Sunday 23 December 2012

Top of the Pops: 15th December, 1977.

John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett on stage in 1981
John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett in 1981
By Canada Jack aka Jeremy Gilbert (Own work)
[CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
Hooray!  At last, Steve Does Top of the Pops creates its last-ever post. Much have I suffered and far have I been but soon my ordeal will be over.

As though sensing the epoch-makingness of it all, the BBC have raided the piggy bank and brought in a genuine superstar to present it, with the arrival of a startlingly young-looking Elton John.

I'm not sure who's playing over the chart rundown but it does sound suspiciously like Donna Summer. If so, that would suggest she has two singles out at once, though it has to be said this one doesn't sound a patch on Love's Unkind.

Not a patch on Donna Summer are the Dooleys, doing Love Of My Life.

As I roam the streets of Sheffield, I'm often asked, "Steve, have you ever been grabbed the Dooleys?" and I say, "Yes. Often grabbed but rarely gripped."

That could be because this track, surely their greatest achievement, does sound remarkably like it's been culled from a Martini advert.

I really can't help feeling they could have done with some advice in the wardrobe stakes.

Needing no advice at all in the wardrobe stakes - because they're looking rather fetching right now - are Legs and Co who're dancing once more to Jonathan Richman's Egyptian Reggae.

It's that legendary dance routine. One so epic they should have been forced to do it every week, for the whole of eternity.

But you don't hear enough gongs on pop records these days.

Come to think of it, what was the last hit single to have a gong on it? REM's Losing My Religion should have ended with a gong but the Georgian hit-makers clearly lacked my class and didn't realise it.

A man who will never be short of class is Carl Douglas. And he's on next - with a song that's not about Kung Fu. In this case it's something called Run Back.

I don't know. I don't like to hem a man in but he's really not the same without the karate gear and bandana.

Objectively this is a classier song than Kung Fu Fighting but that probably works against it, as its greater sense of taste and dignity means it lacks that song's USP.

In fact, so devoid of USP is it that they could've stuck the words, "Billy Ocean," on the label and I'm not sure how many people would have noticed it wasn't him.

Now Julie Covington comes on to tell us Only Women Bleed, which is clearly not true - as all graphic designers know that artwork bleeds too. Still, if she'd called it Only Women and Artwork Bleed, it'd sound like the title of the worst sitcom David Jason never made.

And whatever this song might be, the one thing it's not is a barrel of laughs.

It really is a humourless, pompous load of cobblers that sounds like it should've been sung by a woman in dungarees.

Although, on the plus-side, is it me or does it have weird and unlikely echoes of Rock and Roll by Status Quo?

Argh! Darts are back with Daddy Cool! Yes, it's a perfectly good record and they all give it plenty of welly but this has to be its twenty sixth appearance on the show.

And now it's Legs and Co's second appearance on tonight's show as they dance to My Way by Elvis Presley.

The Top of the Pops hierarchy have managed to secure the services of Elvis Presley's shadow for the performance. This probably isn't the coup it might initially seem, as I suspect his shadow found work increasingly harder to get after his death.

Needless to say, Legs' dance routine seems to have nothing to do with the song, in either practice or spirit.

Also lacking connectivity to Elvis in both practice and spirit are John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett, with Really Free.

I still remember the sheer bewilderment I and seemingly everyone I knew felt when this first reared its head on Top of the Pops but time has been kind to it and you can't help viewing it as an old and shambolic friend. Not to mention it now feeling like a sort of precursor to the majesty of Jilted John.

That's niftier guitar playing than I remembered.

Now it's the Emotions and I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love.

Maybe it's me but it doesn't seem the most inspired song ever written. In fact, I actually think you'd have to make a conscious effort to write a less inspired song - and still fail in the attempt.

But, Hooray! None of that matters. Why? Because Mull of Kintyre is still Number One.

And, to celebrate, Macca's paid for the whole of Scotland to be reproduced in a studio that I suspect belongs to Mike Yarwood.

In fairness, even though it's a blatant fake, it's an impressive one.

But even Macca can't last forever, and so we play out with the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band giving us The Floral Dance, which seems to be dragging on an eternity.

Still, at least we've been spared Terry Wogan's attempt at it. That track was my first ever exposure to Wogan and I've still not forgiven him for it.

So there we have it, the end. It probably reflects badly on me that what sticks out most for me about the editions I've covered are the worst or weirdest moments. There was Joy Sarney's happy tribute to domestic violence, Barry Biggs curious resemblance to Henry the 8th, Contempt and their song that no one at all seemed to know anything about. There were Legs and Co's bizarre dance routines and there was the shadow cast over the show by the activities of certain DJs.

