This is something ive been meaning to look into all week. At the recent OFTDs meet-up in Stourbridge one of the debates we had was the subject of Legs & Co's best year in terms of overall excellence and quality. The two years we decided on were 1979 and 1981. I was pushing for 1979 on the evidence of the Legs & Co comments ratings average score for that year, which at 8.24 is ahead of the rest. I also believe that 1979 provided the better music.
One of the counter arguments to this (and i think its a valid point) is that 1981 did feature lots of backing/performing with the artist/dancing in the audience/solo style performances and these have contaminated the average score rating somewhat. I do take that onboard, but i will also point out that a lot of those do not feature in the score ratings comments.
Below ive tried to settle that debate by removing those performances from the average score rating for those two years. Might i add when i say removed, im only talking about this thread, they still remain on the Comments ratings as i believe they are worthy of being there.
So for 1979 ive removed 4. `Gone Gone Gone, Bang Bang, Que Tal America & Just When I Needed You Most `
For 1981 ive removed 11. `Stars On 45-version 1 ,Endless Love, Japanese Boy, Stars on 45-Vol 2 (Vers 2), This Ole House (Version 2), Green Door, Oldest Swinger In Town , Can You Handle It, You Drive Me Crazy, Seasons Of Gold , Birdie Song (V1) 1.
This then will just leave 48 proper full Legs & Co dance routines from 1979 and 35 from 1981.
So what are the averages now for those two particular years ?
1979 comes out at an average of 8.34. 1981 comes out at an average of 8.32.
When you factor in the backing stuff etc, it comes out at ...
1979 - 8.24.
1981 - 7.97.
Incidentally, sandwiched in the middle is 1980, which only has proper full dance routines. The average for that year is 8.10.
So in the end 1979 takes it by the finest of margins if we go by the Comments average scores. I wonder what 1982 would have brought. We will never know as they were sawn off by the you know who. Anyway, i hope that clears up the debate. Im happy to say both years were pretty equal and both provided brilliant routines.
Both years were exceptional, and several of my favourite routines do come from 79. But. I think Legs never looked or danced better than they did in 1981. They went out on the highest of highs. No question about it. Not once did they look like a busted flush and I'll always be mystified how they could ever have been deemed surplus to requirements.
1979 was the best year out of the two in my honest opinion. Looking back I had come to the conclusion that they had now "passed their sell by date" and this was a common conversation in 1979 but we had been having the videos shown so it was inevitable.
As the years have progressed and now videos (now known as promos) are just commonplace I grew to like them more and appreciate the dancing. It may also have been an "age" thing.
They did some lovely routines in 1979 most notably Donna Summer's top 20 hits and Bee Gees etc. I would have liked them to dance to Donna Summer's Dim All The Lights as that was song was a perfect vehicle for them.
As regards 1981 we were just over-run with medley hits. Once Starsound had their No.2 hit and No.1 album everyone jumped on the bandwagon and the awful junk that they had to dance to and to look professional and happy was just diabolical. I would seriously like to know who bought these medleys because no one I have known in my life had them in their collection. Yes then it was time for them to depart but looking at it now I would have liked to see them carry on for a couple more years at least and see them dance to the Flashdance music or Footloose - American music which they were very good at.
Everywhere, wherever you look, manipulation rearing it's head.
Yep for me 1979 was the pinnacle; Legs were brilliant and consistent and the music was conducive as heck. 1981 had some great peaks too but more patchy IMunHO and more annoying music and TOTP formats. For this grumpy old sod it's deemed no contest, sorry
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
An honourable draw (if the stats were rounded up to just the one decimal place!).
Perhaps a touch more variation in '79 allied with strong dancing consistency through '81 makes for two enjoyable almanacs requiring a human hair to split them.
Good work Ryan. This now gives a much more fair and realistic impression of the respective merits of the two years, and yes, they are virtually identical. I might just about favour 81 but I wouldn't really like to say that one is objectively better than the other. What I will say is that Legs & Co hadn't declined one bit at the point they bowed out.
Unlike many I think that medleys were actually a boon, providing as they did routines with a smorgasbord of variety the like of which hadn't been seen before.
One little thing worth bearing in mind is that if our stingiest rater had continued his rampage through 81 as he had in all the other years, then both the established and amended averages for that year would be slightly lower.
It’s difficult to draw direct comparisons between years as there are so many variables, such as, for example, the music, the production team, the impact of strikes and the budget.
1981 has a very high number of performances where the girls are simply providing a decorative backing to the principle artist. Obviously these performances don’t score highly, but nevertheless, it’s always good to see the girls, and the double helpings we get in 1981 are something to treasure.
1979 doesn’t have the same number of backing routines. Instead, 1979 has a consistency of epic dance sequences that accompany some of the best music ever written. 1981 is more up and down quality wise, although I sometimes think the production and general presentation of the really big 1981 dance sequences to be better than in 79.
What is apparent is Legs & Co continued to develop creatively all the way through 1981 and at by end of their tenure were better and stronger than they had ever been.
I have yet to score the 1979 routines, but a look down the list suggests I’ll be pretty generous with the points as the year has some gems. For me, 1981 probably has some of the best ever stand out routines, but if the year is taken as a complete whole, then 1979 would seem to be the better year.
All bound for Lulu Land in an E Type Jag (but more likely to be an E reg)
Just further to our recent short discussion about whether 1979 or 81 is the better Legs year. Not sure how relevant it is, but its very noticeable that Legs & Co have 7 entries on the Crème de la crème board for 1981 alone. The next best year for that is 1979 and Pans 74 with 3 entries each. I think this just goes to show even further 1981 contains real quality in amoungst some of the backing dances that the year is sometimes unfairly tarnished with.
The quality of music provided in 1979 is significantly higher than 1981. If you could get figures for how often the songs from each year get played on the radio now I’m sure 79 would win it by a mile. However, if you were to professionally judge the performances ignoring what they were dancing to then it’s reasonable to assume 81 would come out on top. Unfortunately in 1981 they got to dance to less of the big hits and often the music was distinctly of the ‘bargain bucket’ quality.