Pick of the Pops 70 July 2nd 1980

Dear Producers of Pick of the Pops

If you’re only going to choose a certain year, twice a year (if you get my drift), could you choose a different month each year so that I don’t have to repeat the same tawdry opinions and anecdotes ad infinitum?

Yours faithfully,



It’s Gary Davies sitting in for ‘Gamba’ this week.



Joan Armatrading - Me, Myself, I

I remember Joan performing on Magpie when her debut hit (the beautiful and timeless) Love and Affection came out. I’m not a fan, but she always seems a nice person. This is a terrible record, and despite there being a plethora of decent records just outside the Top 20, the producers of POTP chose (like Gary fucking Davies has ever had any remote interest in music) as their wild card. (It was number 39 in this week’s chart.) 3/10

MatchboxMidnight Dynamos

Just appalling. It sounds like something from one of Russ Abbott’s high-octane comedy programmes of the eighties. 0/10

Jermaine JacksonLet’s Get Serious

A song I ought to like, but it’s just a  bit of a chore; even a guest solo from Stevie Wonder* can’t save it. LGS isn’t terrible, but I don’t really want to hear it ever again. (See also 20,000 other chart records.)

*Not his finest moment – one of those vocals where he starts shouting and yelping and being all angry. (Like at the end of the brilliant As, where a fabulous record goes on for a bit too long and Stevie starts shouting and yelping and being all angry – as if he’s egg bound and blaming the world for the vicissitudes of his diet.) 4/10

The Detroit SpinnersCupid/I’ve Loved You For a Long Time

The Detroit Spinners had a run of really great singles in the early seventies, and then two massive hits in 1980. Splicing an original song into Sam Cooke’s original works quite well, but it’s not a patch on their 1972-74 heyday (I’ll Be Around/Could It Be I’m Falling in Love/Rubberband Man/It's a Shame etc. 6/10

Queen - Play the Game

Inoffensive but ultimately tedious water-treading from the cultural sanctions-busting national treasures. 3/10

OdysseyUse It Up, Wear It Out

A fantastic pop record. Lillian Lopez's voice is sensational. Point deducted for the keyboard solo that sound like some farts being squeezed out of an electronic Fairy Liquid bottle. 9/10

Paul McCartney - Waterfalls

People have often said to me: “I thought you hated The Beatles.” I point out that nothing could be further from the truth, but what I DID hate was having The Beatles rammed (Paul McCartney pun there) down my throat at every opportunity during the sixties and seventies with every party turning into Beatles-fest (with the duller 63-64 fare taking precedence rather than the more interesting, demanding stuff that followed).  I also hated Beatles bores who have discovered no new music since, but still use TFF as a yardstick of excellence to berate other music that they certainly have never experienced.

And Paul McCartney’s appearance at Glastonbury last week was just fantastic.

Here's my FB post form last Saturday:


I know we live in a world of keyboard entitlement, and Paul McCartney's lengthy set (apparently) didn't meet the exacting requirements of those who'd valiantly "bought some cans in", but to have the twentieth century's greatest songwriter alive and kicking, and playing a fabulous array of songs from the most incredible of careers in front of 100,000 people - and at the age of eighty - was just beautiful.

A lovely celebration of his past, his legacy and his home city.

I understand that many people were of the impression that this was his last Glastonbury and that this 'swansong' should have been packed with just the genius, big-hitters of his career (Yesterday, Penny Lane, Spies Like Us), but I got the sense that PM didn't see it like that and felt that he still has more to offer to this world.
He made the 'Black Hole' joke about his newer material, but you could sense that he was proud of all of his work and a representational set had to include such songs. It was his shout. Obviously.
It was more the Twitter howling (and I should know better than to avoid the 'warriors' until - at least - after the event) and general cry-arsing, couched in the foullest of language that was the most laughable aspect, where the specific needs of a million spoilt kids weren't immediately addressed and satiated by the smartest, most talented eighty year old you're ever likely to see.
It was a fantastic occasion.


As I said last year, the early poetry of Waterfalls is quite beautiful, and almost Stevie Smith-like in its stark metaphysical (apparent) figurative simplicity :

Don’t go jumping Waterfalls -

Please keep to the lake;

People who jump waterfalls

Sometimes can make mistakes.


And then he spoils it with the repeated And I Need Love, sounding like Vic Reeves’s Man With the Stick opining the kidnapping of his kids, and (sort of) confirming many of the criticisms of his detractors regarding the worst elements of his solo career.

A missed opportunity.    7/10


BA RobertsonTo Be Or Not To Be

Try as I might, each time I try to describe the shiteyness of this record, a darkness descends and clouds my brain and eyesight.

A ghastly melange of everything that’s wrong with popular music and the solipsistic fuckers who poison your very existence with their need to be seen and heard.

Possibly the worst record ever. (He says practically every week.)


UB40 - My Way of Thinking/I Think It’s Gonna Rain

I’ve been listening to a lot of late 70s early 80s John Peel programmes lately. I’d forgotten how good UB40 were when they started out. A fine record. 7/10

Pause for Thought

Gary Davies has the enunciation of a seven year old. I actually feel I’m insulting myself by listening to him. It’s only the fact that he’s not Steve Wright that saves me putting my foot through my computer screen. ‘Whoops’ doesn’t play Spodgnessabounds' Two Pints of Lager which means I can’t comment on its B side Michael Booth’s Talking Bum.

It's an ill wind, so to speak.

Stacy LattisawJump to the Beat

A great vocal from one so young. A good record, but I could certainly understand and sympathise if you hated it. 7/10

The KorgisEverybody’s Got To Learn Sometime

I don’t like the vocal, but some of the musical phrasing in this song really captures the dangerous essence of melancholy. Despite The Korgis being the uncoolest band who ever lived, I wouldn’t want to hear this song if I were feeling suicidal. 6/10

Roberta Flack/Donny Hathaway Back Together

The twelve inch version of this song is one of my favourite records. 10/10

Olivia Newton-John/ELO Xanadu

I can just imagine my arl fella pronouncing it EX-ANNER-DO (because no-one told HIM how to pronounce words, believe me.) 2/10

LIPPS INCFunkytown
A record that seems to anticipate sampling (although there’s none on the record, obviously). I remember hearing this in a nightclub in 1980 and thinking how great it was.
Not something I’d buy, though. 7/10

Don McLeanCrying

As I said last year, a good version of Roy Orbison’s song, but not a patch on Rebekah del Rio's Spanish version in Mulholland Drive.

Programme as a Whole: 6/10

Gary Davies: 0/10

Best: Roberta Flack/Donnie Hathaway

Worst: Robertson/Matchbox


Click on the link to hear the song