Chair

2

Howard Jones Like To Get To Know You Well No but I think I may have it on an 80s compilation

3

Black Lace Agadoo NEXT!

4

Iron Maiden Two Minutes To Midnight NEXT!

5

A Flock Of Seagulls The More You Live, The More You Love No

6

Trevor Walters Stuck On You Never!

7

George Michael Careless Whisper No – don’t think I did

8

The Pointer Sisters I Need You No but it was OK

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 Andy “One Job” Peebles messing up as I can’t find the full programme on YouTube.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0964py4/top-of-the-pops-16081984

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

Some bed time reading?

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http://www.shanemarais.net/no-1-magazine/no-1-magazine-18-august-1984/

 

 

 

 

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http://www.shanemarais.net/smash-hits-magazine/smash-hits-16-29-august-1984/

TOTP 09 AUG 1984

Its Summer here in TOTP repeat land and we start off this week with a breezy Summer tune – “Sunglasses” by Tracey Ullman. Our Trace had become an established bona fide pop star during the last 18 months but by August ’84 her appeal was just ever so starting to wane. This would be her 5th and final hit single and like her previous hit this year was a cover though I’m guessing most of us didn’t know nor care at the time. It was originally recorded by Skeeter Davis in 1965 but wasn’t a hit in this country. Tracey’s take on it is a very 60s flavoured piece of candy floss pop. In this performance she has her usual backing singers with her and a massive deck chair prop. However, as someone pointed out on Twitter, the essential prop for this song is missing. Why isn’t Tracey wearing any sunglasses? The song didn’t do a lot for me back then although I’m guessing that Tracey and friends’ outfits probably did.

Windjammer anyone? Anyone? This lot of one-hit wonders gave the world their hit song “Tossing And Turning” in the Summer of 1984 but does anyone really remember or care? It’s a pretty formulaic smooth soul sound with a very 80s production and if their staging in this performance reminds you of another band, it may be something to do with the fact that they were managed by Michael Jackson’s Dad Joe and were signed after giving a demo tape to Tito Jackson (thanks to @TOTPFacts for that info  – there’s really not a lot out there on the internet about them). Not being a big soul fan, they were not clearly  my thing at all back in the day.

Now this is more like it! The Hi-NRG craze of 1984 was still in full effect come the Summer of that year and here is the pin up girl of the movement…it’s Hazell Dean with “Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go)”. After the success (finally) of “Searchin’ ( I Gotta Find A Man)”, this was Hazell’s follow up single which would go two places better than her previous hit reaching No 4 in the charts. I thought this was a brilliant pop single at the time. It manages to sound melancholic in the verses before rushing headlong into that joyous chorus. I also love Hazell’s performance here – she looks so 80s with her oversized black jacket rolled up to the sleeves and her Princess Di inspired hairstyle. The best thing about it though is her punch-the-air arms dancing. She looks like she’s having the best time. Turns out this was the first ever Stock Aitken and Waterman produced single to break into the top 10 (none of us knew the significance of this back then). What happened to Hazell? I’m guessing the Hi-NRG bubble burst as her next two releases stalled at No 41 (how unlucky is that?!) but she returned to the charts phoenix like 4 years later with another SAW produced single “Who’s Leaving Who” which also reached No 4 in the charts. Oh and a little foot note to this song – it was covered by Laura Branigan in 1987. Remember her? Well, you’ll get a full reminder later on….

Before we get to the next song, that must be a slip of the tongue surely by John Peel as he says of Hazell’s single that “It’s dancing to records like that that enabled me to keep my yummy finger”. My yummy finger?! Surely he means “figure” or am I missing something. It all sounds a bit Finbar Saunders to me.

One of those enduring love songs next…”On The Wings Of Love” by Jeffrey Osborne. This was Osborne’s second hit of 1984 and undoubtedly the best remembered of the two. It had actually been released initially two years previously and had been a hit in his native US but it took the UK audience a bit longer to catch onto it. It’s pleasant enough and Jeffrey certainly has some vocal chops. It cropped up on love song compilations for years afterwards. What did I think of it? It was well…nice but nothing I was ever going to buy. Oh and was that an attempt at a joke by Richard Skinner when he says “There’s Jeffrey Osborne and a song that’s really taking off”? Taking off…wings…geddit? Piss poor.

