Tony greets us straightforwardly into a countdown backed by Meri Wilson's Telephone Man. Meri Wilson's Telephone Man! It's unlikely the show ever chose a less comfortably fitting track for a fastpaced chart rundown.
Hudson-Ford – Are You Dancing?
In which two former Strawbs attempt to get hep. Hang on - big curly mass of fair hair and at least developing facial hair, big dark glasses, prominent cellos, hint of disco being taken on board... Jeff Lynne? Is that you? He's got the better look than his colleague, who seems to have pioneered the look of Andy from Little Britain. They actually do go back to back for the instrumental break, but that doesn't hide they have a third guitarist doing the solo. When does he get his name in the business title? Tony announces it'll be Noel's record of the week, just to put the mockers on it completely.
Yvonne Elliman – I Can’t Get You Out Of My Mind
She seems to have been in the top 30 for most of these eighteen months but this video is the first we've actually seen of her. The video format is of course very much in its primacy, hence this is Elliman in all her a-bit-like-Coolidge form, or possibly what Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy would actually look like as a woman, standing in front of a lightly blowing wind machine in a kaftan, and then during the second verse someone turns the front lights out for a bit.
Elvis Costello – Red Shoes
No, hang on, that's not it. Costello's debut, backed by the Attractions, and I wonder if the TOTP reworking was his first recording with them - they made their live debut with Elvis seven weeks earlier, the US band Clover (most of whom became Huey Lewis' News) back him on the original and they're not on the following single either. Playing in front of what is a white spiral this week, Elvis is the angry nerd of early infamy, staring down the camera sneering and angry as he goes, taking advantage of every close-up and pull shot, as if all this was somehow our fault. Drummer Pete Thomas' T-shirt reads 'ELVIS Original P(something)' and he's in firing mode too, drumrolling and cymbal crashing well into the link out. "Why not? You can't get done for it" claims Tony. About the wearing, not the drumming.
David Soul – Silver Lady
Legs & Co without Lulu or Rosie but with... go on, guess. Yes, silver outfits. Flimsy chain mail skirts and bra tops, in fact. Despite much early promise of bum-waggling it's fairly standard prancing and the two increasingly common move, holding up the arms while moving sideways and striding forward with chest forward like a Tex Avery suited cartoon villain. Tony plugs Starsky & Hutch, Saturday 9pm on BBC1. Don't actually watch at that time in expectation.
Steve Gibbons Band – Tulane
The original is 45 minutes long yet they kept a repeat (the first appearance) of this in?
The Jacksons – Dreamer
A close-up of some lights provides a divider between that film and this video. No Randy, for some reason, and he's not missing a lot as the other four, Michael very much in the foreground and getting to hold a yellow mike that looks like a ball and cup game, sit on stools in bow tie, frilly shirt and blue suits against a green screen backdrop achieved by panning across some stretched out wallpaper patterns. They're all sitting in different ways, interestingly, Michael side-on to be better in the full band shots, one at 45 degrees, one bandy-legged, one with the left leg casually around the side. At no point do they get up from the stools and walk towards the camera. Look and learn, modern bands.
Elkie Brooks – Sunshine After The Rain
Back in her finest overalls. Well, not back per se, as it's a repeat. Tony draws particular specific attention to the melody.
Joe Dolan – I Need You
And you thought Enge seemed out of place in 1973. Big cabaret night pop had a presence throughout the decade and Irish easy listening hero Dolan, whom Tony notes "hasn't had a release out in this country for a long, long time", knows his place when it comes to theatrical stylings. On a stage not long vacated by Costello, for contrast, this essential rewrite of Demis' Forever And Ever is patterned by moments of Dolan bursting into big flamboyant phrases pitched several keys above the tune before experimenting in alarming laryngitis-esque falsetto. Gesturing in the backing vocals, pointing at the camera - he knows his showbiz alright. The audience even look slightly engaged. "Wow, some of those high notes!" Tony muses as the four women around him clap appreciatively in a way we've never seen the people gathered around a presenter do before.
The Dooleys – Think I’m Gonna Fall In Love With You
Repeat. She'll catch her death.
Nazareth – Love Hurts
Soft rock's turn to strike a blow, big Marshall amps and all. Dan McCafferty, clad in white trousers and what can only be described as a flowery blouse, emotes like a man hurt. The drummer in his big beard and shrunk-to-fit-naturally cap sleeve vest seems like he came from central rock casting.
Candi Staton – Nights On Broadway
More flashing lights lead in the video, so even more flashing lights. Consider it a glamorous take on road safety Public Information Films.
Mink De Ville – Spanish Stroll
Tony suggests we've never been to Spain with him. Well, no, Tony. Video again. "I didn't understand a word of that, did you?" Tony mugs afterwards.
David Essex – Cool Out Tonight
Tony has some more plugging to do. "Tuesday, eight o'clock, I want you to remember this, on BBC television, David Essex starts the first of his brand new series of six shows". Yes, but when does he finish it? And again, don't actually watch at that time in expectation. Well versed in showbiz performance as he is, David has full command of matey side-on looks to camera and keeps the power of surprise, producing a rhythm guitar halfway through. Shame he's forced his saxophonist to come along as the man has nothing to do with the instrument despite keeping it strapped on - union getting uppity? - and has to increasingly listlessly shake a tambourine, being positioned right behind Essex's left shoulder in straight on shots not helping his cause much. And one more blow for light entertainment, David's elaborate bow to the audience in the background as Tony starts talking again.
Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better
A Legs & Co repeat, maybe to prove that they really were well covered after all.
Elvis Presley – Way Down
And a third Legs & Co appearance! It's not so long - months, come to think of it - since they wouldn't let us see more than one dance on the same show edit, possibly thinking we'd all get overexcited, hyperventilate and black out. But here they are again in the same outfits as for Silver Lady, shot entirely from one stage right and from the back with Sue in the foreground, doing at least three different routines at once to begin with before falling into formation prancing, facing a Toppotron™ slide projection of his photos as between those two points kids shuffle awkwardly. At least one teenage male seems to be doing it ironically. It briefly looks like the girls are going to keep going regardless of what the music's doing but they notice and slowly gyrate to a standstill before applauding everyone else for dancing, which is big of them. Tony continues his one man Radio Times recital by plugging his morning Radio 1 show and Magic Fly plus lots of close-ups of lights sees us out.