Chart Music #58: October 23rd 1980 – Top Of The Gear

The latest episode of the podcast which asks: has anyone really ever done that to someone else’s nostrils? Come on, now!

Neither willing to go out and pissed off with staying in, your favourite podcast about old episodes of Top Of The Pops elects to bury its head once more into the comforting bosom of the Eighventies, so come and join us, Pop-Crazed Youngsters – it’s a many-teated beast.

This particular episode of The Pops sees our Thursday-evening treat still enclagged with the amorphous goo off the chrysalis it emerged from after the Musicians Union strike of the summer. They’ve had celebrity guests, a news section, two interviews with The Old Sailor and a wedding announcement from Dollar, but this week they’ve gone too far: they’ve done a tie-in with the 1980 Motor Show and filled the studio with cars that no-one can actually see and none of the audience gives the slightest fleck of a toss about. And oh dear; the combination of the smell of new car and the sight of bored-looking women in Talbot t-shirts standing about brings on predictable changes in our host, clad in a racing driver one-piece with the zip slung low: The Living Gnasher Badge…

Musicwise, it’s cast-iron proof that 1980 really was the Ken of the Eighventies. Quo tap their noses at us as they lumber into the new decade. The Nolans get ready to rip through Japan like a four-headed Kay’s Catalogue Godzilla. Andy McCluskey gets given a bass in a doomed attempt to put him off his dancing. Poor Legs & Co get stared at by blokes in cars, like a Disco version of Never Go With Strangers. The Number One is more adult-orientated rammel. And DLT goes full-on PLP with Elkie Brooks.

Rock Expert David Stubbs and Taylor Parkes join Al Needham for a leaf through the Exchange and Mart of Pop, swooping off on such tangents as how rubbish it’s going to be when we come out of lockdown, how unprepared your local market was for the onset of New Romantic, Gilbert O’Sullivan’s Erotic Meat Buffet, Eighties synth-duo intermarriage, and SCREW YOU, JOANNE GREENWOOD FROM CLASS 4A.

(Swearing)

Part One: Preamble

Part Two: Dave Lee Travis, Status Quo, The Nolans

Part Three: Gilbert O’Sullivan, Kelly Marie, Air Supply, Kate Bush

Part Four: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, Ottawan, Barbra Streisand, Coffee

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Chart Music #57: October 11th 1973 – A Balloon Full Of Gravy

The latest episode of the podcast which asks: would you let your daughter marry this episode of Top Of The Pops?

It’s the first episode of the year, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, so the ever-forward-looking Chart Music throws itself all the way back to the glorious year of ’73, where the hair grows wild and free, Bacofoil androgyny is at its peak, Look-In can operate as a dating service and no-one bats an eyelid, and – to quote Karen, aged 12 from Formby, The Colour Brown Is All Around.

And yet! All is not well in Top Of The Popsland. They’ve just come off their 500th episode and suffered a double-shoeing from the so-called Mainstream Media for a) encouraging ten year-old girls to get pregnant and b) being full of rubbish songs where you can’t make out what they’re saying performed by men who look like women and God help us if there’s a war. So how do they react? By wringing the last droplets out of Kenny Everett before he defects to Capital Radio and bunging on something for the Old’Uns inbetween the good stuff.

Musicwise, it’s a proper bag of Tiger Tots, with a few cubes of Oxo bunged in. David Cassidy gets his straw boater on. Slade finally – and fatally – learn how to spell properly. Elton John arses about with some oranges on Hollywood and Vine. Pans People transmogrify into five sexy Steve Austins. There’s a lad off Opportunity Knocks who isn’t Neil Reid. Jeff Lynne goes all UberTravis. Leicester Man is unveiled to a bemused audience. And the Top Of The Pops Orchestra earn some beer money on the side.

Simon Price and Neil Kulkarni – Jesus and Buzz themselves – get down to ’73 with Al Needham, breaking off on such tangents as fending off Brexity Oasis Bots, listening in silent awe to the sound of a soul legend’s toilet activities, Concerned Parent of Exeter, the art of making tapes for girls, and the glorious resurfacing of a 27 year-old demo tape about Eastenders. Swearing a-plenty!       