We arrive at another song that we have only just seen recently next – Blancmange with “The Day Before You Came”. I posted the last time this was on TOTP about what a bizarre decision it seemed to me to release this rather melancholic ABBA tune as they were at their commercial peak. What I have also discovered that marked this release out as odd is that it stayed at the No 22 position on the charts for 3 weeks running. The fact that they managed to get on TOTP twice during that run shows what a good job their label’s marketing team were doing for them. I’m pretty sure that would have been the duo’s last ever appearance on the show though.

Told you there was a chance to reacquaint yourself with Laura Branigan coming up….here she is back with “Self Control”. This seemed like an odd comeback to me at the time. We hadn’t seen Laura since early 1983 when she took “Gloria” to No 6. I’m guessing that many of us chart followers (including me) thought that would be the last we would see of her. We were wrong. “Self Control” was a massive world wide hit but it was very different in sound to “Gloria”. The intro sounds suspiciously like “Infatuation” by Rod Stewart and then it goes into an almost simplistic, hypnotic backbeat before the “I live among the creatures of the night” chorus. At the time I thought she had just jumped on the Frankie Goes To Hollywood bandwagon with the sound and production of this single but on reflection 33 years later I’m not quite sure there’s anything in that. Apparently the video was considered too overtly sexual for MTV who required edits before they would show it -the version shown on TOTP is the edited one- but I don”t remember any fuss about it at all. I wasn’t aware that Laura has died in her sleep in 2004. I don’t remember any fuss about that either.

 

And finally….yes it is finally the final week for Frankie Goes To Hollywood at the top of the charts…nine (NINE!) weeks in total! The longest consecutive weeks spent at No 1 by any record in the whole decade. By this time the band obviously though they were untouchable and so after the replica gun stunt the previous week, this time “the lads” have all swapped instruments and Holly has decided to make  a statement about The Sun newspaper (apparently they were doorstepping his parents about his sexuality). Not content with that he does a pied piper-esque stroll through the studio audience. I’m guessing the camera man had been tipped the wink but even so it still looked drop dead cool.

Well that’s that for “Two Tribes”…an incredible single with an incredible chart history. Oh wait hang on…the T-Shirts…we never discussed the T-shirts did we? Did I have one? Yes of course! I had a Frankie Says Relax one whilst my brother had a Frankie Says Arm The Unemployed (he may well have been unemployed at the time). The design was inspired by Katherine Hamnett’s Choose Life T-Shirts that Wham! wore in the “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” video and they just added another layer around the Frankie phenomenon that had reached unstoppable juggernaut proportions by this point.

Frankie would be back with another No1 single before the year was out but just about now, Summer 1984, felt like their absolute peak.

The play out music is “Some Guys Have All The Luck” by Rod Stewart. The song had already been covered by Robert Palmer two years prior to this and for many (me included), Palmer’s is the definitive version.  Rod turns in a pretty thin and weedy cover in my book and you would have to distrust anyone who claimed to prefer Rod’s version over Palmer’s.

 

Order of appearance Artist Song Did I Buy it?

1

Tracey Ullman Sunglasses Nah

2

Windjammer Tossing and Turning Who?! No!

3

Hazell Dean Whatever I Do, Wherever I Go No but it’s a great big cheesy dance TUUUUNE!

4

Jeffrey Osborne On the Wings of Love No – bit too wimpy

5

Blancmange The Day Before You Came No but I had their Greatest Hits on LP

6

Laura Branigan Self Control No – didn’t really do it for me

7

Frankie Goes To Hollywood Two Tribes Yes – we all did didn’t we? I had one of the many 12”s

8

Rod Stewart Some Guys Have All The Luck Oof No!

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 John Peel going on about his yummy finger    as I can’t find the full programme on YouTube.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0964pqg/top-of-the-pops-09081984

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

Some bed time reading?

01-No-1-11-august-1984-218x300

 

http://www.shanemarais.net/no-1-magazine/no-1-magazine-11-august-1984/

 

 

 

 

01-smash-hits-2-15-august-1984-226x300

 

http://www.shanemarais.net/smash-hits-magazine/smash-hits-2-15-august-1984/

TOTP 02 AUG 1984

So that was July 1984 all wrapped up within two TOTP repeats and we have moved into the month of August already. And if its August 1984 then that also means….oh no it’s just too horrible….Look….Its my blog right? I can make editorial decisions about what gets discussed and what doesn’t surely? Damn the curse of the completist within me!

