Thursday, 1 November 2012

Top of the Pops: 6th October, 1977.

Yes, live in concert, 1977
Yes in concert, in 1977 by Rick Dikeman (Own work)
[GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Those who follow me on Twitter know that, over the last few days, I've become increasingly obsessed with the back-catalogue of David Essex.

So, it's clear my musical taste's in fine fettle for the task ahead.

Also no doubt in fine fettle is Noel Edmonds who kicks it all off by making a baffling comment about things being black.

At first I assume its because the first few artists pictured on the chart rundown are all black. Why Noel should seek to draw attention to this, I don't know.

But then it then becomes apparent that Noel hasn't joined the Ku Klux Klan since we last saw him. He was merely referring to the track that's playing over the rundown.

Sadly, so bad is my memory as I enter old age that I can't remember who it's by even though they were only on last week.

But even my crumbling memory can't forget Smokie - mostly because they seem to be on every edition.

And so it is that they return, with Needles and Pins which Noel declares to be a classic.

Next it's the Emotions with Best of My Love.

Is that the Soul Train set I detect?

It is. Which means there's going to be plenty of dancing, not least from the Emotions who have a peculiarly jerky dance style that's somewhat shown up by the much cooler groovings of the audience.

As always, each member of the audience only has one actual dance move, which he/she repeats endlessly as though powered by clockwork.

Now it's Danny Mirror.

At first I make the fool's mistake of thinking I've never heard of him...

...but then he opens his mouth and I realise at once that I have heard of him.

For it is he who inflicted the song I Remember Elvis Presley on us.

As Elvis Presley was Number 1 only last week, it's not that great a feat of recall on Danny's part - but then I can't remember the names of acts who were on last week, so maybe I should cut him some slack.

But it does show how the mind plays tricks on one. I always remembered this as having been done by Les Gray of Mud.

"He's just a golden mammary," sings Danny. And, with his attempts to replicate The King's voice and random chunks of his hits, Danny's clearly determined to milk that mammary for all it's worth.

I hated this song at the time and I hate it now.

And now it's Legs and Co dancing to something.

It sounds suspiciously like the hirsute man the world in 1977 knows only as Giorgio.

And it is, with From Here to Eternity. It might be a million years old now but it's still a stunningly cool record.

Legs are waving lots of tin foil around. No doubt in the hopes of thwarting the radar of any World War Two bombers that might still be around.

Thwarting none but the forces of punk are Yes who are on with Wonderous Stories.

This song is the first I ever heard of Yes and it's one of those tracks I most strongly associate with 1977.

As we quickly see, Yes meet the challenge of punk head-on by completely ignoring it.

Someone else paying no lip service at all to punk is Deniece Williams, back with a song which seems to be called Baby Baby My Love's All For You, with which I've been previously unfamiliar. That's a shame as it seems quite pleasant but possibly no more than workwomanlike.

The Stranglers are back with No More Heroes.

And now Baccara are Bacc. They're as breathy as ever and they're still what can only be labelled, "Vocally challenged."

And now Steve Gibbons is back with a song in the same vein as his last hit.

As always, he's got his tightest leather trousers on but, frankly, this is a bit rubbish. Despite Steve's best efforts, it has no oomph to it at all.

Not that David Soul cares about oomph. Although displaying a total lack of that quality, he's at Number 1 with you-know-what song. He's still in that video and he's still not cheered up.

But now Noel's with a woman and doing a link that's got me totally baffled. It seems her name's Kim and she has a record out but he doesn't say what it is or let her speak. It seems to be some sort of in-joke but I'm oblivious to its in-ness.

We play out with Leo Sayer who's still got thunder in his heart.

In retrospect, I can't help feeling this week's show struggled to get going. I appreciated the Stranglers of course, as I always do, but it was a performance we've already seen before and I can't think of anything else that grabbed me. Even Smokie failed to work the magic they so often have.

In the end, the totally Zeitgeist deficient Yes were probably my highlight, which says it all about the strange failure of the edition to fully grip the handles of my nostalgia.

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