Pick of the Pops 51 (February 5th 1978)

It's quite good this week!

Sweet - Love is Like Oxygen

I remember a future one hit wonder pop star singing this (very quietly, very sweetly) as he pondered his moves in a game of chess we played in our lunchtime school chess club.

He lost the match, but these days he's probably wiping his fundament with fivers - whilst I'm pondering the realities of this week's gigantic gas and electricity price rises and seriously contemplating going on the game.



Electric Light Orchestra - Mr Blue Sky

I quite liked the translucent blue vinyl of the original 45 rpm record, but my goodness, this song (like its progenitors) is bobbins.

I'm not swearing this week. 1/10

Tonight - Drummer Man

The real bottom feeders of punk.

I find it imposssible to listen to this without singing it using the vocal phrasings of 'love me, PLEASE love me' British unfunny funnyman, Norman Wisdom. 

Terrible! 0/10


A rather charming, vaguely autobiographical and plaintive love song from Scotland's top Tory and Brexiter. 6/10

Darts - Come Back My Love

I quite like this one. Not sure why. Impending old age and the onset of the destruction of my physical and critical capabilities, no doubt.

And I quite like the fact that the genuinely weird Den Hegerty gave up his pop and TV careers to look after his dad. My goodness, I'm in a good mood this week. 5/10

Rose Royce - Wishing on a Star

This was one of my POTP records of the week last year.

Nothing's changed. The brilliant, beautiful Gwen Dickey and the guys craft a magical slice of late night, late seventies soul from an OK Frankie 'Everton' Valli original.

Just lovely. 9/10

Baccara - Sorry I'm a Lady

Much as I love 'Yes Sir', this is awful.

And rhyming 'lady' with 'just a little bit shady' doesn't help. 2/10

Bill Withers - Lovely Day

I once went on a camping holiday with some laddish lads. One of them reckoned he could emulate Bill Withers' UK chart record  longest continuous note with a fart of similar longevity and timbre - without recourse to having 'an accident'. He came close on many occasions. That was the sort of F Scott Fitzgerald/Dorothy Parker/Algonquin crowd I hung around with in my youth.

Good song. 6/10

Odyssey - Native New Yorker

A lyrically suspect song. 

"You're no tramp, but you're a lady."

Many people think this lyric helps to bolster a set of sexist values on women - to wit, men are allowed to be promiscuous, but women aren't. However, I firmly believe that the writer was thinking of Dick Emery's educated,  erudite, upper-middle class gentleman of the road 'College' when he used the word 'tramp', and not someone (of any gender) whose kecks literally flew out of the window at the mere thought of 'rumpo' with a passing stranger.


"No-one opens the door for a native New Yorker"

doesn't bare close examination. When I was in New York, I opened/held the door for (I presume) loads of NNY's - in fact, I definitely did so at work in December of last year.

Anyway, a fabulous song/arrangement which raises my spirits and improves my mental health EVERY time I hear it.

Glorious. 10/10

Bob Marley - Jamming

Possibly my favourite Bob song. 


Donna Summer - Love's Unkind

Not Premier League Donna, but splendid nevertheless. I finished Themes For Great Cities - Graeme Thomson's superb analysis of Simple Minds' early career this week - and it further reminded me that the influence of Donna Summer (in tandem with Giorgio Moroder and Keith Forsey) had on British alternative music is just incalculable. 7/10

Scott Fitzgerald and Glen Keeley - If I Had Words

Not sure why I (quite) like this - Scott Fitzgerald's vocal is ridiculously mannered and there's the faintest whiff of a musical about this song, but it would have made a great football hooligan chant, and for that reason it gets a 6/10

Althea and Donna - Uptown Top Ranking

Most of the criticism of this effing ace record came/comes from closet/open racists and/or men who've been 'wronged' by women sporting 'Deirdre Rachid' spectacles. 9/10

Abba - Take a Chance on Me

A deceptively upbeat record covering the same psychological self-harming ground as Odyssey's 'Inside Out' and Diana Ross's 'Upside Down'. And it's fantastic.

Brilliant pop music


Brotherhood of Man - Figaro

I like the way the bloke with the muzzy (as he was christened) freely admits that BOM often heard an Abba song they liked and then cheerfully ripped it off. This Is a TERRIBLE record, but not hateful.

There's a big difference. 0/10

Gambaccini - 7/10

Best Song - Odyssey (again)

Worst - Much as I can't stick ELO, 'Figaro' is a much worse song than 'Mr Blue Sky', or the MISSSSTA GRIMMMMSDALE!-like 'Drummer Man'.

A pity  - Man With the Muzzy always comes across as a decent 'bloke'.

Programme as a Whole - I enjoyed it this week. 9/10

Next week...Dear God, no! It's 1986!

Click on the link to hear the song