09/09/2015

Top of the Pops 18 Sep 1980



Simon Bates. "Hello and welcome to a slightly new look Top of the Pops because of our small problems here at the BBC, but we have a host of stars live and on record for you. For example here is..."

XTC: Generals And Majors [32]. Simon Bates is alluding to a scene shifters strike which caused some problems at the BBC. People with long memories might remember Simon Groom, Sarah Greene and Peter Duncan sitting on an empty studio floor for Blue Peter. Simon Bates is standing in front of a plain wall artfully decorated with a few lights to compensate for the lack of a set, and he's shot in close-up which makes the whole thing oddly claustrophobic. This is the episode for you, if you've ever wondered what it would be like to be trapped in a cupboard with the ex-host of Radio One's Golden Hour. No sets means no new bands in the studio so XTC are represented by the video for Generals And Majors which for some reason features Richard Branson head of XTC's record label Virgin.

Randy Crawford: One Day I'll Fly Away [2]. Despite the lack of a studio audience the sound of applause is dubbed in at the end of each song. Times change, that sort of obvious fakery would give the BBC palpitations these days. Olivia Newton John joins Simon Bates and the claustrophobic atmosphere is relieved as the camera zooms out slightly.  Olivia Newton John is in London to promote her new film Xanadu. Originally this edition of Top of the Pops included a clip of  Olivia Newton John dancing with Gene Kelly but this has been cut by BBC4 cheapskates. Randy Crawford appears via a repeat from the 04/09/80 edition of Top of the Pops; unseen on this run because it was presented by D*v* L** Tr*v*s with assistance from Kevin Keegan. The mind boggles.
Stevie Wonder: Masterblaster (Jammin') [4]. And now we're on film for the promo for Masterblaser. (John: Wonder what he did with all that jam)
Sheena Easton: Modern Girl [8]. The Sheena Easton footage comes from the 21/08/80 programme.
Nick Straker Band: A Walk In The Park [20]. Simon Bates seems determined to show off his inside music status. First he tells us that Sheena Easton's next single should be "One Man One Woman" [wrong, it was One Man Woman] and then he holds up the cover of the new Police album "and because it hasn't been released yet, or even got into the shops yet, well you can't hear any of it." Well thanks Simon, that was thoroughly useless. Perhaps you'd like to follow up showing us something we can't listen to by singing about something we can't see? Nick Straker, and his band, are also repeated from the 04/09/80 edition.
Madness: Baggy Trousers [21]. "Old fours eyes is back," says Simon Bates before the camera pulls back to reveal *gasp* Jonathan King. Figuring out the logic in BBC policy when it comes to who should, and shouldn't, be edited out of these repeats is like being lost in some Esheresque nightmarescape. D*v* L** Tr*v*s is currently about half way through a two year suspended sentence so, possibly, the closest we can come to any coherent policy is that Jonathan King has served his time, while  D*v* L** Tr*v*s is still serving his. Simon Bates and Jonathan King have a brief competition to see who can be the least charismatic -and also overuse the word irritating- before we head into the safer waters of the chart, followed by the Madness promo film everyone remembers with the flying saxophonist. This is the first song where I remember properly listening to the lyrics. "Sits alone and bends his cane/same old backsides again/all the small ones tell tall tales/walking home and squashing snails."It was a delight to hear lines like that and realise that lyrics could do more than just link together the chorus, they could be memorable in their own right.
Billy Joel:  It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me [15]. Back onto film for this one, but before it starts Lynda Carter pops into the Top of the Pops studio to reveal that she is touring "Nottingham, Birmingham, Luton, and Liverpool." Oh the glamour of showbiz. She'll be back on BBC1 in October 1980 with Lynda Carter: Encore "An evening of music and mimicry as television's Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter , asks you to join her once again in her second spectacular, with guest stars Tom Jones and country and western singer Merle Haggard."     
Number One: Kelly Marie,  Feels Like I’m In Love. During the top ten the clip for Queen's song  Another One Bites The Dust is a confusing melange. The clip used is from the video for Play The Game in which Freddie Mercury wears a Flash t-shirt; Another One Bites The Dust is dubbed over the top. I hope that's clear. The clip of Kelly Marie is the third one taken from the 04/09/80 edition of Top of the Pops. Like the Randy Crawford clip this one seems to have been recorded earlier in the studio day during rehearsals because there is no visible audience.
Closing titles: Queen, Another One Bites The Dust [10]
And that's it. No more Top of the Pops until some time in September when the Proms are over for another year.

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