Wednesday, 31 October 2012

31st October

1991: Strangely, none of these clips have any apparent Hallowe'en link. "Taking over the rave scene!" remarks Tony Dortie of an unknown record before linking to Don McLean to audible just-been-knifed screams before he performs in front of a gaudy seaside town arcade's worth of neon. Thus is both the eclecticism of TOTP and the drawbacks of the live performance production of the time laid out. Congress vocalist Lucinda Sieger uploaded this herself but it does have to be said there's no inherent dignity in choosing that headgear. At least that producer has a frontperson, Moby has one keyboard and an exuberant style that occasionally breaks into running man dances and shouting to rely upon.

1997: Speaking of dignity Mary-Ann Hobbs, self-advertising opportunity it may bring, essentially presented this show in her bra, which is forward if little else. You've rarely seen an outfit given as little space on television as 911, whose presentation is entirely confused. What are we supposed to read into the open shell suit with training vest underneath look? Are the audience supposed to do something with those balloons? One of them by the end has broken into his own breakdance while the lead member Jimmy is under threat of being dragged off the stage and to who knows where, leading to the intervention of a bomber jacketed heavy who only succeeds in pushing him to the fans at the back as the previous front row breaks ranks and encroaches, having smelled the blood of a boy band man. Double 99 have employed personal security too - you can see him right at the start and in some of the overhead shots. He's not a performer or musician, he's not the same bloke who acted as 911's emergency service either, he's there purely to look heavy and make the group look important before telling his mates he got on the telly. Are two dancing girls and a man in a do-rag that worth saving from the television studio ticketed throng?

2003: Mis-Teeq line up for a dance-off and begin singing instead, which isn't in the spirit of the game.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

30th October

1980: This blog may have marvelled at Steve Lamacq being judged TOTP presenter material, but that seems obvious compared to Colin Berry, who avers European charts aren't as good as ours. Makes you proud. He doesn't get to introduce Adam & The Ants, in any case. He is though given the music news, seemingly just a list of songs, before Legs & Co, Rosie in glasses, are given David Bowie and immediately disprove its title. The audience does its duty by clapping completely out of time, carrying on their conversations as if they're miked higher than the music and whooping at inappropriate moments. In possible desperation the director throws his whole box of VT tricks at it.

1986: Same colour hats, same colour trousers, same colour gloves, different colour tops. Mel & Kim are evidently lacking some commitment.

1998: Lynden David Hall requests an increase in crowd noise just as Theakston introduces him, which can't be difficult to achieve. Silkily performed, though, which can't really be said of Cher having to commit to a solo performance, Autotuned bit and all, flanked by the kids while wearing silver leggings. Watch the girl in the little black dress behind and to the right of her, who seems to want to dance to it in a way nobody else is willing to join in on.

Monday, 29 October 2012

29th October

1981: Legs & Co's final show, and with it a prime example of their frank unnecessariness. Altered Images' Clare Grogan, dressed like a parcel, was no static, slovenly presence. She doesn't need five dancers going through a routine, erm, routine in front of the stage sticking out like a sore thumb. That's no kind of sendoff for five years' service either. Meanwhile prosaically named soul man Trevor Walters dons his pristine white suit and has the audience wave bits of hedge at him.

1987: The Style Council, Dee C Lee taking most of the screen time, Paul Weller looking quite distracted. Scarlet Fantastic may have been the first of a string of dance acts whose public face was a glamorous female singer and an attention seeking guitarist who wishes he was still doing session rock jobs. See how she throws his red cowboy hat off, not before time, and straight after his solo he goes and puts it back on.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

28th October

1976: How to jazz up some lovingly wistful acoustic-led folk-pop? In the case of Joan Armatrading it's close-ups over the guitar sound hole and as many reflected images as can be fashioned. Shouldn't the director be following the guitar picking or on a wider angle during the sax solo? Simon May clearly thought more about camera positioning than strengthening his vocals. The new dancers still don't have a name and strictly they don't have a routine to "the theme from Jaws", just Lalo Schifrin's reinterpretation, though they do have wetsuits and the ability to express shock, except for Lulu, who sucks her cheeks in instead.

1982: A warning has to be issued here, as at the start Simon Bates attempts comedy. That's a luxurious 80s bouffant the singer from Blue Zoo is sporting, though all his effort doesn't stop various audience members from batting balloons about instead. Rather classier is Dionne Warwick in her full-length print dress and no sign of an audience at all.

1993: David Hasselhoff. I'll just leave this here, I think.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

27th October

1977: Lots of scary sights this week, an on their uppers Slade joining in by counterbalancing Noddy's huge mullet with Dave Hill's suddenly cueball pate. As they're reduced to an Elvis tribute, it seems to have had a Samsonite effect. Not even they can hold a candle to Darts' Den Hegarty, taking out the pianist and then falling back onto the stage in a performance that made their name. For their sensitive take on The Troubles Boney M bring a full band who like a good headstock waving session and, to go with the resident four, an extra three singers in carnival gear whose leftover material headgear is almost as big as Liz Mitchell's antennae. Mary Mason has the full range of theatrical moves but is overshadowed by her tight perm which seems to move independently of the rest of her head. Kid is very excited to the point of yelping the end of the title of Tom Robinson Band's first hit but then so are the die-hards down the front, even if their airpunching leaves something to be desired. Note Tom's Musician's Union sticker and pink triangle badge. Even Legs & Co are up for something extra this week, lots of hair flicking to Ram Jam plus a very long still shot of Lulu reaching her fist out to us. Want some, do ya?

1983: Radio 1 special aside this was Tony Blackburn's first show in four and a half years and his last bar the final fling - not even in his post-I'm A Celebrity salad days. Not entirely difficult to see why, as he gets King Kurt's name wrong and then nearly forgets the title. Difficult to forget anything about what transpires, almost literally cartoonish and not a little dubious with a big finish, though they do almost entirely miss with the second bag. No such antics with Musical Youth, whose early success had clearly gone towards some smart tailoring. No using all available spaces for Adam Ant but a couple of backing utility women who one suspects aren't actually au fait with those violins. Are those big cuffs or an undone straightjacket? Hard to tell where Adam's concerned.

1988: Add own miming joke here, Milli Vanilli getting huge cheers every time one jumps behind the other. It's not even suggestive. If only the same could be said of The Art Of Noise & Tom Jones riding roughshod over Prince, the only Art Of Noise actual element seeming to be the bloke holding a computer keyboard.

