I'll also thoroughly recommend the enormously enjoyable and amusing Richard Herring Leicester Square Podcast, or as he calls it - RHLSP
which I've enjoyed for a few years now.
Not sure there is too much music/artist substance to get into with the two editions of TOTP that have been aired this week from 31st October and 7th November 1985. Not a single Hallowe'en reference in the first one, how refreshing. Nowadays they'd probably have to get the entire studio and all the acts into costume as that date gets so OTT by the year. I went to proper kids Hallowe'en parties in the early 1980's but it was never plastered over the TV and no shop bought costumes available, I had to knock something up myself. Same with the poppies at this time of year come to think of it. No sign of a poppy on anyone either. It's fully respectful to wear one at any age of course, by choice, but nowadays on BBC they would literally send an edict from down on high that even on TOTP it was compulsory for anyone that moves to be sporting a poppy from late October.
I do wonder why they continued to have double headed presentation on TOTP by this point in 1985 when the show had never been shorter and now had so few in-studio acts per edition compared to earlier times and was literally half video clips. Peter Powell could have done the show on his own without breaking much sweat. The much longer and far more studio based shows in previous years up to 1982 had only the one presenter after all and they coped well. With only a few exceptions, such as the John Peel double ups, I think nearly all the shows were better done solo.
A few comments on some of the tracks, kind of feel obliged to do so as that is the substantive point of the show....
A Good Heart by Feargal Sharkey - didn't mind this at the time but it seems less interesting now. I'd love to have known what John Peel, a massive fan of his previous work, made of his clearly deliberate commercialism that grabbed him a chart topper, which seems so very far removed from those harder edged Undertones hits from the very recent past of just 4 to 7 years previously. Those other Sharkey/Undertones hits seem like a full lifetime away by late 1985.
Video to Nikita is very much of its time, regards East & West. In November 1985 we had Reagan meet Gorbachev for the first time with that famous meeting which was absolutely massive news and seemed remarkable I remember. Kind of the equivalent of the upcoming Trump/Kim one in a way, but bigger. I did kind of feel that the Elton video was a bit creepy in a stalkerish way.
Matt Bianco, Yeh Yeh. Only thought's are why, why?
Continuity announcer said we'd be seeing Kate Bush Cloudbusting. Fabulous video. But why make note of something at the intro when all we got was such a short snippet and not a proper showing of the said song and video. It whetted the appetite for something we didn't meaningfully see or hear.
King, The Taste Of Your Tears, it's standard fare but their 9 months of success throughout '85 was just about concluding. Bet they thought they were in for a much longer time in the charts with a stack more hits. It did look like it back then. Mildly surprising it all just dried up there and then for them.
One surprise is how much I've enjoyed hearing one of Shaky's less well remembered hits, Lipstick, Powder & Paint. It sounds better now than then to me. I wasn't sure whether this was one of Shaky's clever originals that sounded like an oldie or whether it was an oldie. Well it turns out it was originally from 1956. Someone called Big Joe Turner recorded it in '56 and ironically they happened to pass away while it was still charting in November 1985. It was written by Jesse Stone. Next stop with the next single reaching No1 on Christmas Eve for the first time in nearly 4 years, now that was a major surprise. He'd been keeping that festive single on hold since previous Christmas in 1984.
A-ha, Take On Me - with this classic middle 80's debut languishing at No2 for three straight weeks behind Jennifer Rush I'm sure there are plenty out there who rate it as another one of those major charting top two travesties akin to Vienna/Shaddup You Face. I don't! Just wait until we get to TOTP 1986 in the month of May when a piece of TV puppet show tripe keeps a classic duet off the top spot three weeks in a row - The Chicken Song/On My Own.
Far Corporation, Stairway To Heaven - this is confession time on my part. This was the first version of this song I ever heard, before the Led Zeppelin original. The single itself was reasonable, I quite liked it, but the live Far Corporation video on TOTP was quite abysmal in the extreme. There were points in the video where it was actually impossible to even tell it was Stairway To Heaven at all. I do not know how that video could have done anything other than harm potential sales, yet it climbed into the top ten. Just makes me wonder how far the Led Zep version would have gone as a single.
UB40, Don't Break My Heart - one of their better tracks for sure. Particularly like the intro up to the vocal. Would have been a better No1 than their rehash of I Got You Babe.
Ending with Paul Hardcastle as the playout track on last night's show with Just For Money. Although I could barely remember it, oh how familiar did it suddenly sound at one point. Just like the new TOTP tune he'll knock out come next year infact, The Wizard.
Last edited by Rich Tea on 9 June 2018 1:56pm