11/10/2019

Top of the Pops 4 Oct 1984


Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Simon Bates: "Thursday night at Television Centre [indecipherable] Top of the Pops. It's so packed tonight I've forgotten who's on, Richard." Richard Skinner: "Tell you what. How about The Stranglers, Culture Club, and Adam Ant, live. Plus, in the studio now here are Bronski Beat and Why."
[4] Bronski Beat: Why? BBC4 skipped over September's final Top of the Pops because one of the hosts was Mike Smith. The result, on BBC4 at least, is that Bronksi Beat take pole position on two back-to-back editions.  The question everyone is asking is, what's the picture on the front of the vest worn by the stage right keyboard player? The picture on the vest of Larry Steinbachek (probably) is the cover of the single. An image of a man with his head in his hands by Glasgow artist Robert McAulay (thanks Wikipedia). Presumably the vest, and the t-shirt with the same picture Larry wore on the 20/09/1984 edition, were promotional material from London Records. This explains how Larry is able to wear a black t-shirt and two weeks later a black vest with the same picture without doing some pretty serious alterations; like Marge Simpson in the episode where she buys a Chanel suit. The stage left keyboard player (possibly the eponymous Bronski himself) has finally given in to his mum's nagging and put on the jumper his nan brought him last Christmas. She will be pleased. 

 
[15] The Cars: Drive. On video. Made more poignant by the death of Ric Ocasek last month.
[38] John Waite: Missing You. John Waite bops so rhythmically that for the first verse Producer Brian Whitehouse opts for a single close-up of John's head repeatedly going left and right. The effect is oddly hypnotic until John goes right and then unexpectedly right again. He catches out the camera operator who has already started to swing the camera the other way and has to make a quick correction to keep John's head in frame. Meanwhile, in the long shots of the studio, watch out for the two young women on the scaffolding bridge who are more interested in waving and catching the attention of their friends in the crowd below.
[21] Giorgio Moroder & Philip Oakey: Together In Electric Dreams. On video. John Waites repetitive dancing lulled me into a semi-conscious state, so I missed Simon Bates' introduction the first time round.  As a result I got confused and spent a lot of time marvelling at how much Giorgio Moroder resembles Phil Oakey after his ill-advised Ian McShane-style makeover.
The good thing about going back and watching the video again is that it's a cracking song, and it gives me another chance to admire Philip's spiffing Dark Judges t-shirt.
[3] Culture Club: The War Song. Parodied on Spitting Image as "wars are naughty, and people are naughty, and anyone who starts one should be sent to bed early."
"I'm not one for gossip," gossips Simon Bates, "but I must tell you straight away from Boy George's own mouth, he will NOT be appearing in Dallas. Whatever you've seen in the daily papers." He would however go on to appear in an episode of The A-Team in 1986.
[28] Paul McCartney: No More Lonely Nights. Good luck trying to work out the plot of Electric Dreams or Give My Regards To Broad Street from their promotional videos. Electric Dreams is seemingly about the forbidden love between a man, a computer, and a woman playing the cello. Later the computer goes to the beach and there's some sort of dance fight in an aerobics studio and a riot in a supermarket.
Meanwhile Give My Regards To Broad Street deals sensitively with Paul McCartney's trauma after Ringo Starr drowns in a tragic boating accident. Paul's character goes into a fugue state and he imagines himself at various points in history. The shots of a disappearing and reappearing London skyline are symbolic of his struggles to rebuild his memory. (John- Plus the song has a solo from David `Dave` Gilmour of Pink Floyd fame)
[32] The Stranglers: Skin Deep. It seems like eons since The Stranglers were last on Top of the Pops. It's actually about 18 months. They performed European Female on the 06/01/1983 edition (repeated 20/01/1983). What a baffling career they've had -and I mean that in the best sense of the phrase. The Stranglers have appeared annually since 1977 (with a year off in 1980) and although the appearances will become less frequent they will continue to pop up as late as 1990.
The Stranglers formed in 1974. Look down the relevant list on Wikipedia (because of course there's a page about all the bands who formed in 1974) and by 1984 there's not really anyone else still going; The Blockheads, Blondie, Chas & Dave, Jefferson Starship, The Nolans, Ramones, and The Undertones. The Stranglers have beaten them all.
[13] Adam Ant: Apollo 9. The Stranglers also outlast Adam Ant. This is his last appearance and he goes out doing what he loves. Dancing and making stupid noises. "Whoopsin-a whoopsin (dress it up)/Jan jan jammering (dress it up, dress it up)/Yabba-yabba-ding-ding (dress it up)/Delta hey max nine." (John- Well it makes perfect sense to me!)
[1] Stevie Wonder: I Just Called To Say I Love You. Sponsored by the Toast Marketing Board. Toast. Toast. Lovely lovely toast.
[10] Freddie Mercury: Love Kills. Audience dancing and credits.

Performance of the week:  The Stranglers: Skin Deep.

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