I'm Doin' Fine Now _________________________________________________________________________________
Performed byNew York Cityand reaching number 20 in the UK charts _________________________________________________________________________________
Original broadcast date17/08/1973Duration of dance - 2.33 mins _________________________________________________________________________________
Dancers: Babs, Cherry, Dee Dee, Louise, Ruth _________________________________________________________________________________
A link to the dance:
New York City was an American group which formed in 1972 under the name "Tri-Boro Exchange" (whatever that means). With the help of two well-known producers, Wes Farrell & Thom Bell, they released two albums and a number of singles, but only one record made the Billboard Top 40 and the UK Top 50. That's why they are regarded as a one-hit wonder today.
In the UK, "I'm Doin' Fine Now" spent two weeks at No. 20, so it wasn't exactly a big hit. Nevertheless the song is quite well-remembered, probably because 19 years later, in 1992, The Pasadenas took a cover version to No. 4 in the charts.
On 17/08/1973 "I'm Doin' Fine Now" was on its way up from No. 25 to No. 23. The TOTP show on that day featured a truly eclectic mix of artists: Hudson Ford, Dawn Feat. Tony Orlando, Donny Osmond, Bobby Goldsboro, Geordie, Medicine Head, Carpenters & Gary Glitter all crammed into app. 30 minutes. Unfortunately, as with most shows of that era, the BBC wiped the tapes and all we have now is a black and white recording from the PVL. Well, better than nothing!
The routine is more or less standard Pan's People fare - synchronous dancing, well-known gestures, a complete lack of solos - nothing to get too excited about. What sets this performance apart from other dances is mainly the camera trickery. Some effects are similar to "You Can Do Magic" like the doubling of the dancers. Even so I think these effects work quite well. I especially like how Louise's and Cherry's faces are shown enlarged in the background.
This is not a clip that I watch very often but when I do, I thoroughly enjoy it. It's just infectious to see how the dancers keep smiling brightly during the whole of the performance. It seems to me that Ruth's smile is the brightest of all! I guess it helps that I like the song as well. My rating for this dance will be
8 / 10
If I only had one love yours would be the one I'd choose
Thanks for posting this routine VV. We really have no right to be watching a show wiped 40 years ago in 2016! Interesting chart information as I had always thought this was a bigger hit than it actually was. Very reminiscent of the era, perhaps that's why. The dance is rather Pans by numbers to be honest. Almost like a computer had been asked to devise a routine indicative of the early 70s. Having said that the ladies look decidedly glamorous in those dresses, though I thought the editor had an off-day interspersing the midget Pans into the dance towards the end. Looked a bit weird.
I would agree with the previous correspondents that this is rather average fare, even though that implies very watchable and quite enjoyable when you're talking of Pans People. I thought at first they were donning the Pans Logo for the first time but on closer inspection I think not. The white outfits are a nice focal point but those darker and slightly chunky shoes are not favourites of mine (I know I'm guilty of a bit of shoe discrimination but there it is). Anyway I do like the smiles and the energy on show and overall it's a 7.5/10 and if there had been a DotD and if it were going to be registered and tabulated and then paid attention afterwards it would have been Cherry for me
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
Although its impossible for Pans to be bland this routine somehow lacks inner pep, while the special effects simply clutter things up. If it had a spot of colour in its cheeks I might go higher, but its a 5.5 with Babs standing out as my Dotd. (But then everyone is allowed a quiet day now and then, and a fortnight later Flick struck emeralds when she created one of the very best routines.)
Yep this is pretty much standard fayre Pans from around that time, but at least the video effects add that bit of extra interest. Lots of smiles on show which is nice, but its only a `6.5 out of 10` from me.
Thanks for posting this VV. I really loved this song and more so when Pans danced to it. I was quite amazed at the low chart placing of it as it had heavy radio play on Radio 1 but moreover always seems to crop up on soul compilations.
The routine is good for Pans People but not too good which is a rarity for me. Having had this for some years now it is not one I go back to and watch. It has nothing to with it being black and white it always comes across as a potential 24 hour routine but maybe I am being too picky. The outfits were good which was the only excellent issue with this. I will award this one eight out of ten and best dancer awarded to Louise.
Everywhere, wherever you look, manipulation rearing it's head.
