17/04/2017

Top of the Pops 29 April 1982



Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Richard Skinner: "Good evening. You are very welcome to Top of the Pops. The best pop programme on television. These are Hot Chocolate, a song written by Errol Brown, me old mate, and they're in the charts and they are girl crazy."

[26] Hot Chocolate: Girl Crazy. Zoo and the Top of the Pops audience cheerleaders are all doing aerobics. Why? It's a year too early for it to be the baleful influence of the Green Goddess on Breakfast Time. Has Michael Hurll been at the Jane Fonda Workout VHS? Richard Skinner disappears to wherever the hosts go while the acts are on so we don't get to see him performing knee raises and elbow thrusts in his chunky lumberjack shirt.

[2] Bardo: One Step Further. "It's been a great week this week for Bardo," lies Richard Skinner. If it had been a great week they would have won the Eurovision Song Contest instead of coming seventh. Bardo has half the number of members of Bucks Fizz but somehow only 25% of the charisma and they perform exactly the same dance routine that they did on their two previous Top of the Pops outings, and Eurovision. Does the universe end if they vary the steps? (Fact John- The couple married and had a son now called Max Milner who ages later was a contestant on The Voice)



[17] Joan Jett & The Blackhearts: I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll. Joan Jett describes a jukebox as a "record machine" the first -but not the last- band tonight to use that particular weird synonym to get round a tricky rhyme. (John- I am of course using my computer machine to type this) Top of the Pops plays this promo film in black and white, but there's a also a colour version on YouTube for anyone who wants to see the group in living colo(u)r.

[31] Yazoo: Only You. Speaking of YouTube, there's a clip there from BBC1's Cheggers Plays Pop (the programme that gives the lie to Richard Skinner's claim at the start of the show that Top of the Pops was "the best pop programme on television.") in which Cheggers -for it is he- describes this as "a smashing number." He's right. It's a just a shame that next year The Flying Pickets will have to come along and spoil it for everyone.

19] Simple Minds: Promised You A Miracle. A repeat from the 15/04/1982 edition which was Simple Minds first Top of the Pops appearance. Jim Kerr gives a mesmerising swaying performance. He stalks around the stage, ducking and crouching, and using the space in very distinctive way that makes it difficult to keep your eyes off him. It helps that he's wearing a white leather combo with black boots, and Fred Wright on Lighting has coloured him an ethereal pale blue. Think Kaa the snake from The Jungle Book crossed with a mascaraed ghost.
Simple Minds: Jim Kerr raises the roof

[NEW] Nicole: A Little Peace. The actual winner of 1982's Eurovision Song Contest. Behind Nicole someone -probably another Top of the Pops cheerleader- appears to have been wrapped in bandages. When Nicole finishes a caption flashes on screen "EUROVISION WINNER". See Bardo, that's what someone having a great week looks like. (John- Though seventh is better than the 107th we finish these days)

[22] Spandau Ballet: Instinction. "What a good video," says Richard Skinner and I'm inclined to agree. The song does nothing for me (oh Vienna) but the promo film is really well put together and strikingly edited. Although I'm not sure what the running bloke is meant to symbolise; the human race? (Fact John- Instinction was an obsolete word till the Spands brought it back)

[16] Monsoon: Ever So Lonely. The Top of the Pops audience has been pretty well featured this episode. The programme usually gives more prominence to Zoo, or the cheerleaders, while the audience are shoved to the back of a shot or treated as a disposable extra. However those aerobics at the start of the show must have left all the official dancers tuckered out so the audience is allowed to dance unsupervised to both Simple Minds and Monsoon. It probably helps that this is a good catchy song and everyone is happy to dance along.

[1] Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder: Ebony And Ivory. The jury (me) is still out on how much Stevie Wonder was present for the recording of the video. I'm increasingly convinced that he's been very well CSO'd into the shots where he's supposedly playing next to Paul McCartney on the piano. There's something about the light levels on the pair which don't match -and in the longer shots the white sections of Stevie Wonder's shirts have a semi-transparent look about them as if the background is slightly breaking through. 
She was just not going to join in with the Madness impression

Closing Titles [34] Rocky Sharpe & the Replays: Shout Shout (Knock Yourself Out). Blimey, Rocky Sharpe & the Replays. Not seen since 1978 when the band claimed to know a girl with the unlikely name of Rama Lama, Rama Lama Ding Dong. This is the second group tonight to describe a jukebox as a "record machine." Yes it rhymes and scans better than jukebox but it just sounds weird. Joan Jett got away by using the phrase once -to rhyme with seventeen- but here Rocky Sharpe & the Replays keep returning to it. The closing titles play out over this performance and Ronnie Hazlehurst is listed as Musical Director. This used to be Johnny Pearson's credit but it hasn't been seen since Top of the Pops returned after the Musician's Union strike of 1980 and the Top of the Pops orchestra was exiled to the land of smoke and ghosts. Presumably it's return is somehow related to Ronnie Hazlehurst's conducting duties on Eurovision 1982 and the presence of two Eurovision Song Contest songs in this edition.


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