1994: Green Day debut live, with Billie Joe battling a vocal mix that's all over the place. No such qualms for East 17, who've turned out in dog blankets.

2000: Blur do the double, the hit followed by the new one off the Greatest Hits with Damon fondling his guitar like a precious ornament, leaving Graham to prove more invention in both noise and headwear. Wise covering, much like S Club 7's big winter coats. David Gray's constant head-nodding was a cause celebre for a while, but his drummer seems to be putting in far greater body language for less effort.

Friday, 26 October 2012

26th October

1978: Before the unpleasantness and despite everything, this was surely the mental image most people had of Jonathan King - on TOTP, in a rainbow wig, conducting an audience, singing not very well. Worst real song-to-TV version editing ever on that clip. Elvis Costello and the Attractions were conversely clearly not out to make friends, not least in the pointed lyric change and accompanying point. The Undertones made a debut notable for the shots of Feargal at the bottom of the screen with the reflection of the drums at the top, like they couldn't quite find the proper angle to get both in the same normal shot. As for Legs & Co, they had a busy day, firstly a quorum clad in the bare minimum for Dan Hartman, then ELO in a Spanish-inspired outfit with strange shredded boots/kneepads. And then they all went to the VT suite and danced to the former in the latter outfits for the Christmas tape. That's not David Mellor at 1:27.

1989: Having landed something of a controversial coup by recruiting a blacked up Kraftwerk as her backing dancers, Adeva modelled a jacket she'd go on to sell to MC Hammer. If you look cafefully, around 2:05 she gives her wrapround shades to someone at the front. She'll regret that soon enough.

1995: Presumably thinking the lyrics too subtle, Cher dresses up as Elvis, during that period he swapped the rhinestone for gear borrowed from Tom Waits. Unfortunately a small fire broke out at the front of the stage which Cher had to stamp out herself at 2:24. Coolio meanwhile cut out the middleman and just wore the polar bear raw.

2001: Even Jamie Theakston suggests Brian Harvey and the Refugee Crew is ridiculous. And let's face it, he's not far wrong. The wiser audience members show their surrender early on.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

25th October

1984: DLT's last show. Changes were evidently being made that went against his principles. Or it's just someone saw this first link and realised he looks about three times Peter Powell's age, and then saw the actively disturbing link out of Feargal Sharkey, backed by a rump of Madness and some invisible brass players. Limahl appears keen to involve his backing singer as an equal, maybe for want of something to do other than prance.

1990: The uploader describes Jason Donovan's hair as "wacky". In fact it's that centre parted wet look that'd be all the rage half a decade later - think Theakston. No, it's the enthusiastic big haired woman on the balcony who's beyond some sort of pale.

1996: Again: Steve Lamacq! Top Of The Pops! Suede's Neil Codling must have left his keyboard behind, which as his onstage schtick was immoveability proves a problem when Brett's shaking a tambourine for all he's worth. The Spice Girls worked out what they were doing and were never quite as fun again. Mind you, those must have been really good gloves Emma and Mel C are insisting on wearing.

2002: While Badly Drawn Boy can't bear to look straight ahead, perhaps suffering PTSD after his recent assault by a polar bear, old stagers Manic Street Preachers appear to have placed themselves in the middle of an old British Gas/gas fires advert.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

24th October

1991: "Absolutely unbelievable, I can't keep a straight face" says Tony Dortie in a very normal tone of voice after Vic Reeves and the Wonder Stuff. That may say more about him than them, given they don't really do a lot between them bar Reeves getting the words wrong in the second verse and searching for a camera in the back of a washing machine which he thought was somewhere there but wasn't. In the sort of fashions which prove there is such a thing as early 90s fashion to mock, Carter USM deprive the whole news department of monitors for the day. On a classier note a debuting Mariah Carey is placed in the sort of set that resembles the shape of her mind about a decade later.

1997: Yes, it's a repeat from the Christmas show, what of it? And it's Aqua, what of that? Well, quite a lot, I suppose. Their body language seems entirely at odds with the playfulness of the song.

2003: Pull a shape and look allurring must have been the initial choreography instruction to Girls Aloud. Nicola clearly isn't cut out for that sort of thing. And neither, at all, was Alex Parks, Fame Academy winner and young woman visibly hit right at the end by the weight of unfulfillable expectation. Understandably, nobody seems to know what she's been up to for a few years now.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

23rd October

1980: Egregiousness alert with DLT and the unsubtle product placement - that generously positioned T-shirt! There must be a story behind all that - as he claims the women behind him have been sent to "drive me bananas" and they react with something between nonchalance and complete boredom. More the latter, given they've just heard the Hairy Cornflake tell them he fancies them. Elkie Brooks has an awkward interview including a spectacular hospital pass of a question - "you look tired to me" "I don't look that bad, do I?" - before Kelly Marie gets us out of here with two dancers who look like they're reinterpreting the Wilson Keppel & Betty sand dance. And if you thought Elkie was an unwilling participant in DLT's view of the world Matthew 'Adric' Waterhouse is basically stunned into silence. Next time we see DLT he's got his arm around Pauline's waist before Legs & Co realise that if there's cars in the studio for no apparent reason - and what is it with DLT and pointless car themes? - they might as well dance to Ottawan using them as a barrier of sorts.

1986: Stan Cullimore of The Housemartins is maybe the most enthusiastic acoustic guitar picking mimer you'll ever see. Very little set dressing there, as they were working towards attempting to see if a human can drown in dry ice, using Cyndi Lauper as their guinea pig. That's why she moves to less fogged areas as soon as she gets up.

Monday, 22 October 2012

22nd October

1981: This should be the whole show but it's not as the middle section's been taken down. No matter, nothing of real worth in it as the whole show is mostly videos anyway. More medley 'fun' and really egregious at that with Blondie copyists This Year's Blonde, who come with the worst connecting disco beat of the lot, real Portsmouth Sinfonia stuff. The last section kicks off with The Jam followed by Shakin' Stevens in stasis as the previously featured Stewart/Gaskin number one.

1987: Was (Not Was) do have dancers, but they don't appear until more than halfway through and have to stop hiding away behind everyone to flank Don Was before anyone really notices them. That's a lot of effort wasted. Also, surely bow ties all round or not at all. Taken from TOTP US, Kiss show what a bit of budget can do to a show, seemingly filmed in an aircraft hangar. Meanwhile Erasure cope well enough with just some men dressed as the Salvation Army, a level of subtlety Gene Simmons would never understand.

