TOTP 20 DEC 1984

It’s Chriiiiiiiiiiiiistmas!! Well, nearly and only in TOTP repeats land. After four consecutive shows throughout November we have skipped a couple and find ourselves on the brink of Christmas 1984. To clarify, this is not the Xmas TOTP show for that year though – presenter Simon Bates is very clear on this point although it “is a Christmassy atmosphere” he admits and to that end the first act tonight is Roy Wood doing ” I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”. I don’t remember this being in the charts in 1984 at all. Bates informs us that the song was also re-released three years earlier (I don’t recall that either). I do remember that Slade pulled off a similar trick in 1983 when they rushed out “Merry Christmas Everybody” on the back of the huge success of their “My Oh My” single and took it back into the Top 20. Presumably there was some similar marketing strategy going on behind the idea to put out ” I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” again. 

This is not Wizzard though – this is head wizzard (a warlock?) Roy Wood out on his own backed by the Kempsey school choir that Janice Long is quick to ensure gets a name check. Kempsey you say Janice? That’s near to Worcester where I grew up. How come a school choir from Worcestershire were on TOTP? Ah well, now there’s a story….apparently the original 1973 recording featuring the Stockland Green Bilateral School from Birmingham was lost so when Roy Wood wanted to release the song again in 1981, the had to re-record it from scratch. As it was recorded in Muff (that’s his name OK?!) Murfin’s studio in Kempsey, he persuaded the local school choir to sing on it. So when you hear the song on the radio this Christmas, as you surely will, it’s the 1981 version and not the 1973 original. Or is it? If you want to read all about the myths behind this Christmas classic here’s the link….

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-25402438

For the record this 1984 release reached No 23 in the charts beating the 1981 version (No 41) but coming nowhere near the original’s No 4 placing.

OK – enough of all that. What’s next? Oh crap! It’s “We All Stand Together” by Paul McCartney and the Frog Chorus!!! I have tried to wipe this one from my memory but what I do recall of it was that it was god-awful. It was virtually a novelty record wasn’t it? Wasn’t it also something to do with Rupert the Bear. Let’s have a look…

*checks Wikipedia*

Yes I was right. It featured on the animated film Rupert and the Frog Song which was produced by Paul McCartney. The film was released theatrically as an accompaniment to McCartney’s feature film Give My Regards to Broad Street. Macca must have been a big Rupert fan as he acquired the rights to the film the day after the break up of the Beatles and had been planning his Rupert movie since then.

It was regarded as a joke record at my school and anyone who displayed even the slightest sign that they didn’t mind it was instantly dismissed as feeble -minded. Harsh maybe but those were the rules back in the day.

Also Janice Long really can’t do an impression of a frog. It’s “ribbit” not “nidip” Janice! The YouTube clip seems to be the whole film so fill your boots if that’s your sort of thing….

A proper song now to rescue us from novelty and Christmas records…here’s Bronski Beat with “It Ain’t Necessarily So”. This really is a proper song as well being a George and Ira Gershwin composition from their opera Porgy and Bess.

I was very take it or leave it about this one at the time (philistine that I was)  – it just seemed… well…boring I guess compared to the Hi N-R-G of “Why?” or the haunting melody of ‘Smalltown Boy”. It isn’t of course, it’s great and a very brave choice of single by the band which I can now appreciate. Hell’s teeth it has a clarinet in it! How many hits around this time featured a clarinet?!

Janice Long advises us to check out the B-side called “Close To The Edge”. Well if it’s good enough for Janice…

So what did we think? Yeah, I’m good thanks Janice. Cheers anyway.

“It Ain’t Necessarily So” peaked at No 16 and would be the last single release to feature the original trio of Jimmy Somerville, Larry Steinbachek and Steve Bronski (they released a cover of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” early in 1985 with Marc Almond sharing vocal duties with Somerville).

Right then…here’s Spandau Ballet with “Round And Round” which as well as being the 4th and final single from their ‘Parade’ album is also a convenient segue into me talking about attending my first ever live concert.

Yes the first gig that I ever attended was Spandau Ballet  – what of it?! A quick search of the internet suggests that it was Sunday 16th Dec (so just 4 days prior to this TOTP broadcast) and was at the Birmingham NEC. How did it come about? My elder brother had a mate who, unlike most of his friends, was not a complete Paul Weller superfan and was a pop kid like me (despite being a couple of years older). He was going with some of his friends (but not my brother) so he got me a ticket and I tagged along with them.

I remember thinking I needed to buy some new clothes specifically to go to the gig so I duly trotted off to my local trendy clothes emporium one Friday after school and came back with some sort of grey canvas jacket and trouser combo. It wasn’t a great look although I probably thought it was at the time.

Finally the big day arrived and off I went with my brother’s mate and his group of friends…and that group included at least two girls in it! Bloody Hell! I hadn’t bargained on that or practised beforehand behaving like a cool person. Why it hadn’t occurred to me that a group of pop fans going to a Spandau Ballet concert wouldn’t include some girls in it I’m not sure. Anyway, I think I pulled it off or, as is more likely, they were nice girls who took pity on me and talked to me and tried to include me in the group. One of them really fancied Tony Hadley I recall.

As for the gig itself, I can remember very little about it other than there was no support and the venue lights going down and some spots starting to swirling around the arena heralding the arrival of the band. After that, I can’t recall anything though I’m sure they must have played all the hits including “Round And Round” which was my brother’s mate’s favourite. I feel sure I would have bought a tour programme but I can’t find any such thing in my possessions and despite many searches I can’t find any footage of that particular concert out there on the internet. Some things will still have to just be accessed by memory (however limited) and maybe that’s good thing. We can’t have all our memories subverted by YouTube can we?

As for “Round And Round” the song, I liked it. To my ears it sounded classy with that single synthesiser keyboard opening, those lush harmonies, the chunky but warm guitar line leading into that oh so melodic chorus. Not everyone agreed – a review in No 1 magazine described it as “well crafted tedium” and it was certainly the case that Gary Kemp was well into his artisan songwriter phase (“we’re the artisans and we’ve been crafted” sings Tony Hadley on this very song).

And the video? I can only assume that they were short on time due to the Parade tour and they had to dispense with a huge cinematic video the like of which  had been produced for the previous two singles “I’ll Fly For You” and “Highly Strung”. Apart from some stilted performance shots of the band, its all down to the creative vision of the director with most of the action revolving around a classroom meets Alice in Wonderland concept.  You can imagine Gary Kemp seeing the rushes and saying “Tell you what mate, do it all in black and white. Looks a bit arty then dunnit”.

The band seem to be in their paisley silk period clothes wise that seemed to be briefly popular around this time (see also Thompson Twins and Frankie Goes To Hollywood). Damn! That was the look I should have gone for when purchasing my concert outfit!

Right  – that’s already 1500 words and I’m only halfway through the acts on tonight’s show. Time to speed up. Here’s a song that the least said about the better – “Soul Deep” by The Council Collective. This was essentially a charity record (another one!) put together by Paul Weller. Whilst its intentions were laudable (raising funds for striking miners and their families), the song itself was dreadful. The lyrics certainly didn’t pull any punches (“There’s brother ‘gainst brother, there’s fathers against sons, but as for solidarity, I don’t see none“) but where was the tune Paul?! And nobody needs Paul Weller rapping in their lives!

Simon Bates introduces the song by asking us to do some star spotting…what?! It’s just the Style Council with Junior “Mama Used To Say” Giscombe and Jimmy Ruffin. OK- Ruffin is a soul legend but it’s hardly Band Aid is it? The song would peak at No 24 but sadly the miner’s strike would continue in its misery until March the following year.

Simon Bates in correct chart prediction shock! Yes, Bates predicted something music related that actually happened. Whilst introducing “I Want To Know What Love Is”  by Foreigner, he called it a future No1 and he was right! It wouldn’t make No 1 until the new year when I think it might have been the first new chart -topper after Band Aid, taking 5 weeks on the Top 40 and 7 in all from release date to get there. I must admit I didn’t remember it being around as a single in 1984  – its a 1985 tune in my head. I didn’t know much about Foreigner bar that they were the band who did that “Waiting For A Girl Like You” song a few years before and this new one was unlikely to convert me into a fan. It’s a bit of a dirge and seems to plod along for an eternity before it all gets resolved with the gospel choir finale. The only thing that is interesting about it is that Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins plays keyboards on it which I had forgotten until Janice Long’s reminder.

