Top of the Pops 1979 31/05/79

Shown on BBC4.
Watched by Chris Arnsby

Paul Burnett (for it is he!). "Hi I'm Paul Burnett with the show that puts the faces to the chart sounds; Top Of The Pops!"

Chart music: Anita Ward, Ring My Bell [19].

Quantum Jump: The Lone Ranger [41]. The introduction to this song (Taumata­whakatangihanga­koauau­o­tamatea­turi­pukakapiki­maunga­horo­nuku­pokai­whenua­kitanatahu, the longest word in the world) gets used at the start of The Kenny Everett Video Show. POP FACT:  Taumata­whakatangihanga­koauau­o­tamatea­turi­pukakapiki­maunga­horo­nuku­pokai­whenua­kitanatahu was the original title for the Mary Poppins song Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. In the end the Sherman Brothers decided Taumata­whakatangihanga­koauau­o­tamatea­turi­pukakapiki­maunga­horo­nuku­pokai­whenua­kitanatahu was simply too long.

Peaches & Herb: Reunited [4]. For anyone unsure Peaches is the woman, and Herb is the man.

Chas & Dave: Gercha [42]. Ugh, Chas & Dave. It can't be long before we get that song of theirs "Spurs-are-on-their-way-to-Wembly." Chas is, presumably, the one sitting down at the piano (I'm guessing he gets top billing as he does the bulk of the work). So Dave must be playing the guitar. The drummer obviously doesn’t get a credit at all unless he's known by the symbol & ;maybe that's where Prince got the idea.

McFadden & Whitehead: Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now. [15]. Not one of Legs & Co's better routines. They caper around on the floor in front of selected audience members who almost manage to keep proper time while clapping out the rhythm. One of the Legs (let's call her Rosie) is wearing an especially nasty silver off the shoulder skin-tight top; it's even less flattering than that description might make you imagine.

Sparks: The Number One Song In Heaven [18]. Ron Mael's doing that thing he does particularly well: standing still, and staring into the camera like a weirdo. The presentation is unusually static. Top of the Pops likes to use great sweeping shots of the studio but here we seem to cut from medium close-up medium close-up, to giant close-up of Ron Mael's staring eye, and back to a medium close-up. Possibly producer Phil Bishop is keeping the camera movement to a minimum to make the most of the contrast between static Ron and his brother Russell.
Sparks: Ron Mael was annoyed at being shrunk

Voyager: Halfway Hotel [47]. Halfway decent.

Earth, Wind & Fire with The Emotions: Boogie Wonderland [5]. Another chance to see the brilliant chaos that is the Boogie Wonderland promo video. There are approximately 3 million people on stage all wearing sequins.

Squeeze: Up The Junction [50]. Little puffs of smoke keep appearing being Glenn Tilbrook as he works his way through this sweet melancholy song. A wide shot of the studio reveals Jools Holland puffing away on a fat cigar ("these fat cigars are disgusting, what's in them?" "fat!") in defiance of all BBC smoking guidelines.

Edwin Starr: H-A-P-P-Y Radio [24]. It turns out I've been getting Edwin Starr and Alvin Stardust confused. What a mistake-a to make-a.

Fischer-z: The Worker [56]. The anti-Squeeze. Don't let the two groups touch or there will be an enormous discharge of energy.

Hot Chocolate: Mindless Boogie [52]. A weirdly hypnotic disco song which references nuclear war and the Jonestown massacre. Very strange. When Errol Brown sings the word "dance" an inset close-up of him appears on screen; first the close-up is in the shape of a circle, then a diamond, and finally a square. Can the BBC pattern generator produce any more shapes? No, the next time Errol sings "dance" his close-up appears in a circle, then a diamond, and then a square again. BBC boffins are working on the hardware to generate a pentagram but that's not expected to be ready until 1983.

Number 1, Blondie, Sunday Girl. Another outing for the TopPop footage.

Closing titles: Linda Clifford, Bridge Over Troubled Water [28].

Performance of the week: I really like Squeeze, but I'm going to go for  Sparks, The Number One Song In Heaven.

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