1992: The man with the jackets had been round before Take That took to the stage and Gary anticipated a cold winter better than his colleagues. Whatever's happening when the director cuts to what's playing on the screen behind it can't have been pretty. Maybe the sax player made a break for it. If you catch Tony Dortie's link at the end, yes, the Chippendales did appear later. Singing. Yes. Luckily nobody's bothered to upload that.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

21st October

1976: So Ruby Flipper were history, but what next? Back to the women-only policy, hence the introduction of a new troupe, though of course only three of them are actually new and Lulu has gone through the full BBC training scheme on oversized postcard holding. You do actually have to buy a stamp and affix it to the card, by the way, not just draw on an approximation. Their debut routine, to Average White Band, requires them to keep hold of material throughout. Still, teething process. Elsewhere after Stewpot has introduced two people who don't deserve names Paul Nicholas gives his captain a Jamaican accent - reggae like it used to be, indeed - and Climax Blues Band are really aided neither by the green flare solarisation or by Colin Cooper holding a saxophone like a pacifier.

1982: The Piranhas have gone all out this time, borrowing Paul Young's infamous Fabulously Wealthy Tarts, giving their drummer an unrelated costume and dressing Boring Bob Grover as Dennis The Menace, perhaps deliberately. No reason for that either. Toyah is as Toyah does, wearing something that isn't so much a lightweight coat as a flag with sleeves. Finding matching outfits for all of Kool & The Gang must have used up most of their advance.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

20th October

1966: Very rare for a Pops performance to start with some close-up flautism. Laying waste to all ideas of vocal projection, Manfred Mann's Paul Jones chooses to sit at the back. No wonder he gets swallowed whole.

1977: David Bowie actually in the studio with big flappy cuffs, and while Tony Visconti joined him to play bass and direct the orchestral troops I'm pretty sure that's not Robert Fripp on guitar. Tina Charles has adopted the hair flick of the day but has to share the stage with what looks like a white grand piano that's in the process of being taken apart. Showaddywaddy start in a group hug - where is the camera exactly? - before Dave Bartram disappears into the throng and comes up wearing someone's tinfoil-covered stovepipe hat which appears to have 'VOTE FONZIE' written large on one side.

1983: A month after their debut, Howard Jones and Jed are progressing in confidence. The latter has a full set of routines, not just chain rattling, and has a camera to eventually work off, while the former has found the way to get the audience to sing along. It's no good still looking inscrutable, Gary Numan, if your band has a free soloing saxophonist and you're having to play scratchy rhythm guitar over some clanking.

1988: It doesn't look right, Kylie Minogue on her own like that, puffball skirt or not. She should have borrowed some props from the woman keeping Interflora in business for another month, Enya. Oh, and the caption gets the lyric wrong, but that's another story, and this edit cuts the song off before that comes up anyway.

1994: Yes, thank you, Jarvis. Elastica can bounce about in their DMs all they want, they're still overshadowed by that big sign in the background which kind of gives away Tom Jones' presence, joined as he will be by a battalion of lighting and what seems to be Maggie Philbin on unconvincing bongos. Professional dancers they may have been, but you couldn't rely on Take That to all bring their high visibility jackets in those days.

Friday, 19 October 2012

19th October

1967: Only Jimmy (whose intro here isn't actually from this show as will become clear, though note he starts "this morning") ended up fronting more TOTPs than Tony Blackburn. This was Tony's debut show and knowing him he was doubtless a fan of The Foundations and thus was set on edge as much as everyone else by the waywardness of the start of Clem Curtis' vocal.

1978: Showaddywaddy's Buddy Gask is clearly not a man who goes physically along with the title of the song. Putting the backing singers in the centre and Dave Bartram off to one side seems an odd move, but then Colorado did the same for the most part with their cover of California Dreaming, surely made even more leaden by that orchestral arrangement. The Spanish guitarist probably didn't come with the singers. Wonder if The Jam insisted on that two-level stage? If they did Bruce Foxton, stuck on the base level, wasn't going to be overlooked, given how he starts miming off-mike right down the lens at 1:34. In a year of overwork for Legs & Co given the popularity of Grease, Patti and "her friend Martin" - Floyd not good enough for you any more? - try to get something out of John Travolta in appropriate costumes, and that's important given there are no appropriate costumes for Donna Summer's cover of Macarthur Park. There's nobody dressed as a cake, but there are people dressed as a tree.

1989: D-Mob introduced us all to Cathy Dennis, who taking up the majority of vocal time leaves Danny D artlessly thumping a keytar until he has to start singing and forgets to keep the pretence going. Deborah Harry returned to a stage she once made her own with a keyboard player who insists on making a clenched fist with one hand during her first closeup. Still, as long as there's a beret close by to whirl around.

1995: "You thought Smokie were the biggest stars on tonight's show!" Lee & Herring hosting for the second and, understandably, last time. Stewart kind of gives up during the top ten rundown. In full: Wildchild and Smokie, the former throwing dancers at the problem and seeing what sticks as the latter turn up in their hard rock German TV clothes; East 17 stick Tony out by the side and become a league of bald-headed men; and Cher "in disguise" indeed, and with a tube top on show at her age.

2001: An hour long special hosted by four people - Zoe, Jamie, Dermot and Jimmy - to mark the show returning to Television Centre after ten years. Really? An hour long, Savile-fronted special for that? How desperate were BBC1 that week? There's not even an explanatory open link, instead straight into Cher, who's clearly kept the hair well groomed but seems to have a frog in her throat. Even Westlife in leather jackets doing moves looks less convincing. The Ones apparently need dancers for their dancers - performance artists, really, but in this context that's splitting hairs - and removing costumes to crowd whistles doesn't work when they're dressed as close to normally as the format allows underneath. U2 never previously required an extra guitarist, but Dave Stewart... you know what's he's like, he'll worm his way into anything. Natalie Imbruglia, who'd been on the same show, sneaks into the backing singers.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

18th October

1979: A buoyant Suzi Quatro kicks us off, alongside a rhythm guitarist who's decided dungarees are more than enough. Televisual seaminess fans will recognise this taping for another reason, namely He's A Sports PA, centrepiece of Good King Memorex, the 1979 BBC VT Christmas Tape. I'd want to have heard that conversation: "Hi, Suzi? I know you're coming in tomorrow to record your new song, but while you're in camera rehearsals I wondered if you could... well... it's that... we've written some new lyrics to the song and we wondered if you could sing them for us so we can cut them to compromising footage of some of your employees. *pause* Hello?" Elsewhere there's clipped new wave in a tartan suit from New Musik, 2-Tone constant jigging in pork pie hats, except the bassist would never keep one in, from The Selecter and, after DLT notes something that we can't see or hear has fallen down to giggles, something for the mums in The Ramblers. They'd get seasick doing that for too long, though well done to the director for finding the few girls swaying the opposite direction to everyone else. We can only speculate what DLT's joke at the start here is, but it can't be as offbeam as what follows as Legs & Co try their hardest to interpret the curveball of Fleetwood Mac's Tusk. At least we know what the costume designers did with all their spare material this week.

