1978: Here's a weird clip in pretty much every single sense. The 1978 World Cup Finals began on 1st June, but Andy Cameron's Ally's Tartan Army was already at number 21 by the start of March. In fact, like the team it was struck for, it went out early, disappearing from the chart by the end of April never to re-enter. Then there's the fact the original was recorded live, or the pretence was made at least, meaning he couldn't exactly do it live (different ambience) or mime. So, enter the orchestra! Not the full set but the Ladybirds are involved, there's someone pressed into squeezebox service and the male backing vocals are, unlike the recording, over the top of Cameron's voice. Proof too that a London audience of pop kids can be pressed into any service. Sidenote to BBC4: can we have Football Songs At The BBC this June? Anyway, elsewhere it's a big hello to Taff and Les and a get out of the way to the bloke in the lumberjack shirt for Generation X and, weirdly to current viewers, one star of TOTP 1976, the perenially ceiling-gazing in the rundown Tina Charles, covering a Jimmy James & the Vagabonds song we saw last year. Someone in the orchestra gets to do a wind chime solo.
1989: It's the Comic Relief special with Lenny Henry and Hale & Pace as The Management. From that, straight into the Reynolds Girls. That's asking for trouble. This entered the top 75 in the week of the famously failed Brit Awards, making the pointed jab at Fleetwood Mac all the more ironic, although Mick Fleetwood is probably a better dancer. Also, surely the only use of the word 'demographic' in a nakedly commercial single. Speaking of unlikely and tortured wordplay, "I'd rather jack Profumo!" Even then he gets it wrong. Take your shades off, man. The link is the theme from the film Scandal sung by Dusty Springfield, her personal string section and her overdone body language. At the end a glimpse of Vas Blackwood brings us all back down to earth. Paula Abdul gets full use out of a few waiting room chairs and a good range of period haircuts.
1995: In full: part one features the Boo Radleys at their height, Clock with a rapper in a Victorian military jacket and dancers as New York police for no good reason, and Radiohead (as a whole here) with Thom Yorke in a 'TEAM BUKOWSKI' T-shirt, which would make a fascinating turn for Twilight. Part two has Faith No More's Mike Patton facing away from the crowd for most of the time and straight on to Stevie Wonder, still holding cachet despite everything, not least this. Des'Ree leads onto part three, wherein Wet Wet Wet don't look convinced by their own work. Marti seems to think it's hilarious, for one.
2001: The honour of performing two songs on the same Pops is rarely granted, but the show's hand must have been forced when Manic Street Preachers released two singles on the same day and they ended up in adjoining top ten positions. Spot the backing singers forced to awkwardly stick around in the shade for the un-BV-friendly Found That Soul.