Top of the Pops 1980 28 Feb 1980

Guest Post by Chris Arnsby
BBC4: Top of the Pops 1980 28/02/1980
Kid Jensen, "Hi there. You've joined us just in time as we punch out more pop on this week's edition of Top of the Pops, and here's the music of Jefferson Starship."
Chart music: Jefferson Starship, Jane [21]. The second time this has opened the programme. Someone obviously likes the song but presumably Jefferson Starship are unavailable to the Top of the Pops studio and there are no suitable clips to use.
Elvis Costello & The Attractions: I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down [5]. At the end of the song Elvis Costello is winched up and down on a kirby wire. There's also a splendid over-literal moment when Vision Mixer Carol Abbot uses the magic of Quantel to slide a picture of Elvis Costello out of the bottom of the picture; falling down, you see. 
Elvis leaves the building

Marti Webb: Take That Look Off Your Face [6]. Speaking of Quantel and its electronic alchemy, here's a new trick. The backroom boys (and girls) at the BBC have learned to freeze an image then fade it out slowly over the output from a second camera. A trick which is put to good use throughout Marti Webb's angry, angry song. (J: This song was written by none other than Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black. Just thought I’d mention that)
The Vapors: Turning Japanese [34]. A terrific song. Bizarrely someone has taken the decision to cut in images of Japanese culture so the performance is peppered with stills of assorted samurai, geisha, ronin, and sumo wrestlers. For a moment it makes me jumpy. I'm watching an early 80s light entertainment programme so anything like this makes me worried that something unacceptable is about to happen. But it doesn't. At one point the lead singer is vignetted by a yellow oval frame which seems odd but not dubious. (J; Guitarist Ed Basalgette is now a tv director who recently did some episodes of Poldark)
Michael Jackson: Rock With You [7]. Michael Jackson wears a sparkly suit and dances in a tunnel made of lasers. Welcome to the world of tomorrow!
Liquid Gold: Dance Yourself Dizzy [47]. "I tell you this disco business is thirsty business," says Kid Jenson fluffing his link slightly by repeating the word business. He's holding a glass of champagne in order to make an hilarious joke; "this [indicates champagne] is liquid gold by the... or rather this [hands glass to grinning woman] is Liquid Gold." It's an Alan Partridge moment from the one Top of the Pops presenter who's usually above these duff hijinx. Liquid Gold themselves look like the manager's cabaret at a terrible office Christmas party.
The Gibson Brothers: Cuba [40]. Legs and Co samba on to the stage dressed as Cuban dancers. Meanwhile the audience have unwisely been given bundles of streamers to chuck around so close-ups of the band make it look as if The Gibson Brothers are being attacked by an angry swarm.
Peter Gabriel: Games Without Frontiers [17]. Peter Gabriel has a go at this new fangled music video thingy. He creeps along a studio gantry shining a torch under his chin and then invades a dining room where a group of children are dressed as adults and are apparently about to eat a large uncooked turkey while CSO happens. Sheer visual poetry dear boy. (J: He was actually just trying to warn them not to eat the uncooked meat)
Stiff Little Fingers: At The Edge [25]. The drummer knocks one of his cymbals over. He rushes out during the guitar break to reclaim it and then joins general band melee at the front of the stage before returning to his drums. As the camera pulls back to Kid Jensen the drummer can be seen waiving the errant cymbal like a war trophy.
Dave Edmunds: Singing The Blues [28]. A repeat from the 15/02/80 edition.
The Police: So Lonely [19]. It's time for Legs & Co. This week Legs & Co have been mostly dancing in a perspex box.
Rainbow: All Night Long [22]. It turns out I was thinking of the Lionel Richie song.
The Shadows: Riders In The Sky [12]. Ugh. Once again Hank Marvin covers someone else's song while smirking like he invented the concept of music.
Number one: Blondie, Atomic. Put on your anti-radiation cape. Deep in the Cursed Earth Blondie hold a concert for assorted freaks, chuds, glombies, and mandroids. Admission price 25 units. Best bit: when Debbie Harry turns to the camera and growls ATOMIC!
Closing titles: David Bowie, Alabama Song [23]. Executive Producer Robin Nash wins £5 after someone bets him he won't play this under the closing titles.
Performance of the week: The Vapors, Turning Japanese.

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