1984: Not given the room to be too epic, Meat Loaf does what he can with one lace glove and a set of interpretative hand signals that are almost Pan's People-like.

1990: Happy Mondays' Shaun Ryder, hands planted firmly in jacket pockets, lets Bez take the strain. Mind, watch Rowetta go behind him, expending as much in constant motion without the closeups.

1996: Is Mark Morrison small or is that fur coat far too large? Meanwhile two accomplices flag down landing aircraft.

2002: Feted New Rock Revolution imports The Vines' Craig Nicholls had an arms length relationship with comprehensibility at the best of times. Here he seems to replace the words with what the subtitlers presumably had down as 'general squawking', climaxing by using an overlarge new drumstick. None of that with Las Ketchup, the last great post-European summer holiday hit. Look beyond the front row - there is no way the audience shots of everyone copying the moves were recorded simultaneously with the performance.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

17th October

1985: Most if not all Shakin’ Stevens performances are the same - he stands near the front of a stage, maybe one lightly dusted in dry ice, and does that sidestepping Elvis-shuffle for three minutes. Given the in-the-round stage to work, he goes no further than a little perimeter perambulation. Elton John can't do that, he's got a piano to play, so in his muted suit and glasses he has to rely on others to create the atmosphere for him. The audience, clapping above their heads and swaying like it's a power ballad, are keen to fill in.

1991: Slade made more TOTP appearances than any other band - sit down, Status Quo, we have statistics - so you can forgive them for drifting a little towards the end. On this final of 56 studio slots they dress as Fields Of The Nephilim and Dave Hill waves the fretboard in the cameraman's face. Once upon a time they'd have dished out far more than one branded scarf. And then, with all the space and expense they could ever want, Monty Python. Well, Eric Idle, really, plus a few extras, stuntmen and at least one crew member building his part up. Rhetorical question: where is he actually going at the end? It's going to have to turn round in a very few seconds.

2003: The appeal of Blondie was to some extent that Debbie Harry never tried to dance on the spot. Until 2003, that is. Kylie Minogue meanwhile did hardly anything but dance these days around then, even if the light show was substantially scaled down.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

16th October

1975: A wiped final product but what does survive, oddly, is some rehearsal footage featuring gallery talkback, Pan's People with Flick adding extra direction (and in a rare post-Babs pre-Dee Dee exit lineup) and one of David Essex's less popular looks. Surely they must have done something like that every week while they had the private but necessary opportunity?

1980: Once Suzi Quatro has dragged Tommy Vance off the surely lording it rather too much pedestal, Showaddywaddy make an attempt to introduce new elements to the act, namely maracas and a comedy punk wig. The crowd look on, stunned into silence. You'll see the original post-strike idea of DJ plus guest host has been abandoned already but they're lavishing guests on the show anyway never mind what the audience think, Michael Palin plugging Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album in somewhere about the same part of the audio mix as both I Like Chinese off the album and with an underlying bed of blithe audience chatter. Not a great portent for introducing a new band to the show, but that debutant is Adam & The Ants. When all you've known is a fat bloke in a grass skirt - ah, Bad Manners - you would be struck by that image, wouldn't you? Tommy is so rapt he gets completely lost mid-sentence as to what he's already said before throwing to the woman-torturing Matchbox - but again there's an album to talk about for no reason other than that it exists and some chat with Dollar, seamlessly linking single plug and engagement announcement. By the way, they revealed later the latter was all a big publicity stunt, they'd been a couple but had split up by then.

1986: The Wizard had already been the TOTP theme for six months by the time it was a hit, so in came Paul Hardcastle for some time honoured slapping of equidistant synth keys in front of some screens.

2005: Girls Aloud incorporate the most effortlessly pointless Fabulous Baker Boys homage to date. Nobody's even pretending to play it!

Monday, 15 October 2012

15th October

1981: In September 1980 Kid Jensen moved to Atlanta, sort of reverted to his proper name and helped bring CNN into the world. Before long he got bored of that and came back to what he knew. Also back, after a four year stint away from the studio caused more by lack of than too much interest, was Gary Glitter, who hadn't changed except for his shoulder epaulets being even bigger. Restraint was similarly a constant problem to B.A. Robertson, somewhat invading duet partner Maggie Bell's personal space. She appears most unimpressed with his idea of clapping. In case there was any remaining room for largesse, Bad Manners filled it in every sense, Buster dressed for the slopes and causing an inadvertent continuity problem. Presumably there's a reason why the saxophonist is in a dressing gown but it must remain lost to the ether. The juxtaposition between 'MISS STONY (something) LIONS CARNIVAL' and The Exploited is almost beautiful, as is the audience attempting to form some sort of party movement reaction to the second wave punk atom bomb dropped before them and eventually joining in with the smuggled in hardcore off by stage right. Also note the first sighting of explosions behind a hard rock band as would become standard a decade or so later. If this was a show of returns, it was also one of farewell as Legs & Co bowed out, it being decided a wider, mixed sex repetory company would be more adaptable and useful than a specific weekly slot with a restricted number of participants. Their final headline routine... well, you could dance to it, certainly. The Tweets' Birdie Song, it was. What's more they clearly aren't doing the 'proper' actions. Top work by whoever was operating the big screen, waving that thing for all they're worth.

1999: To Swansea! On the Pops tour of reduced worth, Christina Aguilera, which in 1999 was apparently "unpronounceable" and a song which seemingly wasn't worth playing to the end despite being number one.

