1967: Interesting how much of the surviving footage from the 60s is Rolling Stones performances. This is Let's Spend The Night Together with Brian in his big white hat pretending to be Jack Nitzsche and Mick making us all thankful that this is in black and white. The intro is a lie, by the way, Simon Dee was presenting this week.
1978: We've been enjoying the embryonic Midge Ure in Slik in 1976. In 1977 Slik went punk and fell apart, and by 1978 he was looking like Alex Turner and forging forward into power pop as leader of Rich Kids with Glen Matlock and Rusty Egan. Also returning from a two year wilderness of their own making, with Noosha gone most of Fox became Yellow Dog, utilising the combination of country rock'n'roll and flying goggles. That bit at the end is on the record, but somehow it's Kid Jensen's presence that makes it. The nexus around which the week ran was however none of these. Not when Terry Wogan was armed and ready. The audience isn't playing along at all, are they? And then... orchestra at the ready to skank, it's a slowly befuddling Althea & Donna.
1984: It's Gaz Top again! A year to the Thursday after his first appearance at the presenters' elbow this time he nearly gets to distract Mike Smith ahead of The Alarm, who get to indulge in something you don't see any more but used to happen with rock bands a lot, where three members gather around the main mike to shout along. The feyer side of the sixth form common room got to indulge in the big Echo and The Bunnymen/Smiths rivalry, as Ian McCulloch sprays on about as much hair product as Mike Peters and Morrissey dons the open blouse and hearing aid of fate. Cyndi Lauper takes the immediate spoils though with her celebrated stage traversing, as previously Canonised. There was another new US female star straight out of the discos and into the pop universe debuting on the show, but with that basic a setup what chance does Madonna stand of a fulsome pop career, eh?
1990: You really couldn't stage Sinead O'Connor any other way - black polo neck, spotlights, lots and lots of dry ice, wait for tears to fall at home.
1995: To think the sound of The Real McCoy was once considered of its time. Now all US pop sounds like this. Excellent juxtaposition of the two acts that appear before them at the start of the show too. One of those, The Wildhearts, exists online in a recording little better than flickbook form but is worth it for the parochial pride and the launch into the solo.
2001: Odd the things that you find looking back at these unvarnished records of the popular music of the day. Boom! appear to be an attempt to produce a UK garage Steps, and may be why UK garage went down the tubes not long after. One of them, to bring it full circle, is now married to Lisa Scott-Lee.