Talking of whom….here is Tom and the other Thompsons (or should that be Twins?) with “Lay Your Hands On Me”. This was the band’s 8th consecutive Top 40 hit and their 5th in 1984 (if you include “Hold Me Now” ). They were at the top of their game and yet…it could be argued that this was the point where the rot was starting to set in. Previous single “Sister Of Mercy” had stalled at No 11 halting their run of Top 5 hits but then it was the 4th single from the album so that could be explained away.

However, “Lay Your Hands On Me” was brand new material – the first single from a forthcoming album – and although it stuck rigidly to their successful pop formula (it’s basically a re-write of “Hold Me Now”), it only made No 13 on the charts. Maybe it had just got caught up in the Xmas rush or maybe it was the Band Aid effect…or maybe it was something more terminal.

Unfortunately for the band it was the final theory. The album took another 9 months to arrive and by that point it was all a bit too late. That album (“Here’s To Future Days” ) did achieve gold sales but it was a massive step down from the double platinum “Into The Gap” and the band’s fortunes were never to revive. For the record, I quite liked “Lay Your Hands On Me”.

And so to the No 1 and it is of course Band Aid. We all know the story and have all seen the video hundreds of times but it’s still a good Christmas song (certainly the best of all the other versions of it) and you can’t explain to people who weren’t there at the time or who were too young to appreciate it what a spectacle it was to see all those huge pop stars on the same record. Wikipedia advises that Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi of Status Quo recorded some vocals but they were deemed unusable. You can make your own jokes up.

Did I buy it? Of course I did – I had a social conscience thank you! Years later at Poly the subject of Band Aid came up in a conversation where someone in the group admitted he hadn’t bought the single and had simply taped it off the radio. We were all appalled.

For some reason the play out music this week is “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr despite it having already reached its commercial peak and was now coming down the charts. I blame Simon Bates and his Christmas office party vibe.

Order of appearance Artist Song Did I Buy it?

1

Wizzard I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday Not in 1984 but we all have this on a Xmas CD somewhere don’t we?

2

Paul McCartney and the Frog Chorus We All Stand Together “Isn’t that Frog Chorus song brilliant?”…said nobody ever.

3

Bronski Beat It Ain’t Necessarily So No

4

Spandau Ballet Round And Round No but I had the LP “Parade”

5

The Council Collective Soul Deep I’m guessing my brother bought it out of loyalty or maybe due to political conscience but probably never played it

6

Foreigner I Want To Know What Love Is Nope

7

Thompson Twins Lay Your Hands On Me Nah

8

Band Aid Do They Know It’s Christmas? Of course

9

Ray Parker Jnr Ghostbusters Nay, nay and thrice nay

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 Simon “Nostradamus” Bates in action as I can’t find the full programme on YouTube.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09g38n9/top-of-the-pops-20121984

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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TOTP 29 NOV 1984

Four shows on the trot uninterrupted! Quite a run! This week’s pair of safe hands are love birds Peter Powell and Janice Long (you may remember they went out briefly for a while around this time). Let’s see if we can work out if they were still together at this point.

First up is Nik Kershaw who is experiencing a massive hit again with “The Riddle” after a couple of duds in “Dancing Girls” and “Human Racing”. The first thing to notice is that Nik has a “Feed the World” T-shirt on which can only mean one thing…the Band Aid project is upon us.

Now we all know the back story to this so I’m not going to repeat it all but just to give some context to the timeline, the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” had been recorded just 4 days prior to this TOTP being broadcast and would be released on the following Monday. As such, prime mover Bob Geldof sensibly seized upon the massive marketing opportunity presented by the show and got all the performers on that week to wear the T-shirt to promote the single. And they all did including the presenters….hang on Janice Long isn’t wearing one! The lady must have had some balls to say no to Geldof is all I can say.

Anyway, back to Nik and it’s a curiously lack-lustre performance with a lot of going -through- the -motions in evidence. But then that bewildered “How did I get here?” look characterised most of his TOTP appearances if you watch them back. Maybe it was because Kershaw saw himself as a songwriter rather than a pop star.

Despite being one of the biggest stars of 1984, Nik didn’t feature on the Band Aid single although he did perform at Live Aid. Presumably it was a scheduling thing.

The first video of the night is ‘Sex Crime 1984 by Eurythmics. I think I saw the film once years later and thought it was pretty good. What I like most about the is video though is not the clips from the film that are shoe horned in but Annie Lennox wielding a guitar like an axe legend. Excellent stuff.

Prior to the next act, Peter Powell explains the “Feed The World” T-shirts. I only mention this as it strikes me as one of those frozen in time moments when we didn’t all know the events that were to unfold. Powell wishes the project good luck and hopes “it’s a massive hit”. It would become the biggest selling single ever (until it was toppled by Elton John’s Princess Diana tribute “Candle In The Wind”) but at this stage it was just a charity Xmas single. We had no idea what was to come, the funds it would raise, the lives it would save, Live Aid, its legacy etc. Powell’s piece to camera just struck me as interesting.

And the next act are….Bloody Hell it’s Slade again with “All Join Hands”! Just because Christmas was approaching it didn’t mean we had to be inflicted with this again did it? Well Peter Powell suggests in his intro that yes indeed that is exactly the reason (perhaps they had some secret contract with the BBC). Having listened to it again I’ve come to realise that it’s just a rip off of “Take It To The Limit” by The Eagles, especially the verses. Come on Noddy – you’re better than this!

Next it’s the curious case of Tina Turner and the single releases from her “Private Dancer” album. Why curious? Well, the perceived reading of this part of Tina’s career is that she came back from the brink of commercial ruin with this album which brought her massive success and of course that is true. The album went triple platinum in the UK alone. However, if you actually examine the singles that were released from it, their fortunes tell a different story. Yes, she had scored a huge hit with “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” over the Summer and yes, Let’s Stay Together ” had been a No 6 hit the previous year. However, check out the UK chart placings of the other singles lifted from it:

  • Let’s Stay Together – No 6
  • Help – No 40
  • What’s Love Got To Do WIth It – No 3
  • Better Be Good To Me – No 45
  • Private Dancer – No 26
  • I Can’t Stand The Rain – No 57

The singles sales stats aren’t quite so convincing as the album’s are they? The only other big selling album from the 80s that I can think of that has a similar tale when it comes to singles placings is “Tango In The Night” By Fleetwood Mac. That album is the band’s 2nd biggest seller after “Rumours” but witness the UK chart placings for singles taken from it:

  • Big Love – No9
  • Seven Wonders – No 56
  • Little Lies- No 5
  • Family Man – No 54
  • Everywhere – No 4

Weird eh? Anyway, back to Tina and after being bored rigid by “What’s Love Got To Do With It?”, I didn’t like this one either. Maybe a 16 year old boy growing up in Worcester wasn’t the target market for a song  about life as a hooker but as we have already established via the chart placings above, I wasn’t the only one who didn’t like it.

Bob Geldof must have scared the bejesus out of the next act as all 9 (NINE!) of the band are wearing the “Feed The World” T-Shirts! It can only be Kool and the Gang with “Fresh”. It always seemed to me that this lot were just repeating the winning formula from the pervious year so where we had had a fast one with “Straight Ahead” and then a ballad with “Joanna”, this time we had the uptempo “Fresh” which would be followed by sickly love song “Cherish”. I thought “Fresh” was pretty naff but it is still referred to in our house by myself and my wife to this day. Whenever one of us uses the word fresh the other is likely to counter with exciting. And I had the cheek to call Kool and The Gang sickly!

A mahoosive song next – it’s the time for the latest chapter in the story of 1984…here are Frankie Goes To Hollywood with “The Power Of Love”. Having already tackled the issues of sex and war in their first two singles, I suppose it was only logical that religion would come in for the Frankie treatment next. A huge, swooping, melodramatic thing that seemed to appear fully formed and within a couple of listens it was as if you couldn’t recall a time when you didn’t know this song. And despite its over familiarity due to its close association with Xmas, it remains a great song.

