1977: Rose Royce bring the disco, all sing backing vocals in turn and grin madly at each other. It looks for a bit like Gwen Dickey is singing into a rose, but she isn't. Would that Pepsi-pusher Peter Blake had had a similar idea instead of the stereotypical studded leather jacket and vintage Levi's stereotype. No, no, Greased Lightning came later. Stewpot calls Golden Earring "a sound with a difference" which is odd given it had already been a hit three years earlier. A drummer's Bruce Lee tracksuit with a difference, certainly.
1983: The Smooth Brothers never quite caught on in the popular imagination as much as The Rhythm Pals, that's all I'm saying. We all know TOTP in these days was meant to harbour a party atmosphere, but that's really little excuse for "the looniest record of the month" from Black Lace. Everyone joins in, of course, and we should all be thankful DLT appears on screen at no stage during the song. One can only imagine the looks on the collective faces of Siouxsie & The Banshees, this during the period Robert Smith was temping with them, demonstrating his usual zest and eagerness to mime guitar parts. Tracey Ullman's usual game visual style of looking a bit like from the 60s, only this time with glitter in her hair. This was a landmark week in Pops chronology, as this none more 1983 styled routine to Unique was Zoo's last stand, bringing Flick Colby's fifteen year association with the show to an end. Who's that right at the end next to Tommy? Is that Debbie McGee to DLT's left at the start?
1994: Fair to assume that 2 Unlimited really didn't need a full band setup, especially not a bassist, and it limits their interpretative options and leaves Ray making vague hand shapes between his vocals. You never saw East 17 pretending to be a real band like that, though you suspect anything would be a distraction in this situation, and the dry ice cascades don't count. Now, don't get confused here, this Kinks clip is not from the archive, they did perform it three times on the show in 1964 but obviously they're all long gone. Also, no audience reacted like that at the time and Ray would never have improvised like that. They'd just released a live album, which didn't chart. There's also a sense of "might as well" about Shane MacGowan & The Popes being joined by Johnny Depp on barely audible rhythm guitar. Shane's mike appears to be live and he's barely coping. Whigfield's at number one and she's still not joining in - in fact on a couple of occasions she seems to be trying to hide, perhaps from the bloke in a castoff Showaddywaddy drape - but those well placed mirrors remind her she can't escape from the actions she's provoked entirely.
2000: Odd show, this - Richard Blackwood did all his links from the BBC Futureworld exhibition in Portsmouth and a couple of performers, one being Melanie B outside in late September after dark in her bra, did their thing on a stage outside the exhibition hall without an audience, everyone else - a lively reception for Green Day, say - prerecorded in Elstree. Your licence fee at work.