Part One: Preamble

Part Two: Kenny Everett, David Cassidy, ELO, Elton John

Part Three: Michael Ward, Status Quo, The Detroit Spinners, Engelbert Humperdinck

Part Four: Slade, Limmie & Family Cookin’, The Simon Park Orchestra, Ike & Tina Turner

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Chart Music #56: December 25th 1983 – Oh Dear!! A Bat Bit You

The latest episode of the podcast which asks: why do we always leave the end-of-year episodes to the actual end of the year?

Warning: if you listen to this episode, your ears will be breaking the Rule Of Six, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself, because Al has decided to throw a New Years party with all manner of special guests who will be dropping in, sitting by the fire, contemplating the meaning of the season, and – most importantly –picking at a Christmas Day episode of Top Of The Pops like a child picks at the scab on its knee.

And what an episode it is! We’re at the tail-end of 1983, a year Chart Music has deemed the beginning of the decline of New Pop, but on further examination turns out to be much better than we’d realised. The accounts department of Radio One – Gripper Peebles, Twankey Smith, Pigwanker General and ‘All Night’ Long – are in full effect, the Zoo Wankers are kept on a leash, and we are assailed by wave after wave after wave after wave of the top rank of ’83.

Musicwise, thwap! It’s bangers and monsters all the way. Freeez drop the summer hit of the year. Michael Jackson reveals a hitherto-undiscovered love of Billy Britain and SWANT. We discover that just when you think you’ve got the measure of Shakin’ Stevens, he reveals new and unchartered depths as he jumps upon and seizes the white heat of Technology. Men At Work batter us with Australiana. Bonnie Tyler runs into a mirror. Miss Lennox glares at the classroom. Some American woman runs about a lot. Adam Ant begins to fade away. The Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boys of Quality Street look upward. Bucks Fizz give Larry The Lamb a go at lead vocals. The Lionel King puts on his best Jafakan accent. Carol Kenyon makes your dad drop his Satsuma. Bowie launches a nuclear attack on Sydney. Billy Joel looks at your big end and shakes his head. Death joins in on a Yazoo cover. And Jahwaddywaddy pinch out a loaf of Breggae.

The entire Chart Music team – Sarah Bee, Neil Kulkarni, Al Needham, Taylor Parkes, Simon Price and David Stubbs  – link up for our longest episode ever, veering off to discuss ghosts appearing on sex tapes, a righteous loathing of the Big Light, satanic kangaroos, the contents of UB40’s fridge, Simon Bates partying down with The Green Goddess and Stu Francis, and – finally – the comprehensive review of Comrade Shaky’s Sinclair Spectrum game that the podcast world has been crying out for. Happy New Swearing!   

Part One: Preamble

Part Two: Freeez, Michael Jackson, Shakin’ Stevens

Part Three: Men At Work, Bonnie Tyler, Eurythmics, Irene Cara

Part Four: Adam Ant, Duran Duran, Bucks Fizz, Lionel Richie, Heaven 17

Part Five: David Bowie, UB40, Billy Joel. Flying Pickets, KC & The Sunshine Band

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Chart Music #55: December 23rd 1982 – Hygge Pop

The latest episode of the podcast which asks: why hasn’t London got a Revels World?

It’s getting to look a lot like Christmas, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, and you know what that means: the Nanas of the Kingdom start fiddling with their purses at the counter of HMV and encrust our beloved charts with the mung of novelty. We can’t lie: this episode of The Pops has been freshly squeezed from the very ringpiece of the cat, and no amount of live weather reports from Kid Jensen or the appearance of a little Mediterranean Santa can distract us from that.

Musicwise, oof: Lol Mason fiddles about with the watch pocket of his slacks. David Bowie – the Death Angel of 1977 – has a fiddle on Bing Crosby’s posh English cousin’s piano for an awkward chat about kids, before flouncing off to EMI. Incantation perform the Andean puffalong Knees Up Madre Brown. The Double-Denimed Defender of Heterosexual Rock n’ Roll makes his balcony speech. The Seventies officially die as Abba make their last stand for the benefit of Noel Edmonds. Then the Seventies rip themselves from the grave for this year’s Number One. And there’s Modern Romance. And Orville. And Zoo.

