The latest episode of the podcast which asks: did Phil Oakey ever have it out with the Undertones for coating him down on My Perfect Cousin?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, is the longest EVER, but don't blame us - because there is so much going on in this episode of The Pops, and we take a concentrated blast of 1981 full in the face. No lie, it's wave after wave of late-Eighventies pop brilliance, broken up by assorted bits of rubbish, and Dave Lee Travis in an elongated hat. We've coated down the Living Gnasher Badge enough times, but in this episode, we step back and contemplate Dave Lee Travis: motorsport expert. Dave Lee Travis: Lennie Bennett-foil. Dave Lee Travis: Photographer. Dave Lee Travis: Renaissance Man.
Musicwise, fucking HELL: The Undertones readjust for the Eighties. Teardrop Explodes - possibly off their tits - show the youth that there's more to life than chicken pancetta. Kim Wilde vandalises a dead nice public toilet. The Beat (again). Chicken Steven (again). Smokey Robinson invents Airbnb. Legs & Co cause DLT to blast a jet of steam from out of his hairy earhole. The Human League steal the entire show, before Adam Ant jumps through a window and nicks it back. It's a glorious romp through quite possibly the greatest year in pop music history. And - finally - TOYAH IS IN RECEPTION.
Taylor Parkes and Neil Kulkarni join Al Needham for a hijack of the Alpine van of 1981, loaded with the fizziest and most colourful pop imaginable, and gleefully veer off on such tangents as the many different things you can do with a wall and a dog ball, the Kidderminster UB40 Club, Shaky dropping the strap at a Viz wrestling battle royal, obscene graffiti we have known and loved, the hell of being spotted in a cat cafe on your own, and a flick through Travis' photography book, where he asks attractive female celebrities what they're scared of, and brings their nightmares to life. You KNOW there's gonna be swearing.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: Rod Stewart - a grower or a shower?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, involves one of the grimmer aspects of Top Of The Pops, as it comes in the wake of one of the regular audience members comitting suicide, the subsequent tabloid coverage when it was revealed that she'd left a diary behind, and the fallout from it - which continued right the way up to this decade. And it's something we can't not talk about.
Musicwise, it's a glorious mish-mash of fare from '71, the International Year of the Banjo. The beardiness is ramped up by McGuinness Flint. A man pretending to be R. Dean Taylor runs about in a quarry. Jonathan King lurks about. Pans People get busy to the Jackson 5, before showing up Lulu. The Mixtures give us an opportunity to have a good laugh at automobile fatalities. Ringo requires some Norwegian wood to stop his piano sinking into the snow. The Faces get the chance to plug their LP for eight whole minutes, but Dave and Ansil Collins steam in to drop one of the best Number Ones ever.
Simon Price and Taylor Parkes - the gentle people of Chart Music - get really mellow with Al Needham, breaking off to reason on such subjects as how to make it look as if you've been sweating at junior school end-of-term discos, Leaving Neverland, hot pants, and performative farting. As always, swearing.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: how did we manage to go on about 7 Days for 20 minutes without once adding the word 'Jankers' to it?
Jesus in a jumpsuit, Pop-Crazed Youngsters - it's a Top Of Pops from THIS ACTUAL CENTURY, and your three contributors, who are by now frantially sucking at the bone-dry and chapped teats of traditional media, are still upset that there are no Massive Glam Robots on, and it's not available in pill form. Be warned: this episode contains a lengthy and unflinching dissection of the last days of Melody Maker, and it is not pretty.
Musicwise, it's not quite as grim as we were expecting, because this is the Garage version of the Madchester episode. Craig David pops up in a Statement Wooly to tell you who he is and how he got his end away - EVEN THOUGH HE'S NOT NUMBER ONE ANYMORE. Wookie and Lain and MJ Cole complete the hat-trick. But fear not, the Alternative Nation fights back with, er, the last knockings of Reef and Mansun. There's some properly good fire-breathing over some dogshit techno. Ronan fucking Keating pops up for no good reason whatsoever to pretend to be Deco out of the Commitments. And Robbie fucking Williams pulls his trousers down.
Sarah Bee and Neil Kulkarni GO THE FUCK OFF on the bell-ends who ruined their magazine while Al Needham looks on with concern, veering off on such tangents as refusing to let bands into their own hospitality areas because their last album was shit, Mad Phil, why tweeting 'Fuck Off' in the early hours of the morning is never a good idea, having pop stars getting on their hands and knees and wiping tea off your shoes, scissor masturbation, and a thorough examination of the 'Craig David Having A Shit' cover. LONGEST EPISODE EVER. And quite possibly the sweariest.
(the actual Top Of The Pops bit begins at 1:31:48. See what we mean?)
The latest episode of the podcast which asks; how would Mike Read get on in the WWF? and how long would it take before someone took his guitar off him and stoved his head in with it?
