Top of the Pops 14 January 1988


Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Simon Mayo: “Hi. Good evening. Welcome to Top of the Pops. In our London studio we have Krush, and we also have Terence Trent D'Arby.”Gary Davies: “In our American studio we have Tiffany and Belinda Carlisle but first we start with a band who are really living up to their name. At number ten Clime Fisher, Rise to the Occasion.”

[10] CLIMIE FISHER: rise to the occasion. Gary Davies is wearing a really nasty jumper.  The bulk of the front is orange but the collar is black and there's a black and white chequered band across the middle. It's decorated with various yellow triangles which look a bit like warning signs and number plates; is the jumper road themed, or Formula 1?

We're in a medium long shot so it's difficult to be sure, but I expect there will be further chances to study this disaster over the next 30 minutes.

Lead singer Simon Climie has been given Pop Star lessons in the two weeks since the band first appeared. Then he looked uncomfortable and clutched a denim jacket like a security blanket. This time round he at least gives the appearance of being more relaxed and roams across the stage interacting with the backing singers, and fellow band member and keyboard player, Rob Fisher. They've worked out a little bit of business to go with some of the samples, including Simon Climie pretending to fiddle with the keyboard before the “don't touch that” sample is played, better known from Pump Up The Volume. Climie Fisher is also boldly using a sample from The Jungle Book, Baloo saying “come on buddy, get with the beat.” Disney could crush them like bugs.


[13] TIFFANY: i think we're alone now. A clip from Top of the Pops USA, 11/13/1987 according to Youtube. ToTP USA host Nia Peebles is able to tell us more a the clip uploaded to the internet, : “Number one for the second week in a row is a singer who debuted this summer on a concert tour of shopping malls. Now just a few months later her first single has pulled in more radio requests than any other record this year according to Hits magazine. Here's sixteen year old Tiffany with her smash remake of I Think We're Alone Now.” (John: First recorded in 1967 by Tommy James and the Shondells and written by Ritchie Cordell probably before shopping malls were invented. I wonder, though, what a Shondell is?)

[3] KRUSH: house arrest. Eric Wallis is back on Lighting, and he excels himself. Gary Davis introduces Krush and Eric dims the studio lights as the camera pans over to the band. Krush are on the main studio stage, the audience behind them have all been given torches to wave (which reminds me of the closing titles to Cheggers Plays Pop -how I wanted to be in the audience of that programme so I too could wave a torch at the camera)  and in the scenery behind the audience are several multicoloured strobes.

Dimming the studio lights really emphasises the comet tails effect you get when a camera points at a bright light source. Here the effect is impressive, if difficult to describe. It resembles a time lapse film of a thunderstorm at night with bright flashes slowly fading while the comet tails smear the light sources, and give the whole thing an odd sense of motion through the studio smoke. For reasons I'll never be able to get to the bottom of, it makes me think of the descriptions of God, from off of The Bible, as a pillar of smoke and fire although I'll bet the Israelites didn't march out of the wilderness to the sounds of Krush*. Comet tails are normally regarded as something to be avoided  and it's a really clever idea to take a technical limitation and turn it into a lighting effect.

Gary Davis jumper update. The badges/warning signs on Gary Davis jumper read “HOT JEANS,” or possibly “NOT JEANS”. It's not easy to tell. Seeing his jumper slightly closer doesn't make it look any better.

*Desmond Dekker & The Aces, obviously.

TOP 40. This is a level 3 Bros alert. They are in at [39]. Songs what I recorded off the radio; [33] Dollar, O L'amour. How embarrassing!

[4] MORRIS MINOR & THE MAJORS: stutter rap. A repeat of the 31/12/1987performance.

TOP 40 BREAKERS: [22] THE CHRISTIANS, ideal world; [17] AC/DC, heatseeker.

[8] TERENCE TRENT D'ARBY: sign your name. This is moody and soulful Terence. It's a good song but I prefer the funky Terence of If You Let Me Stay and Dance Little Sister.

TOP 10.

[1] BELINDA CARLISLE: heaven is a place on earth. No lusting over Belinda Carlise this week from Simon or Gary. I thought she'd replaced gorgeous-pouting-etc Kim Wilde in the hearts of Radio 1 DJs. This is another Top of the Pops USA performance, taking from the edition shown 06/11/1987. Here's Nia: “Next up is the former lead singer and co-founder of the most successful rock and roll band in history, The Go-Gos, they had ten top ten singles before this lady went on to launch a very successful solo career. She's already had a number three hit with Mad About You and now from her second album she has the number eight song in the country...”

[11] GEORGE MICHAEL: father figure. Steve Wright and Gary Davies next week. Paul Ciani is credited as Producer and Director but Executive Producer Michael Hurll is still looking over his shoulder.

 Performance of the week: This has been an odd edition of Top of the Pops. The only new London studio performance, of four, is Terence Trent D'Arby and he's not really doing it for me. Top of the Pops USA studio performances are allowed* but I'm not mad keen on either Tiffany or the-all-new gorgeous pouting etc Belinda Carlisle. Here's the thing, I really like this performance of House Arrest. It's better than the one from 31/12/1987 -and technically that was last year... so, Performance of the Week, Krush, House Arrest.

*for the remaining 10 editions of Top of the Pops USA.

 The Roxy Playlist, 12/01/1988: In studio Terence Trent D'Arby, Sign Your Name; Morris Minor and the Majors, Stutter Rap; The Stranglers, All Day and All of the Night; Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, Jennifer She Said; Depeche Mode, Behind the Wheel. On video Belinda Carlisle, Heaven Is A Place On Earth.

1 comment:

  1. An unbroadcast curio was most likely filmed during the sessions for this edition - Lloyd Cole & The Commotions' performance of 'Jennifer She Said', never shown in the UK but ultimately featured on Top of the Pops USA a few weeks later:
    At the time of this pre-recording it was at #38 over here, and would only reach #31 the following week before dropping swiftly out of the Top 40, but would've been better than having to endure Morris Minor & The Majors a second time...