18-06-81: Presenter: Peter Powell (Thanks to POPSCENE for the running order)
(32) LINX - Throw Away The Key
(27) PHIL COLLINS - If Leaving Me Is Easy ®
(6) ODYSSEY - Going Back To My Roots
(22) KOOL & THE GANG - Take It To The Top (danced to by Legs & Co)
(5) CHAMPAIGN - How 'Bout Us (video)
(23) SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES – Spellbound ®
(21) THE SPECIALS - Ghost Town (video)
(19) IMAGINATION – Body Talk
(1) SMOKEY ROBINSON - Being With You (video/credits)
Five of the nine records (only nine?) on this edition hosted by Old Bill's 'favourite' presenter Peter 'exclamation!' Powell were played at some stage on the two editions aired last week on BBC4. With the originally allocated transmition slot down to 35 minutes, the record tally is further reduced by using the No.1 record alongside the programme credits to end the show, a process in which we lose the cheery sight of the carefree studio audience waving cheerily into the camera, dancing merrily away to a selected chart-climber.
A measure of how speedily the 1981 TOTP run is travelling through BBC4 can be gauged by the appearance of tonights opening number. Linx's third hit single 'Throw Away The Key', at number 32 after two weeks of availability, was released three months and one week after their previous '45' 'Intuition'. Granted, the song received a third airing on the early edition in which Rosie clinked champagne glasses with Mike Read but with the 'aid' of five 'unbroadcastables', the time frame between the final non-Christmas airing of Top Ten hit 'Intuition' and 'Throw Away The Door', which ascended to an appropriate, celebratory position of 21, is a rather compressed single month.
I Peter Powell wearing boots? If so, he'd gladly zip them up for the Odyssey record for which he declares '..love at first listen'. With its stomping bassline, an exquisite brief guitar solo and gritty vocals drrrrrrrrrriving the song along, 'Going Back To My Roots' reached No.4 in the UK charts during a 12 week run. The song was written by Lamont Dozier,one of the Holland–Dozier–Holland trio which wrote, arranged and produced records for legendary Tamla Motown acts such as The Isley Brothers, Martha & The Vandellas and the Four Tops from '62 through to '68. Dozier subsequently had a hand in co-writing 'Two Hearts' for that paint-pot lover Phil Collins in the mid-80's and in the decade previously had tried his hand as a performer in his own right with his 1977 album 'Peddlin' Music On The Side' the home of the original version of 'Going Back To My Roots' where it was steeped in an African soul funk style particularly with the extended freewheelin' ending.
Ghost Town, the anthem synonymous with the 1981 riots in urban areas up and down the country from Toxteth to Liverpool, was written over the course of a year by Specials keyboardist Jerry Dammers to highlight the decline of hometown city Coventry from the thriving industrial area of his Sixties childhood to one of urban decay and the resultant actions and reactions of the inhabitants. Recorded on an 8-track console in not the most spacious of environments, the studio used consisted of a converted cellar with the control room situated in the living room of a Warwickshire home. So pokey was the studio space that The Specials were unable to record in the same vicinity at the same time as per their preferred method but one by one instead. Once completed, to cover for the lack of a proper beginning and ending, a synthesized ghost sound/windy police siren was dubbed over the fades at each end. The video itself was filmed over one Saturday night/Sunday morning with bassist Horace Panter driving the group around derelict London areas in the East End and through the Blackwall Tunnel. Affixed to the car bonnet by a single sucker, the camera which points towards the windscreen does at one stage fall from the vehicle, the incident glimpsed briefly from its own viewpoint at the point of emergence from a lesser tunnel.
Although not as short as the previously mentioned Linx effect, it doesn't seem too long since we had a Legs & The Gang and Kool & Co. amalgamation so from the same sex marriage promotion of Jones Vs Jones we move on to a dance routine to Kool & the Gang's No.15 record 'Take It To The Top'. Speaking of tops, for this particular dance routine in which each of the ladies is afforded their own brief solo spot before a lively group of onlookers with the troupe dressed in belly-dancing beachwear attire. Patti throws a high kick into the mix and Anita offers competition in the shoulder shimmy stakes.
Good write AC - particularly the Ghost Town bit. I am a little bit more learned than I was yesterday :-)
Back in the mid 80s as a spotty yoof, I wrote a sort of feeble unamusing Ceefax type thing. Here's one of the pages, indicating my displeasure of Petey Boy over 30 years ago. I couldn't even be bothered to spell his name right. Or 'deserves'.