It's been too long, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, but we're back from our spell of R&R at Pontins Camber Sands and are going armpit-deep into the cavity of one of the landmark episodes of Top Of The Pops - the one with the biggest TV audience ever. ITV are on strike, and the only other thing on the telly is carriage driving, of all things, leaving the field clear for Andy Peebles to make his TOTP debut in his ill-fitting suit.
Musicwise, it looks as if the BBC have ramped up the fun-for-all-the-family aspect in a desperate grab for as many eyeballs as possible, meaning we get a load of acts who are nowhere near the Top 40 mixed in with the usual fare. The Headboys get lumped into the New Wave thing and are not pleased about it. Jacko and Chic provide a devastating one-two punch. Scabby cowboys - in the shape of Dr Hook and Charlie Daniels - fill the air with the tang of unwashed denim. There's a fearsome soundclash between Errol Dunkley and The Dooleys. Cats UK get ignored by The Kids. Sue of Legs & Co slaps a warning sign on her knee. It's a glorious slab of the Eighventies, and it's picked over with the care and attention you've come to expect from us.
David Stubbs and Taylor Parkes join Al Needham for a huddle around the candle of late '79, veering off on tangents such as our favourite industrial disputes of the 70s, pestering your Dad to start wearing an eyepatch, the shocking antics of Gary's Mam in Leeds, being confused by questionnaires in Shoot!, getting pissed up with a dog that looked like Marilyn Monroe on Central Weekend, and why the Daily Express are a bunch of thick twats. Get ready for some proper swearing.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks; who is more important - a dead Beatle, or your Nana?
It's cold and dark, pop-crazed youngsters, so it's time once again to binge upon one of our favourite eras of Top Of The Pops. Your hosts are simultaneously deciding which 50 badges to wear for the school Xmas disco, still in hiding from the fake accusation that they had a good cry about someone dying, and going about their business unaware that Santa is going to let them down big style in a week's time. But for a glorious half-hour, we're all distracted by the sight of Pig-Wanker General himself, perched on a gantry, giving us our weekly shot of Pop randomness.
Musicwise, the highs are high and the lows are lower than low. The Beat and The Specials remind us who the daddies were in the Eighventies, but we also get the sickening one-two punch of the second most annoying singer with a lisp of 1980 and a festive celebration of drink-driving, sexual harrassment and homophobia. The Nolans have finally managed to get them dead tight satin trews off, but have replaced them for even tighter designer jeans. Chas and Dave lob out terrifying animal masks. Jona Lewie sets himself up for life. Legs & Co are attacked by ferrets as they pay tribute to Ghandi John. There's the most un-arsed xylophone solo ever. And Little and Large are asked what they think about Pop at the moment. It's brilliant.
Simon Price and Neil Kulkarni join Al Needham a pass-around of the UHU-filled crisp bag of late 1980, veering off on tangents such as gerontophiliac porn line adverts, Terry Hall turning your back on you, why having 'OMD' printed on the back of your Harrington is just plain wrong, the Summer of Chinese Death Stars, the wrongness of Gideon, and being sexually initiated by Yoko Ono in a Nottingham council house while eating a 10p mix. The swearing is up to its usual standard, you'll be pleased to hear.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks; if God were one of us, who would he hate more out of M People and the Lighthouse Family?
The longest episode of Chart Music EVER sees us pitched into the second half of the Nineties for the first time - and oh dear, our favourite Pop show is beginning to enter its slow decline and being pissed about with big style. The guest presenters are still in effect - but luckily for us, this week's frontperson is Julian Cope, who has brought a giant It's A Knockout-style builder to help him stage a prime-time protest against the Newbury Bypass. There's not one but two of those live satellite broadcasts, which demonstrate that California's weather fluctuates like an absolute bastard. Everything's piling into the charts right near the top and then dropping down again. And where's the Britpop?
Musicwise, this is an absolute lucky bag of randomness, minus the chunky ring you wanted. Some Bedouin tribesmen sit around on a Trancey 'tip'. Joan Osbourne bangs on about God. Billy Corgan arses about in a car with The Teens. East 17 phone it in. Etta James is forced outside in the wind in order to make giant ships disappear and have a good lech at some sailors. Michael Jackson's nephews emote by some driftwood. Terrorvision jump about a bit. Alien Mr Benn gets everyone excited with the opening bars for this week's No.1, and then turns the dial right down to 16 rpm. And OH NO THE LIGHTHOUSE FAMILY GODDD.
Sarah Bee and Neil Kulkarni join Al Needham on an euphoric extended chill-out Archers and Lemonade House tip for a long, hard stare at the bulging packet of 1996, veering off to discuss the comedy value of jacket potatoes, self-grooming tips from the stars, how to mix a Pina Kulkarni, full-on problem page questions in Nineties gay magazines, Star Trek Bhangra, and having homoerotic fever dreams about acts in the Chart Music Top Ten. Very long, very strong, very sweary.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: why didn't Top Of The Pops do a Bonfire Night special instead, the traitorous, British-way-of-life-hating bastards?
