Saturday, 30 June 2012

30th June

1983: Jody Watley of Shalamar's keyboard style, not to mention outfit, is quite something, especially between two people who couldn't be more disco-funk 80s styled. To think we preferred the ultra-shiny suit of Paul Young and the huge glasses of Tom Robinson as style tips. The Bucks Fizz wardrobe is rather more alarming in its opaque directness. I suspect they're trying to style themselves after variants of film and TV characters (Rambo, Cabaret, um, Man From Del Monte...), but it does nobody much good when Cheryl Baker's essentially spending nearly three and a half minutes showing the audience her crotch.

1988: Matt Bianco, authentically West Indian. As you can see.

1994: Here's something to consider. Reel 2 Real Featuring The Mad Stuntman begin by prominently displaying a Union Jack as part of their act. Surely watching across the studio, and appearing minutes later for their TOTP debut, Oasis. I'm not outright suggesting one influenced the other, but...

2000: Oasis again, this time so big they can afford to do the song with just Gem and a keyboard player acoustically and have Noel's visage on massive screens like Knebworth exiled to a studio. Limp Bizkit stayed in America and had some friends round. Wes Borland dressed up especially for us.

Friday, 29 June 2012

29th June

1978: J.A.L.N Band hit upon three gimmicks - bouncing back and forth in unison, putting an exceptionally feathery Red Indian headdress on their bongo player and tying balloons to their guitar heads. They all must have seemed like good ideas at the time. Legs & Co doing their bit weekly was all very well for most pop enterprises, but what if a trained dancer like Kate Bush was possibly watching expectantly? The answer seems to have been to break out some proper ballet moves.

1989: Maybe this is doing her a disservice but Holly Johnson's guitarist isn't entirely convincing, either in style or hair. Did Double Trouble & Rebel MC strictly require the double bass?

1995: Coincidence or design? The Ramones do two songs on the show - from an album that went on to peak at 62, and one of them isn't even sung by Joey - and a year as close as possible to the day later the Sex Pistols do two songs on the show. Touche. Modern thrills come from Menswear, with even Mark Goodier taking the piss out of Johnny Dean's delivery. And then pop reality sticks its ungainly nose in, in the particularly crooked sense of The Outhere Brothers.

2001: Linkin Park provide a prime example of something that took over the TOTP crowd early this millennium, that is whenever a rock band appeared they'd always keep their arms in the air throughout. No such courtesy applied to Five, for instance.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

28th June

1984: Oh, Eighties singers wearing shades. The Bluebells are a prime example, and all in black to boot. Phil Oakey of the Human League had meanwhile stopped shaving properly and having haircuts. Frustrated with such laxadascial behaviour from our glamorous electro-pop stars, someone scores a direct hit at 1:37.

1996: Everything But The Girl serve as a mere modernist amuse-bouche, as the Sex Pistols had reformed, played Finsbury Park the previous weekend and for the first time were properly let into a Pops studio to do two songs. The second was surely nobody else's ideal choice. Listen closely, the cheer follows the announcement by a crucial split second.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

27th June

1985: Peter Powell might have a warning graphic on his jumper, as well as being able to lead Smitty in some hand action choreography, but it seems a lot of effort to go to just for Paul Young, his fringey coat and his I-saw-the-Temptations-once backing vocalists. It may be for charity (the Ben Hardwick Memorial Fund for the families of children with liver disease, since you ask) but Marti Webb sitting down in soft focus is a huge emotion jaunt especially so shortly after Rory Bremner as The Commentators.

1991: The Divinyls' Christina Amphlett in her big fluffy jacket can coo and pout all she likes, TOTP's own intro graphic comfortably tops her for unsubtlety. Her colleague's attempt to show playing guitar vertically is no big thing is less convincing. The graphics people had a week of it, going Rubik for dancing-girls-hired-by-the-label manque Cubic 22 and finding the drag-across-the screen option to show how exciting Jason Donovan being at number one with his Joseph song and his ten hangers-on really was. No such messing about where Lenny Kravitz is concerned, and none required when Erasure have brought their disturbing doppelgangers along. At least Vince remembered to wear the same costume as them.

2003: Red Hot Chili Peppers. Excitable.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

26th June

1986: The whole of this one is here: part one has Bananarama at their least amateurish, part two features Owen Paul as well as Clare & Friends in the breakers, and part three has Mike Smith, having announced back in November 1992 "it's my first Top Of The Pops and it's their first Top Of The Pops", gets to say goodbye to Wham! too. "We'll bleach our hair and call ourselves Vim!"

Monday, 25 June 2012

25th June

1981: A couple of debuts in this week of those that would go on to shape the decade in various ways. Depeche Mode with Vince Clarke still around and in their in no way symbolic string vest and leather hat. If Simon Bates has to give a warning not to adjust your set, why put the effect on there? Kirsty Maccoll lent her own presence to the nation, not to mention that of the comedy stetsoned bassist. Ian Gillan had a slightly different problem, namely guitarist Bernie Torme had just left, leading to some emergency bass and keyboard filling. The ever trusty flame overlay getting another sighting there. And then there's the bizarre novelty hit that ended up an influence (and sampled by Coolio), by The Evasions. Not only does he not sound much like Alan Whicker, he doesn't look like him either.

