8th April 1976
BBC Four transmission: 7th April 2011, 19:30
Full chart details
Full chart details
This week's host is Noel Edmonds, a symphony in brown, sporting an appalling three-piece suit seemingly designed to match his hair colour. Something of a coup for BBC Four though, as Edmonds was apparently so embarrassed by his TOTP appearances that he forbade them to be shown on previous repeat runs on UK Gold. An impressive four Beatles songs in the top thirty this week, and still no photo of the mysterious Hank Mizell. Right, who's first?
Hot Chocolate - "Don't Stop It Now" (#19)
Hot Chocolate were regular fixtures in the charts of the 1970s and early '80s, having scored at least one hit single every year between 1970 and 1984. This was the follow up to the classic You Sexy Thing which was a top ten hit three times in three different decades, thanks to a remix in 1987 and its use in the film The Full Monty in 1997. Don't Stop It Now was not a top ten hit in any decade, mainly due to it sounding like Errol Brown making up lyrics on the spot while the band continues to play You Sexy Thing for another four minutes.
Abba - "Fernando" (#4)
Hang on, this lot were on last week! Yes, proof that Sweden's greatest export were on their way to becoming a phenomenon as they are awarded the honour of having the same song on TOTP two weeks running, a clip of the promo video last week teasing us before the full studio performance this week. Here we see the beginnings of the classic "Agnetha and Frida singing back to back" pose while the two boys strum guitars and perch awkwardly on a couple of stools. Just out of shot, the Brotherhood Of Man are looking on with a notepad and pencil.
Paul Nicholas - "Reggae Like It Used To Be"
Slickly introduced by Edmonds, who reels off a list of the musicals in which Nicholas has acted and promptly forgets his name. "This is going to be very successful... foooorrrrrrrr......... this man!" Dressed in a striped jacket (which seems to be part of a suit with Errol Brown's trousers from earlier), holding a cane and with a bowler hat perched jauntily atop his head, the future star of TV's Just Good Friends sings a very white song about reggae. "We got reggae," he announces, repeatedly. There is no obvious reggae element to the song whatsoever. "All that we need's a little reggae like it used to be," he finally concedes. This isn't it.
The Beatles - "Paperback Writer" (#23)
The influx of Beatles singles into the chart in 1976 recalled their complete domination of the US chart in 1964, and would be repeated to a lesser extent in 2010 when the release of their music on iTunes saw the Fabs accounting for 10% of the top 100. Sadly, the TOTP producers couldn't persuade John, Paul, George and the other one to come in and mime to a ten year old song, so instead an instructive dance routine from Pan's People shows us what paperback books look like. A textbook example (ho ho!) of Flick Colby's literal choreography, the girls dance around some carousels of paperbacks with a book in each hand, although at no point does anyone attempt to write anything.
10cc - "I'm Mandy, Fly Me" (#6)
The four members of 10cc had been working together since the bubblegum era of the late '60s, and their slightly off-kilter pop had brought them two number ones and a string of hits including Rubber Bullets, Life Is A Minestrone and of course I'm Not In Love. This strange tale of a supernatural air hostess was the last hit for the classic line-up; Kevin Godley and Lol Creme formed a splinter group and would have success in the '80s with Under Your Thumb, Wedding Bells and Cry as well as becoming acclaimed video directors, while Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman continued as a more straightforward and commercial 10cc, whose success petered out following their third chart topper Dreadlock Holiday in 1978.
Linda Lewis - "Baby I'm Yours"
A vaguely discofied version of a '60s hit for the unrelated Barbara Lewis in the US, this was the follow-up to Linda's biggest hit, a vaguely discofied version of It's In His Kiss which had reached number 6 the previous summer. The track is workmanlike although Lewis's alarming five-octave range is much in evidence as she invents the Mariah Carey screech towards the song's end. Baby I'm Yours was later covered by Cher, reaching the dizzy heights of #89 in its own right before being recycled as the B-side of her next single, oddly enough a non-discofied version of It's In His Kiss.