Yeah yeah, we know: another early Eighties one. But if you thought we were going to wait another year before we got stuck into this particular episode, you don't know Chart Music. The Pops is entombed in its rah-rah-rah flags-and-balloons Zoo-wanker phase and has pulled out all the stops (i.e., gone through the BBC props cupboard) decided to do a Halloween special, even though Halloween means next to arse all in the UK in pre-ET 1982. And who else to guide us through this realm of piss-poor joke-shop terror than the Dark Lord Simon Bates?
Musicwise, it's a pic n' mix of razor blade-tainted apples and cat shit in shiny wrappers, with a diamond or two lurking at the bottom. The tang of Pebble Mill is strong in this one: Dionne Warwick glares at us in a Margo Leadbetter rig-out. Barry Manilow is DTF. The Beatles arise from the grave. Blue Zoo demonstrate why they're not going to be the next Duran Duran. Raw Silk pointedly ignore that they're performing to a room full of simpletons with net curtains over their heads and waving a cat on a stick. Eddy Grant gets round his horrible missus. Boy George has balloons thrown at him in an aggressive manner. Simon Bates rides a broomstick dressed as Ali Bongo. The Zoo Wankerage is jacked up to the absolute maximum. Meanwhile, in Newcastle, the crew of The Tube are rubbing their hands together with glee.
Taylor Parkes and Neil Kulkarni join Al Needham to suckle upon the throat early-Eighties Pop Mankiness, veering off on such tangents as the rubbishness of a British Halloween, being barred out of pubs in Nottingham for looking like Jimmy Savile, the truth about George Martin and the Mopfabs, Rambo Pumpkins, Cilla Back ramming chocolate into people's gobs, BBC4 butchering the only programme they run that anyone's interested in, having 40 Romantic Moments in one week, why we people never talk about Post-Disco, and an astonishing appearance on 3-2-1 by two Chart Music favourites. Penny for the Guy!
The latest edition of the podcast which asks: that thing with the earlobes - the entire country didn't just imagine it, did they?
It's the summer of '83, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, and your avuncular host is battling a series of crises: not only is he still recovering from a de-bagging on the school field and sulking over the re-election of the foul hag Thatcherax, he's fending off rumours about his sexuality before he's even had the chance to do anything with the bastard. Luckily, all that's about to change, as his spiritual guide Paul Weller has got a new record out. And there's a video. Oh dear.
Musicwise, it's a proper pic'n'mix of early-Eighties confections, bagged up by elderly shop-lads Skinner and Vance, with a shocking lack of Dadisfaction. David Grant has a massive mid-life crisis and goes all Shakin' Shalamar. Mark King gives it some thumb. Toney Adleh Aaht Ter Spandaah Balleh ponces about in Spain. Siouxie goes all Jazzy, and wonders why she's the only woman on this episode. Robert Plant does some most unsavoury frog-kicking in some Dad trunks. The No.1 is a bit rubbish. And bleddy Depeche Mode AGAIN.
Simon Price and Taylor Parkes join Al 'The Cuppateano Kid' Needham for an awkward homoerotic roll-around upon the riverbank of mid-1983, breaking off to discuss such matters as being confused about Gus Honeybun, the boom in early-Eighties jumper technology, the fallacy of digging over a vegetable patch in calf-length white spats, being told off by the Mayor of Douglas, what leonine Rock gods have on their cheese cobs, and a very special episode of your favourite cartoon. Come for the incisive pop chat, stay for the swearing, and ram some money in our g-string.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: if Midge Ure had become lead singer of the Sex Pistols, would we all still be wearing flares?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, was foraged from the very dustbin of History, being one from early 1976 which missed out on the BBC4 treatment. And, as we very quickly discover, huge chunks of it should have stayed there. Diddy Fucking David Hamilton wears a nasty Christmas-present jumper. Barbara Dickson warms up for her season on the Two Ronnies. Smokie - again! - dispatch another throat full of phlegm upon The Kids. Slik - AGAIN! - deliver the stalkiest wedding song ever. And Sailor encourage the youth to bang on the side of their Dad's drinks cabinet.
As we all know, however, there is no such thing as a rubbish Top Of The Pops. Osibisa get properly togged up. Pans People pull one of their greatest performances out of their Quality Street Wrapper-panted arses, and the Number One has been there for so long it's practically the national anthem by now.
Al Needham is joined by Sarah Bee and David Stubbs for a furtle amongst the jumble sale of early '76, veering off to browse through the Music Star Annual of that year, whether calling someone a 'Lady' is acceptable these days, hitting your brother with a golf club for a tin of peaches, a giveaway of David's new book Mars By 1980, infant school bus trips to Africa, and the importance of not having a Cheepy. WE SWEAR LIKE BOGGERS.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: has there ever been a Good Bates?
