As often happened during the seventies, the Christmas Top of the Pops was split into two programmes (there being far too many top pop platters to cram into just the one show). The 1971 Christmas Day edition featured gems from the likes of Clive Dunn, Dave Edmunds and Middle of the Road. What would part two have to offer? Let’s dive in ….
Tony Blackburn (nice cardigan, sir) introduces our first act – T Rex who are urging us to Get It On. A sprightly start then with Mr Bolan on top form (plus special guest Elton John, gleefully banging away on a silver foil-covered piano). Next we have The Tams and Hey Girl, Don’t Bother Me. The five-piece are a vision in matching red leather outfits (live vocal too, I believe). Originally released in 1964, it finally became a number one hit seven years later. As has been pointed out, they seem to slim down to a four-piece by the end of the song, which is a little odd.
It’s then time a spot of video (well, film) with Benny Hill and Ernie before we head back to the studio for Slade and Coz I Luv You. This was prior to their Glam Rock makeover so they’re all dressed fairly sensibly (well, sensible by early seventies standards). This one’s a definite footstamper (especially when Jim Lea pulls out his violin) which means that the mostly booted and mini-skirted female audience have their chance to shine.
George Harrison couldn’t stir himself to make an appearance in the TOTP studio, so instead Pan’s People give us their interpretation of My Sweet Lord. In staging terms we got off pretty lightly (they didn’t come dressed as Hare Krishnas for one thing). The People just slowly waft around the stage whilst the occasional photo of a beardy George is faded into the picture.
We remain on a musical roll with The Rolling Stones and Brown Sugar. Mick (pink suit, silly hat which he quickly takes off) capers around in his trademark hyperactive fashion whilst the rest of the band take up more sedate poses (although Keef does tap his foot from time to time).
One hit wonders Ashton, Gardner and Dyke are next with Resurrection Shuffle. They’re not exactly teen idols it has to be said, but it’s another one for the audience to enthusiastically jig along to.
Over to video for Diana Ross and I’m Still Waiting. The New Seekers with Never Ending Song of Love are the next studio act (an agreeably jaunty performance). And our show closes with Rod Stewart & the Faces and Maggie May – a famous TOTP moment (featuring John Peel on mandolin and an impromptu football kickabout).
As I believe the young people say, that was pretty much all killer and no filler. Certainly one that BBC4 should be adding to their Christmas schedule.