26/06/2013

Top of the Pops 78: 22.06.78



Originally broadcast 22/06/78 as watched by Chris Arnsby on BBC4

Kid Jensen, “Evening and welcome to Top of the Pops. This week's hit sound countdown to the tune of Goldie.”
Chart music: Goldie, Making Up Again [7].

Black Sabbath: Never Say Die [21]. To avoid lawsuits from the parents of crushed teenagers a big gap has been cleared down the middle of the audience. The camera crane lumbers through the gap towards Black Sabbath with the frame tilting from left to right, and then left and right again, as the operator dutches the camera. Meanwhile on stage the drummer has been put at the back and made to wear a shirt, unlike Black Sabbath's last appearance on 25th May. Tonight's audience are more unruly than usual; possibly the camera crane has flustered them? At the front of the stage a bloke in a white jacket pogos and headbangs. He's got something written on the back of his jacket but it's not quite readable... “Eastcote wants home rule”, something like that. Meanwhile, closer to the camera a group of girls have spotted themselves on a monitor and are waving. This coincides with the vision mixer mixing a close up of Ozzy into the shot. The result, it looks as if the girls are waving at the giant floating head of Ozzy.


Showaddywaddy: A Little Bit Of Soap [72]. A bubble machine fills the air with soap bubbles to provide a visual hook to the song title. Meanwhile Showaddywaddy are wearing black jackets, and look like they've arrived fresh from a teddy boy funeral. At one point as the camera pans out a stage hand can be seen heading backstage carrying Black Sabbath's drum kit. A later wide shot shows another group of stage hands dragging a keyboard and different drum kit on to the freshly cleared stage next door. It feels weirdly indecent to catch the production team setting up like this. Seeing the frantic behind the scenes work needed to set up each stage is like looking behind the Wizard of Oz's curtain. Maybe there was less studio recording time than normal, or was it standard procedure for the production team to be setting up one performance in the middle of recording another? Meanwhile, more tales from the unruly audience. There are two blokes in hats so determined to spot themselves on telly that they are dancing facing away from Showaddywaddy. Then in the middle of an audience shot “Eastcote wants...” appears and looks at the camera, then looks at the stage, and then shoots a guilty look around the studio before frantically leaping up and down. It's a wasted effort as the writing on his back is too blurred to be readable. A couple of seconds later he does it again but the jump is much more self-conscious and half-hearted. 

One member of Showaddywaddy was so strong he could support the weight of all the others
 
Marshall Hain: Dancing In The City [19]. It's Legs & Co wearing panama hats, 'diamond' studded collars, and leopard print leotards while dancing on a set backed by 2D skyscrapers. The whole thing looks achingly 1980s, as if it at moment Madonna could run on and start singing a terrible song.

David Coverdale's Whitesnake: Bloody Mary [61]. This is the band the stage hands were beavering away to set up for while Showaddywaddy were performing. At one point we get a good look at the two blokes in hats (England hats), determinedly dancing facing away from the stage. No sign of “Eastcote Wants”, has he been evicted?

Heatwave: Mind Blowing Decisions [22]. Sensibly they've ditched nan's knitted Heatwave jumpers from their last appearance. It looks as if this time she's embroidered the band members' initials onto their lapels. Hopefully nan didn't have anything to do with the snakes sewn on to their trousers, because that would be weirdly Freudian. The England Hat Brothers are back, right in the middle of all the audience shots and still dancing facing away from the stage. Hang on, one of the Hat Brothers has given his hat to a lady! Could this be the start of a romance? It'll never work out. She's dancing facing the stage, he's dancing facing away. They are just too different.

Brotherhood Of Man: Beautiful Lover [15]. The women in Brotherhood Of Man are wearing nasty matching brown/red smocks which look like the sort of costumes Cally and Jenna had to wear in Blake's 7. The audience still can't get the hang of the fist pumping on the “yeah yeah yeah”. The Hat Brothers are in the middle of the audience again. No sign of the lady. I knew the romance couldn't last. But, what's this? Both Hat Brothers face the stage! Did they come in especially to see The Brotherhood Of Man? They may be behaving  themselves but as the song ends a blond haired lout starts necking furiously with his girlfriend. What's going on with this audience?

San Jose & Rodriguez Argentina: Argentine Melody [43]. This is another song preserved by my random childhood memories, like Run For Home by Lindisfarne. Why can I remember this but not the release of Star Wars? As tunes go it's all right, but it's no Theme From Hong Kong Beat. In an effort to jazz up the presentation (three blokes at keyboards  wearing sombreros) the vision mixer slathers the picture in howlaround.

Thin Lizzy: Rosalie [20]. Thin Lizzy has been a real stand out of these repeats. The run from 1976 -1978 has coincided with Thin Lizzy's peak. I've got memories of them from the late seventies, I probably saw them on Top of the Pops, Swap Shop, and Cheggers Plays Pop, but watching these repeats has been like discovering them for the first time. Audience update: Eastcote Wants Home Rule, is still in the studio, he's headbanging away at the front of the stage. Also, he's got a friend. On the back of the friend's shirt is Home Rule For Eastcote. Obviously a popular cause at the time. 

Bob Marley & The Wailers: Satisfy My Soul [37]. It's next to impossible to describe why it seems so wrong to see Bob Marley on Top of the Pops. This is after all a programme whose studio was able to effortlessly contain everyone from David Bowie to Guy Marks. Essentially Bob Marley is just way too cool for the programme. He almost seems to exist in a different pop realm to the hobbledehoy who normally appear on the show. And yet there he is, coolness unaffected by appearing on the Legs & Co cityscape stage. At one point the vision mixer pulls off a magnificently clever cross fade. We start with Bob Marley in left profile and, as the camera pans right, it is seamlessly mixed to another camera panning right on the opposite side. Bob goes off the screen in left profile, and immediately comes back on, in right profile in what looks like one unbroken shot. Typically one of the Hat Brothers finishes the show as he started, dancing with his back to the stage. You turned round for the Brotherhood Of Man but when Bob Marley is three feet away you're more concerned about getting your face on camera; idiot.

Number 1: John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John, You’re The One That I Want [1]. Another outing for the footage of Floyd plus Legs & Co. 
 
Closing titles: David Soul, It Sure Brings Out The Love In Your Eyes [12].


 

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