24/01/2020

Top of the Pops 17 Jan 1985


Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Gary Davies: "Hi. How you doing? Welcome to Top of the Pops. Hope you're warm. Hope you're well. We've got a very busy show for you tonight, haven't we, Pete?" Peter Powell: "We have indeed. To start us a Dutch duo called The Limit, who've got a record which is at 19 going up 18 places. And it's called Saaaay Yeah!
[19] The Limit: Say Yeah. There are four people in The Limit. Maybe the technical term for four people is a Dutch duo, like a Baker's dozen, in which case I bow to Peter Powell's superior knowledge of numerical terms.
Peter Powell turns in a very low energy introduction that, and his inability to count to four, might be because he is distracted by microphone problems. Literally as the show starts he's fumbling discretely with the cable running out of his back trouser pocket, and behind him an unfashionably dressed middle-aged (gasp) man tries to sneak out of the secret DJ exit by the neon Top of the Pops logo. I'm guessing this chap is part of the studio sound crew; maybe it's Bob Foley the appropriately named Sound Supervisor, or Technical Co-ordinator Ray Hider. The Limit is a Dutch duo of three men and one women. The men are all weedy looking fashion disasters with bad hair. The lead singer needs to do something about his straggly neckline. (John- The singer is Gwen Guthrie who will have a hit in 1986 called `Nothing Going on but the Rent`)
 
 
[13] Prince: 1999. On video, and older than I realised. If you asked me to guess I would have dated this song to the early nineties when people were beginning to realise that we were having one of those millennium thingies at the end of the decade.
[17] Amii Stewart: Friends. An amiiable enough song. Disappointingly the song doesn't start, "so no one told you life was gonna be this way." Amii pulls off a vigorous dance routine during the musical interlude. It's impressive but overly frantic and it doesn't really match the tempo of the song.

[12] Smiley Culture: Police Officer. As Amii Stewart finishes we fade straight into Smiley Culture's performance. BBC4's editor has deftly removed J-n-th-n K-ng's US Chart Rundown, and smoothed out the audience cheering to ease the transition.
[18] Russ Abbot: Atmosphere. On video. "I love a party with a happy atmosphere," sings Russ Abbot. Personally I love a really awkward atmosphere with everyone trading bitter passive-aggressive barbs.
Best British Video Award: Peter Powell lumbers through his explanation of the Best British Video Award 1984. The short summary, send your postcard vote to BBC Television Centre before 26th January 1984. Smalltown Boy was good.
[10] Strawberry Switchblade: Since Yesterday. On video, you'll recognise it when you hear it. Top of the Pops is still continuing with the daft Top 10 countdown but the format works better this week. For starters the show is better balanced than the 03/01/1985 edition when we only got two non Top 10 songs. The downside is a stupendously long chart rundown from 40 to 10 which also introduces a whole new mystery. What is the difference between a New Entry and a Chart Entry? (John- Isn’t it that a new entry is something that is just out that week whereas a chart entry is something that’s been outside the Top 40 but now enters the Top 40? Because there was actually a Top 75. Though that would make every TOTP ridiculously long if they covered it.)

[9] Paul Young: Everything Must Change. Also on video.
[8] Grandmaster Melle Mel: Step Off. It's a surprise to see Grandmaster Melle Mel in the studio. His previous single White Lines (Don't Don't Do It) was studiously ignored by Top of the Pops despite spending 17 weeks in the Top 40 and rising as far as 7. Still, obviously Grandmaster Melle Mel doesn't bear a grudge.
The single is credited to Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five, but there are only three people on stage including Grandmaster Melle Mel. What happened to the other three? Are they enjoying their trip to London too much to be truly furious?
[7] Ray Parker Jr: Ghostbusters. On video.
[6] Elaine Paige & Barbara Dickson: I Know Him So Well. On video.
[5] Tears For Fears: Shout. On video. (John- Have they just given up and left the studio empty?)
[4] Madonna: Like A Virgin. On video.
[3] Wham!: Last Christmas. CTRL C
[2] Band Aid: Do They Know It's Christmas? On video.
[1] Foreigner: I Want To Know What Love Is. Ugh! Really? This is the song the knocks Do They Know It's Christmas from the number 1 spot? Oh, it's also on video.
[36] Bruce Springsteen: Dancing In The Dark. Credits and audience dancing.

Performance of the week: Grandmaster Melle Mel (& The Furious Five), Step Off

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