|Kenny Rogers was edited out of tonight's early|
edition - but not out of this blog.
By ACT1 at en.wikipedia
from Wikimedia Commons
And that's the battle to be Number 1 thirty-five years ago.
Can ABBA reclaim their crown?
Will the sound of punk spit its way majestically to the top of the hit parade?
Or will some previously unexpected twist of musical fate appear from nowhere to claim that coveted crown?
Only Jimmy Savile can tell us.
And tell us he shall - for it's his turn to play Katie Boyle and guide us through the douze and nul pointers of this week's chart.
First up, it's someone or other.
The producers have done it to me again. They've started with an act I don't recognise at all.
This time it's not as bizarre as Contempt but it still seems a pretty rum set of coves.
Whoever they are, they clearly believe in having loads of sax.
That main singer's pelvic rotations and groinal thrustings are disturbing me. I'm not sure they're appropriate for a show like TOTP.
The group're very funky and groovy, whoever they are.
Jimmy's just told us they're all the way from that legendary home of funk - Southampton. And they're called Honky. There's a name you couldn't imagine a modern act having.
Barbra Streisand's back with that song about chairs.
But Kris Kristofferson seems to have disappeared since last week.
Oops! No! He's back again!
Stop kissing her hands, Kris! I don't like it. I like my TOTP performances to be devoid of all affection.
I'm sure it's a lovely song but it really doesn't hold my attention at all.
Was Kris Kristofferson in the Jessica Lange King Kong remake? Or was that Kurt Russell? I still can't remember which is which.
Now it's I'm Going to Capture Your Heart by someone or other. One of these days I'm going to have to try and pay attention to the intros, so I actually know who the acts are.
This is all pleasant but insipid.
And now my razor-sharp senses tell me that - from the huge writing on the drums - that they're called Blue. Weren't they on the other week, doing another song?
Either way, this track really isn't getting going at all.
“Gonna take my soul to town,” They declare. Why? Do they normally leave it behind?
Now it's The Trinidad Oil Company. Another act I've never heard of.
By the looks of it, they've literally brought the entire oil company along with them. And I thought Showaddywaddy were the most overstaffed group in history.
Now, for those who don't know what they are, they're helpfully running through the months of the year.
And now they're doing it again.
It's not what you'd call lyrically involved.
In fact, it's what some might call total crap.
Still, they all seem to be wearing fluorescent visibility clothing, so at least they won't get run over while they're in the studio.
Argh! We're suddenly on the receiving end of that music they used to use in The Muppets and The Benny Hill show. It might be called Mah-Na Mah-Na but don't quote me on that. Speaking as the only person on Earth who was immune to the appeal of the Muppets, I could do without it.
Dressed as giant flowers, Legs and Co have looks on their faces that suggest that even they think dancing to this is beneath them. It says something when even Legs and Co look down on your work.
And it just goes on and on and on...
And on and on....
Oh, for God's sake, go away!
The nightmare's finally over and we launch into 10cc with Good Morning, Judge and that video again.
Now it's The Martyn Ford Orchestra. Yet another act I've never heard of.
They're treating us to a song called Let Your Body Go Downtown. Yes do. But, as Blue could tell you, don't forget to take your soul with you.
Its bass-line sort of reminds me of the South Bank Show theme tune.
And, of course, its title reminds me of every song Lana Del Rey has so far recorded.
With its square-looking orchestra members and its "funky" singers, has there ever been an act whose two constituent parts seem so ill-designed to go together ?
Legs and Co are back, this time dancing to what might be Marvin Gaye. For some reason I can't imagine, they seem a lot more into this than they were Mah-Na Mah-Na.
But now that's over and at last we get a good record.
What am I talking about? It's not a good record. It's a great record.
It's Billy Paul and his version of Wings' Let 'Em In, which we all know is far superior to the original and brings a whole new dimension to it in a way few cover versions of songs have ever done.
Billy Paul looks like he's just walked in fresh from a movie.
The audience look like they've just been drugged. Move! For god's sake, you shuffling zombies of indifference! Move!
Sadly Martin Luther King couldn't be with us tonight and Billy's having to do all the speechifying himself. Personally I'm disappointed they didn't get Jimmy Savile to do the talky bits.
But this really does show the idiocy of the BBC's insistence on the acts having to record new versions of their hits for appearances on the show.
To be honest, I felt Billy was a little inhibited by the lack of proper speeches and the lifelessness of his audience.
Now it's Dr Feelgood with a song that might be called Lights Out.
It might be pub rock but, slowly but surely, we're edging closer towards punk actually putting in an appearance.
The singer seems quite angry. I'm not sure about what.
Perhaps he's angry about Deniece Williams still being Number 1.
In which case, he shouldn't be because it's still a very nice song and she's still doing that thing with her hand that impresses me more than it strictly ought to.
I wonder what's going to be on the play-out?
It's Joe Tex and Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman). It's an outrage. As we all saw a couple of weeks ago, a man like Joe deserves to be seen as well as heard.
But, then, tonight's show could be seen as a tale of people who deserve something other than what they've received, with Billy Paul deserving better than having to do a half-arsed version of his classic record, and the people behind Mah-Na Mah-Nah deserving a good shooting.