(23) FATBACK BAND – (Do The) Spanish Hustle
(2) TINA CHARLES – I Love To Love (But My Baby Loves To Dance)
(19) SMOKIE – Something’s Been Making Me Blue
(20) BILLY OCEAN – Love Really Hurts Without You
(18) THE STYLISTICS – Funky Weekend (danced to by Pan’s People)
(9) STATUS QUO – Rain (video)
(25) CLIFF RICHARD – Miss You Nights
(4) C.W. McCALL – Convoy (video)
(29) GUYS ‘N’ DOLLS – You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me
(1) THE FOUR SEASONS – December ’63 (Oh What A Night) (video)
(40) M & O BAND – Let’s Do The Latin Hustle (and credits)
The first thing you notice about the google drive here is just how many episodes we have, yes at last in 1976 the BBC saw sense and started preserving them (most of the time). Jump forward 35 years to 2011 and someone finally remembered that they had them, and wouldn't it be a great idea to show them again, well a few people might watch you never know. One of those people was me, yes i watched the first repeat namely 1-4-76 but i guess I couldn't have been all that impressed as i never watched again until 1978 started thus missing out on the end of Pan's People, Ruby Flipper and the first year of Legs and Co, ah well hindsight is a wonderful thing. One of the episodes made just before the preservation started and therefore not saved was this one, but step forward the hero of the hour and also tonights host David 'Diddy' Hamilton who recorded and (most importantly) kept several shows he presented. Diddy seems an affable guy and a safe pair of hands having had a lot of previous radio and TV experience, he obviously liked that jumper here he is flogging some album that bears his name.
Davids TOTP career was short lived and he only made it into the start of 1977 though.
We waste no time and rush through the countdown and hustle our way straight into (Do The) Spanish Hustle. These guys in their matching outfits look like the archetypal funk band, and i really like this, its essentially an instrumental with a few 'do the spanish hustle' vocals thrown in for good measure. Not convinced by the TOTP performance?, well try this instead. It sounds to me like some funky theme tune to a 70s cop show, nice.
From what I understand about Tina Charles is she was a session singer and contributed to many of those dubious TOTP covers albums, but here she is on TOTPs itself with her soon to be number 1. I'm sure Patti4PM is loving this, being her biggest fan and all, me well i don't mind it, its certainly better than the follow up. Smokie up next, no i don't know this one, not bad but fairly typical stuff for them, will they ever find their way to a barbers?, maybe by 1980 they might. Diddy doesn't seem to interact with the audience during his links, maybe as he was new he wanted to be the consummate professional and concentrate on 'getting it right' instead of larking about like some of the other hosts tend to do. Its also noticeable how much less involved the audience seem to be than the previous 1971 episode, what happened to those stylish girls dancing in hotpants?, 5 years is a long time in TOTP it seems. Anyway some of the audience are shuffling along to Billys 'Love Really Hurts Without You' with a wee bit of enthusiasm (a wee bit) but generally the atmosphere is a few notches down from what we have seen before in '71 and '73. As for LRHWY, can i just say choooooon!, love it.
Something that hasn't changed in the last 5 years is Pan's People, oh heck they have too. Here we are with a mere 2 months remaining for the group and we have the final line up with Lee and Mary. The Stylistics want us to have a Funky Weekend, i haven't had a funky weekend in ages. The problem with this routine is the disco lighting always makes it look a little dark and there are few if any close ups, ultimately its an average routine to an average song. The Quo give a pretty standard live-on-video performance to The Rain, its really the usual fare from them, i.e no Down Down and to me it sounded like he was saying Rhine and not Rain, perhaps he is a fan of the Rhine wine?
The ever present Cliff Richard may have an impressive chart record, but this isn't an impressive chart record (boom boom!), 'One For The Mums' maybe. Thats not to say i dislike all his output but i wouldn't go out of my way to play it either. Novelty record time now (us Brits do like those don't we) and its baffling trucker-speak gobbledygook time with Convoy and a distinctly home grown looking video. A fairly interesting if highly unlikely tale of a convoy of trucks outrunning the cops (bears) across the state, interspersed with said trucker speak and a catchy chorus. Although its daft the 'they even had a bear in the air' bit made me laugh. The variety show rolls on into Guys n Dolls, I'd rather they didn't to be honest, stick to the Dusty original please. The camera man can't wait for it to end and goes back to Diddy a few seconds too early.
