07/07/2019

Top of the Pops 28 June 1984


Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Steve Wright: "Welcome!! To another exciting!! Enthralling!! Top of the Pops!!" Andy Peebles:"Yes, pleased to meet you. Let's get under way. Number 36 on the chart this week. They're from Scotland. They're the Bluebells. This is Young At Heart."

[36] The Bluebells: Young At Heart. Steve Wright is back for the third of his six appearances in 1984. For the rest of the year he is mostly teamed with Andy Peebles, with the exception of one show in December when he'll be paired with Peter Powell. Steve Wright is carrying a tennis racquet because he's well nutty! And also because it's the start of Wimbledon fortnight. It will take nine years for Young At Heart to reach number 1 on the back of a 1993 Volkswagen commercial. Astonishingly this isn't the longest gap between a song being released and topping the charts. That honour goes to Tony Christie who released (Is This the Way to) Amarillo in 1971 and saw it get to number 1 in 2005, 34 years later. This is The Bluebells second appearance on Top of the Pops. They performed I'm Falling back in April, 19/04/1984. On that occasion there were only three Bluebells. Now there are five. Two of them must have missed the train down to London in April.




[2] Nik Kershaw: I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me. On video. A self-aggrandising effort recorded live in front of a shrieking audience. The non-audience bits feature evil businessmen stalking around doing evil businessmen type things (pointing, looking stern, etc). No doubt as a prelude to closing down the orphanage owned by Nik Kershaw. There's a really good fade between a freeze frame of a businessman (in his suit and tie) and another shot of more businessmen walking through a door which produces a very brief Magritte-like image of people walking through a door in a face.

[29] The Human League: Life On Your Own. "Finally a hit for Nik Kershaw," says Steve Wright back announcing I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me and simultaneously dismissing Wouldn't It Be Good, which only peaked at number 4.

The Human League, like Steve Wright, are back for the second time in eight weeks. They both last appeared on the 03/05/1984 edition. The song has changed (last time it was The Lebanon) but unfortunately the image hasn't. Phil Oakley persists with a terrible stubble/mullet combination which doesn't suit him. What makes Phil's look worse is that Susan Sulley and Joanne Catherall are still dressing in the same sharp style they wore in 1981. Are The Human League moving on from 1981 or trying to stay the same? At the moment they're attempting to do both.


[33] Bob Marley & The Wailers: Waiting In Vain. Pop Quiz, what island paradise is associated with Bob Marley? That's right Hawaii. With that in mind -and some generous help from British Airways- there's no better place to shoot this promo film.

[40] Tina Turner: What's Love Got To Do With It? "Back in Britain and a welcome visitor to the Top of the Pops studio," quips Steve Wright as he introduces Billy Idol. It's a standard Top of the Pops interview. We learn that Billy Idol is here to "rock and roll" and we get a chance to marvel at the way he has learned to curl his lip while speaking. We also get a chance to marvel at Steve Wright's terrible presenting style. Regard the way he suddenly skips for no reason. Does he think the interview is not zany enough? Hilarity does not ensue.


Fortunately we're not hear to have fun. We here to talk about what's been cut. Yes, I'm going to talk about J-n-th-n K-ng and G*ry Gl*tt*r again. J-n-th-n K-ng's US Chart Rundown has been snipped from the programme. There's nothing unusual in that,but it's clever how Steve Wright's "back in Britain" link is reframed to refer to the Bob Marley promo rather than Mr K-ng.

BBC4 have also skipped a week because the 21/06/1984 edition (Simon Bates & Gary Davies) opened with a performance by G*ry Gl*tt*r; a song called Dance Me Up. When Gl*tt*r opened the 15/10/1981 edition (hosted by David Jensen on his return from CNN) BBC4 simply snipped the offending performance so what's different this time?

The 21/06/1984 edition of Top of the Pops has a few technical problems. The promo for OMD's Talking Loud And Clear has a nasty edit right at the start and a weird moment towards the end when the picture freezes, and then restarts with a whirring noise as if the tape is running back up to speed*. There's also a sound problem during Gary Davies introduction to Smalltown Boy. It's a repeat from the 07/06/1984 edition and the same tape speed noise can be heard as if the VT player is acting up. Maybe it was. I wonder if the 21/06/1984 mastertape sits in the BBC archives with a note that it's not suitable for broadcast due to technical problems, and this plus the G*ry Gl*tt*r song simply made it an easy decision to thrown the edition on the skip pile? Sorry, that went on a bit, here's the video for What's Love Got To Do With It?

[28] Alison Moyet: Love Resurrection. Back on Top of the Pops for the first time since June 1983 when Yazoo split. Alison Moyet is welcomed back in the traditional way, with a balloon strike to the head just as the chorus starts.

[19] Scritti Politti: Absolute. Meanwhile in the audience a bloke has come dressed in a vest, braces, and knotted handkerchief on the head. A sensible look for summer? A tribute to the Gumbys from Monty Python's Flying Circus? Or someone who thought they were auditioning for The Holiday Programme?

[1] Frankie Goes To Hollywood: Two Tribes. A repeat of the Norman Wisdom/sweat/flags performance from the 14/06/1984 edition.

[7] Michael Jackson: Farewell My Summer Love. Goodbyes, credits, and audience dancing.

Performance of the week: Alison Moyet: Love Resurrection



*There's a whole separate mystery about the Talking Loud And Clear video. The Top of the Pops version and the copy on Youtube are different. The Youtube copy covers the instrumental with a sequence of  Andy McCluskey dressed as a scarecrow. The Top of the Pops version has a scene of a farmer building the scarecrow at sunset.


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