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Chart Music

The podcast that rams its hand down the settee of the greatest pop TV show ever. Each episode takes one random episode of Top Of The Pops and breaks it down to its very last compound, from the tunes to the audience reaction to what colour silk bomber jacket the presenter is wearing that week. Hosted by Al Needham, with huge assistance from some of the UK's toppermost music writers, it's an unflinching gaze into the open wound of pop culture and a celebration of Thursday evenings past.
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Now displaying: Category: Music Commentary
Sep 6, 2019

The latest episode of the podcast which asks: Why didn't NASA do something for the old 'uns?

It's the mid-point of our Critics Choice series, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, and this time Our Taylor has taken us back - way back - to the spring of 1969, when two-thirds of Team ATVland weren't even thought of and the third was imprisoned in a cage made out of pallets, with all nails sticking out. 

Musicwise, well: we are 301 days from the end of this decade - the greatest decade in history, mark you - and Top Of The Pops has failed to paint it black. Many things happen in this year, but mainly in America, and this episode is rammeth with Beat groups on their last legs, all expertly dealt with by the voice of Brentford Nylons. Dave Dee, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub celebrate ritual animal abuse. Love Affair awkwardly wink at the camera as the sand runs out on their career. Lulu swings an imaginary beer stein frothing with Schlager as she makes her bid for Eurovision glory. The Tymes do something really impressive at the end of their song. The Bee Gees stop bitching at each other long enough to curl off another dud single. Stevie Wonder drops one of the all-time great TOTP performances. And Jesus in a jumpsuit, the state of the Number One.

Taylor Parkes and Neil Kulkarni join Al Needham on the barren, grey surface of Top Of The Pops in the Sixventies, pausing from their exploration to discuss Jon Pertwee's conversion to Rock, the G-Clamp Tree, Geoff Sex, Right-Wing Swingers, ridiculously blunt LP reviews, and Dick Emery getting preferential treatment over Moby Grape. The swearing is heavy, and progressive. 

 

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Aug 8, 2019

The latest episode of the podcast which asks: What's more important, the Taint or the Love?

Part Two of our Critics' Choice series, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, and Our Neil has dragged us back to the idyllic summer of 1981, where the panel were a) replaying the 1970 World Cup with Subbuteo, b) wearing burgundy and c) playing The Omen in our bedroom respectively. And good Lord, what an episode he's picked! 

Musicwise, it's a ridiculous mix of soaring highs and plunging lows, where the new era of synthiness forces the old guard to shed their facial hair, pare back on the widdliness and learn to rollerskate. Marc Almond throws the sunglasses to one side and delivers one of the landmark TOTP performances. Some Dads pretend to be the Bee Gees. Midge Ure comes on all Peaky Blinders. The Rolling Stones have a glorious piss-about. Cliff gets wanged across a shopping centre in Milton Keynes for some Danger Skating. Legs & Co are shackled to ELO again. And the Number One is, er, a Futurist pan-Asian classic.

Neil Kulkarni and Simon Price examine the potato bag of '81 for signs of blight with Al Needham, veering off on such tangents as playing football with Action Men, the star power of Stan Stennett, The Rumour, The Oriental Riff, The Pickwick Top Of The Pops compilations, Specials cover versions at Butlins, and Manslaughter On 45. There's swearing. But you knew that anyway.

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Jul 9, 2019

The latest episode of the podcast which asks: can you remember a wazz you had 43 years ago?

This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, is the beginning of a five-part mini-series where members of Team Chart Music run a finger along our TOTP collection and select one of their favourites - and Our David has kicked it off by pulling out an absolute plum from the very end of the Drought. Your panel were killing time during the summer holidays sitting in hot cars, playing Shove Matchbox, or trying to be the Lord Killinan of the ladybirds, but over in the BBC TV Centre, Noel Edmonds has graciously taken time out from getting ready for Swap Shop (and presumably counting the excrement passing through the piping system) to deluge us all with another massive dollop of brightly-coloured Pop gunge.

Musicwise, it's a mainly above-par serving of the usual mid-70s melange: Manfred Mann turn up the knob on their synth. The Bee Gees lob a glitterball through the window of the charts. Robin Sarstedt - the Lothario of the Tea Dance - pitches up one more time. The Stylistics stand in a park on Dress-Down Friday. Gallagher and Lyle do something. The Chi-Lites are accompanied by a non-racist cartoon. OH MY GOD IS THAT CAN. And most importantly, we finally get round to Ruby Flipper, the dance troupe that actually featured men and - gasp! non-white people.

David Stubbs and Taylor Parkes join Al Needham for a lick of the Lolly Gobble Choc Bomb of '76, veering off on such tangents as belt shops in East London, mid-70s sexual health clinic procedures, Ian Hitler, the Brum Burger, Godzilla and Social Exclusion, and one of Chart Music being a retired male stripper. NOW WITH ADDED SEXUAL SWEAR WORDS WARNING!

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Jun 6, 2019

The 40th episode of the podcast which asks: so how do you get your pills out of a Kinder Surprise egg while wearing long opera gloves?

This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, takes us nearly ten years away from the glory of the last one and plunges us deep into the turquoise shell-suited heart of the Neighnties - and oh dear, our beloved programme is right up Arsehole Street. The ratings are dropping like a Shed Seven release in its second week, newer and savvier shows are undercutting it, and the BBC have pissed about with the scheduling to such an extent that middle-aged spods with a craving for Judith Hann are sitting there shouting; "Oh, what's this bollocks? WHERE'S TOMORROW'S WORLD?" 

Musicwise, hmm: Gary Davies, in a boxy denim jacked beloved of the era, just about manages to not look like he's too old for this shit (despite dropping a few clunky Dad-phrases). Inspiral Carpets - the Freddie and the Dreamers of Madchester - pitch up, demonstrating the bad haircuts that were available to youths at the time. Saffron-not-yet-of-Republica dresses up like a magician's assistant. The Mock Turtles do a mobile phone advert. The mid-Eighties refuses to piss off, in the shape of Feargal Sharkey, The Waterboys and Mike and the Mechanics. Still, there's a welcome opportunity for people who haven't got Sky yet to have a proper goz at The Simpsons, Black Box remind us that they did more than one record, and there's some dead good angel wings on your woman in C&C Music Factory. Chesney Hawkes - 'the iconic legend of the 80s and 90s', according to his website, which is roughly 1.96666 decades too many - punches the air. 

Sarah Bee and Simon Price link up with Al Needham at the car boot sale of 1991, veering off on such tangents as being refused entry to gay clubs by National Front activists, why you should never install a plastic tank into your wardrobe to piss into, bragging at school that you've seen Sky at Centre Parcs, the phenomenon of Some Rap, and the misery of having to share a crappy Student Union with people who have been on Top Of The Pops more than you have. And there's swearing.

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