The year is 1982, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, and the world is waiting for England. Actually, no - what the world is waiting for is for Tomorrow's World to piss off, because this episode of The Pops is a bit special. No less than three football teams have been hitting the BBC bar all afternoon and rubbing a manky-jumpered shoulder with the Pop Elite and partake in an unforgettable half-hour-and-a-bit of flag-waving, scarf-brandishing, dirge-chanting palaver.
It's not all footybollocks, though: Junior and Patrice Rushen get danced at by Zoo wankers. Original Junglists Tight Fit pretend to be Abba. Angry-yet-penitent Jim Diamond enters the fray. Bananarama get a leg-up by their mates Fun Boy Three. And Paul McCartney delivers a message to Racism: You Can Do One Right Now Please. And there's an actual war on. And fucking hell, it's Ken Baily!
Simon Price and Taylor Parkes join Al Needham for a snuffle at the gusset of the Union Jack shorts of 1982, breaking off on such tangents as time travel-assisted infanticide, using members of the 1982 Brazil squad to insult girls you don't like, the incredible England 1982 LP, seeing Him Out Of Tight Fit in a Welsh nightclub, and how to make your own bra out of the contents of your pants drawer. This time - more than any other time - the swearing is outstandingly prolific.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: that scrap between Reagan and Chernenko - whose coat would you be holding?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, sees us refraining from fretting about Armageddon for a bit and getting blasted full in the face by non-stop Rah-Rah-Rah American Olympic nonsense instead, revelling in the thrill of being able to watch BBC1 at four in the morning and indulging in golf ball-assisted masturbation while pretending to be Daley Thompson. But if the IOC think that Top Of The Pops is going to be moved from its rightful slot on a Thursday evening, Baron de Coubertain can fuck right off. And there's just been an episode of Monkey on BBC2. Skill.
Musicwise, it's full-on Eighties, but not in a necessarily bad way. John Peel and Dickie Skinner pull on some horrific shirts, Tracey Ullman does the Mashed Potato with the ghosts of the Atomic Age, overshadowed by a massive deckchair. Windjammer dance right out of the sportswear section of the Littlewoods catalogue. Hazel Dean pretends to forget about some bloke. Jeffrey Osbourne sweats his tits off in some awful 80 knitwear. Blancmange deliver the aural equivalent of a Vesta packet curry, without the grittiness. And because it's 1984, you know what's No.1.
Taylor Parkes and Neil Kulkarni construct a shelter out of back issues of Smash Hits while Al Needham prepares a bin for toilet waste and observe the mushroom cloud of 1984, picking through the fallout and veering off to discuss erotic art in chip shops, the decline of the V-sign, going to the same place every Saturday for six weeks without realising it was a gay bar, Great Crisps of the Eighties, and East Germany's most popular wank mag. We stare, we contrast and compare, and we swear, swear, swear.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: Top Of The Pops? On a Friday? Arseholes to that!
This episode of The Pops has been hand-picked by the Pop-Crazed Youngsters on our Patreon account, and they did us proud with this one: a episode from the Most Seventies Year Ever hosted by none other than Kenny Everett. He only did six of these, and there's only one left in the BBC archives, but the one we're pulling apart is one that has been yanked from someone else's private collection. So how does the mad scientist of the twin Grundig reel-to-reel come off when he's not doing his own show and is being told what to do by an exasperated floor manager? Open your tabs to our sexy, sexy Pop-blather and find out for yourselves.
Musicwise, it's not the Glam-binge we were hoping for, but it's a very sugary Pic n' Mix of Pop confectionery. Brian Johnson - the Andy Capp of Metal - pitches up with Geordie. Barry White in full rut is coupled with Svankmajeresque stop-motion mentalness. Peters and Lee pop up again. Mr You-Can-Do-It-Right-Now-Please helps Roger Moore get his leg over Solitaire. Slade deliver the Great Missing #1 of the era, just before it all goes tragically wrong, Dave Edmunds lives the karaoke singer's worst nightmare, and some white herberts in Arthur Mullard flares burst out of the Trojan horse. And Pans People pull on stockings and suspenders and still manage to not be particularly sexy about it.
Al Needham, David Stubbs and Simon Price huddle around the flickering candle of 1973, veering off on tangents such as saying the wrong thing at Dad funerals, Leeds United-hating, hearing about death while watching people shagging on a podium, accepting an award for a Pop star and not bothering to give it to them, and what Noel Edmond's super-power would be. Oh, and two words: Bummerdog Update.
As always, there's loads of swearing, but it's all done in the best paahsable taste.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: no, really - how do you soil a bra?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, sees us getting our hands down the back of the sofa on another random episode of Top Of The Pops - but as it's 1986 - a year we haven't done yet - we're half-expecting to touch a maggot-infested rat, or an open pot of hair gel with all mould on it. We needn't have worried, though, this particular episode has real-life Indie bands that you only see in the music papers in it, and they've actually let an actual woman co-present the show, a mere 21 years after it first started. The downside being that she's stuck with Mike Read, looking like the third member of Black Lace.