OK – first song tonight is ….”Agadoo” by Black Lace! Look – I didn’t buy it so its not my fault it’s on the show. OK? Blame all those idiots 33 years ago that decided they couldn’t live without one of the most hideous songs ever committed to vinyl. And that is not just my opinion as Wikipedia informs me that  it was voted the worst song of all time in 2003 by a panel of music writers in a poll for Q Magazine. Wikipedia goes onto say that it was the 8th best selling single of the year despite being banned by Radio 1 for not being credible! WTF! So why is it here on TOTP?! Apparently it’s all Derby’s fault. How so? Well early versions of the song became popular in a Derby nightclub called Gossips with the bar staff making up a novelty dance to go along with it. So when Black Lace performed at the same club in 1981, they learnt the dance and recorded their own version of the song. And just look at the state of them! Is the guitarist’s hairstyle meant to make him look like Limahl?! Needless to say the increasingly precious 16 year old me was appalled by this nonsense being in the charts. Seriously though who bought this? And more importantly why?

Looking like a man who could have been in Black Lace is presenter Gary Davies who introduces the next act who is Prince with “When Doves Cry”. “Not the usual video but from his film Purple Rain” advises the perma-tanned one and he’s right – the version that TOTP shows isn’t the standard promo video but some sort of mash up of clips from the film. Some of them are repeated in the official video but its definitely not the same. How curious. I wonder why that happened. Something to do with copyright no doubt. Anyway, I can’t find this unofficial version on YouTube so I’m having to include the official video again.

I’ve only just talked about this song in the last post so I’ve not much else to say apart from to remark on the comment from Simon Bates (this week’s other presenter) who says that when the film Purple Rain premiered in the States Prince asked an older woman to accompany him to he premiere! The Shock! The Horror! Why is that news?! And who was the older woman? Co-star Apollonia? Sheila E? Oh trawl the internet yourself if you’re that bothered. I’ve got another song to review…

…and its another one we’ve only just seen in the last show! It’s an absolute banger though! Here again are The Kane Gang with “The Closest Thing To Heaven”. What else to say about this lot. Well, if you listened to Radio 1 around this time and specifically the Gary Davies show you would know another of their songs even if you didn’t realise it. They performed the music for the “Ooh Gary Davies… On Your Radio” jingle that was based on their previous single “SmallTown Creed” which stalled at No 60 in the charts. It would go onto be used as the basis for the theme tune to children’s TV programme Byker Grove which of course gave the world Ant and Dec. But what of the band themselves? After another hit (“Respect Yourself”) and another miss (“Gun Law”) they went away to record their 2nd album “Miracle” which surfaced in 1987 and featured two great singles in “Motortown” and “Don’t Look Any Further” both of which were criminally ignored by the record buying public before splitting.

Oh come on…not Tina Turner again surely?! How many times is this she’s been on? Four? I was watching this repeat with my 7 year old son in the room so I think I’ll leave the comments on “What’s Love Got To Do With It” to him this week:

“This is rubbish. Why are you watching this Dad? And she’s wrong any way. What’s love got to do with it? Love’s got to do with everytting” 

Well said son.

Now then, one of the most iconic bands of the whole decade up next…A Flock Of Seagulls with “The More You Live, The More You Love”. Of course, you cannot mention this lot without making reference to lead singer Mike Score’s hair. Unfortunately for this blog, we are only encountering the band post that haircut. Indeed, we see them here with performing their last ever hit. They had been at their peak some two years earlier with Top 10 hits in both the US and at home in the UK with the brackets-heavy hits “I Ran (So Far Away)” and ‘Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)’ respectively. Here though, Mike Score has ditched the trademark back-combed hairdo for some god awful abomination that made him look like the beast in “Beauty and the Beast”.

The song was OK though if a little pedestrian (even my son said that “this one is better“). Inevitably though their legacy will forever be a daft hairstyle rather than their rather unique space-pop sound. The evidence m’lud…

Whoa! Hang on there! Isn’t that ex Dr Who companion Nicola Bryant stood right next to Gary Davies as he introduces the next act? It is you know. A quick check of Wikipedia tells me that she had already begun her stint as Peri in Dr Who by this point so presumably she would have been well known to many eagle-eyed viewers that night. All of this is much more interesting than the actual next act who is Trevor Walters doing a lover’s rock cover version of Lionel Richie’s hit “Stuck On You”. Who? You may well ask. Apparently he’s had a minor hit in 1981 but this was his moment in the sun as his version outperformed Richie’s in the charts reaching No 9 as opposed to Lionel’s No 12. Not quite as interesting as Nicola Bryant but still more interesting than the performance is the fact that the original version is still in the charts at this point (No 33 as revealed in the chart run down by Simon Bates) while Trev isn’t actually in the Top 40 according to Gary Davies’ intro. Good work by Walter’s record plugger there. You may have guessed that this did nothing for me then or now.

