I have decided to christen my blog with a post that can only be described as “fluff.” Except for the baker’s dozen of middle-aged men for whom TOTP 1977 is serious biznutz. Hello Dad.
See, although I am somewhat of a chart nerd myself, watching these back has enlightened me to a myriad of realisations about this era that would astound those that may suggest that it was “golden.”
And now for the main event! Here is what I have been taught.
1. Teenagers in the 1970s all looked a bit sickly and unwell.
Some might suggest that a lack of nubile young bodies is a roly-poly 21st century phenomenon. But no! It is overwhelmingly apparent that the 1970’s suffered the same issue, albeit from the opposing angle. The only appropriate word is “gaunt.” I have to admit that this is not something noticed solely on TOTP, as this was first spotted on a 1972 T-Rex concert as aired on Sky Arts. One can only assume that Ewan McGregor took some influence whilst preparing for “Trainspotting.”
2. These runtish young waifs have really bad hair and clothes.
This is not meant to blatantly insult as much as it is to challenge the belief that the 1980s was the era that taste forgot. Tell me, how can that be when Topshop now so often resembles a mid-90s charity shop with an abundance of Neneh Cherry’s shiny ten-year-old cast-offs? And yet I think we’re all yet to see a modern lass sporting a “Farrah Fawcett” and dark orange flares. And no, hipsters DON’T count.
2b. I still much prefer this look to the overwrought coiffuring of today.
It was so much easier to be pretty in the 1970s! As evidenced by Agnetha and Anni-Frid, there WERE only 2 colours of eyeshadow.
3.Teenagers apparently ambled over one another to visit the nation’s biggest pop show and then proceed to observe the show in an ambience of nonplussed wonderment.
Now, I often cannot blame these kids when Dave Lee Travis is announcing yet another forgotten disco quartet but their supposed desperation to be there remains perplexing. Maybe they came for Noel Edmonds? Speaking of which…
4. Some girls appeared to have actually fancied Noel Edmonds back then.
I use the past tense BECAUSE. But yes, I have observed the fawning with my own eyes. He WAS more of a looker than Saville, I guess.
5. Songs about domestic abuse and puppetry and not necessarily mediums that must be separated.
Thanks, Joy Sarney.
6. Contrary to increasingly popular belief, Gary Glitter DID exist and was a huge star. Maybe because the populace lacked the newfangled technology that would allow them to know that he would be convicted as a paedophile 20 years later.
7. “Sunny” by Boney M is definitely their best single.
Yes, better than Rasputin. “Sunny” is an irresistible little Summer number that is almost impossible not to listen to when the weather is warm. Though owing to our current climate, I imagine that only equates to about 4 plays that my iPod could muster.
8. “Lonely Boy” by Andrew Gold is a fantastic song.
This bouncy ode to a solitary upbringing is a surprising stand-out for me. Younger readers may not know much about Andrew Gold, I know a sparse amount myself… but what I can tell you is that this is a fantastic song. Further bonus facts on Andrew Gold include: 1. He wrote “Thank You For Being A Friend”, the quite brilliant theme tune to “The Golden Girls” and 2. His mother Marni Nixon is a famous Hollywood “playback singer”, meaning her vocals have substituted for many a starlet, including Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady.”
8b. The only thing eclipsing “Lonely Boy” is it’s trademark Legs and Co interpretive dance.
Seriously. Just Watch.
9. ABBA were, of course, brilliant… but were they just the exceptional amongst the unexceptional?
Abba’s ubiquity at the upper echelons of the chart does not escape of the notice and comments of fans nor the presenters on the show. But what strikes me is just quite how forgettable so many of the other songs are. This has led me to believe that Abba were perhaps lucky to find themselves making music in a time period where their effortless anthems stand out ever so slightly more amongst some distinctly unremarkable peers. Which leads me onto my final point…
10. Yes Dad, the charts ARE shit now. But by gosh, they were shit then too!
These observations have led to be further affirm in my mind what I believe should probably be a universally accepted truth by now. This truth is that we are all selective about what we retain in our minds. With chart music, we remember the best and forget the rest. I am often vocal about how dispirited I am with the current state of the charts (whilst keenly willing off another spate of “landfill indie“) but I am similarly the first to acknowledge the amazingness of a stand-out track such as Rita Ora’s “R.I.P.” or other selected golden nuggets. As with now and every other period in popular music, the mid-late 1970s was seriously hit-and-miss.
However, I am keen to stress that my last comment is not designed to deter people from watching TOTP 1977. If anything, I think everyone reading this blog should embrace it wholeheartedly. Obviously it’s paradise for slovenly almanacs, but also offers something up for those with a slightly unhealthy appetite for sociological and modern-historical intrigue. It’s no coincidence that all of these brackets apply to me. May it run and run and run and run… until Fearne Cotton shows up.