Top of the Pops was once THE place to get your pop kicks, by virtue of the fact it was one of the only shows on British telly that allowed you to do so. However, at some point in my life I realised how weird… and rubbish… it frequently was. If I wanted my chinstroking thrills, I’d watch The Chart Show, The Tube or repeats of The Old Grey Whistle Test. Hell, I’d even sit through The Word if a good band was on. Fact is, for being accidentally rubbish, TOTP couldn’t be matched… and this realisation all started with Glen Hoddle…
Hoddle and Waddle’s ‘Diamond Lights’
This performances from the then Spurs stars, Glen Hoddle and Chris Waddle, showed me how weird and rubbish pop could be. The song is well commented on, however, that’s not what led my mind astray. What I noticed on release, and something that has stayed in my mind ever since, is Glen Hoddle missing a line (right at the close of the song) because he’s too busy fancying himself. See…
Kurt Cobain takes the piss
Nirvana’s appearance on TOTP is one of the most memorable. A botched stage invasion at the close and Cobain singing in a weird baritone voice over a karaoke version of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. Bloody marvellous!
Pan’s People dance with dogs to Gilbert O’Sullivan
Thanks to repeats, I got to see one of the most surreal moments in TOTP history. In the days before everyone did music videos, Gilbert O’Sullivan’s ‘Get Down’ was played and danced around to by Pan’s People. Sadly, they took the “you’re a bad dog baby” line a little too literally. One dog, so unimpressed with the whole thing, does a bunk halfway through.
John Peel fakes it with The Faces
There’s loads of ace TOTP appearances from John Peel, including one where (if I remember correctly) he slags off Haircut 100 in their intro. However, his finest hour is still his pretending to play the mandolin with Rod Stewart and The Faces during Maggie May.
Jocky Wilson says…
When Dexy’s Midnight Runners decided to pay tribute to one of the greatest singers who ever lived with their ‘Jackie Wilson Says’, they never imagined that their TOTP appearance would be blighted by a crew member getting the song wildly wrong. Cue a picture of lardy Scots darts player, Jocky Wilson, on the big screen by the stage…
Those who nearly served (but I couldn’t find the video for)
All About Eve’s infamous performance when they failed to take their cue to mime Martha’s Harbour live in 1988.
Rick Parfitt from Status Quo falling over a drumkit while absolutely plastered.Join TVScoop on Facebook for exclusive competitions and gossip