December ’63 (Oh What A Night), is it me or are there a lot of brackets in this episode?. Yes its purely coincidental The Four Seasons are appearing again so soon but this is of course a very good record, and was danced to by both Pan's People and Legs & Co in this unique transition year for the dancers. To play out a very short portion of Let’s Do The Latin Hustle its a nice enough tune with the melody based on a flute or something and like Spanish Hustle its pretty much an instrumental only this time with a female vocal. Confusingly next week Pan's People will be dancing to the near identical Let’s Do The Latin Hustle by Eddie Drennon & B.B.S. Unlimited and yes they are different records, which can be listened to here, perhaps someone in the know can explain this weird situation.
Seeing as this episode was recorded on an early home video recorder forty plus years ago, the picture quality is excellent. We have much to thank David Hamilton for.
The Fatback Band gets things started with their near instrumental, The Spanish Hustle. They appear to be playing live too. Not really my thing if I'm honest. The excellent Tina Charles is next and far more to my liking. What a fantastic voice she has, instantly recognisable. I think she was singing live too as it sounded different to the record, which I still have somewhere.
Up next is Smokie with one of their less memorable hits. Actually, I don't remember it at all. In stark contrast, Love Really Hurts by Billy Ocean still gets a play or two to this day. The lad Ocean has a great voice, but I found myself distracted by his flares of blue.
In some rather pretty dresses we have Sue and Mary era Pan's People dancing to Funky Weekend. Frustratingly, the lighting is rather poor and I don't really like the song. The Stylistics produced much better stuff than this, so did Status Quo, who are next on. I thought Rain might have been a cover of The Beatles track. It's not. Half-baked Quo, I'm afraid.
And so on to Cliff. He was still looking for that elusive biggie to kick start his career again in 1976. Miss You Nights was a modest hit, but it's rather limp. Devil Woman later that year was bigger, but it would be another 3 years before he hit the top again. And so we move on to novelty hit Convoy with its faddish CB lingo. It even inspired a British response from DLT and Paul Burnett. The BBC had made a cheapo video to accompany it. We're not fooled, this looked more Kent than Kentucky to me.
It's cabaret time, and Guys & Dolls ceremoniously murder an old Dusty Springfield song. The performance is cut short, which was unfortunate for those like me watching in 2019, who fancied doing a bit of Dollar-spotting. Time must have been running short. On to the No.1 then. December 63 is a fine pop song with no less than 3 vocalists. Didn't realise that before. With the exception of the drummer The Seasons look deep into middle-age, I think the song would be better served by having some in-house dancers interpreting it. Just a thought.
Thanks for uploading this Mikey. Really enjoyed it.
Yes the DLT nonsense was Laurie Lingo & The Dipsticks - 'Convoy G.B.', a parody of a novelty record, what a great idea, not. It doesnt seem fair Pan's People were not allowed to promote 'You Can Really Rock And Roll Me' yet that was apparently ok?
Thanks to Mikey for bringing this to us and of course to Diddy David for pressing the `record` button on that cold February evening back in 1976.
1976 often gets a bit of a negative press from all and sundry. Post Glam and pre Disco/New Wave the year is stuck in permanent `middle of the road` limbo land. I reckon for fans of our subject the year is looked on fondly with so much going on and i think that fact helps to make the shows from 76 more palatable. On paper this one looks a bit of a doozy, but i have to admit i was rather entertained and at no point felt the need to forward to the next song.
FATBACK BAND – (Do The) Spanish Hustle - It went on a bit and i found the tune instantly forgettable but enjoyed the Hai Karate style pajamas they were wearing. 5 out of 10.
TINA CHARLES – I Love To Love (But My Baby Loves To Dance) - Very much Tina's best song. I don't wanna dance to it and Tina is a bit hard to love, but i didn't mind this at all. 7.5 out of 10.
