Summer Breeze _________________________________________________________________________________
Performed byThe Isley Brothersand reaching number 16 in the UK charts _________________________________________________________________________________
Original broadcast date06/06/1974Duration of dance – 2.50 mins (app.) _________________________________________________________________________________
Dancers: Babs, Cherry, Dee Dee, Ruth, Sue _________________________________________________________________________________
A link to the dance:
http://www.oneforthedads.org.uk/?p=1955 Black and white version:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxmTOB6JxqM Snippet of the colour version:
…I was shaking like a leaf, I was so nervous. I remember thinking, "I'm going to make a really big mistake and fall flat on my face." But I didn't. It was over so quickly that I almost couldn't remember doing it. (Sue Menhenick in "Our Story", p. 160)
Finally the new girl had arrived! Although the 18-year-old Sue had been introduced to the public three weeks before, on May 16, 1974, just when Louise Clarke had done her final performance with Pan's People, British television viewers didn't have a chance to see her perform until June 6, 1974. The song chosen for her debut was "Summer Breeze" by The Isley Brothers, an apt choice considering that another Isley Brothers' record provided the music for one of the earliest Pan's People dances back in 1968. The message was clear: Pan's People would live on, with the urge to be stronger than ever!
"Summer Breeze" was written by the American duo Jim Seals & Dash Crofts who took their own rendition to No. 6 on the US Hot 100 in 1972. It didn't chart in the UK though, paving the way for the Isleys to release an edited version of the 6.12 min. album track as the third single from their longplayer "3+3". The Isleys had returned to the UK charts after a four year hiatus in 1973 with "That Lady", and "Summer Breeze" proved to be another Top 20 hit. It is completely different from the original by Seals & Crofts, but I really like this version. It's a great soul number, demonstrating the versatility of the Isleys and their capacity to make other people's songs their own.
The timing was perfect. June 1 had been the meteorological start of the summer, and the weather was warm and mainly dry. Flick had adopted the jasmine theme of the record, as Pan's People were dressed completely in green, dancing on a stage that was surrounded by shrubs (some of them jasmine, I suppose) – also in green! A wind machine provided the breeze in the studio, causing the ladies' hair to cover their faces more than once during the performance.
But – it just had to happen. The BBC wiped this show from their archives, and for a while it seemed that Sue's debut would be lost forever. Fortunately it wasn't. A private recording of this routine exists, with a monochrome version appearing on YouTube a few years ago. A short snippet of the colour version was also uploaded to YT by a poster named "PansPeopleVideo". It is rumoured that this was actually the same guy who owned the Private Video Library.
I know it isn't easy to rate this performance just watching the black and white version and the short colour snippet, but sadly that's all there is publicly available at the moment. It's also hard to be objective, given that it is one of the holy grails of the Sue supporters. But, apart from the actual video quality, there isn't much to fault here. The routine has a very breezy atmosphere indeed. With the costumes (and the hair) fluttering in the wind, it really feels like a warm summer evening. For me, one of the highlights are the backward moves which look very elegant. After app 1.30 mins, all the girls are walking past the camera so that everyone could have a closer look at the debutante. This is followed by a short duo by Sue & Dee Dee which made it more than obvious that the new girl wouldn't be held in the background! All in all, a great start for Sue and one she can certainly be proud of, even 40 years later.
10 / 10
DotD: Sue for making her debut look so effortlessly
I have to admit that I must have missed the original airing of this particular edition of totp because it really does not stir any memory at all from me ,I definitely watched the following weeks when pans danced to Elton johns don't let the sun go down on me as before any databases were invented on the net regarding totp and pans people it was a record I could remember without being prompted without any listings of the dance ,the dance is really good and amazingly sue first dance has survived all the other wipings around this period ,the isley brothers were not really my cup of tea back in 1974 ,but listening and hearing the song does bring back memories of the summers during mid 70s ,costumes are nice ,even better in colour and sue blends in a treat saying it is her first totp appearance ,I award summer breeze a 9
The scene's set, it's a warm, & sunny spring morning, the jasmne's in bloom, & a new girl's being shown around the neighbourhood, & some very picturesque countryside's being enjoyed by all, Sue's off ontti a cracking start for her relatively enduring career as a dancer under Flick's leadership.
A smashing debut by Sue who fits seamlessly into the established pattern that were Pans P. The routine mirrors the tune to a tee, while at the same time Flick's choreography also neatly introduces Sue to the audience in that clever understated way that she would sometimes adopt to such telling effect. I love it, both for Sue's arrival and for the elegant warmth of the performance. Another 10 with lovely Sue as the Dotd.
Agreed its great Sue's debut survives, and the routine matches the song perfectly. But can i rank this in terms of a score rating as highly as `WWISYA` or a few other Pans routines, the answer is no i cant. Sorry Sue, but this is only a `9 out of 10` for me.
Obviously though `Sue` is the DOTD, if not the DOTC, dancer of the century.
I first saw the "Summer Breeze" routine over a decade ago - albeit a Nth generation copy, so while you could still hear the delighful sound of the Isleys, you couldn't make out the dancers all too well, so I never realised how significant this routine truly was - and indeed, is.
The dancing is beautiful, and if you excuse the pun, breezy - and that first time Sue comes front and centre to the camera, it's a true moment of magic. Everyone is on top form here, and to look at it without the knowledge we all have, you wouldn't think that was the first routine for our much-treasured fellow forumer.