1987: We're still in the emerging stages of the Pet Shop Boys' image, which means they're still in the big coat/cap and bank of Emulators archetype.

1992: Well, this is mixed. TLC do their thing in roomy trousers and an overlarge hat plus an absolute gush of dry ice behind the DJ that would completely envelope a regular stage. There's still a simplicity about it, shared by Tori Amos at her piano - that's Claudia Simon at the start, by the way - and, despite the five backing singers in a line, Mariah Carey. As compared to, say, Wet Wet Wet, who don't need that much space. And then there's the jolt of Megadeth, ready to subvert an audience but apparently not even phasing Tori at the start. The audience, not knowing how to approach it, just clap along.

1999: Love in the air? Britney Spears was there, as were N-Sync - yes, thank you, Gail - round about when Britney and Justin Timberlake were dating. Oddly enough, Justin seems to have gone for shorter hair on becoming really famous. Acting as no sort of pop go-between at all, Vengaboys. Alas, poor Yorick. Stuck at the back in a captain's hat.

2004: Busted's James Bourne has about the same opinion of Tim Kash as everyone else by the look of it. You can kind of tell Charlie was soon enough to tire of the other two just from body language. Kylie Minogue had dancers on loan from King Midas' quarters. The Hives' Howlin' Pelle Almqvist finds the danger of going walkabout off the front of the stage before the band just stop before the end for no good reason.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

24th June

1971: Middle Of The Road plus 1971 caption roller. The rest of the band in very 70s brown.

1976: Double hit of Ruby Flipper is the standout this week: Cherry Gillespie's solo routine to Dorothy Moore is rightly acclaimed, less so the full group routine to Mistura. Is it fair to assume one of the pitfalls of Flick's multi-sexed troupe dream was the costumers didn't really know what to do with the boys?

1982: One of the great Pops performances on this day, and it doesn't even involve instruments. Or singing. Or miming. Jeffrey Daniel of Shalamar, a band who'd been having hits for six years without ever making the trip over, was on holiday in Britain when A Night To Remember charted and someone at the show was aware of his dancing ability. I don't know if that's Zoo forming a semi-circle round him but I hope they were suitably chastened. Sensing competition, Imagination pull their old trick of starting off playing instruments and then just abandoning all pretense, this time with the addition of ludicrous accessories. The one on the left looks like he got his head stuck in some polythene. In fact it's not a great week for instrumentation as Bucks Fizz go acapella. The chart rundowns see Jeffrey join Dave but not actually do anything with him.

1993: East 17 decide West End Girls would be greater without the subtlety. Via satellite, Chaka Demus & Pliers show off their harem. With that sort of competition, Brian May brings out all the hairy rock cliches. It takes Gabrielle to class up the joint with the aid of a hastily erected red velvet curtain and carpet.

2005: Shakin' Stevens had just won much forgotten old-hitmakers-return ITV1 show Hit Me Baby One More Time, so obviously the next step was to cover Pink. Reggie Yates clearly has no idea who he is.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

23rd June

1966: The Kinks deliver a classic in front of an audience that can't even fill the shot.

1977: Is that Nick Lowe lurking behind Dave Edmunds on his Chuck Berry rip? Yes it is, in his Ramones hair, and he's virtually trying to take over lead vocals at one stage. This was where Brotherhood Of Man turned into a certain other mixed sex band, though did you ever see Benny and Bjorn joining in with the moves?

1983: Elton John in his pomp of the time - fedora, shades, white piano. Elsewhere, this ten minute wodge includes Mike Oldfield and H2O as well as Dennis Lillee with some woman's hand on his shoulder. Oldfield's rhythm guitarist fancies his piece. Someone in the comments reckons that's Jeff 'Reg Hollis' Stewart to the left of Peter Powell as the latter introduces H2O and they could be right.

1988: Is it too much to suggest the fad for pop bands doing acoustic versions to prove they could do it without studio electronic trickery started with this Eurythmics performance? Oh, Dave. As with UB40 and Chrissie Hynde, there's a noticeable amount of in-studio vocal echo.

1994: Session Mostly White Reggae Miming Band #47 are dragged out for Dawn Penn. Simon Mayo's opening link for Cappella makes no sense (apart from it being during the World Cup) but the front vocal two seem highly unbothered by what's going on around them. Not for the last time Shed Seven are welcomed by flaming torches but this is surely the most hyper audience they ever played to. Look at the headbanging at 1:29. Rick Witter's T-shirt bears an image of... himself. Wet Wet Wet were into four weeks at number one and decided to celebrate with a little dressing up.

Friday, 22 June 2012

22nd June

1972: From a show left on a series of radiators overnight, The New Seekers do their thing, but more excitingly The Move, Wood and Lynne together as it should be, in front of a big picture of a train. Watch basically everyone bar Jeff jive. Free get the treatment from original recipe Pan's People "as you've never seen them before", by which I assume we've never seen them in those costumes before.