Now imagine a world where we don’t yet know every beat and lyric of “Careless Whisper”. Well, this is what we have next with the world exclusive (according to Gary Davies) premiere of George Michael’s first solo single. Yes it seems incredulous now but for many this could have been there first listen of a song that would transcend its own temporal space and still be played and listened to today. Commercially speaking it was ginormous – it reached number one in 25 countries, selling about six million copies worldwide. And you have to say that it’s a well crafted song with the guilty feet line a stand out. Come on, getting the word feet into a song takes some doing, especially a love song. I can only think of “Tiger Feet” by Mud off the top of my head. I recall George and Andrew Ridgeley being interviewed by Simon Bates on Radio 1 about the lyrics as they co-wrote it together. Given Ridgeley’s perceived lack of creativity within the band, Bates grilled them about exactly which lyrics Andrew was responsible for. Ridgeley’s response was priceless and no doubt tongue in cheek as he advised the millions of listeners that he supplied the words “the” along with “and”!

The other surprising thing I noticed watching this back is that the song  only went straight into the chart at No 12. Even allowing for that fact that songs going straight in at No 1 was not a regular occurrence in the 80s, I would have thought that it would have charted considerably higher. Anyway, it will be No 1 soon enough and no doubt there will be chance to discuss it further in future posts.

As for this week’s No1, yes it is still Frankie Goes To Hollywood with “Two Tribes”. This is week number 8 and the BBC are just reshowing a previous studio performance. For some reason they never once showed the song’s video during its epic 9 week run at the top presumably because it was too politically controversial? Well I have no such qualms so here it is…

The play out music this week is Divine with “You Think You’re A Man”.

Order of appearance Artist Song Did I Buy it?

1

Black Lace Agadoo I’m not even dignifying the question with an answer

2

Prince When Doves Cry Not this single of his but I do own some Prince 7”s

3

The Kane Gang The Closest Thing To Heaven Someone call the police! Why isn’t this in my singles box? I must have bought his surely?!

4

Tina Turner What’s Love Got To Do With It No chance

5

A Flock Of Seagulls The More You Live, The More You Love I didn’t actually but it’s a decent tune

6

Trevor Walters Stuck On You God No! It’s awful.

7

George Michael Careless Whisper No –  it would probably have been seen as drippy in the school playground but I did like it.

8

Frankie Goes To Hollywood Two Tribes Yes – we all did didn’t we? I had one of the many 12”s

9

Divine You Think You’re A Man This is in my singles box?! Oh it’s my wife’s…

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 do some Nicola Bryant spotting as I can’t find the full programme on YouTube.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b095fnbp/top-of-the-pops-02081984

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

Some bed time reading?

 

01-smash-hits-2-15-august-1984-226x300

 

http://www.shanemarais.net/smash-hits-magazine/smash-hits-2-15-august-1984/

 

 

 

 

 

01-No-1-4-august-1984-218x300

 

http://www.shanemarais.net/no-1-magazine/no-1-magazine-4-august-1984/

TOTP 19 JUL 1984

The TOTP repeats team at BBC4 have obviously returned from their extended Summer holidays as we have two shows again this week for the first time in ages. The rest seems to have done them the world of good as the first show is full of performances and videos we haven’t seen before (obviously we have seen them before ….in 1984 but not in these repeats…oh you know what I mean!).

We have two pairs of safe hands to guide us through the songs in Peter Powell and Richard Skinner in that they are not likely to try and hi-jack the show with their own ego-driven displays of lame humour. Powell and Skinner were quite earnest in marketing themselves as being all about the music. They were kind of a poor man’s Jon Peel and “Kid” Jensen in that respect. Talking of Peel, the first act is one of his (and mine) faves with a song that he described the other week in the chart run down as “the single of the year” …and he wasn’t wrong for this is The Mighty Wah! with “Come Back”!

This of course is essentially the rather wonderful if immodest Pete Wylie who describes himself as “Part Time Rock Star. Full Time Legend” and I for one am not likely to argue with that statement. I love Wylie and all his various nomenclatures. Throughout his musical carer he has been variously known as…

  • Wah!,
  • Wah! Heat,
  • Shambeko! Say Wah!,
  • JF Wah!,
  • The Mighty Wah!
  •  Wah! The Mongrel.

