Mama's Pearl _________________________________________________________________________________
Performed byThe Jackson 5iveand reaching number 25 in the UK charts _________________________________________________________________________________
Original broadcast date29/04/1971Duration of dance - 3.00 mins _________________________________________________________________________________
Dancers: Andrea, Babs, Dee Dee, Flick, Louise, Ruth _________________________________________________________________________________
A link to the dance:
Right now it's time for a touch of glamour…
The story of the Jackson family has been often told which is why there is no need to repeat it again. Their discography starts with the 1969 album "Diana Ross Presents The Jackson Five" including their smash hit "I Want You Back" (reviewed here in an earlier post). We all know by now that the story of Diana Ross discovering the J5 was completely made up, but - hey, that's showbiz!
After four consecutive Top 10 hits in the UK (excluding a special christmas single), the J5 released "Mama's Pearl" as the second single from their album no. 3, the appropriately titled "Third Album" (ah, yes!). While it soared up to No. 2 in the US (after four number 1 hits), it barely made the Top 30 in Britain, peaking at a lowly No. 25. Rumour has it that the original title for the song had been "Guess Who's Making Whoopie (With Your Girlfriend)" but that it was changed to preserve Michael Jackson's youthful, innocent image. Those were the days!
Placed on TOTP immediately after a clip that ended with crashing cars, the switch to those six beauties in skimpy costumes could have been hardly higher in contrast. Even Tony Blackburn, who isn't exactly known for being one of Pan's People's biggest fans, seemed delighted – although his cheesy outro ("I didn't tell Pan's People they could borrow my pairs of hot pants, still never mind" - now please can I get that image out of my mind!) brings us back down to earth quite quickly.
The routine for "Mama's Pearl" is as classic Pan's People as can be. The costumes, the synchronous moves, one legged dancing, hands in the air, hip shaking and bum wiggling – it's all there. In other words, it seems like a bonanza for Pan's People lovers.
The only weakness here for me is the song, or rather the very youthful voice of MJ which doesn't quite gel with the feel of the dance, but it is a minor quibble. I really like the pastel costumes while the choreography is classic Pans and works a treat so I'm scoring this as a 9.5. All the ladies are delightfully sexy and Dotd is, as ever, a difficult choice but Andrea just gets it ahead of Babs.
the pans logo
the introductory sequence - never fails to shock non pan fans
the 'in your face hotpants' - which were in fashion at the time - how did they get away with these wiggles at 7pm ?
some classic pans trademark moves copied by French and saunders in pans indeedy people yellow river
the song is a bit screechy but its not their fault.
This truly is Classic Pans and the ladies look fantastic in those hot pants. Also the Troupe does a great job here with no errors to this viewers eye at all. The song is above my elderly auditory range at times as others have mentioned and there really isn't much room to spare on the classic but odd dumbbell stage but Flick and her Dancers absolutely make the most of what there is and the moves from one end of the line to the other are really good. I think this is another example of the Troupe squeezing absolutely all they possibly can out of slightly dodgy music and I am awarding 9/10. I also agree that Andi is "prominent" here and deserves DotD
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
This could be any of several dance routines from this era, it's all rather generic looking,as there appears to be scant evidence of any kind of literal applications here, without the boots, these ladies look as if they're having a beach party, maybe that sort of scenery would've enhanced the whole thing a bit, having said all of that, I do like the jigging about in unison, especially during the occasions that they march towards the cameras, looking like they mean business.
Yes classic Pans don't come much more classic than this. A really enjoyable routine with the dancers really ramping up their sex appeal in those hot pants. I don't mind the song either. Not maximum territory from me, but i will award `9.25 out of 10`. My DOTD is the quite gorgeous `Andrea`.
My, this one shows its age: in the best possible way. In their flouncy little tops, hot pants and boots the girls sport THE hot look of the era and it must have adorned a thousand works' calenders and lay behind even more packets of salted peanuts. And Andi was raring to show off the design on her hot pants for any lepidopterists watching. As Vin says, all the boxes are ticked in terms of the moves, and it's performed very well. Pans this early will never truly light my fire and the song and singing don't help, but only a curmudgeon wouldn't find this a sexy, fun and bouncy near three minutes. DOTD Andi9/10
'It doesn't look like a Pearl-Bordered Fritillary but I'll take a closer look just to be sure'.
For scarcity value alone, and to see all six of the original dancers including Flick performing, this is worth 9/10 and I'll say favourite dancer Andi although that butterfly is unknown to science (if indeed it isn't a dragonfly).
Excuse the name-dropping, but let me start off with a story...