Score: As I love both song and dance, I'm giving this 10
DotD: With pleasure and love, Sue
I'll be giving this a watch again on Friday to mark 40 years of one of TOTP's finer moments.
What a debut for a young eighteen year old Sue. When she was introduced in this routine of " Summer Breeze ". Just a classic routine from begin to end. The ladies are all wearing green long flowing dresses. The set is a woodland area and the lighting suggest a warm summer evening. And there was a small breeze blowing across them. Making their hair and their dresses moving and swaying to the music. And movement they did went with music through out the routine.
The Dotd must go our young Sue. Who said that she was scared through out this routine. Well didn't look that way, it looked that she had been with the ladies for a long time. From that day I was fan of Sue.
This is a fine dance to a fine song and, as our host says, it really is impossible to be objective about it, knowing as we do that it was the beginning of a magical career. The ladies are all looking lovely and the thin green dresses are admirable. I must say the shrubs could have done with a bit of judicious pruning but they don't interfere too much. I like the smooth moves but would have liked better close ups although much of this could be down to the quality of what we're lucky to have at all. Anyway DotD is a foregone conclusion, Sue the debutante, and I give this 9/10
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
Pity about the quality, but so lucky to have something of our dancing queens debut. Sue fitted into the PP group and dance style perfectly and has been perfect ever since. I like the song and dance 10/10
Even murky black and white and swampy colour snippet, you can't deny that the debut of the finest dancer to grace all three troupes has finally landed.
Whereas the set resembles Kew gardens at time with matching green dresses and lights, this does make for difficult viewing, but saying that the powerhouse performance of Sue coming towards the camera (following Cherry) is undeniably sensual and sexual at its best. granted there are some miscued movements by the new girl, but she slots in nicely with that flowing mane of hair and those doe eyes.
Nevertheless a bit of non starter routine marred by too much green, but as this is Sue's debut and it survives, we must be grateful for that, the track is so so Isley brothers.
But it can't go unrewarded with this minor hiccups.......10/10
DOTD: seriously do i need to answer that one, oh go on then.... Sue
With regards to my score rating on `Summer Breeze`, i voted with my head and not my heart. Yes it would have been easy to take the sentimental approach and give it a maximum because it was Sue's debut dance. But even viewing the whole colour footage, there is no way i could put this on a par with, `When Will I See You Again` or `Barbados` to name but two.
Edited due to the full colour version now being available.
No doubt all the hallmarks of a classic routine, the formation dancing sections look effortless and the swaying in the breeze style movements are sublime. Sue to her credit fits in perfectly with the more experienced dancers.
9/10. DOTD Sue, for jumping in at the deep end and joining this iconic troupe.
Lovely this, even in poor quality black & white - but you still get a good feel for the dance, and the breeze! The colour snippet adds more but gives the impression that we're very much in a jungle in the early evening than a sun-drenched meadow in the late afternoon.
It's a shame as it looks like a lovely looking dance set-wise - and not too badly lit for a change. Dark and sultry, but wil the girls and their faces still in enough light to have a good butchers at them.
The swishy-swaying moves suit the dance spot on, and this could be one that from now when I hear the song it's the dance that's in my mind's eye. In perfect quality of course! :-)
8/10 and although new girl young Miss Sue with her lovely long hair is fantastic, my DotD is beautiful breezy Babs. Sorry chaps!
What a vast difference the colour version makes you can finally work out who is who. I get the feeling had the original recording survived that it probably wouldn't look quite so swampy but that's been thrown away so we'll probably never know and from reports of the PVL tapes becoming unplayable it may never get the benefit of being restored professionally (those of us who attended the Stourbridge event will be aware of how well the 'Vicar to the Stars' tapes have been restored after hearing reports of them being in a bad state). Even so this is a pretty good routine and in some ways it reminds me of the first Legs and Co outing 'Queen of my Soul' (I wonder if Flick asked for slower track in both cases to give the girls a slightly easier debut?). Not quite good enough for a maximum but certainly an enjoyable (now it's in colour) 9/10.
Dotd: There can only really be one, for beating the first night nerves and looking like she'd been dancing in front of 15 million people for years it has to be Sue.
This is a nice relaxing song and it is a lovely dance routine as well. Green is a very soothing colour I think, and there is plenty of greenery in this. The fans are used to good effect to create a gentle breeze, although if they were trying to replicate an English summers day, the ladies would probably be carrying umbrellas!
Of course this is momentous for being Sue's first dance, so it is great that someone has preserved this moment.
I will score this a 9. Sue makes an assured debut and doesn't show any sign of the nerves that she has admitted that she felt, however, I am giving DOTD to Babs who I think sparkles the most in this performance.
Well it's tremendous that this has made the journey from Kansas to Oz to mark this anniversary and before I've come to rate it. It's really transformed it for me. Thanks to all concerned.
So, a new bloom appears in the night in the verdant garden. How apt, with Sue taking the green baton from Louise. Blending with nature in their floaty dresses it's like the beautiful nymphs have come out to dance in the cooling breeze, while the unsuspecting world is in repose. It has a magical feel to it, and the significance it holds for us has certainly added a sprinkling of fairy dust in the intervening years. It's just lovely viewing; the set, graceful dancing, some close ups, and just the right debut ask for Sue: not thrust into the spotlight, it's fairly low-key, but not too quiet. And a good song too that manages the tricky balance of being both gentle and perky in a way that works perfectly. Somehow it's just right for the occasion.
Obviously it's very tempting to go for Sue, but I think Babs shines the brightest and she's a worthy DOTD.