…and even sometimes just as Pete Wylie! Whatever the name, the music has always been consistently strong and yet somehow more often than not failed to make the charts. This song though was so undeniably brilliant that even the unreliable British record buying public had no choice but to yield to its excellence and make it a hit. To give some context to this, the last time we had seen Wylie was under the Wah! moniker when he had unexpectedly had a massive hit with  “The Story Of The Blues”. A follow up single (the equally wonderful “Hope” which I bought) only just scraped into the Top 40 and since then… nothing…

…until the Summer of 1984 when he returned as The Mighty Wah!. The name change was apparently inspired by that man Peel again when he had introduced “The Story Of The Blues” on a TOTP show as being by “the mighty” Wah! Things had changed a bit since then (which would have been around New Year 1983) not the least being Wylie’s hair! Wow! Where had that mop come from? He’d fully embraced the mid 80s big hair look. I remember watching this and thinking he looked fantastic. He had such a look of confidence and authority about him that being a pop star wasn’t a choice with him, it literally was the only thing he could have done. The song itself is a powerful, emotions -stirring call to arms that comments on the economic slump his beloved Merseyside found itself in at this time. It reeks of heroism and is truly magnificent. I recall reading (probably in Smash Hits) that Phil Redmond who created the politically hard-hitting Liverpool based soap Brookside wanted to use it as the theme tune to his show. The single would get as far as No 20 but it should have been a much bigger hit. Maybe the world wasn’t ready for two controversial Scouse acts to have simultaneous massive hits (the other of course being Frankie Goes to Hollywood). Whatever, this song would remain with me ever since and is one I always ..ahem..come back to.

Right, stand well back as a musical superstar’s career is about to go super nova! Yes, it’s Prince with “When Doves Cry”. Now of course, Prince had been around for nearly a decade by this point and even though he was better known in his native US, he had still broken through in the UK with the iconic single “1999” some 18 months earlier which had reached No 25. And yet he still wasn’t a massive deal at this point. Follow up single “Little Red Corvette” had stalled at No 54 (I know it seems incredible but it’s true – it was a no 2 hit as a double A side when re-released in early 1985) but all that changed with the “Purple Rain” film and soundtrack album. “When Doves Cry” was the lead single from the project and was a US No 1 and a No 4 hit over here. I didn’t care for it that much at the time ( I know I know! Heresy! etc) but I didn’t. I’d much preferred “1999” and “Little Red Corvette” but this didn’t grab me. Maybe it was just too out there for my pop ears or maybe, and I’ve only recently been made aware of this, it was because the song has no bass line. Maybe subconsciously that messed with my head. I would be won over eventually and would subsequently buy the “Let’s Go Crazy / Take Me With U” single when that was lifted for release from the album.

Another breakthrough track for an artist who hadn’t been seen for a while next – here’s Billy Idol with “Eyes Without A Face”. I’m pretty sure I hadn’t had any dealings with Mr Idol up to this point. I had been too young to know about his punk past with previous band Generation X and his solo offerings up to this point hadn’t set the charts alight (although they would pretty much all become hits when re-released in the aftermath of “Eyes..”). This though I did like. It’s a strange song in many ways and untypical of most of his output. A brooding and dark ballad with some searing lead guitar work thrown in, it would make No 18 in the UK charts and, as Peter Powell says in his intro, was a No 4 hit in the US. As with the Mighty Wah! whose single featured the peroxide blonde female vocalist and sadly missed Josie Jones, Idol’s song features the similarly coiffured Perry Lister on backing vocals. Unlike the Mighty Wah! though, the main man didn’t look great to my eyes and despite trying desperately to look like a genuine rock ‘n’ roll star, looks…well…desperate really.

This really is turning out to be a corker of an episode as here’s another song that could make legitimate claims to be a single of the year contender – The Kane Gang with “The Closest Thing To Heaven”. This is just a great song and I remember thinking it had a really classy sound to it. Someone else who is making claims about the Kane Gang is Richard Skinner who is very keen to let the audience know that he gave the song it’s first airplay on Radio 1. What did I say about him and Peter Powell being “all about the music”? Skinner comes across as a bit school playground to be fair in a I – liked- them – first kind of way. Whatever, it doesn’t detract from the song which is a lovely white soul ballad. It made No 12 in the charts (another song that should have been a much bigger hit) and they would follow it up with their version of the The Staples Singers “Respect Yourself”.