Musicwise, it's the usual mid-80s bag of cat's arseholes. As Morrissey pointed out at the time, you weren't allowed on Top Of The Pops unless you were black, a fact borne out by there being no less than five non-Caucasian appearances - Doris out of Five Star, Stedman out of Five Star, and the other three people who were in Five Star. Spandau Ballet make their comeback. Paul McCartney gets in people's way on the Bakerloo Line. Stan Ridgeway has a flashback with a storeroom dummy. Chris de Burgh shits out what could be the worst No.1 of the decade. And Morrissey starts becoming a proper bell-end.
Al Needham, Sarah Bee and Taylor Parkes come together for a long, hard stare at the summer of '86, veering off to discuss the buttons that do nothing on the Tube, Melchester Rovers' turbulent 1985/86 season, how difficult it is to carve someone's name on a bullet, and the proper way of reacting to someone asking you why you're so fucking crap. We swear. A lot.
The latest edition of the podcast which asks: so how do you actually soil a bra, then?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, takes us back, back, back to the autumn of '77, and it's a proper Lucky Bag of Randomness - just how we like it. The wake for Elvis is still dragging on, Punk is everywhere (apart from on Top Of The Pops, or in the charts), and Noel Edmonds is very keen to tell you that he's the Lion King of Radio One and he has two hours of telly on Saturday mornings, in his Hepworths suit, like a bell-end.
Musicwise, it's a proper continental dog's breakfast. La Belle Epoque has a go at this Disco lark, Baccara pitch up for a bit of an undulating swoon, Danny Mirror indulges in a bit of Deadly Spanking, and Giorgio Moroder and Legs and Co pitch us into 1988. But fear not, there's plenty of Brit-stodge in the shape of Smokie and the Steve Gibbons Band, while The Emotions and Deniece Williams spell out the difference between our telly and theirs: the former whoop it up on Soul Train, while the latter gets bludgeoned by the piss-headed jobsworths of the BBC Orchestra. And The Stranglers get their fingers burned. And there's a girl in a massive Jubilee bonnet.
Neil Kulkarni and Taylor Parkes join Al Needham 'neath the fraying red, white and blue bunting for a rummage round the back end of 1977, gleefully pinging off on vital tangents such as Bummerdog's Reign of Terror on the streets and playgrounds of Top Valley, Spanish Prog bands recording Sex Pistols LPs without knowing what the fuck Johnny Rotten is going on about, praying to God that your dad wasn't roaring like a Jesse in the pub over Elvis, the eternal Tiswas v Swap Shop debate, being the pub-related go-between for Hutch and Huggy Bear, the return of the Kulkarni Sandwich Test, and some moderately sizeable news for our Patreon subscribers. And lots of lovely, lovely swearing.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: er, can you spare us a few quid so we don't have to do these through shitty microphones any more? Please?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, couldn't be more Nineties if it started off thinking England were a lock for the 1994 World Cup, and finished having a bit of a roar about Lady Di. We're smack in the middle of 1995, two-thirds of the panel were hammering out dispatches from the very frontline of Cool Britannia (while the other third was locked in a glass box, rummaging through bin bags filled with pictures of fannies), and one of us was actually in attendance when this very episode was filmed, sitting around with mopey young musos and slipping away for a crafty pull on a jazz fag when Celine Dion comes on.
Yes, there are a couple of Britpop acts on this episode, but it's a timely reminder that there was far more going on than that in '95, and most of it thick with of the tang of Hip-Hop. Montell Jordan rocks that urban Bully out of Bullseye look, Jonathan King introduces his latest proteges The Black Eyed Mushy Peas, some band we've never heard of drops an unexpected N-Bomb, Manchester United play Run-DMC to Status Quo's Aerosmith, and, er, Scatman John pitches up. And St Simon of Mayo emerges from the darkness every now and then like a Shakespearean ghost with some rib-tickling, cutting-edge 'burns' of the English Rugby Union and Bob Geldof's marital woes.
Naturally, because it's a Nineties episode, there's a chunk of blather about working in the music press, but the inevitable tangents include the death of the NME, the floppy-headed rubbishness of David Seaman, being sneered at by Menswe@r's roadie, an entire shopping centre being rammed out to see a radio presenter dressed up as a monk, Richard Desmond: Champion of Homosexual Media, and a plug or two for our new Patreon account. As always, there's swearing, swearing and more swearing.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: an emaciated John Lennon in a boxing match with the six months-dead Elvis Presley - who wins?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, is mental. Come with us as we set the Time Sofa all the way into the very heart of the Eighventies, to a Bizarro-world where people actually thought – yes, with their actual brains – that Mike Read was sort of cool. Yes, it’s the Chart Music debut of Mr Blue Tulip himself, which may be touched upon at some point in this episode, we can’t remember.