Ah yes…the Xmas thing. Obviously that is all down to the nativity themed video that doesn’t feature the band at all.

Record company ZTT obviously had  their sights set on the Xmas No 1 and why not? After tearing up the charts with two No 1 record already, it seemed a safe bet. And lo it came to pass that “The Power Of Love” would get to No 1…but only for one week and it wasn’t the Xmas No 1 (obviously) but even without Band Aid they still wouldn’t have made it as we now all know that Wham!’s “Last Christmas” would have beaten them to it being the best selling No 2 record ever. Rumour has it that “Last Christmas” will finally be Xmas No 1 in 2017 though after George Michael’s passing last year.

As for Frankie, a week later “The Power Of Love” would go to No 1 and much was made of them being the first act to score a No 1 with their first three single releases since fellow scousers Gerry and the Pacemakers in the 60s. However, 4th December 1984 would be the absolute peak for the band when that chart was revealed with them at the top of the heap. Their next single “Welcome To The Pleasuredome” would go to No 2 and literally weeks after all the positive press about their first three No 1’s, the hacks were out predicting the demise of the band as that run had been stopped. Frankie would not return for nigh on 18 months by which time the pop world had moved on and they were no longer required.  It was literally as if as soon as 1984 came to an end, the spell was broken, the carriage became a pumpkin and the band began a slow descent into implosion.

This song has a life of its own though thanks to the Xmas connection and it is conceivable that there are a generation of people out there who know “The Power Of Love” as a yuletide tune and no nothing of the extraordinary history behind the band who made it.

Now then, Janice Long and Peter Powell…were they still together at this point? There’s a pretty big pointer at the end of the Frankie video. Does Powell actually grab Janice’s arse? The look of surprise certainly suggests he may have done!

Next, a pop icon is born. This is the moment that Madonna’s career made the leap into hyperspace with the video to “Like A Virgin”. The British public already knew of Madonna of course thanks to her breakthrough hit “Holiday” but this is when things starting getting really serious. There’s a definite sense of knowing and manipulation about the image that Madonna portrays in the video, at turns both virgin and whore, with the use of a lion also involved to instil as sense of turning her lover into a beast.

OK enough of the psychoanalysis, this video (along with the infamous pink wig studio performance on the show two weeks later) had the UK in a frenzy and global superstardom followed as surely as night follows day. I think my younger sister had the “Like A Virgin” album on cassette and my Mum wasn’t best pleased. Even Peter Powell looks like he doesn’t know what to do with himself at the video’s end.

We will be seeing lots more of Madonna in shows to come, lots more.

Oh come on! Alvin Stardust again? Really?! Yes it’s a double whammy of 70s glam stars making awful records in the 80s on tonight’s show. After Slade comes Mr Stardust with the awful “I Won’t Run Away”.

Alvin looks like he’s having a good time up there (probably couldn’t believe his luck that he was still having hits in 1984). At one point he dons a plastic hat that the studio audience seem to have been kitted out with and then…..then he puts his arm around a teenage girl in said audience and sings “I won’t run away the baby’s mine too”! What the actual fuck?! Did nobody think that looked dodgy? Given everything we know know about certain BBC employees from this era, I guess nobody batted an eyelid. Let’s be clear, I’m not in any way suggesting any impropriety on Alvin’s behalf (I’m sure he was a stand up guy) but watching it back in 2017 it looks …ill-advised.

Its a new No 1 and like “The Power Of Love” it would only be at the top for 1 week…it’s Jim Diamond with ” I Should Have Known Better”. According to @TOTPFacts, in the light of the Band Aid release, Jim selflessly encouraged people not to buy his record anymore but to buy Geldof’s charity piece instead. What a guy!

 

Proving that the UK record buying public could be extremely stupid at times, here comes Black Lace again with their Xmas office party offering “Do The Conga”. Whilst not as big a hit as “Agadoo”, this still made the Top 10 unbelievably. Even when these two chumps were lampooned two years later by the Spitting Image team with “The Chicken Song”, the good folk of the UK still didn’t get what was going on and sent the parody to No 1. Oh the irony!

Order of appearance Artist Song Did I Buy it?

1

Nik Kershaw The Riddle No but I had the LP

2

Eurythmics Sex Crime 1984 No

3

Slade All Join Hands Crikey no!

4

Tina Turner Private Dancer Nah

5

Kool and the Gang Fresh Err…no

6

Frankie Goes To Hollywood The Power Of Love Having bought the first two singles I assumed that I did but it appears I didn’t. Hmm.

7

Madonna Like A Virgin No but my sister had the album on cassette

8

Alvin Stardust I Won’t Run Away I did run way. NO!

9

Jim Diamond I Should Have Known Better No but I always secretly kind of liked it

10

Black Lace Do The Conga Let me see…Black Lace “Do The Conga”….NOOOOO!

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 and Janice flirting on screen as I can’t find the full programme on YouTube.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09dx48t/top-of-the-pops-29111984

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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TOTP 22 NOV 1984

We’re on a real run of consecutive repeat showings of TOTP at the moment – this is the 3rd one on the bounce without any presenter issues causing us to miss weeks. However this particular show does bring to an end Tommy Vance’s long running streak of presenting the show as this his last one ever. I always quite liked how he seemed so enthusiastic about all the different acts and the types of music featured on the show despite his natural leanings towards rock music. Sadly Tommy died in 2005 aged just 64 and when you consider that his fellow presenter tonight John Peel had died 6 months later in October 2004 at the age of 65 it’s a sobering thought.

After such a sombre beginning to the post we need a tonic and here it comes in the form of  Nick Heyward with his new single “Warning Sign”. This seemed to be a new funked-up version of Nick. Not only did this new song have a completely different groove to his other solo work, it had rapping in it! Well if it could get Chaka Khan to No 1…..

This would be the second time in the same show that we would be seeing someone on TOTP for the last time as this was Nick’s last ever outing (sniff). Despite continuing to release some great stuff throughout the 80s and 90s, Nick would not see the Top 40 singles chart again (save for 1 week at No 37 in 1996) and therefore no more TOTPs (sniff, and indeed sniff). “Warning Sign” was a stand alone single trying to bridge the gaps between his first and second album and despite some reservations on first hearing I grew to like it. My Heyward obsession was starting to wane by this point though and I’m not sure I even bought it but it’s great little tune in its own right.

Nick gives an energetic performance on his valedictory appearance and yes that’s Haircut 100’s Blair Cunningham still with him on drums. Talking of haircuts, if you seek out the promotional video for the single then you can catch him with one of the sharpest haircuts ever. Right, that’s probably enough of my fawning over Mr. Heyward. Farewell (but not goodbye) Nick.

P.S. Pop trivia question for you…with which song does “Warning Sign” share its opening line “I’m coming home I’ve done my time”? Answer at the end of the post.

The first video of the night is one we have seen before in a recent TOTP – here’s Chicago with “Hard Habit To Break”. There’s not a lot else to say about Chicago that I didn’t already post the last time this song was on but i dug this bit of info up….apparently three of the band were inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame this year for their work as members of the band. So they received an award for writing the same song over and over again? Nice work if you can get it. Even the video is as dull as Peter Cetera’s outfit….except…..in the very last still is that actress Joanne Whalley?

Brilliant! A song we haven’t seen in these repeats before …here comes “the Newcastle posse” (as John Peel puts it)…it’s The Kane Gang with “Respect Yourself”. I’d really liked their previous hit the gorgeously lilting ballad “The Closest Thing To Heaven” but this was a much more “punchy little number” (to quote Peel again although he was being sarcastic about Chicago). The song was of course a cover version of that soul staple by the err..Staple Singers (sorry!) but not unsurprisingly I didn’t realise that at the time. It’s a great track though and the Kane Gang show plenty of err.. respect (sorry again) to the original with their version. It made No 21 in the charts but should have been a much bigger hit. Probably much to their chagrin, another cover version was released 3 years later and did outperform their chart placing by making it all the way to No 7. And that version was by….? Yes, it was Bruce Willis. It seems a completely bizarre notion now but back in 1987, riding high on the back of his success in the TV show Moonlighting, Bruce briefly became a pop star but that’s all for another day’s post much further down the line in TOTP repeat land.