At the PP book launch at the Cinema Museum, a wonderful evening seen by a good few of us, at the end I wanted to ask a question. My question was thus:
"This is a question for Ruth, or rather I'd like to pick up on something she said earlier this evening that was quite, quite wrong - and correct her if I may. Ruth - you said earlier that, and I quote, "you never, ever, looked good in a pair of hot pants!". Well, I'd just like to put it on record here that that's a load of bollocks and you always looked fabulous in hot pants.
But alas, we ran out of time so my point went unmade. Unmade that is until a few months when I was lucky enough to attend the TOTP 50th Party (thanks again my darling Dee Dee! and sorry everyone for keeping going on about it).
Here chatting to the aforementioned Miss Pearson I was finally able (and Dutch-courageous enough!) to put my point to her. Although she looked concerned when I accused her of being so wrong, when I got to my correction I was indeed rewarded by a giggling, blushing Pan's Person, a hug and a wee peck on the cheek. I haven't washed since.
And here we go, proof - as if proof was needed - that Ruth does indeed look good in a pair of hot-pants.
Anyways, enough my boring old anecdotes. The dance. All very nice, vintage Pans really - and there's nowt wrong with that.
That stand out bits for me are the little hops, especially when each dancer has skipped down the line towards the camera, that go along with the beat. And i like the intricate dodging and weaving at around 1'50".
Everyone looks great, and nice to see Flick out front - but does she slip up at 56" in by forgetting to swing her arm through the hair? I wonder if anyone mentioned it to her? hehe.
9/10 and DotD has to be Ruth, for giving me an excuse to bang on!
Dee Dee is just always my Dee-dee-dream come true.
My default position is always Ruth as THE dancer, on this occasion I particularly like her hair. The dance is fine , say 9 out of 10. Ruth is right , there were girls who should have avoided hot pants but she was not one of them. My problem is the green eyed monster, maybe one day I'll meet her other than in my dreams.
I was thinking the other day about how very different the 1971 show looks from 1970, out goes the hippy inspired artwork, girls dancing in the cages etc, and in come modern looking geometric shapes, a new longer stage and so on. The reason I'm making this point is that this allowed the more free-flowing dances like this, and Flick must have been very thankful for the extra space to allow the ladies to move around much more and get those creative ideas going. The introduction to the routine speaks for itself, but that aside this is another great display, the hopping down the line seems to be one of those shots which is used in retrospective clips.
There is a very cheerful vibe with this one, going along with the song (not as good as 'I want you back' but still ok), and quite noticeable how small parts of the song drive the actions of the dance such as the arm raises during the 'aaahhh' at 1.18.
All in all a very entertaining early(ish) routine which whilst not perfect still deserves a 9/10
Much better than the throwaway other routine in this edition......annoying early girlie vocals by MJ, doesn't quite cut the mustard with me, never a fan of the early J5 hits, basically pretty shat stuff, now give me MJ bout 1975 onwards when his voice broke (kinda)
Overall very sexy girls in very 1971 costumes, wish I was front stage at this...superb routine marred by annoying squeaky song but....
The ladies are dressed in a short top and short shorts with nude coloured boots. They start in a line and stay in that line through out. With various dance movements that breaks that line and then come back to that line.
I have to say that I don't like this song at all and that does slightly reduce my enjoyment of the dance, which is a shame as the girls are all on top form. Plenty of movement on a rather odd shaped stage and the costumes are appealing as well.
I will score this 9 out of 10.
Once again DOTD is difficult as they all perform well but Louise seems to catch my eye the most.
There's something about Motown and Pans that go together so well, more often than not adding an extra sparkle to the performance. With the Jackson Five, it seemed every few months another single would come along and Pan's People were required to provide the visual with, this being the fifth performance to one of their tunes. Sadly, performances 2 & 4 are AWOL and there only appears to be a section of the 3rd (The Love You Save), but this one is like the first in that it clearly has the year of release stamped all over the final result.
In the same way that 'I Want You Back' seems to say 1970, this is very much the look of 1971 for me as I could imagine these costumes being worn outside of this dance, which is not something I'd necessarily say about the otherwise iconic 'My Sweet Lord'. Ruth looks fabulous as the style of outfits chosen seems to suit her diminutive stature and she is in her trademark yellow too, whereas everyone else is a bit of a mishmash. Lots of good arm movement, swaying of hips, even a little bit of shake, so there's a general fun mood to match the upbeat nature of the music. Plenty of light too although I feel the change is late every time they make their way across the stage from left to right, but otherwise it's a nicely lit routine. DotD Ruth, 8.5.
This is perfect Pans People routine. Everything there in such a short time and they all pulled their weight behind this song. This track I had never heard until it cropped up on the Motown Dance Party Vol 2 eighties compilation. I don't really rate the song at all but was never really a fan of them anyway. I will award this dance though ten out of ten as I am commented on the dance and best dancer is awarded to Andrea as she was so beautiful.
Everywhere, wherever you look, manipulation rearing it's head.