Flick followed the standard 'Pans' template for this one and the result is a pretty good dance which lacks a wow factor.
The costumes look good and I also like the images of Louise and Cherry played onto the background. I'm not so keen on the double dancer effects towards the end. I don't think the addition of colour would make any difference to my score, which sits at 7.75 out of 10.
Louise would be my DOTD.
A fairly lightweight routine to a fairly lightweight soul record: but enjoyable none the less.
I like the outfits, particularly the unusually heavy cloggy-sandal-shoe things: they set off the long white frocks well.
And I enjoyed the video effects: heavily used throughout, but not getting in the way of the dancers performaces.
I'll say a good 7.5 out of 10, and I'll give Babs the dancer award, for extra gusto.
I like the song and I think it was worthy of a much higher chart placing. I also like the special effects. I'm guessing that they were pretty much cutting edge back then. All in all I enjoy watching this even if the dance can be considered a bit basic. 9/10. As for Dotd they all looked great and are worthy of such award. I think I'll give it to Louise, Ruth, Cherry, Dee Dee and Babs.
Yes, the sum of this can be rounded to Pan's by-numbers then doubled. But the song's a perennial and that at least prevents boredom, I was as surprised as our resident arbiter of chart injustices Dancer about its lowly peak position. The ladies look a bit of all white in their slit dresses which are familiar but not jaded either. It's nice and sunny stateside and I don't find this twee as I sometimes do with dances in this general style, perhaps it's the perceived edge provided by the theme of survival that prevents it. However, when week after week we're enjoying the rich fruits of Flick's protean and seemingly inexhaustible imagination for all things Legs & Co it would be dishonest of me to match ratings for the same old in B/W.
I'd say the 'Tri Boro Exchange' probably comes from the word borough (Boro being a shortened version) and NYC is known for its five boroughs.
So from the off we appear to be in mid dancing mode!?, no build up here. Once the intro is out of the way it calms down a bit and the effects start to make their presence known with a giant background close up of Louise, so far so good. There may be a lot of standard Pans moves throughout and a few literal bits thrown in for good measure, but combined with the effects (which i think on the whole are very good) i like the energy and general bouncyness of it all and the song is rather good too, so no complaints from me. 9/10 DOTD Louise
This feels more than the sum of its parts - a fairly standard routine but to a good upbeat track and the visual trickery adds to the appeal even though it is just basic chroma key or CSO (colour separation overlay) as the BBC liked to call it. That's the technique of placing a person or object in front of a coloured background (generally blue in those days) then electronically replacing the background with the output from another studio camera or other picture source. As soon as TOTP went colour in November 1969 they were using this technique, although Beat Club in Germany had been doing it for a few years prior to this in black and white using a different method. This is illustrated in the Pan's 1968 performance to Over Under Sideways Down appraised elsewhere in the comments section.
The difference in this usage is I expect down to Flick's vision for the piece and subsequent careful planning of the camera angles to achieve the desired result. Apart from that there's nothing revolutionary about the effect but because it does work so well here and there are some great close-ups, generally radiant smiles and an overall high fun factor I find this very enjoyable. 8 Dotd Ruth
An aspect of the Top Of The Pops routines I have mentioned before and wish to return to is the costumes worn by the dancers, and also a possible missed opportunity. Now I am by my own confession more knowledgeable about Pan’s People than Legs and Co., for example, but there does seem quite a distinction in the clothes worn by these two principal troupes. A progression of fashion, possibly, but there is something else. The costumes worn by Pan’s would often include items that would look stylish, even glamorous, if seen away from the dancing floor. Long gowns a speciality, with long side or frontal splits, plunging necklines, and some pretty effective and eye catching designs. All this beside, the ‘skimpier’ less covering outfits- which I can certainly appreciate as well. Something for the ballroom, something for the boudoir perhaps. And there are a number of routines from Pan’s where the clothes would look quite normal if seen in the street- those marvellous places I remember very well, the streets of the early 70s. And the majority of these I would say that I would be perfectly happy for the woman in my life to wear. From what I have seen, I feel Legs and Co’s outfits were slightly different, insomuch that they were practical and effective for the routine in hand, and not so much as an overall fashion statement. ( It has been shown to me, however, that this statement is not completely true- as the recently featured ‘Turn The Music Up’ demonstrates ). Although I would be happy again if my wife wore similar items to many of the pieces, ‘Ai No Corrida’ or ‘Suspicion’ maybe. But that is something else! Perhaps those with more knowledge on the subject can put me right on this, if they disagree. But who designed and made Pan’s costumes, presumably under the direction of Flick. Was it some costume department at the BBC? There is a picture extant of Louise with a tape measure, but I do not think it credible that the ladies made their own. And if the BBC made them, who owned them? And what of the costumes which were used off screen at their regular night club sessions? Again we know that some TOTPs costumes were used for these. All this boils down to the fact, for me, some of the clothes worn for routines are very stylish indeed, and could have replicas marketed for general shopping consumption, so to speak. And the clothes worn for ‘I’m Doing Fine Now’ by New York City are the second such costume in a row in these reviews, where I think all the girls look exceptionally glamorous, sophisticated and, well, desirable.
