RODRIGO'S GUITAR CONCERTO DE ARANJUEZ -- 12/02/1976
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Rodrigo's Guitar Concerto De Aranjuez (Theme From 2nd Movement) _________________________________________________________________________________
Performed byManuel & The Music Of The Mountainsand reaching number 3 in the UK charts _________________________________________________________________________________
Original broadcast date12/02/1976Duration of dance - 3.08 mins _________________________________________________________________________________
Dancers: Cherry, Lee, Mary, Ruth, Sue – Guest Dancer: Lesley Judd _________________________________________________________________________________
A link to the dance:
Joaquín Rodrigo Vidre was a Spanish composer and a virtuoso pianist who was born in 1901 and passed away in 1999. His most popular work is the "Concierto de Aranjuez", a composition for classical guitar and orchestra, which he wrote in 1939. But how could such a piece of music enter the UK single charts?
Well, you need a guy like Geoff Love who was an arranger and composer of easy listening and pop versions of film themes and frequently recorded under the pseudonym of "Manuel and the Music of the Mountains". MMM first appeared on the UK charts with "The Honeymoon Song" in 1959, peaking at no. 22. An LP called "Carnival" from 1971 included Love's treatment of the theme from the second movement of Rodrigo's Guitar Concerto, yet the track wasn't released as a single. Exactly why the label decided to put it out on a 45 four years later in November 1975, isn't quite clear to me. But surprisingly the record entered the UK charts two months after, and began its steady climb upwards. Finally, on Tuesday, the 17th of February 1976 at noon, BBC Radio 1 DJ Johnnie Walker announced during the rundown of the brand new chart that MMM had made it to the No. 1 spot! Alas, the joy didn't last long, because shortly afterwards it was discovered that there had been a 'computer error' which meant that MMM had to be relegated to their rightful placing of number 4. The record never quite recovered from that blow, and climbed just one place higher to peak at number 3 in the following week (NB: in case you're wondering why the story is told a bit different on "everyHit.com", the dates given there are incorrect. Trust me, I was there!).
The Pan's People routine for this record is unique as it's the only time – as far as I know – that Pan's People were joined by another dancer on Top of the Pops. For a Blue Peter feature, host Lesley Judd not only took part in the rehearsals for this routine but also in the final performance. Lesley was a skilled dancer as she had been educated at the "Royal Ballet School" and later appeared as part of the Young Generation. The segment was aired four days after the TOTP appearance on 16/02/1976.
While the BBC kept the Blue Peter programme in its archive (and joyfully re-uses the sequences with Pan's People and Lesley for various documentaries, as last seen in the Story of 1979), the TOTP edition was ultimately wiped. End of story? Well, of course not. About three years ago, a home recording of this edition turned up on ebay (!) and was subsequently bought by a consortium. Rumour has it that the seller is related to one of the members of Guys 'n' Dolls who performed on that show, but whatever the reason, the edition was restored by Kaleidoscope and returned to the BBC. Read the full story here: Wiped News
Now, the routine. To start with, I really like the costumes which appear genuinely Iberian to me. The sunset setting fits the routine pretty well I think. Flick has deliberately used elements of Flamenco dancing here, like the handclapping, so this performance looks very authentic. Furthermore we can watch an early example of the 1 – 2 – 3 formation (similar to "This Is It", but not simultaneously), and I have to say it works well. But even though the dancing in general is faultless, I'm missing a few nice close-ups. The cameras seem to stay in some distance during the whole routine which is a shame as the girls look so lovely.
"Rodrigo's Guitar Concerto" is one of the very few classical pieces which I actually own on CD, it's a really nice composition, yet it's a bit strange to hear it on Top of the Pops. After repeated viewing this routine is better than I remembered it, even though it isn't one I will watch very often. Creating a dance for this unusual piece of music was quite a task but I think Flick made the best of it and thus this performance deserves a good rating:
8 / 10
My dancer of the day is again that gorgeous lady Ruth who is performing such an expressive solo here.
Please note that your vote for DotD will not be counted should you decide to vote for Lesley.
The wind blew some luck in my direction, I caught it in my hands today
Another winner from Flick and the ladies as the dance works a treat with the evocative music and the costumes are spot on. All the dancers are very good, including Lesley, but for her solo spot Ruth takes my Dotd nomination.
