Top of the Pops 78: 06/04/78

As watched by Chris Arnsby on BBC4
Originally broadcast  6/4/78

Noel Edmonds, “hello welcome to Top Of The Pops, and it seems somewhat logical to start the proceedings with Genesis.”
Chart music: Genesis, Follow You Follow Me [8]

The Boomtown Rats: She's So Modern [NEW]. A studio performance from The Boomtown Rats singing a song which isn't I Don't Like Mondays. Some of the audience have been given little flags to wave and they're going nuts with enthusiasm. Time has given some of the lyrics an odd twist. Try describing someone as, “so 20th century,” now and you might as well call them old fashioned, but describe them as, “so 1970's” and it sounds like you think they are delightfully retro. As The Boomtown Rats finish a girl in the centre of the audience turns to face the camera and jumps up and down waving excitedly. I wonder if she saw herself on the repeat?

Manhattan Transfer: Walk In Love [16]. Oh no it's Manhattan Transfer [rat-atat-atat]. A repeat of their earlier performance [rat-atat-atat].
Hot Chocolate: Every 1's A Winner [12]. Two repeat performances in a row.

Andrew Gold: Never Let Her Slip Away [11]. It's time for Legs & Co. Although Noel calls them, “Legs and company.” Does he always do that? The song starts, “I talked to my baby on the telephone, long distance,” so naturally the set is decorated with three telephone poles, wires, and a couple of stuffed birds from the prop department. This week Legs & Co are wearing Laura Ashley style long dresses and chunky gold lamé sandals.

Squeeze: Take Me I'm Yours [44]. It's important to remember these comments are written by a musical ignoramus. I've got little interest in any song beyond, “liked it”, or “hated it”. This I feel qualifies me to write these reviews because it makes me representative of the general audience in 1978. By my own standards then I'm almost an expert on Squeeze. I can name three of their songs; Up The Junction, Cool For Cats, and Pulling Mussels From The Shell. If you'd played me Take Me I'm Yours and asked me to guess the band and year I might have gone for Depeche Mode and 1981. This is an amazing single. It's like nothing else on tonight’s edition, and with a drum beat reminiscent of Talking Heads Road To Nowhere (1985), and a synthesiser track which in places sounds like Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics (1983) it's as if Squeeze have accidentally wandered in to the Top Of The Pops studio from the future.

Squeeze try to live up to their name

Wings: With A Little Luck [13]. As this starts and the camera pulls back to reveal an audience dancing along it looks, just for a second, as if Wings are actually in the Top Of The Pops studio. It rapidly becomes clear that this isn't the case but it's odd that both this video promo, and Hot Chocolate's are shot in the same studio style. It obviously hasn't yet occurred to many bands that these new videos can do more than just capture a basic performance of a song. On stage in the background of the video a few kids are dancing around. Presumably one of them is Stella McCartney who would have been about seven when this was recorded.

Showaddywaddy: I Wonder Why [5]. It's all right, but it's no Under The Moon Of Love. I actually find the lead singer of Showaddywaddy a bit scary. He has a very angular face, and his mouth seems slightly to large; like the Voice Of Sauron.

The Stylistics: Wonder Woman [NEW]. I bet this got played as the last song of the night in loads of discos.

Sheila B. Devotion: Singin' In The Rain (part 1) [30]. An up tempo reworking of Singing In The Rain, which is exactly as terrible as you might imagine. Shelia B. Devotion and her dancers gyrate furiously and the whole performance is captured in a single take which means that if you can't stand Sheila B's singing, or dancing, or choreography, or fashion sense, you must at least admire her stamina. Fun can be had from imagining equally inappropriate songs to lay over a disco track; Unchained Melody, As Time Goes By, or possibly I'm Walking Backwards For Christmas.

Andy Gibb: Shadow Dancing [NEW]. Andy's inherited his brothers' teeth, but the audience seem largely immune to his disco charms.

Co-Co: The Bad Old Days [NEW]: Just occasionally these repeats bring back a flood of memories. This is great when the song is good but when it's rotten the effect is a sort of inverse Proustian Rush of nostalgia and hatred. This was le Royaume-Uni's 1978 Song For Europe. SPOILER ALERT: we came 11th.

Number 1: Brian And Michael, Matchstalk Men And Matchstalk Cats And Dogs. For some reason Brian and Michael have been put on the Legs & Co stage. Maybe director Phil Bishop thought the telephone poles looked appropriately northern. Brian and Michael are joined on stage by twelve girls who join in with the chorus and the addy-addy-o's. There is a sweet contrast between the slight folksy glumness of the song and the girls who are all beaming with pride at appearing on television.

Closing titles: Blondie, Denis [2].


No comments:

Post a Comment