Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Top of the Pops: 28th July, 1977.

Rita Coolidge live and holding a microphone, 2002
Rita Coolidge, 2002
By Seattle Municipal Archives from Seattle,
WA; crop by Jmabel
(Rita Coolidge, 2002Uploaded by Jmabel)
[CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
It's that magical time of week again. And we leap straight into it with Noel Edmonds giving us the incredible Steve Gibbons Band.

No. I don't know who the incredible Steve Gibbons Band are either.

I do though recognise this song, even if it's one I don't know the title of.

Is the singer the eponymous Steve Gibbons? If so, Steve's wearing leather trousers. It takes a certain kind of man to get away with leather trousers. And, fair play to him, I think he might just be managing it.

The guitarist has leather trousers too. How many cows had to die to make this performance possible?

It quickly becomes clear that Steve - if Steve he is - is like a version of Shakin' Stevens from that Star Trek universe where everyone's the opposite of how they are in our universe. This means he's from a universe where Shakin' Stevens is cool.

Noel's back and it turns out the song was either called Too Late or Too Lame. I suspect it was the former.

Now we get the countdown accompanied by Feel the Need in Me.

Somehow, without Whole Lotta Love, the countdown's totally robbed of its power to excite.

Someone who'll never fail to excite are Boney M and, at last, after endless appearances on the play-out, they're finally allowed on the show itself.

My finely-honed senses tell me they're not actually in the Top of the Pops studio but are instead on one of those weird European shows you see clips of on Youtube, ones that usually feature David Bowie or Toyah performing to a totally baffled looking bunch of Bavarians.

This time, the audience don't look baffled but do look anomalously mature beyond their years and have their backs to the act. What kind of director thought having the audience facing away from the entertainment would be a good idea?

But no one with any sense cares about that. All that matters to the connoisseur is Bobby.

And, needless to say, Bobby's getting well and truly stuck into it. You can stuff your ABBA. This was the greatest band of the 1970s.

Not far behind them are Showaddywaddy, the next act on, with You Got What it Takes.

You have to say it, the forces of punk are being well and truly repulsed tonight.

Romeo seems to be nowhere in sight. Have they sacked him?

Oh. No. There he is, off to one side, hiding behind that blue drum kit.

Legs and Co are on next, dancing to Jonathan Richman and Roadrunner.

I'm not sure quite what kind of car that's supposed to be but I'm not sure the wheels are in the right place.

I used to really like this song.

Listening to it now, I'm not sure why.

Neither am I sure that what Legs are doing really constitutes dancing so much as randomly moving around. Was there actually any rehearsal involved in this "routine"?

Bob Marley's back with what feels like his millionth performance of Exxidass.

And a wooden stake is well and truly plunged into the heart of punk with the return of Dana

This is all very pleasant. I always thought she only had one hit. What a fool I was.

But who'd have thought that, within three years of this, Sheena Easton would have so totally doppelganged Dana as to have completely taken her place in our national consciousness?

Emerson Lake and Palmer are back with probably the worst Olympic opening ceremony ever.

And now Rita Coolidge returns, surviving possibly the worst joke even Noel Edmonds has ever cracked.

After all these decades, it's just dawned on me that I actually don't have a clue what this song's about.

I do at least know what Thin Lizzy are on about as they give us Dancing in the Moonlight. This is much better than the song they were doing on their last appearance - the one Noel Edmonds cheerfully admits he thought would reach Number 1.

There's half-hearted dancing going on on the stage - and for once it's not being done by Legs and Co.

For the second week running, I've lost reception during a vital part of the show.

I get it back in time to see a photo of Donna Summer on a giant screen as the Top of the Pops audience dance along to I Feel Love.

Legs and Co are still in their Jonathan Richman car and still looking totally unrehearsed. Despite the track and all the dancing that's going on, it's not exactly wild.

So, there we have it, the week when Boney M finally got the chance to prove themselves supreme, and Legs and Co got to prove themselves not supreme. It wasn't a vintage week but I enjoyed all the acts you're not supposed to and I discovered I didn't like one act you are supposed to. I suppose this counts as surprise - and surprise is a good thing. Therefore, despite its general lack of excitement, I give this week's edition a cautious thumbs up.

I do pray, though, for the return of CCS. It's simply not Top of the Pops without them.


Arthur Nibble said...

I agree entirely with your comments about the chart rundown's impotence without "Whole Lotta Love", but I'm afraid we'll have a long wait for its very brief return.

wilberforce said...

yes, a good reason for a time portal to be invented so we can step back into the past to tell the totp producers what a big mistake they made (and to rectify it)...

Simayl said...

Steve Gibbons was the singer, they were a Birmingham band formed from the what was left of the Idle Race when Jeff Lynne left to join Roy Wood in the Move. Trevor Burton from an earlier version of the Move was on bass. Song was Tulane, a Chuck Berry cover. I think it was their only hit. They were a perennial support group for bands like The Who and ELO.

Steve W. said...

I see. Thanks, Simayl. Suddenly it all becomes clear to me.

the erotic adventures of sweet daddy parsnip said...

even 10 years ago ( when you could see german tv on your sky box due to shared satellite space) their variety shows seemed to specialise in very old audiences sitting on long benches as if pretending that the show was airing from a bierhall - like a teutonic take on the wheeltappers and shunters social club.

Shaun said...

Steve Gibbons had one other minor hit in 1978 - "Eddie Vortex".

Steve W. said...

What a wonderfully titled song. Thanks for the info, Shaun.


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