2004: ...but hang around long enough and they build a set outside TV Centre for you, as with "this band 'ere, U2". In contravention of all sorts of moral panics Bono starts where, Jensen aside, this blog day started.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

14th October

1976: Diddy David Hamilton goes for a joke at the start of this first clip and gets a much better reaction than he surely anticipated. Ruby Flipper had been an interesting diversion, a solution to a problem Flick Colby saw and anticipated but nobody else did so the BBC made her change back to an all-female lineup. Flipper's final fling was some frenzied tableau shape pulling to Wild Cherry. As if to demonstrate, all three girls have flashed their knickers before the vocals start. Every camera trick in the book is thrown at David Essex, including unforgiving extreme close-up and just finding a girl singing along to it. Real perpetual motion is exhibited by J.A.L.N. Band and their frontman endlessly running back and forth, sometimes on the spot.

1982: It's not like anyone really needed to know, surely, but Mari Wilson caves in and tells us what her Marionettes (no, the band were the Wilsations) are allegedly called. Their 'wardrobe' gift appears to comprise a handkerchief. From one haircut to another, is that a rat-tail Curt Smith of Tears For Fears is sporting? Power pop thrills hence from The Pinkees, though this is mostly here for Peel's anecdote about America.

1993: Eternal were big enough to both merit starting in silhouette and get their logo on a backdrop of its own, even though it appears to be attached to a bedsheet. Towards the end a couple of them look like they've just decided to go their own way.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

13th October

1977: Dundee disco groovers Rokotto look like they're half ringers but that isn't the case. You certainly wouldn't want to get in the way of their singer when he's waving his cane like that.

1983: Feast on the wonder of Jay Aston of Bucks Fizz' hat. Maximising that close-up work, it seems to be a titfer she just never stopped accessorising, from chiffon to repurposed necklace. Just as confusing is the routine, which involves pointed side looks and kind of organised sitting down and then wandering around. Lydia Murdock made an answer record to Billie Jean with neither the movement of Jacko nor the style, wearing a dress that looks like it's been hand stitched from a duvet.

1988: Guest dance vocalist without portfolio PP Arnold strived to give some visual element to The Beatmasters, one of whom appears to consider looking like he's playing his synth a poor second to waving his arms about. Despite her top design Arnold was at least clearly there for further purpose, Sabrina having seemingly turned up just to be whooped at as soon as she started moving and Sinitta unwisely joining in and level on stage with her backing dancers as if she could be any one of the three.

1994: Tom Watkins creation 2wo Third3 weren't a band short on image gimmickery with their cartoon mascot and keyboard players in suits who thought nothing of breaking off from their duties for some frenzied body popping and general showing off. Use a chair properly, sir.

2000: How big were the Spice Girls? This was the second pre-release appearance for this single, their much now overlooked for a reason attempt at going R&B. Observe how Mel C's T-shirt attempts to uphold her hard won reputation as 'the rock one'.

Friday, 12 October 2012

12th October

1967: Does Ray Davies want us to vote for him? An uncommonly enjoying themselves The Kinks, including Dave Davies in the widest scarf possible and Pete Quaife adopting a "ceci n'est pas une pipe" approach to his bass.

1978: Olympic Runners liked their half-open tracksuit tops and their uncoordinated grooving during one of disco's few ragtime piano solos. Clearly it was a look Jimmy could go for too. Rather more assured hoofing came with a double dose of Legs & Co, even though the BBC costumiers could only afford two glittery outfits for The Jacksons and given one of them to Rosie, who really couldn't get the subtle-expressions-to-camera facet right. Gill takes centre stage for Crystal Gayle in an actual set, one with minimalist furniture design and something someone should tell her isn't actually a mirror.

1995: Somehow hiring a jazz band, before hiding most of them off to one side, and wearing ties didn't make PJ & Duncan look any more palatable. Suggs is, according to Nicky Campbell, performing "in a colourful Camden Town manner", the streets there thronged with game but out of place dual dancers and horn sections in Hawaiian shirts. A distinct lack of either pervades Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, even with Kylie's help, and especially not with Campbell taking the piss. Nobody who hosted Wheel Of Fortune can take the cultural high ground. Cave, because he can, does away with the simmering sexual tension right at the end and goes in for the full snog.

2001: Ash's intention is presumably to resemble a show band in their bow ties and wine waiter jackets, it's just semes they couldn't get any in women's sizes and Charlotte Hatherley ends up in cords. Though the title of Jean-Jacques Smoothie's hit suggests such an adjustments, it's rare when latter day Pops had to bring dancers in due to producers being far too anonymous and reticent that they actually thought much about the routine.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

11th October

1973: The only one of Kenny Everett's seven hosting gigs to survive, and here it is in full. After some heavy duty audience jockeying for position on camera, Electric Light Orchestra ignore the old wives' take about not opening umbrellas inside, or the newer one about not having a frontman who's quite that hirsute. None of that with Status Quo, at least not by this heads down no-nonsense boogie stage. Some of their crowd clearly don't quite know the way round rock and roll dancing. 'Country landowner at neighbourhood watch meeting having stolen Sly Stone's hat' was Noddy's look for the latest future Slade number one. Dave meanwhile was ready for the wrestling ring. Oh, and here's fun - Meet Kenny Everett, an impromptu tour and Q&A filmed after the show and unshown in full until 2012.

1974: As usual, no sign of Queen demeaning themselves as far as appearing in front of a studio audience. Unfortunately later that night Freddie tripped over and was mistaken for a doormat.

1979: With ITV in the midst of a two month strike TOTP, as with all BBC1 prime-time shows, racked up huge audiences, and this one set a show record of 19.7 million. And what were that great number presented with? Andy Peebles, making a presenting debut clearly so striking they didn't ask him back for more than two years afterwards, and advertising slogan-based chancers Cats UK. Cheers for that, Britain must have thought as one. Given its popularity not much of it is around, bar Legs & Co in a white studio for Michael Jackson. Sue wisely gives ample warning of what's ahead.

1984: In 1984, it was the height of fashion to wear clothes based on the light-up Simon game. Ask Kim Wilde. And while you're there, ask her drummer what sort of kit that's supposed to be. The director hasn't planned for Wham!'s performance, given he's almost right underneath George and pointing at the lights, threatening to scar the image onto the nation's retinas. The Late Late Breakfast Show had lots of fun with the keyboard player's resemblance to Noel. Is it possible to emotionally slow dance in a plastic party hat? Alison Moyet is the subject of the interesting sociological question.

