We’re up to 1988 on the TOTP re-runs. As ever you’re reminded that the biggest music of the era wasn’t Rave, Indie or Hip Hop it was Bros, T’Pau, and dreadful songs from Coke Adverts. However, we are starting to get underground club dance records getting into the charts, made in back bedrooms and designed for hardcore Rave action suddenly becoming freak novelty hits. Of course, TOTP wants to dutifully represent the music that’s in the Hit Parade, and the producers of dance records can’t resist the chance to tell their Mums they’re on TOTP so they’ve got to try and translate sequenced music into a TOTP performance. Most of these are pretty toe-curlingly awful, KLF and The Orb excluded. Here’s a very early Orbital, before they’d hit upon the light-up glasses and nailed a way to perform live basically showing off their synths and occasionally turning a knob – with a pal throwing some shapes in a futuristic jacket…
I don’t know if this is old news to Afterworders or Massive? (I’ve been away for awhile) but this podcast by ex-Melody Maker scribes I cannot recommend enough. I’m sure some of their attitudes and opinions will seriously wind up a few parishioners here no end but the show is absolutely hilarious, incisive, scabrous, affectionate, passionate, witty, but above all very knowledgeable about popular music of our mispent youth.
Each week Al Needham picks a random episode of Top Of The Pops and a duo of fellow MM ex-journos perform an autopsy on it. They had a minor audio problem in ep 1 and were finding their feet but stick with the series and you will be rewarded with podcast gold.
Old names you may recall from the inkies join in the fun like Simon Price, Taylor Parkes, David Stubbs, Neil Kulkarni, Sarah Bee and more…
It’s like the angrier, snottier younger sibling of the old Word podcast.
I am not in any way affiliated with it. BTW
I’ve been watching the 1981 run of Top of the Pops with particular interest as this was the era I started being a bit more aware of music and I remember where I was sitting down to watch it. There was some astonishing music in 1981 – The Specials, Madness etc (even Bad Manners appearances are always entertaining and ridiculous), Dexys, AntMusic, Britfunk bands like Beggar & Co and the now obviously tongue-in-cheek Imagination, yer New Romantics, early Human League and Depeche Mode (Depesh-ay Mode as Simon Bates and Peeder Powell like to call them), and NWOBHM is in full swing so bands like Motorhead and Saxon are charting. On the whole a vibrant and very varied scene – with the still extraordinary ‘Ghost Town’ at No.1 – however I think I’ve identified a strain of music in there which is the most useless ever.
Initially I was going to say that terrible retro 50s pastiche thing peddled by Shaky, Coast to Coast, Matchbox et al. Having seen a recent episode I’m saying the worst genre of music ever is officially the Handclap Medley – and on the TOTP I watched tonight we got ‘treated’ to three of the fecking » Continue Reading.
Ok so here we are back in 1980. No boating blazer for Tommy Vance – he is resplendent in a white satin bomber jacket and those glasses. First up is New Musik – the poor mans Buggles – with their slightly less catchy second single World of Water. Whatever they are doing with a vocoder is incredibly annoying. However All can be forgiven once you realise how like Lionel Messi the frontman looks. Some pop-funk next from Narada Michael Walton – he shoulda loved ya – ushering in this week’s theme, the golden age of drum kits. His is quite modest but he does sing from it. legs and co look like they’re having a quite night in on the worlds longest sofa, but before long Rodney Franklins the groove has them up and gyrating. I had to Shazam Mr Franklin, a tasty bit of instrumental jazzy grooving. Why is Tommy hosting? Part one coming up: video for Fool for your loving no more. After Whitesnake in the ‘solo singer’ cage of no band shame is Jimmy Ruffin – there is an corking key change hallway through the inconsequential piece of pop-soul that is Hold On To My Love. Somewhere » Continue Reading.
Your correspondent is disgracefully late with an update from the world of 1980. But hey available for another 21 days to UK brethren on the iplayer. To kick off Smokie take good care of my baby – the seventies don’t die easily do they. A thin leather tie is a very token nod to the 1980s, a bit like leg warmers for men.
Video for Macca – Coming Up – including a very prominent Linda on backing vocals. Everyone has wacky costumes and facial fuzz. His solo career at this point was a bit wierd – this, temporary secretary, it’s all over the shop.Look out for Linda and her finger!
The Cure take us back to new wave concerns with a forest. V difficult to see Robert Smith in his pre lipstick and birds nest days as just another angsty young man. Have you ever seen him and Helen Bonham Carter in the same room? No concessions here, Mr Smith looking like a young Michael Owen and everyone in the band is trying to do the blankest blank stare. Excellent roto toms set up – is that the right word?
ELvis Costello video next for hi fidelity – » Continue Reading.
We start with the hyperactive liquid gold. I can’t help but love a group of chancers for whom a TOTP appearance was so clearly the equivalent of an Olympics gold. Then it’s a repeat of the Genesis in the studio clip from two weeks ago AKA Phil’s Shirt. After their manful attempt on Spirit of Radio last week legs and co are back on more familiar turf – doing a flapper hoofer number to the Brothers Johnson Stomp.
The ‘can I prolong my career by going a bit disco’ movement continues with Doctor Hooks Lamentable sexy eyes. Now, is this a band that anyone on the blog can find a single kind word for? Apart from the fact that he really did have one eye. He had some maracas last time out, this time Rays been upgraded to congas.
Ver Priest are on next, an ace performance of Living After Midnight. Great pop song and they’re live in the studio after a brief stop down the leather and studs emporium. Make that ‘give me every single stud you have in the shop please’.
Great how The programme reflects the tribal face-offs there were at break in the fifth form. From » Continue Reading.
A good week on Top of the Pops. Jefferson Starship are over the chart rundown. Then Elvis Costello and the attractions are in e studio with Cant Stand Up For Falling Down. It’s a bouncy clip, literally so at the end of the song when EC pulls out a neat levitation trick in classic Earth Wind and Fire style. It’s a week of studio trickery- Jake Burns in slo-mo and a plethora of tricks for The Vapors Turning Japanese. well just one – they intercut the rather plain looking band with stills that appear on page one of the Google images search ‘cliched samurai and sumo’. Either that or the director is a secret Hokusai fan. There’s a fetching video of Michael Jackson doing Rock with you in what appears to be a natty sequinned pyjamas and wellies combo in front of a green laser. Some awesome working men’s club disco next from liquid gold. There’s a drummer in Celtic socks, tight shorts and a tie. The guitarist is rocking princes symbol guitar 15 years before prince did. Again, did Top of the Pops make it as far as Minneapolis? I like to think of the purple one watching Brackleys » Continue Reading.