Saturday, 18 February 2012

18th February

1982: Madness kick off with a prime example of why having dancers on Top Of The Pops, here Zoo, was such a useless vocation by this stage. They're wearing plastic bowler hats at the back of the stage, but then so is seemingly everyone else. They have a dance routine - as the camera pans from Read to band see some thumping their chests in time with the intro heartbeats before they get papers out - but everyone else is moving too so they're fairly indistinguishable. Plus, it's Madness. If one band on Pops didn't need extraneous entertainment numbers, it's them. Of more interest is the woman - possibly - in a nurse's dress, red cap and cape near the big screen. Is that deliberate too? By contrast, if Robert Palmer wasn't already pushing credibility by employing an Iraq army general on drums, he appears to be performing to a set of warning lights. At least his voice breaking falsetto doesn't get Mike singing along, unlike with Tight Fit. At 1:34 half the audience have a flashback to the last working men's club stag do they went to. If that was entertaining beyond comprehension for them, Toni Basil must have blown their minds, even if those boys and girls Zoo are doing their best to camouflage her spectacular one woman effort. Again, at the start Read reasserts that he really was an early 80s fun wacky Radio 1 type. The LVH on Basil's uniform, by the way, was because it was the actual cheer costume from her alma mater Las Vegas High School. From a one hit wonder to someone who did better than that on one show. as The Jam - Weller again! - got to close with both sides of the Town Called Malice/Precious double A side, which only the Beatles, Oasis and, um, the Four Seasons otherwise got to do in the show's history.

2000: If wet, break emergency London Community Gospel Choir glass. Gabrielle gets the full soul gospel production number. Imagine Ian Brown ever singing gospel. Still, that's what makes the far ends of pop's reach, even if Brown's vocal quality here has to be shielded by a remarkably big woolly hat and some appopriate projections.

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