Two more or less random (if consecutive) episodes of BBC TV’s flagship pop music show remind us why Top Of The Pops was such a vast influence on the course of British rock and pop through the 1960s, '70s and beyond. Where else, for example, are you going to find Blodwyn Pig, Mary Hopkin, Edison Lighthouse and Rare Bird lining up on the same half-hour program, while the Pans People dance troupe gyrate to a psychedelic recounting of Chicago’s “I’m A Man,” and Jethro Tull are introduced as a singular person, to leer and hop through “The Witches promise”? And that’s just program one. Programme two adds a Plastic Ono Band video (“Instant Karma”), Vanity Fayre and a Jackson Five dancing contest to the brew, while all around the fashion sense that time forgot is dragged screaming out of your memory banks, to place you once again in that magical era when people really did go out dressed like that.
The black and white picture lends
piquant nostalgia, while sundry graphics and special effects remind us just
what we lost when television started letting computers do all the creative work
for them. And the whole thing
is such a joy that I, for one, could spend the rest of the year watching reruns
of this show. - Dave
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