River Deep Mountain High _________________________________________________________________________________
Performed byThe Supremes & The Four Topsand reaching number 11 in the UK charts _________________________________________________________________________________
Original broadcast date01/07/1971Duration of dance - 3.04 mins _________________________________________________________________________________
Dancers: Babs, Dee Dee, Flick, Louise, Ruth _________________________________________________________________________________
A link to the dance:
Both The Supremes and The Four Tops were established Motown artists when they recorded their first collaborative album in 1970. One track on that longplayer was "River Deep Mountain High", a song that had been originally recorded by Ike & Tina Turner in 1966, peaking at No. 3 on the UK charts. Five years later "The Magnificent 7", as the collaboration was labelled on the album, would take this song to a respectable No. 11, their only Top 20 hit.
Pan's People (minus Andy) danced to this song on 01/07/1971, and while this episode is still in the BBC archives, all the DJ links are mute and so it was deemed unbroadcastable when "einsfestival" repeated TOTP shows from 1970 to 1976. Fortunately though, UK Gold had shown this episode, albeit in a strange edit, cutting all the (mute) DJ links. In a way, we can even benefit from the muted links, as we have a complete performance from start to finish without any DJ spoiling our viewing pleasure.
This is possibly the first Pan's People routine I ever saw and I fell in love with them instantly – not! To be honest, I wasn't ready for Pan's People then. I was collecting video clips and hoping to see The Supremes & The Four Tops, and got very disappointed when I realized there were 'just' dancers in this clip. This is now many moons ago and today I'm more than happy that this performance has survived.
As has been noted elsewhere on the site, it's been 2 years (yesterday) that Flick Colby sadly passed away, so it's appropriate that she's featuring prominently in today's routine. Ruth Pearson has said in an interview with the BBC that "'River Deep, Mountain High' was good" and who am I to disagree. The performance is a bit hippie-esque, especially the clothes, and by far not as literal as "Joy To The World". It seems very well rehearsed, I really like the different moves and steps. My only gripe is the lighting, I'm not very fond of the orange-coloured look.
Even though this is not one of my top favourites, it's still an excellent routine. My rating is 9.5 out of 10.
My Dancer of the Day, well that is the reason why I chose this one, I really like Flick in this dance, so she will be my DotD.
I wouldn't mind seeing this one in next year's Pan's Night!
Good length at 3mins +
Great looks at camera from Louise and Babs
loses marks for
Flick's costume too white and has a big trailing right sleeve - she stands out too much did they run out of material ?
Flick's hair does not swish v well
Andy off sick - though isn't the picture at the very beginning her ?
Some sync errors
Ruth gets lost in the background a lot on the far left
Unlike Vin - I like the orangey lighting, although it is a bit dark.
And like Ryan, although this is well executed and is a great song and is pacey and fun it doesn't do much for me. All a bit 60s-esque, all a bit go-go dancing. Not that that's too bad a thing of course.
I like the shawls, and I like it that Flick's hair doesn't flick around too much. DeeDee and Louise seem to get a bit too excited when it comes to the hair-tossing.
Basically, all very enjoyable. 7/10 and Flick for the DotD. She just looks so happy, and you can almost sense her pride in her girls exuding from her. Dear old Flick.
I'm not so keen on this one, sorry. I like the song although I prefer the original Spector-busting version. I've looked at the Dance a couple of times trying to figure out what I don't like and I think it comes down to the clothes and the arm movements. The ragged-appearing outfits may well be hippieish but they are far from attractive to my eye. The arm movements are really frantic and I find them distracting and rather jerky. On the plus side the ladies remain in unison pretty well despite a quite fast complicated routine and one can't avoid the conclusion that Flick looks rather topically angelic as Colm has said. I also agree with the lighting comments BTW. When I'm not keen on a Pans Dance I always try to imagine how late-version Flick and Legs & Co would have interpreted it and in this case I just don't know as I do think the song is a challenge to Dance to honestly. Oh well I am giving only 5/10 and Flick gets the nod from me too.
