05-03-81: Presenter: Mike Read (Thanks to POPSCENE for the running order)
(47) DURAN DURAN – Planet Earth
(14) TALKING HEADS - Once In A Lifetime (video)
(6) ADAM & THE ANTS - Kings Of The Wild Frontier ®
(16) TOYAH - It's A Mystery ®
(29) SHAKIN' STEVENS - This Ole House
(5) HEADGIRL (MOTORHEAD & GIRLSCHOOL) - Please Don't Touch ®
(45) PHIL COLLINS - I Missed Again
(31) KOOL & THE GANG – Jones Vs Jones (danced to by Legs & Co.)
(25) THE TEARDROP EXPLODES - Reward (video)
(35) THE WHO – You Better You Bet
(1) JOE DOLCE MUSIC THEATRE - Shaddap You Face (video/credits)
Time marches on with the 1981 repeats now a full month ahead in the chronological race with a flagging 2016 to complete the year. May we see Christmas in May?
It's been a while since Mike Read presented the show. From appearing largely on a monthly basis in 1979, the following year saw the Read Rota halved on the pre-strike side of the equation. Since the appointment of Michael Hurll as Executive Producer Mike's only appearance was alongside Russ Abbott and his 'dodgy' (not really) intro in September 1980. Since then, Mike Read's been to the opticians, now fitted with face-furniture for that familiar 'Cliffy' look of his.
As of 5th January 1981, Mike Read took over Radio 1's prestigious Breakfast Show slot from D.L.T. whose increasing aversion to early rising resulted in the BBC agreeing to the Hairy Cornflake's slot shift request. The current No.1 aside, three repeats are from the recently skipped edition hosted by D.L.T., one of which was Toyah's TOTP debut, performing It's A Mystery to represent her Four From Toyah EP which featured her painted visage, artwork from the Steve Strange stable.
Initially seeing herself more as a lyricist than a musician, Birmingham born Toyah formed her own band in 1977 whilst preoccupied with acting roles at London's National Theatre and it was during production of the 1979 mod/rocker movie Quadrophenia in which she played the blonde haired Monkey that the band, having received rave reviews for their live performances, were finally assigned to a label - Safari Records. The ultimate chart position was No.4 for Four From Toyah.
Quadrophenia was based on the seminal 1973 rock opera. Prior to the Quadrophenia was 1971's Who's Next and it's the title of their 5th album which receives a namecheck in You Better You Bet as do T-Rex. The song originates from the group's Face Dances LP, The Who's first studio album since Who's Next in 1978 and thus the first without Keith Moon, replaced by ex 'Face' Kenney Jones surprisingly present tonight with the other three for the 21st and final time on Top Of The Pops, whose presence was last graced by The 'Oo for a typically ramshackle performance of 5:15 (from Quadrophenia) which featured v-signs, equipment destruction, drums with a playing life of their own. How smart they look in 1981! Carefully coiffured hair, trimmed beards and the lead singer in a sophisticated white jacket. Number 9 for You Better You Bet.
Face Dances from The Who, Face Value from Phil Collins, the debut album on which his pained heart is poured out to all....so it's not just In The Air Tonight which reads as a Dear Agony Aunt page but songs such as 'If Leaving Me Is Easy' (to be released as a third single in May) and 'I Missed Again' which, despite a forcibly upbeat tone, began life as a slower composition entitled 'I Miss You, Babe'. Just to force the point home once again, Phil's still seeking solace in that symbolic tin of black paint, this time perched upon the grand piano. With the lid off, he'll need to a add a drop of water and give the contents of the obscured manufacturers tin a good stir before use.
Further examples (yes, plural) the capacity for Legs & Co. to remain firmly at home, keeping up with the Jones', in the 1981 version of Top Of The Pops are evidenced tonight in one case fully integrating the audience into proceedings and in the other, literally becoming integrated themselves. Shakin' Stevens didn't have the monopoly on denim for there's enough to go round and fashion into roomy shorts for each member of Legs & Co. to pull on in their upstanding roles during Shakey's property renovation tale. As well as some ferociously frenetic moves such as the trusty old milking-the-cow motions and the one where hair is combed with invisible brushes, it's good to see the girls singing along to the chorus for extra liveliness. Patti in particular gives it her exhausting all, as does Sue. Mind you, she does blot her copybook slightly by spurning Pauline's marriage proposal (don't ask) in the Jones Vs Jones routine. No wonder she left shortly afterwards. Now, where's that tin of paint?
Thanks PD, looks like a pretty decent show in the offing.
Here's a quick quiz question for you all, name the date, song and the act for the last time a Number 1 was represented by a live studio performance (i.e not a video, repeat or Legs and Co routine). I was quite surprised how long ago it was. No points just the self satisfaction of knowing you're a genius.
Thanks PD. Looking at the line-up of this show, I have a feeling like this was 1981. Seven of the records featured made the Top 10 and the other four all made the Top 20. No obscure acts, just some of the big names of that year.
I agree with you in terms of what you say with regard to the acts consisting of that 1981 essence which makes an allowance for the two 'veteran' acts in the line up.
However, looking at the show with a complete disregard for the actual future, I find it pleasing to see how much of an asset Legs & Co. are in terms of fitting into a show from this moment in time.
For me, TOTPs, was moving into it's golden age, at least musically anyways, because this week, there's not a single really bad egg amongst the acts, Legs & Co., I think, danced to the weakest track, but I even enjoyed Kool & The Gang.
Every studio-based performance was outstanding, that was a great collaboration by Girlschool, giving some help to Lemmy (rip), & Motörhead.
Also great stuff from Phil Collins, & Adam, & the Ants, & the Who, kinda getting down with the kids, as they made a come-back.
Yes the number one was the only real low point of the show. I will certainly watch the later show before making up my mind for the poll tomorrow. Toyah will come into the reckoning for me as well as about 3 others.
Great to see The Who on the show. Not quite the same as the Bowie moment in 1977 which i thought was huge, but its always a big event when real top names make the trip to Wood Lane.