This is a routine that almost deserves a maximum but the lack of close-ups means I'm giving it a 9.5.
Had Legs & Co. danced to this track, you can be sure that the guest dancer would've been Floid, so it came in the nick of time, to be able to accmmedate Lesley Judd, an actual dancer, that just happened to co-present Blue Peter at the time.
Now let's get down to the business, for starters, the ladies look very prim, & proper in their below knees length skirts, but, alas, again t looks like there's been an order to save on electricity bills, the lighting's almost non-existent, the girls are almost just shadows against a dim-orange background, I could barely make-out Lesley, & each of the other dancers.
I love this Classical piece and I too think that the movements and costumes add to the authenticity of this Dance and the formations work really well too. The sunset does indeed seem right for this beautiful lament and all the ladies perform well including the guest. As Vin says we should expect no less of Leslie Judd as a trained professional Dancer and ex-Beat Girl as well if memory serves me from the PP.com histories. The whole feel of this performance is one of grace and emotion and I really appreciate it and award 9/10 only docking a bit for the lack of facial visibility Vin alludes to. DotD must go to the soloist, and worthy daughter of the hairdresser, Ruth
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
An enjoyable 3 minutes with a pleasant tune. I will like award this routine `8 out of 10`. Im going to be really harsh here and im sorry if this comes across the wrong way, but ive have given this 9 if Lesley wasn't taking part. I find myself looking out for her and i cant help but notice she is no longer a professional dancer. But thats credit to the 5 Pans girls who are bang on the money and put on a stylish show here.
Yes, `Ruth` gets my DOTD vote too, she was excellent in this.
So this is the one. The one I remember being made a big fuss over on Blue Peter and I think the national news also ? Unless it was only featured on John Craven’s Newsround, though that was never taken seriously by us youngsters as anything on it being real news. BBC newsreaders didn’t wear cuddly jumpers to read The News. It did at that time seem a very big deal that Lesley Judd was going to be actually dancing with Pans People, for one moment only an honorary member of the dance troupe that was viewed as acceptable sex on British tv. Don’t laugh at that perception just because nowadays there is accessible as much lewdness as one can stomach. I remember it as an astonishing moment, to my impressionable mind at least, that Lesley was going to be allowed to perform on TOTPs with the Nation’s favourites. How would she cope with learning all those dance steps we wondered, holding our breath. Blue Peter was on hand to give Lesley full support as only they could in that clean and wholesome middle-class supportive manner that they conveyed with nearly all topics they covered.
Ah, those where the days my friend...Behind the scenes with Lesley as she prepares to be on TOTPs ! In front of millions of viewers, many many millions of us, before tv became a multi-channel jigsaw where there now can hardly ever be a single lasting image for us all to cherish; we each have the “free-market freedom” to pick what little piece one chooses. Never mind if most of those pieces are dross and that a special value can be had, only when a particular moment is able to be transformed into a collective social moment. A moment that can help to define who we are or were at a given moment in time, such for me in its humble way is this PP performance; in recollection anyway. But what of the dance after all these years? Is it any good ?
Dancing in front of an over large sunset, in lighting that out does Rembrandt in its high black levels, against a high drama melody that could be a theme tune for one of those spaghetti westerns: The Good , the Bad and the Ugly. The Routine’s not ugly or bad but it is only good enough and no more. In defence of the visual side of things this is sourced from a private recording, classed as officially wiped, so thankful for what we get. There are no close ups, which lets it down. One of Mary wouldn’t have gone amiss.
DotD: 1976: Unquestionably Lesley for all the media interest her participation brought about. If indeed that was only in-house from the BBC itself.