1978: Showaddywaddy were so overmanned members ended up with chores such as bubble machine duty. Doing far less Bob Marley & The Wailers really do far more. Whitesnake attempt to hide David Coverdale near the back. Legs & Co take up Fedoras and leopard print leotards for Marshall Hain.

1989: Living In A Box, uploaded by the band with given the date (which they've got wrong themselves) is surely some erroneous description detail, bring a much too nonchalant horn section. The Bangles' choice of lead singer for this song wrongfoots everyone.

1990: Sonia and Big Fun for charity, apparently causing more children to be abused or something. Couldn't they sit together? Like that it's as if there's something wrong with either party. Now we're used to his Vegas spectacle scale, odd to see Elton John hunched over a standard Roland keyboard and nothing else. Hat borrowed from Chris Lowe.

1995: EMF with Reeves and Mortimer. Who's dragging the other along here?

Thursday, 21 June 2012

21st June

1979: Starting as we mean to go on, Dame Edna Everage's Disco Matilda. If Arthur Mullard and Hylda Baker are the Beatles of novelty songs going horribly awry when exposed to the live Pops vocal, this is the Velvet Underground. One can only imagine what The Ruts watching from backstage made of it. See those mighty CGI-likelike flames that appear halfway through. Making this show go right off the curiosity scale, Patrck Hernandez, his cane and his tie made out of one of those cellophane fish that curls up. Someone in the audience obligingly waves some celery at 1:51. Sniff 'N' The Tears are far more linear, but for Steve Wright's fulsome praise at the start of this clip and that girl (you can see it's a girl right at the end) getting even closer to the front. Additionally, despite what Andy Gill said on Punk Britannia, it was supposedly this show Gang Of Four pulled out of after refusing to change the lyrics to At Home He's A Tourist - Sultans Of Swing, which is what Gill claimed replaced them, was a hit three months earlier and was never performed in the studio anyway.

1984: "The big G", as one of the identically suited presenters has it, Gary Glitter and a non-in-house dance troupe that, perhaps to make a point, are much older than most. Elsewhere it was a night for the smarts. Elvis Costello, older and wiser but still in the habit of staring down the camera, especially those that creep up behind him, for one. For another Lloyd Cole & The Commotions, WHO DO NOT NEED PEOPLE DANCING AROUND THE STAGE. The Associates fail to do anything with costumes and guitars for once, which might be why this proved to be their last TOTP appearance.

1996: Longpigs, who weren't from Germany, and Crispin Hunt's dug out his best skirt for the occasion. Richard Hawley on guitar there. Let Loose were really quite earnest for a boy band, especially covering Bread, and like TOTP of old the live strings are miles away. And who recalls Black Grape's Euro 96 single? Like most latter Black Grape recordings, it's a mess, reputedly not actually featuring Shaun for much of its vocal but Keith Allen impersonating a privately indisposed Ryder. And yes, that's Joe Strummer there, his only ever TOTP appearance, possibly regretting the whole Clash boycott further as the seconds tick by.

2002: Sophie Ellis-Bextor puts "always the bridesmaid, never the bride" on its head. That really isn't much of a reveal, whistling audience.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

20th June

1985: The order of sensible dancing in reductive order in Fine Young Cannibals ran right to left. Who says you never learn anything from the internet? The description of the uploader of this Harold Faltermeyer clip has him bang to rights.

1991: "Colour" and "lights". Nicky Campbell really offering us the world there as he introduces a slightly spruced up look under new management of Stanley Appel. Management that did away with Campbell and his Radio 1 ilk just three and a half months later. Ratings. Rebel MC was first on, surely making Appel's live-only heart shake with something that even now sounds a bit of a mess. Not that unreasonably there was something of a controversy over Latour, and not for that choice of pink cap. At least you're on safe ground with Bette Midler and her many mirrorballs. Some of the audience cheer the first line like it's Stars In Their Eyes.

1997: Tim Burgess of The Charlatans admits this was at the outset of his coke phase, which explains that choice of top. Finley Quaye has saddled himself with a jazz fusion band. Backing requirements have never been high on Pet Shop Boys' agenda, of course, which means they can work in some of whatever video art and design Neil was into then. Filmed comfortably away from an audience too.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

19th June

1986: Heavy with symbolism, Bucks Fizz relaunched with Shelley Preston in her pants replacing Jay Aston and some far from convincing percussion. Nu Shooz's progressive mix of guitar and cowbell plus a cut down overcoat worked wonders.

1998: A superbly passive-aggressive comment from whichever member of Silver Sun uploaded this notes the England flags some of the audience are waving were because "certain members of the band were keen to support our national side". Actually, maybe he should have been worrying about how to get those cutouts back in the van in one piece as the flags were there regardless due to the show being littered with World Cup fever. Baddiel, Skinner and the Lightning Seeds didn't get to do the show for the original Three Lions two years earlier so Frank was justified in bringing his French horn along for the occasion. Skinner now says they shouldn't have succumbed to recording the rewrite, by the way. But if that was a production, Fat Les weren't to be denied the whole nine yards and then some. The Elstree studios were next door to the Eastenders set, something everyone concerned was more than willing to take on in a recreation of the video but for Paul Kaye swapping his Richard Ashcroft rip for his more familiar identity. And it not ending on a TV studio stage in the video, obviously. Note censored pre-Janet wardrobe malfunction too, not that the show was going to draw attention to it with an unnecessarily huge graphic or anything. Five brought their own adapted shirts, Ian Brown couldn't care less.