The real start of this week's edition was with Odyssey, & it was full steam ahead from there, I felt that Phil Collins, & Linx were the weakest links in this week's line-up, Champagn's track also doesn't really do anything for me, but that was edited out, from BBC Four's premiere broadcast this evening, alongside Siouxie & the Banshees, that I'd liked to have watched at least once again.
Legs & Co. were firing on all cylinders yet again, Anita seemed to integrate nicely into Legs & Co., but we'll never forget Pauline, that's for certain.
Thanks AC, looks like a couple of decent acts on tonight's show, but a couple of repeats too. It is scary how quickly we're getting through these re runs, I'd much rather savour Legs & Co for as long as possible!
Thanks for the third time for your excellent work AC.
Funny that The Specials should choose to film their video around London. There was actually some impressive circa Victorian architecture to behold, whereas most of old Coventry was raised to the ground in the war and the 'rebirth' was a concrete jungle that would have been more appropriate. It was almost as grim still the last time I visited. A few years after Ghost Town, 1984 to be precise, for the novelty of it myself and a mate travelled to Coventry. We were half-cut and he was a bit younger than me and after being turned away from a couple of Klubs a local advised us that there was a place (from memory) called Top Spot that would admit us but on account of its rough reputation he strongly advised us not to go. Being young, foolish and tanked-up we ignored this advise. Turned out to be about the biggest dive I ever went to, a fight was breaking out on the dance- floor literally every ten minutes. We were soon marked out as outsiders and looks in our direction were getting ever more threatening - when who should pop up but the guy who had advised us not to go there! He was a bit older than us, somehow respected by the clientele, and he acted as a kind of guardian angel for the rest of the night saying that his conscience couldn't have allowed a pair of naive youngsters to be thrown to the wolves. He even paid some of the fare for our not inconsiderable taxi ride home. When I hear the line 'Too much fighting on the dance-floor' I often think back to that night in Coventry all those years ago.
Nice story GD. I like the way you use the term Klub, a la `Nite Klub` from The Specials first album. Some quite strong lyrics in that and at the time, swearing on records was almost unheard off.
Just onto Smokey's living room in the video. Surprised to see him have a blazing fire going on in the hearth, with all the windows shut and the Californian sun blaring down outside. As for his Pool playing, missing that straight one, pah !
Back in the early 90s me and a mate went to visit another mate who at as Uni in Coventry, and on getting there we had completely forgotten or lost the directions of how to get where-ever we were supposed to be going to meet him.
Bags on shoulders we asked a passerby something along the lines of "Where do all the students go on Saturday night?" and he directed us towards (if memory serves me right) a place called the Tally Ho! So off we plodded. But on the way we bumped into another mate and so we went off with him somewhere else and all met with up with everyone as intended and had a jolly old night.
But on recounting the tale, to this day, the mate we'd gone to see still thinks it's hilarious that the helpful local had sent us to the Tally Ho! as this was an rather rough dump of a place, with very firm views of the town v. gown clash and we wouldn't have been very popular, to put it mildly, if we'd gone.
I wonder, GD, if we'd been directed by the same Coventry local!?
Lucky Young Bill narrowly avoiding the student hunters!
I doubt it was our guy who wanted to fast-track you to a BA in Pugilism. He only reluctantly told us about that rough Club and left us in no doubt we should give it a miss. You might just have encountered his devil of a cousin though...
I had though forgotten from the eighties that dreadful Teddy Bear thing until Number Four in the final third of the chart countdown. Riding the back of the CB Radio craze I do seem to recall. It was surely the lost cousin of No Charge.
This was a really good show this week. Vintage eighties with every song good. Enjoyed the Legs & Co routine and they interpreted those words really well. Not really keen on Imagination's performance. Good song but nothing to go out and buy. I think the lycra performances came in much later on. Really enjoyed Siouxsie Sue too. She gave a fantastic performance and was a little perturbed at the guy in the front of the audience. He was really looking in awe at her which must have been off-putting or was he looking up her skirt - difficult to say but all told an excellent show.
Not sure how many we missed but looking last night and we are now in June so well into three months ahead.
Everywhere, wherever you look, manipulation rearing it's head.