Top of the Pops 79 - 11.01.79

BBC4: Top of the Pops 1979 11/1/79
Watched by Chris Arnsby

Kid Jensen. "What ever your music taste you should find it covered tonight on this week's edition of Top of the Pops!"
Chart music: Chaka Khan: I’m Every Woman [14]

Rocky Sharpe & The Replays: Rama Lama Ding Dong [24]. Uh-oh, its Proustian Rush time. Suddenly I'm 7 again*. There's the colour television in the corner which blanked out right at the start of an edition of Emu's Broadcasting Company, damn you striking power workers, there's the gas fire, and behind me is the sideboard on top of which is the long-necked china cat I knocked over and broke while playing (luckily Dad fixed it with some glue). What I don't get is why Rocky Sharpe & The Replays should be the people to provoke such a flood of memories. A quick internet check leaves me pretty certain Rocky Sharpe & The Replays never played this song on Swap Shop, or Cheggers Plays Pop (both essential sources of top pop for any fashion conscious 7 year old). In fact, not to spoil upcoming editions but Rocky Sharpe & The Replays never even played Rama Lama Ding Dong on Top of the Pops again. I must have watched this edition of Top of the Pops, and I'm just left wondering what made Rocky Sharpe & The Replays so memorable. Their sub-Darts clowning is acceptable and the song is catchy but frankly I'm baffled. The only explanation I can come up with is that I thought "Rama Lama, Rama Lama Ding Dong" was an unlikely name for a girl. 
Rocky Sharpe & the Replays spot their fan.

Sally Oldfield: Mirrors [30]. From sub-Darts clowning to sub-Kate Bush white flouncy dresses. Sally Oldfield is Mike Oldfields older sister, she's the older Oldfield. With its bongo percussion, Sally Oldfield's melismatic (one for the long word dictionary) singing style, her Sandie-Shaw-barefoot-on-stage look  and the long white dress, plus the pampas grass decorating the stage, the whole performance feels about six years out of date.

Paul Evans: Hello, This Is Joanie (The Telephone Answering Machine Song) [13]. How many songs are there about answering machines? There's this, plus Name And Number by Curiosity Killed the Cat and its close relative De La Soul's Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey). Anyway in this song Paul Evens lets Joanie drive home angry from his place. She crashes her car and dies. Now he can only hear her voice by calling her answering machine. Depressing.

Bonnie Tyler: Louisiana Rain [NEW]. Nice enough but ultimately lightweight country and western style song. Bonnie Tyler's in the wilderness between It's A Heartache and Total Eclipse Of The Heart.

Leo Sayer: Raining In My Heart [21]. 1979, I was definitely watching this edition of Top of the Pops. I remember satirising Leo Sayer by changing the lyrics of this song to "raining while I fart." Take that Leo Sayer! You were the laughing stock of almost all the playground.

Mankind: Doctor Who [25]. Ironically a couple of earlier performances of this got skipped over as a result of this blog's focus on the Doctor Who 50th anniversary. It's odd. A disco version of the Doctor Who theme. It sounds almost exactly how you'd expect. In the studio someone has set the dry ice machine to maximum power and a couple of members of the audience are reduced to heads bobbing out a freezing white cloud.

Driver 67: Car 67 [27]. Another oddity. It starts with a hand grabbing a radio mike and a Brummie accented voice asking , "car 67, car 67, where are you?" The immediate expectation is that this is going to be a horror like D*v* L** Tr*v*s and Paul Burnett's diabolical Convoy GB. It's not. There's actually something really charming and likeable about the song. The accordion gives it a surprisingly melancholic feel. The staging of the performance is really interesting as well. The band, and the Brummie accented singer, well not singer the one doing the radio voice over, are on stage while the singer is isolated from the group and the audience in a yellow cab. The whole performance is unexpectedly great. Charmingly as the camera zooms out at the end Rocky Sharpe & The Replays can just be spotted in their white suits watching from the shadows at the back of the studio.

The Doll: Desire Me [NEW]. It would be easy to be sneer at this and go: desire me? No, I'm okay thanks. Actually this is a decent enough slice of punk/new wave which doesn't outstay its welcome.

Hot Chocolate: I’ll Put You Together Again [16]. On video, this is an epic promo. There are candles, dry ice, black drapes, white Greek columns and about twenty people in the studio; a string quartet, a mixed choir (the women are clutching red roses), Errol and the band.

The Shadows: Don’t Cry For Me Argentina [35]. Ecch! Hank Marvin's doing that vibrato thing with his guitar again and smirking like he's King Turd of Shit Mountain. For some reason the audience have been issued with white carnations which they wave.

Funkadelic: One Nation Under A Groove [18]. And this week Legs & Co are dressed like soldiers. Sexy soldiers! They all seem to be wearing sergeant stripes which must make the chain of command a nightmare.

Steve Allan: Together We Are Beautiful [NEW]. Not Steve Allen the American television personality, musician, composer, actor, comedian, and writer. A different less good Steve Allan; with an A.

Number One: Village People, Y.M.C.A. The second best thing about this film, after all the urban decay, is the bemused New Yorkers standing around watching this being filmed.
Closing titles: Billy Joel, My Life [29].

Performance of the week: Much to my surprise it's Driver 67: Car 67.

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