02-04-81: Presenter: Simon Bates (Thanks to POPSCENE for the running order)
(47) STIFF LITTLE FINGERS – Just Fade Away
(17) DAVE STEWART & COLIN BLUNSTONE - What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted? ®
(45) LIGHT OF THE WORLD - Time
(44) LIQUID GOLD - Don't Panic
(4) STEVIE WONDER - Lately (video)
(23) THE JACKSONS - Can You Feel It? (danced to by Legs & Co.)
(27) CHILDREN OF TANSLEY SCHOOL - My Mum Is One In A Million
(31) SUGAR MINOTT - Good Thing Going (We’ve Got A Good Thing Going)
(-) LENA ZAVARONI - Roses & Rainbows
(53) SPANDAU BALLET - Musclebound
(5) BUCKS FIZZ - Making Your Mind Up ®
(1) SHAKIN' STEVENS - This Ole House
(21) THE NOLANs - Attention To Me (credits)
The surprisingly hectic twice weekly Top Of The Pops schedule is, to the relief of one or two, broken up for the next fortnight. The following week sees the first of an occasional programme hosted by one half of Mel & Sue called Eurovision : You Decide which occupies the regular Friday evening TOTP slot on BBC4, 24 hours after the 09/04/81 edition is broadcast. The Sky At Night returns this Thursday as it will do on a monthly basis - surprisingly not repeats featuring Sir Patrick Moore, currently residing in that great starfield in the sky - so it's just the first edition from April 1981 to contend with.
Four of the acts appear in the sub-40 chart region, the lowest of which is Musclebound, following on from The Freeze and To Cut A Long Story Short as singles taken from their debut LP Journeys To Glory, an album on which the list of credits include in among the usual Lighting, Design and Producer notifications one for Lee Andrews whose contribution was 'Hair'! By the time the associated video was shown on Top Of The Pops a fortnight later, Musclebound had bulked itself up to No.18 and subsequently muscled its way into the No.10 position come May.
The previous May was the last occasion on which talent contest winner Lena Zavaroni appeared on Top Of The Pops performing Jump Down Jimmy, a record which failed to chart. Ditto for the 17 year old's Roses and Rainbows', a wecord title not exactly favoured by Dee Dee. Following on from Lena's previous TOTP appearance, the show then went off the air for 9 weeks caused not by her but by a Musician's Union strike so thankfully it's not an entire case of deja vu this time around. Why has Miss Zee been granted the opportunity to perform a newly-released but non-charting single? As with the recent Bucks Fizz debut to give Eurovision hopes a boost, the second series of Lena's BBC1 show was due to commence the following Wednesday with Lulu (not 'our' one but the one who's fond of band-wagons) as one of the guests. Series 1 went to air within days of Jimmy jumping down in May 1980. Returning briefly to Bucks Fizz, the Eurovision Song Contest, voiced for the UK broadcast by the recently departed Sir Terry Wogan, would be screened live from Dublin within 48 hours so "Good Luck" to the British entry. Not much of a spoiler but Norway actually DID receive Nul points.
If Ellie Hope was the one having her skirt pulled away from her dress, rather than Bucks Fizz the United Kingdom may well have been raising a glass of Liquid Gold instead. However, the lead singer plumped for a £9.99 figure-squashing Flying suit from C&A and the group became Liquid Silver by coming second in the pre-runner to the main event : A Song For Europe. Second? Don't Panic! With the "sweetly vocalising Elaine Hope" (Wogan's words) the most in-tune aspect was the fact that a record titled as such ended up hitch-hiking its way across the universe to a positional high of 42.
Light Of The World, parents to Beggar and Co. and Incognito, clutter the stage to such an extent. With Everton McCalla on drums, that's quite a team the Brit-funksters are able to put out. Earlier in the year, the group named after a 1974 Kool and the Gang LP (albeit with a singular World) Shot The Sheriff on a DLT edition so as punishment they're doing Time without complaint - the 'b' side to their I'm So Happy single which reached No.35 during a 6-week run.
St. Winifreid's School choir has a rival, not least in recognising the timing aspect of commercial success. Just as the former's charity record was held from release during the August when the subject matter - the Queen Mother - turned 80 and made available for the Christmas market, the Derbyshire based primary school choir released My Mum Is One In A Million in time for Mothering Sunday which fell the weekend before and after which the song rose to No.27 in the UK Chart.
Practice the letter 'S' and remember Capital letters! 8/10
For their 1981 Triumph Tour, Michael Jackson reunited with his brothers for 41 dates across the States and one for the Canadian jury to attend. Taking inspiration from Earth, Wind & Fire, MJ's increasingly creative imagination had a hand in costume choice (Flying suits definitely not from C&A) and introduced magic elements. The prologue to each gig was the showing of a remarkable nine minutes plus video to Can You Feel It? - a visual masterpiece laden with cutting edge state-of-the-art special effects with additional sound effects dubbed high into the audio mix. On a slightly lesser scale, we have the always remarkable Legs & Co. dancing once again on a gigantic chess-board. Mate, check out the buccaneering costumes which, consisting of waistcoats, tunics with billowing sleeves and sturdy knee-high boots really are 'up there' in terms of a stylish look, ones which would have been a triumph if worn by Legs & Co. at their own concerts.
