Constitution Day in Kazakhstan. Goodier looking like the Goombay Dance Band. There is a VERY attractive woman next to him.
Aswad do get on after all to start this. Oh God, there's a vocoder. Apart from that it is to music what ready salted crisps are to food.
Sonia. Oh God.
Charts. The Farm, Talk Talk, Loose Ends. The Tina Turner play didn't work, she's down. Whitesnake up so they should be on.
Goodier saying we "rave it up" now with the KLF. They even LOOK disruptive. Mrs Cauty on keytar. Heh, the It's Grim Up North graffiti on their cagoules. Am guessing most of the audience has never been to a rave. They look a bit okay yah.
Steve Miller. The brief glimpse last week was not misleading, he's got a terrible voice. I suppose it's about the guitar. But there's a reason why it wasn't a hit here when originally released. We had proper music then.
Betty Boo. Yeah, I'd do the do. The Boo-ettes still look as if they haven't rehearsed their little dance. It's quite endearing, really, like it's a homespun hit out of nowhere.
Charts. I see they have dropped the breakers. When they could have showcased Anthrax. Primal Scream go up after going down last week, maybe a full show? Hah. Jason Donovan coming up later, why why why?
Oh God. New Kids On The Block FOR ABOUT THE EIGHT THOUSANDTH f***ing TIME. PLAY f***ing SOMETHING ELSE YOU f***ing BASTARDIC ****s.
NO. NOT THAT. Jesus f***ing Christing arseholes, he's not even f***ing close to having the slightest f***ing idea of what to do with a f***ing guitar. Oh, and it's a cover.
May as well go straight to the playout, which is Whitesnake. Erm, Anthrax had the 2nd highest new entry and didn't get on. There were also possibilities from The Farm and Talk Talk but we have 2 records that were on last week's breakers. And they suddenly break the "we play the playout the next week" when the playout was a good song.
Go. What a dreadful couple of episodes. Weak choices, cowardly production, and p*ss-poor source material. The stupid thing is that if I had machine-gunned the record buying public (thus significantly raising the average IQ of the country, and, indeed, the world) it would be me going to prison. How is that fair?
But, on that show, we had...a medley, a re-issue, and FIVE covers. Jeeeeeeeeeeeeezus. It's not as if there was much possible alternative; Aswad and Whitesnake were the only others. And outside the 40 there's nothing of interest at all. Maybe they should have looked to the indie chart and given Paris Angels or My Jealous God a spin.
This 100%, everyone I know was going mad over that Paris Angels song, why it wasnt a huge hit, ok it probably sold more over the next 2 years than many of these songs that did go top 40 but thats no consolation.
Post by vastarin er on Feb 21, 2021 10:59:09 GMT 1
I think that, had I been the producer, I might have had a sit-down with some of the major labels and distributors, and told them frankly that, if they kept putting out cover versions and remixes, I would not be putting them on the show. And would instead be going back to the old system of playing tracks that were not in the charts but which might become hits.
Or looking deep outside the 40. Or taking a leaf out of the Chart Show book and going genre-focussed - get a wider snapshot of music by guaranteeing at least one reggae/rock/indie/whatever track on the show per week. Going deeper into the 23 August chart, they could have had The High, Ice Cube, Frazier Chorus, Ruthless Rap Assassins, and Prefab Sprout; the 30 August show could have had That Petrol Emotion, Black Crowes, Living Colour, NWA (as if). A couple of each of those each week instead of cover versions would have made each show much better AS A SHOW and might have garnered a wider audience.
After all the BBC has a remit to educate as well as entertain. It's hardly education to show f***ing Sonia miming to a 1960s track.
I had not been watching these closely at the time, but it is astounding how much TOTP had been eschewing the casual, older, and indie audience in favour of shoving boy groups and SAWmill dross down people's throats. That they refused to show James and Stone Roses despite repeatedly being entitled under the TOTP rules to a play sums it up.
But then it wouldn't have been Top Of The Pops. Nor had any producer got the right to tell the record industry what type of songs should be on the show and what shouldn't.