DotD; 2014: Sue who from the shadows appears to be the most at home in the dance.
i musnt have watched blue peter if it was mentioned on the show about this dance before the actual performance ,because i remember walking back in the living room when pans people were dancing this song on totp in 76 ,and i can remember thinking to myself oh no theyve got another new dancer in pp ,i dont think i must have liked the change in line up at the time ,and another new face in pp obviously wasnt going down well with me ,anyway i later descovered it was lesley judd from blue peter ,and it was covered like vin said on blue peter ,it shouldent have been a hard task really for lesley ,having danced for many years on tv with young generation and The feet on lift off with ayshea ,anyway it wasnt a tune i would have been into in 76 ,but i do like it now ,lovely dance and costume ,i award an 8
There seem to have been a lot of classical pieces (or adaptations of classical pieces) which charted in the mid-seventies. Due to computer being slightly up the creek in the sound and video department, I wasn't able to appreciate this one fully; but it's enjoyable and unusual and the set evokes sunset over a rugged Pyrenean landscape successfully and yet simply. I'll say 9 /10 and for reasons above, difficult to make a fair choice for favourite dancer. There's one award I am going to made though, and that's alpha triple plus for Vin's 'sleeve notes' which are brilliantly written and add enormously to the enjoyment of the routines.
Did they play safe with Lesley on board? The dark set, a sedate easy paced track. If John Noakes had been given this job (which they should have done) they would have been given Evil Woman to dance to and Jeff Lynne was just waiting to say ‘You’ve made a fool of me’. Anyway it all turned out okay in the end, nice, pleasant and just nothing really for this viewer to get too excited about. 6/10 Dotd Mary
My. A dark set. Identical costumes. No close-ups. Shots so long it looks like something in miniature. She wasn't all that long out of the game, but it doesn't seem they had much faith in Lesley! But despite its drawbacks, there's something about this that demands a hushed respect. It holds my attention well. The setting sun is rudimentary, but as an image it's perfect for this very emotive piece of music. The gypsy dresses and the melodramatic clapping pile on the romance. When the girls slow to a halt, as if to reflect, it ups the emotional ante further. The graceful choreography rides the plaintive music very well. Lesley blends in and does well generally, although she's a little out when dancing in a threesome with Cherry and Mary. Ruth's solo is excellent.
A Blue Peter badge, but sorry, not quite a gold one. 8.5/10 DOTD Ruth
Probably my favourite piece of classical music and fantastic to hear live with a full orchestra. This is just the theme from the 2nd movement.
Spanish twirls for spanish music
Lesley (though she's not a real pan) I did have a schoolboy crush on her too ( Sorry Babs)
the blue peter episode which explained : huge amount of unglamourus rehearsal, importance of ballet training which helped lesley through, lesley wearing a blue peter t shirt, Flick yelling.
Not so likes :
well they couldn't do a raunchy routine for Blue Peter
This composition shows how diverse the charts were in the 1970's. It is hard to imagine something like this charting nowadays. Including Lesley Judd was an interesting novelty, and to be fair to her she does okay. I'm so glad that she was selected to do the dance, rather than John Noakes or Shep.
The costumes look good and the dancing is nice and well choreographed. I would have liked to have seen a few close ups though.
I will score this 8 out of 10 and dancer of the day goes to Ruth.
Hmmmm too dark, no close-ups, some of the hand movements out of sync, very slow, plain set... oh dear? Oh NO!!
I LOVE this. It is simply wonderful, yes it has some shortcomings but everything else makes up for it. The combo of the song and the feel of dance make it absolutely spellbinding. Yes, I wish there were close ups and more brightly lit - but as has been alluded to perhaps Flick was worried about Miss Judd's performance. But then again why let her dance at all - unless pressure had come down from above to let Lesley wander into the studio next door (ahhhh - only in TVC! Sigh.)
Lesley Judd is my 2nd favourite BP presenter, and PP are my 2nd favourite Flick set-up. So two seconds make a first here. It's not perfect but for some reason I cannot help but give it anything but a perfect 10/10. I love it.
This is one that for me improves a lot with repeated plays. The set is so dark its easy to miss a lot the first few views. The most immediate thing though is just how beautiful a piece of music this is, it could have made for an in concert piece quite easily. I'm not that bothered with the Blue Peter connection and Lesley copes admirably although i did not know she was a dancer earlier in her career rather than a novice, which changes my view slightly.
The rest of the performance is excellent, at times its a bit like watching a small piece of theatre from a distant balcony. Its not the most convincing sunset i've ever seen but the outfits more than make up for the sets shortcomings, and its great to watch the spanish style of dancing performed here. I will give it 8.5/10, Ruths solo piece at the start gets her the DOTD.
[compact critique] I find this difficult to assess fairly as I don't like this piece of music or the style of dance but I appreciate the training and skill required for this performace. I'll say 7/10 and with a great solo spot Ruth as DotD.