The Clapping Song _________________________________________________________________________________
Performed byGeorgie Fame & Alan Price _________________________________________________________________________________
Original broadcast date16/02/1970Duration of dance - 2.44 mins _________________________________________________________________________________
Dancers: Andrea, Babs, Dee Dee, Flick, Louise, Ruth _________________________________________________________________________________
A link to the dance:
The 60th Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Vienna on May 23, so I thought it would be appropriate to feature the second Pan's People performance from the German qualifying programme for 1970's ESC, "Ein Lied für Amsterdam", this week. Just a reminder that the first performance can be found here.
The recording used for this routine is actually an oddity: an officially released version of "The Clapping Song" by Georgie Fame & Alan Price does not seem to exist! Yet, listening to the song, it is quite easy to recognize the distinctive voices of the two musicians. Exactly where German TV got this recording from remains a mystery, but it has been speculated that it might originate from the duo's BBC show.
"The Clapping Song" was written by African-American songwriter Lincoln Chase (who is also guilty of composing "Jim Dandy"). Shirley Ellis first recorded it in 1965, and numerous covers were to follow, among them a rendition by the Belle Stars who took it to No. 11 in the UK charts in 1982.
Before the experts had to cast their final votes to decide on the winner of the qualifying, host Marie-Louise Steinbauer informs the audience: "... wollen wir Sie noch einmal unterhalten mit unseren Gästen aus London, mit Pan's People. Sie tanzen zu einer Choreographie von Flick Colby, Clapping Song!"
Like "Get Back" from the same show, the dancing is still very much 60's. But the dance is a bit more cheerful than its companion. Cheer as in cheerleader, as that's how the girls are dressed up. And I must say, they fulfil their task perfectly! Granted, this is no doubt very early Pan's People, but even at this early stage in their career, the choreography is already quite a long way from the simple Go-Go dancing that dominated much of the 60's.
I like this vibrant routine much better than "Get Back". While it's certainly not a highlight of their career, I found myself pushing the "repeat" button quite a few times...
The 2nd performance from the show that looked for the Netherlands' 1970 Eurovision entry is virtually a carbon copy of the routine performed on The Price of Fame series on BBC2 some 3 months earlier. The soundtrack, performed by Georgie Fame and Alan Price, is also the exact live recording from that show, faded at the end just prior to the audience applause. So this is an interesting transplanting of a previous performance albeit with a costume change that adds some hand held tassels.
The troupe is introduced at the top of the show as "Pan's People from London" and you wonder if that was purely a natural geographical comment or a specific request from Pans themselves in order to add more gravitas to their introduction. It's another one of those recordings from Europe where you can guess a similar appearance on the same style of UK show would probably have long since been wiped, so all credit to those foreign archives once again that actually kept the master recordings.
It's a fairly upbeat number that suits the troupe's style of this period well but very much in the original mould of the early years. Despite the rather cold atmosphere of the studio with a reserved small audience, the girls seem to be enjoying themselves. 8/10 Quite difficult to find a stand-out amongst the crowd as everyone puts on a good show, but Flick has a smile on her face a lot of the time so is my DotD.
The ladies look fine in their tassles and bikinis but I'm afraid this isn't really my cuppa with a goofy song and pre-Cambrian era moves according to my arbitrary carbon dating method. I feel bad for not appreciating these historic early Pans performances in Flick's formative years but I can't help it I'm afraid. Oh well, I'll just adjust the dial on my Time Machine to 5 years later and sit back in my arm chair to marvel. DotD is a tough call for me but there's a lovely Babs smile in here which I find quite arresting so that swings it for me. An apologetic 5.5/10 from me
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
As Katy has mentioned Flick's lack of camera input puts this at something of a disadvantage when compared to the TOTP routines but it certainly has its plus points, such as those 'Green River' outfits with Andi now in a top that actually fits! I'm less taken by the shake-up of some of the usual colours, particularly Ruth in the purple and Andi in the red, and the song is something of a shocker. Overall a 6 with Babs and her lovely smile taking Dotd.
There's not much 'clapping' happening here, it seems to be all about the wavng of tail feathers, as if they're semaphore flags, but I do really like this performance, it's a great way to introduce Pan's People to a German audience, that may not be overly familiar with them, it's colourful, (even if some dancers are out of their regular costume colours), and the jolly hockey sticks style of merrily going around the centre of the stage in circles, looks amazingly innocuous,
Something similar could've been produced for the Belle Stars, & Shirley Ellis versions of The Clapping Song, by Zoo, & the Gojos, respectively.