1990: The Sisters Of Mercy seem to have reacted to the coming of Guns'n'Roses by making the bassist wear a Slash-style hat. Lots of hair metal posing ensues, not to mention the meaningful disguises of the backing singers.

2002: It's been said on here before that Girls Aloud used to start routines in an intriguing prop/set-laden way and then abandon it for the usual dance routine. The big sister of all that is surely this Holly Valance routine, which starts at a very cheap approximation of a cafe table and then decides as soon as the first few lines are out of the way it's not worth examining that angle any further. The alpha male version was Justin Timberlake, who gets a lot of screaming when he hasn't actually done much yet. And then both returned to their respective dressing rooms and wondered what the hell was going on, something they pretty much had in common with everyone else, as John Otway returned to show and charts alike twenty-five years after his last appearance. It's difficult not to concur with his sheer joy at the end.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

10th October

1985: Steve Wright introducing The Smiths. I can't imagine Morrissey had nothing to say about this. They faced competition for the alienated youth this week in the form of The Cult, Ian Astbury in full hand-twirling mood having been calligraphed on his cheek.

1991: Eventually Mark Franklin had to be kept away from physical contact with the show. Here's a key problem with the new look - the top ten alone in the rundown, after the first song of the show (Carl Cox, if you must know) So much for everything else. "Creating a flavour", Cathy Dennis seems to be allying herself with the string section while partitioning those pesky synths off to the other side. For completeness' sake, Morrissey.

1997: Boy band-like post-Britpop chancers in the time when you could use the line "I go to public school" in a song and get away without comment, Catch clearly excited the girls enough with their song about being ripped off in a Soho sex club. Logic lurks somewhere within, I'm sure. "Let's have a bit more!" Toby Slater shouts as the song comes to an end, before flashing the dreaded rock horns. Look at yourself, son!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

9th October

1980: The lady in the Volswagen bucket hat may be keen on Status Quo, but not half as much as the blokes in red caps down the front. The catch is, they may not even be the most drunk men in that vicinity. Once Peter Powell has got Dennis Waterman to hesitantly plug his non-singing of theme tunes in "the short near future" OMD's Andy McCluskey does his usual hot shoe shuffle with bass, not just dancing like a teacher but in grey sweater and brown tie dressing like one too. At least putting Legs & Co in eighteenth century gear - stylised, obviously - for a song called Casanova, by Coffee, makes sense, though the routine owes less to Regency balls than Cupid Stunt.

1986: Yes, that fresh faced, openly nervous young gent at the start is a debuting Simon Mayo, who'd be coming back for the next ten years. The Bangles were meant to be vocal equals, but Susannah Hoffs ends up proving some are more equal than nothing. Next to her Debbi Peterson, cruelly denied a drumkit to call her own, gives good pose. While Julian Cope was literally looking down on his audience, Howard Jones was marking what would be his last TOTP slot with a callback to his first, getting Jed to interpret the song as only he could. White face paint not good enough for him any more?

Monday, 8 October 2012

8th October

1964: They've got their name right there in case they forget it, see. They being The Supremes, the couple just behind and to their right slow dancing while everyone else goes much quicker.

1981: Lest we forget, Tight Fit weren't always the wim-o-wehing confection of greater fame but originally a producer-led leap onto the medley bandwagon before the label decided to do something else with the name. Nobody seems entirely convincing, understandably. See everyone ignoring Legs & Co there, and here, where they're more visible behind Madness even though there's never an actual close shot of them. Bit late with the lighting change both in and out there. This Human League appearance features some fine dancing from the girls and must be one of the last stands for that Phil Oakey haircut, but the real star attraction is, I think, Jo Callis' casual one hand behind the back keyboard part.

1987: Some fine synth drumkit work going on alongside Jellybean, but what really shapes it is singer Steven Dante's denial of logical dance moves. You go forward for the chorus, not sit down. Ask LL Cool J, he understands and, given the audience of the shortlived US studio to work with, gets some rare for the time actual interaction going. I presume all those people behind do something.

1992: A game audience, this, clapping along to the vague beat of Ned's Atomic Dustbin as if they know what's going on. They're on safer ground with Take That, though even there they sound like they're slow clapping them and their ribbon mikes off. There's no reason why only Robbie and Howard have their shirts open other than maybe contractual.

1999: To Birmingham, where one suspects Pet Shop Boys may have had gay club culture in mind. The backdrop isn't even a backdrop, just a large standalone sign. Liam Gallagher and Steve Craddock had covered the Jam's Carnation for a tribute album, though Noel seemingly insisted on popping along with a keyboard anyway. Can he really play it? Well, he gave Liam the guitar solo that time they did Roll With It...

2004: Here's your clash of TOTP cultures in action. In one corner, Manic Street Preachers press the current affairs film research unit into action. In very much the other, long forgotten boy band V create a health and safety nightmare in the name of making an impression. Their faces at the end are the absolute picture of "who the fuck's idea was that?"

Sunday, 7 October 2012

7th October

1971: The Tams' appearance is odd in all sorts of ways. For one thing, the record had just been knocked off number one after three weeks at number one in which they hadn't appeared. For the most part, keep a careful eye on the backing singer Tam in the middle of the group of three. For a bit.

1976: Jimmy's wearing an Old Grey Whistle Test badge, a neat example of hands across the musical spectrum ocean. Herbie Flowers, legendary session bassist then with T-Rex, turned up in his pyjamas and still looked more awake than Marc, who seems to be trying to locate the median point between Rudolf Valentino and Frank Sidebottom. Pussycat came "from across the seas" and one of their mike stands got lost in transit. If Paul Nicholas' impromptu fast forward waltz doesn't impress, one of Ruby Flipper's last stands saw them interpret The Detroit Spinners in too-short jumpers (for the females) and a routine that's faster than the record.

1982: Jimmy's joined by his close personal friends to introduce some classic post-modernist Latino funk antics from Kid Creole & The Coconuts. You wouldn't think with the sometime August Darnell and three fully interpretative backing singers the only other band member would get much screen time, but that's to underestimate his exuberance. No such playing about for Bauhaus, wearing their influence on Peter Murphy's lack of sleeve. Never can he have been more thankful of that hand from the front row. Culture Club returned with Mikey Craig as a sharecropper and Savile getting a prediction right for once. Now, give a song about a whorehouse to Zoo in a post-Hot Gossip world, throw in a couple of chairs and some flamboyant dresses and The Animals' classic, now reissued, can lead only one way.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

6th October

1977: The director attempts to distract from Smokie with no end of wipes and washes when pointing out the girl you see a couple of times sporting a massive hat would do. Distractions would do well to occur while Danny Mirror is on, and he's trying just that himself with all those shoulder epaulet buttons and what looks like bulbs in the sleeves. Given the futuro-disco of Giorgio to have a go at Legs & Co retreat into silhouette almost as if they don't want to be seen at their most energetic.

