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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: general
Dec 24, 2018

A special-ish episode of the podcast which asks: why do we always leave the Xmas episodes to the last minute?

Another MASSIVE examination of Pop-telly nirvarna sees us tucking in to the annual Xmas day selection box - this time from the year of Nineteen and Seventy-Six. And lucky us: we've been invited to the head table of Radio One, dominated by the bearded gorgons of The Happy Sound themselves - DLT and Noel Edmonds - as they give the nation an opportunity to watch them pretend to like each other, have one massive trifle EACH, fuck about with bread and grip a fork with a Yorkshire pudding on the end of it with sheer uncontained LUST at Legs & Co.

Like all Xmas Day episodes, it's a look back at the flare-swingin' Sound of '76 - and as is its wont, the highs are stratospheric and the lows are subterranean. Abba remind us who the Dons of the era were with not one but two hits. Tina Charles cowers up in the lighting rig and wonders about her bloke. The Wurzels keep it rural. JJ Barrie angers every child across the nation once more. Demis Roussos - Fat Jesus himself - puts a tingle in the loins of Bev and Ange. The most unmemorable month-long No.1 in recorded history wafts in and out. Legs & Co slink about in bra and pants, with those ferrets on the last episode. Tony Blackburn is boiled alive, while being danced at by an alligator with tits.

Taylor Parkes and Simon Price join Al Needham to sneakily rip open a corner of the wrapping on the presents of 1976 to see what they are, veering off on such vital tangents as Hughie Green's Hard Right talking ballardry, Christmas cracker jokes about the Threat of Punk, the wrongness of England being in World Cup Subbuteo sets of the Seventies, and a heartwarming tale of getting pissed up and bothering Freddy Mercury. Apologies if the edit is rough as arseholes - we had considerable mither putting it together - but may it sustain you until we meet again in 2019. 

 

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Aug 31, 2018

The latest episode of the podcast which asks: if Bummerdog was a band, what would they sound like?

This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, is one of the absolute landmark moments of the long and storied history of The Pops - the week where all the rubbish of the Laties is finally driven into the sea by streetwise lairy youths with a malevolent shuffle and a drug-induced attitude. And as well as Big Fun, the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays are on too.

Those of you who remember this episode as a full-on Madchester takeover - with 808 State on as well, and Vera Duckworth gurning away in the audience in a Joe Bloggs top - are going to be sorely disappointed, however, as the supporting cast is the usual Neighnties rubbish. Jakki Brambles and Jenny Powell come off like the Philadelphia Cheese Advert women. Bobby Brown thrusts his groin at a shockingly young girl who's probably wondering when Tiffany is going to come on. Aaron Neville comes dressed up as a character in a Sega beat-'em-up. The Fine Young Cannibals get bum-rushed by the cast of Dance Energy. The Martians pitch up to blare some Housey rubbish at us. The #1 is cat shit. And Holy Horrible Soundtrack LPs, Batman, it's Prince.

Al Needham is joined by Sorted Simon Price and Top Lad Taylor Parkes for a trawl through the car boot sale of 1989, breaking off to discuss such important matters as Top Hatting, raiding your Dad's wardrobe to look suitably 'Double Good', Ian Brown shutting down a bar, sniffing silage, and the introduction of the Chart Music Top Ten. Get on some swearing, matey!   

Jul 13, 2018

The latest episode of the podcast which asks: is there such a thing as a trendy wank?

This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, drags us back to the dark  Civil War of the mid-90s, when brother fought against brother over whether Roll With It was slightly less rubbish than Country House, and Oasis-loving loving wives imposed a 'nookie strike' upon their Blur-supporting husbands. Yes, it's the aftermath of the Battle of Britpop, and we fly over the rubble, dropping crates of analysis and sniping at assorted wrongness along the way.

If you're expecting non-stop Sons and Daughters of Albion adopting Mockney accents and walking about about monkeys, however, you're going to be sorely disappointed, as there are a lot of - gasp! - Americans on it, and even some Irish people. Dale Winton reaches the pinnacle of the journey he started when he was playing records in a biscuit factory. Berri and De'lacy provide an interesting - sort of - compare-and-contrast of Anglo and American House. Michael Jackson lolls about in a CGI Greek temple with Elvis' daughter. The theme tune from Friends pops up. Fucking Boyzone show up for no reason whatsoever. Montell Jordan arses about in a theme park. Echobelly break up from school forever. Michael Bolton, looking like a giant Womble, asks if he can fondle us. Blur show off.

Sarah Bee and Simon Price help Al Needham to walk through the minefield of Britpop like Lady Di, breaking off to discuss the early days of Television X, our shameful careers in pornography, watching Friends whilst ripped to the tits on Leytonstone speed, all the awards we've won and what we do with them, and - finally - Simon gets to talk about Romo. And Oh! what swearing!

Mar 30, 2018

The latest episode of the podcast which asks: have you got crabs?

In this edition, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, we decided to give you the opportunity to watch our selected episode of Pops along with us (providing you keep a finger on the pause button, as we're over five times longer). It's just come out on BBC4, giving you an invaluable opportunity to tut to yourself and say; "God, they didn't even mention that Richard Skinner keeps saying "It's the way you tell them" to Simon Bates, the thick twats."

Yes, we're smack in the middle of the Eighties, and a mere nine days away from Live Aid - and no-one realises yet what a massive fault-line it's going to create in Popland, when the dinosaurs come marching back and cram everything around them into their gaping maws. Least of all us, as we're too busy skulking around in a post sixth-form haze, sitting through a Saturday detention due to Tipp-Ex-related obscenities, and pitching a Pants Tent to George Michael in Barry Island Butlins. 