Neil Kulkarni and Rock Expert David Stubbs – the Dads of Chart Music – join Al Needham for a grim death-march into the dark side of 1982, breaking off on such tangents as being parodied on BBC sketch shows two decades ago, the revelation that teachers never gave a toss about you, what Shakin’ Stevens’ version of the Fool’s Gold loaf would be, how to feed your children with promo vinyl, why Imagination should have been denied trousers, and invite you to contemplate in your mind’s eye the image of your parents having sex to the sounds of Renee and Renato. Warning: the language is as Blue as Shaky’s Christmas.

Part 1: Preamble

Part 2: David Jensen, The Maisonettes, Bing Crosby & David Bowie

Part 3: Incantation, Shakin’ Stevens, Imagination, Abba

Part 4: Keith Harris & Orville, Renee & Renato, Modern Romance

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Chart Music #54: May 25th 1978 – Nineteen Seventy Gibb

The latest episode of the podcast which asks: would you go to see Panties at Canning Town Bridge House?

Unbelievably, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, this appears to be only the second time we’ve chanced across 1978 – which is a shameful way for a podcast about Top Of The Pops to act, because this year is rammed with cultural behemoths dominating the landscape, with the musk of all the things that Chart Music cherishes hanging thick in the air. We’re right on on the perineum ‘twixt Saturday Night Fever and Grease, Tony Blackburn has just slid into his Tony Manero outfit, and your panel are a) becoming massively disillusioned by school dinners, b) fancying Carol Chell, and c) drawing a picture of Hitler in a Mexico strip and getting ready to ice down his groin with some peas a week from now.

Musicwise, practically everything good – and bad – about ’78 is here. The Real Thing help Legs & Co recreate one of the scenes in The Stud that didn’t involve grubby pre-Eighventies Percy Filth. Jimmy Pursey says hello to Mum again. Yvonne Elliman and Tavares  keep the SNF end up. Legs & Co – on their second shift – look as if they’ve been caught short or have had a serious wardrobe malfunction. Debbie Harry’s face splits like a spaceship door. Heatwave take jumper technology to the next level. ITV Quisling Cilla has a go at Disco. James Galway makes his first appearance since being run over by a motorbike in Switzerland. Ian Dury becomes the nation’s favourite Hard Bastard Uncle. The Scotland World Cup Squad have to sing around a disembodied cardboard cut-out of Rod Stewart. And the UK’s seventh biggest-selling single ever is Number One.

Team ATVLand – Taylor Parkes and Neil Kulkarni – help Al Needham fill out the wallchart of late May 1978, veering off on such tangents as the thought of Dave Bartram of Showaddywaddy giving Joan Collins one in a lift, a forensic examination of the 1978 Eurovision Song Contest, urban myths about Melody Maker editors being whipped by chains, an inter-Journo fight over who liked Dexys Midnight Runners more, and – finally – the recasting of Prisoner: Cell Block H that the Pop-Crazed Youngsters have been crying out for. OVER SIX HOURS, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, and rest assured that a considerable amount of that involves both Effing and Geoffing…

Part 1: Preamble

Part 2: Tony Blackburn, Yvonne Elliman, The Real Thing, Blondie, Heatwave

Part 3: Izhar Cohen & AlphaBeta, James Galway, Thin Lizzy, Tavares, Black Sabbath

Part 4: John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John, Ian Dury & The Blockheads, Cilla Black, Sham 69, Boney M, Rod Stewart & the Scotland World Cup Squad

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Ram Some Money Down Our G-String

Chart Music #53: May 12 1988 – Boing! Boing! Boing!

The latest episode of the podcast which asks: if the first girl that Prince met on Alphabet St happened to be Blunder Woman, would he still jerk his body like a horny pony would?

This episode – THE LONGEST EVER, Pop-Crazed Youngsters – finally sees us slipping the surly bonds of this rubbish century to touch the smiley face of 1988. We’re on the very cusp of the Second Summer of Love, but your panel are a) leafing through Athena posters and avoiding Neighbours, b) Gothed up to buggery and living with elderly Greek widows, and c) sifting through their own vomit in the Market Square. And Top Of The Pops is reacting to the Acid House and Hip-Hop explosion by, well, playing the shittiest examples of it they could find, hosted by two people going in opposite directions. Simon Mayo: hungrily eyeing the alpha-male position of Radio One. Mike Read: he grows old, he grows old, he shall wear the sleeves of his leather jacket rolled.