1983: How should one introduce the first band on a TOTP? Enthusiastically towards the musical wonderments yet to come? Casually, knowing the show builds to a number one climax? Getting the audience physically hyped up to the point of abandonment? Freeez open this programme, and it's left to the Rhythm Pals to show the way. David Grant was never a shrinking violet as far as Pops performance went, but listen before he starts singing for someone shouting "do it, David, do it!" in case he was thinking about walking out or something. Suitably emboldened by both coercion and big microphone, he does it. And here's something surely nobody thought they'd ever see - New Order's famously shoddy Blue Monday repeated by public (well, probably host) demand.

1988: Are The Wee Papa Girl Rappers' jackets inflatable? You have to wonder about the point of the keytarist, given he's stuck away in a corner of the set and the music is being defined by the more visible DJ. Erasure's baggage duties must have been enormous if they had to cart those letters around.

1994: Somewhere in the middle of two minutes' worth of uploader captions, INXS. Of course Hutchence is wearing dark glasses.

2000: Look here at Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue, all over each other in a way Nick Cave never managed. Robbie still needs his own space, of course. And yet it's still far less realistic than Zombie Nation. You may like to note a) the producer clearly doesn't know when to stop and b) a strange man grabbing a girl round the waist gets the first, and manliest, cheers of the routine.

Friday, 5 October 2012

5th October

1972: The Sweet's Steve Priest, like the more vaunted Dave Hill, was never afraid of extending the boundaries of what can be worn for a television taping, and he's not stinted here. The drummer meanwhile is so far forward some of the audience are closer to Brian Connolly than he is.

1978: A real show of contrasts, TOTP. On the one hand, Elaine Paige in all too reflective dark glasses. On the other, he may be wearing a bow tie for reasons best known to himself, but Jimmy Pursey and Sham 69 could never be confused for the former. Pursey never went anywhere without his piano-enabling hat.

1989: Unusually, Sonia begins in interview mode where she appears more excited by something happening the following week than the forthcoming performance. Oddly, she's been in position for a good while by the time the audience go nuts. Curiosity Killed The Cat clearly had the deluxe version of an answering machine.

1995: Hale & Pace presenting in character. A nation shudders, especially with the growing realisation that it's not just a gag, they only know two current bands between them. One of those isn't Pulp, with Jarvis in meaningful denouement mode. Are you allowed to do that at that time of family viewing? Candida meanwhile brought her hi-vis tabard. And one definitely isn't Sleeper, for whom the director cuts to the chase and just doesn't show any of the band other than Louise Wener properly. At least we don't get to see their full intro to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, given Cave looks for a crucial few seconds at the start like he'd be quite willing to follow the song's example and smash their faces in with a rock. Kylie is of course a consummate professional, looking adoringly up at the brooding man singing about stoving her features in.

2001: Belying the clear fact they'd run out of inspiration if they were covering this, Steps make a visual connection with nuclear safety through both signage and lighting, while two men make a vain attempt at recreating an electronic drumbeat. One hates to stereotype, but the man we see at 0:43 probably isn't with the girl to his left.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

4th October

1973: You wouldn't think the BBC would be stupid enough to wipe the 500th TOTP, but never underestimate 1970s archiving policies. Despite a four-way hosting face-off between Jimmy, Tony, Noel and Kenny Everett there's nothing especially special about it bar CCS playing the theme live and the return of The Who. The last minute is a blast, featuring full mike swinging, windmilling, a scissor kick and to close some Townshend/Moon patented auto-destruction and the former giving the full hand signals, apparently due to the former's annoyance at the Musician's Union stance as their members were supposed to be on strike. Eventually some audience members are moved enough to throw their wigs at the stage.

1974: Yes, one year later. Plenty going on this week, a lot of shows from this era having the aura of anything-goes nutsiness about them only exacerbated by Jimmy hosting. The director likes Pilot's drummer, and the fish eye lens is taken to new heights when projected onto a spare lightbulb. Once Jimmy has got rid of his scarf there's some glittery ass-shaking in Minnie Mouse ears for some reason from Pan's People to The Tymes before some classic Savile unpleasant gurning leads into David Essex, for whom they've built a little stage to call his own. As always Jimmy then finds a DJ to handle a link for him, this into The Wombles taking their partners by the paw to complete audience bafflement. Roxy Music's celebrated rococo fashion sense seems to have been forgotten about for a while, Andy Mackay's glasses pre-empting Trevor Horn a decade and a half later. Bryan Ferry in jeans! Mark it down, and compare it to the bottle green suits with yellow bow ties of The Drifters. The nurse of the year gets a good cuddle and shake before Andy Fairweather-Low's Reggae Tune makes Paul Nicholas sound irie, especially if the orchestra had much to do with it. It then becomes evident that Jimmy has been wearing a full length hospital gown for the entire show. It's really best not to ponder. Carl Douglas is number one and has room for a live thematic demonstration. The backing singers seem to be learning their routine on the hoof.

1979: After splashing out on purple loon pants XTC couldn't quite afford a full drumkit, just a gong half-inched from ELP. While exhibiting the full available range of headgear, Matumbi liked nothing better than to attack each other with snakes during their solos. The titfers left over were lent to Squeeze, Glenn providing some of the less convincing synth miming in Pops history. The Jags' Nick Watkinson seems to be wearing a BBC World Service T-shirt, presumably in case he got lost outside the studio and needed guiding into safe corporation hands. The guitar solo seems to have been partly filmed from the gallery. Kate Bush was a decent and keen modern dancer, of course, so Legs & Co had a level to aspire to. Instead they got into their lingerie and hoped for the best, which of course when presented in their lingerie was no real target at all.

1984: "Here's an Englishman now!" Oh, Richard, you know how to sell a song. The audience have no clue what to do for John Waite so just kind of wave their arms in their own time, direction and rhythm and then some clap half-heartedly. Meanwhile Culture Club have some cogent thoughts on armed conflict, with George having taken the precaution of fleeing to join the Foreign Legion. Jon Moss, keeping his telling distance, joins the dancers at the back instead. Somehow he looks the most composed of all of them. Competition winners? Passers-by not due to attend the recording at all? What's gone on there?