Being from the North-East, they recorded for the Newcastle-based Kitchenware label. When I was a student at Sunderland Poly, I wrote my dissertation about the music industry (bear with me, this is going somewhere relevant). It was actually called The mechanics of commercial music success within popular music: an investigation of the music industry’s relationship with the record-buying market (ooh get me!). As part of my writing it, I decided a visit to a proper record label would give my work some legitimacy so I hopped on a train to Newcastle and tracked down the Kitchenware offices. I basically just turned up unannounced hoping someone would come out to talk to me. They didn’t. Oh well.

Something really quite odd next. If you thought that Erasure were the first synth pop duo to score a hit with an Abba cover version, then you are wrong for that accolade goes to Blancmange with ‘The Day Before You Came”. Some 8 years before Erasure scored a No 1 with their Abba-esque EP, Neil Arthur and Stephen Luscombe took this rather bleak Abba offering to No 22 in the charts thereby outperforming the original by 10 whole places. The Abba version was actually the last song they ever recorded together (though not the last ever released) and it really is a spare number that demonstrates the brittle nature of the group’s relationships by this point (late 1982). In comparison, Erasure chose some very upbeat numbers to cover including “Take A Chance On Me” and “Voulez-Vous”. So quite why did Blancmange choose to release ‘The Day Before You Came” as a single? Remember they were at their commercial peak at this time having just scored a Top 10 hit with “Don’t Tell Me”. According to @TOTPFacts it was all just a bit of a joke.

Certainly Arthur seems to be having some sort of in-joke in the performance with a few knowing nods and winks to the rest of the band going on.  They changed the lyric “the latest one by Marilyn French” to “the latest one by Barbara Cartland”. I’m not sure why. What I do know is that my Mum had a Marilyn French book called “The Women’s Room”. It was absolute filth. I was shocked then and still am today.

Holy Cow! I’m not sure that even my Marilyn French reading Mum would have known what to make of this next act let alone the young innocent 16 year old me. Even Peter Powell doesn’t know where to look – it’s Divine with “You Think You’re A Man”. Divine was Harris Glenn Milstead, a drag queen and actor best known for his association with the cult film maker John Waters who infamously ate a piece of dog shit on celluloid in the film Pink Flamingos. This was Divine’s biggest hit in the UK and was actually the first Stock, Aitken and Waterman produced single to make the Top 75 (thank you Wikipedia). Cashing in on the Hi -NRG craze, it’s a riotous uptempo disco stomp with Divine’s throaty vocals keeping it all together. Some 34 knowing years later, his TOTP performance still looks otherworldly. Four years on from this, I would see the original Hairspray film featuring Divine at the cinema and, in my opinion, it is vastly superior to the remake that was itself based on the musical adaption. It is never shown on TV which is a shame. 1988 was also the year of Divine’s death which was also a shame.

Now there is a school of thought that says that the next song is the best thing that the band who made it ever did – make your own mind up while watching “Sister Of Mercy” by Thompson Twins. This was the 4th and last single pulled from the mega-selling LP “Into The Gap” and I remember thinking it sounded a bit more mature than their previous efforts. The 7″ release was given a different intro with added piano and flute to the album version which may have explained my opinion. Unfortunately we don’t get to hear that in this TOTP show as it is literally squeezed into a 2 minute slot and is heavily edited.  Given that it was the 4th single taken from an album that had been out 5 months already by this point, its peak of No 11 isn’t so bad but it was a watershed moment for the band whose imperial period would start to deteriorate from here on in.

No 1 time and yet again it is Frankie Goes To Hollywood with “Two Tribes”. By this point , despite having been banned by the BBC for “Relax”, the band are starting to make up their own rules about what is acceptable TV when they pull out some replica firearms at the end of the performance. No doubt there were some complaints to Barry Took on Points Of View. The other thing I have noticed during these multiple “Two Tribes” showings is the band’s haircuts. Given that this was 1984 and every male in the land (including me) either had or was in the process of growing a mullet, Holly et al all have very short hairstyles that would not be out of place today. Well, with the notable exception of drummer Ped Gil who was literally defining the scouse look that Harry Enfield would lampoon so successfully in his The Scousers sketches.

The play out music this week is “Sweet Somebody” by Shannon. If you remember this tune, then you have me at a disadvantage. This is not familiar at all but then it is shite.

Order of appearance Artist Song Did I Buy it?