Thanks PD, great intro as ever (and often better than the reviewed show itself).
As a side note, it may be of interest that the Sugar Minott song was originally recorded by Michael Jackson as "We've Got A Good Thing Going", first released as the B-side of his 1972 single "I Wanna Be Where You Are" and later included on the album "Ben". So we have two Motown covers on tonight's show.
It's been a great year thus far, but this seems like more of an off-week, it's not a line-up where I'm particularly partial to just about everything, there seemed to be heaps of filler tracks that I couldn't care less about, the opening act Stiff Little Fingers, for me were a big yawn, & it's true about the old adage that bad things tend to happen in threes, inside a years, that's three school choir songs now, this time Tansley School Choir's claiming that "mummy" is the greatest person, so there was obviously some difference f opinion there.
Enough of my moaning already, I did really like Liquid Gold, Stevie Wonder, & Spandau Ballet, with their track, that I've read, they refuse to perform live ever again, shame about that.
Legs & Co., also performed one of thier great routines, at least of '81, & beats the pants off Zoo's version that, I think appears on the Christmas Day, '81 TOTPs edition.
Thanks as ever for the preview PD, but this was a bit of a nothing of a show for me with very little of interest, except for a few things. I think we can safely say Patti bagged the best dance partner for the Shaky song. Did anyone notice the geezer in the attention seeking gold jacket, was he a Liquid Gold wanna-bee member and what is it about the hosts these days having a bit of a dance. Check Simes dancing with the audience girl in the crowd at the end.
I have to say the first half of this edition stunk, a real stumer!
Then along comes Sugar Minott with a terrific example of what I am going to call Lovers Rock but I am sure someone will correct me and say its reggae....and just when I think PotW will be a no-brainer, along come Spandau Ballet with a song way ahead of its time...its Disco, but its that industrial disco sound that would culminate in stuff from the States like Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) from C&C Music Factory.
I think it will be a coin flip.....
But really that first half....I've said it before, did any band ever on TOTP have less of the "X"Factor than Liquid Gold...they don't look good, they don't dress good, they don't sound good, the songs are pap, and they have that forced "look at us, we're having a great time, we're zany" attitude which makes me heave...
And then those kids! At least St Winfride's looked a happy bunch, sang in tune, and Grandma was a sweet if cheesy melody. This blatant attempt at bandwagon jumping had kids who looked as though they had all been soundly thrashed beforehand, who couldn't sing in key, although the song had so many bum notes written into it you couldn't blame them for that! And it was accompanied by a cheap tinny Bontempi sounding keyboard!
Another fine preview PD. Impressed with the locating of the domestic Eurovision scoreboard!
I'll certainly add my voice to the chorus of this being one of the weakest shows so far this year.
Poor Lena Zavaroni looked like she was already battling anorexia.
Simon Bates on Liquid Gold: 'The lady's name is Ellie. I don't know who the drummer is, I'm not sure I do want to know'. I bet had he known he's a Wally he would have outed him!
Yeah i must admit i didn't care for Liquid Gold, but i thought their hit from 1980 `Dance Yourself Dizzy` to be pretty darn good. The drummer though is very annoying and reminds me of some one i know whos always striving for attention
Ouch, might be the deepest cut of all. Thanks for the Preview as always PD. I didn't dislike this Show as much as some but it can't be called strong by any stretch. I did quite like Stiff Little Fingers and any band who sought out a photo with Legs & Co can't be all bad surely. Liquid Gold, the schoolkids and Lena were all just embarrassingly awful. Some of the other bands were mediocre and I quite liked Spandau Ballet and the Fizzy ones but overall I just think Legs & Co made a lovely contribution once again. I know I've asked before but why couldn't the powers that be see how many Shows these ladies pulled out of the fire?
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
I wonder if some 35 years later the 5 gentleman who had the great pleasure/honour of dance partnering with Legs & Co on the Shakin Stevens number one still recall that day back in 1981. I wonder if its slipped from their memory as just being 3 minutes of fun being on the tele when i was a young man. Id like to think they gathered the family (Grandkids included) around the box on Friday evening just gone and proudly showed them that got to dance with the famous Legs & Co (Grandkids to Grandad "Who").
Another fairly weak show in which, once again, Legs shone out as a beacon of real quality.
I also liked the Fizz and Shakin S as at least they had a bit of pep about them. Some of the others who show up week after week appear to have about as much charisma as a squashed grape or are simply deranged. Perhaps Rudolph should have had some company during his sojourn in the eponymous bastille!
I agree SF, Legs and Co two performances tower over the rest of the acts.
I’m confident about Bucks Fizz chances and predict a night to remember in Dublin for our representatives at Eurovision ’81 to go with an equally memorable sporting triumph by two brave warriors who came back from the depths of adversity and overcame long odds earlier that same afternoon in Liverpool.