Chart Music #39: May 21st 1981 – Grill Equals Fanny


The latest episode of the podcast which asks: did Phil Oakey ever have it out with the Undertones for coating him down on My Perfect Cousin?

This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, is the longest EVER, but don’t blame us – because there is so much going on in this episode of The Pops, and we take a concentrated blast of 1981 full in the face. No lie, it’s wave after wave of late-Eighventies pop brilliance, broken up by assorted bits of rubbish, and Dave Lee Travis in an elongated hat. We’ve coated down the Living Gnasher Badge enough times, but in this episode, we step back and contemplate Dave Lee Travis: motorsport expert. Dave Lee Travis: Lennie Bennett-foil. Dave Lee Travis: Photographer. Dave Lee Travis: Renaissance Man.

Musicwise, fucking HELL: The Undertones readjust for the Eighties. Teardrop Explodes – possibly off their tits – show the youth that there’s more to life than chicken pancetta. Kim Wilde vandalises a dead nice public toilet. The Beat (again). Chicken Steven (again). Smokey Robinson invents Airbnb. Legs & Co cause DLT to blast a jet of steam from out of his hairy earhole. The Human League steal the entire show, before Adam Ant jumps through a window and nicks it back. It’s a glorious romp through quite possibly the greatest year in pop music history. And – finally – TOYAH IS IN RECEPTION.

Taylor Parkes and Neil Kulkarni join Al Needham for a hijack of the Alpine van of 1981, loaded with the fizziest and most colourful pop imaginable, and gleefully veer off on such tangents as the many different things you can do with a wall and a dog ball, the Kidderminster UB40 Club, Shaky dropping the strap at a Viz wrestling battle royal, obscene graffiti we have known and loved, the hell of being spotted in a cat cafe on your own, and a flick through Travis’ photography book, where he asks attractive female celebrities what they’re scared of, and brings their nightmares to life. You KNOW there’s gonna be swearing.

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Chart Music #38: April 29th 1971 – Everybody’s Got The Clap


The latest episode of the podcast which asks: Rod Stewart – a grower or a shower?

This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, involves one of the grimmer aspects of Top Of The Pops, as it comes in the wake of one of the regular audience members comitting suicide, the subsequent tabloid coverage when it was revealed that she’d left a diary behind, and the fallout from it – which continued right the way up to this decade. And it’s something we can’t not talk about.

Musicwise, it’s a glorious mish-mash of fare from ’71, the International Year of the Banjo. The beardiness is ramped up by McGuinness Flint. A man pretending to be R. Dean Taylor runs about in a quarry. Jonathan King lurks about. Pans People get busy to the Jackson 5, before showing up Lulu. The Mixtures give us an opportunity to have a good laugh at automobile fatalities. Ringo requires some Norwegian wood to stop his piano sinking into the snow. The Faces get the chance to plug their LP for eight whole minutes, but Dave and Ansil Collins steam in to drop one of the best Number Ones ever. 

Simon Price and Taylor Parkes – the gentle people of Chart Music – get really mellow with Al Needham, breaking off to reason on such subjects as how to make it look as if you’ve been sweating at junior school end-of-term discos, Leaving Neverland, hot pants, and performative farting. As always, swearing.

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Chart Music #37: August 11th 2000 – ITV Digital And Chill


The latest episode of the podcast which asks: how did we manage to go on about 7 Days for 20 minutes without once adding the word ‘Jankers’ to it?

Jesus in a jumpsuit, Pop-Crazed Youngsters – it’s a Top Of Pops from THIS ACTUAL CENTURY, and your three contributors, who are by now frantially sucking at the bone-dry and chapped teats of traditional media, are still upset that there are no Massive Glam Robots on, and it’s not available in pill form. Be warned: this episode contains a lengthy and unflinching dissection of the last days of Melody Maker, and it is not pretty.

Musicwise, it’s not quite as grim as we were expecting, because this is the Garage version of the Madchester episode. Craig David pops up in a Statement Wooly to tell you who he is and how he got his end away – EVEN THOUGH HE’S NOT NUMBER ONE ANYMORE. Wookie and Lain and MJ Cole complete the hat-trick. But fear not, the Alternative Nation fights back with, er, the last knockings of Reef and Mansun. There’s some properly good fire-breathing over some dogshit techno. Ronan fucking Keating pops up for no good reason whatsoever to pretend to be Deco out of the Commitments. And Robbie fucking Williams pulls his trousers down.