Very much work in progress here rather than mature Flick. Irritating ditty does not help. However as we have so few early survivors we must not complain. At some stage something must get a low rating and I do not feel inclined to go above 5.5. Babs' smile almost brings it up to 6. You did not get smiles like that from the Television Toppers
A 'Well it's colourful' performance. Indeed it might as well have been specifically made to demonstrate those swanky new colour tellies, a test card in motion. You could have named your price on The Clapping Song without clapping, but against all odds Flick eschews the obvious for a visit to her cheerleader roots with the tassled sticks. It's bright and breezy but as others have suggested it would have benefited from more dynamic camerawork. A 5/10 from this corner of Royaume-Uni for this harmless bit of froth. DOTD Louise.
A pixelated swirl of early coloured Pans goodness, i have a fondness for this. It seems simple, but its not, all that sychronised pom pom waving, combined with all manner of different moves, with great timing and a happy carefree vibe, it may not be TOTP but this is still an interlude i suspect was better than the show itself. 8/10 DOTD Louise.
Some nifty foot and arm movements from our colourful cheerleaders. The song is just about bearable, the dance somewhat better but it isn't one that I am likely to watch very often.
My score is 7 out of 10. DOTD is Flick.
I can't too excited about this, the song doesn't help, but it is early Pan's and in colour. I wonder if this is reminiscent of the sort of routine they did in the late 60's on TOTP. I suppose we'll never know. 7/10.
Dotd: Could be any but Louise's green kept catching my eye so she'll do.
Well, I must say that it is nice to see something from Pan's People that isn't from Top of the Pops, but I don't feel that this routine is anything special and I think that is just something simple. Pan's People certainly are wearing the correct colours for colour TV, but the song isn't too good either and thsi isn't in my top 100 routines.
Colour, a detail that brings the world to life. Colour, in the hands of a skilled artist can exalt the best of paintings. And Colour with regard to Pan's People in particular is an undefinable joy. Not just to be able to see a routine like 'The Clapping Song' in colour, at a period when many are not in colour, but there is something else. We know that at some stage the girls in the group would become identified by their own specific colour, often from their costumes or the props they would hold. For example green for Louise, blue for Babs, yellow for Ruth and so on. When did this coding start, I ask myself? As we may never be able to view all their routines ever again we will probably never be able to say for cetain, but it seems this performance was one such early instance of this. ( Does any one know of earlier examples, not seen by the writer )? We have Babs and Louise in the colours with which they would become associated. And Dee Dee too, I shouldn't wonder, with pink her mantle here. Is this a coincidence, or a step on the road to their colour co-ordination. And who would decide which colour to whom, chosen by the dancers themselves or could they have been assigned by Flick- for her own reasons? I wonder, indeed. In this simple but effective routine all the troupe perform admirably and keep up with a fast and lively display. This is very good indeed. The customary moves for the period all seem in place and all the girls look like they are having fun. And the props- well, I do not know the technical term but they appear like many-headed flails, or streamers, all waved with flair and majesty.
The costumes themselves are very appealing in themselves. Plain white bikinis with the favoured flesh coloured boots- but heightened tremendously with the coloured streamers descending from the brassieres, and with the same coloured ribbons on the 'flails' for each dancer. An appropriate costume for this performance and which helps the viewer to enjoy as much as possible.
My mother would regularly watch the shows hosted by Georgie Fame and Alan Price, but which one she preferred I cannot remember for sure, but she certainly did have a preference. I do have a sneaky suspicion it was Georgie, however, that caught her attention the most- perhaps I should ask her! Therefore, I also watched a lot of their shows, and no doubt this included those with Pan's People in 1969. If only I could remember them properly, but alas I cannot. And if she heard them singing that they had indeed 'kissed a soldier' I am not too sure she would have approved- back then in 1970. We have come a long way since then.
Of the two performances for the German audience that day, I do have a slight preference for the 'Get Back' routine. But this is still very good. All of Pan's perform this routine with skill and dexterity and appear in good heart. However, the two I find most noticeable and outstanding are Ruth and Louise. I think that Louise was having a very fine day in front of the cameras, in this broadcast and very nearly took top honours. But for this occasion, I nominate the divine Ruth for my Dancer Of The Day here- stepping out, moving and waving her streamers with great aplomb, and even managing to hold them upright at the very end. But they are all a credit to the name of Pan's People.
The dance itself I award 7.5/10- slightly behind Get Back I feel, but still a great pleasure to watch over again. Colour enhances life and brings joy to all of us who behold it, if we can put our mind to do so. With Pan's People it is easy to follow their hues and keep on the path down which they lead, to our fulfilment. Colour brings contentment with life!
We know that at some stage the girls in the group would become identified by their own specific colour, often from their costumes or the props they would hold. For example green for Louise, blue for Babs, yellow for Ruth and so on. When did this coding start, I ask myself? As we may never be able to view all their routines ever again we will probably never be able to say for cetain, but it seems this performance was one such early instance of this. ( Does any one know of earlier examples, not seen by the writer )?
Good observation, Hanway, and this is indeed the earliest example of a/the colour scheme that I know of.