20/01/2017

Top of the Pops 7 Jan 1982



As watched by Chris Arnsby

Peter Powell: "Hello and welcome to the first Top of the Pops of 1982! We've got a show stacked full of good stuff including the number one band in the studio! But right now, for starters, new at 25 Philip Lynott and Yellow Pearl!"

Phil Lynott: Yellow Pearl [25].  Philip Lynott? That seems very formal. Anyway, never mind that because here's Zoo to whirl like dervishes and at one point execute a complicated manoeuvre which looks weirdly like the first ever sighting of a human centipede on prime time television. It's a terrific energetic performance. Peter Powell joins in with the Top of the Pops cheerleaders -who line the podium behind the dancers- with a simple arm swinging routine which he manages to carry off without ever a)losing his place or b)looking massively self-conscious. Oh and new for 1982, here are the Top of the Pops bodybuilders who grunt and strain and strike assorted poses. I'm not sure how I feel about the Top of the Pops bodybuilders. Whenever the pair of oiled up muscle men slide across the television screen I suddenly feel more aware than normal of the top deck bus passengers who keep passing by my window.


Foreigner: Waiting For A Girl Like You [12]. Blurry concert footage. (John: The bluriness is probably why they’ve been waiting so long. The girl probably walked past half an hour ago)

Alton Edwards: I Just Wanna (Spend Some Time With You) [62]. Alton Edwards forces his backing group to wear t-shirts with his name on; he is a vain man.

Meat Loaf: Dead Ringer For Love [30]. Another video. Meat Loaf keeps staring wide-eyed at Cher. He thinks it makes him look intense. In fact he looks like someone who's overdone it with the How To Pick Up Girls By Hypnosis books.

The Mobiles: Drowning In Berlin [48]. Embarrassingly I mistook The Mobiles for Siouxsie and the Banshees. That'll teach me not to pay attention to Peter Powell. This is the fifth song of the show, but only the second one performed in the studio. Go back a year to the first show of 1981 and of the 12 songs featured five were repeats from earlier editions, one was a video (John Lennon's Imagine), and one was danced by Legs & Co. Apart from Imagine the whole programme was recorded in studio. Tonight's edition features eight songs. None them are repeats. There's one dance routine, and two videos. As videos become more popular the look of the programme is starting to change and shift away from the old studio bound appearance. Obviously this is going to vary on a week by week basis depending on what songs are in the charts, and who is available (good luck getting David Bowie & Bing Crosby in the studio) but later in the year there are going to be some editions where more than half of the programme is just the host introducing videos.
The Mobiles: One of David Walliams' earliest ventures
Shakatak: Easier Said Than Done [42]. "Jazz funk at it's best!" says Peter Powell and he's right. This is jazz funk at it's best.

Jon & Vangelis: I'll Find My Own Way Home [9]. Okay. It's embarrassing revelation time. I'm lazy, and don't do any research. No, really. (John: Erm what about that 5 person research team and their mega time travelling computer I sent you?) I've heard this song on the radio over the years and I've always just assumed it was sung by a woman with a very low register voice.  Imagine my surprise when it turns out it's being sung by a man holding a tiny guitar. Now, does anyone know which is Jon and which is Vangelis?

(John- Jon is the singer, namely Jon Anderson who was the lead singer of prog rock band Yes many, many times- they changed their line up each month - and who's stage performance was once memorably described by a reviewer as `like milking a cosmic cow`! Vangelis is the keyboard whizz whose career started off in a band with Demis Roussos. Really)
Jon (left) sneaks at look at his mate's cards while Vangelis is distracted by his bow tie

Number One: The Human League, Don't You Want Me. Just after the first "don't you want me baby," Phil Oakey says something to Joanne Catherall but diligent rewatching by teams of lip readers has yielded inconclusive results. Maybe he's reminding her of the next line? Towards the end of the song a wide shot of the crowd reveals them standing still in front of the stage. Within seconds of this someone at the edge of the stage has started some hand clapping going and the whole audience warms up. I detect the dread hand of the Top of the Pops cheerleaders.

Closing Titles: Madness, It Must Be Love [4]. The show closes with the traditional shots of the crowd dancing. And some lingering images of the Top of the Pops bodybuilders because nothing says love like clenched abs and strained smiles.

Performance of the week: The Mobiles: Drowning In Berlin

No comments:

Post a comment