Monday, 18 June 2012

18th June

1970: The Kinks la-la-la-la their way into pop immortality, and if he'd known that Ray might not have worn that paisley shirt.


1981: A little air drum roll from Peter Powell and Odyssey are off, two women in perfect harmony and choreography and one man... not. Powell then seems to briefly forget Imagination's name ahead of their smooth mix of class (candelabra) and transient style (tennis headbands). He's taught that piano to play itself.

1987: Remember the reference to a very small amount in Breakers of Tom Jones? Here's the whole thing, well before any sort of knowing reinvention. At the other end of the experience scale Curiosity Killed The Cat, and Ben seems to think he's a one man Temptations at times.

1992: The Orb solved the problem of visually representing their instrumental music by not really doing so at all and playing 3D chess instead as the camera wobbles towards fractals on screens, seemingly to no audience. Don't know what Bob Geldof's problem is at the end. (Well, I do, really)

2004: Nobody remembers any England football tournament song after 1998, right? Well, that's as maybe but it's funny what England fever can do in the moment. 442 got to number two with the aid of hefty TalkSport backing and a lame reworking of Come On England. Insiders let on that while there's pretty much the station's entire offices somewhere in here, plus a smattering of models and people dragged into it, it's almost certainly not the people who recorded the song out front. Plus it's surely cheating not to have it indoors where the people who've made the effort to get there to watch the recording can share in it? Unfortunately of those artists you see trailed only Rachel Stevens has turned up online. Yeah, the old multi-armed trick looks good but Mud did that three decades previously.

2006: There's a lot to be said for sparsity, take Ray Lamontagne for instance, but really going for it and believing more is more catches the eye just as much. Muse have their reputation to uphold here, of course, but Guillemots bring the lot - backing singers, horn section in 1930s film newspaper reporter hats, carefully arranged set dressing and a guitarist who seems to be playing into a full-length mirror.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

17th June

1971: Jarring juxtapositions must have been the order of the day, as Jimmy and his coterie go from Sweet to the "nice unusual sound" of Peter Green. Minimalist tribal instrumental jazz-blues, that's what gets the teens running! Southern Comfort are why glam had to happen, and they really should get back to that wedding. The choogling blues of Mick Abrahams too. As far as Pan's People goes here's a relative rarity, surviving footage of the troupe's original lineup with Flick still dancing as well as choreographing to Three Dog Night.

1976: And just five years later Flick was working out experimental multi-part epics like Candi Staton via Ruby Flipper, Floyd as a housewife. Note how Philip's newspaper provides extra one-for-the-dads material. T-Rex dutifully turned up during the period Marc wasn't at his best, ridden roughshod by the likes of Brotherhood Of Man, whose follow-up to Save Your Kisses For Me is practically the same right down to having a last line twist. If you watched TOTP1976 you'd think Liverpool Express and their I'm Not In Love-alikes were one of the defining bands of the decade, so often were they on and so glowingly talked about.

1982: Natasha is "the lady in the blonde hairdo and not much else", which is oddly worded of Bates for all sorts of reasons - everything's comfortably covered, for one thing. Every good sax player has their own Rupert The Bear jacket. Roxy Music reflect Bryan's lothario ambitions, but they don't have the clout to get the whole studio emptied and arranged for their favour like Queen. Here's the countdowns.

1993: Terence Trent D'Arby and Des'ree play with the sexual tension, Deborah Harry the, erm, magic. Fair to say they audience aren't that impressed by a man who can produce glasses out of thin air. Glasses?

Saturday, 16 June 2012

16th June

1966: The Hollies in profile and then in front of a swirling vortex of doom.

1977: The full show starts with something alarming, John Miles' racing funk workout replete with talkbox solo, making it notable when the tube falls out of his mouth halfway through. It's followed in short order by Kid getting the title of Hot Chocolate's big hit wrong, Queen on grandiose form in an empty studio, Archie Bell offering a challenge to Soul Train that we're sure could be easily more than matched, Legs & Co joined by Floyd and some much less confident movers, the Foster Brothers' singer's spectacular guitar solo gurning and Kid bellowing the title of Tom Petty's single on a rare UK TV appearance.

1983: Imagination vs Shalamar - in the battle of all-dancing trios who wins out? Shalamar, of course, for Jody Watley's Little House On Studio 54 outfit. The uploader calls this Marillion slot "a rather amusing performance", a broad way of describing Fish waving his arms about. The Truth were also-ran new wavers, but the main points of note in that clip are a) someone's actually brought one of those big foam fingers with them and b) what happens to it at 1:09.

1988: Obviously the most interesting thing about Sabrina's appearance is the cowboy hatted drummer and his stand-up kit. Oddly no cowboy hats for The Sisters Of Mercy, but there is appropriately darkened lighting. Best thing about Bros: the end graphic.

