Saturday, 19 May 2012

Top of the Pops: 5th May, 1977.

Mr Punch
By Musphot (Own work)
[CC-BY-SA-3.0 (],
via Wikimedia Commons.
Well, I've girded my loins. I've strapped on my armour. Now to see what challenges the second of this week's instalments of the world's greatest music show has in store for us.

What it first has in store is Noel Edmonds, as always looking as unlike the presenter of a popular music show as it's possible to be. You did always feel Noel would've been far more at home working in banking than in the entertainment business.

And, for once, we kick off with an act I actually recognise.

It's the Bay City Rollers...

...and a song I don't recognise.

Remembering they're meant to be objects of lust for girls too young to feel lust, they're showing off a lot of chest, which is a good thing, as I'm sure it's the sort of behaviour that gets us all a little excited back here in 1977.

The song seems OK but lacks the overwhelming sense of optimistic pop unstoppability of their earlier hits. Even at the time it must have seemed clear the sun was slowly setting on the Rollers' days of supremacy.

Someone whose sun was still hovering somewhere around noon, was Rod Stewart who's on next with First Cut is the Deepest.

It's a pleasant enough track but not one of my Rod favourites.

And this is where we get a reminder of the problem with Rod. He's doing a sensitive ballad then suddenly turns round and starts waving his arse at us all.

This is why I believe people are wrong when they say he sold out by going disco. For a man with a determination to wave his bum in everyone's faces at every opportunity, when disco came along he must have felt like at last he'd found his true calling in life.

Delegation are back, and looking older than ever. I don't like to be narrow-minded but I can't help feeling that men of that age really shouldn't be wearing such figure-hugging, chest-revealing outfits.

Mac and Katie Kissoon are up next.

Noel introduces them like they're old friends of the show, though I must admit I've never heard of them.

Nor have I ever heard of the song but they seem to continue that Marilyn McCoo/Billy Davis Jr tradition of an attractive woman paired with a man who looks like talent scouts found him lurking in the cellar beneath Paris Opera House.

As for Katie, she has some strange sort of creature attached to her chest. It seems to be one of Molly Sugden's old hats from the Liver Birds.

The audience are suddenly heading for them just as they're fading out. Bearing in mind the audience were presumably there to see some pop acts, just where have they been all the way through the song?

Noel cracks a joke I don't understand at all, about something doing you good.

What I do understand is Leo Sayer who's back with his video of multi-layered Leos and still showing us his “fun” side.

Next, on to Joy Sarney - yet another act I've never heard of before.

It soon becomes obvious why, as she quickly plummets into what must be the worst performance in TOTP history. Actually managing to make Rick Dees look like a latter-day Beethoven, she launches into a truly bizarre duet with Mr Punch.

At this juncture I should point out she looks like Steve Does Top of the Pops favourite Jolene Blalock.

I like to think that, if Jolene Blalock ever launched a pop career, this is what it'd be like.

I suspect that Jolene Blalock, on the other hand, likes to think otherwise.

But it has to be quite the cheeriest song about domestic violence I've ever heard. "He's been in trouble with the law for grievous bodily harm," she gushes, prompting the thought that Joy Sarney should've been in trouble with the law for grievous bodily harm to music.

Now it's Frankie Valli, and yet another song I've never heard before. It really is turning out to be a night of discovery for me.

Seeing as it's Frankie Valli, I keep expecting him to go all high-pitched but he resolutely refuses to do so. In places, the track vaguely brings to mind the work of Harry Chapin. In others it doesn't.

Now, proving he really would have been more comfortable in banking, Noel tells us it's, “Legs and Company.”

It's that weirdly happy dance they did the other week to Andrew Gold's Lonely Boy.

ABBA have finally been kicked off the Number 1 slot and replaced by Deniece Williams with Free.

I'm pleased to report that, after finding it boring the last time it was on, I'm starting to get into it again after all these years. It can't be denied it's a classy track and she has a decent set of pipes on her, even if she does blow too hard on them from time to time.

She's doing the waggly thing with her fingers again, which still impresses me far more than it ought to.

It's Stevie Wonder's turn to get the fuzzy end of the lollipop this week by receiving the honour of playing us out.

So, what can you say? The night's earlier edition was completely dominated in the memory by one strange and inexplicable act in Contempt, and this show was likewise dominated by the bizarre horror of Joy Sarney - whereas perfectly tasteful acts like Frankie Valli and Delegation are already slipping from the mind. It just goes to show that, in the magical world of showbusiness, being memorable and being worthy of remembrance aren't necessarily the same thing.


Arthur Nibble said...

Steve, Noel's 'does you good' joke was a pun on Mac Kissoon's name. There's a stout which used to be popular in the 60's and 70's (and is still available in cans) called Mackeson - Mac Kissoon, Mackeson, you see? - whose ad catchphrase was "it looks good, it tastes good and, by golly, it does you good". I really should get out more!

Steve W. said...

Arthur, thanks for that. Suddenly it all makes sense.

I do remember the ads but misremembered them as being for Strongbow. Therefore I couldn't understand what Mac Kissoon had to do with it. I assumed Noel was making a reference to a McDonalds Big Mac and thus couldn't figure out what that had to do with an advert for Strongbow.


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