Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Top of the Pops: 30th June, 1977.

Brian May of Queen playing guitar live
Brian May of Queen.
By Thomas Steffan by using Olympus Camedia C700 (Own work)
[GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
Yet again the BBC fails in its attempts to confuse me with scheduling chaos. And I find myself facing Noel Edmonds; a man so resolutely un-punk, in this heyday of the genre, that it's almost a punk statement in its own right. Could it be that Noel Edmonds was, in fact, in 1977, actually the most punk individual in the whole of the British Isles?

Someone who's definitely not punk is the opening act.

Who they are, I have no idea, as the show's back to its policy of opening with a turn I've never heard of.

Whoever they are, they're in a very 1970s' looking video.

But just look at that audience go! We must be back with Soul Train! If only we'd ever see that kind of life from a Top of the Pops audience.

But wait a minute! Something's wrong here! We're not on Soul Train at all!

That's the Top of the Pops studio and, miracle of miracles, it's the Top of the Pops audience who're frugging like their lives depend on it. Have the producers, shamed by the antics of Soul Train, finally snapped and threatened to shoot them if they don't move?

Frankly, not all of them look happy to be doing so, and some look positively reluctant. I can't help but think of those chickens that're made to dance by being stood on a hot metal plate.

Personally, I don't care how it was achieved, I'm happy just to see it happen.

At its climax, Noel appears on screen but he looks like he's been superimposed on the studio in much the same way as he seemed to have been superimposed on the 1970s' music scene.

Gladys Knight's back with that video.

This really is the silliest dance I've ever seen grown men do.

Keith Lemon John Miles is back with Slow Down.

And he's gained a pair of sunglasses since his last visit.

Interesting that Peter Frampton's tube's still world famous, while John Miles's is totally forgotten.

Noel tips it to get to Number 1, which I assume means it dropped off the chart the following week never to be heard of again.

Jesse Green's with us. Has he been on before? The name rings a bell but I don't recognise the face.

Either way, he's the living embodiment of White Suit Man.

This all seems a bit Sheffield Fiesta.

Not only that but it all sounds very familiar; like they've got the chord sequence of well-known song and played it backwards to disguise where it's come from.

Queen are back with Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy and the video we saw a couple of weeks ago.

Having already given the kiss of death to John Miles, Noel returns, with his record of the week.

It's by Cliff Richard and it shows how unsinkable Cliff's career is that it even managed to survive the endorsement of Edmonds.

Although I have to say I don't know this song at all.

I'm starting to realise why. On first hearing, it sounds like a meandering mess and has, “Flop,” written all over it.

Not that you could tell that to Noel who reappears at its conclusion to rave about how wonderful it is.

“When twelve legs get together, and a few other bits,” declares Noel. That's right, it's Legs and Co and their other bits, this time dancing to Feel The Need In Me by whoever it is.

Legs have been far too sensible lately.

And they continue that trend with a dance that seems to owe nothing in its execution to the lyrical content of the song they're dancing to.

Apparently the track was by the Detroit Emeralds.

But now it's Emerson, Lake and Palmer, with Fanfare For The Common Man, though the conceit of playing it in an empty Montreal Olympic stadium can't disguise the sheer silliness of the track.

A band who were rarely silly – except when they were singing about flying saucers - have grabbed the Number 1 slot.

It's Hot Chocolate, and it's their first ever chart topper, with So You Win Again.

For such a granny pleasing band, they were remarkably miserable. This was probably all for the best, as Errol really did have a wonderfully dry, glacial and downbeat voice.

But we finish with a burst of frustration, as we play out with Boney M and Ma Baker. It's not fair - Boney M always seem to be relegated to the play-out. Will we never get to see Bobby dancing?

To be honest, I do prefer the show when there's someone truly dreadful on it. In the absence of such an act, the show can seem terribly beige. For me, the ideal Top of the Pops has a nightmarish act, a stone-cold classic, a bit of punk, an ELO video and Jimmy Savile. Tonight's edition had none of the above. And so I can't help feeling - for all its solidity and the producer's attempts to liven up the audience - that, like John Miles's tube, it shall fade from the memory almost as soon as it's departed.


the erotic adventures of sweet daddy parsnip said...

i assumed they resorted to studio dancing - and what costumes those folks had on, due to the music video looking like it was shot on sandpaper - it took me back to the days of 8mm porn loops

Steve W. said...

I don't know what porn loops are but I bet they're not as good as Froot Loops.

wilberforce said...

ah yes, a reference to colonel parker's infamous "dancing chickens" act when he was a pre-"king" carny...


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