TOTP: The Story Of 1985 (5/1/18: 9pm)

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TOTP: The Story Of 1985 (5/1/18: 9pm)

Gorgeous Daze
So, with dancers now little more active than Dancer we march on stoically to 85 as - Happy accelerated Anniversary - 'TOTP: The Story of' reaches double figures. The sound and look of success for this year is BIG. It's the height and length of rueful mullets, often teamed with rolled-up jacket sleeves, um, and emergent sonic styles include stadium and corporate rock and that Vegemite genre (as I know OGW both agrees and differs) the power balled. Live Aid looms a behemoth over the whole year, eventually to be deemed a game-changer. With those bright and adventurous New Romantics faded into a popscene with no name, uncannily like what happened with the embers of glam rock a decade earlier, this is though similar to the mid-seventies in being something of a musical no man's land. For better or worse, depending diplomatically on what better floats one's waterborne craft, a stronger identity will come to mark later years of the eighties, but for now for most people Stock, Aitken & Waterman is a likely firm of solicitors and Neighbours are next to the House which you live in and never dance to. As for Jack, he's your uncle.

Those featuring on this year's overview of the part played in it all by TOTP provide a familiar mix of breakthrough popsters, politics, and proud wearer of the Christmas crown. We're promised interviews with A-ha, Shakin' Stevens (remarkably he made his 50th TOTP appearance this year, that's getting on for two and a half hours worth since he shared a Hot Dog with Gill!), belatedly The Style Council, the Bard Of Barking-by-the-sea, Bonnie Tyler, Walsall's only celeb supporter Pete Waterman, Paul Hardcastle, King, and this year's also-ran representatives, Loose Ends.

I'll be honest and say that though I feel a modicum of magic still remained on TOTP after dance troupes were surplus to requirements, 85 is the year that I'd pinpoint where it just fizzled out. I think this had a lot to do with the show shrinking to half an hour and the newfangled Top Forty breakers and increasingly videos eating into the remaining performance time. A quick scan shows, often outside the Top Ten, not a paucity of good records around in my book, if without that key sense of excitement for an era. To name some, anyone else perchance for Trans X: Living On Video, Sharpe & Numan: Change Your Mind, Propaganda: Dual (more a Jewel this one), The Smiths: The Boy With The Thorn In His Side, The Cult: She Sells Sanctuary, The Damned: The Shadow Of Love, Killing Joke with the coruscating Love Like Blood and, least likely, New Model Army: No Rest? Yeah OK, I like my 85 alternative but I've space for Lisa Lisa: I Wonder If I take You Home, The Cool Notes: In Your Car, that Italian-American bird who had big hits (sic) and plenty more from the mainstream.

Unlikely fact: 85 saw a King, Queen, Prince and Princess all score Top Ten hits. How's that for royalties!
Steve
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Re: TOTP: The Story Of 1985 (5/1/18: 9pm)

VintageVideos
Among the (few) highlights of 1985, the release of "Brothers In Arms" by Dire Straits should be mentioned as the album that finally established the CD in our homes. Godley & Creme shot their groundbreaking video for "Cry" and Tears For Fears put out what is arguably their best album, "Songs From The Big Chair" - five out of the eight tracks on the LP became hits.

On the other hand, bands like Simple Minds and The Style Council were clearly on their way down.
Dance right on till the floors are breakin'
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Re: TOTP: The Story Of 1985 (5/1/18: 9pm)

Gorgeous Daze
VintageVideos wrote
On the other hand, bands like Simple Minds and The Style Council were clearly on their way down.
The Style Council became (even) less appealing for me. I feel very much as you about Simple Minds, though a glance at their chart positions and the size of the venues they were now playing suggests we're wrong! I think their fanbase had almost entirely changed by the late eighties. I remember thinking when I learnt that some of the people I knew who had previously had no interest in them had bought Once Upon A Time that Simple Minds must be doing something wrong. In retrospect Don't You Forget About Me, though not a bad song, was the point at which they ceased to be an interesting band.
Steve
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Re: TOTP: The Story Of 1985 (5/1/18: 9pm)

Everything'sRosie
As well as the already discussed Strawberry Switchblade and Stephen Tin Tin Duffy studio omissions due to Smith. Some others missing, with never repeated performances, were:

The Cool Notes - In Your Car
Lloyd Cole - Lost Weekend
The Cult - Rain
FGTH - Welcome To The Pleasure Dome
Chaka Khan - This Is My Night