Exceedingly desirable one might add, with the presumably white, full-length gowns with halter-necks and the long split at the front, very very enticing I must say. And these clothes suit all the dancers admirably. Very chic and very alluring are Pan’s People in this dance- and predictably beautiful as well, it is unnecessary to add. Performed mostly on a square piece of the stage, with symbols in boxes in each corner, and a generally black background to one side, and enveloping darkness from the front as we first see them. There looks to be some people in the far murky depths, but it would seem this was filmed without the Top Of The Pops audience. Again a black and white copy is what we have to review, as a large number of people would have seen it on the day of transmission. It is clear that much of the routine comprises of gently jerking shoulder and arm movements, and very graceful they are too! After the entrance positions Louise on the right of the screen, the camera angle changes 90 degrees, and we see them from the side and, oh the greatest of joys, through the benefit of special effects we find Louise imposed in beautifully large fashion behind the body of dancers. The entire effect of the routine shows the team all working wonderfully well in unison with endearing harmonised actions all through. The head shaking and spins always work wonders on me, as may have been noted by others, and these movements are not lacking here. The various changes of angle of view from front to side are a plus as the ladies continue with their lovely motions. The camera effect at 00.48 is particularly strange as it makes the girls look like they have elongated arms, mostly so for my dear Ruth at the front of the line. The second half of the number, in truth, not much really happens, apart from dancing in lines from left to right and on the spot, which they do as well as ever, with the special effects enhancing everything and make it look much more delicious. The image of having multiple Pan’s People on stage is an undeniable plus for me, an unexpected delight. Old in style and fashion, but very very good. And always in time to each other and the music. Those are our Girls!
As Dancing Queen fanatics, and so you should be if you are reading this, many of us are conversant with the accepted story of how the team of rebellious young dancers received the name ‘Pan’s People’- after a few bottles of red wine and rejecting an earlier suggestion of ‘Dionysus’ Darlings’ apparently. Of course the two words in the title may have been associated together before, History is a long time remember. But there is another, totally unconnected, definitive use of the phrase from earlier in the 20th Century. In 1923 a book was published by T. Fisher Unwin of London by a writer named as the Hon. Gilbert James Duke Coleridge entitled ‘Pan’s People- The Lure of Little Beasts’, and dealing with the subject of animal behaviour. I don’t think many people know that- as someone famously said, and you can draw your own conclusions with regard to Pan’s People and animal behaviour.
