Thursday, 13 September 2012

Top of the Pops: 11th August, 1977.

Phil Lynott, Thin Lizzy playing live on stage, 1980
Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott; by Helge Øverås (Own work)
[CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
As the nights start to draw in and we begin to say goodbye to the summer, we plunge straight into the sunset with Kid Jensen who introduces us to Jonathan Richman and his Modern Lovers.

Sadly, Jonathan's not able to be with us tonight and so we just get to hear him played over the countdown.

I don't care how time-saving such a move may be, it's still not right to hear anything that's not a theme tune performing such a function.

Not only that but its use as the intro music means we don't even get to hear the whole of the song, even though Kid tells us it's this week's highest climber.

I have no doubt we will however get to hear the whole of Showaddywaddy.

This is a good thing, as they might not be musical heavyweights but they do know how to do Top of the Pops. In fact, I'd go so far as to say they're the quintessential Top of the Pops group.

Are Dave's flies undone?

That's definitely not Quintessential Top of the Pops.

Neither are the Steve Gibbons Band. Assuming, as always, that the singer's the eponymous Steve, he looks to have been round the block a few times too many for that.

Kid clearly doesn't care. He's happily dancing along in the background.

I wonder if Status Quo ever did a cover of this? You could imagine they would have.

Barry Biggs is back, what seems like months since his last appearance, but still doing the same song as before.

But now hooray! It's Eddie and the Hot Rods with Do Anything You Wanna Do - even though Kid seems to think they're just called The Rods.

This has to be one of the greatest pop songs of the late 1970s; the closest Britain's ever produced to its own version of Born to Run. Quite frankly, anyone who doesn't like this has to have something wrong with them.

They're getting close to the spirit of punk, even if they have see-through drums.

Not getting anywhere near to punk are Legs and Co who're on next, dancing to Rita Coolidge.

They seem to be doing some sort of corrupted Gap Band type dance. I hope everyone at home's joining in with it. I know I am even though I'm on my own.

I really don't know what this dance has to do with the song, and I'm missing Rita's cactus.

A band who're so good they can get by even without the aid of a cactus are Thin Lizzy who're still dancing in the moonlight.

As always, halfway through the show, I've lost my reception.

When it comes back, as always I'm confronted by someone I don't recognise.

Whoever he is, he seems to be in the Labi Siffre envelope, though I say that as someone who doesn't have a clue what the Labi Siffre envelope is.

No problems of recognition with the next act. It's Fleetwood Mac doing Dreams.

This isn't good news, as the only Fleetwood Mac song I like is Tusk.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I actively dislike any of their other tracks. It's just that, pleasant though they are, they just make me start to nod off after a minute or so.

On the plus side, Stevie Nicks is looking nice.

John McVie's looking like that impressionist, the one with the long nose who does all the sports people but never looks like any of them.

Lindsey Buckingham's looking like Jeff Lynne.

Between them they could start their own lookalikes agency. Admittedly Stevie Nicks would have to work as a Stevie Nicks lookalike but I like to feel she could pull it off.  She really does look remarkably like herself.

But I do wish they'd liven themselves up a bit. Does this song actually go anywhere? It just seems to meander endlessly, like someone doing the feather dusting.

Now it's another act I've never heard of - JALN.

The intro sounds like Diamonds On The Soles Of  Her Shoes. Could it be that Paul Simon wasn't being as original as we thought when he did Graceland?

My god, this is bad.

It sounds like something from a children's show.

Meanwhile, Donna Summer's photo's still Number 1.

Kid, give up on the whole, "Good Love," thing. I can say this as someone living thirty five years in the future, it's just never going to work.

More importantly, there's no play-out this week - and that means no Boney M. For a seasoned fan of The M, like me, that's almost enough grounds to throw my TV out the window.

So it's all over, and there's no doubt about it, Eddie and the Hot Rods bestrode the show like colossi. So much so that I'm straight off to Youtube to listen to them all over again.

The Jam didn't manage to make me do that, the Stranglers didn't manage to make me do that, Showaddywaddy didn't manage to make me do that but Eddie - and Eddie alone - has. If that doesn't prove the Hot Rods deserve a place in music history, I don't know what would.


cerebus660 said...

For a week in which the Top Forty featured The Jam, The Stranglers, The Sex Pistols, Television and The Modern Lovers they certainly wheeled out some dross in this episode. Barry Biggs' song wasn't a patch on the wonderful Sideshow, Showaddywaddy just seemed bored, and the JALN Band's bland disco was dire.

But, as you say, thank God for Eddie & The Hot Rods! What a fantastic song! And it was good to see Thin Lizzy performing Dancing In The Moonlight - I hadn't heard it in years and it sounded strangely like early Springsteen - another cracking song.

I Feel Love sounded as awesome as ever, but it's a shame there was no video of Donna. Luckily there was footage of Stevie Nicks ;-)

Steve W. said...

Now you mention it, you've just made me realise that Dancing in the Moonlight has vague melodic echoes of Springsteen's Blinded By The Light to it.


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