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

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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

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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

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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!

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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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Chart Music #32: October 28th 1982 – Come To The Sabbat, Simon’s There

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The latest episode of the podcast which asks: why didn’t Top Of The Pops do a Bonfire Night special instead, the traitorous, British-way-of-life-hating bastards?

Yeah yeah, we know: another early Eighties one. But if you thought we were going to wait another year before we got stuck into this particular episode, you don’t know Chart Music. The Pops is entombed in its rah-rah-rah flags-and-balloons Zoo-wanker phase and has pulled out all the stops (i.e., gone through the BBC props cupboard) decided to do a Halloween special, even though Halloween means next to arse all in the UK in pre-ET 1982. And who else to guide us through this realm of piss-poor joke-shop terror than the Dark Lord Simon Bates?

Musicwise, it’s a ‘treat’ bag of razor blade-tainted apples and cat shit in shiny wrappers, with a diamond or two lurking at the bottom. The tang of Pebble Mill is strong in this one: Dionne Warwick glares at us in a Margo Leadbetter rig-out. Barry Manilow is DTF. The Beatles arise from the grave. Blue Zoo demonstrate why they’re not going to be the next Duran Duran. Raw Silk pointedly ignore that they’re performing to a room full of simpletons with net curtains over their heads and waving a cat on a stick. Eddy Grant gets round his horrible missus. Boy George has balloons thrown at him in an aggressive manner. Simon Bates rides a broomstick dressed as Ali Bongo. The Zoo Wankerage is jacked up to the absolute maximum. Meanwhile, in Newcastle, the crew of The Tube are rubbing their hands together with glee.

Taylor Parkes and Neil Kulkarni join Al Needham to suckle upon the throat early-Eighties Pop Mankiness, veering off on such tangents as the rubbishness of a British Halloween, being barred out of pubs in Nottingham for looking like Jimmy Savile, the truth about George Martin and the Mopfabs, Rambo Pumpkins, Cilla Back ramming chocolate into people’s gobs, BBC4 butchering the only programme they run that anyone’s interested in, having 40 Romantic Moments in one week, why we people never talk about Post-Disco, and an astonishing appearance on 3-2-1 by two Chart Music favourites. Penny for the Guy!

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Chart Music #31: August 11th 1983 – For No Bums Will Ever Tempt Me From She

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The latest edition of the podcast which asks: that thing with the earlobes – the entire country didn’t just imagine it, did they?

It’s the summer of ’83, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, and your avuncular host is battling a series of crises: not only is he still recovering from a de-bagging on the school field and sulking over the re-election of the foul hag Thatcherax, he’s fending off rumours about his sexuality before he’s even had the chance to do anything with the bastard. Luckily, all that’s about to change, as his spiritual guide Paul Weller has got a new record out. And there’s a video. Oh dear.

Musicwise, it’s a proper pic’n’mix of early-Eighties confections, bagged up by elderly shop-lads Skinner and Vance, with a shocking lack of Dadisfaction. David Grant has a massive mid-life crisis and goes all Shakin’ Shalamar. Mark King gives it some thumb. Toney Adleh Aaht Ter Spandaah Balleh ponces about in Spain. Siouxie goes all Jazzy, and wonders why she’s the only woman on this episode. Robert Plant does some most unsavoury frog-kicking in some Dad trunks. The No.1 is a bit rubbish. And bleddy Depeche Mode AGAIN.

Simon Price and Taylor Parkes join Al ‘The Cuppateano Kid’ Needham for an awkward homoerotic roll-around upon the riverbank of mid-1983, breaking off to discuss such matters as being confused about Gus Honeybun, the boom in early-Eighties jumper technology, the fallacy of digging over a vegetable patch in calf-length white spats, being told off by the Mayor of Douglas, what leonine Rock gods have on their cheese cobs, and a very special episode of your favourite cartoon. Come for the incisive pop chat, stay for the swearing, and ram some money in our g-string.

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Chart Music #30: November 23rd 1989 – Hulk Get Jheri Curl!

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The latest episode of the podcast which asks: if Bummerdog was a band, what would they sound like?

This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, is one of the absolute landmark moments of the long and storied history of The Pops – the week where all the rubbish of the Laties is finally driven into the sea by streetwise lairy youths with a malevolent shuffle and a drug-induced attitude. And as well as Big Fun, the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays are on too.

Those of you who remember this episode as a full-on Madchester takeover – with 808 State on as well, and Vera Duckworth gurning away in the audience in a Joe Bloggs top – are going to be sorely disappointed, however, as the supporting cast is the usual Neighnties rubbish. Jakki Brambles and Jenny Powell come off like the Philadelphia Cheese Advert women. Bobby Brown thrusts his groin at a shockingly young girl who’s probably wondering when Tiffany is going to come on. Aaron Neville comes dressed up as a character in a Sega beat-’em-up. The Fine Young Cannibals get bum-rushed by the cast of Dance Energy. The Martians pitch up to blare some Housey rubbish at us. The #1 is cat shit. And Holy Horrible Soundtrack LPs, Batman, it’s Prince.

Al Needham is joined by Sorted Simon Price and Top Lad Taylor Parkes for a trawl through the car boot sale of 1989, breaking off to discuss such important matters as Top Hatting, raiding your Dad’s wardrobe to look suitably ‘Double Good’, Ian Brown shutting down a bar, sniffing silage, and the introduction of the Chart Music Top Ten. Get on some swearing, matey!

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