Thursday, 12 July 2012

Top of the Pops: 16th June, 1977.

Grease and Xanadu star Olivia Newton-John smiling, 1988
Olivia Newton-John by Larry D. Moore
(Nv8200p on en.wikipedia) using a Minolta SRT-101
(© 1988 Larry D. Moore)
[GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
This week there's been much talk of Olympic lanes on the roads of London, wherein the VIPs of that event can drive around the streets of our capital, unhindered by the masses who actually pay for it all. But who'll be speeding along tonight's highway to glory? And who'll be driving straight up pop's cul-de-sac before hitting the bollards of obscurity?

Only David "Kid" Jensen can tell us. For it is he who is to be our guide around the spiritual spaghetti junction that is the music scene of 1977.

And of course, we kick off with the obligatory act I don't recognise.

I do vaguely know the tune though, even if I don't have a clue what it's called.

If it wasn't 35 years old, I could think it's being sung by Keith Lemon.

It sounds a bit like Disco Duck but my finely-honed Steve-Senses tell me it's probably not Rick Dees and his Cast of Idiots.

Whoever he is, he's stolen Peter Frampton's tube and is clearly determined to use it. It's all very funky but, to my untutored ears, he lacks the style of the man they don't know as Frampto.

Now it's all over, Kid tells us it was John Miles with Slow Down.

This is a total shock to me, as I never knew John Miles looked like that. For some reason, I always thought he was bald but I might be mixing him up with the then-popular snooker player Graham Miles.

Now it's someone I could never mix up with a snooker player.

It's Olivia Newton-John, with Sam.

It does strike me that she has a much stronger and more passionate voice than she's sometimes given credit for but, right now, I'm more concerned with what I'm seeing rather than hearing because, for some reason, the picture's square instead of rectangular. Is this how it was transmitted at the time? If so it's a strange artistic choice. It creates the impression we're seeing every act through a hole cut in a sheet of black cardboard. Either that or it's like I've just cut a hole in Olivia Newton-John's living room wall and am now perving at her.

And now I'm perving at Hot Chocolate with So You Win Again.

I do believe it's physically impossible to dislike Hot Chocolate.

If only I could say the same for Queen who're on next with Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy.

When I was a youth, a strange thing happened. After Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen completely disappeared off my radar until they released We Are The Champions - and, listening to this, I can see why. It's all very clever but, like 10cc at their worst, seems to be an adventure in futile and gratuitous creativity.

Now it's somebody whose name I didn't catch and a song that seems to be called Everybody Have a Good Time.

They seem to be OK but the truth is there's an act like this on every week and, after a few months, they all sort of blur into one.

Their dance moves are somewhat limited.

In fact they only seem to have one, which involves groinal thrusting. They somehow manage to make groinal thrusting seem less sexual than it should be. Not like that bloke from Honky who managed to make it far too sexual for comfort.

Towards the end, the singer mentions that they're on Soul Train, which seems rather undiplomatic of him.

Now Legs and Co are dancing to You're Gonna Get Next To Me by yet another act whose name I've missed.

Men seem to have appeared from nowhere to dance with Legs and Co but most of them don't seem to want to dance with Legs and Co, which is rather odd, as they look rather attractive this week.

That over and done with, it's the Foster Brothers.

Kid tells us we'll be hearing a lot more of them in the future. Maybe I've not been paying enough attention but I don't recall ever hearing anything of them ever.

If you've ever wondered what Kirsten Dunst would look like with a moustache, here's your chance to find out because the singer's resemblance to her really is quite striking – and distracting.

Then again it's not as distracting as his constant energetic bobbing around which has rapidly become annoying.

The song itself seems OK but not remarkable.

I still can't get over how much he looks like Kirsten Dunst. I genuinely think it'll haunt me for years.

Argh! It's Kermit's nephew!

In Germany, they have a well-publicised problem with exploding frogs. I wish Top of the Pops did.

Fair play to it, after 35 years it can still make me feel as nauseous as ever.

And I still don't think it's fair that that frog has nicer banisters than I do. I'm genuinely tempted to go out right now and start carving them into the same shape. Only technical incompetence and a fear that my banisters aren't made from real wood, stands between me and my ambition.

From out of the blue (as far as I'm concerned), it's Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I'd always assumed they were one of those acts who'd never been on Top of the Pops.

So far it's sounding like Status Quo on sleeping pills.

It's not great.

In fact, some might say it's terrible.

Then again, maybe it's good. I'm having trouble making my mind up.

Kenny Rogers is Number 1 with Lucille. How could anyone not warm to Kenny Rogers?

That's not to say the song's succeeding in holding my attention in any way shape or form but there's something about Kenny Rogers I can't help but approve of, no matter how boring the song.

My expert knowledge of counting to three tells me it's a waltz. I wonder how many waltzes have made Number 1 on the UK charts?

If this was a proper website, I'd probably be able to tell you but that sort of competence, insight and expertise'd go against the spirit of the enterprise, so I'll just sit here adrift on a sea of ignorance and tell you that we play out with the Jacksons doing Show You The Way To Go.


Arthur Nibble said...

Erm, "Last Waltz" by Englebert Humperdinck was another, and Leo Sayer's "When I Need You" was also of the required tempo.

Without having copied your paper, I'm relieved someone else thought John Miles looked like Keith Lemon to prove my eyesight's still okay. Mind you, I made the final score Keith 2 Kirsten 0 - a difference of opinion, as they used to say on "Winner Takes All".

Steve W. said...

Hi, Arthur. The Lemons were certainly flying on tonight's show.

As for waltzes, "Mull of Kintyre," is another Number 1 waltz.

As I was writing the post, the Moody Blues', "Go Now," came to mind but I wasn't sure if it'd got to Number 1. A quick check on Wikipedia confirms that it did.

@howardbowden said...

This is all well and good, but what about Number Ones which employ Waltz time for a few bars in the Middle 8 only?*

*When Will I Be Famous by Bros.

Steve W. said...

I still have nightmares about that Bros tempo change.

I prefer to remember the Beatles showing how it should be done on "We Can Work It Out".

the erotic adventures of sweet daddy parsnip said...

is it me or is kid jensen awful?
first he calls you win again ' ok you win ' - unless that really is it's name.
then, at the end of the show i'm convinced he wished us all ' good love ' - !!?!?

Steve W. said...

Kid did seem to be trying to cultivate the phrase, "Good love," as a catchphrase, despite it making no sense at all. In protest, I now have a policy of only engaging in bad love.

wilberforce said...

like on the record, archie bell actually says "let me see what the soul train gang can do with this", which presumably is a comment on the dance routines done by the audience/pro dancers pretending to be audience (delete as appropriate) on said show...

if so, the answer would be: probably something more varied and imaginative than your backing singers do...

the erotic adventures of sweet daddy parsnip said...

the late night showing had such delights as andy gibb singing something nondescript, emerson lake and palmer performing fanfare for the common man from a very cold, deserted canadian olympic stadium and some guy called glen singinging ' me and the elephant ' - such a shame that these treasures went unseen by most viewers.

Steve W. said...

I do feel particularly aggrieved to have missed out on "Me and the Elephant".

Anonymous said...

OMG HONKY have made the top 40

Steve W. said...

Some things defy all sanity.


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