Thursday, 12 April 2012

Top of the Pops: 31st March, 1977.

Lynsey De Paul, 1973
Lynsey De Paul by AVRO
(Beeld En Geluid Wiki - Gallerie: Toppop 1973)
[CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
A week; it's a long time in politics but nothing compared to a fortnight in popular music. What massive changes'll have swept through British musical culture in the two weeks since the last edition of everyone's favourite music show? What new musical empires'll have risen, and which will have fallen?

Only Diddy David Hamilton can tell us. For it is he who's to guide us tonight through the brave new world of pop we're set to encounter.

I do feel sorry for the first act on each week because they never get an introduction. It must've been hugely frustrating; you get your big break, appearing on TOTP, excited about the huge boost it's going to lend your career, and then no one has a clue who you are because you weren't introduced.

This week has to be a perfect case in point because I don't have a Scooby who the opening act are. They seem quite easy-going - a bit Smokie but without their charisma, or the self-confidence that comes from having been on virtually every week since the dawn of time.

Whoever they are, their song seems to be called Capture Your Heart and, lack of introduction aside, they seem quite pleased to be there.

But why do I have a feeling they were to never be there again?

Apparently they were Blue. Amazing to think that Blue were around back in the 1970s - though Antony Costa's clearly changed a lot since then.

Now it's Billy Ocean and Red Light Spells Danger. He seems to be going for the world record for the size of collars and cuffs a man can support before the sheer weight of them renders him immobile.

Legs and Co are on next, dancing to David Soul and This Time I'm Going In With My Eyes Open.

The last time I saw skirts like that they were on one of those dolls that boarding house landladies used to use to cover up toilet rolls.

In a shock twist, David Dundas is back, out to prove he had more than one hit in him.

He has a very strange look on his face,

On the strength of this and his last one, I do get the feeling he was the Mungo Jerry of his day.

It's all quite Eurovision.

Which leads us perfectly into Lynsey De Paul and Mike Moran, flying the flag for Blighty, with Rock Bottom. It can't be easy having a rock bottom - especially if you have Dave Edmunds' rock piles.

But it shows how the memory plays tricks on you. I remember talking about this in the playground at primary school, which is impossible as it didn't come out until I was in secondary school.

I know people love her and she has the most popular mole outside of Wind In The Willows but I always felt there was something vaguely sinister about Lynsey de Paul, a feeling that refuses to go away.

I would say there's something sinister about Mike Moran but there isn't.

This always reminds me of a Bill Oddie song that often got played during silent scenes in The Goodies.

Berni Flint's back.

And now he's gone, replaced by The Stylistics - looking weirdly like Gerry Anderson puppets. This is the third song on this week's show that I have no memory of.

Their dancing can only be called half-hearted.

Their singer has a weird look of permanent startledness on his face.

And their dancing's still half-hearted.

The last few minutes have led me to conclude The Stylistics are a band best heard and never seen.

Bonnie Tyler's More Than A Lover is the fourth song on this week's show that I have no memory of. Can it be? Can our hero be going senile?

Argkh! That first note was a bit rough. Frankly, if a bloke on your local building site came out with it, you'd send him off for a packet of Strepsils.

Though, in fairness to her, she's looking better than I remember.

What does this tune sound like?

Is it When Doves Cry? Or is it Time to Hide by Wings? Or is it something else altogether?

Whatever it sounds like, I quite like it. It has a vague unconventionality about it.

Now Mike Nesmith's on, talking to David Hamilton and plugging his song Rio.

He has a beard!

Did he ever talk in The Monkees? I don't remember

Whatever, he wasn't with David for long.

ABBA are at Number 1, with Knowing Me, Knowing You: A-Haaaaa.

It's still that video. They're still freeze-framing and looking through each other. I still prefer the one who's not blonde. She looks cheeky. The blonde one never looked cheeky.

We play out with Elvis and Blue Bayou.

I do feel sorry for David Bowie though. He's now at Number 5, having been on the chart for what seems like months, and still can't get on the show. I only hope it doesn't finish his career.

In summary, I do feel this week's show was a let-down after the upturn in quality we got a fortnight ago, full of songs that made so little impression on me at the time that I had no memory of them, mostly mid-tempo and resolutely unchallenging. The fact that – ABBA aside - a Bonnie Tyler song I've never heard before in my entire life was the highlight can't be taken as a good sign.

Still, the good thing about TOTP is that no matter how disappointing an edition might be, there's always the hope that next week's will be better.

And that David Bowie might finally be allowed on.


Dougie said...

That was "Moody Blue", Steve, although melodically the chorus isn't unlike "Blue Bayou".

"Sinister" Lynsey de Paul made me laugh out loud. Wikipedia says "Rock Bottom" came second in Eurovision so, not the failure I scorned it as. Engelbert should be rehearsing " Nul Points, s'il vous plait" to stand a chance this year.

Steve W. said...

Argh! You're right. It was Moody Blue.

As for Engelbert, I have faith he can succeed where so many have failed.

Actually, I don't but I still wish him well.

David P Perlmutter said...

I do love this, brings back so many memories. Every Thursday, rush in for 7pm to watch TOTP...everyone at school the day after talking about who was one etc...just loved the 80's, sadly....

Also following you and follow me at

Also twitter @davepperlmutter

Great to connect....

@howardbowden said...

Thanks for these - I look forward to Sky Plus-ing my way thru to Mike Nesmith and beard. Also, was Berni Flint ever described as the Scouse Glen Campbell? If not I wish to copyright it here and now.

Martin Palmer said...

I loved the Stylistics track - I had never really listened to the lyrics before but I did this time and it made me LMAO! Listen to how loved up he is when he's a millionaire...

Steve W. said...

I have to admit I totally missed the point of the song the first time I heard it. It wasn't till their second time doing it on the show that I spotted the punchline.

Robert said...

I really like the Mike Nesmith song - if you haven't heard it, go check it out on Youtube. It's bizarre yet rather lovely.

Steve W. said...

Yep, local radio in my area used to play it fairly regularly about 20 years ago and it's oddly pleasing.


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