18/10/2017

Top of the Pops 9th and 16th Sept 1982

09/09/82

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Peter Powell: "Hello everybody! Welcome to another party! It's Top of the Pops! We've got Gillan, we've got Dire Straits, we've got... Shalamar, and we've got Shakin' Stevens! But for starters we've got one Evelyn King and Love Come Down!"

[29] Evelyn King: Love Come Down. "Baby you make my love come down." Is this really a good thing? The song is upbeat, and down is a negative word. It seems to work against the intent of the lyrics. Then again I'm aware that the lyrics are also meant to work as a low level innuendo (about 3.7 on the Croft-Lloyd scale, say equivalent of Lieutenant Gruber inviting Rene into the back of his little tank) with the word love acting as a synonym for something else (use your imagination). So changing the chorus to "love rise up" wouldn't necessarily work and might also accidentally make people think of being sick.



[4] Dire Straits: Private Investigations. The video director has been leafing through his copy of Baby's First Book of Symbols so we have several classic standards including a candle being blown out, someone looking through blinds, and, for some reason, a moving clown puppet. My favourite moment of clunking obviousness occurs when Mark Knopfler literally writes the words My Investigations in a desk diary; then he sits back in his chair and looks really pleased with himself. (John- I thought they were private) 
[40] Wonder Dog: Ruff Mix. Oh God no. 
[44] Natasha: The Boom Boom Room. Natasha's two drummers have worked out all this business including playing each others drums and swapping kits. It all comes to naught because no one is paying any attention to them.

[50] Gillan: Living For The City. 40, 44, 50? This is a really low scoring edition of Top of the Pops. We're at that awkward point in the chart cycle where Top of the Pops has to guess what the next batch of hits will be. Normally the programme does a pretty good job; it picked up Come On Eileen while that song was down at number 31; Haircut 100's Love Plus One was at 36 when it was first played; Bananarama & Fun Boy Three were outside the top forty for the first appearance of It Ain’t What You Do It’s The Way That You Do It; and Poison Arrow from ABC was all the way down at number 52. Still, I can't help feeling the programme has dropped the ball here. I'm going to go recklessly out on a limb and predict that Ruff Mix, The Boom Boom Room, and Living For The City will not be appearing on the Top of the Pops line-up again.
[17] Shalamar: There It Is. Wesley and Julie, of Zoo, dance along to Shalamar's song. This is something of a poisoned chalice. It's only been a couple of months since Jeffrey Daniel made a big impression dancing to Night To Remember. In fact I wonder if this was Flick Colby's repost to Jeffrey Daniel? An attempt to show that Zoo could do what he did. The routine is framed in the same way as Jeffrey Daniel's; like a Hollywood musical showing us the dancer's head and feet in the same shot, and there's no cutting because the routing is shot in one take on a single camera. And, can it be a coincidence that this same style of camera work is used on Shalamar's follow-up to Night To Remember? Well yes it possibly could. Wesley and Julie do a creditable job. However, because Zoo are using Flick Colby's trad bag of dance routines, it lacks the impact of Jeffrey Daniel's unique set of moves.
[19] David Christie: Saddle Up. I experienced a moment of confusion and thought that David Christie was David Soul, and that Saddle Up was a sequel to Don't Give Up On Us. It isn't and he isn't. David Soul rides around on a horse in the promo film to Don't Give Up On Us and as David Christie looks a bit like David Soul I linked the horse/saddle theme and got mixed up.
[11] Shakin' Stevens: Give Me Your Heart Tonight.
A repeat from the 26/08/1982 edition.

Captionwatch: Top of the Pops has been experimenting with different backgrounds to the top 30 countdown. This week's is particularly vile. It's a green and yellow striped thing, which looks like it might actually be a physical spinning prop shot in close-up. The prop is shot through a filter which makes it pulse as it's illuminated. It's not attractive.

[1] Survivor: Eye Of The Tiger. Eye Of The Tiger has a new promo film. Survivor obviously felt they were responsible for some of the chart success of the song and so they have been edited in among the assorted clips from Rocky II. The best one is the early shot of the band marching down the street. The keyboard player looks uncomfortable. I get the impression he doesn't normally walk at the speed required by the tempo of the song. 
[5] Rocker's Revenge: Walking On Sunshine. Top of the Pops closes with assorted members of Zoo dancing to Walking On Sunshine cheered on by, well it's not the real audience they're all shuffling away at the back of the studio, so actually Zoo is being cheered on by other members of Zoo. It looks better than the choreographed routine for There It Is. Gordon Elsbury is still credited as Director.


