05/04/2019

Top of the Pops 22 Mar 1984


Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Peter Powell: "Hey everybody! Welcome to another edition of Top of the Pops! It's Janice and I!" Janice Long: "Hey do you realise that this is the first time that -uh- we've done it together. In the show tonight people like Culture Club, Sade, and UB40." Peter Powell: "And a new number one! But for starters this is Depeche Mode! And People! Are! People!"

[29] Depeche Mode: People Are People. Depeche Mode have discovered the joys of hitting things with other things; there's a cymbal, a tom-tom, some sort of a-frame with dangling pipes, and a piece of corrugated iron with the word PUS sprayed on it. Experts in hitting things with different things will know that the word PUS makes all the difference to the sound of corrugated iron. The song's lyrics are sparse. It's almost as if they're a flimsy excuse to cobble together a song from exciting industrial noises. Keep an eye on the male dancer behind the band. What is he doing? It's almost robot dancing (appropriate) but he keeps hitting odd exaggerated poses. It's as if he's simultaneously invented walking like an Egyptian and Voguing several years early.



[5] The Weather Girls: It's Raining Men. The oddly disappointing and surprisingly dull video. The opening "hi, we're your weather girls, and have we got news for you..." is a shot that does nothing except slowly zoom in from the far-middle-distance to the middle-distance. Things come to life briefly in the chorus, when the Weather Girls leap out of a window via the magic of CSO, and then grind to a halt again at the next verse. The whole "God bless Mother Nature" sequence is another single camera middle-distance shot of the back of one of the Weather Girls dressed as Mother Nature. Well, she's wearing a jacket with Mother Nature written on the back. Mother Nature (for it is she) faces away from the camera and gestures vaguely at things in time to the lyrics. The picture quality is degraded with a Quantel blur just in case you might find some interest in the half-hearted response of the extras. Mercifully Michael Hurll cuts the video short.

[22] Shakin' Stevens: A Love Worth Waiting For. "Now for his fifteenth consecutive hit." I really don't remember Shakin' Stevens having this career. I remember him in his pomp with songs like This Ole House and Green Door, but I'd have guessed that his record sales had fallen away by 1984. Yet looking at his Wikipedia page I can see he'll be bothering the Top 10 into 1987, and he'll still be capable of making the Top 20 in 1990. Shakey's going to be on these repeats for a while yet. I hope his knees hold out.

[14] Culture Club. It's A Miracle. The self-aggrandising video. Or as Peter Powell more politely puts it, "the story of the band so far." Lots of clips from old videos, shots of gold records, and press cuttings. It all probably goes to show something or other but I don't know what.


[8] Bananarama: Robert De Niro's Waiting. Banarama are also on video, waiting in for a pizza. When the pizza is delivered it looks cold and vile. The pizza delivery man has thoughtfully included a big sign that reads "TAKE AWAY PIZZA" for Bananarama fans who don't know what pizza looks like and are wondering why the bloke in the hat looks so pleased about throwing up inside his violin case. (John- So was Robert De Niro waiting to deliver a pizza?)

[28] UB40: Cherry Oh Baby. What's going on backstage? Keep an eye on the keyboard player in blue. Just before the lyrics start it looks like someone reaches through a gap in the scenery and throws the top of a mop on his head.

UB40 are not a band designed for the smaller scale emergency strike studio. The stage is so crowded it's not possible to tell where the band begins and the audience ends. It's possible they'll end the show levering everyone out of the studio as a solid block. The stage really isn't big enough for the two band members who skip backwards and forwards with tambourines, but that's how they earn their salary so that's what they'll do to the best of their ability.

[9] Sade: Your Love Is King. Some bands will try and make every Top of the Pops appearance different but Sade's got her look solidly set; crimson lipstick and hair tightly pulled back. It's a striking look, and it suits her infinitely better than it would suit UB40.

[1] Lionel Richie: Hello. It's not a remotely original observation to point out that this video is deeply creepy. Lionel Richie plays a college professor who follows a blind student around campus and phones her up in the middle of the night and fantasises about kissing her lips "a thousand times." The most grimly hilarious moment comes at the end when Lionel Richie sits still and silent as the student feels his face, and then he makes a lunge and grabs her hands while urgently singing "hello." Romance and sudden unexpected movement does not mix.

[7] Phil Fearon & Galaxy: What Do I Do? The last of five videos tonight, followed by shots of the audience dancing.

Performance of the week: Sade: Your Love Is King.




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