1

The Mighty Wah! Come Back Yes sir I did

2

Prince When Doves Cry No sir I did not

3

Billy Idol Eyes Without A Face No but I have his Greatest Hits CD I think

4

The Kane Gang The Closest Thing To Heaven Someone call the police! Why isn’t this in my singles box? I must have bought his surely?!

5

Blancmange The Day Before You Came No but I had their Greatest Hits on vinyl at one point. Think I leant it to someone and never got it back

6

Divine You Think You’re A Man This is in my singles box?! Oh it’s my wife’s…

7

Thompson Twins Sister Of Mercy No

8

Frankie Goes To Hollywood Two Tribes Yes – we all did didn’t we? I had one of the many 12”s

9

Shannon Sweet Somebody Bought it? I don’t even remember it.

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 Peter Powell and Richard Skinner being earnest about music as I can’t find the full programme on YouTube.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b095fm57/top-of-the-pops-19071984

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

Some bed time reading?

01-smash-hits-19-july-1-august-1984-226x300

 

http://www.shanemarais.net/smash-hits-magazine/smash-hits-19-july-1-august-1984/

 

 

 

 

There was no No 1 magazine due to a printing dispute

TOTP 12 JUL 1984

I’ve published 58 posts on this TOTP nonsense in just under 9 months. It’s getting harder and harder to think of things to write especially as I can only remember so much from 34 years ago and even more so when those swines at BBC4 miss a week and show the same songs all over again from the last post. So what do you do when the creative juices dry up? Easy…pinch someone else’s ideas! Therefore much of this post will feature some of the stirling work done by @TOTPFacts who posts some great stuff on Twitter for each corresponding TOTP repeat.

OK – references cited, here we go….with Shakatak and “Down On The Street”. We last saw this lot about a year previously when they had a hit with “Dark Is The Night” and this is more of the same of their excruciatingly light and bland brand of jazz-funk.  So bland were they that I can’t think of anything to say about them so let’s call upon @TOTPFacts for the first time. Bingo!

So that explains presenter John Peel’s “my mate Bill Sharpe”comment in the intro then. Reportedly one of pop’s Mr Nice Guys, Sharpe is still with Shakatak but by far the most interesting thing he ever did was to team up with Gary Numan of all people for the surprisingly good single “Change Your Mind” in 1985. Even more surprising was that “Down On The Street” managed to be a Top 10 hit for Shakatak. Mercifully it would be their last ever visit to the Top 40.

Right it’s Tina Turner’s video for “What’s Love Got To Do With It” again next. It was at No 40 the first time it aired a couple of shows back but its already up to No 10 this week on its way to a peak of No 3. I struggled to say much about this last time so I got nothing this week. What say you @TOTPFacts?

Heh. Well, Tina calls it for me there. I said it before and I’ll say it again – I think the song’s dull. This video did seem to really crystallise that quintessential Tina Turner 80s look though which was defined by the ridiculous sky-scraping fright-wig. If you go to eBay you can buy 80s Tina Turner fancy dress costumes so iconic was this look. However they bear no resemblance to Tina at all in my eyes.

NOVELTY RECORD KLAXON!…Yes, going toe to toe with Frankie Goes To Hollywood in the popularity stakes this year was “The Young Ones” TV show. First broadcast in 1982, the show was at its peak in 1984 and the final ever episode had only aired a mere 3 weeks before this TOTP show. Whether intentional or not, the release of this spin off single from one of the show’s star characters – Neil (the hippie) – so quickly after the series climax propelled actor Nigel Planer to the No 2 spot with his cover of the Traffic song “Hole In My Shoe”. Along with everyone else at my school, I loved “The Young Ones” and can still recite word for word Neil’s letter to his bank manager from the episode Cash. For those who can’t though…

Back to “Hole In My Shoe” though and this was so popular that it managed to split the Frankie singles “Two Tribes and “Relax” by being the meat (oh no sorry Neil you were a vegetarian weren’t you?) in a FGTH chart sandwich. I thought it mightily funny at the time and watching this performance back, it still works (just) I think. A mixture of pre-recorded “singing” and live ad libs to the audience by Planer broke with traditional TOTP performances and apparently were a test for the camera man but there are some genuine laughs from the audience here. Planer stays in character throughout and does a good job I think. There was an LP called “Neil’s Heavy Concept Album” but one song was enough to sate the record buying public’s appetite. The follow up single “My White Bicycle” stalled at No 97.

Before we get to the next video, who is the gurning audience member next to Tommy Vance making that over enthusiastic grunting noise? Cock. And talking of cocks….

