Tony greets us in his usual slicky cold way, and we're off in Jubilee week. Keep that detail in mind. The Eagles on their way down marks up one of the great inconsistencies of entirely living 1977 through these repeats, in that we've almost completely skipped the presence of one of the great rock classics were it not for Legs & Co's Spanish interpretation. Now here's some stout manly MEN:
SPOILER: the Sex Pistols aren't number one here either.
Osibisa – The Warrior
Always going to be a tricky sell when a show begins on a close-up of a bongo which reveals its player seems to be wearing a small child's toy on a necklace. It's energetic Afrobeat, which means a smiling drummer and someone wearing a headband and cape but no shirt employed to play a huge shaker when he's not manfully miming a trumpet part. The Ladybirds are complete fish out of water attempting to add vocal chorale light and shade. The bongo player's more of a worry, all sticking out elbowy in his actions, never going to get proper force downwards like that. At the end our extraneous friend picks up a clarinet, with which he seems to be making the sound of a recorder. Tony comes on laughing, as always.
Electric Light Orchestra – Telephone Line
"Let's keep the holiday atmosphere going" urges a post-bank holiday Tony. With a ballad. Video repeat.
Berni Flint – Southern Comfort
"It's even better, it's going to go even higher (than his first hit)" beams Tony. Obviously, it didn't. This isn't that surprising, not being a touching folk ballad but a jaunty strum with an unfortunate touch of the Richard Digance about getting it together in the country that seems about a decade out of time in 1977. The second verse is about himself - "they put me on a programme and the votes came flooding in, and they told me you're a winner, you're a star" - with a conclusion that suggests he doesn't want any part of the fame really. The record buying public concurred. Be careful what you wish for.
Frankie Miller's Full House – Be Good To Yourself
Frankie belts it out once more, still not getting over the suspicion they've watched the Faces a bit too much given their stage positions, his craft and the general choogling undertow.
The Wurzels – Farmer Bill's Cowman
Not before time, they literally face down Tony. The problem with Farmer Bill's Cowman - well, apart from the obvious - is following Brand New Key and Una Paloma Blanca it's based on a song with no lyrics and thus no vocal melody to rearrange, I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman by Whistling Jack Smith (and incidentally, if any of you are looking to adopt a new dance style...) All the mugging in the world - cockerel impressions, looks to side camera of disgust donning a top hat, referencing Burlington Bertie - isn't going to convince the audience that these people are doing anything useful any more, quite some change from the days people would fight each other with balloons to get in shot with them. To their credit they're singing live; to nobody's credit one of them puts the mike out to various audience members and is met by stony silence. They're all wearing election-style rosettes. They lost their deposits.
Gladys Knight & The Pips – Baby Don’t Change Your Mind
Horrible 1977 edit at the start of this, cutting without warning from Tony to a shot of some sort of disc a young Knight had been awarded at some undisclosed time. The amateur hour at the VT suite feel carries on through the video, which features the Pips rehearsing moves in their own clothes in what could either be someone's oversized studio flat or a provincial leisure centre, being watched by Gladys wearing her own band's T-shirt. Then there's Knight and band recording their vocals seemingly without studio facilities but with bright orange plastic-seeming headphones, which they're all holding under their chins. Surely eventually someone would realise there's an inbuilt way they could keep them on while freeing a hand or two. Eventually we get some cursory shots of a balding man at a soundboard, but for someone attempting to record four lead vocal takes at once he seems very relaxed.
Neil Innes – Silver Jubilee
"You're probably wondering what this little bit of string is here" enthuses Tony, next to a piece of string that hasn't been seen before and you may not have spotted until Tony predicted you'd be wondering about. It's to set off a load of balloons on top of... oh my. Neil Innes, second in command of the Bonzo Dog Band, author of the Rutles, most plausible seventh Python candidate, man behind the long-demanded-for-DVD-release series The Innes Book Of Records, auteur of The Raggy Dolls. Him. He turns out to be the anti-Rotten. Imagine if this was the only thing you now knew about him. Now, his real intentions are kept straightfaced as to potential subversiveness and, presumably after being tweeted at by half the viewers, he claimed this morning "Jubilee song was a dare", but there's precious little irony inherent when you're standing under a flotilla of balloons entirely surrounded by young people waving Union Jacks singing "sailing in the yacht Britannia, nowhere in the world would ban ya" to a frankly reggaefied backing track that makes Paul Nicholas sound like King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown. Then there's his conduct during the short break, which in its jauntily skipping to the back of the stage, picking up a flag and waving it to either side isn't too far from the David Parton model. Top marks for working the word "highfalutin" in, mind.
The Stranglers – Go Buddy Go
"We're gonna change tempo a little bit now", although that is at least rather jaunty and not too far from this sort of pace. Then it becomes clear Tony cannot actually physically say the magic word (or two, right Kid?) yet in this Pistolian of all weeks: "a bit of that sort of, er, a bit of rock now". Same as two weeks ago. A royal tribute followed by this? That's got to have been deliberate.
Demis Roussos - Kyrila
"We'll conjure up the lovely island of Demis" promises Tony, which seems a bit personal. It's the fulcrum of a thought about people going on holiday, because he's Greek, see. This clearly hasn't been filmed at the same time as everything else as the blue smocked Demis is in front of a big off-white wall like it's Pebble Mill or something, no sign given of the usual Pops studio sets, with a wind machine to one side and, to denote the luxury holiday content, two potted plastic trees in front of him, not so much carefully arranged to give the impression of far off desert islands as grabbed out of reception and hoping for the best.
Honky – Join The Party
"I've got two ladies here, you come from Blackburn, aren't you? What a sensible place to come from!" So there you have it - Blackburn, says namesake, is "sensible". Such positivity. Odd that this repeat made the early edit when two new songs and a third that hasn't been on at 7.30 before, but we're long past the stage of second guessing the editing intentions.
The Jacksons – Show You The Way To Go
Tony recalls seeing the Osmonds in Vegas "who were sensational" and spotting the Jacksons in the audience. See, the jet set lifestyle. This seems to be the same set as Demis, with a single line of the backs of people's heads in front of the stage, some of whom are wandering about throughout, but somehow with a setting sun projection behind them the trees look just a little more convincing. The blue slit dresses don't fit the routine that seems generic and half-arsed as it is, as if this was one of those late replacement song weeks and they had the set built so they may as well kill two birds with one stone.
Bob Marley & The Wailers – Exodus
Well, this is no Neil Innes. Tony impresses on us that "wherever you go they've had smash hits", this being Marley's debut (and penultimate) appearance in the studio. Just for that it's something of a landmark and the moment clearly gets to the director, who halfway through cuts to some lights for too long, then very briefly to the bassist with his mouth open, then back to the I-Threes where he started before finding Bob again. Even more jarringly, it takes ages for the audience to get into it - there's plenty of strutting at the back from the well dressed older kids but down the front the best they can manage is some half hearted Union Jack waving, which shorn of context seems almost adversorial. Also note that just like any band unwilling to cart a full backline around they're kit sharing, sharing stage space and an organ with Osibisa
Rod Stewart – The First Cut Is The Deepest
One more week of waggling from the rear and emoting with the forehead. (Alright, stop that, we all know the story by now). Tony hopes we join him for Seaside Special and over the aforesnowed Emerson Lake & Palmer there's the rare sound of a fulsome round of applause over the start of the credits. They're supposed to be dancing, right?