Musicwise, it’s all over the shop, but always in a gloriously entertaining manner. Vaguely Punkish bands lumber about on their last legs, a giant hairy Belgian testicle in a muumuu has to jump up to reach his congas, Mike Oldfield’s sister and her mates break out of a Victorian asylum and pretend to be Martha and the Vandellas, Nazareth still think it’s 1973, Billy Joel has a cup of piss balanced precariously on his mixing desk, and a Birmingham taxi driver has a dark secret to reveal. And Debbie Harry looks down upon us all with her frosty hauteur as Legs & Co have to share four costumes between them. Meanwhile, at a party in New York, Sid Vicious is deciding to have another helping of trifle laced with heroin. End Of An Era.
Al Needham joins Taylor Parkes and Simon Price around the industrial dispute brazier of early ’79, veering off to discuss such important matters as wringing every last drop of juice out of your fledgling record collection, asking the Iranian kids at school if they were in the Shah’s or the Ayatollah’s gang, your Dad seeing the Sex Pistols kicking off about a lack of cabbage at a motorway service station, and a disturbing early internet craze called ‘Top Of The Pops Club’. And all the swearing you’ll need to see you through the month.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: what’s the difference between a Cartoon Time and a Cartoon Club?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, sees the world’s No.1 authority on old episodes of a long-gone pop show casting its eyes and ears toward the summer of ’89 - but if you're expecting to see some Acid House tomfoolery or a full-on Madchester takeover, you're going to be massively disappointed: the only Acieeed references are on Sinitta's ears, and the only Manc in attendance is, er, Simon Parkin, who's been let out of the Broom Cupboard for his TOTP debut. And he looks like he's shitting himself throughout.
Still, this episode is a definite sign that things are getting better, as long as you avoid looking at the appalling shirts that men chose to wear in that era: Brit-Hop pitches up in the shape of the Rebel MC. REM finally escape from Student Discoland into our hearts and charts. Fuzzbox get all saucy with a massive pin . And Stock Aitken and Waterman finally admit defeat with the worst No.1 of the year that didn't involve a grown man in a rabbit costume.
Al Needham is joined by Sarah Bee and Neil Kulkarni for a ram of the critical arm up the cow's arse of '89, veering off to discuss being coated down by middle-aged Crusties, Mams who go into town wearing your favourite band t-shirts, suitable replacements for Africa pendants if you happen to be white and don't want to get battered, being stared at by Cyndi Lauper, and the disgusting lack of train etiquette displayed by second division pop stars. And - of course - all the swearing you could possibly need.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: what, him out of Brotherhood Of Man with the ‘tache? How old? Fucking hell!
After an extended hiatus, the greatest podcast in the world about old episodes of Top Of The Pops roars back with its usual melange of incisive music criticism, flare-baiting, dodgy microphones and the language of the billiard hall. This episode, we’re on the cusp of The Great Drought, and Tony Blackburn is on hand, bearing the gormlessly smiley visage of a man who knows he’s going to be giving his next-door neighbour a seeing-to in a Kensington flat after the show is over.
Musicwise, this episode is pitted with British rubbishness, saved by the advent of Disco and the intervention of black America, who are repaid with comedy racism. Yes, Diana Ross and Gladys Knight drop two of the greatest tunes of the era, but we’re forced to listen to the Genuine Concerns of Paul Nicholas, an early appearance of Midge Ure trying to be James Dean, some Racist Animal Disco, and the most hated lorry driver of the Seventies who wasn’t Peter Sutcliffe. Oh, and because it’s April 1976, you already know what the No.1 is. On the upside, we get two appearances by Pans People. On the downside, it’s because this is the week they are made redundant, marking the very end of TOTP’s Golden Age.
Taylor Parkes and Simon Price join Al Needham for a rummage through the skip of mid-70s Pop, breaking off to discuss if you can actually wring any kind of enjoyment out of 70s grot films, Monk Rock, the futility of CB radio, the lack of Birmingham accents in Pop, having your 8th birthday ruined by Manchester United, passing out in a lion suit, and some quality swearing.
A moderately special episode of the podcast which asks: so what did Tony Orlando do to get banged up for three years, then?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, is a massively-flared, clompy-heeled, zebra-printed celebration of one of the greatest traditions of any British Christmas Day: the opportunity to force the rest of your extended family to sit through an end-of year episode of The Pops and revel in the torrent of tutting coming out of your Nana’s mouth as she works their way through the Quality Street. Fourteen chart-toppers from The Most Seventies Year Ever are trotted out, from a time when the Number One single was either astoundingly brilliant or absolute cat shit.