SMOKIE – Something’s Been Making Me Blue - Never that keen on this lot and i can't recall this song either. 5 out of 10.
BILLY OCEAN – Love Really Hurts Without You - Arguably this chaps best song, though WTF was he wearing. 8.5 out of 10.
THE STYLISTICS – Funky Weekend (danced to by Pan’s People) - Not a routine thats high on my playlist. The actual dancing is fine, but not enough close-up action for me, its a bit to distant. Maybe its `too funky`! 7 out of 10.
STATUS QUO – Rain - Standard Quo fayre, didn't do anything for me. 5.5 out of 10.
CLIFF RICHARD – Miss You Nights - Good song, well performed. Still drying my hanky out. 8 out of 10.
C.W. McCALL – Convoy - Bad then, worse now. 2 out of 10.
GUYS ‘N’ DOLLS – You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me - I quite like G&D, but not so keen on this. Mr director, get that camera in for close-ups on Ms Bazar. 6 out of 10.
THE FOUR SEASONS – December ’63 (Oh What A Night) - Best song on the show. 8.75 out of 10.
M & O BAND – Let’s Do The Latin Hustle (and credits) - Lovely tune, made even better when Pans danced to it. 7 out of 10.
The jazzy carnival of the Spanish Hustle is a new one to me and probably the weakest and most dated Hustle on the World tour. You can't touch the original but the British and Latin versions were a fairer crack at it.
This live I Love To Love with the TOTP orchestra lacks a bit of oomph. It's disco your parents would like but no worse for that, it's a quality record and one which brings back happy memories of simpler times. Bless her, Tina's a bit of a warbler and looks more like your new English teacher than a pop star. Detention P4PM!
I've never liked gravelly vocals...or had much interest in Smokie.
Next an irresistible mid-seventies disco A-lister that Billy Ocean never bettered. How could he though? It's perfection. Always comes across as a nice bloke whether in performance or conversation.
Funky Weekend - melodically weak Stylistics and a suitably lacklustre routine. Both dim from the memory.
Makes a change to see Rick take lead vocals and a harder than average Quo sound here. But in memorability it's to the Quo what Funky Weekend is to The Stylistics.
Cliff - somehow didn't know this song even though I recognized the title. No appeal for me.
C.W. McCall. Video is fun and imaginative. Not. 3/10. As for the song, well the chorus is OK.
Guys 'N' Dolls perform something of an oxymoron: melodramatic middle of the road. I like it. Surprised to find the Guys separated from the Dolls.
The Four Seasons - True classic which I'm never bored with. Good to see the excellent vocal teamwork, which works so smoothly it's like three into one on the record.
The Latin Hustle sees the edition out in nice mellow style.
Here I am, back in February 1976, with the ever amenable and reliable David Hamilton. And an edition of Top Of The Pops which I feel pretty sure I can remember from the day. The quality of the recording to be watched is not of the greatest, but aren’t I glad that it is available to watch at all. David looking cosy in his fetching blue jumper makes a good host, and does not detract from any of the acts, nor do I feel that he thinks the show should revolve around him. Good on yer, Diddy! It is interesting to note that he was well into his 30s when he started to present the programme. An experienced broadcaster already by 1976, I doubt if that would have be the acceptable way forward for the show in later years. There are numerous shots of the crowd dancing, but it seems different now from the glory years of 5 or 6 years earlier, when the crowd dancing was at it’s peak. By 1976, they seem more reserved, less carefree abandon, than 1970 or 71. And it looks like they were filmed in a different way, only circumstantial and not an integral part of the whole show, as it appears was the case in earlier years. As such, I have not been able to find out a standout member of the audience, on whom I could focus, after a couple of viewings. I may need to watch several more times.
