Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Top of the Pops:17th Feb, 1977

singer and songwriter Leo Sayer dressed as a clown on TopPop TV show in the 1970s
By AVRO (Beeld En Geluid Wiki - Gallerie: Toppop 1974)
[CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Sadly this is not how Leo was dressed on tonight's show.
Here's where I put this all to the test by giving my running commentary on last week's episode. I still haven't seen it yet but have no doubt it'll be a full-on descent into the non-stop Donna Summer, punk rock and Star Wars I remember 1977 being.

It's being introduced by someone I don't recognise. Whoever he is, he seems happy to be there.

They're kicking off with the chart run-down but I'm refusing to watch it, so it doesn't spoil the surprise of what's number 1. It's probably Adele or One Direction or The Wanted like it usually is.

There's no introduction for the first act but my cutting-edge knowledge of modern music tells me it's Suzi Quatro.

She's still got the leather.

She's still got the bass.

Sadly she's not got the song.

Whatever it is, it's not a patch on her early 70s' stuff.

Now she's got her foot up on the piano, trying to pretend it's unfettered visceral Rock and Roll she's doling out but, frankly, like a failed souffle, it's sagging badly.

Is she singing, "Tear me apart if you want to win my heart?" What kind of sentiment is that for a young woman to be expressing?

The anonymous presenter's back.

It's The Moments, with a song that might be called Jack in the Box. Unlike the Suzi track, I remember this from when it was first out. I've always had an affection for it even though I can't think of a single good reason why.

It's all starting to lose its way a bit. They're just stood there going, "Doodle doodle do," which is rarely a good sign in a song.

Now we've been introduced to someone called The Brothers. I must confess to having no memory at all of this, a sort of pop-reggae thing. Still, the drummer has a cuddly toy on his drum kit, so they at least have something going for them.

It's Boz Scaggs and his cast of thousands. I've always been slightly non-plussed by Boz Scaggs. I only know three songs by him and none of them sound like they were done by the same act as the others. Still, with the size of his band at least he was making a huge contribution to keeping America's unemployment figures down.

That really is a phenomenally large band and it seems to be getting bigger with every shot. At this rate of expansion, I just hope he gets through the song before it becomes physically impossible for the world to produce enough food to feed them all.

The mystery presenter's introducing Thelma Houston who may or may not be related to Whitney and therefore may or may not be in a bad place right now.

But this is way better than the Communards' version. Her chest, however, does seem to be out of all control.

It's the Rubettes but it's not the Rubettes as I remember them. I remember them being like a CinemaScope version of Mud, with wide-screen harmonies and epic production. This is some dull country song being sung by a bloke vaguely like Roy Orbison. And there's not a giant hat in sight.

Is this actually the same Rubettes or is it a different group with the same name? If it is a different group I prefer the proper Rubettes.

It really is dragging on for what seems like hours. Even a rather nice guitar solo can't save it.

Mr Big are the highest climber on the charts. I'm assuming it's not the Mr Big who did To Be With You or whatever it was called.

I've not heard this for decades. I seem to remember liking it at the time, though now it sounds ludicrous, with ridiculously overwrought lyrics. And just what does, "Step back inside me, Romeo," actually mean?

It's got a harmonica. That's good - even if it doesn't fit in at all with the mood of the rest of the track.

There's plenty of bare chests on show.

They're doing the Bohemian Rhapsody thing with all the band's heads all on screen at the same time. But, like fools, they've forgotten to up-light themselves. Personally, I make a note of always being up-lit. It's the only way I can preserve the air of mystery that so fascinates the internet.

Legs and Co are dancing to the sounds of Tavares. Lots of tambourine action.

It's not what you'd all classy but at least they're not "interpreting" the song, like they usually try to.

It does strike me that 1977 seemed to be a big year for random key changes. It seems like most of the songs so far have been flinging them in like they were handed out for free at the studio door.

Leo Sayer's at number 1.

I must admit to having a soft spot for Leo.

Well, when I say a soft spot, I mean a soft spot for I Won't Let The Show Go On, One Man Band and this one - When I Need You. It's easy to knock Leo for the hair and the jumpers and the name but you can't argue with a catchy tune.

You did always get the feeling that if Leo Sayer was made of chocolate he'd eat himself. But then, if I were made of chocolate, I'd eat myself. Except for my hands of course. I'd need those to use my keyboard.

Then again the heat from my keyboard'd probably melt my hands.

So that's what I've learned from this week's Top of the Pops. If you're made of chocolate you might as well eat your hands. Never let it be said TV can't be educational.

There's a girl staring at the mystery presenter, with her jaw clenched, as though she's offering him out. Like the true pro he is, he's ignoring her and concentrating on the camera. He's too busy introducing Earth, Wind and Fire to get into a punch-up with a schoolgirl.

Looking at the credits, it seems the mystery presenter was Paul Burnett. How strange. I used to listen to his show for all those years on Radio 1 but had no idea till now what he looked like.

Overall it wasn't a great show. There were no great signs of a wind of change sweeping through popular music. But my main disappointment was that Ken Morse wasn't the rostrum cameraman. I thought it was compulsory for Ken Morse to be rostrum cameraman on every TV show ever made in the past.

Still, I've learned many things from today's show. I've learned to always wear a bra on TV if you're a big girl and that it's OK to eat your own hands. I do feel such wisdom gained makes it a venture worthwhile.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

A welcome to the site.

Garbage lead singer and all-round sex goddess Shirley Ann Manson holds a microphone and leads forward as she sings live
Shirley Manson by Rubenfh (Own work)
[GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
All-round sexpot and Garbage front-woman Shirley Manson once declared her belief that if you appeared on Top of the Pops, it guaranteed you'd never die and nothing bad would ever happen to you again.

She was of course wrong.

As any fool knows, it's writing a blog that guarantees you'll never die and nothing bad'll ever happen to you. And so it is I take another step towards the serene immortality I deserve, with the launch of this, my latest blog.

When it comes to the kind of popular culture represented by Top of the Pops, I could claim to be a man with his ear to the ground and his eyes on the horizon but sadly I'm not and, like a fool, I managed to miss the whole of BBC4's run of Top of the Pops 1976 . Late to the party as always, I have, however, finally noticed the existence of Top of the Pops 1977.

Personally, I recall 1977 as being a terrible year for music until Donna Summer released Love's Unkind and we were then granted such musical wonders as the Spy Who Loved Me and Star Wars theme tunes.

Everyone else seems to recall 1977 as the year punk finally got a stranglehold on the UK music charts. This in mind, I'm sure I can look forward to each Thursday being a descent into a level of chaos and social breakdown never before experienced, culminating, at the year's end, with that epitome of the punk spirit Mull of Kintyre. Only three chords and talk of setting things on fire? Did anything capture the zeitgeist of that year more than the sight of three people in wellies strolling around in Scotland?

I can't say it'll be the most well-informed blog, as I feel that flaunting one's ignorance is always a good thing to do in life. On top of that, I'll be typing my comments as I watch the show, so it may have a certain "spontaneity" to it. I also can't guarantee I'll be covering each week's show as it goes out. Fortunately the miracle of the Internet means I can catch up with editions after they've been first broadcast.

But all that matters is the world's greatest ever music show is back in my life and that, like Shirley Manson, with each edition I do, I'll be adding years to my life.

Or at least I'll be feeling like I have.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...