2000: Two pieces of folly for the price of one: York sampling Chris Rea, persuading him along but not giving him any closeups until right at the end, and in the shots you can see him in he sports a permanent bemused expression, and then Daphne & Celeste. Can't go downwards from there? Everyone forgets Fat Les were given the official England song gig for that year's Euros and came up with a choral version of Jerusalem for no good reason other than it got even more of their mates on telly. I imagine Lily's in there somewhere. Is she the one waving at camera at 0:43? Might be Alfie to her left.

Friday, 15 June 2012

15th June

1978: In TOTP1977 land we've only just been introduced to punk and new wave but a year later they're already onto its second wave with thematic dressing from The Motors and careful intro choreography from the Boomtown Rats, Bob having calmed down a bit by now. For more than slight scariness when confronted by a camera you need the stare of Elvis Costello & the Attractions. No, that's definitely a mullet. British funk was booming too, Rokotto having a tri-frontperson game of 'one of these is not like the others'. For the Radio 2 listeners there was James Galway in front of the orchestra and alongside Sue Menhenick, which can only be an apology given she and her colleagues had been assigned Father Abraham & The Smurfs. Yeah, they got Legs & Co to get done up as Smurfs rather than hire people in costumes. And they were able to show their faces in public again. Alongside this spectacle, Jimmy bringing his famous ease to bear on the good Father.

1989: REM's TOTP debut, with the megaphone and the wayward miming and the Stipe chest. And again I ask: how's Simon Parkin supposed to know what it's actually about? Meanwhile, just eight months after the We Call It Acieed controversy Sinitta, of all people, smuggles the smiley face logo onto the show, using her huge hat as a distraction. Did the dancer at 1:31 just forget where he was supposed to be? Unsure whether to go for formal dress or risque, Donna Allen goes for both.

1995: An undercovered Michelle Gayle receives a surprise "on behalf of Eternal", not that Louise shows us it or anything. It also screws up her involved intro to Paula Abdul, who for a celebrated choreographer seems to have borrowed her moves back from Janet Jackson. That's not something Edwyn Collins has ever had to contend with.

2001: Marti Pellow had been on TOTP enough in his previous life, but he seems as bowled over by the audience reaction to his solo comeback as they are by seeing him. Very subtle setting and performance, mind. Unlike, say, Muse.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

14th June

1979: Lover's rock, big notes and a reflective headdress for Janet Kay, falsetto funk and Guantanamo Bay boiler suit pre-empting from date-getting-wrong Match and Johnny Pearson's lot getting in vision and making a decent fist of McFadden & Whitehead. Note the growth of an extra Ladybird and watch for the bloke accidentally wandering into shot. Legs & Co got Lene Lovich, failed to be as nuts as Lovich demands but do get to do some close-up expression acting.

1984: Free Smiths pass to these blogs in effect. The Morrissey look this time - still with the hearing aid from last time, also adopting the glasses and paisley shirt. No Nick Heyward he. Elsewhere Green Gartside of Scritti Politti borrows Diana's hair, The Art Company are overshadowed by the insistence on handclaps, the singer's tache and the huge flag at the back, and we wallow in the multi-instrumental talent and strutting of Nik Kershaw. That woman at the start looks delighted to have Mike Read's arm over her shoulder, doesn't she? Now, see the T-shirts at the back of the studio there? They're anticipating the sturm und drang of Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Look at all the flags!

1990: Having Betty Boo flanked by doppelgangers on her debut may seem clever, but that really isn't the time to switch to the full length trouser.

1996: The first Pops ever to be moved to BBC2, due to the Olympics. Treble the work for Paul Weller, as he plays two songs off his then current album in front of a hyperventilating Mark Owen having lent piano skills to Ocean Colour Scene. Just along the way the Girls And Boys-sampling Pianoman doesn't even make any concession to his own musical stagecraft.

2002: No Doubt's Gwen Stefani won't feel the benefit later if she insists on wearing a scarf indoors.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

13th June

1974: nothing remains from this, but it was the last show before a technician's strike blanked the show out for seven weeks. There is a theory that it may have changed the course of pop history, as glam suddenly fell away and soul started having a lot of big hits, suggesting a popular rise in club music mirrored by disco's commercial renaissance after the 1980 strike.

1985: Nice hat, Dixie. Scritti Politti open and Green dresses smartly for the occasion, as does Marillion's Fish in a more nationalistic way, while Sister Sledge give the lead singer the only flattering dress.

1991: Massive Attack get special lighting; Color Me Badd haven't worked out how colour coding suits is supposed to work. That's Jakki Brambles, by the way.

1992: Ah, so that's why The Wedding Present's David Gedge usually has a guitar. As far as Incognito go it's the brass section who are putting in the work.

1997: Oh, Jo, you're so rock and roll. Rosie Gaines opens again, this time with a different version and even bigger notes, a mini-rap section and a bigger coat. Big performance but the slap bass solo is just a step too far. Neither Jon Bon Jovi nor En Vogue on their big empty stage can compete.

