6th May 1976
BBC Four transmission: 12th May 2011, 19:30 (edit) / 13th May 2011, 01:55 (full show)
Full chart details
Full chart details
Noel Tidybeard is back, opening the show with some kind of pre-Fast Show "Peth-eth-eth-eth-eth, sminky pinky Top Of The Pops!" routine. No Beatles songs at all in this week's top thirty, alas, but we do have the Stones, and at least BBC Four are now doing the decent thing and showing the full unedited version, albeit late in the evening (or in this case, early the following morning) while the 7.30 show is still cut down to fit a thirty minute slot.
Mud - "Shake It Down"
We kick off, as usual, with an oddity. This would be Mud's fourteenth top forty hit single in a little over three years, a run which included chart-toppers Tiger Feet, Lonely This Christmas and an inventive take on Buddy Holly's Oh Boy. Usually pitched somewhere between Glam Rock and Rock 'n' Roll revivalists, like their contemporaries Showaddywaddy (more of whom next week), this seems to have been a belated and ill-advised attempt at "going disco". Although it has slipped from the collective memory, the song is catchy enough but the band seem somewhat ill-at-ease, particularly singer Les Gray - try to imagine what Elvis might have looked like if he'd lived long enough to be talked into recording a ham-fisted disco track. Nevertheless, the dancing bug rubbed off on guitarist Rob Davis (the one who looks like your mum) as he went on to co-write dance hits such as Spiller's Groovejet and Kylie's Can't Get You Out Of My Head.
Frankie Valli - "Fallen Angel" (#11)
Another outing for medallion man Frankie's slush-fest from a couple of weeks ago. Noel uses the intro to pay tribute to departing TOTP producer Robin Nash, whose last show this is. Whether his departure had anything to do with the introduction of the next group is unclear.
The Stylistics - "Can't Help Falling In Love" (#14)
With no pomp or fanfare, or even advance warning, TOTP's new resident dance troupe Ruby Flipper arrives. At first it seems things might be okay, after all Cherry and Sue from Pan's People are still there. But, they shrug, where are the others? "Wise men say only fools rush in," advises Stylistics singer Russell Thompkins Jr; bang on cue, in rush five complete strangers including - gasp! - three male dancers! Fortunately Flick Colby is still in charge with her patented Instant Choreography Method™, meaning that the new dance troupe does very little of any interest except point at the camera to denote the word "you". Worst of all, the newbies are actually lip-synching to the vocals, no doubt causing all sorts of outrage at Musicians' Union HQ in the process. Don't worry, I give them about six months.
Barry Manilow - "Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again"
Well, here's a thing. Big bad Barry had reached number 11 over a year earlier with his debut single Mandy but failed to trouble the UK chart compilers with subsequent singles It's A Miracle, Could It Be Magic or I Write The Songs (which he didn't write), so how he managed to wangle a TOTP appearance for this one is something of a mystery. The song is very much a standard Manilow ballad and kept up his run of UK flops, the most interesting thing about his performance being the fact that his piano stool is clearly much too high - either that or someone has been sawing bits off the legs of his piano. Either way, Barry is pretty much bent double for the whole of his performance. The uncomfortable looking Manilow would continue to struggle chartwise until Can't Smile Without You catapulted him to number 43 two years after this performance. Since then Bazza has managed a handful of genuine hits, the biggest of which was 1982's unpleasantly titled I Wanna Do It With You.
Fox - "S-S-S-Single Bed" (#5)
Cunningly omitted from the half-hour edit, another showing of Fox's April 1st performance with Noosha (not her real name) in her Daz superhero costume again. Sadly Ben Goldacre still refuses to reply to this writer's Tweets asking for confirmation that Noosha (it's actually Susan) is really his mother. This single would go on to peak at number 4 the following week and seems to have fallen into some kind of '70s limbo; despite its popularity with Twitter-using TOTP viewers it is rarely heard on the radio these days and the only known cover of the song appears on Bananarama's long-past-their-prime 2009 album Viva.
Robin Sarstedt - "My Resistance Is Low" (#46)
Clive Robin Sarstedt is part of a veritable dynasty of minor league pop stars. Big brother Richard scored five top ten hits in the early 1960s under the name Eden Kane, the biggest of which Well I Ask You reached number 1 in 1961. Middle brother Peter also topped the charts with the much-derided Where Do You Go To My Lovely in 1969. Here, casual Clive croons the Hoagy Carmichael song with one hand in his pocket while the girls from Ruby Flipper rotate in the background. "It's not as good as Bernard Cribbins' version," bemoans the Twitterati, and they may well be right, although Clive's version of Hole In The Ground is apparently breathtaking.