Eventually, producers sometimes didn't follow the charts as closely, putting on acts who had not charted or who might attract non-regular viewers. To do so they often ignored songs that were high in the charts. A few of these songs had the habit of hanging around the chart, even going back up despite the increasing trend of nearly everything peaking in week one, thus almost forcing their way on to the show.
There were other factors involved, but producers stepping outside the formula that had been so successful for a long time contributed to the decline in audience size and ultimately the demise of the show as a weekly broadcast.
Post by vastarin er on Feb 21, 2021 22:32:55 GMT 1
The decline was because the producers stepped the wrong way - i.e. showcasing the BIG names that were going down the charts rather than the smaller names that were going up it.
TOTP had for a long time had songs that were not hits or were outside the 40. It's what made George Michael's career.
I just picked one at random. 12 February 1981. It had on it 3 songs outside the top 40, plus four in the 30s. Leaving aside specials, they were regularly having non-40 songs until October 1984, so they'd been doing it far longer than not been doing it.
So they were never slaves to the top of the charts. Every reason why a producer could have said "I'm responsible for putting on a show that entertains and educates, and I reserve the right to ignore Jive Bunny".
In fact, I would argue that their failure to do this was a crucial blow in TOTP's position. The show was skewing to one particular audience and ignoring the more general. I can't remember these episodes at all, yet I should have been the target audience. But the music they constantly played said nothing to me about my life. The Chart Show was a very different matter...
Firstly, the TOTP producers of the late 1970s and early 1980s (and I totally agree that the music then was far better than what we had by 1990) had 2 big advantages relative to the later years in terms of being able to feature songs outside the top 40.
1. Most shows were 40 minutes long. 2. The slower pace of the chart meant that they could feature every new entry to the top 30 the first week and still have room for other hits, whether second / third appearances, or records outside the top 30.
The norm in the period 1978-1980 when Robin Nash was still Executive Producer was
- 40 minute show, 13 songs studio or video including Legs & Co plus a snippet of something over the chart rundown at the start and another snippet of something over the credits.
- 35 minutes show, 11 songs in studio or video plus charts and credits
- 30 minutes show, 10 songs plus (you get my drift)
The repeats have reinforced that up to May 1978 when the chart was expanded to 75 positions it was hard to tell how far off the chart some featured records were. But once the top 75 commenced it's been clear that they did follow the chart downwards using their own eligibility criteria (i.e. the number 1, climbers that hadn't been on the previous week, a balance of studio and video, but almost never any video below position 30).
Some weeks that allowed them to find something well below position 40, even down to 70 once or twice. Yes, they occasionally stuck on some MOR stuff that wasn't in the chart (maybe that was meant to be educational).
In 1980, when Michael Hurll took over from Robin Nash there was suddenly a lot of sidetracking banter between 2 hosts (when one host had been sufficient before), interviews, chart rundowns read out by a presenter, top 10 video countdowns for a while and fewer records were played than in the years before. 1981 and 1982 weren't too bad. Michael Hurll seemed to prefer playing things in full, including videos, which was fair enough I suppose, but fewer songs were featured even when there weren't unnecessary distractions.
Hurll seemed to not like playing the same thing twice, so there were few repeats of studio performances, and videos only getting shown once. Long-running number ones with no prospect of the act appearing in the studio must have infuriated him. But he was still basically following the chart down. This enabled them to have songs below position 30 and occasionally below 40 (but Wham's debut at position 40 something was an exception even by late 1982)
In 1985 the show went down permanently to 30 minutes, and few tracks were featured below position 25 around this time, especially since the top 10 video rundown was back for a year. Breakers helped get songs that were a bit lower some representation.
Paul Ciani took over as producer in 1988 and by 1989 was cutting videos short at about 2 minutes and studio appearances at about 3 minutes, but still following the charts down. The Augusts 23rd 1990 show had 9 featured songs and 3 breakers. This sort of total is higher than we had had since before the running time had dropped to 30 minutes, hence they are often featuring tracks below position 30, but new entries alone can fill up a show by this point.
I don't see how they could ignore Jive Bunny or anything else that was high in the charts. They just needed to have something to show. I remember John Lydon praising TOTP in 1979 for featuring Death Disco when Radio 1 wasn't playlisting it - but it was in the charts and that was the ethos behind the show. Tampering with that wasn't advisable, people still expected to see what they had bought, at least until they had had enough of it on MTV before TOTP got hold of it.