2003: Marilyn Manson's stovepipe hat isn't as good as Noddy Holder's. Ooh, ironic dancers, you're hard. Something the show did for a little bit was little useless backstage nuggets from one of the big acts in the studio that week, here Evanescence claiming a candelabra makes something 'totally goth'. Lucky Fearne wasn't hosting this one, she'd have had hand cramps from making permanent devil horns to camera.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

12th June

1998: It's World Cup time! For Scotland, Del Amitri try realism and then bring a shedload of scarves just in case. (Spoiler: they didn't stuff Norway or Morocco) England United basically throws everyone at the problem. No wonder everyone remembers this as the year of Vindaloo. Caught in the crossfire, Mariah Carey waits until very late in the day to sort out the problem of nothing actually going on.

Monday, 11 June 2012

11th June

1981: Doesn't say much for Bucks Fizz if they have a line of people looking away from them enjoying themselves throughout. Ultravox's Midge Ure tries out the electro-spiv look.

1986: Are jokes funnier upon repeat? Depends on how much extra you put in. Sigue Sigue Sputnik went to town on the hair and costumes and there's less explosions than before. Martin Degville just forgets himself entirely at 1:16.

1987: Here's an odd one. As keen as our hosts are to tell us this is live - three times in the first link - they're clearly in a different, smaller studio with no uncanned audience (the pull shots around John Farnham, the only new performance in the show, give that away). This was the day of the general election so presumably everything else was being used. The first two thirds are available, part one with Farnham and half of the Beastie Boys in Montreaux, part two its second half and Run DMC on location too, plus Tom Jones pulled in for a minute's work during Breakers.

1999: Though they'd make up for it in time, this was Red Hot Chili Peppers' studio debut, Antony Kiedis rocking a shirt/tie/shorts look. At his age. Cher tried to replicate Believe's computer-voice success but the audience were keener on the dancers.

2004: Emma Bunton goes Latin jazz! But has to be showbiz lowered from the rafters regardless.

2006: Welcome Lily Allen to the nation, actively betraying nerves. She also seems to be singing over her own backing track vocals on the choruses. The Automatic demonstrate the various angles guitars can still apparently be played at.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

10th June

1976: Tony Visconti says The Surprise Sisters were his idea of a British Labelle. Not like this with awry choreography and tangled mike leads. Image-wise they're still some way away from The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Harvey not strictly family entertainment material. Osibisa bring the funk, as the keyboard player brings his champagne bottle on set with him.

1982: Going the extra mile, Billy MacKenzie of The Associates brings his best official hat and vest a good couple of years before Frankie Goes To Hollywood mined similar details. They never thought of the swimsuited string section, though. Someone's pointlessly messed about with this Soft Cell clip - it wasn't all shot within visual effects, the presentation clips around it are from the previous week and the audio's been redubbed. But apart from that... Incidentally, here's what Jimmy Savile doing a chart rundown sounds like. Song titles, Jim!

1993: Pet Shop Boys hadn't appeared in the studio since November 1990, five singles previously, apparently in protest at the ill-fated no miming policy. Of course they had to do something spectacular upon return - 3D effects, big hats, big chairs, Chris Lowe in big cardboard glasses hiding behind a big blob, dancers in silver wigs and breastplates wielding cricket bats. Sade and her formation stepping guitarists in some other studio... yeah, not quite the same.

2005: Say this for Rachel Stevens, she knew distractions. Where do dancers get swimming caps-cum-gimp masks from?

Saturday, 9 June 2012

9th June

1977: Most of the jubilee week show, and the Sex Pistols aren't number one in this one either. Featured artists include a percussion frenzied Osibisa - the bongo player's never going to get any downward power using that motion - Neil Innes' unironic Silver Jubilee ("sailing in the yacht Britannia, nowhere in the world would ban ya"), the "island of Demis" and Bob Marley passing by, the occasion possibly getting to the director. The real highlight comes before the Stranglers repeat where Tony, seemingly physically unable to say 'punk' and having already described the town of the same name as "a very sensible place", puts his own description on their sound. You'll now find their records in the A Bit Of That Sort Of Rock section of your local store. Left out of that edit, The Wurzels repurposing I Was Kaiser Bill's Cowman and going through hundreds of comedy names and sounds.

1988: We welcome to the nation's living rooms The Timelords, and surely little did we know what Drummond and Cauty were going to subsequently do. Anyone who knows what the T-shirts say, do let on. Doubtless much to the excitement of Mozphiles Voice Of The Beehive, this was the solo Pops debut of Morrissey, quiff more pronounced than ever, Smiths T-shirt worn proudly. None of that for Maxi Priest.

1994: Stand by your phones, outraged middle England, it's Manic Street Preachers with James in his monographed balaclava and everyone else in their military best. 25,000 complaints, apparently, the most in the show's history. Note how before the bit at the end the director panics and cuts back to guest hosts Vic and Bob too early. No such issues for besuited Blur, given some fitting contrast down visual effects.

2000: Dr Dre's only studio visit came with Eminem, some protective fencing and a vertigo-baiting DJ setup. Simplicity. Unlike Stephen Gately's cast of thousands, complete with confetti drop to magnify the grandiloquence.

