TOP OF THE POPS MAY 11 1976 BROADCAST ON BBC4 ON THURSDAY 11 MAY 2011
Noel Edmunds appears wearing a gorgeous grey pinstripe suit with a carnation. His hair is perfect and he has a little beard-just like always. Did he have that beard as a 4 year old? I notice his microphone looks like a silver Berol Handwriter pen.
Mud are first. They are dressed in bright green teddy boy drape suits. They look like Hibernian Marchers who’ve lost their way and just decide to give Top of the Pops a twirl anyway. They are singing a disco song that sounds uncannily like “Cant get you out of my head” but the singer keeps breaking into that Teddy Boy dance you always see in 70’s documentaries about British Leyland. It’s “50’s disco”. The bassist has black fingerless gloves with little studs and he has that look which says “I wish I’d left these in the dressing room”.
Noel Edmunds reappears and seems to disapprove. He’s almost saying telepathically “you had your hits in the early 70’s now F**k off mud”.
Next up it’s Frankie Valli. He’s left his Hoseasons behind in New York. He’s got a medallion round his neck like a bin lid from Top Cat. The song’s about a Fallen Angel. Frankie seems preoccupied with what he’s having at the Indian Restaurant after recording finishes. Pianos and strings.
Noel makes a sarcastic comment about the tragedy of the fallen angel. It’s meant to be funny but maybe he’s seen the future?
Then it’s the Stylistics singing the old Elvis song " Cant help falling in love" . It’s not them though. It’s some dancers called Ruby Flipper. The Stylistics version of the song passes and disappears into a distant sun on the other side of the universe. There’s a clock on the wall and it says 20 to 8. Pianos and strings and a disco beat.
Noel then introduces Barry Manilow. He’s wearing a white leather jacket that looks like he bought it in that shop opposite TJ Hughes in Argyle Street. For any non Glaswegians, this shop has been there for years and seems to sell leather stuff. I cant remember its name. Barry kind of half stands/half sits on his seat, like he’s got the tag nut blues. There’s a lot of pianos and strings. Cant remember the song’s name. It’s quarter to 8 and I’m thinking have I pumped up the tyres on my bike?
Cliff Richard sings Devil Woman. Things are looking up.
Noel introduces a guy in a green suit with a lovely green shirt. He has the Berol Handwriter microphone as well. I don’t catch his name as a call centre from India calls me up about buying some telecoms. I tell the guy to call back later as I’m in 1976 and they didn’t have call centres then. He’s confused but agrees. The guy in the green suit looks like the guest in Fawlty Towers that hides the lady in the room. In fact I’m sure he’s got a tiger’s tooth fertility symbol round his neck. Pianos and strings.
Then it’s a guy called JJ Barrie singing a spoken word country song about a kid invoicing his mother 5 dollars for cutting the lawn. Fair enough I think and I’m just about to phone my Mum and ask her for £3.50 (allowing for international currency fluctuations).He spends the next 3 minutes reciting all the tasks the mother did for the little boy as he was growing up while the words “no charge” keep getting mentioned. JJ Barrie is angry and making a moral point . I shout “no one forced her to have kids “ at the screen but he’s in 1976 and doesn’t hear me.
Finally Noel announces the number 1 record. It’s ABBA with Fernando. ABBA’s worst song by quite a distance. Why couldn’t it be SOS or Mamma Mia? They reach the end of the first chorus and it’s back to Noel. He’s looking in a mirror and kissing himself.
Please don’t bring back Top of the Pops BBC.