Around the same time as Willis’s success, The Kane Gang were releasing  some rather great singles such as “Motortown” and “Don’t Look Any Further” from their 2nd album but yet again the UK chart buying public showed their ignorance by ignoring them meaning that “Respect Yourself” would be the band’s last ever Top 40 hit.

Oh and just one more thing,. I love the way that two of the band in this performance look like they have just hot footed it from the 6th form common room to be on the show!

Now here’s an interesting one – it’s Human League with “Louise”. This was the 3rd single to be taken from their “Hysteria” album an on first hearing I thought it was a fairly unremarkable song but after a few listens it really grew on me.

What I didn’t know at the time but which @TOTPFacts informs me is that the song was actually a sequel to “Don’t You Want Me” and tells the story of the main characters from that era-defining hit bumping into each other accidentally 15 years on and the guy still getting it all wrong. The video (artily shot in black and white) supports this with little nuances like Susan Sully wearing the same coat that she did in the “Don’t You Want Me” video.

Its a nice idea and the song deserved better than a No 13 chart placing. Perhaps Phil Oakey’s “Together In Electric Dreams” hit with Giorgio Moroder that was in the charts simultaneously stole some of the single’s profile and sales. We’ll never know. However what I do know and what I really remember this single for is the fact that my mate Rob (the Howard Jones superfan) was seeing a girl called Louise from the girls school next door at this time and he got mercilessly teased about this song. Sorry Rob.

Bloody Hell! It’s Billy Ocean again. How many time has he been on now?  Checking back it looks like this is only his second appearance on the show but it feels like about four at least! By this point he is up to No 6 but despite this performance the single would go no further than that.

There seems to be an awful lot of whooping and hollering coming from the studio audience when Billy does his little dance moves in the song’s instrumental break but they really don’t warrant it from what I can see. Even the 16 year old me who had never been to a night club at this point could have pulled something more dynamic out of the bag than Billy’s pedestrian steps!

Something straight out of the left field next…here’s “One Night In Bangkok” by Murray Head.  This was a song from a concept album and musical called “Chess” written by ABBA’s Benny and Bjorn. As well as doing the rapping (if you can call it that) on the single, Murray Head  would go onto perform the role of world chess champion Frederick “Freddie” Trumper in the London West End stage production when it premiered in 1986.

Now I don’t think I had grasped the framing of the song back in 1984 and I certainly had no idea who Murray Head was but I kind of liked it. It was unusual, with that incongruous  orchestral Russian intro that builds to a crescendo and then leaps into Head just coming straight in with “Bangkok, Oriental setting, And the city don’t know that the city is getting”. Ah those lyrics which mad every little sense taken out of context of the musical (apparently the setting of the song is a TV interview by Head’s character) but which I found exotic and intriguing.

All of the above doesn’t really translate to an outing on TOTP though and Head doesn’t help himself with his stumbling performance.  He misses his cue for the start of the song and then forgets the lyrics  missing out “the Philippines” from “It’s Iceland or the Philippines or Hastings or…or  this place!”. Have you ever seen a more awkward performance on the show? Murray seems totally defeated from the very off and spends his time wandering around the stage head bowed in abject horror at the situation he finds himself in. At one point he looks for solace in the company of his female backing singers who do the chorus bits but he doesn’t seem to know the words well enough to mime them convincingly. The end of the song seems almost like a mercy killing.

Oh and if you think he looks familiar it’s because he’s the brother of Anthony Head (see some more great trivia from @TOTPFacts below):

Now given this guys ubiquity during the decade, we seem to have dodged him quite well during these repeats so far but he’s found us again this week…here’s Shaky with “Teardrops”. Now I don’t remember this one at all but, and don’t judge me for this, it’s actually not a bad take on a classic 50s ballad. Apparently this was actually written by Shaky himself and you can imagine it being sung by Eddie Cochrane or appearing on the Grease soundtrack.

Right snap out of it now!

*slaps himself around the chops*

Its the Top 10 run down next and watching it back suddenly transported me back 33 years to a Tuesday lunchtime when me and my mate Rob had ventured into town to the Music Market shop to see what the new chart was (yes kids the new chart used to be announced on a Tuesday lunchtime and Music Market would rearrange their singles display to match the new chart placings). The juxtaposition of Nik Kershaw at No 5 next to Limahl at No 4  suddenly came right back to me and I recall Rob saying to me “well done” as Kershaw had risen from No 17 the previous week as if I had done something worthy of congratulation. Rob was probably in the shop buying “Louise” by Human League for his girlfriend “Louise” (Sorry Rob! Again!).

Anyway, enough of all that. The No 1 is yet again Chaka Khan with ” I Feel For You”…

Talking of Limahl, he is the play out music this week. Keep watching and you’ll see the male dancer with the monstrous mullet and poncho miss his hand catch with his female co-dancer and fall of his podium. Excellent stuff.

And that quiz answer? It was of course “Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree” by Dawn

http://www.metrolyrics.com/tie-a-yellow-ribbon-round-the-ole-oak-tree-lyrics-tony-orlando-and-dawn.html

Order of appearance Artist Song Did I Buy it?

1

Nick Heyward Warning Sign I didn’t think I had done but apparently I did

2

Chicago Hard Habit To Break Hell no

3

The Kane Gang Respect Yourself I liked it but no

4

Human League Louise No but it’s on a Greatest Hits CD

5

Billy Ocean Caribbean Queen And that would be a no

6

Murray Head One Night In Bangkok It may have been intriguing but not enough for a trip to Music Market

7

Shakin’ Stevens Teardrops Of course not

8

Chaka Kahn I Feel For You Chak, Chak Chaka…NO

9

Limahl Neverending Story And again that’s a no from me

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 annoying TOTP dancer fall on his arse as I can’t find the full programme on YouTube.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09dx3lx/top-of-the-pops-22111984

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-1-24-november-1984-218x300

 

http://www.shanemarais.net/no-1-magazine/no-1-magazine-24-november-1984/

 

 

 

 

01-smash-hits-22-november-5-december-1984-226x300

 

http://www.shanemarais.net/smash-hits-magazine/smash-hits-22-november-5-december-1984/

TOTP 15 NOV 1984

Bonfire night has been and gone and Christmas is starting to appear on the horizon – not only in the here and now but also back in TOTP repeat land where we are currently spending some time in 1984.

After coming through the torture hat was “Agadoo” and ” I Just Called To Say I love You” we thought  we were safe for a while. Think again for what Hellish notion is this? Way scarier than Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video comes a double-headed beast in dressed in tuxedos and dickie bows…dear Lord it’s Mike Read and Bruno Brookes…together! Brace yourselves  – this could be a very distressing experience.

Fortunately Matt Bianco are on hand to calm our nerves with the rather gentle and whimsical “Half A Minute”. This was one of the band’s irregular visits to chart land that occurred throughout the decade. After their debut hit “Get Out Of Your Lazy Bed” at the start of the year, things had rather trailed off for this jazz-influenced beat combo with the following two singles missing the Top 40 altogether. So it was a bit of a surprise to see them back on TOTP with this latin-tinged number. It didn’t have the urgency of “Lazy Bed” and seemed so…laid back I suppose to me.

Basia is on vocals for this one and she does a good job although it doesn’t seem to test her range very much. You get the impression she was singing within herself almost. Compared to other songs in the charts at that time it seemed quite incongruous and of another era – you could imagine it soundtracking some French black and white comedy film and when I heard it on the radio it always seemed such a quiet sound. Although not devoid of charm, it didn’t pull up any trees and the band would alight from their trip around chartsville at No 23.

It’s a biggie next….here are Duran Duran with “Wild Boys”! Where do you even start with this behemoth of a song? Well, the origin of it revolves around the vision of one time Duran video director Russell Mulcahy to make a full length film based on the William S. Burrough’s apocalyptic – themed novel The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead. The band came up with the song “Wild Boys” after Mulcahy suggested they create the music for the project. I remember thinking it seemed like quite a departure in sound for Duran after the slick synth pop that they had made their name with. It was rough sounding with some heavy tribal drums in the mix. It was produced by Nile Rodgers who the band kept faith with after his No1 production on previous single ‘The Reflex”. In the 2000 documentary “Wild Boys: The Story of Duran Duran”, Rodgers claims that it was almost a punk rock song and that he “could have done Wild Boys with The Clash”. Look they’re his words not mine OK? Don’t look at me like that!