Friday, 8 June 2012

8th June

1972: The Sweet at their most unrepossessing.

1978: Fine musical contrasts indeed, Noel, as we see both Brotherhood Of Man adding an all-white angle to their latest ABBA takeoff and AC/DC putting Angus out in front where he won't get in the way.

1983: Zoo must have demanded a pay rise as they're all over this Rhythm Pals-fronted show, most glaringly when deciding "one of Bates' favourite bands" Twisted Sister really could do with some visual pizzazz. Cut away during the chorus to some people punching the air, I would. Then there's interpretative ballet for H2O, two-tier lineups for Shakatak as Peel gets caught out and ends up introducing the song after the vocals have started, and country dancing for Big Country. See what they did there? The audience amuse themselves by chucking endless balloons about. At least they keep their distance for The Imposter, though the audience make a rod for their own backs here by continually clapping just off the beat. The countdown's worth watching for Peel's comment out of this, not to mention the line he gets away with at 2:07. Not unreasonably David pauses for a moment.

1989: See Transvision Vamp's Wendy James come on late expecting her own cheers, only to receive none. Not with Jason Donovan and his formation dancing team still to come.

1995: Flawed heroics from Dodgy's Andy Miller, who waits until he's pretty much a shadowy speck in the distance before smashing his guitar. Jam & Spoon featuring Plavka have someone to vogue uselessly just for them.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

7th June

1979: Pops' first sighting of Annie Lennox and, in a background he'd never try and inhabit again, a moustachioed Dave Stewart with The Tourists in new wave mode. Annie's made better fashion choices then those electric blue leggins. Dollar pledge sickly mutual love despite their drummer's best attempt to snatch the limelight - compare and contrast to a blunt Eddy Grant's lively synth player. Linda Lewis finds her talents underused again while wearing a throw rug. Now, Anita Ward's Ring My Bell... what could Flick do with that? Morris dancing handkerchiefs, sashes, elaborate hats and swimming costumes, obviously.

1984: Last stand for the Rhythm Pals, and indeed Jensen's last TOTP before jumping ship to Capital and the Network Chart Show. Spandau Ballet model leather jacket for the uncommon man chic, Howard Jones finds a saxophonist in shades no replacement for Jed, Evelyn Thomas favours the lurid pink jumpsuit and being the centre of balloon attention, two of Zoo provide a not entirely in keeping accompaniment to Bronski Beat and at number one Wham!, "who've modelled themselves on us", put glue and glitter on their Katherine Hamnett T's while the cameraman at the front misjudges the size and shape of the stage.

1990: MC Tunes vs 808 State, and two running man-friendly dancers, try their best though I'm more interested in whatever's going on at 1:12. More to the point they're suffering in the wake of World Cup fever, harnessed by Pop Will Eat Itself with the aid of Sisters Of Mercy's Patricia Morrison, and brought to full fruition by England New Order. Indeed, at the end of the chart countdowns (from 3:50) we cross live-ish to Sardinia and meet a relaxed squad, some of whom think Gazza's witticism is the most amusing thing they've ever heard.

2002: Twelve years on from World In Motion, Bell & Spurling. To think they called it progress. A song liberally used in England exit montages for years to come by Oasis also shows up, Liam bellowing away. David Bowie doesn't fit into that lineage at all, but here he is anyway.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

6th June

1968: What remains of this one is as piecemeal as it gets - the first five and a minutes, featuring the heroically mid-60s-like theme, a rundown, Dionne Warwick represented by a donkey and the end credits, replete with Johnnie Stewart logo and Jimmy wiping someone's eyes. Also, a few silent seconds of Jimmy and Davy Jones clowning about. In terms of tangible splinters of archive, Don Partridge took his 'king of the buskers' thing a touch too far and Manfred Mann practiced some formation recorder playing. Look at that audience demographic from 2:04.

1974: You know when people talk about seeing Sparks for the first time and the consequential mummy-make-the-scary-Hitler-man-go-away feelings? This is the appearance that survives but it was actually their second on the show, which says something for archives and shared memory. The end of the song's missing because.... the end of the clip's missing. Meanwhile Cozy Powell takes centre stage - momentous moment for BBC Television as colour arrives halfway through - and Pan's People go down the indoor park on the Isley Brothers' behalf. A momentous Pan's moment, this, as following Louise's departure it's the debut of Sue Menhenick, the only person to dance with three TOTP troupes.

1985: Somehow Propaganda's icy allure is diminished by seeing Claudia BrĂ¼cken's green leisure coat.

1991: TOTP didn't feature songs outside the top 40 much beyond the early 80s, especially when the host makes direct reference to that chart in the show intro, but everyone must have gone on an early holiday as baggy also-rans Northside and the ever reliable/available Marillion got on while at 41 and 42 respectively, though both climbed subsequently. Meanwhile, somehow Kirsty Maccoll gets away with urban appropriation. Looks like she's half-heartedly trying to join in at the start.

1996: Louise's stage outfits basically consisted of nothing but elaborate bras, leather/PVC trousers and a useless headset mike for years. One can take a pretty good guess at Nicky Campbell's intro going on his expression at the very start. The Fugees (it's a repeat, before you say anything) were still pretending they were on a even keel. Nice of Wyclef to remind Lauren where they are.