The classical Pan’s People dance troupe at the peak of their powers. A team of clear equals who all add something individual but collaborative to any routine in hand. And this is quite evident here, without any doubt at all. For Babs I would say that looks delightful here at about 01.10 at front left as she moves her body so well with her spin and movements, then later at 02.00 as she grants us more of her beautiful smiles as she seems to lead the group. Dee Dee is her stalwart self as ever, the reliable and dependable one, who gives us a lovely smile right at the beginning. At 00.32 Cherry is the most noticeable as the camera angle switches 90 degrees, 180 from where it began, and her legs are more visible than the others as they appear from out of the split in her dress. Then at 01.16 it is her turn to be enlarged, where she greets us with a series of agreeable nods in our direction. Ruth looks ever so lovely in this routine, and a treat is in store at 00.14 as she is found with a noticeably wide stance- a great joy! At 01.34 Ruth shines upon us a most delicious and gorgeous smile, as she is at the front after a camera angle change, as she moves to the right, and then to the left. In all seriousness, the entire sequence up to 01.50 is a pure delight for that most fervent of Ruth watchers- me. But there is one most shining star in this number, a heavenly body- a cliché but a most apt one- brightening up the dark night of the surviving footage. Like a full or super moon hanging majestically on the horizon. All the dancers are lovely here, but none more so than Louise. At 00.16 they look to their left, and the camera angle moves and we see her lighting up the studio with a special effect projecting her above the whole team, in enlarged fashion. This continues up to 00.30 and features much absolutely delightful head movements and shakes, and lovely smiles. All of which can be seen in unison with her movements as seen from the main camera position, confirming these motions were filmed at the same time. At 00.43 all the members perform a crouching and shaking motion, but Louise pulls it off best of all. Which is also the case about 02.26 as she dances and shakes at her most evocative best. At 02.09 her ‘joie-de-vivre’ seems so transparently evident, as she looks like an explosion of her own delightful is surely imminent. Having watched many routines, it should be obvious to even the dullest of minds that the camera treasures Louise’s presence, and she is so willing and able to reciprocate. And has a grace and agility that surmounts this imposition.
DOTD- Louise. A veritable Goddess in the dark sky, beaming down upon us. The vision of her loveliness as seen on high would raise many legends. And an ability to dance beautifully transcending all myths. And in this routine she puts me in mind of a Deity of the Moon. As Selene she shall be, and so she will remain.
Routine- 9.5/10. A routine with an earlier Pan’s People feel, a return to a year or two previous in performance, and all the more welcome for it. A style that has been disappearing from the repertoire, since the turn of the year from 1972, on visible evidence. ‘Those who forget their past, will forget their true worth’, as some might say. It applies to choreographers equally.
Hanway's comments are most interesting. For some time I have felt that Legs outfits were influenced by their name, showing their lovely legs but less creative than in Pans days. 1973-5 I lived in Leeds and we had the wonderful Bistro 5 in the city centre. the waitresses were probably Pans fans as their outfits were often like items from TV. In the street many girls wore hotpants, bare midriffs and platform shoes, it was a great fashion time.
I've been watching loads of classic Pan's routines lately, and I've come to the conclusion that Louise was probably the best dancer of this line-up. She rarely ever failed. And she had plenty of charisma. I'm genuinely amazed she isn't more popular.
If I only had one love yours would be the one I'd choose
I've never lacked nerve and could image striking up a conversation with Ruth , Louise was far too goddess like to have such ideas. Lovely girl but out of my paygrade . I wanted to ask Ruth about the sets, was Flick just told , this is it , or did she play a part in selecting furnishings . Did Ruth go to Eel Pie Island in its great days when she was a local teenager .
Yes, me too. I felt then, and feel now, that if ever my path crossed with Ruth she would have been approachable and happy to talk, if this young upstart could have arranged himself properly to hold a coherent conversation. I did stammer a bit back then, and have never been the most loquacious. But feel sure Ruth would have lent an understanding ear. And probably wouldn't have laughed too much at my proposal of marriage- I was only 14 at the time!
I was a Ruth person then and I am a Ruth person now, but Louise was always a very close second. I would certainly agree she was the best dancer in early and mid Pan's, and a complete beauty as well. If I had the occasion to speak to Louise, I would not have known what to say or how to say anything. I might as well have been a gibbering baboon or a tongue-tied buffoon for all the sense I would have made if Louise had asked me anything.
Thank you both. You confirmed what seemed to me the logical explanation why Ruth is even more popular than Louise. And even though I never knew Pan's People existed when I was young, my feelings towards Ruth and Louise are very similar to yours. Louise was fabulous but out of reach for the average guy.
If I only had one love yours would be the one I'd choose
A somewhat brief answer to the question of who was in charge of costumes Hanway is Jane Nagy whos name can often be seen on the credits, although there must have been others over the years. Here she is with Flick in 1974. As i understand it Flick would come up with the ideas or theme wanted and the costume dept would then be able to make/adapt or buy what was needed. I think Sue has discussed this topic fairly often.