1990: Shellsuits and flat tops date MC Tunes vs 808 State almost exactly. One of the latter can't even bring himself to sway about behind a keyboard, instead choosing to stare intently at a monitor and play the keyboard. But not that sort of keyboard.

2002: Oasis dismiss covers as "sinister... how can you sing someone else's lyrics?" Then they do a cover.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

3rd October

1985: Another one kept in full, and a debut for Paul Jordan, clearly not destined to be one of the broadcasting greats - five further TOTPs, in fact. Not just a great show, a wonderful show too. Part one sees Colonel Abrams in the round showing off his shoulder shaking abilities and some live Iron Maiden; part two features the "first television debut" of Cameo with Larry Blackmon wearing clothes that could really have done with an offsetting codpiece and the band only remembering to bring a bass between them; part three has Rene & Angela, Rene clearly unsure whether to be Prince or Liberace; the new number one and Five Star on the credits plays out.

1991: Run for your lives, it's the start of the infamous 'new look' under veteran LE producer Stanley Appel that signalled the beginning of a slow decline, admittedly quite a sudden dropoff at first - the show moved to Elstree studios, performers were required to sing live where in any way possible, the charts became less of a binding factor. The big event was an exclusive Stevie Wonder video that went on to crash in at 63. Erasure were first on, bringing Spanish gypsy dancer chic but still not the big glamorous intro you'd want. Maybe that was the problem. Also admire Tony Dortie's top, presumably from his special Chart Rundown line. Pigtails and huge feather boa? Voice Of The Beehive were evidently on to provide the flightiness. Being a big Pops occasion of the 90s, of course Status Quo were on hand with a non-single cover from a number ten album. Towards the bright new pop future together! No, come back, please.

1997: Oasis performances from around this year - yes, even given Be Here Now, in fact because of it if you consider those early sales figures - do resemble shows of popularity and strength, getting comfortably more than five minutes of TOTP to themselves. Your guess as to what Liam does at 2:26 is really as good as mine. Tommy Cooper? Louise has her fans too, though by the look of the set by commandeering the screens from 1984. From dressing down to dressing up, Bjork in a voluminous outfit as per with strings, electrics and a cheer for her little running man jig.

2003: Even with the competition of Metallica in the direct area, stones left unturned were never going to be on the agenda at The Darkness' height. Justin does refer to the show by its initials, which while fine in print never works out well in spoken word. The Emma Bunton vibe is supposed to be either Bond or The Matrix, but those men in those suits is more Middle Management.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

2nd October

1980: Ian Gillan attempts to summon up new reserves of menace and instead looks more than a bit bored. Given you can hear audience chatter in the quieter moments, he's not alone. Every hard rock band of the turn of the decade seems to have had a member who looked like that. Perhaps it was the same bloke. In invoking the late 50s model of rock in invoking the late 50s sound of rock, Matchbox frontman Graham Fenton more than runs the risk of coming across as Les Gray: The Next Generation. You'll see that Toyahagram ("roller!") again, and note she only begins applauding when she knows she's on camera. Legs & Co work the oracle around French maid outfits, tinsel, some bars and a sheet to Change before breaking into a low budget light show. Suspicion that Madness' Chas Smash might have had a pre-show livener or two aren't exactly disguising themselves - at one point he manages to squeeze between Suggs, debuting the look that would see him through three subsequent decades give or take a scarf, and the microphone. The people behind them aren't really getting into the party spirit, you have to say. DLT sees them off in a way only he knows how. Speaking of whom... that bit at the start where he promises something special? It's this. Worth a minute of any prime-time music show, I think you'll agree. And there goes Chas again. We can't just watch a live clip of Stevie Wonder afterwards either, as the show's Secret Rollerskate Walking Squadron get to work as the audience go absolutely wild.

1986: Pet Shop Boys, Neil in untypical leather jacket, Chris in typical sailor's hat. Neil's standing running man move during Chris' solo is quite something.

2005: Co-hosted by Fearne Cotton and... Jeremy Bowen. You know, when you next hear someone say "why don't they bring Top Of The Pops back?", this is why. Theirs are folk memories. The reality towards its end was someone thought just the thing to enliven a fast moving pop music extravaganza was BBC news' Middle East editor. This was probably a contributing factor on a general scale too, very late in the day Happy Mondays. Shaun can't know where he is. Bez knows what he's doing. It's not right.

Monday, 1 October 2012

1st October

1981: "Something you've been wanting to do all week" claims Mike Read, perhaps a masochist. Much is left unexplained about The Tweets, including what Legs & Co are doing there. It's hard to think of a greater disparity on a pop show than between the Birdie Song and The Creatures, nominature aside. Mind you, it'd be hard to think of anything pop that could easily lead into Siouxsie in big hair and thigh-high boots leading an entirely percussive two minutes. Not quite as big hair as Toyah's, though, and hers would stand out in a crowded room. She's not actually being electrocuted towards the end, that's the magic of BBC SFX. Denied suffient volume and combing, Altered Images' Clare Grogan instead dons as wide brimmed a hat as she can find, one with string under the chin as if bought from a seafront.

1987: More backcombing. Not, this time, by Sisters Of Mercy's Andrew Eldritch, who seems to be channelling Iggy Pop to the obvious delight of one keen clapper at the front. That version is from an insert for the shortlived US TOTP, included for the pointless length of Gary Davies' new intro. Turning the world upside down, Gary Numan ("their father taught (Numan) to fly!" - worth knowing) strapped on a guitar while The Bee Gees' Robin played something that clearly wasn't a guitar - a STEPP DGX MIDI guitar synth controller, in fact - but he was going to play it like one nevertheless.

1992: Crowded House arrived Fed-Ex and had to play where their parcel was opened. No such set designs for rugged old Status Quo, from the period where they decreed a single wasn't worth it unless it was a medley. Not sure I agree with Steve Wright (no, really) that Dr Alban is "bizarre" as such, but he's still trying to convince us there's guitar on the track. What is bizarre is Andrew Lloyd Webber's attempt at cracking the novelty dance market, Dr Spin. Imagine the looks when those costumes arrived.

1999: Live from Newcastle, Kelle Bryan didn't get the clothing memo.