Chart Music #65: July 8th 1982 – Dancey Reagan

The latest episode of the podcast which asks; if Steve Miller is in a consensual relationship, and keeps away from certain designated areas, and he’s not just doing it to show off in front of his mates, is it acceptable in today’s society to reach out and grab her?

This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, sees your panel – who are currently toting huge consignments of heroin around Leeds, swiftly climbing up the class system of Coventry and still getting over the terror of finding someone’s undergarments in a sex-grafitti’d public toilet in St Pancras station – on the horns of a dilemma; on one hand, a premium-strength episode of Yellow Hurll-era TOTP. On the other, a World Cup semi-final. The latter doesn’t kick off until we’re 30 minutes into this episode, but at what point do our heroes break and succumb to the boot-on-ball surrender? And will Al have to watch all of this on a black-and-white portable with a coat hanger for an ariel, or will his Dad slink off to the pub and let him watch it downstairs?

Musicwise, it’s a game of two halves, with two landmark events occurring and a blizzard of Huge Eighties Things being introduced to us for the first time ever. Imagination are at the top of their flouncy, slinky game. Bruno’s Dad lamps someone for ripping a speaker off his cab. Jeffrey Daniel reprises the Starman Moment of the Eighties and makes the Weetabix throw their Doc Martens in a skip. AC/DC get their cannons muffled. But just when you think this could be greatest TOTP episode ever, Jonathan King crashes in like Toni Schumacher on Patrick Battiston in order to curl off another dollop of rubbish American rammel  (although he introduces the UK to Mr T. And Deeleyboppers)

But then! Out of nowhere come the Good Germans – Trio – who produce one of the greatest TOTP performances ever, followed by Odyssey slamming home one of the greatest singles ever, and all is well. But oh dear, that ‘3’ button is about to take a hammering as Bananarama pitch up in big nappies, Bucks Fizz take time out from bombing the Ruhr to cheat on each other, Captain Sensible ducks out of the pub to pretend to be the bastard son Worzel Gummidge and Toyah, and some magicians do their underwhelming pieces to the Steve Miller Band. Everything astoundingly life-affirmingly right and groin-punchingly wrong about early-Eighties TOTP is here, and it gets picked over in the usual manner.

Rock Expert David Stubbs and Neil Kulkarni join Al Needham for a dance on the car roof of 1982, veering off on such tangents as being nestled against Mr C’s packet, the Line-dancing community of Birmingham, being at a loss about what to say to Jimi Hendrix, wondering what ‘Eagle Farm Today’ actually means, and Top Of The Pops getting Bobby Gee to fight some swans in a cage in a desperate attempt to keep watching BBC1. And all that lovely swearing, too!   

Part One: Preamble

Part Two: Kid Jensen, Imagination, Irene Cara, Shalamar

Part Three: AC/DC, Jonathan King, Juice Newton, Survivor, John Cougar, The Human League, Trio

Part Four: Odyssey, Bananarama, Bucks Fizz, Captain Sensible, The Steve Miller Band

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