Your hosts – Tony Blackburn and Noel Edmonds – really get into the Christmas spirit by shoving tree branches up each other’s arses and donning massive Lenny Kravitz-style scarves of tinsel as wave after wave of alternate Glam nirvana and easy-listening rubbishness floods the screen. On the downside, Donny Osmond spends Christmas alone, David Cassidy has a big sulk around Kew Gardens and we discover that Santa is actually an obnoxious American child with big teeth, but Dave Hill mutates into a Chicken Angel! Roy Wood plays a vacuum cleaner! Steve Priest radges up the grandparents of Britain in a sexy Nazi Bismark rig-out as Andy Scott whips out his third leg! And some dog-flouncing-off action!
David Stubbs and Taylor Parkes join Al Needham for a gleeful ripping-down of the gaudy paper chains of 1973, veering off to discuss Jody Scheckter Racing, the infinite superiority of the Beano Book over the Dandy annual, grandparental fantasies about Roy Wood being made to peel potatoes, Opportunity Knocks winners who were massive racists, what breaks Donny Osmond’s heart, a flick through the Music Star Annual 1974, being sang at by an entire factory when you’ve had an over-long shit, and so much more, with swearing.
The latest edition of the podcast which asks: if the Thompson Twins made you a sandwich, would you want to eat it?
It’s Christmas Time, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, but there’s no need to be afraid – because we’re a full year away from any Band Aid rubbishness. It’s the last episode of The Pops before Xmas of 1983, and the studio is festooned with balloons and party hats, making it just like every other episode that year. And what a line-up – sneered at by John Peel and jollied along by Kid Jensen – it isn’t!
Musicwise, this is the mankiest Selection Box of teeth-loosening dessicated cat shit we’ve come across in a long while. Out go the Synth-mentalists of a few years ago, and in come in bare-footed, frizz-haired Serious Musicians. Terry and Arfur pop up to flog one of the crappiest Christmas songs ever, a Breakfast TV puppet with johnnies for ears defiles hip-hop, and Paul McCartney has a war with himself. On the plus side, Billy Joel goes back 20 years to leer at some girls having a pyjama party, Slade go back ten years and ignore a couple of Zoo Wankers, and Culture Club put a full orchestra in serious danger. And the No.1 is properly right-on.
Neil Kulkarni and Simon Price join Al Needham for this one, and have a good stare through the window of late 1983 like Dickensian urchins, breaking off to discuss such important matters as sex education videos of the 80s, running into Mrs McCluskey in a charity shop, asking lead singers how to get to Wales while they’re nobbing someone up against a tour bus, and the curse of Sta-Prest Fanny. With all the swearing you could ever want.
The latest edition of the podcast which asks: what is the least Mod Dungeons & Dragons character?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, has been cursed by the tang of man-flu and dodgy microphones, meaning it’s not at the usual hi-fidelity standard you’ve come to expect from Chart Music. But what an incident-packed go-around on the morbid carousel of Pop it is! There’s wave after wave of guest appearances from people who really shouldn’t have bothered, such as Cliff, his specky henchman Hank Marvin, and none other than co-host KEGGY KEEGLE HIMSELF facing down DLT in a perm-off.
Thanks to Simon getting an unexpected birthday present, we have possession of a full shooting script of an episode from The Popses’ post-strike regeneration, and we try to break the codes therein. Musicwise, the Mod revival rides itself right off the cliff, Kelly Marie and Sheena Easton put on their best Bingo Jumpsuits, Cliff does his Danger Dancing routine next to a keyboard player in Alan Partridge shorts, Randy Crawford’s heartbreakingly brilliant performance is ruined by a vision mixer who makes her look like the alien off Alien, and Nicholas Lyndhurst, Martin Shaw and Dennis Waterman rule over the charts.
Al Needham is joined by Simon Price and David Stubbs for a good hard leer at the autumn of 1980, veering off – as always – on tangents such as trying to be a 12 year-old Ace Face when everyone’s seen your Dad drag you out of a boating lake at Skegness Butlins, why adding the Poo-Poo drum machine over Joy Division records in clubs will never get old, having a good laugh at younger brothers who get beaten up in town for wearing the wrong badges, pathological hatred of Plastic Mods, and flares. And swearing, swearing, all the time swearing.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: how bad would your war have to get before you start thinking of calling up Johnny Hates Jazz?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, sees the Chart Music gang trapped on the wrong side of Eightiestown, surrounded by a faceless herd of blandos in shitty suits with the sleeves rolled up, goaded into action by a wizened Don mincing about on top of a balcony. Bottom line: this episode of TOTP is absolute cat shit.
Because it’s co-presented by Mike Smith, who refused to have anything to do with Top Of The Pops after he left the show, you can rest assured that The BBC Won’t Show This when they get round to 1987 on their repeat run. And you’re not missing much, to be honest. Fucking Madonna Again gets all butch on a moving walkway in Turin, ABC turn into one of those bands of the era who want to be ABC in 1982, Jan Hammer looks extremely pleased with his brand new keytar, Mick Jagger holds children to ransom in an attempt to get his rubbish new single into the Top 40, and what the fuck is Gary Numan doing here?