It was doing 15m ten years ago. Now it's doing 6.5m-7m. I appreciate there are more channels and so on in 1990 - but they're not taking more than half of the audience.
Even so, as a national broadcaster, it should not be chasing ratings, but it should be broadcasting to a broad church. It's appalling they cut it down from 40 minutes given the extra broadcasting time now available.
Post by SherriffFatman on Feb 22, 2021 15:31:24 GMT 1
I've never seen any written formula to demonstrate how Top of the Pops decides what to show. I don't know if there ever was one, but for me it's fairly simply...
Always show the number 1
Starting from 2 and working downwards, show everything that was not on last week and is either a new entry, climber or non-mover.
As a viewer at the time, that would have made me happy. I don't feel like the programme should ever get directly involved in questions regarding the quality of the music, there is no need because the music is determined by the viewing public anyway through what they buy.
It has annoyed me a few times lately though that songs have even made the top 10 and not been shown. Why not? When the Stone Roses repeatedly don't get shown even when they make the top 10, but Sonia repeatedly does when she hardly ever makes the top 10, it does start to look like a certain type of music is being prioritised. That's against the principles that I thought were the whole pint of the show, and I don't care if the Roses couldn't make the studio and don't have a video, just put some footage together, or show some flashing lights and people dancing or something, it needs to be shown.
I think it was Michael Grade, when he was Controller of BBC1, who decided that shows in prime time should be multiples of 30 minutes in length, and so TOTP became a 30 minute show from 1985. That still holds true, except for Saturdays, in the main.
Apart from banned records, and occasional videos deemed to have inappropriate content for early evening, there is very little evidence that anything was purposely ignored. Where someone wasn't available to appear in the studio and there was no video TOTP was given no choice but to leave it out once they had dispensed with the idea of having dancers, e.g. An Innocent Man by Billy Joel in 1984, which was eligible to be included 5 weeks in a row but never was included because there was no video, and no studio appearance forthcoming.
Incidentally, George Michael declined to make a video for Praying For Time, but allowed his record company to make one which consisted only of the lyrics against a single-colour background. TOTP perhaps decided that didn't make good enough TV.
There was no requirement once promo videos were almost always produced to promote singles for the BBC to create one for a reluctant artist or record company. They didn't do it for Billy Joel, or Michael Jackson for that matter, nor therefore for The Stone Roses.
TOTP didn't feature Michael Jackson & Siedah Garrett in either week when they were number 1.
Billboard listed video availability on NKOTB's Tonight before TOTP first showed it. CBS might have done a second version. This sometimes happened. The BBC wouldn't have had concert footage any other way than in something supplied by the record company.
The key word of this episode is "funky" apparently. Up to a point, Lady Turner.
Adamski - The Space Jungle Oh well, that confirms that "Killer" really was a flash in the pan. High on the list of "terrible follow-ups to really rather brilliant and innovative enormous hits". Even a guest singer of the calibre of Seal wouldn't have saved this, though. Why?
Mariah Carey - Vision Of Love A bit more like it
Talk Talk - Life's What You Make It Clear by now (1986) that TT were going beyond the narrow confines of pop, already. Watch out for the badger.
The Farm - Groovy Train One side effect of Madchester is that dull charmless bands from across urban areas of the UK (and as we shall seee, the Forest of Dean) could now have hits. The antithesis of glam in appearance - how ordinary and dull-looking can you get, dress-wise? There is a wee bit of artistry here in some of the keyboard riffing, but you feel they're embarrassed to be involved with something so effete, or at least want to be seen as such. Probably their best song, to damn with faint praise.
From the Top 5 Albums of August Madonna - Vogue (Malcolm Mclaren did it first) Luciano Pavarotti - Nessun Dorma (I guess no other track has a video to hand) Phil Collins - Something Happened On The Way To Happen (A bit of a guilty pleasure IMO) New Kids On The Block - Step By Step (Oh baby) Elton John - Club At The End Of The Street (not vintage Reg by any means)
Caron Wheeler - Livin' In The Light Pretty decent way to launch a solo career, with production from the Jungle Brothers. A fair bit of subtle beauty in here, but it can't quite decide whether to be arty (and as African as the clothing worn by the band), or commercial dancefloor. Appealing, certainly.