Overall it's hard to avoid the feeling that 1977 was not a great year for music - but it did feature hints of golden days to come, with the arrival of various punk, new wave, pub, disco and synth acts, not to mention engagingly poppy material that some might call guilty pleasures but I wouldn't because I feel no guilt.

Whether I should feel guilt or not, thanks for sticking with the blog for this long, and have a Merry Christmas.

Friday 21 December 2012

Top of the Pops: 8th December, 1977.

Bing Crosby, 1942
Bing Crosby in 1942,
(Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia.
For one whose heart is as hard as mine, Christmas is always horrific. But it's just got worse - because I now have to review two editions in one evening, instead of one.

Needless to say, I shall meet the dread challenge head-on by totally ignoring it and covering the latter episode on some other day.

But what of tonight? What tinselly magic can Tony Blackburn sprinkle upon us as we fire ourselves up for the Festive Season?

The first piece of magic he can weave is turning winter into summer as Donna of that name does the chart countdown with probably my fave track by her; Love's Unkind.

Sadly, we barely get to hear any of it before we meet the night's opening act.

And it's a bunch of people who look suspiciously like Billy Idol and Generation X though I can't claim to have ever heard the song before. In fact, I didn't know they'd ever bothered the chart compilers before about 1980.

You can say what you like about Billy Idol but he really was the new Cliff Richard and, to be honest, this actually manages to make Cliff sound like the voice of youthful rebellion.

Billy keeps saying it's wild but the reality is it's not.

A raised eyebrow from Tony, as it ends, tells us all we need to know about what he thought of it.

Hot Chocolate are back with that song no one remembers and has a title that makes no sense.

I don't care what anyone says, I still like it.

It's mean, moody and magnificent.

According to Tony, the next track's by Chick, though, to my ears, they sound remarkably like Chic.

They're being danced to by Legs and Co who're wearing as little as they can get away with.

They're followed by Manfred Mann's Earth Band, with a song I've never heard before.

It's not hard to see why, as it's not exactly what you could call electrifying.

It'd be easy to say it's why Punk had to happen but, to be honest, it's more like why Bucks Fizz had to happen.

Bonnie Tyler's back with her Hard Egg.

"Love him till your arms break," croaks Bonnie, suggesting she struggles to tell the difference between love and self-destructive lunacy.

The Bee Gees are back for what seems like the millionth time, with How Deep Is Your Love?

And Graham Parker's back with the New York Shuffle. It's amazing how many times he got on the show despite never having had any actual hits.

Although I was a fan of Graham at that time, this song doesn't do anything for me. I do prefer it when he's being contemptuous about things.

Next it's The Banned who fail at the first hurdle by not actually being banned. It would appear the song's called Little Girl, which, with all that's being going on lately, means it's a miracle they've made the final cut.

Are these one of those groups who were famous under another guise - like Yellow Dog were really Fox without Noosha? They have that sort of air about them.

Whoever they are, they're truly dreadful.

But, Hooray! At last Macca's with us, and Mull of Kintyre has claimed its rightful spot as the UK's Number 1.

Paul's still on the fence.

He still scarpers the moment Linda shows up.

The pipers are still on that beach.

And then, with no warning whatsoever, it's all gone Wicker Man on us as everyone in the village gathers for the bonfire.

That's the magic of Macca for you. Just as you think he's being banal, he pulls the rug from under you by setting fire to Edward Woodward.

And, blimey, wouldn't you know it, Boney M are on again with Belfast, on the play-out. Someone at Top of the Pops clearly liked it.

It has to be said, it wasn't a vintage week. In fact, it was rubbish and, if not for Wings and Hot Chocolate, I'd say it had virtually nothing to distinguish it.

And, maybe I wasn't paying enough attention but where exactly was Bing Crosby, as promised in the listings? Did they really cut him out to make way for The Banned?

Thursday 20 December 2012

Top of the Pops: 8th December, 1977. An Update.

Bing Crosby, 1942
Bing Crosby in 1942,
(Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia.
Christmas is currently working its magic at Chez Steve - and that means that, thanks to real-life holiday goings-on getting in the way, this week's post shall be a little delayed. I'll get it done as soon as I can. Thanks for your patience, and see you soon.

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?

Thursday 29 November 2012

Top of the Pops: 10th November, 1977.

Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music, 1973
Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music.
By AVRO (Beeld En Geluid Wiki - Gallerie: Toppop 1973)
[CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
This week, to avoid the reception difficulties that so plague me whenever I do this, I'm leaping into the 21st Century in a way that only 1977 can make you do, and watching online.

Needless to say, almost the moment the show starts, I lose my connection.

When I get it back, we've already missed the intro and I'm confronted by what I assume to be the Jacksons over the chart countdown.

If it is them, it's a song I've never heard before - unless it's the song they did the other week, that I'd also not heard before.

A song I mostly definitely have heard before is on next, as Tom Robinson's back.

And there's still something about it that doesn't quite work for me. I love the record but this performance feels too pub for my liking. It's 1977. I'm going through an awkward phase. I'm having strange feelings I've never had before. Mostly involving my internet connection going down. I need some proper punk rebellion.

Meanwhile, the camera man's hanging from the ceiling.

I suppose that might count as punk rebellion.

That guitarist's got very untidy strings. I shouldn't be annoyed by that but, somehow, I am.

But now Tom's gone, and Noel claims that both Donna Summer and Ruby Winters used to be in the Four Seasons. I suspect that may not be true

What is true is that Ruby's on next, doing I Will.

Didn't the White Guardian have a chair like that in Dr Who? If he didn't, he should have.

She seems a bit confused in her movements, like she doesn't know where to look.

But who can blame her? Adrift in a sea of whiteness, it's much she's not got snow-blindness.

She needs to watch out. I once knew someone who insisted that, when a polar bear attacks, it puts one paw over its black nose and thus becomes invisible against the polar ice, meaning there could be one stood right in front of you and you'd never know it.

Something for Ruby to think about there as she rambles around the set.

Roxy Music are on with their brand new hit; Virginia Plain.

I wonder if Bryan Ferry was ever young? No matter how old the footage, he always looks middle-aged.

I've just realised, after all these years, I don't have the slightest clue what Bryan Ferry's singing about.

Oops, connection's gone again.

It turns out I've not missed much, as we're back with Boney M still solving all of Northern Ireland's problems by wearing silly costumes and dancing around a bit.

Elvis Costello's back with Watching The Detectives, the song that first brought him to my eagle-eyed attention when he appeared on the Mavis Nicholson show.

Now it's Legs and Company dancing to How Deep is Your Love? by the Bee Gees. A lot deeper than your voices, that's for sure.

For some reason, "Company" seem to be recreating Dick Van Dyke's legendary turn in Mary Poppins.

I don't have the slightest clue why.

But now it's one from left field because we're given Kenny Everett and Captain Kremmen.

I have no memory of this at all.

Obviously I remember Captain Kremmen and I remember Kenny Everett. So elephantine is my memory that I can even remember both of them at the same time but the record itself means nothing to me.

I have to say, it isn't the most thrilling song I've ever heard.

Or the most interesting video.

Now Noel's with two baffling looking women.

And now it's Santana in a video that seems to have been filmed on a mobile phone, which is quite an achievement in 1977.

Then again there's that infamous footage that seems to show a woman using a mobile phone in the 1920s, or whenever it was, so all things are possible.

I still don't have a clue who the singer is. My Steve Senses tell me it's probably not Colin Blunstone, despite what I thought last week.

Have we actually seen Santana yet?

But yes! Hooray! At last we get to see him, fuzzily, just in time for him to be faded out. Poor old Santana. Not even allowed to star in his own videos.

Not needing a video - because she's here in person - it's Tina Charles who, according to Noel, has a Love Bug. What an unfortunate link that is.

Darts are back.

And Daddy Cool's still playing his piano machine. I wonder what exactly a piano machine actually does?

Den's still looking far too inhibited.

ABBA are still Number 1.

And we go out with Rod.

When I say, "Go out," I of course don't mean that in the Rod Stewart sense of the phrase. Despite rumours to the contrary, I'm not, after all, a statuesque Scandinavian blonde.

I have to say this week's show wasn't really up there with last week's blockbuster epic but it did at least give us Darts, Roxy Music and the Bee Gees - and what I'll always regard as Elvis Costello's first Top of the Pops appearance even though it wasn't.

In some ways, tonight's edition was ahead of its time, with mobile phone recorded videos, and in some ways it was behind its time, with a revived classic from 1972. But I suppose that sums up this time of year for you, when we look both forward at what's to come and backwards at what's already been. In that sense, perhaps it captured the quintessence of the pre-festive season. Then again, maybe I'm just desperately trying to think up some philosophical point with which to end this post.

