08/05/2020

Top of the Pops 25 April 1985


Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Mike Read: “Hi, and welcome to Top of the Pops with Gary and myself. USA for Africa are on tonight, and the RAH Band, David Grant, Jaki Graham, and also Phil Collins.” Gary Davies: “In fact if you want to know how to get 17 hits in 33 minutes just stick around. To get us underway a song that's gone up 17 places to number 7 in the charts this week. Bronski Beat and Marc Almond, I Feel Love.”
[7] Bronski Beat & Marc Almond: I Feel Love.17 hits in 33 minutes? Yes, it turns out Top of the Pops has been given extra time. When Only Fools And Horses finished, Top of the Pops and Tomorrow's World swapped places on Thursday. Now Tomorrow's World has lost five minutes and is scheduled from 7.30-7.55pm, and Top of the Pops slots in between that and repeats of The Lenny Henry Show at 8.30pm.
I Feel Love is a study in contrasting performance styles.  Jimmy Somerville is a natural on stage. He dances like a club veteran and looks at home and completely unselfconscious. Marc Almond looks more awkward, and dances like... well, like me. Fair play to Marc. He's doing his best but he's got the wry self-conscious smirk of a man out of his element. Clearly he would rather be back in suburbia writing poetry about how ghastly it is to live in the suffocating bourgeois embrace of the provinces where no one understands him, and all his real talents go unappreciated. Marc Almond is wearing a small gold star pinned to his blazer lapel. Is it his badge for mathematical excellence? This is an oddly structured song with two false endings, put there to frustrate any DJ with the temerity to play the song on the radio. The first one shifts abruptly from I Feel Love to Johnny Remember Me. The pair continue to sing as Lighting Director Fred Wright uses this moment to cut the main studio lights leaving the stage lit by a spotlight, against a backdrop of neon tubes. The studio lights are then slowly raised again as the song builds. It looks great. Both false endings get big cheers from the studio audience.

[4] Phil Collins: One More Night. On video.
[6] RAH Band: Clouds Across The Moon. I feel like I'm missing some important context. Imagine completing a jigsaw which turns out to feature a baffling picture; Albert Einstein dressed as an adjustable wrench and riding on the back of a gorilla. (John- Oh you’ve got that one too have you? ) I can see what the picture is, but I don't understand why someone would commission that artwork, then make a jigsaw of it, and then put it on sale. That's Clouds Across The Moon by RAH Band. It's not a bad song, although the tune verges towards the sort of bland jazz-funk Shakatak used to produce by the yard. But why are the lyrics a phone conversation to an astronaut on Mars? And there's a war on? And the singer only gets to call once a year? And why under these circumstances is the conversation so banal? Given all this uncertainty it hardly seems necessary to complain about the Intergalactic Operator routing the call via the asteroid belt, which just seems like a cynical way to make more money by driving up the call. (Fact John- Richard Anthony Hewson is the mastermind behind The RAH Band – see what he did there- who first came to our attention with `The Crunch` in 1977 and the band appeared on TOTP dressed in diving skins. Hewson also produced Shakin Stevens so he’s committed crimes alright..)
Top 40 Breakers: [36] New Model Army, No Rest; [34] Debarge, Rhythm Of The Night; [31] Eurythmics, Would I Lie To You?; [23] Freddie Mercury, I Was Born To Love You.
Top 10: [10] Howard Jones, Look Mama; [9] Go West, We Close Our Eyes; [8] Simple Minds, Don't You Forget About Me; [7] Bronski Beat & Marc Almond,  I Feel Love; [6] RAH Band, Clouds Across The Moon.
[5] David Grant & Jaki Graham: Could It Be I’m Falling In Love? A pleasant enough song, but not interesting enough that I don't spend the whole studio performance trying to work out if the unfashionably bearded percussionist is Trevor Morais; last seen on Top of the Pops the previous week backing Howard Jones. I don't think it is, unless he's had a trim since 18/04/1985. Unfortunately positive ID is difficult because Jaki Graham keeps selfishly dancing in front of the drummer. If it isn't Trever Morais then how many unfashionably hairy drummers were roaming the streets in 1985? (Fact John- Trev actually joined Rory Storm and the Hurricanes after previous drummer Ringo Starr left to join The Beatles. Just think; if Rings hadn’t worked out it could have been John, Paul, George and Trevor!)
[3] Phyllis Nelson: Move Closer. Notable for using a clip of Phyllis Nelson performing on Top of the Pops (18/04/1985). Is this the last time a record company was too cheap to make a video for a Top 10 single?
[2] Tears For Fears: Everybody Wants To Rule The World.
[1] USA For Africa: We Are The World. The BBC4 repeat cuts straight from Tears For Fears to USA For Africa with no introduction. This is reportedly because Mike Read does a J*mmy S*v*l* impression.
[20] Steve Arrington: Feel So Real. Before the audience dancing and credits there's a brief interview with Vikki Watson. She is taking the song Love Is to groovy Gothemburg for the 1985 Eurovision Song Contest. This is the first time since at least 1980 (I couldn't be bothered to check further back) that the Eurovision contender hasn't had a pre-contest outing on Top of the Pops. Terry Wogan has stolen that thunder by previewing the songs on his new thrice weekly chat show, the originally named Wogan.It's a classic piece of in depth pop-journalism. We learn that Vikki thinks “we're going to win this year, Mike.” And nothing else. The UK did well, scoring 100 points, but the 1986 Eurovision Contest was held in Norway.

PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: Bronski Beat & Marc Almond: I Feel Love

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