Deee-Lite - Groove Is In The Heart Still sounds like something I was supposed to like, but couldn't find a way to do so. DJ Dmitry was not from Russia, either (Putin and others may disagree). Just checking I see that the Ukrainian parliament had already declared sovereignty, if not, as yet, full independence, by this point, too.
Loose Ends - Don't Be A Fool Kind of dull and forgettable and generic IMO
Bombarulina - IBTWYPDB This time the video, and not a yewtree in sight, remarkably. In a word, pants.
Janet Jackson - Black Cat Not sure why a performer (and indeed artiste, and indeed artist) of JJ's calibre and talent was persuaded that a quasi-stadium rock number would be a good idea. I can see how it fits in with the tougher theme of other parts of the album, but, no, a bit of a misfire without being actively repulsive.
Not a uniformly terrible edition, once Adamski was done
Londonbeat -I've Been Thinking About You A rare example of where adding a dance beat has really improved an already capable act. They were good more toned down. Now though, wow, they are close to excellent. A fine song. Great start to the show!
Janet Jackson - Black Cat Still a mistake. What on earth was she thinking? It's not even that it's dreadful..
Sonia - End Of The World "The first British girl to have her first 5 singles go top 20" says Smooth Gary. Just as well this is the best of them. Though the others were mostly dire. And this is mid-market karaoke, done reasonably well.
INXS - Suicide Blonde To my ears a disappointing comeback, kind of taking the elements that had worked so well in the big hit off their last album and reassembling them in the wrong order, and with a less strong song..
Bass-O-Matic - Fascinating Rhythm A bit peculiar, kind of like the only time this would have been a hit is autumn 1990. Not quite dance experimentation (like their previous single). but not straightforward pop either. A melange of elements that should maybe not work together but do. Hypnotic in places. And a rare example of a rap interlude adding to a track. Definitely pretty decent!
KLF - What Time Is Love? This is what it is. I'm agnostic about whether the rap interlude improves this or not.
Maria McKee - Show Me Heaven A bit more straightforward and overproduced than what she usually does, but there's something here, passion and fervour and guts. Yes for a film obviously, but better than many such tracks.
Steve Miller Band - The Joker Ah, it's that week, the very narrow number one week. Pub rock on a large scale. Must bode well for the future of Dogs d'Amour and the Quireboys.
Faith No More - Epic Innovative and worth the re-release. And genuinely funky.
Unexpectedly, the best episode for ages. Surprisingly so. Gosh.
Post by SherriffFatman on Mar 3, 2021 13:56:55 GMT 1
Timmy Mallet miming “aah-yeah” is truly one of the most ludicrous moments on a programme that has produced many.
I actually remember the guitarist in Londonbeat from the first time I watched, he looks like he thinks he’s in a different band, like he’s been left on stage after a performance by Pop Will Eat Itself.
Fascinating Rhythm is excellent, that dark muttered rapping reminds me of Faithless, way ahead of its time.
Not deliberately going against the grain, but I really like Suicide Blonde, definitely gets me foot tapping.
I remember in 1990 being confused by how different that Steve Miller Band footage sounded to the record. It really is just that he can’t sing, or at least isn’t trying very hard. If ever a single needed a proper video it’s that one.
I’m not a massive Show Me Heaven fan, but that was an excellent vocal performance from Maria McKee. This is not a show where you’re often impressed by people’s actual singing, she blew everything else that’s been on recently away, on that front at least. Very impressive.
Post by SherriffFatman on Mar 3, 2021 14:11:07 GMT 1
I typed all that before Epic by Faith No More came on at the end, what an absolutely amazing track, hope it’s on a bit more next week. Shame the Cocteau Twins haven’t been on, but I guess entering at 39 and then climbing one place maybe didn’t warrant it.
Also, is that DNA low down the chart the same one that did Tom’s Diner which is still quite high up? A bit odd, having two singles out at the same time.