Top of the Pops 1979 17/05/79

Shown on BBC4
Watched by Chris Arnsby

Peter Powell. "Hi! Take the best from the chart! Put it in one programme! Call it Top of the Pops! And here's for starters, Donna Summer!"

Chart music: Donna Summer, Hot Stuff [29].

The Tubes: Prime Time [45]. The lead singer of The Tubes is the ghost of fashion future. A horrid polka dot fluorescent orange shirt, blue trousers, and a mullet hairstyle. All the worst excesses of the 1980s in one. Prime Time is also an unusually bland choice of song to open the programme.
Earth, Wind & Fire with The Emotions: Boogie Wonderland [24]. Meanwhile over in NTSC-land a scheduling error has caused five bands to arrive at the studio at the same time. In an effort to make the best of this mistake they've all decided to record the promo film for Boogie Wonderland. It's chaos. The stage is a mass of whirling costumes, flailing limbs, sequins, and someone flinging them self around waving a saxophone in one hand and a tambourine in the other. It looks and sounds brilliant.

Earth, Wind and Fire in thier invisible car

Blondie: Sunday Girl [10]. Disappointingly Legs & Co are not dressed as Sundaes.

The Police: Roxanne [12]. It's Mr. Sting and his band. Late night car drives with only a best of The Police album mean I automatically associate this song with driving down the A12 in the dark.

Peaches And Herb: Reunited [5]. How come Herb's voice is pitched higher than Peaches?

XTC: Life Begins At The Hop [54]. "A bunch of lads here have come all the way to Top of the Pops to see their favourite band," says Peter Powell. I'm sure they had a nice time.

M: Pop Muzik [2]. A lead singer who looks disturbingly like Ted Striker from Airplane cannot distract from the greatness of this song. The badges M wear are not, as I first thought, their BBC passes. The promo video for Pop Muzik reveals that the badges are specially made M ID cards.

The Undertones: Jimmy, Jimmy [17]. I used to work in an office next to Fergael Sharkey. In 1997/98 (ish) he was doing something to do with licensing music for computer games, and he worked in a basement office at Virgin Interactive Entertainment next door to where I did customer support. At the time none of us knew anything about Fergael Sharkey's musical legacy but he seemed nice; I kind of regret the way we used to sing A Good Heart in quavering voices when he wasn't around.

Abba: Does Your Mother Know [4]. Abba sing the theme song to Operation Yewtree.

Judas Priest: Evening Star [53]. At the end of the song as the camera pulls back across the studio Peter Powell can be seen in the distance indulging himself with some light air guitar while waiting for his next cue.

Linda Clifford: Bridge Over Troubled Water
[30]. A disco version of Bridge Over Troubled Water. This is the worst idea ever since Sheila B. Devotion's disco version of Singing In The Rain last year. The worst thing about the video for Linda Clifford's song, apart from the song itself, is that the studio is so frantic. It's full of people jiggling, and dancing, and spinning, and flailing their limbs. It looks exhausting.

Max Webster: Paradise Skies [56].

Number 1: Art Garfunkel, Bright Eyes.

Closing titles: Roxy Music, Dance Away.

Performance of the week:  M, Pop Muzik. I really love the squelchy synthesizer sounds which, although the two songs couldn't be more different, reminds me of Take Me I'm Yours by Squeeze.

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