Pick of the Pops 62 (April 23rd 1981)

Human Cornish pasty Scott Mills sits in for Gambaccini this week - and if that's not bad enough, this chart smells so badly, it's a positive danger to life.

So hazmat suits on, we're going in...

S'Express - Theme From S'Express

Taking most of the thrilling bits of Rose Royce's ten-times-better Is It Love You're After and rendering them utterly joyless, S'Express/Mark Moore's number one hit is one of the better records in a truly awful Pick of the Pops. 4/10

Def Leppard - Armageddon It

At some stage, Jeff Leppard (who was big friends with Brian Maiden and Judith Priest) abandoned the NWOBHM for US style poodle rock. They sold millions of records, albeit millions of records that sound like this. 2/10

Jellybean & Adele Bertei - Just a Mirage

A curious hybrid of Tiffany/Debbie Gibson and the backing electronics of Dead or Alive's You Spin Me Round (with a Beat It 'axe' break, as well), Just a Mirage is pleasant enough, I suppose. Jellybean 'Rafa' (spit) Benitez dated Madonna for a short time before she committed long time to Coronation Street/KeepingUpAppearances actor Geoffrey Hughes. 3/10


Bananarama - I Want You Back

Banarama go SAW with predictable half-wit verse/chorus/verse results. A sort of 1940s know your place/singalong rubbish for the depressed proletariat. 2/10


Pebbles - Girlfriend 

An anaemic, Evo-Stik League Janet Jackson rip-Off record. At least 5 Star had a tune. 2/10


Natalie Cole - Pink Cadillac

My goodness, what a shit chart. 1/10


Hazel Dean 

Named after the beloved London's Burning actor, Hazel Dean made a number of ace hi-energy records in the mid to late eighties. This isn't one of of them. 4/10


USA readers - this is a very British joke, I'm afraid.

Taylor Dayne - Prove Your Love

Just horrible. TD tried to repeat her biggest hit Tell It To Your Heart  with ever diminishing results. Prove Your Love just sounds like someone shouting at you. 1/10

Eighth Wonder - I'm Not Scared

Pet Shop Boys written and produced - and with Patsy Kensit's voice lobbed on top. Not offensive, but… 3/10

Sinitta - Something or Other

Fucking hell - these indistinguishable and desperately shit SAW records are like a prison sentence. Stupid pop for stupid people. 0/10

Fleetwood Mac - Everywhere 

I know there's been a volte face (by people who should know better) on Fleetwood Mac and their dreary cokehead legacy, but really.

Jesus, I loathe this record. 0/10

Tiffany - Could Have Been

What happened to the charts at this time? There's just nothing here to inspire: nothing weird, nothing interesting, nothing clever. Imagine being a teenager looking for inspiration amongst this mass-produced, crap cabaret garbage? It's like a pre-Beatles era when Brill Building songwriters and their producers held sway, and the performers were just vapid marionettes. 0/10

Climie Fisher - Love Changes Everything

This is what the kids want!  0/10

The kids react furiously to Climie Fisher's strict  'no encores' rule.

Bros - Drop the Boy



Pet Shop Boys - Heart

An inspirationless PSB song, propelled to number one due to their massive popularity - and their previous number ones. Heart was offered to Madonna, but she turned it down - which just goes to show her good taste (along with shacking up with Heartbeat actor Geoffrey 'Onslow' Hughes). 4/10

Geoff Hughes and Madonna dodge the paparazzi in the grounds of  their Bel Air Mansion.

Scott Mills: occasionally I'll flick through the channels in the car and I experience the nightmare that is 2020s commercial radio. It's a ghastly, algorithm-led, choiceless world which invites listener participation and contributions, but anonymises them by only offering their first names.

Presumably, this is to cut down on the risk-taking in producing hours and hours of pap (avoiding surnames reduces the chances of individual defamation), but - along with the blandness/'safe' 'values' of their musical output of these indistinguishable stations - it produces a curiously '1984' sensation where people become homogenous entities rather than individuals.

One of the few (minor) joys of Johnny Walker's Sounds of the Seventies (also Radio 2) is the fact that readers' letters and audio contributions are broadcast in full, with full names and their hometowns broadcast to the listener. On Scott Mills's version of POTP, listeners were encouraged to send in emails and 'voice notes' regarding 1988, and - just like modern commercial radio - they had beeb rendered virtually anonymous as 'Janet from Stevenage'/'Vicky from St Helens', or just existed as a single first name.

Or, as Peter Cook observed of Bruce 'Man of the People' Forsyth's treatment of his adoring public, they'd just become c*nt from the audience' - and it was thoroughly dispiriting.

I have few doubts that this is 'the future' for this programme - the sound of the appallingly bland Scott Mills's boot stamping on a human face. Forever.

Gambaccini is terrible, but reassuringly terrible. Scott Mills doesn't even have the shock of the new to cause dissonance - he's a variant of the equally ghastly Gary Davies, with (as I've said) a fewof the vaguely modern blandishments of commercial radio thrown in to keep POTP 'up to date' (!). 0/10

Programme as a Whole: 0/10

Worst record: Sinitta

Best: It wasn't just Scott Mills that ruined this week's programme, the music was as bad as anything I've heard on POTP - and for all of the reasons I've listed. So this week, I'm going to pick something from April 1988's Indie Charts for the video link.

Click on the link to hear The Mekons' lovely single 'Ghosts of American Astronauts':