Thursday, 17 May 2012

Top of the Pops: 28th April, 1977.

10CC in 1974
10CC By AVRO (Beeld En Geluid Wiki - Gallerie: Toppop 1974)
[CC-BY-SA-3.0 (],
via Wikimedia Commons.
Britain's greatest music show's clearly determined to work me into a frazzle by broadcasting two editions in one night.

Needless to say I shall rise like a lion to this challenge by running away from it and saving my account of the second of tonight's shows for a couple of days' time when the internet has had chance to recover from the strain of this posting.

It's Steve Does Top of the Pops' first ever cliff-hanger. I feel just like an episode of Dr Who.

But first it's Dave Lee Travis doing the honours.

And, with no introduction from him, we launch straight into a song by...


The first few bars in and I still don't know what it is yet. So far it all sounds a bit Cockney Rebel but the singer seems to be Mr Benn – and I don't mean Anthony Wedgwood.

We're well into the thing and I still don't have a clue who it is. Is it someone from a musical? They sound like Queen but don't look like them.

Is that Mika on guitar?

Frankly I'm baffled. Is that the bloke from The Band on the drums?

Whoever they are, they do seem fixated with money.

Dave Lee's back-announced them but I didn't hear what he said. So I still don't have a clue who they were or what they were on about.

Not only that but, while I was typing, I missed the intro to the next act.

It's a woman being danced to by a totally different woman who I assume to be from Legs and Co.

Actually I'm not sure it is a woman singing. It might be a high-pitched man.

Wait. It seems to be I Wanna Get Next To You. If only I could remember who did that.

Was it Gladys Knight?

Oh. No. It seems it is a man singing.

It turns out it was Rose Royce, danced to by Pauline, which leaves me no closer to knowing if it was a man or a woman singing.

Now for a bunch of people whose gender is never in doubt. It's the Detroit Spinners with Could It Be I'm Falling In Love?

Blimey they're getting stuck in. They're moving around like their backsides are on fire. You have to hand it to them; they're not very coordinated but they certainly are frisky.

Now it's 10cc and Good Morning, Judge.

I liked this when I was younger but will I like it now? I must confess that, in adulthood, the appeal of 10cc has paled somewhat. I can't help feeling they sacrificed emotional integrity for the sake of futile cleverness.

Now that it's almost over, I've come to the conclusion that Good Morning, Judge is still acceptable to my adult ears, although I'm really not that bothered if I never hear it again.

From them, we launch into Joe Tex, with Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman) in another clip from Soul Train.

I do like what I've seen of Soul Train. Everyone on it seems to be enjoying themselves so much more than the audience on TOTP ever do - although you do start to realise after a while that each of the the dancers has just one move that they keep repeating endlessly like they're a living animated gif. It's an effect that reminds me of the dancing scenes they sometimes used to have in old Charlie Brown cartoons.

Someone's got up on stage to dance with Joe! If it were TOTP instead of Soul Train, that person would've been Dave Lee Travis. Bearing in mind the title of the song, he'd probably have been in drag and blacked up. I'm sure that would've gone down well on Soul Train.

Next it's Kiki Dee. Until I started watching these repeats, I never realised how many hits she'd had. Or what an attractive woman she was. For some reason, until I was reintroduced to her by these shows, I'd always remembered her as having a face like a slapped haddock. What a fool I was.

Billy Ocean's back for what seems like his 99th consecutive week. I don't mind, as it's a great song and he always gives it his all but he does seem to be hogging the show somewhat.

At least this time he's got company, as he now has a pair of dancers with him.

I assume they're also from Legs and Co, clearly determined not to be outdone by Pauline's earlier bid for solo glory.

I once bought some wrapping paper like Billy Ocean's jacket. It was actually quite expensive.

When I say expensive, I mean I didn't get it from Poundland. I might have got it from WH Smiths.

Barbra Streisand is on now with Evergreen.

This is all a bit creepy. Some bloke with his back to us keeps doing stuff to her.

Is it Kris Kristofferson? We can't see his face and I always get him mixed up with Kurt Russell anyway.

Either way, it's a terrible video. Objects and backs of heads keep getting in the way, and now Babs is trying to strangle herself.

Barry Biggs is back with a thing called You're My Life.

What the hell is he wearing?

He's somehow managing to make Billy Ocean look conservatively dressed.

Frankly, I don't fancy his chances of reaching the top of those stairs.

I never realised before that Barry Biggs looks remarkably like Hans Holbein's portrait of Henry VIII, with the huge body, the beard and the tiny head.

Not that ABBA need worry about that - or anything else. With the staying power that saw them become Sweden's biggest export apart from Volvo, they're still Number 1.

This week's victim of the play-out curse is Rod Stewart with First Cut is the Deepest, which, going on previous experience, presumably means we'll never get to see it on the show proper.

All in all, it was an odd edition. In terms of quality it was probably the most consistent since I started watching. Off the top of my head, I can't remember a single bad song - even the first act were too weird and disorienting to actually be described as bad - but, then again, it seemed an oddly unfocused show that never quite got into its stride. The breaking up of Legs and Co into splinter groups was a noteworthy innovation and it'll be interesting to see if it's a policy that's maintained in coming weeks.


Martin Palmer said...

Rod Stewart SPOILER - he does get to perform again because we're getting close to that year's Queen's Jubilee and the Sex Pistols Conspiracy Theory...

Dougie said...

The Henry VIII gag...there are no words. My sides hurt.

cerebus660 said...

I've finally got round to watching this and, yet again, it's a very strange edition of TOTP.

A couple of the acts ( Kiki Dee, Barry Biggs )are doing totally forgettable follow-ups to much better songs, that first band are beyond atrocious, Joe Tex is fighting with his mic stand, 10CC's performance is so arch it could probably hold up a decent-sized ceiling, and DLT is a complete twat.

...on second thoughts, it's not that strange at all...

Jacko said...

Pretty much agree with Cerebus on songs. On the Kiki Dee, we searched and searched for a chorus, for a tune even, nothing. Only reason anyone could have put it on is that she is a TOTP fave - one of the Cliff club. No clue or explanation as to why she recorded it though.

The star act was clearly occupied the opening slot, thyat at this time they used as a nod to less 'formulaic' music. Anyway, some research (no further than the iPlayer page, in fact) came up with the name Contempt. here is the link (below) Saying that, I could find absolutely zero else at all on the web. Meanwhile, some wag at the BBC is clearly having a laugh/been to the boozer/on their last day in the job by including Uriah Heap.

Otherwise, Steve, spiffing blog. Came across it during my research, but you are clearly having even more fun watching these re-runs as we are.

- Jack

Steve W. said...

Hi, Jacko, welcome to the blog.

Hi to you too, cerebus. :)

All I know about Contempt, apart from their name, is that they were produced by Martin Rushent.

Hugh said...

Here's a bit more about Contempt:

Steve W. said...

Thanks, Hugh. :)


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