Al Needham is joined by Taylor Parkes and Sarah Bee for a wince-inducing gaze into the open wound of the late Eighties, veering off on tangents including the CM verdict on Sounds Like Friday Night, how the hair gel of the era made it feel that you had a crusty tissue on your head, being forced to listen to Shakin’ Stevens on the school bus every day, discovering your def new high-tops are actually Bay City Rollers trainers, and more information on selling dirty knickers than anyone really needs. A colossal amount of swearing in this episode. Obviously.
The dozenth episode of the podcast which asks: were Senser any good at Laser Quest?
This episode – another pop-blather behemoth – sees us stepping right out of our comfort zone and looking at an episode from the mid-Nineties. A golden era when, as we all know, the charts were weighed down with young men with guitars and Paddington coats that made us all proud to be British again.
The episode we examine, however, sees The Greatest Pop TV Show Ever at the beginning of its death throes as it begins its run of celeb presenters with Tetley Tea Folk-soundalike Mark Owen and Robbie Williams, who is already starting to get on all right-thinking peoples’ tits with his endless mugging. The charts – our precious, beautiful, immaculate charts! – are treated with the utmost distain while we’re constantly reminded of an exclusive premiere of a Madonna video, which is an advert for a film we’ve never heard of.
Yes, Blur are on at the beginning, but that’s your Britlot. What follows is a parade of people we thought we’d safely left behind in the Eighties, loads of Euro-acts both good and bad, Alison Moyet being forced to submit to an unrelenting biff-boff beat and a No.1 that left us hankering for the days of Jive Bunny. On the upside, Roachford manages to get through a song without shitting himself (allegedly).
Luckily, Al Needham is joined by Neil Kulkarni and Simon Price – who both worked for Melody Maker at the time, and take the opportunity to offer invaluable advice for anyone looking to break into the music press a quarter of a century ago and trade war stories about riding bikes on a dancefloor with the Sugarcubes, finding a message on their answering machine from lead singers threatening to break their legs, apologising for being gingist in the past, and having a potential fight being broken up by Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine.
The eleventh episode of the podcast which asks: is anyone willing to swap a Fonz action figure for a ‘Shakin’ Stevens and the Sunsets – Heterosexual Rock n’ Roll’ badge?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, has been a bastard to put together, and the sound quality may be a bit manky at times - but oh, what a glistening slab of televisual spangliness awaits us. It’s a full-on Flags & Balloons TOTP, this one, overseen by the circular face of The Hairy Breakfast Brunch Bar (who has wisely been kept away from The Kids and is monitored at all times), and the air is ripe with the soggy Lycra tang of the universally-despised Zoo.
But no matter – this episode is a veritable time capsule of the early 80s. Kool and The Gang drop the world’s most unwatchable video ever, which is danced to by another not-very-good troupe, Shakin’ Stevens places his white-shod foot upon the throat of the charts of the Eighties, DLT commands the BBC cameramen to stalk Claire Grogan at all times, The Stranglers look on in disgust at Zoo, and there’s the longest discussion of Brown Sauce ever conducted by three grown men. And Dollar. And Bucks Fizz.
Al Needham is joined by Taylor Parkes and Simon Price for a solid examination of a glorious episode of The Pops, veering off to brag about who they’ve had a drink with, why you shouldn’t use Dettol to treat facial acne, seeing Morph laid out in a glass coffin, the declining standards of World Cup mascots, and getting battered on Top Of The Form because of Noel fucking Coward. And swearing. AND Chris Needham’s new record!
The ninth episode of the podcast which asks: were England’s international failures of the 1970s caused by an insistence on playing football on beaches in massive flares and stack heels while pretending to be Marvin Gaye?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, sees us making another Sam Tyler-like voyage to Spangleland in an attempt to see if 1974 could keep up the quality levels of the year before, or if it was already lurching into the hell of 1975. What we discover is a Bizarro-world in which Noel Edmonds stands out as a bouffanted, proto-Medallion Man object of genuine teenage lust amongst the sullen, lank-haired youth.
Musicwise, we see ‘new’ bands taking wing (Mud, in their Glam-Ted Vishnu phase), older bands calming themselves down (Slade, doing a ballad) or on their way out (Mungo Jerry, we’re looking at you), and people absolutely losing their shit over The Wombles. Pans People cause your Dad’s tea to slide right off his lap as they don the flounciest, bounciest nighties ever, Bill Haley is unearthed and put on display, the Terry Jacks Deathwatch drags on for another week, and history is made as Abba yomp all the way from Brighton to Shepherds Bush to begin their glacial reign over the Seventies.
Al Needham is joined by Simon Price and David Stubbs to discuss all of this, as well as rubbish funeral songs, supporting a football team that looks like your favourite mug, BBC Families v ITV Families, believing that pop songs are actually news bulletins, and the Celtic ritual of Crisp Sacrifice. And all the swearing you could possibly want.