We start of with the chart rundown from 30 to 1. Who is in the charts this week? A young Barbara Dickson at 30 for starters- with ‘Answer Me’, which I had totally forgotten about. Plus some well-known names i.e. Abba, Slade or The Who, and others I cannot recall at all, such as L.J. Johnson or dimly remember like Yvonne Fair. Quite a good chart then, with something for everyone who had a taste for and in the mainstream of popular musical culture. And The Four Seasons at number 1, with a record I do remember so very well from the time. Great Stuff.
First act on tonight are The Fatback Band with the ‘Spanish Hustle’. Not really my thing, but I can remember the various ‘Hustles’ which were current back in those days. The band looking very tight and together in their matching outfits of muted shades, a 70s thing no doubt. Some of the interjections, like ‘vaya’, seem to come in strangely and do not feel like part of the soundtrack. No matter, a good vibrant start to the show, and now we can sit back and relax as the rest of the acts come out to meet us.
Oh Tina! What a doll, and the little lady with the sweet and powerful voice. Definitely, one of my girls of the 1970s- when I can remember such things, and someone I fancied enormously back then, as the young, callow 15 year old watching on, it should be no surprise to anyone to learn. Disco was not my scene at that stage, or ever, but I certainly sat up and took notice when Tina Charles came on. And Tina here looks very lovely and cuddly in her elegant empire line dress. But a winning performance for me and the special effects of the rotating images do not mar the pleasure. Perhaps it wasn’t ‘cool’ at school to admit to fancying Tina, but I bet I was not the only one who found her damned attractive. And I still do, I hasten to add, to all and sundry. Was Tina Charles, real name Tina Hoskins, related to actor Bob Hoskins, I wonder? No matter, just an idle thought. Any show is enlightened with the adorable Tina.
Smokie, another good time great band from the mid 70s. I do not remember this song as well as some of their others but a guaranteed crowd pleaser, I am sure. Nice and tuneful. Obviously miming, a drummer once again not going too near the drums. But, as I have mentioned before, in the 70s I did not care if they mimed, as we were supposed to hear the recorded track, not a live version of it. That is how it was then, and I always assumed these bands and singers could play well live whenever they were required to- in concerts. Smokie, a band with a long history and were far from an overnight success in the 70s, even if those who did not know them had no idea from where they had sprung.
Now we have Billy Ocean, with his best ever song. And something far in advance of his MOR-ish 80s output. Well done Billy. You look like you are having such a great time. Mind you do not burst out laughing in the middle there, just keep going to the end then you can smile away to your heart’s content. But what is tickling so much, Billy? Please share. But another enjoyable showing all the same. Not surprised the outfit did not catch on though, as far as I can recall. And by now it is evident we are not going to see as much of the dancing girls in the audience as we used to. What a shame!
So, for dancing girls will Pan’s People suffice? You bet! Dancing to ‘Funky Weekend’ by The Stylistics. As it is a routine I have not yet reviewed for my ongoing Pan’s People thesis, I will not add much here at this time. Only to mention that the lack of good close-ups does detract from the whole routine, plus the quality of the recording under review is not as sharp as would be liked. But we have what we have to enjoy, and we can watch as intently as possible. All the members of Pan’s look great in those asymmetrical, off-the-shoulder dresses and move gloriously well. If only we could see them better! There is much to admire about late period Pan’s, to which I will return further on. Only thing I feel the need to add is that doesn’t Ruth still have ‘all of it’ at this late stage of her dancing career?
Our ever lovely dancers are followed by classic era Status Quo, with a video of the song ‘Rain’, or ‘’Rhine’ as Rick Parfitt seems to sing. Loved by millions and unloved by other millions, the Quo were your typical good old ‘no frills, no fuss’ Rockers. Which is why I would be in the first category. A band with a good number of licks, despite their derision as the oft-mentioned ‘three-chord wonders’, here they give a good account for themselves in trademark style. Lead as always by the twin guitar attack of Rick and Francis and, as can be guessed, a very popular band at school. Good to here one of their less famous hits. Of which they have more than you can shake a stick at, and someone else’s too.
