Chart Music #62: November 3rd 1977 – WHOO! HEY!

The latest episode of the podcast which asks; if David picked potatoes on Jack Heap’s playing field for one hour, how many Fumanchews would he able to cram into his gaping maw?

Once again, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, Team Chart Music has returned to the safety of the late Seventies, and your panel is a) having their crayons thrown out of the window after an incident that could have been ripped from The Shining, b) being disappointed by Scalextric, and c) getting their arse tanned over an art installation on some concrete staircases. And all the time, the terror of Punk is looming, and no-one – particularly the canine population – is safe.

As it turns out, the only Punk-free zone at this time is the episode of The Pops we’re about to get stuck into. Like David’s Scalextric, the show – in Robin Nash’s safer-than-safe pair of hands – is running on rails by now. Unlike David’s Scalextric, everything fits together, and nothing is skidding off the table and smashing against the wall. This is Top Of The Pops in its purest form, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, and we savour every mouthful of it for over six hours.

Musicwise, it’s a veritable bestiary of Pop Gargantua, with Xmas on the way, some huge LP drops this week, and the Monsters of the Hit Parade already starting to fight over your forthcoming record token. Paul Weller makes a doomed attempt to get the BBC to post his guitar to his girlfriend. The Carpenters say hello to some aliens. The Barron Knights dare to have a pop at The Old Sailor. Freddie Mercury pitches up dressed like a bottle of Sheridan’s. Legs & Co hit up a sari shop in Shepherds Bush for a game of Sexy Lady Croquet. Status Quo predate Abba with an avatar bassist. Actual David Bowie pitches up to the studio, but can’t be bothered to button up his cuffs. Showaddywaddy have a group huddle. And Abba get down to a proper session of Scandinavian Sorry. All brought to you by Peter Powell in his debut TOTP appearance, and he immediately hits the ground running, even if he has to be nudged by the gallery into putting himself about with the maidens of the studio.

David Stubbs and Taylor Parkes join Al Needham for an intense drill into ’77, veering off on such tangents as the Great Dog Collar Crimewave of Coventry, why trying to crush a tennis ball on the school playground in order to impress girls is a wrong ‘un, NASA convincing aliens that British people are big Medieval jessies, the ELO-Faust War, Dave Lee Travis annoying Brian May, a review of Dave Bartram’s 2005 travelogue of caravan parks, Bruce Foxton stroke fiction, and the GOLDEN FLEECE OF CHART MUSIC has been located. Oh, the swearing in this one…  

Part One: Preamble

Part Two: Peter Powell, ELO, The Jam, The Carpenters

Part Three: The Barron Knights, Queen, Dorothy Moore, Status Quo

Part Four: David Bowie, Showaddywaddy, Abba, Smokie

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