Bay City Rollers - "Love Me Like I Love You" (#20)
"How does she get her hair like that?" ponders the elegantly coiffeured Edmonds as Linda Lewis fades into the background. "She must do it with rollers..." Boom! One-nil! It's a comedy link into this motley crew, still Scotland's top boy band after almost five years of top ten hits, although admittedly there was a two and a half year gap between the first and second of those. Nonetheless, the Rollers were on top of the world - literally in this case, as their performance involves them rotating atop a silver globe like a prototype BBC1 Christmas symbol. Indeed, this may be recycled footage from the previous Christmas as nobody seems to be interested in lip-synching to the song. Instead the boys swing on industrial strength chains in slow motion, we cut between gurning close-ups with epilepsy-inducing speed, and we are treated to a disturbingly lingering shot of someone's crotch as he swings by. The song itself is a pale rewrite of the previous year's high water mark Bye Bye Baby, a cover of an American hit by...
The Four Seasons - "Silver Star"
Beige alert! The Four Seasons had been the main competitors to the Beatles in the US during the '60s and had enjoyed a fair amount of success in the UK, although their hits had dried up in 1967. Eight years later a more hirsute Four Seasons returned to the charts with hits such as The Night, Who Loves You and the chart-topper December '63 (Oh What A Night) followed by this, which would become their fourth top ten hit in succession. Unusually, Silver Star does not feature the group's usual lead singer Frankie Valli. Wonder what happened to him?
The Carpenters - "There's A Kind Of Hush (All Over The World)" (#24)
Easy listening gods Richard and Karen Carpenter were obviously far too important to be bothered doing TOTP, so instead we get another chance to witness Flick Colby's literal choreography™ in action. Pan's Persons appear to be interpreting the song for the hard of hearing; holding a finger to their lips to indicate the word "hush", forming a circle with their hands to represent "the world", cupping a hand to one ear for the word "hear" and so on. There's also a huge model world in every shot just to keep the idea fresh in the viewers' minds. This was one of the duo's lesser hits, only reaching #22, although it had been a top ten hit for Herman's Hermits in 1967.
Sheer Elegance - "Life Is Too Short Girl" (#29)
Proving that irony is not a modern invention, this vocal trio takes to the stage in an alarming ensemble of canary yellow dungarees, snakeskin-effect shirts and waistcoats made from some kind of beige tartan. Sheer Elegance indeed. A solid performance, especially from the lead singer who is clearly either terrified to be on television, or suffering from the early stages of Parkinson's Disease. This would go on to be the biggest of their three hit singles and was the follow-up to the top twenty hit Milky Way.
Having saved up some time by doing his links faster than expected, Edmonds comes on to introduce us to the shifty-looking bloke standing behind him, whose latest album Eric Carmen was recently Noel's LP Of The Week on the breakfast show. Carmen clearly has little knowledge of Edmonds or Top Of The Pops, but he answers the questions politely, informs us that his best composition is a song called All By Myself and doesn't question why he's been wheeled out to answer three questions without getting a chance to sing. All in good time, Eric. First we have to turn around and look at...
Frankie Valli - "Fallen Angel"
Carmen shakes Edmonds' hand and clears off, while a disembodied hand escorts an audience member out of the way of the camera as it zooms in on Four Seasons frontman Valli, muddying the waters by bringing out a solo single at the same time as his group's new release. Valli had already scored a handful of solo hits, most notably the previous year's My Eyes Adored You, and this is another epic ballad in a similar vein. This would eventually reach number 11, but by far Valli's biggest solo hit would be the theme from Grease. But we're getting ahead of ourselves...
Brotherhood Of Man - "Save Your Kisses For Me" (#1)
Having slain all comers at the Eurovision Song Contest the previous Saturday, the 'Hood are back in full red, white and, er, black regalia to sing it again. The song won the contest with a record 80% of the maximum possible score and became the biggest selling Eurovision winner in history. And for those of you who like Eurovision voting conspiracy theories, the song's lowest scores were awarded by Ireland and Italy, who both gave each other the maximum 12 points. How odd.
Barry White - "You See The Trouble With Me" (#2)
We play out this week with a snatch of Barry White, as it were. Although it stalled at number 2 this time, the song eventually topped the charts when sampled - and then re-recorded after Barry's lawyers objected - by Black Legend in 2000.