Talking about having a great number of hits, what more can be said about Cliff Richard? Is he still popular in 1976, despite being a few years older than the in-crowd? It would seem so. Housewife and BBC favourite- and how that changed, he still had a little something that allowed him to keep having hits, though distinctly unfashionable to us youngsters by this stage. ‘Miss You Nights’, an average song sung well by the suited Cliff. Another example of the variety in the charts of those days. David’s wee jest at the end about Miss United Kingdom is a reminder, if one is needed, of his hosting several Beauty Contests during his Television career.
Boy, doesn’t the video for C.W.McCall’s ‘Convoy’ look gloomy? Was there an impenetrable fog that day in Shakeytown? Or is the night time scene meant to cover up something? I wonder if this was an official film for the song as released by the record company MGM or, much more likely, that this is a BBC film to promote the song, as otherwise they would have nothing, unless Pan’s People danced to it. I would reckon the U.K number plates and the right hand drive give that game away. Can you imagine a routine for ‘Convoy’? That would be interesting. I have not seen this film for 40+ years. But could remember it pretty well, especially the parts with the ‘Friends of Jesus’ and the crashing through the ‘Stop’ barrier. Happy Days. Wasn’t there a controversy after this song about people in the U.K using similar Citizens Band Radio, and that they might use it for ‘illegal’ practices. Shock, horror!!
Guys and Dolls seemed to be a staple of many Television variety shows back in the 70s. I surely remember them being on many times. Never really to my taste, but they had a penchant for a catchy song. And I always looked upon the 6-people Guys and Dolls and the 4-people ‘latterday’ Brotherhood Of Man, in similar ways. Easy listening cannon fodder for the masses. Cheesy Light Entertainment to the nth degree. ( My liking for the earlier BOM has been stated before, but that would come retrospectively ). Nor did I think much of the medallion man image of the male members, but the girls were very nice. Particularly Martine, who is singing joint lead here. Another candidate for any ‘Return to Girls of the 70s’ thread! Another point I remember is that Bruce Forsyth’s daughter was one of the others in the group. I like the song ‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me’, but would prefer Dusty to be singing it. A polished performance nevertheless by the singers. But not my ‘bowl of ice cream’ by any means. And the cameras do pull back to David just a bit before he was ready, methinks.
Number 1 time. And it is The Four Seasons, who appeared on last of these TOTPs offered for review. This time looking more like a band and not a Cabaret act in the film. And it is very noticeable in the film how little Frankie Valli sings there. Was this how it was recorded, other members of the Four Seasons taking the principal amount of the vocals? Someone might know, but it is, as mentioned above, a record I can remember very, very well from the time. In truth, if you asked me to name a hit from the Four Seasons, this song ‘December ‘63’ will invariably be the first to come to my mind. Another point I noticed from this is that Frankie looks younger in this video than he did in the 1971 edition. Was this clip filmed sometime previously to 1976, or has he found the formula for Eternal Youth? But the piece is over quickly and we have now reached the last number of this edition of Top Of The Pops.
More ‘Hustle’ to finish the show. Was it coincidence that the top and tail would be Hustle numbers, or a was it a good wheeze from the producers? The last number takes our attention for less than a minute before the final end, and is merely played against the credits. I would have no idea what the M and O Band look like back then, and still have no idea now. One good feature about reliving old Top Of The Pops is see some unfamiliar or long forgotten names and tracks and, for me at least, this fits the bill perfectly. Does anyone know how to dance ‘The Hustle’ and it’s many sub-species, ‘Original, Spanish, Latin, etc.’? I don’t, nor do I have any great desire to learn. But I will leave that to others especially Pan’s People, who danced to another version of this as well as Van McCoy’s ‘The Hustle’ a year before.
To cap this edition for me, I will state that it is another show that I have enjoyed, but the overall quality has dipped significantly from before, the 1973 episode for example. David Hamilton keeps it all rolling together nicely, bar a little quip or two, and it was very much worth watching again. An 8/10 for overall quality and who was my ‘Number 1’ this time. As I am keeping Pan’s out of these reckonings, I will pick the ever lovely Tina Charles. Lovely then and still lovely now, I’d wager. And possessor of a great voice and a dynamite stage presence. Oh Tina! It looks like I am still holding a candle for you, from that forty years hence.