I also remember a lot of discussion about the quality of Simon Le Bon’s vocals on the track and that they sounded a bit strained as if he didn’t really have the range to sing it. The single was packaged in 6 (SIX!) different picture sleeves each one depicting a member of the band and one group shot. I recall listening to disgraced Bay City Rollers manager Tam Paton being interviewed once and saying he wished that sort of marketing had been around when his band were the nation’s heart throbs. After my wife’s slagging of “The Reflex” in a previous post, it turns out she liked this one as she had the 7″ single. To her horror, a friend bought her the Andy Taylor cover though. Oh dear.

And that video? It was a £1,000,000 production designed to impress the movie studios that Mulcahy was courting for his full- length project but it never came to fruition and all we are left with is this staggering video. Yes staggering was the word back in 1984. I know all the prosthetics, make up and computer graphics look laughably dated now but they were spell-binding back then. Except for the pathetic Alien type creature in the water that attacks Simon – that always looked crap. Supposedly Le Bon nearly drowned when the windmill he was strapped to stuck with his head under the water but the singer himself plays down the story. Apparently the choreography was the work of one time Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips. I wonder if Le Bon would ever consider going on the show? Probably not.

There’s some cringeworthy intro from Bruno Brookes next where he encourages us all to hold hands with the person next to us as the next song is…yes…”All Join Hands” by Slade. This was a shamelessly cynical attempt to repeat the success of the big ballad “My Oh My” that had been a huge hit for the band at Xmas the previous year. It’s almost an identikit version of that song and they’ve even given the studio audience those nastily cheap looking Slade banners to wave again as per 1983. Thankfully, even the notoriously easily deceived UK record buying public saw through this sham and the single only made No 15. Noddy turns in an awful gurning performance here and the lyrics that rhyme “time” with “wine” and “Auld Lang Syne” are hateful. Be off with you!

After last week’s show featured the controversy -courting song “Blasphemous Rumours” by Depeche Mode, this week the outrage turned from religion to the subject of sex…here’s “Sex Crime 1984” by Eurythmics. In many ways this is almost a forgotten Eurythmics song compared to “Sweet Dreams” or “There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)” and yet it is their 4th highest ever placing single on the UK chart reaching No 4. It was of course written for the soundtrack for the film Nineteen Eighty-Four based on the novel of the same name by George Orwell. The song is certainly not well known in the US as it performed poorly there due to negative reaction to the single’s title from MTV and American radio.

More controversy followed when the film’s director Michael Radford publicly protested about Virgin Films who financed the flick’s decision to get Eurythmics to compose the soundtrack preferring an orchestral score that had already been written for the film months previously. Radford publicly disowned Virgin’s edit of the film featuring the Eurythmics songs and maybe off the back of this the band’s album for this project “1984 (For the Love of Big Brother)” has almost been written out of the band’s history.

For my part, I wasn’t sure about the single at the time. It was all a bit jumpy and I couldn’t deal with the stuttering vocals and the vocoder effect. Annie does look gorgeous in the video though.

More creepiness from Brookes follows where he says he is thinking of taking three teenage looking girls from the studio audience out with him and Mike Read on a night out after the show. Just horrible.

Last week I said I hadn’t foreseen “I Feel For You” by Chaka Khan becoming a No 1 single but I’m betting that nobody saw this next song as a future No1. Its’ “I Should Have known Better” by Jim Diamond. “Who?” we all asked at the time. The now sadly departed Jim was the lead singer with PhD who had a No 3 hit with “I Won’t Let You Down” in 1982 but he branched out on his own in 1984 with this ballad full of sorrow and longing an amazingly it made it all the way to No 1 (albeit just for one week).

I seem to remember that Gary Davies used to call it the “I,I,I,” song in reference to the memorable chorus. Jim does a convincing in character performance here but watching it back now I wonder whether it would have suited David Essex. I’m sure he could have pulled off the Marti Pellow style “Ooh yeah” before the final chorus with aplomb.

I secretly quite liked it at the time but of course I never let on at school.

Hands up who remembers The Dazz Band? Thought so. They were an American jazz/funk fusion outfit (hence the band’s name: Dance + Jazz= Dazz – geddit?) It strikes me they were a poor man’s Herbie Hancock of “Rock It” fame but somehow they managed to have a Top 40 hit over here. Next!

 

More bizarre mutterings from Brookes and Read follow where the concept of the “joke” seems to be that the latter has taken some magic mushrooms making him think the former is taller than he actually is. Hilarious I’m sure you’ll agree.

A real oddity next. In the year that brought us the phenomenon that was Frankie Goes To Hollywood, there was still room in the charts for not one but two Alvin Stardust singles! Yes, the 70s glam star of “My Coo Ca Choo” fame was still having hits in the 80s. Mercifully we didn’t get to see his first success of the year “I Feel Like Buddy Holly” due to presenter issues but there’s no escaping the second one which is “I Won’t Run Away”. It’s pretty dire stuff about a guy facing up to his parental responsibilities but its pure cheese on toast. Somehow both singles managed to reach No 7. Unlike Alvin, I will run away and at great speed from this shocker….

…to arrive at a bona fide 1984 pop star..here’s Nik Kershaw with ‘The Riddle”. This song forms one third of the trinity of Nik’s most famous songs (the other two being “Wouldn’t It Be Good” and “I Won’t Let The Sun go Down On Me”in my humble opinion) and revived his fortunes after previous single “Human Racing” hadn’t performed as well as expected.

It was the lead single from his second album of the same name and would reach No 3 in the charts. Now whatever you might think of Kershaw (and I liked him) you have to give the lad credit for his work ethic. He released two albums and five singles alone in 1984.

There was a lot of (presumably record company generated) fuss about the song’s meaning and I recall Bruno Brookes had a long-running listener competition on his radio show to guess the true meaning. At the competition’s climax he got Nik onto his show to reveal the answer…turns out it was all a load of “bollocks” (Kershaw’s word not mine). It had just been a non sensical guide vocal for the demo recording but he ended up sticking with it. For the record, I thought it was great.

The No 1 this week is still Chaka Kahn’s “I Feel For You”. At the end of the video, we see that Chaka is actually in the studio with Read and Brookes. Why on earth didn’t they get her to do a studio performance of the song?

The Play out music is “I’m So Excited” by The Pointer Sisters which was the 4th single to be pulled from their “Breakout” album . I recall when I worked in Our Price in Manchester that some local artist recorded a version of it to coincide with Man Utd reaching the final of the European Cup Winners Cup final in 1991. It was called…”I’m So Excited, it’s Man Utd”. Of course it was.

Order of appearance Artist Song Did I Buy it?

1

Matt Bianco Half A Minute Nah

2

Duran Duran Wild Boys No but my wife had it

3

Slade All Join Hands As if

4

Eurythmics Sex Crime 1984 No

5

Jim Diamond I Should Have Known Better No – I was intent on preserving the little credibility I had at school

6

Dazz Band Let It All Blow The Dazz Bland more like. And no…

7

Alvin Stardust I Won’t Run Away Are you completely mad?!

8

Nik Kershaw The Riddle No but I had the album. Don’t you judge me!

9

Chaka Kahn I Feel For You Chak, Chak Chaka…NO

10

Pointer Sisters I’m So Excited Nope

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 cringe at Mike Read and Bruno Brookes ‘avin it large as I can’t find the full programme on YouTube.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09dbvl0/top-of-the-pops-15111984

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-1-17-november-1984-218x300

 

http://www.shanemarais.net/no-1-magazine/no-1-magazine-17-november-1984/

 

 

 

 

 

01-smash-hits-8-21-november-1984-226x300

 

http://www.shanemarais.net/smash-hits-magazine/smash-hits-8-21-november-1984/

TOTP 08 NOV 1984

And we’re back in sync! Yes, like a broken clock, the TOTP repeats schedule normally allows for a synchronisation of months twice a year so here we are corresponding almost exactly to the day (give or take one or two) with 33 years ago.

