Friday, June 3, 2011

TOTP 27/05/1976

Since the BBC began repeating Top Of The Pops from 1976 i have thought about writing a weekly review and here is the first, finally got around to it. Its kind of like in the style of a live blog though written after its actually shown as writing it "live" would mean writing it on my iPad and i'd rather microwave my own head than have to write blog posts on a virtual keyboard...

Anyway first review, and its late May 1976 and tonight's host is Jimmy Saville in a horrific yellow vest with sequins. What i liked about TOTP back then was the no-nonsense approach to the chart... as in they listed the top 30 in the opening credits. So ABBA are still #1 anyway.

Heavy Metal Kids - shes no angel
We have some rock to start proceedings, they are called the Heavy Metal Kids though this song is about as heavy as a helium balloon. The singer prances around the stage with a black umbrella wearing a fur vest and a bow tie. You will find i mention the fashions a lot, i don't think you can really write about 70s pop culture without mentioning the styles... such as they are. Anyway "Shes no angel" is not a bad song but the singer is creeping the Hell out of me.

JJ Barrie - no charge
And from lite metal to hardcore country cheese. "No charge" is a pure novelty hit as was so often popular in the charts back then. JJ Barrie narrates (as in speaks) an ultra cheesy mortality tale over a country & western backing. Its awful but strangely compelling i think mainly because JJ Barrie looks like your uncle after he gets a bit drunk at a party and tries to sing.

Pausing only to let Jimmy harass a cute young girl from Birmingham with a hilarious trick where he makes her vanish we move onto...

The Wurzels - combine harvester
I feel sorry for the kids in the audience, they must have queued up for hours and have to suffer back-to-back novelty cheese. Mr Wurzel sings about some girl he fancies and wants to marry, pity its his sister and they won't allow him. There is a green tractor in the studio though which is cool. Jimmy makes the Wurzels vanish too but unfortunately not until after the song.

Archie Bell & The Drells - soul city walk
Apparently this is at #30 in the charts. Its a passable but rather generic bit of soul by 4 men in matching velvet suits. They try some dancing though it has a strange passage when they all bend down in unison like they've all lost their contact lenses.

Mac & Katie Kissoon - the two of us
Next up a brother and sister duo (i admit i read that on Wikipedia). Its more soul but not a bad song, actually the first half decent song of the night so far as it races along with plenty of pop sensibility. Mac has awesome sideboards and dresses in a black & white checkerboard outfit a bit like the aliens in Star Trek's "let this be your last battlefield" (yes i am so geek).

Jim meets American visitor Hank Mizzel who ends up bemused when Jimmy starts talking about Blackpool.

We haven't had the dancing yet, well lets fix that. I can't remember what this mixed-gender troupe are called but they perform some acrobatic moves to David Bowie's "TVC 15" in what looks to be a typical 70s living room except for the wall of TVs which all show the same girl. One of the dancers is dressed as a jockey, just thought you'd like to know that. For sure the music in the second half of the show is a lot better than the first and it continues with...

The Bellamy Brothers - let your love flow
They can't be in the studio tonight, would you want to be on the same bill as The Wurzels? Here is some handy film of them performing.

The Real Thing - you to me are everything
But we are back in the studio for this, another good song, see it was worth suffering the novelty crap earlier on wasn't it? The singer wears a wide white brimmed hat which he of course wears with a tan open to the chest tunic. Well it is 1976. He also has a thick metal choker rather like the exploding ones in Battle Royale. Luckily his head isn't blown off, but that hat would fly for miles if it did.

ABBA are still at #1 with "Fernando" so the same film thats been shown for a few weeks gets another airing. It isn't played for long as i guess everyone is bored with the song now. Roll the credits, and so ends 30 minutes of "classic performances" so the BBC claim. Actually it was 30 minutes of sometimes horrific cheese and the odd nugget of genius. At least you get the latter with TOTP compared to say, Britain's Got Talent. Apart from when the dogs are on, obviously.

(Reposted from my music blog)

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