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
Like some others this era of PP doesn't generally do much for me. For one thing, you get few cute details in the routine to enjoy and discuss like we have with later Pans, and regularly with RF and Legs & Co. And the style of dancing and costumes just aren't my up of tea, including this example of Age Of Aquarius frocks and beads. It's a nice gesture from Vin to choose a routine where Flick stands out this week. But I think she mainly does so because she's wearing a white dress amidst the Wolverhampton Wanderers ambience. If she had chosen brown I imagine it would have cost her more than one DOTD vote. RDMH is a big song and I can't fault the girls in finding the energy to match it, it's just that it doesn't get my pulse racing. Though Louise does exude a particularly sensual energy in this kind of a routine, and she's my DOTD.
Sometimes I think I should abstain from rating the earlier dances because people like me create a relatively low average for what are - when judged in context - good dances. But trying to be objective I give it 6/10.
A typical routine at the time, with a set that was pretty similar to many others, heaps of shaking going on to this soulful dance track, Flick gives it particular vigour. Nice full-length costumes, each dancer wearing a different colour, but nothing too garish, a pleasant few minutes viewing should be had by all.
A pleasant but unspectacular routine from the sixties - sorry seventies!, with the girls bathed in a dusky marmalade hue, whilst they bop away to some uptempo Motown. I'll give Flick Dancer of the Day as she stands out like a beacon in the dark, although if you want to see her give a more striking performance than this one, T. Rex certainly gave her that vehicle.
Thanks friends for all your comments, and I mean all of them. I am well aware that only a rather small minority here fully appreciates these rather early Pan's People gems, but that shouldn't keep all of you from commenting and rating. There will certainly be a couple of early ones that will receive generally high marks, but most won't and that's not a problem. The purpose of the average rating table is to show the ... well, average rating of a representative number of members and not just the two or three highest marks.
I agree with Mr Hurll that 'Jeepster' might have been a better vehicle (if you pardon the pun) for Flick's versatility but I confess that I reserved that one for later.
And yes, BB, I noticed as well that there was a picture of Andrea right at the beginning of this routine. Can anyone remember if this has happened on any other occasions?
I like this routine ,it is a typical early pp routine of what we have seen that have survived so far ,i really do like the costumes ,i know they dont seem very poular with other members ,but for me they are trendy of the time ,flick does look the best one with the design and colour of hers ,the only girl whos costumes doesent seem to look right is babs ,the bit around the neck looks as though it might restrict her arm movements ,but it doesent and babs gets through the routine with no hitches ,this is one of the few occasions though that on the surviving pans routines that ruth actually goes a bit wrong at the start ,but like ive said many times before ,i suppose that 40 odd years ago these dances were only ever meant to be seen once ,and if you only watch a dance routine once that last 2 or 3 mins at the most ,you would have to have had a very eagle eye to spot any minor blip ,when pans people had finished their job that week when totp had been recorded ,i dont suppose for one moment flick or babs or andi etc ,would be saying to one another ,blast those people on one for the dads wil spot that i didnt kick my leg up in time with the others in 42 years time,dancer of day ,has to go to flick ,because there are not enough clips left to be able to award her that chance otherwise,7 out of 10 please vin,cheers
Not a fan of the costume choice for this one but otherwise an enjoyable enough dance. Can't help wonder what Flick's inventive mind would have conjured up had this been on offer for the Flippers, what with rag dolls and puppies, not to mention suitable mountaineering or river boating paraphernalia! But back to reality this get a 7.
I enjoy this routine, great new version of the original track and the essence of the era is captured well within the dance. I would have chosen Flick as Dotd, but I felt she appeared a little hesitant in her movements and as she probably choreographed the routine she was perhaps distracted by this. 8/10. Dotd, Louise
This one seems to have suffered some visual degredation over the years, and in parts has an orangey hue. Thankfully the colours are better after the first minute, although the outfits are not especially bright and brown and white is the order of the day, only Louise's blue outfit really stands out as different. I've always liked the hippy chick look, of course its quite cliche, but PP do carry it off well. Other than the slight visual issue this is a really well choreographed routine in that 1971 style with the long stage (wish we could see more ), although perhaps not using quite as much of it as some other routines from that year. Its pretty fast and frenetic with plenty of arm waving throughout but particularly to express the 'mountain high' bits. Love the song so cant really add anything further on this one. Great early routine.
An 'old school' Pans dance in a style that I suspect would be similar to the many lost performances from the late 60's and early 70's. At times the dance looked a bit messy and Flick would go on to much greater heights with her routines. All the same it's still pretty good and worth 8/10. It would have been interesting to see how this would have been interpreted had it been released in the L&C era.
Sandy Borne and Tricia Roberts Appreciation Society