If I knew earlier that a TOTP that wasn't shown would be so much more immediately popular than discussing so many that were, this blog might have taken a different course. Regardless, onwards.
Kid, wearing the sort of mid-length jacket-cum-robe that goes best with a long cigarette holder, a chaise longue and a louche disposition, welcomes us to "the hit music scene". Belfast under the charts, which at 29 includes The Tubes (White Punks On Dope - no, curiously TOTP didn't go near it) with a photo featuring loads and loads of people, surely including people who weren't in The Tubes - on the Old Grey Whistle Test set! Caring and sharing, that's the BBC. Meanwhile Wings are lumbered with the single sleeve, which with the fading of the distinction between photo and photo-in-photo looks on screen like the worst Photoshop you've ever seen.
The Carvells – The LA Run
I don't know what image comes to mind when you try to imagine a song from the mid to late 70s called The LA Run, but I doubt it's this. It may well start with a close-up of a bass, metronomic drumming and some Moog squirting, but before long it's headlong into the world of early Beach Boys pastiche we go, leading-on bass vocalist and everything. Except... about skateboarding. In fact the Carvells, nom de rock for prolific backing singer Alan Carvell, have a board and helmet on the amp and keyboard, called 'their' subsequent album Skateboard Rampage and this is one of only two tracks on that album without the word 'skateboard' in the title. Fad cash-in much? Almost all clad in white trousers they're apparently a three guitar band without sounding anything like one, but they won't let us see the guitar solo as we cut to some stock footage of skateboarders doing their underdeveloped thing next to Tower Bridge - which, you may know, isn't in LA - on parapets and in bowls. And ny sheer amazing coincidence someone in the crowd has brought a skateboard with them! Lofting it above their head they resist any temptation to either try out some moves or chuck it at them. The director gets bored with the overlong outro and puts the skater footage back on, after which we see the keyboard player dancing with the board. You know how Dennis Wilson was the only Beach Boy who could surf - was he the only Carvell who could skateboard?
Wings – Mull Of Kintyre
"A long, long way from the skateboard scene" comes Paul near a cottage, then near a beach, then pipers on a beach. Macca gets up just as Linda approaches so he can go on a wander with Denny Laine. He must have had some explaining to do after that. "That must stand a big chance of being this Christmas' number one sound" Kid predicts, accurately by the show's standards in a stopped clock way, while surrounded by the apparent winners of a Brotherhood Of Man Dress-alike contest.
Bonnie Tyler – It's A Heartache
We've seen Bonnie before on here but this is the first appearance since throat nodules gave her the full cement-gargling treatment. "That sad sweetheart from Swansea", as an onomatopoeic Kid is keen to point out, Bonnie's voice actually seems to be rougher even than we've become accustomed to, borderline laryngitis. Footballer-resembling keyboard player in green T-shirt aside her entirely functional backing band are all in different shades of classic mid-70s brown, keeping it low key for now until the John Milesalike guitarist gets his solo and goes for his moment including a foot up on a non-existant monitor. A very odd moment right at the end, as while Kid confidently states her to be "my tip for success in 1978" - she didn't have another top 30 single until 1983 - Bonnie's voice on its own suddenly appears at seemingly louder volume than during the song for two and a half words, literally cutting off mid-syllable. Cut like that it can't have been a live vocal mistake, but surely a pre-record would have played in the whole band. Curious.
Darts – Daddy Cool/The Girl Can't Help It
"Those darlings of the doo-wop" have their first visit, falling Hegarty and all, repeated. Kid vouches for their live reputation, as if we hadn't just had a taste of it.
Leo Sayer – There Isn't Anything
Kid chooses to deliver his link not so much with his arm round a young woman (stop it) as restraining her with his forearm round her throat. Is she gurning and glancing round the studio out of choice or for assistance as the oxygen depletes? A carefree Kid tries her out as straight woman regardless of her situation. "There isn't anything... isn't it?" is his question to her at the end, again trying to work that particular charm of his, to which she can only say "no" and laugh because the question doesn't make sense without the song. Leo's on his own, as he has been before, a service we've only recently seen granted to Queen. To think there was a time when both would be of the same level of prestige. A blacked out studio highlights the brightness of his top and also the fact that he's basically trying to recapture the big ballad emotion of When I Need You only to find his big notes are just shouting before, using the magic of perspective, he wanders into a large picture frame towards a mike stand. He is, of course, on a part of the stage well behind the frame. What the point of that little sojourn was isn't clear but it keeps us guessing a little. Afterwards he's with a different woman, the stud, making a pointed remark about "beautiful Britain". No, Kid. Not now.
Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Egyptian Reggae
Ah, paydirt. Kid cracks it's "the music a few English football managers are dancing to these days". Presumably that's a Don Revie joke, but he went to the United Arab Emirates. Still, all the same to Kid, isn't it? Anyway, the quixotic Richman instrumental gets the Legs & Co treatment. Treatment is the operative word. No words can do justice.
I described this on Twitter a couple of weeks ago as Legs & Co's equivalent of Pan's People's Get Down, not only in that it's probably the most likely of their routines you'll see on nostalgia clip shows but it's also people doing what on the face of it is a quite stupid looking routine with a great big animal-based elephant in the room with absolute poker faces and total commitment to their craft. In case you were wondering, according to the former it's Sue front end, Lulu at the back, and you have to say that Ms Cartwright's let the side down a little at the end there, assuming her end tableau position half a bar early while Sue's still wobbling her/its head, though she's also half a second late in the climactic head drop. And see the venomous power of that snake! I really have no idea how Pauline didn't run cowering. Or alternately piss herself laughing. "I'm sure Jonathan Richman would like that" Kid says, giggling. Well, he might.
Hot Chocolate – Put Your Love In Me
The graphical wizards have already moved on from their rainbow coloured circles and seem to have constructed an oval out of coloured lights and wires to project close-up shots of instruments into the middle of. A little moving about and the effect is quite psychedelic for the 20p budget's allowance, though the CSO framing could do with some steadiness. Errol's ever emotionless face mostly gets the full screen treatment, of course, but after he's started there's some judicious wipes from the centre so we can be reminded who's boss round here. There is an audience at this taping, but they're only glimpsed once in a long shot in complete silhouette. Eventually they end with a pan to the lights, like they want to finish already.
The Bee Gees – How Deep Is Your Love
The intro to the video, the one with all the spotlights you're probably aware of, sees Kid take to the Egyptian set and hoists a hitherto unused novelty tiger head print stole over his shoulder. With it in place he tries an Eric Morecambe routine and gets it wrong. Honestly, we shouldn't expect that sort of prop-based fallacy from anyone. Apart from DLT.
Santa Esmeralda & Leroy Gomez – Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Odd demarcation, given "high stepping", as Kid refers to him, Leroy Gomez was the singer in the group Santa Esmeralda. It's Gloria Estefan And Miami Sound Machine before its time. Perhaps in protest Santa Esmeralda haven't shown up, which means fewer people to take issue when Kid in voiceover tells us they're "from the land of flamenco guitars, the group Baccara and Manuel". Just say Spain, Kid, we've heard of it. Leroy's up for it regardless, doing some frantic clapping as an intro before a full stage shot reveals it to be him plus three dancing girls - I don't think they're Legs & Co members, though I stand to be corrected, from other European TV performance clips it seems to be more like Leroy's personal harem - performing a routine big in standing side-on in pleated Spanish-type skirts, just to ram it home. Two of them are in their bras. The other probably counted as the demure offering. Gomez, in his afro, half-shaved goatee beard and half-open shirt with sleeves that resemble the shape of tin foil immediately after it's been removed to reveal the buffet sandwiches underneath, tries his best but it can't be helped that he's been placed out to one side of the stage so the dancers get most of the central space.
ABBA – The Name Of The Game
Still there, still at deadlock in their Ludo game. "The Kid", as by now he's calling himself, is back on that new "exotic "set seemingly surrounded by the entire audience, some of whom are in ties, some in rollnecks. Ahead of the Jacksons' Goin' Places he has only one thing left to wish us - "good week and good love!" What? Don't mess with a winning formula!