Having now read the other reviews for this, for the first time, I see that I have repeated a few comments by others. I prefer not to see the earlier reviews so as not to influence my thoughts, but it is obvious that this could happen by taking that method.
Also, it would appear that I am not the only one here who has an eye or two for Tina Charles. P4PM, I salute your good taste! Please do not leave the Forum again, no matter what others say- like Hurlly!
Lovely nostalgia here. I remember watching this show when it was aired. I bought the Stylistics single that weekend. Rosco had sampled the chorus of this single a good two months prior to release every Saturday morning on his show and just those two words made your ears prick up as you knew it was a dance song.
The Eddie Drennon and M&O Band single is slightly different. Eddie Drennon did the original and then along came M&O Band with a shorter version but more funkier. There was some legal battle with the latter and the record was pulled off the radio and also the record was taken out of all shops. This is from discogs. I managed to get the M&O Band single last year from a pop up shop. Been looking for it for years.
Everywhere, wherever you look, manipulation rearing it's head.
David Hamilton comes across as a decent guy and an all round good egg, certainly less irritating than many of his colleagues.
Spanish Hustle isn't really my kind of thing but it's not bad. For some reason Fatback Band seem to be wearing their pyjamas.
We move on to P4PM's favourite singer and I really like I Love To Love. It's just a shame that it wasn't released a few months later, as it would have been a much better song for Floid to accompany Tina on than Love Me Like A Lover.
Generally I think Smokie's hair was more impressive than their music and this song does nothing for me. The only song of theirs that I liked was Living Next Door To Alice, and that was only because at the time we were living next door to a girl called Alice. Well I say girl, she must have been at least 40.
You can always rely on Billy Ocean for a quality performance and he doesn't disappoint here. Possibly his second best song after When The Going Gets Tough
The Stylistics produced some good songs but I rate Funky Weekend as one of their weaker efforts. Luckily that is more than compensated for by a good Pans performance. Flick's choreography had noticeably evolved by this point and this looks and feels more like a Legs & Co performance than a Pans People one.
I'm not a great fan of Status Quo. To me a lot of their tracks sounded the same and although I don't mind some of their songs, this one is very average.
I don't know if you had to be female to appreciate Cliff Richard but either way I am not a fan and this song is just dreary.
Pig Pen this here's Rubber Duck - ah yes I remember Convoy being hugely popular when I was at school and it topped the charts for 4 weeks in NZ. I didn't realise though that the film came out a couple of years after the song. Anyway I like it and not just for the thought of having a bridge lined with bears.
Next up is Guys and Dolls and a good song but I prefer Dusty Springfield's version. More nice hair though and not just on the dolls.
December 63 isn't just the best song on the show but is in my opinion one of the best songs of the year. As others have mentioned, it is noticeable that Frankie Valli wasn't singing as much during this time and on their follow up, Silver Star he barely sings at all. He was struggling with his hearing at this point and so the singing duties were shared around. While this may not have been planned, the combination of voices works very well.
More hustling to finish what was an enjoyable show which I would score an 8 out of 10.
(23) FATBACK BAND - not very entertaining
(2) TINA CHARLES – her Baby was right
(19) SMOKIE – you're blue because the song isn't very good
(20) BILLY OCEAN – a really good song and enthusiastic performance
(18) THE STYLISTICS – (danced to by Pan’s People) - middlingly good dance and song lacks style
(9) STATUS QUO – more like light drizzle
(25) CLIFF RICHARD – a fairly good song but can't stand Cliffy when he gets breathless like this
(4) C.W. McCALL – a reasonable chorus but otherwise road kill
(29) GUYS ‘N’ DOLLS – this is really dreadful
(1) THE FOUR SEASONS – by far the best thing on the Show even with Frankie Valli
(40) M & O BAND – the hustle did not improve in its journey over the Med
Sorry Mikey I did not like this Show much but I am eternally grateful to Mr Hamilton for saving this and of course especially for the Pans Dance it contains. Not at all his fault that it was a rather drossy week for music of course. Overall mark 4/10
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds