Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Top of the Pops: 23rd June, 1977.

Brotherhood of Man, 1976 Eurovision Song Contest rehearsals
The Brotherhood of Man - Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief:
Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO),
1945-1989 - negatiefstroken zwart/wit, nummer toegang,
bestanddeelnummer 928-4930 (Nationaal Archief)
[CC-BY-SA-3.0 (],
via Wikimedia Commons
Despite its best efforts to do so, BBC 4 has pitifully failed to catch me out, and this Wednesday evening finds me all rared up and ready to go.

I'm not the only one - because Jimmy Savile too has failed to be caught out and, by the sounds of him, is as full of vim and vigour as ever.

But first we kick off with a miracle, as, for possibly the first time ever, I recognise both the opening act and their song.

It's Dave Edmunds and his Rockpile, with I Knew The Bride When She Used To Rock and Roll.

In retrospect, what an odd outfit Dave Edmunds' Rockpile were, somehow managing to feel like they were riding on a New Wave bandwagon despite being as much a 1950s throwback as Shakin' Stevens ever was.

Nick Lowe still looks like he should've been the fifth Beatle though.

Jimmy Savile's back and as well dressed as ever, in a tracksuit covered in crudely sewn-on flags of the British Isles.

Now it's Tony Etoria.

They've saved the act I've never heard of for second on the bill! Can the show survive such a drastic format change?

This seems to be cheerful tune sung from the perspective of a mad stalker.

Sadly for Tony and his oddly creepy song, the audience're clearly more interested in watching the cameramen than in watching him.

Speaking of creepy, Gary Glitter's back.

And it's a lot livelier than his last appearance, which was just plain disturbing.

This is more like the Gary we were familiar with - although you can't help feeling it's a song calling out for a bigger production.

My razor-sharp Steve Senses tell me he might be miming.

Overall you have to say it's one of music's great tragedies that a man who, like Jimmy Savile, could make you smile just upon the mention of his name, had to end up enmeshed in such scandal,  robbing us forever of a small piece of innocent fun in our lives.

Next up, it's Carole Bayer Sager. He still hasn't moved out and she still hasn't got her hands out of her pockets.

Carole's gone and Jimmy's returned. He's back to his old trick of introducing us to strange acquaintances of his. God only knows where he finds his endless supply of discomfiting people.

It's ABBA the Brotherhood Of Man, with Angelo. This is more like it. How could anyone not like the Brotherhood Of Man?

Angelo's resemblance to Fernando is obvious but I'd never noticed before that they've also stolen the piano from Dancing Queen.

There's no two ways about it, this has to be the cheeriest song about suicide ever written.

Now we're back with another of Jimmy's friends who all look weirdly familiar, like they should be someone famous. This time it's a man called Dennis, and the famous person he should be is Mick Fleetwood.

The famous people the Stranglers should have been are the Stranglers and that's the cue for them to give us another airing of Go Buddy Go.

You have to give Top Of The Pops credit. How many other music shows could have gone seamlessly from the Brotherhood Of Man to the Stranglers with nothing to separate them but Jimmy Savile?

Now it's Johnny Nash. I don't know the song but, whatever it is, it's taking its time getting going.

I must admit I know very little of the oeuvre of Johnny Nash but this seems quite nice, with a hint of Otis Redding's Try A Little Tenderness.

Legs and Co are back, dressed as Little Bo Peep and dancing to Oh Lori.

I do feel they should have dancers on Jools Holland's Later to fill in for any acts who can't be bothered to turn up.

I bet Paul Nicholas would never be not bothered to turn up for a TV show. I bet Paul Nicholas would never be not bothered to turn up for for the opening of an envelope. Never have I seen a man of Paul Nicholas's enthusiasm. And we get a chance to experience it all over again as the man who gave us seminal rock classic Grandma's Party is back, doing Heaven on the 7th Floor.

There's a harmonica. For a moment I'm hoping it turns out to be being played by Stevie Wonder.

Sadly it doesn't. But what meeting of the talents that would've been.

I do feel Paul Nicolas was what Brendon could've been if he'd played his cards right.

Jimmy has another friend with him. This time the famous person he should be is Peter Frampton because it is Peter Frampton, popping in to show off his bare chest and say nothing much in particular. Sadly, his tube is notable by its absence. It would've been a wonderful moment in pop history if, in the time since his previous appearance on the show, Peter Frampton had gone so mad he'd taken to talking through his tube as well.

At Number 1, it's the Jacksons with Show You The Way To Go.

I must confess it's not one of my favourite Jacksons tracks.

To be honest not many Jacksons tracks are.

Despite me being a renowned king of Disco, I only ever liked Blame It On The Boogie and Can You Feel It?

What's this show they're on? I don't think it's Soul Train, the studio and stage layout don't look right. Nor do the audience, who seem more of a mixed racial bag than Soul Train's audience ever were.

Whatever show it is, the canned audience seem to be getting well into it.

Sadly, for me, it seems to be dragging on forever.

Jimmy's strangling a woman as we go into a track I don't recognise that's acting as the show's play-out. For a moment it sounds like Cliff Richard then suddenly sounds like Jamiroquai. I brilliantly conclude it's neither of them but don't conclude who it actually is and can therefore only watch in cluelessness as the show fades out.

Well that all flew by. All in all, I think that was one of my favourite editions of the show so far. I don't think I disliked anything aside from from the Jacksons and, apart from it dragging on too long, I don't actively mind that one either. Some people might say I should have disliked the Botherhood of Man and Paul Nicholas but they're always so smiley and glad to be there, how could I ever hope to take against them?


Dougie said...

I WAS caught out by this one but it appears I've missed nothing. I'm partial to a bit of "Oh Lori" but couldn't care less about the rest.

Arthur Nibble said...

Some great insights there about GG and the suicide song in particular. Well played!

Steve W. said...

Thanks, Arthur. :)

the erotic adventures of sweet daddy parsnip said...

always knew the gary glitter song as a shakey song - never realised it was a cover.
the brotherhood of man song seemed to be a long chorus with the contractual minimum requirement of verse getting in the way.
the audience for the jacksons song seemed to be having the time of their life, breaking into rapturous applause at the drop of a hat - i'll take this michael jackson over the creepy white one of later years - he seemed to be gaving a fine time.

wilberforce said...

if peter frampton talked through his tube, would he sound like stephen hawking?

Anonymous said...

mmm jimmy saville introducing gary glitter. Something dodgy there


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