Sarah Bee and Neil Kulkarni GO THE FUCK OFF on the bell-ends who ruined their magazine while Al Needham looks on with concern, veering off on such tangents as refusing to let bands into their own hospitality areas because their last album was shit, Mad Phil, why tweeting ‘Fuck Off’ in the early hours of the morning is never a good idea, having pop stars getting on their hands and knees and wiping tea off your shoes, scissor masturbation, and a thorough examination of the ‘Craig David Having A Shit’ cover. LONGEST EPISODE EVER. And quite possibly the sweariest.

(the actual Top Of The Pops bit begins at 1:31:48. See what we mean?)

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Chart Music #36: October 11th 1979 – Welcome, Welcome, Welcome Home To Chart Music


The latest episode of the podcast which asks; how would Mike Read get on in the WWF? And how long would it take before someone took his guitar off him and stoved his head in with it?

It’s been too long, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, but we’re back from our spell of R&R at Pontins Camber Sands and are going armpit-deep into the cavity of one of the landmark episodes of Top Of The Pops – the one with the biggest TV audience ever. ITV are on strike, and the only other thing on the telly is carriage driving, of all things, leaving the field clear for Andy Peebles to make his TOTP debut in his ill-fitting suit.

Musicwise, it looks as if the BBC have ramped up the fun-for-all-the-family aspect in a desperate grab for as many eyeballs as possible, meaning we get a load of acts who are nowhere near the Top 40 mixed in with the usual fare. The Headboys get lumped into the New Wave thing and are not pleased about it. Jacko and Chic provide a devastating one-two punch. Scabby cowboys – in the shape of Dr Hook and Charlie Daniels – fill the air with the tang of unwashed denim. There’s a fearsome soundclash between Errol Dunkley and The Dooleys. Cats UK get ignored by The Kids. Sue of Legs & Co slaps a warning sign on her knee. It’s a glorious slab of the Eighventies, and it’s picked over with the care and attention you’ve come to expect from us.

David Stubbs and Taylor Parkes join Al Needham for a huddle around the candle of late ’79, veering off on tangents such as our favourite industrial disputes of the 70s, pestering your Dad to start wearing an eyepatch, the shocking antics of Gary’s Mam in Leeds, being confused by questionnaires in Shoot!, getting pissed up with a dog that looked like Marilyn Monroe on Central Weekend, and why the Daily Express are a bunch of thick twats. Get ready for some proper swearing.

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Chart Music #35: December 25th 1976 – The World’s Most Erotic Quality Street Tin


A special-ish episode of the podcast which asks: why do we always leave the Xmas episodes to the last minute?

Another MASSIVE examination of Pop-telly nirvarna sees us tucking in to the annual Xmas day selection box – this time from the year of Nineteen and Seventy-Six. And lucky us: we’ve been invited to the head table of Radio One, dominated by the bearded gorgons of The Happy Sound themselves – DLT and Noel Edmonds – as they give the nation an opportunity to watch them pretend to like each other, have one massive trifle EACH, fuck about with bread and grip a fork with a Yorkshire pudding on the end of it with sheer uncontained LUST at Legs & Co.

Like all Xmas Day episodes, it’s a look back at the flare-swingin’ Sound of ’76 – and as is its wont, the highs are stratospheric and the lows are subterranean. Abba remind us who the Dons of the era were with not one but two hits. Tina Charles cowers up in the lighting rig and wonders about her bloke. The Wurzels keep it rural. JJ Barrie angers every child across the nation once more. Demis Roussos – Fat Jesus himself – puts a tingle in the loins of Bev and Ange. The most unmemorable month-long No.1 in recorded history wafts in and out. Legs & Co slink about in bra and pants, with those ferrets on the last episode. Tony Blackburn is boiled alive, while being danced at by an alligator with tits.

