08/10/2014

Top of the Pops 79 6/9/79



BBC4: Top of the Pops 1979 6/9/79. Reviewed by Chris Arnsby
Two months without Top of the Pops to ease the pain. This must have been how viewers felt when ITV went on strike in 1979.
Peter Powell. "Hi everyone! You fit? You need to be 'cause it's Frantique with the charts and Top of the Pops!"
Chart music: Frantique:  Strut Your Funky Stuff  [26].
The Ruts: Something That I Said [45]. Punk=urban alienation. That was the thought process of designer Graham Lough so he's designed some special scenery panels covered in graffiti. BBC approved graffiti; nothing serious or political. Random words like man, ya dig, 4, and star. There's a frisson of excitement from spotting a word half hidden behind the drummer. P, something, S, S. It's written in yellow. Could it be? No, it's PASS.



Randy Vanwarmer: Just When I Needed You Most [9]. Walter the Softy whines about being dumped by his girlfriend. Sensible girl. Randy Vanwarmer has so little presence that everyone involved forgot that he was coming to the studio. Legs & Co have been double-booked and also do a routine for this song involving primary coloured frocks, hats, and suitcases; because they're leaving. Do you see?

Madness: The Prince [52]. And suddenly they're here. The first image is a close-up of the back of a head, very blurred and out of focus. The picture sharpens over the line "Buster he sold the heat," and snaps into focus as Suggs turns and grins. It's a perfectly timed piece of camera work and an appropriately iconic introduction. An earthquake is erupting. Sing it, Suggs.

Roxy Music: Angel Eyes [4]. All credit to Bryan Ferry, this video gives the impression of dropping through a hole in time from seven years in the future. Unfortunately seven years in the future is 1986 and who wants to go there? Brian is wearing a vile pink pastel suit and the rest of the band aren't dressed any better. The director has made a very poor choice of camera angle. He shoots Brion in close-up from slightly below. Poor Brain is sweating in his nasty suit and this, combined with the "sexy" faces he keeps pulling and the camera angle, means the audience ends up with a very good idea of the view experienced by Mrs. Brien Ferry on Friday nights. The most notable feature of the video is a harp so powerful it can only be played by two ladies.



Roxy Music were so happy together


The Crusaders: Street Life [7]. I thought this was called Street Lights.

Electric Light Orchestra: Don't Bring Me Down [11]. Apparently this video was recorded on location at Superman's Fortress of Solitude.

The Bellamy Brothers: If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me [19]. The audience are exposed to near toxic levels of childish whimsy as Legs & Co dance holding giant teddy bears. Oh, and they're wearing white wedding dresses and performing on a restaurant set (complete with diners who watch Legs & Co dance) inside a Greek temple of Doric columns. NONE OF THIS MAKES SENSE. Watch out for the moment at the end when Lulu's grip fails and she nearly drops her bear.

Racey: Boy Oh Boy [28]. Bravely rhyming romance with danced.

Bill Lovelady: Reggae For It Now [27]. Peter Powell can be clearly seen ducking off stage shortly after Bill Lovelady (if that is his real name) sings about Mayfair Fay having a "ticket for the circle line. " Peter Powell isn't visible in any of the surrounding shots. What was he doing there? 

Boney M: Gotta Go Home [13]. Footage from Seaside Special. Which seaside is not clear; possibly somewhere in Wales? I used to think the costume designers on Blake's 7 had insane imaginations. It's becoming increasingly clear that they just used to watch Top of the Pops and copy what Boney M were wearing.

Number 1: Cliff Richard. We Don’t Talk Anymore. The flipside of Randy Vanwarmer's song. Randy is whimpering about how his girlfriend left him "just when I needed you most," while Cliff is all "la-la-la I don't care that you've gone." They are both being very passive aggressive about the failure of their respective relationships.

Closing titles: The Flying Lizards, Money [5].
Performance of the week: Madness, The Prince. It was only ever going to be Madness.


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