6-9-79: Presenter: Peter Powell (Thanks to POPSCENE for the listing)
(26) FRANTIQUE - Strut Your Funky Stuff (and charts)
(45) THE RUTS – Something That I Said
(9) RANDY VANWARMER – Just When I Needed You Most (danced to by Legs & Co) ®
(52) MADNESS – The Prince
(4) ROXY MUSIC – Angel Eyes (video)
(7) THE CRUSADERS – Street Life
(11) ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA – Don’t Bring Me Down (video)
(19) THE BELLAMY BROTHERS – If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me (danced to by Legs & Co)
(28) RACEY – Boy Oh Boy ®
(27) BILL LOVELADY – Reggae For It Now
(13) BONEY M – Gotta Go Home (video)
(1) CLIFF RICHARD – We Don’t Talk Anymore
(5) THE FLYING LIZARDS – Money (and credits)
Now then, two months ago, where were we?
Previously, Gary Numan was feeling safe and secure in his vehicle, The Gibson Brothers were happy to be alive, The Stranglers were name-checking Jimmy Savile's Mother, two old pros were enjoying chart success and B.A Robertson was singing about a Szechuan method of cooking chicken.
D.L.T's in it up to his disbelieving neck as per usual, thinking twice about handing out warnings on the hazardous effect of smoking on the lungs of diminutive 'baggage-handlers'. Keeping abreast of current affairs, old-stager Cliff Richard's suffered the indignity of a televised burglary by members of the constabulary. However, with the BBC wiping any traces of a possible collusion with the long arm of the law by dint of positive publicity, he's still No.1 in their eyes as indeed he still is in the returning run of TOTP repeats.
Spending a third week out of four at the top of the chart, We Don't Talk Anymore was Sir Cliff's final non-Christmas solo No.1, his 1986 charity rendition of Living Doll aided and abetted by The Young Ones with "Starvin'" on guitar.
For the second edition in a row, an act inspired by Prince Buster makes an appearance. Last time, The Special AKA. This time it's fellow Ska act Madness, making their Top Of The Pops debut with a tribute to their inspiration, a song also from the same 2 Tone Records label as that used by the aforementioned group. Starting life in 1976 as The North London Invaders, the nutty boys briefly renamed themselves Morris and The Minors the year before they hit the big time in '79 with a permanent title of Madness, the name of one of their favourite Prince Buster songs and covered by themselves, forming the b-side to The Prince which was recorded at the Pathway Studios, (dear old) Highbury in June 1979. What's interesting about their Top Of The Pops debut is that Madness subsequently bought the rights to this particular performance for use in video/DVD compilations, due to there being no official video made at the time. Check out Suggs' miniature saxophone jacket adornment...perhaps 'an earthquake (really) is erupting' A precursor to their debut LP released the following month, 'One Step Beyond...' once again named after another Prince Buster song, The Prince reached No.16 in the UK.. Legs & Co. featured one and a bit times on the previously shown 1979 edition: firstly all six 'caught in a trap' and then Gill providing a double turn as a dance accompaniment to an agonised Johnny Mathis. Tonight they're all on double duty thanks to a repeat of a performance from an August show which slipped the BBC4 net, so it's a chance to view Just When I Needed You Most in gleaming quality. Co-written with Hot Chocolate bassist Tony Wilson, the song was taken from his 1979 album 'Warmer' along with the track 'Your Light' to give the man born Randall Van Wormer his only Top Ten hit single, peaking at No.8 in an 11 week run. The reason for the melancholy? Early adulthood Winters stuck in 1970's Cornwall.
'Welcome to The No Dress-code Nightclub! Table by an ionic column? Certainly. Bottle of Babycham? Coming right up. In the meantime, enjoy the cabaret!' With all six looking immensely elegant and refined, Legs & Co. provide the cabaret, all dancing in tandem with a cuddly partner, each of whom is so excited that they're all wearing their silver bow ties back-to-front Hopefully a Mr Hammond isn't one of the Babycham sippers : at one point Patti's dance partner loses all sense of control and moves in for an inappropriate nuzzle.
Well gwapple me gwapenuts : the song they dance to was written on a napkin by David Bellamy which, considering that the song title is the longest one danced to by Legs & Co. begs the question of how big the napkin was. The phrase itself originated from a cheeky double-meaning catchphrase uttered by legendary U.S. comic Groucho Marx when he presented a late 1940's quiz-show called You Bet Your Life which transferred from radio to TV in 1950.