Taylor Parkes and Simon Price join Al Needham to sneakily rip open a corner of the wrapping on the presents of 1976 to see what they are, veering off on such vital tangents as Hughie Green’s Hard Right talking ballardry, Christmas cracker jokes about the Threat of Punk, the wrongness of England being in World Cup Subbuteo sets of the Seventies, and a heartwarming tale of getting pissed up and bothering Freddie Mercury. Apologies if the edit is rough as arseholes – we had considerable mither putting it together – but may it sustain you until we meet again in 2019.

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Chart Music #34: December 18th 1980 – You Can Hear Them Shagging In Japanese


The latest episode of the podcast which asks; who is more important – a dead Beatle, or your Nana?

It’s cold and dark, pop-crazed youngsters, so it’s time once again to binge upon one of our favourite eras of Top Of The Pops. Your hosts are simultaneously deciding which 50 badges to wear for the school Xmas disco, still in hiding from the fake accusation that they had a good cry about someone dying, and going about their business unaware that Santa is going to let them down big style in a week’s time. But for a glorious half-hour, we’re all distracted by the sight of Pig-Wanker General himself, perched on a gantry, giving us our weekly shot of Pop randomness.

Musicwise, the highs are high and the lows are lower than low. The Beat and The Specials remind us who the daddies were in the Eighventies, but we also get the sickening one-two punch of the second most annoying singer with a lisp of 1980 and a festive celebration of drink-driving, sexual harrassment and homophobia. The Nolans have finally managed to get them dead tight satin trews off, but have replaced them for even tighter designer jeans. Chas and Dave lob out terrifying animal masks. Jona Lewie sets himself up for life. Legs & Co are attacked by ferrets as they pay tribute to Ghandi John. There’s the most un-arsed xylophone solo ever. And Little and Large are asked what they think about Pop at the moment. It’s brilliant.

Simon Price and Neil Kulkarni join Al Needham for a pass-around of the UHU-filled crisp bag of late 1980, veering off on tangents such as gerontophiliac porn line adverts, Terry Hall turning your back on you, why having ‘OMD’ printed on the back of your Harrington is just plain wrong, the Summer of Chinese Death Stars, the wrongness of Gideon, and being sexually initiated by Yoko Ono in a Nottingham council house while eating a 10p mix. The swearing is up to its usual standard, you’ll be pleased to hear.

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Chart Music #33: February 8th 1996 – It’s Tarp Of The Parps!


The latest episode of the podcast which asks; if God were one of us, who would he hate more out of M People and the Lighthouse Family?

The longest episode of Chart Music EVER sees us pitched into the second half of the Nineties for the first time – and oh dear, our favourite Pop show is beginning to enter its slow decline and being pissed about with big style. The guest presenters are still in effect – but luckily for us, this week’s frontperson is Julian Cope, who has brought a giant It’s A Knockout-style builder to help him stage a prime-time protest against the Newbury Bypass. There’s not one but two of those live satellite broadcasts, which demonstrate that California’s weather fluctuates like an absolute bastard. Everything’s piling into the charts right near the top and then dropping down again. And where’s the Britpop?

Musicwise, this is an absolute lucky bag of randomness, minus the chunky ring you wanted. Some Bedouin tribesmen sit around on a Trancey ‘tip’. Joan Osbourne bangs on about God. Billy Corgan arses about in a car with The Teens. East 17 phone it in. Etta James is forced outside in the wind in order to make giant ships disappear and have a good lech at some sailors. Michael Jackson’s nephews emote by some driftwood. Terrorvision jump about a bit. Alien Mr Benn gets everyone excited with the opening bars for this week’s No.1, and then turns the dial right down to 16 rpm. And OH NO THE LIGHTHOUSE FAMILY GODDD.

Sarah Bee and Neil Kulkarni join Al Needham on an euphoric extended chill-out Archers and Lemonade House tip for a long, hard stare at the bulging packet of 1996, veering off to discuss the comedy value of jacket potatoes, self-grooming tips from the stars, how to mix a Pina Kulkarni, full-on problem page questions in Nineties gay magazines, Star Trek Bhangra, and having homoerotic fever dreams about acts in the Chart Music Top Ten. Very long, very strong, very sweary.

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