Agreed about Simple Minds. I saw them in 82 and 85. 82 in a small venue when they were brilliant, and 85 at the NEC when they were not. I think the lure of big bucks proved too much for them. Pity, their early records had a unique sound.
Queens of My Soul
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Re: TOTP: The Story Of 1985 (5/1/18: 9pm)

VintageVideos
In reply to this post by Gorgeous Daze
"Don't You..." was a change in many ways: the first single they released that wasn't written by members of the band, their first Top 10 hit in the UK plus their first ever hit in the US going straight to No. 1 there. I guess it's easy to see what their record company's reaction must have been like: hey you should make more records like that if you want to make some money!
I quite liked "Don't You..." when it came out but in hindsight... yes it was the beginning of the end. I noticed how pretentious they've become when I heard Jim Kerr stating in an interview just before the release of "Once Upon a Time" that "Don't You..." would not be included on that album because it wasn't "good enough".
Dance right on till the floors are breakin'
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Re: TOTP: The Story Of 1985 (5/1/18: 9pm)

PattiforPM
Great overview GD.  It seems I am an outlier though when it comes to Simple Minds as, although I think New Godl Dream was a pinnacle they never again ascended, I also liked their more bombastic mainstream stuff up to 1987 and Ghost Dancing is one of my favourite songs of theirs.  Belfast Child was a bit much even for me however and from then on I lost them.  Also I was traveling in NZ for part of 1985 and I had a favourite cassette mix-tape made by a girlfriend and including a lot of 1984-85 stuff starting with Don't You Forget About Me (!) so I'll always be somewhat fond of that, especially as it disappeared from my backpack just before I returned to the UK
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
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Re: TOTP: The Story Of 1985 (5/1/18: 9pm)

AC/PD
An enjoyable and substantial overview of the music status quo at the mid-point of the Eighties, GD.
Agree with VV's mention of the pretentiousness which crept into the music of U2 from hereon in.
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Re: TOTP: The Story Of 1985 (5/1/18: 9pm)

Legsfan
The clips from the 21/03/85 don’t look too good. A hint of domestic recording? Maybe the first wiped edition since 1977?
I hope it is shown anyway.
Devoted to Pan's People & Legs & Co.
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Re: TOTP: The Story Of 1985 (5/1/18: 9pm)

zenon
We did get to see Diddy Hamilton's last TOTP from March 1977 back in 2012 which was sourced from his own VHS collection.
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Re: TOTP: The Story Of 1985 (5/1/18: 9pm)

Gorgeous Daze
This turned out to be just what you'd expect but after ten installments I'm still to find one anything less than interesting.
Steve
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Re: TOTP: The Story Of 1985 (5/1/18: 9pm)

Legsfan
Look who made a surprise Top of the Pops appearance. Only blocked from appearing in whole editions then.
Devoted to Pan's People & Legs & Co.
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Re: TOTP: The Story Of 1985 (5/1/18: 9pm)

Old Grey Whistler
Yes, Smith never gave permission for his shows to be repeated in full, but there is nothing to stop the BBC from showing clips.
Without Legs & Co, there would be no show!
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Re: TOTP: The Story Of 1985 (5/1/18: 9pm)

Everything'sRosie
I've just watched the docu, rather good I thought. Predictably Mrs T got a bashing, but this was the BBC, so say no more. Strange they showed Live Aid footage, and yet neglected to show Freddie Mercury knocking it out of the park. Never noticed that Style Council bloke before, I thought it was just Weller and Talbot in the band. Bonnie Tyler looks like a game lass prepared to laugh at herself, but Shakey seems to have morphed into a completely different human being.
Queens of My Soul
Doc
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Re: TOTP: The Story Of 1985 (5/1/18: 9pm)

Doc
In reply to this post by Gorgeous Daze
Gorgeous Daze wrote
So, with dancers now little more active than Dancer


I hope Zoo watchers noticed that Bunty Bailey (at least 14 Zoo dances) was the girl in the A Ha video

Sandy Borne and Tricia Roberts Appreciation Society
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Re: TOTP: The Story Of 1985 (5/1/18: 9pm)

Gorgeous Daze
I for one didn't recognize her! Thanks for informing us.
Steve
Doc
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Re: TOTP: The Story Of 1985 (5/1/18: 9pm)

Doc
Always worth another watch:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djV11Xbc914
from the year that pop videos moved into a different league.
Sandy Borne and Tricia Roberts Appreciation Society