Looking at the label on initial pressings, the song title differs slightly from subsequent ones.
Also, where's the question mark? The song provided the Florida-born Bellamy Brothers with their biggest hit, reaching No.3 in the UK and topping the US Billboard Magazine Hot Country Singles chart.
The play-out track is an unconventional cover of Motown's very first hit record, 'Money'. The disaffected stuttering structure leans strongly towards the Monetarism creed of the 80's, whilst the haughty, mechanical, part-begging, part-demanding vocals have a distant 1930's recording style feel to them. Owner of the distinctly domineering voice is one Deborah Evans-Stickland, available for voice-over work, but not whippings.
Normality returns to OFTDs with the ever `cuddly` Paulines Dimples producing another well thought out preview. The show indeed does look really decent, in my view most songs are most listenable (okay, maybe give Racey a miss). This little period, Summer 79 to Xmas 79 is my is my favourite by far. So many genres of music as highlighted by the TOTPs shows back then. Such a shame then that the powers that be have decided to decimate the shows schedule, lots of great performances will not be seen. Still best not to be to downhearted, eh !
Thanks, PD. It's good to have your previews back on these pages and it looks like a pretty decent show, and just what we need to give us all a boost after the disappointing verdict and the long break in transmission.
Boney M making what was more or less their last hurrah and the Flying Lizards having to settle for the end credits for their only non yewtree appearance. Always enjoy ELO as well so looking forward to this.
Strength seems to be in the middle order here to me and I think I like the Prince and Street life the best but overall a good looking Show to look forward to. Thanks as always to our no doubt tanned and well-rested correspondent for a fine intro
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
I was a fan of both The Ruts and Madness back then: looking forward to seeing the Nutty Boys TOTP debut.
My punk allegiances meant I couldn't admit to liking Randy Crawford's voice on Street Life: but at least the songs subject matter was suitably urban and edgy.
Unfrikkinbelievable. Legs & Co and the Teddy Bears dropped from the early show. Just another twist of the knife thats how it feels.
Even though ive seen the clip tons of times, i want Legs & Co to be seen by the watching public and so with it the chance of attracting more fans. This will stand a better chance with them on at 7.30, not after midnight.
We're back after an extended summer's break, & Randy Vanwarmer's still hanging about like a bad stench that no amount of air freshener will get rid of , & the good old editorial team have cut the wrong Legs & Co. Performance from the BBC Four premiere broadcast .
But the highlights for me were Madness, making their debut, Roxy Music, one of my favourite tracks by them, & there can't have been many harpists on TOTPs, & Randy Crawford was superb with the crusaders as well.
Bill Lovelady was a pleasant surprise also, I quite liked Reggae For It Now, even if many people probably didn't, & hence it not being a hit single of any size.
Splendid to be back in business, hitting the ground running with PD firing on all cylinders. I was miffed we were denied the routine on the earlier show but at least there wasn't any obvious performances to omit, all being new to BBC Four. And praise be the show aired at all with a cloud hanging over Cliff. Last we will see of Webb at Number 1, with Webb at Number 3 poised to replace him.
Interesting to learn from Peter Powell (as always as bubbly as a glass of Babycham) that the 'nutty sound' had already been identified before Madness had had a hit. I would have placed money on that skinhead being there for Racey though.
Cuddly Toy..Cuddly Toy!, except if you were watching the 7.30 hatchet job that is, that particular prize was only offered up to the late show viewers. Bar a few weaker songs this was a good show all round, Pete enthusiastic as ever, the show seemed to fly by. Still the highlights for me were ELO and Roxy as i expected, Street Life is another great song thats not overplayed. Madness are ok but there is better to come from them. Cliff not my cuppa, and nice of the BBC to practically turn off the lights saving valuable licence fee payers cash. Flying Lizards are a bit of a Yewtree casualty in this, now only on the credits, but its still an interesting record.
The BBC editor almost never allows 2 legs/pan's performances to survive the cut and seems to normally choose the wrong one to remove. (Of course there are the odd exceptions such as the show with 3 performances where 2 got through). Thank god the repeat showing has them otherwise we may have a lot more routines that would have joined the likes of Silver Star and You Sexy Sugar Plum in being ruthlessly slashed out never to be shown.
Sandy Borne and Tricia Roberts Appreciation Society