Slightly later than normal, here’s your semi-regular survey of the national’s music life circa 1980, as reckoned by the BBC and the chart company, so more Marti Webb and less Crass if you will.
Introduced by Steve Wright in a boating blazer – cool on Paul Weller for circa five minutes a year before – we open with a riot of spandex, lame and leotards. It’s the Dooleys channelling ABBA in full disco mode on Love Patrol . The Police are already too big to appear on the show it seems and send another annoying video of their holidays in New York for Sue Lawley. Stewart Copeland is still finding it amusing to bash his drumsticks on anything around him (here some sweets).
Our first highlight occurs with Legs and Co, who are in for the Detroit Spinners. They have set up a roadworks, complete with scaffolding and one of those tents that used to appear over a hole in the road. From which they emerge in hardhats, highheels and dungarees. Imagine the Village People came from daytime ITV in 1978 and you’ve got some idea of what’s going on here. They are ‘Working Their Way Back to You’ – see what they did there?
Next up is another video for the Brothers Johnson – a lively maybe-live video for the very catchy Stomp. The brothers themselves get to cruise in their car as well, but everyone looks like they are having a good time. Steve is also, unlike Secret Affair who get the unflattering low blue and purple lights (see SLF last time) when I guess the director thinks the talent doesn’t look as toothsome as the Legs. My World – excellent powerpop and a mighty sax break. This was perhaps the period of ‘peak sax’ in otherwise innocent songs.
Liquid Gold are back – the crazeee drummer has ditched the Celtic gear in favour of a tarzan get-up. Clearly they weren’t too busy when the producer called. The Vapors are back too! And the director this time has taken pity on them and not included any woodcuts, just some tricksy editing.
Then we we’ve a corking appearance by Siouxsie and the Banshees mk 2 – it must be cold in that studio as she hardly ever takes her hands out of her coat pocket, except to throw some confetti. The feather cut is not one of Siouxsie’s top looks if I’m honest, but they still look great.
More fraternal funk – Gibson Brothers with more Cuba qi ro bai la salsa. Could you tell the Gibsons from the Johnsons in a funk line-up? Not sure I could.
Then there’s one of the happy accidents the producers must have chortled themselves to death about. Whistling Baboon Pete Gabriel is followed by….not quite as the deeply dull Marti WEbb song repeats…but then it’s only the first ever top of the pops appearance by Genesis. No. Yes.
For Turn It On Again I won’t say too much, as clearly some prog fans can dissect this Judasesque turn to the poppier side far better than I can, but suffice it to say Phil looks pleased as punch to be out front, and he’s splashed out on a fetching Hawaiian shirt to mark the event. His looks are improved by the spinny editing.
Fern is number one and inter alia, Rush’s Spirit of Radio played over the chart rundown. @totpfacts promises their legendary match-up with Legs and Co is on next time.