Thursday, 14 June 2012

Top of the Pops: 26th May, 1977.

Twilight star Kristen Stewart sits, microphone in hand and wearing a leather jacket, at Wondercon 2012
In the absence of a free-use image of any of tonight's acts,
here's a photo of Twilight sexpot Kristen Stewart at Wondercon
Kristen Stewart has a very large chin. Nicky Chinn has written
very many large chart hits. Therefore Kristen Stewart has many
valid links with Top of the Pops.
Photo by Gage Skidmore
[CC-BY-SA-3.0 (]
via Wikimedia Commons.
Football fever may be sweeping Europe even as I speak but there's only one goal that matters to the wise man.

And that's getting to Number 1 in 1977.

In that quest to reach the top, who'll smash it in from 35 yards and who'll score a pitiful own goal that has his own fans booing him off at half-time?

Only the man my late father used to know as Dave Lee Travesty can tell us. For it is he who's to guide us through the congested midfield of nostalgia and spray his balls deep and wide into the corridors of uncertainty.

We kick off with the original Blue, yet again getting the first, unannounced, slot on the show.

Sadly, the early start hasn't fired them up with enthusiasm. Their performance is as lacklustre as their previous one.

They're still going to take their soul to town but they're still not telling us what they're going to do with it when they get there. I like to think they're going to sell it to Satan but, given their dullness, I fear such melodrama to be beyond them.

But they've drifted away on the breeze and we're suddenly blessed with Olivia Newton John and Sam.

It's all very pleasant but I really don't have anything to say about it. Who could've thought when we were first hearing this that, a year later, she'd be giving us some of the most iconic pop moments of the 1970s?

It's the return of Liverpool Express. For such a barely remembered act, it really is amazing just how often they managed to be on TOTP.

Whatever the song is, it's not off to a promising start. So far, it's flatlining as badly as all their other stuff. I'm quickly coming to the conclusion that Liverpool Express were the Mogadon Smokie.

Would that make them Smogadon?

Didn't Godzilla once have a fight with Smogadon? If he didn't, he should have. After all, if Godzilla won't keep us safe from the terror of Smogadon then who will?

Not Dave Lee Travis, that's for sure. Now the song's finally curled up and died, he's up on stage with the culprits, doing something that approximates an interview. Such is the power of Dave Lee Travis that, within seconds of him joining them, Liverpool Express are trying to kill him. All of a sudden I'm warming to them.

Now it's Legs and Co and something that's clearly meant to be Chinese.

In fact it's meant to be Japanese because it's Bryan Ferry with Tokyo Joe.

It's another track I have very little to say about.

That's not the case with our next turn because, from out of the blue, we launch into the Stranglers with Go Buddy Go.

This is more like it.

Or is it?

Something's not quite right here. I was anticipating snarly spleen-venting and hard-core contempt but, in truth, they seem rather jolly. In all honesty the thing seems to owe more to Chas and Dave than it does to the Sex Pistols.

We get the keyboard solo and it's all starting to sound like the Only Fools and Horses theme. You have to say it's no No More Heroes.

Also no No More Heroes is Marie Myriam with this year's Eurovision winner.

This is quite nice. It's certainly better than Rock Bottom and she seems far less sinister than Lynsey De Paul.

It's one of those songs that doesn't really go anywhere and, so, craftily makes up for it by constantly building as it goes along.

Next up it's ELO and Telephone Line. DLT does the joke about them being from Yorkshire - the one he seemed to do every single time he ever played them on the radio.

Matching the debut of the Stranglers for out-of-the-blueness, is the left-field return of Brendon with another of his smashes. This time it's a thing that seems to be called Rock Me.

And this is weird because I quickly realise I remember this.

How can it be?

How can I remember a Brendon song? What madness is this that's come over me?

But this is strangely endearing.

He's doing his best to get the audience going.

And he's actually succeeding. The famously apathetic TOTP audience is actually clapping along with him. I do feel that in many ways Brendon has been the true star of TOTP since these repeats began, if only for his ability to engage with the audience in a way few acts seemed able to.

But now Brendon's gone and it's time for this week's Number 1. The half hour's flown by and we're back with Rod and his musical arse.

Appropriately, bearing in mind that this post began with European football talk, we play-out with the Liverpool team who've just won the European Cup.

In fairness it's about as close to punk as the Stranglers were.

So there we are. The Stranglers were a disappointment to me, bringing far too much pub and too little punk to the table. Brendon scored a personal triumph by getting the audience to notice he existed, and Liverpool Express almost killed Dave Lee Travesty. I don't think this week's show'll go down as a classic but at least we can't claim it was devoid of incident.


Dougie said...

Rock Me was the b-side of I Do, I Do, I Do. It was on their Greatest Hits. I still have no recollection of Brenda though.

Steve W. said...

You have to hand it to Brendon. It takes a certain kind of genius to have a flop with an ABBA song in 1977.


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