Thursday, 28 June 2012

Top of the Pops: 9th June, 1977.

Angelina Jolie
The usual problems finding a decent free-use image of
any of tonight's acts, so here's Tomb Raider and
Alexander sex-bomb Angelia Jolie.
Almost uniquely, Angelina Jolie has no valid links to
Top of the Pops.
By Angelina-Jolie. jpg:
- Bitte bei Bildverwendung auch Link setzen derivative
work: Born Slippy (Angelina-Jolie.jpg) [CC-BY-SA-3.0
via Wikimedia Commons
The nation's greatest banks may currently be facing bankruptcy and desertion thanks to the revelation they've been fiddling  interest rates but, no matter what the interest level Top of the Pops generates, we return to it time and time again.

Who'll achieve chart solvency tonight and who'll merely drive us to solvent abuse?

Only Tony Blackburn can tell us. For it is he who is to guide us through the balance sheets of history.

We launch into the show with the continuity announcer telling us we're going to be treated to Bob Marley and the Wurzels. I don't know about you but Bob Marley and the Wurzels were my favourite group of the 1970s.

Not my favourite group of the 1970s are the first act on – mostly because I don't have a clue who they are.

That's because Top of the Pops is continuing its grand tradition of kicking off each show with an act and a track I don't recognise. Just how did the producers way back in 1977 know just what acts I'd have heard of in 2012?

Whoever they are, one of them has a cape. Capes are always impressive on a singer.

Is this Osibisa? I have no reason to think it is other than it might be.

Whatever it is, it's all very cheery and summery, though I suspect I won't remember it for more than thirty seconds after it's over.

It is Osibisa. Well done to me. Yet again my stunning knowledge of music pulls me through.

Now it's ELO and Telephone Line. It's the same video as the other week - and it's still one of my favourite ELO songs.

It's clearly not one of the producer's favourite ELO songs, as, three-quarters of the way through, it has a dirty great edit inflicted on it that's so devoid of subtlety you wonder if it was done with a lawn mower.

Now it's Gladys Knight and the Pips with Baby Don't Change Your Mind. It's on video and it's all very 1970s.

I think this may be the first time I've ever seen what Gladys Knight looks like. Somehow I always imagined her differently. The woman in the video seems far too young and small to be Gladys Knight.

Still, they all seem very happy people and that makes me pleased for them.

Gladys has gone and, for a moment, I get all excited thinking I can hear the strains of Billy Don't Be a Hero as Tony does his next link.

Tragically it's not Paper Lace at all. In fact it's turned out to be Neil Innes with a song I don't recognise.

Frankly, I don't want to recognise it. It's about the Queen and it's not exactly the Sex Pistols.

In fact it's positively puke-inducing. I'm listening hard to see if I can hear any signs of subversive irony in it all but it seems to be a straight tribute to the Her Maj. Frankly, in my eyes, this isn't doing Neil's standing a lot of good.

“Sailing on the yacht Britannia,” he sings. “Nowhere in the world would ban yer.” It's like he's desperately trying to undo all the good-will generated by his work with the Rutles.

That was genuinely appalling and makes you realise what some people'll do to try and get a knighthood.

In total contrast, you get the feeling the Stranglers'd just give a knighthood the good kicking it deserves...

...because they're back - and still in, “Evil Chas and Dave,” mode.

Thanks to Neil Innes, I'm enjoying this a lot more than I probably should be.

As though Greece hasn't suffered enough, Demis Roussos is back – this time with a strangely Scottish-sounding song.

It brings to mind the Goombay Dance Band - and I don't care what anyone says, that can't be a good thing.

He's hiding behind ferns, like a sniper who doesn't believe the war's over.

The way he's looking at the microphone you just know he's desperate to eat it.

Honky are with us.

Is this the song they did the other week or is it another one?

Whatever it is, the singer's still as unpleasant and disturbing as he was before. I really do feel he should have been banned from television.

Next, it's Legs and Company dancing to Show You The Way To Go by the Jacksons.

They've borrowed Demis Roussos's vegetation.

For some reason, the sun behind them's started flashing. Is Flick Colby sure the sun's meant to do things like that?

As promised before the show, it's Bob Marley.

Disgracefully, he's dumped the Wurzels and is hanging around with some other bunch called the Wailers.

I don't care who they are. They'll never have the magic of the Wurzels.

They're doing Exodus which I've never found to be one of his more interesting songs, mostly because it sounds like he's just making it up as he goes along and randomly throwing in the sort of words and phrases that'll make it sound like it's about something.

It's no I Am a Cider Drinker, that's for sure. Oh Bob, did you really not realise how much you needed Adge Cutler?

From someone who needs Adge to someone who needs a kick in the nadgers because Rod Stewart's still at Number 1! Is there to be no escape from that man's backside?

There is now because Rod's finally gone, and we're playing out with Emerson Lake and Palmer's Fanfare for the Common Man. This is more like it. It might all be a bit Prog but it's a cut above most of the acts on tonight.

I can't say it was a riveting show. The highlights were the Stranglers and ELO with performances we've already seen before. Lowlights have to have been the singer of Honky, Neil Innes' dismal bandwagon-jumping and the total absence of the Wurzels.

Still, we did get to see Bob Marley, even if it wasn't one my faves by him, we got to wave our little Union Jacks at something and I finally found out what Gladys Knight looks like.


Joy Sarney's Sarnie said...

I'm not sure Demis is able to hide behind anything...

Arthur Nibble said...

The Wurzels were also used for the preview picture of tonight's TOTP on BBCiPlayer (still not up yet and it's gone half ten!) so why fanfare them then cut them from the show? Bob wasn't in the photo with The Wurzels, mind - maybe he was a bit shy and overawed by their genius.

Erithian said...

I'd rather not think about Demis Roussos's vegetation, thank you very much.

Gladys Knight was on one of the summer '76 shows, singing "Midnight Train to Georgia". Smiley and rather lovely. Wikipedia says she competed in "Dancing with the Stars" this year, just short of her 68th birthday. Hats off!

the erotic adventures of sweet daddy parsnip said...

the wurzels were on the late night showing - singing something to the tune of ' i was kaiser bills batman' - they call me farmer bills cowman - was that even a hit?
along with bernie flint and frankie miller

Steve W. said...

Ooh I do remember that Wurzels track. They obviously only cut out the tracks I know and leave in the ones I don't.

Gey Blabby said...

As a youngster in the early-70's, I'd watch TOTP for a glimpse of people like Bolan and Bowie, and as a teenager in the late-70's, I'd watch it on the off-chance that folk like The Stranglers might be on it. Not really punks, of course, but a cut above the usual dross to be found on the show. Their TOTP appearances were always memorable, although perhaps not as memorable as the time they brought the strippers on for Nice N' Sleazy at the Glasgow Apollo.

Steve W. said...

If only they'd tried to do that on TOTP.

Anonymous said...

oh is there no justice in this world
how did that group HONKY not make it bigger.....

Steve W. said...

I have heard Honky rather cruelly referred to as The Below Average White Band and also The Anti-Climax Blues Band.

Anonymous said...

You really have got to start watching the late night showing. On a good day, it'll almost inevitably have at least one good track they cut from the 7.30 showing. On a bad night, it's 10 minutes additional rubbish...

Strangely, my series follower keeps on trying to reset to record the 7.30 showing and I have to talk to it very sternly before I can get it to behave.

Steve W. said...

I'm tempted to watch the late-night showing but, to be honest, much as I love it, half an hour of old TOTP is all I can cope with most weeks.


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