Thursday, 1 March 2012

Top of the Pops: 24th Feb, 1977.

Singer, writer and producer, Jeff Lynne of ELO, the Electric Light Orchestra, sat in the recording studio, in full beard and shades mode
By Abelcarreto (Entrevista a Jef Lynne)
[GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0],
via Wikimedia Commons
It's that time of week again, pop-pickers - the time when all music fans must drop whatever it is they're doing and tune into the latest happening chart sounds. What magical musical memories will this week's show disinter from beyond the grave to light up a dark March night?

Its Noel Edmonds. That's what magical musical memories it'll disinter. You have to hand it to Noel, he's looking very well-turned-out in his three-piece suit.

There's no intro to the first act but my keen knowledge of the latest pop sensations tells me it's Heatwave, dressed in a style that can only be called Vintage Wally.

I really hated Heatwave at the time. Now, I don't really mind them. The constant smiling does grate with me as much as it ever did though.

Strange purple laser beams being fired downwards from the ceiling, acting as the bars of a cage designed to prevent Heatwave escaping into the general community. Given their outfits, I feel it's for the best.

One of the the vocalists seems to be trying to imply that he's singing the synthesizer solo but I quickly see through his cunning ruse.

That drummer just does not belong in that band. He seems to have blundered in from the local and just decided to help himself to the drum kit.

Now it's Racing Cars and They Shoot Horses, Don't They? Noel introduced it with a feeble joke about cobblers or something but even Noel can't disguise the magic of this track.

Could it be? Could 1977 have finally produced a song I like?

Although I'm familiar with the song, I've never seen Racing Cars before. In all honesty, it's starting to undermine my love of the track far more than Noel ever could.

This really should've been a hit for the Hollies, shouldn't it?

Actually I really am going off it now. Thirty five years I've loved this song and just one minute of one appearance on Top of the Pops has been enough to make me question my judgement.

That's the wonder of Top of the Pops. I'm starting to wish it was 1995 now. The lifelessness of it all's making me pine for Shirley Manson's various appearances.

Did I ever mention Shirley Manson was my favourite ever Top of the Pops performer? She, more than any other act, always seemed to have it sussed as to how to do the thing.

Speaking of things. It's the Real Thing and You'll Never Know What You're Missing.

Didn't the singer used to breed dogs and do adverts for Pedigree Chum?

Nice top hat. Not enough pop stars wear top hats. The only other top hat wearing singer I can think of is Noddy Holder who I sadly fear isn't going to be making any more TOTP appearances for a good few years yet.

The man stood on the end looks a bit depressed.

The two men stood next to him look like they can't believe they're there. They probably can't believe they're on the same stage Shirley Manson'll one day prowl with such distinction.

Torn Between Two Lovers, by a woman whose name I don't know how to spell.

I've always hated this one. Will my being exposed to it again after all these years do anything to change my mind?


I don't think it will.

You really would have to work hard to be this insipid.

This sounds like that Peter Skellern record; You're a Lady or whatever it was called.

But this is more like it. It's ELO and Rockaria.

I've turned up the TV in order to soak up the visceral pre-punk vibe of it all. Granted, some might say that, by the standards of rock, it's a little tame, but, by the standards of everything we've heard so far, it's practically musical anarchy personified.

Actually, I'm starting to get a bit bored with it too now. Just what is it about TOTP that has this deadening effect on all it touches?

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber are being interviewed by Noel Edmonds. None of them seems very comfortable to be there.

Barbara Dickson always looks comfortable to be anywhere. I saw her doing that Gerry Rafferty tribute show the other night and she looks as into it all tonight as she did then. She's doing Another Suitcase, Another Hall.

I like this one. I don't care that it's by Webber and Rice and that no one likes them and they've just looked as uncomfortable as anyone's ever looked in the presence of Noel Edmonds. It's a nice song and beautifully sung - though it doesn't feel right to see Barbara Dickson on TV without her being first introduced by Ronnie Corbett.

I hereby declare Barbara Dickson a National Treasure, for no good reason other than I like the look in her eyes. There's a sharpness to them. She has a keen vision, that one.

Now Earth Wind and Fire are being danced to by Legs and Co. Isn't this the same dance they famously did for Disco Duck; only without the duck suits?

This is the second week running they haven't tried to literally interpret a song. Has Flick Colby finally learned her lesson, or has she merely sunk into a trough of despond that means she can't be bothered to make the effort any more?

Leo Sayer's still at number 1. It takes me back to the days when he had his own show on BBC2. I don't remember much about it but I bet Barbara Dickson and her sharp eyes were on it more than once.

But this is a song that makes you want to wave your lighter in the air.

He's making strangling hands!

Despite the odd strangling gestures, anyone who doesn't feel compelled to sing along with Leo has a heart of stone.

And now we come to the end, and it sounds like the strains of David Bowie about to do the outro. It's Sound and Vision. Is it wrong of me to admit I preferred Nick Lowe's I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass which sounded noticeably similar?

Is Ken Morse on rostrum camera?

He's not!

What kind of strange and miserable madness is this that denies us Ken Morse for two weeks running?


Dougie said...

Barbara Dickson is probably recording Bothy Ballads somewhere and couldn't care less but she was an injection of something real and interesting in a terrible, cheesy show. It was odd, though, not seeing Ronnie Barker and his ice-cream hair.

HannibalCat said...

You should have recorded the extended repeat - extra Bryan Ferry and Boston appearances. As to Heatwave; the song is great but the outfits would make EWF run away screaming.

Steve W. said...

Hannibal, this is what drives me up the wall. They leave all the dull stuff in and edit out all the lively stuff. What on Earth is going on in the BBC's heads?

Angelo Gravity said...

Well I quite liked all the songs on the show this week - and I think I might get one of those Heatwave costumes, I think I'd look good in one and I'm sure my wife wouldn't mind me going round Tescos dressed like that....:-)

Steve W. said...

I'm wearing one right now.

And I'm in the post office.


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