Top of the Pops 1979 - 15.2.79

Watched by Chris Arnsby on BBC4

Peter Powell. "Hi everyone! And welcome to the musical world of Top of the Pops! And what better way to start the show than with the chart run down! Here's the Bee Gees and their new smash hit, Tragedy!"
Chart music: Bee Gees, Tragedy [7].

The Dooleys, Honey I'm Lost [54]. The bouncy synthesiser riff keeps reminding me of The King Of Rock And Roll by Prefab Sprout. Apart from that... well, last year I said The Dooleys sounded dated even for 1978. You can imagine how this sounds one year later. The Dooleys are the Coelacanths of Top of the Pops.

Generation X, King Rocker [11]. A repeat for the New Romantic look performance of 2/2/79.

Lene Lovich suddenly realises what she is wearing

Edwin Starr: Contact [6]. It's Legs & Co. Pity for Pauline. She's been wrapped in bubble wrap (like a noisier version of Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks) and has to dance on a podium and pretend to look pleased about what she's wearing. A few hand picked female audience members bop along in the background. According to a post over at the Mausoleum Club forum Flick was allowed to sit in the director's chair for the Legs & Co routines and could be incredibly rude about audience. "Move the fat one, and the one with greasy hair, and if the blonde isn't going to smile get her out of shot."

Alan Price: Baby Of Mine [39]. On a set lit a lurid yellow and green the saxophonist has smartly worn a bright red cap. There are eight people on stage and the saxophonist stands out a mile. Alan Price must have been furious. The song itself is dull but there's a clever bit of vision mixing during the sax break. One camera zooms in for a close up of the saxophone. Over this close up is mixed a shot of the whole band, and into the middle of this is overlaid a third shot; a close up of Alan Prince.

Peaches & Herb: Shake Your Grove Thing [30]. Peaches and Herb have used all the sequins in the world on their tops. In defiance of common sense the director of the promo film has pointed bright lights at the pair and shot the resulting flare through a star filter. This must be where Marvel got the idea for Dazzler. A mutant with the power to turn sound into light.

The Pretenders: Stop Your Sobbing [46]. A brilliant song although I remember hating The Pretenders when I was seven. This is because of the song Brass In Pocket; coming later this year. It contained the lyrics, "there's nobody else here/no one like me/I'm special so special" and I felt this was too boastful.

Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive [21]. Back in 1992 on the radio version of Room 101 Paul Merton tried to get this put away on the grounds that, "it's eight minutes long," and, "no song should be eight minutes long apart from the national anthem." Also because the line "so you're back from outer space," left him wondering if Gloria Gaynor had an affair with Buzz Aldrin. I Will Survive was put into Room 101. For no doubt sinister reasons of their own Top of the Pops have framed the promo film with a yucky multi-coloured electronic rainbow effect.

Lene Lovich: Lucky Number [62]. A parody of this crops up on the 1979 BBC Christmas tape Good King Memorex where a woman from the F.A.C department (no idea- Facilities something something) sings about her lucky number being 4050, VT Control. (The same song contains a dig at Michael Hurll who would go on to produce Top of the Pops from 1980 to 1987. "Michael Hurll's just refused to do anything for our Christmas tape." "Well cancel his edit then.") Lene Lovich has gone for a unique look, a Kimono, a black lace widow's veil, and her hair done in long pigtails.

The Three Degrees: Woman In Love [3]. The Three Degrees are also done up to the nines. Although its a more conventional glamour look than Lene Lovich. One of The Three Degrees has enormous back combed hair which makes her face look tiny.

The Skids: Into The Valley [50]. As with The Pretenders, I remember really taking against Richard Jobson some time in the early 1990s. However the reasons for my dislike are now lost in time so I'd better let the anger go. Richard, if you're reading this, I forgive you.

Numer one: Blondie, Heart Of Glass. Another outing for the promo video.

Closing titles: Third World, Cool Meditation [21].

Performance of the week: Lene Lovich: Lucky Number.

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