Thursday, 13 December 2012

Top of the Pops: 24th November, 1977.

Mull of Kintyre lighthouse
Mull of Kintyre lighthouse by Steve Partridge
[CC-BY-SA-2.0],  via Wikimedia Commons

This is it. I have my bagpipes plugged in, my sporran in my hand and I'm all revved up for what I believe is set to be a historic show.

It certainly is - because we kick off with Boney M single-handedly sorting out Northern Ireland for what seems to be the ninth week running. I do like to feel Bobby was hoping to dance the IRA into submission.

Sadly, we don't get to see him do so, as we only get to hear The M over the chart rundown.

That done with, it's some people who've been watching too much Bay City Rollers and listening to too much Beach Boys, trying to cash in what I assume was the skateboard craze.

Whoever they are, I do get the feeling the skateboard craze has arrived five years too late for their hopes of stardom. They look like they've been locked in a cupboard since 1974 and have only just escaped it.

Hold on a moment! That drummer's not the bloke who used to be in Flintlock and The Tomorrow People is it? Mike Holoway, was he called? If it is him, suddenly, whoever these people, are my feelings towards them have warmed instantly and I hope they have many chart hits for years to come. I can wish nothing but good to a Tomorrow Person.

From a Tomorrow Person to the Yesterday man. Because - hooray! - it's Wings. It's that song. It's that video. It's that farmhouse.

I don't care how uncool it is to say so, I'll admit it right here and now. I love this song. It's one of the greatest melodies ever written, it wipes the floor with 99% of punk records and I'm tempted to whip out my guitar and join in.

Linda's appeared from the farmhouse and Paul's suddenly doing a runner. Stop running away from Linda, Paul. She might have a veggie burger for you.

The pipe band have appeared. On the beach. Forget Bohemian Rhapsody. This is the greatest video in history.

"Sweep through the heather." Don't mention heather, Paul.

Disgracefully, Macca's faded-out long before we get to hear his shouty bit - and we're off from Scotland to Wales.

That's because it's Bonnie Tyler with It's A Hard Egg.

I'm getting a bit bored with it now. I want Wings back.

Instead I get Darts, with Daddy Cool. It's all very energetic but this is the millionth time they've been on doing it. I'm starting to want a new song from them.

Kid's back.

He's trying to strangle a female audience member.

Leo Sayer's on with a song I have no recollection of.

It seems to be called There Isn't Anything.

This is quite pleasant. It's exactly like you'd expect a Leo Sayer song to sound. And it's got exactly the video you'd expect a Leo Sayer song to have. Was this from his TV show? It has the air of something that would be.

Leo's gone and Legs and Co are with us, dancing to Jonathan Richman's Egyptian Reggae, which isn't actually reggae at all, is it?

However you classify it, it's giving Flick Colby the chance to hit new heights of choreographic literalism, with everyone dressed up Cleopatra style.

And now we get the full power of Flick's genius as, for no good reason, a panto camel appears.

What a mighty beast that is. No wonder it can survive for weeks in the desert.

Was this song the inspiration for Fleetwood Mac's Tusk? There are noticeable similarities between the two tracks.

Flick's flung herself fully into madness, as the camel launches into a tap-dance.

Having seen that performance, I do feel all women should be forced to dress like Cleopatra and all men should be forced to dress as a camel.

Hot Chocolate are back, with Put Your Love In Me.

This is another one I've not heard of.

I didn't think it was possible to not have heard of a 1970s Hot Chocolate single.

Interesting chord change.

Actually, it's turned out I have heard this before. I just didn't recognise it till it hit the chorus. This is all rather fabby and disco and vaguely Cerrone.

Speaking of fabby disco groovers, it's another helping of the Bee Gees and How Deep Is Your Love?

And next it's someone called Larry Gomez with Santa Esmeralda doing Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood. Fair play to him, he's doing his best, whoever he is but, sadly, I fear the total uselessness of both him and his dancers means his efforts will prove to be in vain.

ABBA are still Number 1 with Name of the Game.

And we play out with the Jacksons and Going Places. A Jacksons song I recognise. Will wonders never cease?

It's going on a bit. Were they running short this week?

So that's it. The edition when we first saw the future biggest-selling single in British history. I have to say I didn't feel the show as a whole caught light this week. There were two many tracks we've heard before, acts we'd never hear from again, and Mull of Kintyre was cut short. Still, we did at least get to see the moment when Flick Colby's brain finally sprung a leak and undiluted madness poured out. Let's be honest if you don't want to see that from Top of the Pops, what do you want to see?


Arthur Nibble said...

If Fleetwood Mac had been influenced by "Egyptian Reggae", surely their song would have been called "Hump" instead of "Tusk"? It's okay, don't worry about replying.

Well, a tinge of sadness. Isn't next week's double issue your swansong? Or may you decide to give it another year?

Steve W. said...

Arthur, I'm not totally sure when my swansong is. But I definitely won't be back next year. I fear the strain of watching all that Legs and Co would be too much for my sanity.

Anonymous said...

I do hope Kid Jensen and Noel Edmonds doesn't get arrested otherwise we will have TOTP every other month, if that


Anonymous said...

Steve - in the words of KC and the Sunshine Band - Please don't go! I read your comments with interest every week. Life will not be the same. How can you pass up on such greats in 1978 as the Smurfs, Brian and Michael, The Scottish Football Squad, Plastic Bertrand, Jilted John, Hylda Baker and Arthur Mullard, Hot Gossip and so many other classics. Your country needs you at this time of dire music, fashion and memories that we thought we had lost. The year of Saturday Night Fever, Grease et al. It was the year I went to Uni, lost my virginity as well as my taste in music. And TOTP was there all the time - well, almost apart from when it was off the air because of some BBC strike. As someone might have said 'Hows about that then?' Another year and you will have earned a rest.

Steve W. said...

Thanks, Anon. At the moment, I certainly don't have any urges to continue with it but I'll see how I feel after Christmas. I suspect I'll still feel the same though.


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