Musicwise, it’s a Pic ‘N’ Mix of the late Eighties – The Lateies, if you will – speckled with not one, not two, but three joke dance records. Harry Enfield and Star Turn On 45 Pints remind us what a progressive and hardcore act Jive Bunny was. Bill Shankly assumes the Malcolm X role. Derek B gets paid in pounds, not dollars. Belinda Carlisle slinks about on a beach. Ringo Ringo Ringo pass round the hat for Esther Rantzen. The Asda advert is Number One. And Prince and Prefab Sprout rush in to save the day.   

Sarah Bee and Simon ‘Sorry, Girls – He’s Engaged’ Price don their Sun Bizarre Acid House t-shirts and dance around the abandoned warehouse of 1988, veering off on such tangents as knowing people off Withnail and I, Tony Blackburn’s face on a stick, how to cross our palm with Bummerdog, and Tony of Sneinton’s secret longings, painted on a living room wall in 1968. GET ON SOME SWEARING, matey!

Part 1: Preamble
Part 2: Mike Read, Simon Mayo, Harry Enfield, Prince, The Adventures
Part 3: Narada, Liverpool FC, Belinda Carlisle, Derek B, Prefab Sprout
Part 4: Star Turn On 45 Pints, Wet Wet Wet, Fairground Attraction, Kylie Minogue


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Chart Music #52: February 14th 1985 – British People React To REO Speedwagon

The latest episode of the podcast which asks: if The Smiths were still making singles today, would they have a still from Sex Lives Of The Potato Men on the cover?

The latest episode – another five hour-plus plunge into the very depths of your favourite Pop TV show – lands us on the very perineum ‘twixt Band Aid and Live Aid, in a shameful era when even the Weetabix are pretending to be American street youths, and on the very cusp of the achingly slow decline of The Pops. The majority of the Zoo Wankers have been culled, the flags and balloons are being reined in, and even though it’s Valentine’s Day, the roiling sexual chemistry between Simon Bates and Janice Long has been dialled right down. Thank God.

Musicwise, oof: Top Of The Pops throw the kitchen sink of Pop at us, with no less than 21 acts getting a shine, resulting in 1985 looking better than it has any right to be. This Year’s Most Lovable Bisexual puts a wrecking ball plastered with mirrors through the wall of the charts while he threatens legal action against his label for being mingebags. The Commodores don a black vinyl poppy for their fallen comrades. Bill Sharpe and Gary Numan look at a fax machine. The entire show is derailed when Jonathan King forces us to look at some chlorinated American stodge, but put firmly back on track when Jaz Coleman stares at us. Morrissey machine-guns the audience. Kool and the Gang channel the spirit of Girlyman. And there’s a load of mid-Eighties rammel.

Taylor Parkes and Neil Kulkarni wrap their Dads’ ties around their heads and join fellow Street Punk Al Needham for a rampage through the streets of 1985, veering off on such tangents as rubbish Americans not understanding Ribena, getting started on for laughing at the death of Apollo Creed, why standing on a boardroom table for a publicity shot isn’t a good idea, why sneering at girls singing a love song directly at their music teacher is an even worse idea, and a revisit to the Perils of Priapic Price. You know there’s gonna be swearing.

Part 1: Preamble

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Part 2: Dead Or Alive, The Commodores, The Colourfield

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Part 3: REO Speedwagon, David Lee Roth, Hall and Oates, George Michael, Killing Joke

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Part 4: Sharpe & Numan, Kool and the Gang, Don Henley, The Smiths, Barbara Dickson & Elaine Paige, Eugene Wilde

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Chart Music #51: March 20th 1975 – Guys ‘N’ Dolls Get Ready To Bomb Iraq

The latest episode of the podcast which asks: a party held by the Osmonds, or a party held by the Rollers?

The LONGEST EVER EPISODE OF CHART MUSIC finds your host and his chums still on lockdown but DILL DANDING, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, which gives us the opportunity to pick out an episode from the Dark Ages of the mid-Seventies and properly wang on about it. The Saxons are at their flappiest, the collars are condor, Tony Blackburn has been uncrated and set free, and all is as well with the world as it could be in 1975. If you ignore the fact that three of the acts involved would go on to kill later this year.