Sutherland Brothers & Quiver - "Arms Of Mary" (#16)
Two for the price of one! Iain and Gavin Sutherland had released two albums and several singles in their own right, including the original version of Sailing which would become a massive hit for Rod Stewart; as had the quartet Quiver whose ranks included future Attractions bassist Bruce Thomas. They came together as a coalition in 1972 and finally achieved success with this midtempo plodder, resulting in a TOTP appearance for which they seem surprisingly ill-prepared, with lead singer Iain sporting a frankly appalling combover which gives him the vague appearance of the '70s era Van Morrison, while three other band members mill around looking faintly embarrassed.
Tina Charles - "Love Me Like A Lover"
For late night viewers only, the erstwhile Tina Hoskins unveils the follow up to her number 1 hit I Love To Love. Sadly it seems to be the same song with the interesting bits surgically removed. Tina at least puts some effort into it though, while some jackass in yellow tartan trousers and a yellow tank top over a blue shirt (possibly one of Ruby Flipper) jerks around as if receiving electric shocks to various parts of his body.
Rolling Stones - "Fool To Cry" (#22)
Also removed from the 7.30 showing, the Stones return with their first top forty hit in almost two years. Naturally they're still too important to actually come to the studio, so we get a nicely shot promo film of the former wild men of rock miming aimlessly while Mick Jagger croons a ballad about his troubles seen through the eyes of his innocent young daughter. Not exactly Cocksucker Blues, but clearly times had moved on. This would eventually reach number six and will be edited out of at least two more episodes during its chart run.
Mac & Katie Kissoon - "The Two Of Us"
Trinidadian brother and sister Gerald and Katherine Farthing first nudged the UK chart with a version of the dreadful Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep as made famous by Middle Of The Road in 1971 and bastardised by Denim in 1993. After this false start they went on to have top ten hits with Sugar Candy Kisses and Don't Do It Baby in 1975. Despite two TOTP appearances (although this one was also removed from the half hour edit) this would only reach number 46 and was their last hit.
JJ Barrie - "No Charge" (#26)
Distilling all that is bad about country music into three minutes, Canadian former comedian Barry Authors takes a 1974 US Country Chart number 1 and makes it even worse for the UK market. The... well, I hesitate to call it a song, but the "song" concerns a young child (not Mick Jagger's daughter) who presents his mother with a bill for the chores he's performed around the house, which is rebuffed by his mother on the basis that she's spent so many years looking after him for naff all. Unlike Melba Montgomery's original version, performed from the mother's viewpoint, Barrie's version is performed from the point of view of the child's father, harrumphing behind his newspaper.
Cliff Richard - "Devil Woman" (#41)
As Rick from The Young Ones once observed, "When Cliff Richard wrote Devil Woman he definitely wasn't sitting on a clean toilet!" Of course Cliff didn't write it; it was composed by long time collaborator Terry Britten and - according to Noel, wife of J.J. Barrie - Christine Holmes. The song has long been regarded as somewhat out of character for a famous God-botherer like Cliff; indeed, it seems to be the favourite Cliff Richard song of people who don't like Cliff Richard. This includes the USA, as it remains one of his few significant American hit singles. The line-up here includes pop legend Alan Tarney, last seen on the 1st April show as nine tenths of Tarney & Spencer. We'll be seeing this a few more times over the next few weeks, but here is everything you need to know (and a fair amount that you don't) about the song.
Abba - "Fernando" (#1)
After three weeks at number 2, the Swedish Brotherhood Of Man finally topple Save Your Kisses For Me from the top spot. This was the second of three consecutive UK chart toppers for the group, and the third of nine in all. Yet, despite the fact that they appeared in the studio a few weeks ago, we'll be seeing the video every week for the next month. Meanwhile on Twitter the variations on the song's lyrics continue to trickle in, the best so far being "Can you hear the drums, Ben Ando?"
Johnny Taylor - "Disco Lady" (#25)
The very peak of UK chart success for soul stalwart Taylor, who started performing in the early 1950s, replaced Sam Cooke in the gospel group The Soul Stirrers in 1957 and spent a decade at Stax records where he recorded with Booker T and the MGs before "going disco", although this track has very few disco characteristics. Although this was his only UK hit, Taylor was a regular hitmaker in the US up until his death in 2000. Posthumously, he achieved his biggest UK success in 2004 when his What About My Love? was sampled by the Shapeshifters for their number 1 hit Lola's Theme.