Back to 1982 – 12th August 1982

Pick of the evening (especially as it’s not a repeat) is Top of the Pops. What were the top pop tunes forty years ago today? Let’s see ….

We’re into the Michael Hurll era, which means it’s almost non-stop party time in the TOTP studio. Well, there’s one little ray of gloom – John Peel, who’s on solo presenting duty today and is his usual phlegmatic self.

Toto Coelo with I Eat Cannibals kick off proceedings. Dressed in shockingly bright colours it’s certainly an energetic start. Thankfully things get a little more moody when the lights go down and the dry ice begins to seep in as Yazoo with Don’t Go take to the stage. Top tune, it has to be said.

It’s now time for a spot of footage of the Boys Town Gang taken from the Dutch TOTP imitator, Top Pop. If you like camp, you’ll love this. Then it’s back to the TOTP studio for The Associates and 18 Carat Love Affair.

A packed show today, as Sheena Easton is next up with Machinery (a song I have no memory of, but since it only peaked at no 38 that’s quite understandable). She’s looking very stylish in a 1982 way.

Time to ramp up the party atmosphere once again with Haysi Fantayzee and John Wayne Is Big Leggy. The lyrics are slightly saucy, but presumably nobody cared (or realised). The Wikipedia page about the song leaves nothing to the imagination though.

Wavelength with Hurry Home. Another one of those songs I have no memory of at all but you have to admit they’re very smartly dressed.

After that slow song, Zoo and a group of Moroccan tumblers (“I never drink from anything else” says JP) are on hand to fling themselves around to Kool and the Gang. Then it’s the Fun Boy Three with their unique take on Summertime

One of the stars of Minder had already had his own taste of TOTP glory. Dennis Waterman, fronting the Dennis Waterman Band (good name), hit the heights with I Could Be So Good For You. Not content with that, in 1983 Waterman would join forces with George Cole for the unforgettable What Are We Gonna Get for ‘Er Indoors?

But 1982, in terms of Minder records, belonged to The Film with their (presumably) unofficial but nonetheless heartfelt Arthur Daley (E’s Alright). Sounding very Chas and Dave-ish, it’s one of those novelty songs I loved at the time and I still love now.

And that just leaves the No 1 – which remains Dexys Midnight Runners and Come On Eileen. A nice performance (dungarees and fiddles to the fore of course) although it’s a shame that the end titles run over it.

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Elsewhere today there’s another Laurel & Hardy (Chickens Come Home) on BBC2 and a couple of ITV repeats – Robin’s Nest and Thriller – that’ll go on the list. The Thriller episode (I’m the Girl He Wants to Kill – original tx 18th March 1974) features a menacing performance from Robert Lang as a silent killer with Julie Sommars as his potential next victim (Tony Selby, Ken Jones and Anthony Steel also feature).

(David Soul is today’s eye puzzler).

3 thoughts on “Back to 1982 – 12th August 1982

  1. Surprisingly Dangermouse gets an early evening slot. The Daffy Duck cartoon is What Makes Daffy Duck?

    On Top of the Pops it’s:
    I Eat Cannibals by Toto Ceolo
    Don’t Go by Yazoo
    Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by the Boystown Gang
    18 Carat Love Affair by the Ssociates
    Machinery be Sheena Easton
    John Wayne is Big Leggy by Haysi Fantayzee
    Hurry Home by Wavelength
    Zoo dancing to Big Fun by Kool and the Gang
    Summertime by the Fun Bot Three
    Arthur Daley by the Firm
    And at Number One it’s Come On Elieen by Dexy’s Midnight Runners and Emerald Express with the closing credits.

    There was a posh version of Arthur Daley bt the Firm’s Bank Manager, which was either the B-side of the Firm record, or it was Steve Wright under an assumed name.

    Zoo weren’t on Top of the Pops for long. It was the video era that made the dance troupes on Top of the Pops relevant. Pan’s People and Legs and Co were sets of six individuals and everyone had their favourite, but Zoo were faceless.

    It wasn’t long after this that I stopped watching Top of the Pops. Not because the pop scene was less interesting that it was a few years earlier, but for the mundane reason that I was studying when it was on.

    If you watched the repeats of Top of the Pops from 1982 on BBC4 you may have noticed that in some of the programmes the DJ says that Fame is on next, especially the ones when the theme song from Fame was at number one. Though of course the number one record was Irene Cara’s rendition from the original film version. I would have said that the difference between the film Fame and the tv series was like the difference between the film and tv versions of M*A*S*H, but it’s actuall even bigger.

    Four years earlier girls entering holiday camp disco dancing competitions nearly always wanted to dance to songs from Grease. In 1982 they were asking to dance to the theme from Fame. Two years later it was Footloose.

    There’s an excellent film on ITV. The Duellists, starring Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel, was the first, and best, film directed by Ridley Scott. It was one of the best films shown on Moviedrome, which is saying something. And it’s top of my list of films which I’ve seen on tv but would like to see at the cinema.


  2. Re. “Hurry Home” by Wavelength: I can’t believe you’ve forgotten that this was the summer of the Falklands War ! I don’t think the song was written for that purpose, but service families noticed it and made it a hit. I particularly remember Mike Reid playing it a lot on his Radio 1 Breakfast show; Reid lived (as I did) in the part of Surrey where there are a lot of Army and RAF bases.


    • Elvis wrote a song about the Falklands War called Shipbuilding which was covered by former Soft Machine singer Robert Wyatt.


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