16/09/1982
Simon Bates: "Hello, that's Bill over there [nod's head], I'm Simon, this is Top of the Pops, and here's Mari Wilson with the Wilsations and Just What I've Always Wanted to kick us off."
[36] Mari Wilson: Just What I Always Wanted. The default method of recording Top of the Pops is to treat it as if it was a live show. It essentially plays out in real time with pre-recorded inserts and music videos played in as necessary. I've no idea why the BBC did this. It might reduce costs by cutting down on post-production. It might cut the amount of time oikish members of the public get to hang around in BBC Television Centre. It might be considered good practice for production teams and presenters to treat every recording as live. It might be habit because this is how the BBC has always done it. Or, it could be any combination of the above plus some other stuff. Anyway, the result is that barring some complete disaster the recording doesn't stop. And it's great because it results in the occasional little gem. Mari Wilson (who has a beehive hairdo to rival Lisa Marie in Mars Attacks) has brought along a giant musical clef prop for reasons which will become clear later. It's currently sitting within easy grabbing distance of the edge of the stage. As the first chorus begins the camera cuts to stage left. Keep an eye on the right hand side of the screen. The prop clef can be seen leaning against a safety barrier. Suddenly on the line "just yourself is good enough," Simon Bates comes dashing round the edge of the set and catches himself on the prop clef nearly knocking it over. Somehow the rest of the performance is an anticlimax. The prop clef comes into play for a bit of business later in the song. Mari Wilson is attended to by the Wilsations and offered the clef, along with a phone and mink stole. Unfortunately no one is paying any attention to camera angles and most of the business is obscured.
Mari Wilson: Moments later she toppled over under the weight of her beehive
[5] The Jam: The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow). In this promo film Paul Weller mopes over the breakdown of his relationship with a woman with a very Princess Diana fringe.
[28] Simple Minds: Glittering Prize: Oh my god Jim Kerr's a giant! No actually he isn't. The reason he towers over the rest of the band at the start of this performance is, he's standing on a podium hidden under all the dry ice. Well that's disappointing.
[27] UB40: So Here I Am. Repeated from the 02/09/1982 edition. Not shown on BBC4 because it was hosted by J*mmy S*v*l*.He's starting to wind down his Top of the Pops presenting duties but he'll linger for several more years. 1985 seems to be the first year that he doesn't appear at all.
[24] Shakatak: Invitations. One of the best live bands in the country according to Simon Bates. And there was me thinking they were five blow-dried chumps who keep smirking smugly as if they invented the very concept of music.
[6] ABC: All Of My Heart. Frida from ABBA is in the studio to promote her new album. "Does that mean the end of ABBA?" "Oh, no, not at all," says Frida. Barely a month earlier recording finished on what was intended as a new ABBA album. Half a dozen songs were recorded and the session resulted in the decision to release a singles compilation instead. Technically ABBA have never broken up but even the most optimistic fan must admit that they're leaving it pretty late. Meanwhile, in the promo film for All Of My Heart, Martin Fry's not having any more luck than Paul Weller. (John- One of my favourite singles from this year produced of course by Trevor Horn and incudes a line in which Martin hopes she’ll walk in the room with his heart.)
[14] Talk Talk: Today. Simple Minds got the dry ice stage. Talk Talk get the smoke stage. It's all very atmospheric but the drummer is barely visible in the haze. There is one fantastic shot from a crane which must have been fitted with a star filter. As the camera pans round the stage the shadows shift, and the lights flare, and it all looks very Spielberg (John- see pic below)
[22] Adam Ant: Friend Or Foe. There's a gag at the start of this video which involves a bored couple in the audience. The man keeps trying to steal the woman's crisps. The bag of KP Crisps has been turned inside out. Has the BBC mirrored the shot? No. It's like that on the original video. Obviously someone shooting the scene felt the need to invert the bag to avoid suggestion that Adam Ant endorsed KP Crisps; he's clearly more of a Golden Wonder Ringos man. (John- Another classic with the killer line “I want those who get to know me, to become admirers or my enemies”)
[17] Carly Simon: Why. Here's Zoo to dance to Carly Simon's latest song. It's a pre-recorded insert so it's more polished than some of their other efforts. Tonight Zoo has got a dancer with classical ballet training so there's loads of en pointe going on. But, how to keep the dads watching? Costume designer Christopher Criddle saves the day with leotards and micro-skirts.
[1] Survivor: Eye Of The Tiger. The opening tracking shot of Survivor marching down the road cuts right through the seedy part of town. "Live Seduction on stage" says one sign. "Carol Doda Topless Love Act," leers another. "TOTALLY NUDE GIRLS ON STAGE," shouts another. Oh my. Two signs for the Condor and Big Al's allow the diligent googler (watch yourselves) to identify this street of smut as Broadway in San Francisco. Survivor are from Chicago. Did they travel all the way across America just to visit mucky nightclubs? It puts the opening shots of the band walking out of various buildings into an entirely new context.
[8] Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five: The Message. The crowd starts dancing as Top of the Pops begins The Message from a point safely past the line about "people pissin' on the stairs." Nobody wants to give Mary Whitehouse too many reasons to write in about tonight's show. Brian Whitehouse is credited as Producer & Director this week. Where's Gordon Elsbury gone? (John: Maybe he’s on the stairs….)







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