Yes some more brilliant stuff from the Twitter feed of @TOTPFacts including something from the next artist herself…Alison Moyet who is back on the show with the video to her debut solo single “Love Resurrection”. The Middle Eastern scenery makes for an epic-looking backdrop but in truth the video doesn’t add much to the actual song. Nice attempt at a pyramid graphic in her name though on the “A” of Alison and “M” of Moyet. Full marks for that.

This can’t be right…Phil Fearon again?! Who knew he had so many hits?! He seems to keep turning up on these repeats like the Roy Hodgson of 80s pop (just when you think he’s gone for good he’s back with another manager’s job). This one is “Everybody’s Laughing” and its more of the same lightweight brainless dance pop we’ve seen lots of times before. And yet….check this out for something you never knew about Phil Fearon from @TOTPFacts….

Amazing! Apparently he was at school with Glen Matlock and was invited to a rehearsal with a view to joining the band on keyboards but he didn’t like the style of music they were playing and declined. If he’d said yes he would have been in and the course of pop music history would have been changed for good and Phil Fearon and Galaxy may never have existed!

Oh I had completely forgotten about this next performance until now. Its the Echo and the Bunnymen funny costumes version of “Seven Seas”. This looks utterly mental doesn’t it? And hang about  – there’s only 3 of the band on stage. Where’s the bass player? Come to think of it, how do we know that the guitarist in the fish costume actually is Will Sergeant? I’m pretty sure that is drummer Pete de Freitas in the penguin costume and obviously that’s Mac on vocals but….fear not. Here’s @TOTPFacts to the rescue….

Ah that explains it all. Weird though. So would the studio audience have been able to say that they’d seen Echo and the Bunnymen or not given that there was only half the actual band up there on stage? A bit like anyone who saw The Beatles play those shows when Jimmy Nicol replaced Ringo on drums when he had tonsillitis. Can those people say they saw the Beatles or not? Curiously, after writing that sentence, I’ve just found out that the b-side was a cover of the Beatles “All You Need Is Love”. Hmm…

This was the third and final single from the “Ocean Rain” album and I liked it enough but I didn’t think it was anywhere near as good as earlier singles “Killing Moon” or “Silver”. On reflection now though it did piss all over most of the charts at that time.

Ok – so the third song that we’ve only just seen in the previous TOTP repeat  – The Bluebells with “Young At Heart”. I vented my spleen about this one last time out so come on @TOTPFacts, give me something else…

Yes of course! I thought I recognised him. Poor old Craig got a real bashing in Morrissey’s memoirs when he described him thus:

“Nothing useful vibrates in Craig’s upper storey”.

Ouch! Gannon is still an in demand musician today having worked with Terry Hall and Black Grape among a host of others. Don’t you just love a happy ending?

With it being the Summer of 1984, the No 1 is of course “Two Tribes” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. So what is there to say about this one this week? Over to @TOTPFacts once more…

It’s true, apparently one of the characters in the film says “Surely sex and horror are the new Gods in this polluted world of so called entertainment?”. So now you know where that iconic line comes from.

The play out music this week is “State Of Shock” by The Jacksons featuring Mick Jagger on vocals. I remember thinking this was OK at the time but I’m not sure it’s stood the test of time. It’s basically just some Jagger and Jacko phrasing over a looped riff. Pretty poor stuff.

Order of appearance Artist Song Did I Buy it?

1

Shakatak Down On The Street Have you even met me before?

2

Tina Turner What’s Love Got to Do With It No! No! No! And again I say No!

3

Neil Hole In My Shoe Despite loving The Young Ones, I couldn’t bring myself to buy this.

4

Alison Moyet Love resurrection The singles box says no

5

Phil Fearon and Galaxy Everybody’s Laughing Let me check…NO!

6

Echo and the Bunnymen Seven Seas No but I have it on CD

7

The Bluebells Young At Heart Nope

8

Frankie Goes To Hollywood Two Tribes Yes – we all did didn’t we? I had one of the many 12”s

9

The Jackson s State Of Shock No

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 gurning bloke in the studio audience making an arse of himself as I can’t find the full programme on YouTube.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0955wql/top-of-the-pops-12071984

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

Some bed time reading?

01-smash-hits-5-18-july-1984-226x300

 

http://www.shanemarais.net/smash-hits-magazine/smash-hits-5-18-july-1984/

 

 

 

 

There was no No 1 magazine due to a printing dispute