The presenters tonight are the permanently middle -aged looking Richard Skinner (he was only 32 when this show broadcast!) and Simon Bates with his standard utterly irrelevant patter. True to form Simes starts off by introducing the first act who is Limahl and immediately puts his foot in it by getting the song title wrong – it’s “Neverending Story” Bates not “Not Neverending Song”! – and then goes off on a tangent by saying that the female co-vocalist is a Spurs supporter. What?!

Yes its the ex-Kajagoogoo-er back for one last fleeting turn in the spotlight. His vehicle for this was the theme tune for the film of the same name and it was written by Giorgio Moroder as just about everything in the charts seemed to be at this point. It actually performed very well across Europe and would reach No 4 in the UK charts. The aforementioned Mandy doesn’t actually sing on the record (apparently that was someone called Beth Anderson) and in fact the Spurs supporting vocalist was just one of Limahl’s backing singers. Given it’s success, it probably makes it one of Limahl’s two best known songs (the other of course being the No 1 hit “Too Shy” from his time with Kajagoogoo).

Limahl still has his trademark bedraggled skunk haircut at this point and combines it with an all leather outfit. It’s quite the ensemble. It’s a very tactile performance as well with him and our Mand intertwining hands and getting all smoochy with each other while the studio audience whoop it up. And the song? It’s got all the usual hallmarks of a Moroder production, all shimmering synths and soft vocals and it’s kind of sweet I suppose if not a little sickly.

More bizarreness from Simon Bates next as he introduces the first video of the night by Status Quo who have covered the old Dion song “The Wanderer”. Bates advises the watching millions at home that the video is “really good fun”. OK – if you say so Simon. But then he follows it up by saying ” I mean, that’s all it is”. What? Why did he feel the need to add that bit? It would have made much more sense if he’d said that the whole thing “was money for old rope. I mean, that’s all it is” because it was. It’s literally a tired old record company strategy to keep their act’s profile high whilst they don’t have any new material. Just shove a cover version out – that’ll do. And indeed it did as this steaming heap went to No 7 on the charts.

And the “really good fun” video? It’s just the band performing on the back of a wagon as it rides around London with some filmed reactions from the watching public. It’s a direct rip-off the the Beatles on the roof concert from 1969. It’s also completely dated as if a band did the same thing today, the public would be filming the whole thing on their mobile phones. As it is, we get some Quo super-fan trailing the wagon on a motorbike recording the whole mockery of a sham on a massive cine camera.

Even a wide eyed innocent like the 16 year old I was back then knew this was cynical horse shit. What a stinker.

A great song next and one that really pushed the boundaries back in 1984 – here’s Depeche Mode with “Blasphemous Rumours”. It’s the haunting tale of a 16 year old who attempts suicide but survives and embarks upon a spiritual awakening only to die aged 18 in a car crash. The gloomy aural soundscape that the band wrap the lyrics in makes for a completely immersive experience and yet they also made it accessible with that catchy chorus which includes the lyrics:

“I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumours but I think that God’s got a sick sense of humour  and when I die, I expect to find him laughing.”

Apparently the potential religious backlash convinced the band and their  label to make it a double A-side with the gorgeous ballad “Somebody” sung by Martin Gore as the other track. When you consider that the following year Kate Bush released her seminal single “Running Up That Hill” which was originally called “A Deal With God” but dropped it for fear of offending potential markets in religious territories (thanks to Classic Pop magazine for that snippet), then it gives you some idea of how daring a release this was. I thought it was great and yet I never heard “Somebody” until I met my wife at Poly some two years later and she played it to me which suggests that Radio 1 didn’t shy way from playing “Blasphemous Rumours”.

Alison Moyet is up next with the video to “All Cried Out”. To be fair the video is pretty dull and doesn’t add much to the song. It’s basically Alison moping about in a cafe and in various London locations with only a slightly more upbeat interlude when she is laughing and spinning around (holding hands out of shot with the lyric’s lost love possibly) during the “round around ” refrain.

Richard Skinner introduces the next act and gets his words in a twist (“For the first time in ever in the history….) over telling us that Billy Ocean (for it is he) is the first man to top the US pop, soul and R’n’B charts with “Caribbean Queen”. Quite an achievement for such an unremarkable song. Oh I mean it’s all right but it always struck me as a bit pedestrian.

However it did feature the quite clever marketing ploy of releasing the song with a different title depending on the sales territory (there’s that soul destroying word again). So we had “European Queen” in Germany and Switzerland and “African Queen” in South Africa. Billy would be a regular on the charts throughout the rest of the decade even making No 1 with the lamentable “When The Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going” and No 3 with the equally dire “Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car” whilst “Caribbean Queen” made it to No 6. 

Now here’s a band that seem to make a career for themselves in the 80s by recycling the same song over and over again. It is of course Chicago with “Hard Habit To Break”…or is it “Hard To Say I’m Sorry”… or “You’re The Inspiration” …or “If You Leave Me Now”. OK – you get my point. They all sound the same don’t they? Even when lead singer Peter Cetera went solo in 1986 he went and released the the same old song again this time called “Glory Of Love”. Yes I know that they had a previous life when they were known as Chicago Transit Authority with a much heavier sound but it’s this massive lush power ballad style that they will always be remembered for. 

Did I like it? Not really but my brother bought and played the follow up “You’re The Inspiration” over and over when he broke up with a girlfriend. I guess that’s what Chicago songs are for though.

Blimey! Was Gary Numan still having Top 40 hits in late 1984? Yes he was and here’s the proof – it’s the man himself with “Beserker”. I didn’t remember this song at all but actually I don’t mind it and I’m not a fan usually. What I do recall though is his stage look especially the blue hair and make up. There were two die hard Numanoids at school and I’m sure I had conversations with them along the lines of “Why has he dyed his hair blue when he’s only just had a hair transplant? Surely that’s not wise?”

What is this crud? Bonus points if you remember Eugene Wilde and his song “Gotta Get You Home Tonight”. However, like me, you’re more likely to want to forget this piece of cliched R ‘n’B. The lyrics basically consist of the following phrases repeated over and over:

  • Ooooh baby
  • Oh come on lady!
  • Gotta hold you body tight
  • Gotta get you home with me tonight

Just horrible.

Its a new No 1! Wham! have been toppled by “I Feel For You” by Chaka Khan. I have to admit that I didn’t see this one coming back in 1984. I just didn’t see it as a No 1 song. In the last post I mentioned that one of the dancers was called Shabba Doo. Turns out there’s also one called Boogaloo Shrimp. That’s Boogaloo Shrimp. And one more time… Boogaloo Shrimp. Thanks to @TOTPFacts for that marvellous trivia.

The play out music this week is “Gimme All Your Lovin'” by ZZ Top and if you watch the show to the very end you will see some of the most unlikely people to have ever danced to this song including…is that really Su Pollard right at the end?

Order of appearance Artist Song Did I Buy it?

1

Limahl Neverending Story Oh dear God no – credibility suicide right there

2

Status Quo The Wanderer Bleeeeugh!

3

Depeche Mode Blasphemous Rumours It’s in the singles box but it’s my wife’s copy although I do have the original Greatest Hits LP on vinyl from 1985 that includes it.

4

Alsion Moyet All Cried Out No

5

Billy Ocean Caribbean Queen And that’s another no

6

Chicago Hard Habit To Break And there’s the hat trick…no

7

Gary Numan Beserker I was not nor have ever been a Numanoid

8

Eugene Wilde GoTta Get You Home Tonight See Status Quo comment

9

Chaka Kahn I Feel For You Chak, Chak Chaka…NO

10

ZZ Top Gimme All Your Lovin’ Nope

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 Su Pollard spotting as I can’t find the full programme on YouTube.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09d9ftw/top-of-the-pops-08111984

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-1-10-november-1984-218x300

 

http://www.shanemarais.net/no-1-magazine/no-1-magazine-10-november-1984/

 

 

 

 

01-smash-hits-8-21-november-1984-226x300

 

http://www.shanemarais.net/smash-hits-magazine/smash-hits-8-21-november-1984/

TOTP 18 OCT 1984

It’s Thursday night and time for TOTP again – TOTP from 18th October 1984 to be precise. Just six days prior to this broadcast, the bombing of the Conservative Party conference in Brighton had taken place and a mere five days after it went out, a report on the Ethiopian famine by BBC journalist Michael Buerk was broadcast in the UK. Among those watching was Bob Geldof….

