Thursday, 15 November 2012

Top of the Pops: 27th October, 1977.

David Bowie, live on stage, wearing an eyepatch and playing a guitar in 1974
David Bowie was supposed to be on tonight's show but,
thanks to the Dave Lee Travis thing, wasn't.
Poor David. He must be wondering if he'll ever get to appear
on Top of the Pops.
Meanwhile, here is is in 1974, by AVRO
(Beeld En Geluid Wiki - Gallerie: Toppop 1974)
[CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Well, it's all been a right old kerfuffle, with tonight's planned edition being pulled, thanks to the Dave Lee Travis arrest.

But, undeterred by such shocks and surprises, I'm here and raring to go.

Can David Kid Jensen pull off a coup and be the first Top of the Pops presenter not to get arrested at an inconvenient moment?

Only the next half hour can tell.

 And we kick off with Santana doing She's Not There.

Who's doing the singing on this? I assume it's not Carlos.

Is it Colin Blunstone? It sounds like him.

And this week's obligatory Rock and Roll revivalists are...

...Slade!

But not looking or sounding like Slade.

Noddy of course still sounds like Noddy. Even in these days of the much-lauded New Rock, some things don't change.

They seem to be doing My Baby Left Me. That's All Right.

They're doing it competently enough but is this really what we want to hear from our favourite Wolverhampton foot-stompers?

Dave's gone bald. Is this an attempt to jump on that New Music bandwagon that's sweeping the land?

Definitely not trying to jump on that bandwagon is Mary Mason who's here to treat us to her version of Any Way That You Want Me.

She doesn't look very happy.

Was this from a musical?

Whatever it's from, it's not grabbing me.

It's turned into Angel Of The Morning but I'm still not getting into it.

Massive eyelashes cast humongous shadows across her face, like the legs of giant, eyeball-eating spiders.

And now it's all gone Cilla Black.

Learning nothing from recent scandals, Kid's with a zillion young girls.

And now Darts are here with Daddy Cool.

I did always feel Darts should have been the cast of Blake's 7. Somehow you could see them pulling it off.

A man's playing a guitar solo on his saxophone, which takes some doing.

And now Den Heggarty's getting stuck in.

He still looks like Beaker from the Muppets.

But forget Muppets - because Ram Jam are back, and being danced to by Legs and Co.

Incited by such wild music, they're going for it, the brazen hussies.

Lots of hair flinging.

Fists in your face from one of them

And now Kid's back, with yet more young girls.

Possibly, I think, singing about the more mature woman, it's Rod Stewart and You're In My Heart.

What a lovely song this is - one of those tracks, like Nobody Does It Better, that you could only imagine coming out in 1977.

And he's, so far, resisted the urge to ruin it by waving his bum in our face.

But who was the big bosomed lady with the Dutch accent? It can't have been Britt Ekland. That wouldn't make any sense at all.

And just what are Celtic United?

You have to hand it to him, only Rod Stewart could do a tender love song that massed ranks could wave their scarves along to.

Now it's Boney M and Belfast.

I do always feel this track was somewhat of a mistake.

Leaving aside the fact it's got to be one of the dullest hits they ever had - and its optimism for the city proved hopelessly premature - does anyone really want to see Boney M tackling social politics of the day?

And, speaking of people who should be in Blake's 7, what on Earth are they wearing? Let's be honest, nothing says, "The Troubles," more than dressing up like something from Star Maidens From Outer Space.

The truth is, I'm getting bored listening to it, and I can't usually say that about Boney M.

No reason to be bored next - because it's Tom Robinson, making his debut with 2-4-6-8 Motorway.

Is it my imagination? The show's volume seems to have dropped noticeably for Tom.

I must admit, despite my liking for the record, this seems a workmanlike performance and he's coming across like an English teacher trying to convince his class he's a punk star.

People who didn't need to convince anyone of anything are on next, as ABBA give us The Name of The Game.

I love this song. I love this video. When it comes to ABBA, they're both the virtual definition of quintessential.

Is that Ludo they're playing? You don't get enough Ludo in modern pop.

And now it's Smokey Robinson with what Kid tells us is the theme from The Big Time.

He doesn't mean that Esther Rantzen show, does he? The one that discovered Sheena Easton?

It's not very interesting, whatever it is.

The audience looking riveted by Smokey's performance.

He's brought his band with him but he seems to have forgotten to bring a song with him.

Kid's back with more girls.

Kid's flirting with one of them.

And Baccara are somehow at Number 1.

It's that same terrible performance we seem to have had inflicted on us every week for months now.

Is it me or is the drummer not quite in time?

Then again I once read a thing in a newspaper, where a Classical musicologist said the secret of the Beatles' greatness was Ringo never quite drumming in time, so perhaps Baccara were shrewder than we might have thought.

Oh my God, it's Peter Powell, Radio 1's newest recruit!

Oh my God, it's the Sex Pistols and Holidays In The Sun!

Like the sneakiest of sneaky devils, the show leaves its two big dramatic reveals till right at the end!

What a mixed bag that all was, with probably the least memorable record Slade ever unleashed on the 1970s public, Tom Robinson's debut and the shock arrival of Peter Powell and the Sex Pistols. Overall, despite Mary Mason, Smokey Robinson and Baccara, I generally approved of it.

And no one got arrested. Which, let's face it, these days, is the most important thing on a music show.

6 comments:

Aggy said...

Squeezing in Blake 7 And Star Maidens references. I look forward to next weeks Children of the Stones and How green is my valley references to complete the late 70's Gareth Thomas set

Steve W. said...

Gareth Thomas; where would the world of 1970s escapism have been without him?

Arthur Nibble said...

Brilliant, Steve! Darts as Blake's 7 is pure genius. I look forward to a gratuitous mention of "Monkey" or "The Flashing Blade" next week, unless Peter gets his collar felt.

@howardbowden said...

Noddy's haircut mixed elements of mod, glam and suedehead, which was rather miraculous for 1977.

Martin Palmer said...

That was a stellar edition of TOTP, ironically only the immortal Smokey Robinson letting the side down.

Love Den deliberately falling off the stage for Darts and the first protest song about the Northern Irish Troubles - not exactly 'Alternative Ulster', was it?

Also love Sue and the girls getting raunchy to Black Betty!

Let's hope that no more of the DJs are involved in the Saville scandal otherwise we'll soon be watching TOTP 1983...

Steve W. said...

Martin, I'm fully expecting next week's edition to be presented by Fearne Cotton.

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