Musicwise, it’s the usual Seventies lucky bag, tainted with the musk of deceit and treachery: Kenny sport the kind of trousers Our Simon saw Rick Witter trying on at Portobello Market. There are obligatory appearances by Cliff and Lulu. Wigan’s Ovation have a massive wazz on the burning torch of Northern Soul. Guys ‘N’ Dolls do a biscuit advert, and Mike Reid makes a Northern boy cry, which is Bad Skit.

But there’s also Britfunk in the form of the Average White Band and, er, The Goodies, Pans People having a proper flounce to Barry White, and a Whatnautless Moments – whipped on by the Top Of The Pops Orchestra – seize the opportunity to tell us how much they like girls. And the Bay City Rollers rip down the goalposts of the #1 spot, while the Osmonds forlornly look out of their window wondering while no-one has showed up to their do.

David Stubbs and Taylor Parkes – the Humphries of Pop journalism – join Al Needham and dip their elongated critical straws deep into the milk bottle of 1975, pausing to veer off on such tangents as the glory of radiograms, what it would be like to get caned and watch porn with Tony Blackburn, our magazine plans which never came to fruition, a lament for Timbo, the importance of nipples and a big argument over a Kung Fu vest and pants set. Swearing? Loads of it.

Part 1: Preamble

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Part 2: Kenny, Guys ‘N’ Dolls, The Goodies

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Part 3: The Tymes, Barry White, Average White Band, Cliff Richard, Wigan’s Ovation, Lulu

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Part 4: The Moments & Whatnauts, Mike Reid, Bay City Rollers, The Osmonds

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Here Comes Quizm #5

HCQ logo small

It’s BACK! The greatest music quiz in the world, hand-crafted by quizular artisans in Nottingham, The Cradle Of Pop, with assistance off their Nana. 42 questions! 7 rounds! Swearing! Download what you need to, grab a pen, pick out a suitably disgusting team name, and spend some time in the pub of your mind, Pop-Crazed Youngsters…

HERE IS THE ANSWER SHEET

HERE IS ROUND ONE – THE PICTURE ROUND

AND HERE IS THE DOWNLOAD LINK

 

Chart Music #50: March 21st 1996 – The Movement That Wouldn’t Feel The Benefit

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The latest episode of the podcast which asks the question: What was David Stubbs doing while the Rainforest was falling?

It’s our half-century. Pop-Crazed Youngsters, but we’re not making a fuss about it, bar the raising of the bat and a nod to the stands before returning to the job of whacking at a random episode of Top Of The Pops. And oh dear: this particular slice of Thursday evenings past comes at us during the even more devastating Second Wave of Britpop, with Steve Lamacq and Jo Whiley playing the roles of Peelie and Janice.

Musicwise, we’re fully into the Ric Blaxill era, so expect a morbid carousel of Proper Music played on Proper Instruments, with a smattering of past-it Eighties sorts thrown in, and all mixed together with an offensive distain for the charts. Rick Witter may or may not be wearing a Tena underneath his Martin Fry suit. Lionel Richie’s head is lowered into a Desperate Dan beard. Prince Naseem Hamed pitches up with Kaliphz to remind us that dance music was somehow still going in the mid-Nineties. Menswear bring along a string section. Oh God, it’s Madonna again. Celine Dion wafts about a circus putting in no graft whatsoever. Take That offer up the most half-arsed swan song in musical history, and – finally – Oasis enter the Chart Music arena.

Simon Price and Neil Kulkarni join Al Needham for a bit of Gay Exchange-advert-dancing upon the ashes of ’96, veering off on such tangents as going into the off-licence in Napoleonic headjoy, stripping in front of someone off Coronation Street, being a Lion Bell-End, bum-rushing the Camden KFC, being made by a Manic Street Preacher to dance to the Ramadan No.1 of 1974, the Horseshoe Of Shame, and a rate and quality of swearing that times like this demand.

Part 1: Preamble
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Part 2: Shed Seven, Oasis
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Part 3: Madonna, Menswear, Lionel Richie, Celine Dion
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Part 4: Garbage, Kaliphz feat. Prince Naseem, Take That, TOTP2
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