…but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Tonight’s  show is anchored by Janice Long who has an Elaine Paige style haircut which is an explosion of red and orange and Gary Davies who has done everything within his power to fashion a look which plays up to his ‘medallion man’ persona.

First act on tonight is Spandau Ballet with their 3rd single release of the year “Highly Strung”. Yes it’s that song. The one you can’t discuss without mentioning the following lyric:

She used to be a diplomat, now she’s down the laundromat

It’s their “You’re about as easy s a nuclear war moment” and still jars some 33 years later. After the last single “I’ll Fly For You” had not really done the business it was expected to by only reaching No 9 in the charts, this quickly issued follow up was flung out into the market. It races along at a pace with an attendant scratchy guitar riff for company. It’s not bad but it could be a contender for a Pointless TV programme answer to the question name a Spandau Ballet hit. For my part I liked it back in 1984 and it would be just one more reason to buy the “Parade” LP it was taken from.

Watching this performance, I find myself asking how many cans of hairspray were used to keep Tony Hadley’s hair in place and is one of the dancers actually Batman’s enemy The Riddler on the podium at the front? There’s a lot of screaming going on and the band are lapping it up with a lot of dashing to and fro from the back to the front of the stage to whip up the hysteria some more. Given that the single would only reach No 15 (continuing the band’s run of diminishing returns ) it kind of feels like fiddling (or tooting a sax in Steve Norman’s case) while Rome burns especially when you consider the trees George Michael and Wham! were pulling up at this time.

At the song’s end, Gary Davies advises us that the band are rehearsing for a world tour that starts in 3 weeks time in Japan. I would catch then on that tour (Birmingham not Japan!) and it would be my first ever gig.

Here’s a song getting another airing on the show – its Paul McCartney with “No More Lonely Nights”. I mentioned the last time this was on that there were two versions of this song, the ballad version and a dance remix. Want to hear that remix? OK….

Yeah – told you the ballad version was better.

Proving that they didn’t just sling this show together, we go from McCartney to Lennon  next (not a line that fellow scouser Janice Long was going to miss the opportunity of saying)…Julian Lennon to be precise with his debut single “Too Late For Goodbyes”. Oh there was so much fuss over this release, most of it surrounding the fact that he looked and sounded like his Dad. What a shocker! Son looks like his Dad! Of course, it wasn’t just any Dad but only one of the most famous men ever (certainly in the sphere of pop music) so I guess it was inevitable. The music press went to town over him being the next big thing. And the record buying public bought into it  – he was voted the Most Promising New Act in the Smash Hits magazine end of year poll.

43-smash-hits-20-december-2-january-1985

Paul Rutherford wasn’t a fan though!

But was his song any good? Well, I thought it was pleasant enough but it was all a bit bland. And you couldn’t get past the fact that he did sound like his Dad and that indeed had John lived he may well have made a record like this in 1984. None of this of course was Julian’s fault and as the Radio 1 DJ Mike Read stated in his review of the single in Smash Hits magazine:

It seems pretty natural that the son of one of the world’s greatest songwriters and singers should want to make music. 

Sadly for Lennon junior, the early promise petered out and although “Too Late For Goodbyes” was a No 6 hit, the album didn’t sell as well as expected and the follow up single didn’t even make the Top 40. He would return to the charts in 1991 with the rather nice tune “Salt Water” which also made No 6. I saw him do a PA at the Virgin megastore to promote it  – he was ridiculously late and I had to forego any lunch that day. Cheers Julian.

An almighty 80s tune next – here comes Chaka Khan with “I Feel for You” on her way to No 1. Yes, we all know it is a Prince song but Chaka’s version is surely the definitive one. That stuttering start (which was a mistake apparently but producer Arif Mardin liked it and kept it in) that leads into the Melle Mel rap and then that Stevie Wonder harmonica – wonderful isn’t it? Well, no actually – I never really liked it that much. I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about and I found it a most unlikely No 1 record. I much preferred her previous hit with the band Rufus “Ain’t Nobody”. Apparently one of the break dancers in the video is called Shabba Doo – there has to be a joke in there somewhere surely?

John Waite with “Missing you” is next. It’s the video this time after a studio performance previously and it’s a pretty lame affair. Lots of literal enactments of the song’s lyrics and moody shots of John. There is a truly awful bit where he is chatted up at the bar by a lady who is obviously meant to not be as attractive as his lost love and the lyric that plays over this is segment is “You don’t know how desperate I’ve become”! Poor woman!

The charts really were all over the place at this point of the decade – how else do you explain the presence of Meatloaf in the charts alongside the likes of Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Ultravox for example? He always seemed a bit of an anachronism throughout the whole of the 80s and yet here he is again turning up like a bad penny (he probably wrote a song called that) with “Modern Girl”. It’s just the same old stuff he always peddles and yet it still managed to make No 17 in the charts. It was taken from the “Bad Attitude” album which included the track “Nowhere Fast” which just about sums this up.

Did someone mention Ultravox? 1984 was a busy year for Midge Ure and the boys. They released an album (“Lament”)  and three singles from it and now here they are with a 4th of the year that was the prelude to a Collection CD and all this before you even mention the Band Aid project. The 4th single was “Love’s Great Adventure” and it would mark the end of the band’s imperial phase. It’s a marvellous romp through the pop gears and was apparently written to display the band’s lighter side after doomy songs such as “Vienna”, “Visions In Blue” and “Lament”. Hopefully we’ll get to see the Indiana jones style video in a future show.

Finally “I Just Called To Say I Love You” has been toppled and we have the exuberance of Wham!’s “Freedom” at No 1. Its the same performance as shown the previous week as surprisingly there was no accompanying video for the single. Eventually something was cobbled together using clips from the band’s history making trip to China for the US market but here? Zip. No that it needed any more promotion. It was at No 1 – job done.

The play out music this week is “Together In Electric dreams” by Phil Oakey and Giorgio Moroder.

Order of appearance Artist Song Did I Buy it?

1

Spandau Ballet Highly Strung No but I did get the “Parade” LP it was taken from

2

Paul McCartney No More Lonely Nights No but it’s on my Wingspan Best Of

3

Julian Lennon Too Late For Goodbyes Nah

4

Chaka Khan I Feel For You Nope

5

John Waite Missing You I didn’t actually

6

Meatloaf Modern Girl What do you think?

7

Ultravox Love’s Great Adventure No but I had that Ultravox Collection album it was taken from

8

Wham! Freedom No but we all have the Greatest Hits don’t we?

9

Phil Oakey and Giorgio Moroder Together In Electric dreams The vinyl police are still investigating the whereabouts of my copy

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 gasp in awe at Gary Davies’ ever so manly hairy chest as I can’t find the full programme on YouTube.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09bklkn/top-of-the-pops-18101984

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-1-20-october-1984-218x300

 

http://www.shanemarais.net/no-1-magazine/no-1-magazine-20-october-1984/

 

 

 

 

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http://www.shanemarais.net/smash-hits-magazine/smash-hits-11-24-october-1984/

TOTP 11 OCT 1984

Hello again – fancy some 80s pop tunes that we haven’t seen on these TOTP repeats previously? Great – you’ve come to the right place then. Every one of the songs in this show would have been not seen before exclusives when the show first aired …err…apart from the No 1  – that’s still Stevie Wonder. Sorry about that.

This week’s presenters are Mike Read (still with his surgically attached shades) and Tommy Vance. They start the show with some pre-planned and totally unfunny “Hello, hello, hello” routine which morphs into a rather dodgy intro for the night’s first act Kim Wilde. It’s all gets a bit sleazy when they appear to start ogling her and one of them seems to do a Leslie “Ding Dong” Phillips impression. I’m guessing all that carry on was acceptable in 1984.

Anyway, back to Ms Wilde who is performing her new single “The Second Time” and its a definite change of strategy from her last appearance as a sultry vamp with her 1983 hit “Love Blonde”. For a start there’s the sound which has a much heavier edge to it. I remember thinking it was a blatant rip-off of the Frankie Goes To Hollywood sound that ate the UK in 1984. Was that a fair assessment? Well there is that distinctive bass line to the fore as per “Relax” and what about the risque lyrics? It’s as if her songwriting team (brother Ricky and Dad Marty) looked at what was selling (i.e. Frankie) and decided to ape it. I imagine the creative process went something like this:

Marty: Right – so we’re agreed – we copy the “Relax” sound – yes?

