Thursday, 21 June 2012

Top of the Pops: 2nd June, 1977.

Drew Barrymore in a green dress baring her shoulders
Who'd have thought it'd be so hard to find a Free-Use
image of Twiggy?
In its place, here's one of former Hollywood wild-child
Drew Barrymore.
Michael Barrymore's catchphrase was, "Aw-wight?"
and sometime TOTP presenter Steve Wright had a hit
with I'm Alright. Therefore, Drew Barrymore has many
valid links with TOTP.
By David Shankbone (David Shankbone)
[GFDL (,
or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0
via Wikimedia Commons
The nation may be vexed by talk of Jimmy Carr's financial doings but there's only one matter taxing Steve Does Top of the Pops right now.

And that's who's going to be Number 1 this week in 1977? Who'll be finding a safe haven of chart liquidity and who's to become adrift off the shores of achievement, entangled in the loopholes of failure?

Only Noel Edmonds can tell us - for it is he who's to guide us tonight through the balance sheets of Nostalgia.

He wants to borrow my cheeky bits. I won't let him. I need my cheeky bits. I don't know what I need them for but I feel it's best to keep them close to hand, just in case.

Speaking of hands, someone has his on a piano.

It seems he belongs to Elkie Brooks who's doing a song I've never heard before in my entire life.

After the way thing have gone in recent times, it's now clear that each week's opening slot on Top of the Pops is reserved for songs I don't recognise.

It's all very jolly, whatever it is, but you do wonder if anyone at the record company really thought it had hit potential. I think it probably sums it up that I half expect Jools Holland to appear and join in.

Now that it's over, Noel tells us it's called Saved.

Sadly no one's saved us from the horror that's to come next as we get the Muppets and Halfway Down the Stairs.

I hated it at the time. Will 35 years of not having heard it have softened my heart?


It won't.

Not only that but it's bringing back terrible memories of Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop.

Yes I know Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop was a totally different act but, spiritually, it's hard to spot the difference.

The only thought that impresses me is the Muppets have nicer banisters than I do.

Now it's the Four Seasons and something that's either called Rhapsody or Vaseline. Noel's intro's got me confused.

It's another one I've never heard before. So far it's not sounding riveting.

In fact, they seem to be going for Liverpool Express's title of the world's most comatose group.

Even the presence of a balloon on stage can't create a sense of spontaneity.

Finally rid of the Four Seasons, we're joined by Twiggy.

She's doing that song the Three Degrees had a hit with. I was until now totally unaware Twiggy'd ever done a version of it.

Out of four songs on the show so far, I've only ever heard one before – and that was by the Muppets. It's not shaping up to be a vintage week.

In fairness, this is a perfectly functional version and she has a perfectly pleasant voice. You can't get round it though; she does have the eyes of a a murderer.

Now It's Jesse Green - and another one I've never heard of.

Whoever he is, he's very patriotic, with a great big Union Flag behind him, surrounded by light bulbs. Was this to do with the Silver Jubilee or was there some other reason for this rampant show of national pride?

Jesse's in an outfit that defies conventional description. He's wearing a hat The Shadow would wear if he wanted to look a berk, a tight leather jacket and what seems to be a very wide cravat.

The look might be distinctive but the song sounds like something you'd expect to hear on a cruise liner.

It's over - and we suddenly get a bizarre shot of vast acres of bare studio floor. Is this an accident or has the director decided this'll look somehow impressive?

Not that Legs and Co care. They're too busy dancing to Marvin Gaye.

I do quite like the lighting effects they're using for this performance - lights flashing on and off to highlight various different dancers. It was clearly choreographed back in the days before anyone cared about epilepsy.

No disrespect to Marvin but I'm getting a bored with him now. He seems to be dragging on forever.

Far livelier is Carole Bayer Sager with the same performance of You're Moving Out Today she did a couple of weeks ago.

I remember Jimmy Young playing this on his radio show at the time. That's not an interesting fact but it is at least a fact - and proof that I recognise something from this show.

She's doing her best but the Top of the Pops audience are as hard to please as ever.

Now it's the Strawbs with yet another one I've never heard of.

Weren't the Strawbs secretly the Monks who had a hit with Nice Legs, Shame About the Face? Or did I just imagine that?

The song itself has little life in it and sounds like a Kinks B-side.

Now Noel's interviewing the Alessi Brothers who seem about as excited to be there as the audience are.

Rod's still at Number 1. He seems to have been there all year. I'm starting to miss ABBA, especially as it's the same video every week.

Now Rod's gone and we play out with Genesis and yet another song I've never heard before.

Well, that was a very singular show, packed solid with songs with which I was previously unfamiliar, all of which made it clear very quickly why I was unfamiliar with them. Sadly, there was no Stranglers or Jam to up the energy levels – or even a Joy Sarney or Contempt to boggle the mind - so it just flopped there like a pancake someone had dropped and left half-hanging off a table with bits dropping onto the floor to be nibbled at by a bored-looking dog.

Who says this isn't the Steve Does Top of the Pops' Age of Simile?


Dougie said...

"Eyes of a murderer"! Genius. I'm still laughing!

Steve W. said...

You won't be laughing when she comes after you - with her strangling hands.

Does Joy Sarney eat sarnies? said...

I'm so bored of Rod the Mod and his (admittedly rather nice and pert) bum. Now I know what it must have felt like to have hated Abba at the time...

The Monks (Nice Legs Shame About The Face) were actually Hudson Ford, who used to be in the Strawbs.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the Monks info, DJSES. :)

Arthur Nibble said...

Excellent critique of what felt like the aural equivalent of beige, and your blog's style's improving week on week. Good knock!

Steve W. said...

Thanks, Arthur. :)

wilberforce said...

steve, if you're getting bored with "got to give it up" then i wouldn't recommend you listen to the original album full-length version where the same groove goes on for 12 minutes! (me, i love it myself...)

Steve W. said...

Twelve minutes? It's complete and total madness!

the erotic adventures of sweet daddy parsnip said...

heatwave, van mccoy, boz scaggs and hot chocolate on the late night version - you missed out!

Steve W. said...

They do seem to be on a mission to cut out all the good stuff. :(

lawyerwithalife said...

Late night version didn't add much. for some reason what looked like the highest new entry didn't even rate a mention. can't think why? No-one would have objected to the Sex Pistols surely...

Kid said...

Never mind all that. Have you got around to slagging off well-known kiddie-fiddler Gary Glitter yet? (Never liked the t*sser anyway, so my wholesome teenage memories remain unaffected by his downfall.) That should be worth reading - point the way Stevie-boy.

Steve W. said...

I believe it'll be another three years before Gary makes his next appearance on the show, by which point I'll no doubt be dead from old age, so it's a problem I'll probably never have to deal with.


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