Musicwise, however, this episode veers all over the shop, from Pete Burns taking the last stand for Pop Weirdness to Tears For Fears poncing about in Montreux to Paul Weller in his Pants to Oompah Reggae to Mick Hucknall annoying people trying to play pool to Roland Gift singing like he's got a hot bit of potato in his mouth to Ian Astbury dressing up like someone who reads palms in a caravan off Blackpool Pier. It's actually better than expected, although the No.1 is depressingly rammel. And as luck would have it, one of us - who was a Hip Young Cockleslinger at the Barry and District Times - has pulled out his scrapbook and treats us to his original reviews. 

Neil Kulkarni and Simon Price join Al Needham for a solid pick at the scab of 1985, veering off on the usual tangents, which include having to go to school with the Topless Lovelies, the correct procedures of cock-drawing, trying to dress like Paul Weller and ending up looking like Eric Morecombe, Quincy Punks, and the Treacherous Steph of Basingstoke. Naturally, swearing is deployed. Often.

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/chartmusic/22_-_July_4th_1985_-_A_Horrible_Year_For_Crisps_And_Pop.mp3]

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Oct 31, 2017

The thirteenth go-around of the podcast which asks: Showaddywaddy? Again? Really?

This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, finally sees the good ship Chart Music sail way past the three-hour exclusion zone – but it can’t be helped, because the episode of Thursday Evening Pop Valhalla we dissect here is a classic.

Some of the big guns of the Seventies are pulled out, but are immediately bricked by snotty New Wave oiks in charity shop clothes, the foul spell of Revolting and Neutron-Bomb is banished forever, and Kid Jensen looks on from his Fortress of Solitude in approval and then asks some girls if they think he’s sexy. And they say ‘No’.

Musicwise, everything you’d expect from ’78 that isn’t caked in Grease is here. Freddie Mercury points out that he likes big butts and he cannot lie, Child pitch up in Brian Tilsley haircuts, Elton John looks like a droog suffering a mid-life crisis as Cathy McGowan sits at his feet, Elvis Costello calls Tony Blackburn a ‘silly man’ while pretending to take drugs, Debbie Harry stares at us unnervingly over a carrier bag, Heatwave drop an era-defining wedding song while dressed up as Turkish waiters, and the Boomtown Rats bring the Ted-Punk wars of the Kings Road into every playground in the country. And there’s Toast.

Al Needham is joined by Neil Kulkarni and Taylor Parkes for a rigorous examination of a classic episode of The Pops, veering off on tangents which include worrying about your Dad being got at by Peter Sutcliffe, cardboard cut-outs of Roy Race, the time when the BBC made you put stickers on your radio, and a discussion on Dean Friedman’s seduction technique that went on a lot longer than it really needed to. Swearing a-plenty!

Aug 31, 2017

The tenth episode of the podcast which asks: when did vest and pants go from being an instrument of self-expression to a punishment for leaving your games kit at home?

This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, sees us going back further than we’ve ever been before, to a time where Beatle wigs are still in Woolworths and nobody seems to mind that the BBC have taped some horse racing over their coverage of the Moon Landings. And what delights await us, as we see a show still in its embryonic stage and groping – but not in a DLT manner – towards the format we all know and love.

As always, the music therein is a proper lucky bag of randomness – the serious bands are away doing albums, so the void is filled with loads of songs that never even get a sniff of the Top 30, a folky Sixtiesness that refuses to go away, and tons and tons of the purest pop. The Jackson Five cause an older-than-usual audience to do berserk and forget that a cameraman is looking up their micro-minis, John Lennon allows us to be a fly on the wall at an Apple board meeting, Pans People let the Dads down big style, and Cheryl Vernon stands outside a church, waving flowers about with a face like a smacked arse. And Tony gets a silver cup. And Peter Marinello is intimidated by a girl with eyelashes like huntsman spiders.

Al Needham is joined by Neil Kulkarni and Taylor Parkes for a Stan-out-of-On-The-Buses-like leer at the dawn of the Seventies, breaking off to talk about our fathers’ love of dog food, why Country Dancing was a thing in West Midlands schools, the toys we never got and still want, and being disappointed to discover that colour TV was just a load of dots, really. And all the swearing you could possibly want.

May 12, 2017

The fourth episode of the podcast which asks: what the fuck is a ‘Baby’s Treat’?

This episode takes us back to the absolute cusp of the Eighties, a mere three weeks away before Margaret Thatcher starts wiping her arse on the country delivers strong and stable leadership. No synthy palaver or 2-Tonery in the charts just yet – it’s a lucky bag of randomness consisting of Punk bands at the end of their tether, Disco behemoths, and Ted revivalists clinging on for dear life. And Peter Powell is ridiculously excited by all of it, but especially the brass in Supertramp’s The Logical Song.

Highlights of this episode include Kate Bush having her arse removed by the BBC, Legs & Co channelling the spirit of Punk by sticking their tongues out, Racey having a Gail Tilsley lookalike as their lead singer, Jimmy Pursey skidding on his arse and influencing Indian wedding videos of the 1980s, and Art Garfunkel’s Kurt Cobain Gun Fingers.

Al Needham is joined by Melody Maker scribes Simon Price and Neil Kulkarni for a severe going-over of the Sound of ’79, breaking off to reminisce about listening to the new Top 40 in the bushes of a private school, being tormented by older sisters who can do Kate Bush’s eye-bulge trick, and keeping away from local youths in double-denim trying to smash park benches in time to the drum bits in Hey Rock n’ Roll.

(Warning: we were severely bum-rushed by the Skype goblins during the recording of this one, so the edit might be a bit shonky and heavy-manners)

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