Ricky: Yes Dad but how can we put our own twist on it?

Marty: I’ve got it – we’ll make the lyrics about sex but instead of saying “Don’t do it” we’ll get Kim to sing “Go for it”  – that way the punters won’t know we’ve run out of ideas and are basically ripping Frankie off.

Ricky: Dad – never mention the words Kim and sex in the same sentence ever again.

So what are those sexy lyrics? Well, there’s…

Don’t start to fumble it up

And….

How can you stop when I could go for hours

Also…

How can you stop when my whole world’s exploding

And finally…

I’ve every reason to believe there’s still a man in you
You done it once, so come on go again

Ahem…well…I don’t think there’s any doubt what that’s all about. However, according to Kim in a No 1 magazine interview at the time she says this:

“The Second Time is about returning to a place you were once happy in  – nothing’s ever quite the same.”

Yeah right Kim. And what about that new image? I remember thinking her outfit was very striking and daring  at the time but looking at it now it just looks like a right mess. It was created by a design company called XL who were the same people who helped Frankie create their headline style slogans and T-shirts. Funny that.

But did I like it? Well, I was always happy to watch Kim Wilde on TV whatever she was wearing and as for the song? I did quite like it but I don’t think it stands up very well 33 years later – it’s no “Kids In America” is it?

OK – it’s that one Sade song I quite like. Here she is with the video to “Smooth Operator”. This is surely Sade’s most well known song and rightly so. As the title suggests its a smooth slice of jazz -tinged sophisti -pop (yes that is a thing) and would help break the band in the US. Apparently, the original demo of this had been rejected by some record companies as being too long and jazzy but after a campaign in The Face magazine which styled Helen Folasade Adu as “The Face of 1984” the band took off and the rest was history.

I liked this one – it was a more mature sound than I usually liked but it remained accessible and it was certainly radio friendly. Staggeringly, despite hanging around the charts for 8 weeks and all that airplay, it only managed to get to No 19. You would have thought it was a much bigger hit.

Here comes the only other act who could make a claim to rival Frankie Goes To Hollywood in 1984 in terms of commercial success – here’s Wham! with “Freedom”. This would be at No 1 within days of this performance and would be George Michael’s 3rd chart topper (if you include”Careless Whisper”) of the year. It was at this point that I felt that Wham! had truly crossed over into the big time. You just couldn’t ignore the chart stats.

As for the song, it’s clearly a Motown inspired effort and gallops along at a pace with a great singalong chorus, much as it’s stablemate single “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go ” does. George naturally takes centre stage with this performance with lots of arm dancing and hand claps. His hair is still monstrous mind and nobody was convinced by Andrew’s mimed guitar playing. Watching this repeat with my wife, she thought that George was probably on something when he did did this performance and she may have a point.  And is that really Noel Edmonds playing keyboards?! I think I liked this one better than “Wake Me Up…” and within months of this broadcast I would see them perform it live but more of that in a later post.

Right, here’s an odd one. Anyone remember “The Medicine Song” by Stephanie Mills? I had a vague memory of it but I’m not sure I could have hummed the tune for you before this TOTP repeat aired. It wouldn’t have been my cup of tea back in 1984 – I wasn’t a big soul/dance fan but I have to admit to not minding it now. I’m pretty sure that I hadn’t heard of her before back in 1984 but she did of course have a big hit over here with “Never Knew Love Like This Before” in 1980.

It’s kind of a companion piece to Miami Sound Machine’s “Dr. Beat” in that it’s a medical themed dance track and both performances feature some rather obvious medical outfits and props. The single got to No 29 but it would be Stephanie’s last appearance in the UK charts.

A big deal next – judging by the cover pages of Smash Hits and No 1 Magazine around this time anyway – it’s the return of Paul Young with his first brand new material in nearly a year – “I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down”. I say brand new but it was actually another cover version – not that I knew this at the time. It was originally recorded by Ann Peebles in the 70s. Wanna hear it? OK….

And after that it was done by UK pub rocker Graham Parker and the Rumour…..

Enough of the musical history lesson. Back to the 80s and remember that Paul had been one of the big stars of 1983 with the breakthrough success of his album “No Parlez” so a lot was riding on the shoulders of this first single since then. He’d spent a good part of the intervening time on tour and it had played havoc with his vocal chords which piled on the pressure even more. Would his voice be the same?

The other pressing question of course was is it any good? Well I for one wasn’t sure straight off. It seemed a bit all over the place to me and not what I had been expecting. It was almost a bit wild with its squealing guitars and keyboard stabs  – a bit dirty even. Looking back at this TOTP performance I can see why I though that – look at the state of his backing band.  Count the tattoos (and this was when they were more associated with bikers and Hell’s Angels than the commonplace hipster that they are today). Then there’s all that grime and sweat and filthy white vests. Paul, of course, maintains the immaculate pin up star look. I would no doubt have clocked his mullet hairstyle and this would have stiffen my resolve to grow my own as soon as possible.

Listening back to the song now, I think this is one of Paul’s strongest offerings and stands up well but initially I wasn’t totally sold. I much preferred his next single “Everything Must Change” but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. For the moment, Paul was back and I would have been pleased about that.

And yet another female vocalist on the show tonight – this time it’s Alison Moyet with “All Cried Out”. This was her second solo single trying to consolidate on the success of her opener “Love Resurrection” and it succeeded by making it all the way to No 8 thus bettering its predecessor by two positions. Personally, I thought it was inferior to “Love Resurrection”  – it didn’t have that super soaring chorus and just fell ever so slightly flat for me. However she would make amends in my book with the release of her next single “Invisible” which was sublime.

A school friend named Simon had the LP I recall which seemed somehow quite daring at the time as not many lads at school  seemed to be fans of female artists.

Next a band that just couldn’t stop releasing singles  at this point – here’s Style Council with “Shout To The Top”. This was their 7th single in just over 18 months and seems to still attract airplay to this day. I’ve got to say that I never really liked this one that much. It was all a bit frantic and dare I say calculated. Maybe it was the jabbing strings that jarred with me or maybe I just didn’t like Weller’s new gelled back haircut much. Compared to say “My Ever Changing Moods” it sounded very repetitive to me and still does.

It went Top 10 but didn’t feature on their second album “Our Favourite Shop” when it was released the following year although subsequent CD re-releases did include it. My Weller obsessed brother of course bought it (the 12′ as I remember)  but it has never really done it for me.

And so we come to the end of Stevie Wonder’s 6 week reign at No 1. Thanks God’s that’s all over.

The play out music this week is “Cover Me” by Bruce Springsteen. This was of course from the iconic “Born In The USA” album but at this point it wasn’t the gargantuan edifice that we know it to be today. This release of “Cover Me” only made No 38 but in the light of the success of breakthrough single “Dancing In The Dark” in early ’85, it was re-released an made No 16 in April of that year. We will be seeing much more of “Born In The USA” and its attendant singles in shows to come I’m sure. As for me, I liked this (both times around).

Order of appearance Artist Song Did I Buy it?

1

Kim Wilde The Second Time No – not even for the picture sleeve

2

Sade Smooth Operator Nah

3

Wham! Freedom No but we all have the Greatest Hits don’t we?

4

Stephanie Mills The Medicine Song Wasn’t my thing at the time

5

Paul Young I’m Gonna Teat Your Playhouse Down Not the 7” but I bought the LP it was from “The Secret Of Association”

6

Alison Moyet All Cried Out I didn’t

7

Style Council Shout To The Top No but my brother had it so I had a proxy copy

8

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

9

Bruce Springsteen Cover Me No but I have the “Born In The USA” album on vinyl

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 Mike Read and Tommy Vance embarrass themselves and their gender as I can’t find the full programme on YouTube.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09b0ksf/top-of-the-pops-11101984

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-1-6-october-1984-218x300

 

http://www.shanemarais.net/no-1-magazine/no-1-magazine-6-october-1984/

 

 

 

 

 

01-smash-hits-11-24-october-1984-226x300

 

http://www.shanemarais.net/smash-hits-magazine/smash-hits-11-24-october-1984/