1997: Rosie Gaines seemed to be on every week in late spring 1997 - in fact she opened the shebang twice in a row. This is the first, with pillars of fire and impromptu screechy shoutalongs. Don't try and match her vocal range, girls, she's a pro. These were the days when Gary Barlow would let plebs touch him and Hanson were cocks of the junior walk. I liked the girl.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

5th June

1986: Cashflow show off shiny polyester suits, Pet Shop Boys an MCC member/rave kid conflating style. Chris was happy enough just with bashing syn-drums in those days. And right at the end, Gary Davies shows off his own rave-influenced fashion sense.

1998: Oh, timing. The Spice Girls' last televised performance as a five piece, Geri having officially announced her departure just the previous Sunday. Yes, of course the show tried to pretend it was filmed after that event. It was their example that left the doors open for all sorts of girl groups to flood through, even this same week N-Tyce having to leave their male rapper guest like a very spare part at the back of the stage for most of the time. At number one B*Witched were treading an ambitious denim seam gimmick, not matched by the pre-filmed visuals at the back. They didn't need that live fiddle interjection, all told.

Monday, 4 June 2012

4th June

1970: Many years in the future a reissue will lead to an infamous dance routine, but for the moment Free are there and extant and live in person

1981: What's that for a title sequence? And what's with the lack of any atmosphere for the first link? It's not that rare a TV appearance by Siouxsie & The Banshees, actually, but it's every inch Siouxsie on form. Watch her keep playing with the mike cord afterwards. By contrast Squeeze's Chris Difford makes do with his cardy and shades.

1992: The first of Take That's 27 Pops appearances, and unusually given the later image it's Gary as chest flasher in chief. No dancers for Utah Saints, "combining rock and dance" seemingly through having a bassist and a man shouting. No such all-about-the-instruments nonsense for Erasure, who go full post-Rocky Horror gothic panto with Vince in full wedding dress. Unfortunately they clearly hadn't thought of any decent way of blending the ragga toaster in.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

3rd June

1976: With a new theme for Seaside Special, Mike Batt's human playthings New Edition (not that one) don't make British seasides look all that enticing. Our Kid do likewise for pop fame at an early age.

1982: Another full show, and full of fun: ABC with Martin Fry's formation style team, Echo & The Bunnymen with noticeably nobody mentioning the bestilted elephant in the room (seriously, why and where from?), Siouxsie & the Banshees on imperious goth form, the Fun Boy Three with a jiving horn section, Charlene, Madness with a message from Japan and Junior in the midst of anything.

1993: Jamiroquai fill the stage with people and 'stuff', seemingly including a living room table, A-Ha still have the mysterious Nordic sex appeal going on and PM Dawn and Boy George settle in Disneyworld. How did they get the baby grand past security?

2005: With the unfortunately unavailable due to non-existance Crazy Frog number one, it's a grand return to TOTP for the concept of an in-house dance troupe. Back to the Ruby Flipper mixed gender ideal they may be, but these don't deserve a name.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

2nd June

1977: The whole show is here, of which the highlights are the big honky-tonk gospel stylings of Elkie Brooks and her troupe giving themselves a big reception at the end, Noel openly mocking The Four Seasons, Twiggy dressed like the lead in a very cheap school theatre production of Robin Hood, Legs & Co's distracting light show and the Strawbs' singer looking like Noel without the beard.

1983: Jimmy and Tony, a pairing that first came together on the show in October 1967, introduce classic boys-in-leather-jackets, girls-answering-back early Wham!, big Booker Newberry III surprised by the turnout of Zoo around him and The Style Council indulging in mood lighting, quasi-rapping and Mick's big hat.

1994: The whole thing, starring Big Mountain, the Beautiful South, Arrested Development, Salt'n'Pepa, Pulp (their debut, with Jarvis' celebrated 'I HATE WET WET WET' jacket lining), Mariah Carey and, for the first of what we could never have imagined at this stage would be a whole summer's worth of chart topping, Wet Wet Wet.

2000: Belle & Sebastian, unlikely as it seemed at the time, get on telly and have a ball with it, replete with their producer surprising them in a gorilla suit.

Friday, 1 June 2012

1st June

1972: Neil Diamond and his lovely dress shirt.

1973: Gerry Rafferty unveils his specially stencilled guitar with Stealer's Wheel.

1989: With the aid of a piece of scaffolding, Vickie Perks of Fuzzbox here tries out the 'space Barbarella as frontwoman' look.

1995: Nice self-promoting T-shirt, Mark. Therapy? get the lights going, Radiohead are outside a US town hall or church type building which presumably holds some symbolism, Pulp have another dash round Smashing for dancers and Black Grape entrust Bez with mimed harmonica. Nice self-editing, Shaun.

2001: Blue take it in turns on their debut, Dido ensures everyone else on stage stays firmly in the shade and DJ Pied Piper rides the UK garage/Ayia Napa crest of a wave. When have you ever heard a crowd response on the show like that?