Blimey! Look at that! I've managed it!

Thursday 22 November 2012

Top of the Pops: 3rd November 1977.

The Carpenters, 1972
The Carpenters in 1972.
White House photo by Knudsen, Robert L.
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
A new face joins us for this week's show. It's Perky Peter Powell, surely the world's cheeriest living human. Will he be able to maintain that cheeriness through half an hour of 1977's finest music, or will he be left a bitter twisted husk of a man vowing never again to work in British television?

Only the next thirty minutes can tell us.

But it's ELO over the rundown, doing Turn To Stone. And that can only mean one thing; we're off to a flying start and Peter's sanity won't be crushed just yet.

Nor will it be even now because we're suddenly served up the Jam with The Modern World.

To be honest, it's not one of my favourite Jam tracks, being blessed with a tune I can never in any way, shape or form remember but it's still the Jam; and bad Jam is better than no Jam.

As if to prove it, Peter's back, with sanity resolutely uncrushed.

I'm not totally sure I can say the same for the Carpenters, who join us for their legendary cover of Klaatu's Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft.

You can tell the Star Wars/CE3K sci-fi boom's starting to hit big. And was that Meco I spotted in the chart rundown?

But the special effects budget for this video must have been epic. It's a wonder Steven Spielberg wasn't straight on the phone to them to get them to redo the SFX on Close Encounters Of The Third Kind for him.

Well, aliens might be coming for us but, more importantly, so is Christmas. And that can only mean a visit from the band who only seemed to exist when there was tinsel in the air. It's the Barron Knights with Live In Trouble.

They're doing the impossible and sending up the Floaters who themselves went so far into the realms of self-parody that they came right back out the other end.

I'm not sure I'm enjoying any of this but the the Barron Knights clearly are.

Someone I'm bound to enjoy more are Queen giving us We Are The Champions

I've always remembered the first time I saw this video on Top of the Pops - mostly because Freddie's half black and half white in it, like that bloke in Star Trek.

Unlike that bloke in Star Trek, Freddie doesn't go mad and start trying to strangle himself.

But who's that on bass? Is it the bloke who normally played bass for Queen? As you can see, I have an encyclopedic knowledge of the band and its membership.

Sadly, an encyclopedic knowledge of Dorothy Moore is something I gravely lack. And so, as Legs and Co come on, dancing to her track I Believe You, I must confess it's a song I'm not familiar with. Its style is, however, highly familiar.

As for Legs, they seem to be wearing their shower curtains - and not in a good way.

But, hooray! It's Status Quo and Rocking All Over the World.

It's easy to knock the Quo - and just calling them that has suddenly made me sound like Les Battersby - but no one does empty-headed knees-up music quite like them.

As for Peter, he's getting bouncier as it goes along. I actually think he's filled with helium and only held tethered to the ground by a piece of string.

And now! At last! It's David Bowie! After all these months, they've finally let him on the show!

Then again, maybe they shouldn't have. He's doing Heroes and, to be honest, this is rubbish compared to the record.

The wall of sound seems to have been replaced by a desultory attempt at light hedging that's been hit by a half-hearted stab at topiary

Is this the Top of the Pops band playing? I can't help feel they lack a certain bite.

After a complacent sounding start, David's starting to give it some but, without an equal level of some-givingness by his band, I fear it's all doomed to do a classic record poor justice.

These days, I actually can't see David Bowie without seeing Ricky Gervais in my head. That can't be a good thing, can it?

But what's on next is definitely a good thing.

It's Showaddywaddy, with Dancing Party.

It's a radical departure from their usual sound.

Well, OK, it's not. It's exactly the same song they always have hits with.

But they're getting stuck in - the extraneous members, especially, demonstrating how to turn extraneity into a crowd-pleasing asset.

Dare one suggest they're giving David Bowie a lesson in how to do the show?

A band who don't need any lessons in how to do the show - mostly because they never bother appearing on it - are ABBA, and they're Number 1 with Name of the Game.

But, meanwhile, is that Smokie I hear on the play-out?

I do believe it is.

To be honest, whatever mood I come to this show in, I often find myself having to bury rather than praise it.

But, this time, resistance is futile. Tonight's edition was packed with great songs - and at least one great performance from the band they don't call The Wadd. And, if the Jam and David Bowie weren't at their very best, at least they were there.

I can only credit Peter Powell who must have somehow worked his smiley, bouncy magic to lift the show to undreamed of heights. Well done, Peter. Long may you reign over us. Now please don't get arrested before your next appearance.

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...


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.


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