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Every Saturday evening (I think it is, although if truth be told, I've seen it all over the place - that's the wonder of Sky Digital I guess) we get a regular dose of TOTP2 (Top of the Pops 2, you plebs). For people like me who are getting just that little bit long in the tooth now, TOTP2 is a wonderful, wonderful treat, with the makers being able to take their pick through the entire vaults of clips which have appeared on the main programme these last forty years. Aah, the waves of nostalgia come flooding over me, engulfing me in a heady hedonistic dream. Imagine it - David Bowie and Mick Ronson performing Starman, the Stones and Jumping Jack Flash, the Pistols with Pretty Vacant, Queen with Bohemian Rhapsody, Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel with Make Me Smile and/or Judy Teen, Ultravox with Vienna, even (God save us) Joe Dolce with Shaddup A Your Face - what an absolute dream, even if one or two get in which really shouldn't be given house room. It's a splendid concept and the Beeb usually feature some form of thread running through the whole thing, whether it be stars whose birthday is that week or who charted in that particular month in a previous year. A couple of months ago we got a Marc Bolan and T Rex special on the 25th anniversary of the great glam rocker's untimely death. They really went to town with that one and fetched out every single appearance the Elfin One had on TOTP. Getting a non stop quick fix of Bolan like that certainly brought home exactly how wonderful (but also how patchy) his output was, and it's for contributions like this that I really value TOTP2. The whole thing is pieced together and fronted (or more exactly voiced over) by Old Big Nose, Steve Wright, these days like so many other a veteran of Radio Two. Ah, again we're showing our age. I remember when Wrighty wa sthe scourge of daytime radio with his posse, one of the first on the station, and his endless a
rray of characters. These days he's just a sad old ex-rebel. However, Steve is just about perfect for TOTP2 with his cutting sarcasm and friendly piss taking - pop isn't meant to be taken seriously and Steve certainly doesn't mind a tongue in the cheek or two. I love TOTP2 and sit there regularly every week waiting for my regular fix - Lord, I even got Inspiral Carpets the other week featuring Mark E Smith from The Fall - now that's a classic. For many people, however, TOTP2 will be just another sad collection of reruns and repeats, but for us oldies it's a wonderful piece of nostalgia. Love it to death
Saturday tea time, BBC 2, a date with a little slice of musical history under the chairmanship of Old Big Nose himself, Steve Wright, the master of the sarcastic put down. Fans of dave27, I give you the very, very enjoyable TOTP 2, one of the most addictive of modern day TV experiences. Basically, if you've never seen TOTP 2, it's a best of compilation of clips from past years' editions from Top of the Pops, with a couple of modern day hits thrown in for good measure, all spliced together by the witty and often spiteful interjections of Wright, who gleefully takes the rise out of almost forty years' worth of fashion statements (many of which he was the epitome of). Now literally, that's all there is to this show, but worry not gentle readers, for dave27 is going to fill things out in his normal witty style and give you an insight into what makes this show so memorable. The clips come in all manner of varieties, ranging from the groundbreaking (dig David Bowie and the Spiders From Mars with Starman), through the terrible (the mullet hound Billy Ray Cyrus' gruesome dancing on the abysmal Achey Breaky Heart being one of the worst), to the frankly bizarre (what the hell were Sigue Sigue Sputnik on and why was there a relationship made in hell between the band's leader and guitarist Tony James, late of Generation X, and the toothsome queen of Brit Yoof Kulcha, Janit Shtreet Pawtah?) However, even the gross out worst moments are nevertheless memorable and historically absorbing, I mean you must see Joe Dolce at least one time in your life with Shaddupayourface. And when the clips are of good stuff then they're undoubtedly excellent - Top of the Pops may these days be pretty embarrassing and easily missable, but there was a day when the show was compulsive viewing and the material from the 60's and 70's is some of the most wonderful you are ever going to see. Steve Wright gets a bit int
rusive and full of himself at times, pouring his weak jokes all over everything a la Dennis Norden and It'll Be Alright On The Night, or Wogan on Auntie's Bloomers, but you can always switch off when he's rabbitting on while you wait for Renee and Renata, Mud or Althia and Donna (Uptown Top Ranking - Gimme your boots an ting, seh me give you heart attack - Is it tru?) I'm a bit of an addict for musical history so this prog is just compulsive viewing for me, and it should be the same for you. Tell me you could resist Gary Glitter, Slade, the Sweet, the Animals, the Rolling Stones, Jonathan King, 10CC, Oasis, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure, David Essex, the Rubettes, Procol Harum, Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick and Titch, the Buzzcocks, Hot Chocolate, Nazareth, Squeeze, Public Image, ELP, Wizzard, Elvis Costello, Ian Dury, Nick Lowe, the Damned and the rest ... if you can then you must be dead from the neck up and you should stick to Crossroads ... Me, I'll wait for the Sky footie results to end and then it's on with the memories, all together now "Cumon Feel The Noize, Girls grab the boys..." PS Line up for Saturday 6/2/02 - B J Thomas - 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head' Darts - 'Come Back My Love' The Pasadenas - 'I'm Doing Fine' Annie Lennox - 'No More 'I Love Yous'' Keith Michell - 'Captain Beaky' It Bites - 'Calling All Heroes' Vanity Fayre - 'Hitchin' A Ride' Sheila Hylton - 'The Bed's Too Big Without You' Pans People/Small Faces - 'Itchycoo Park' Roachford - 'Cuddly Toy' Soho - 'Hippy Chick' Orchestral Manoeuvres in The Dark - 'Maid Of Orleans' Train - 'She's On Fire'
TOPT2 is one of those concepts which can guarentee a TV station viewers through spending very little money. It compiles archive performances from previous 'Top Of The Pops' shows from the 60's, right through to the modern day, and puts them back to back. It is probably the only place you will ever see Celine Dion sandwiched in between Toyah Wilcox and Billy Idol, which is no bad thing... It is shown on Wednesday evenings at 6pm, before being repeated on Saturday afternoon, both on BBC2. Steve Wright (the Radio 2 DJ) links together the clips with 'witty' smalltalk. The clips themselves are shown in their entirity, untouched except for a scroll of writing showing nuggets of information about the act which pops up mid-song. These can include things such as what the artist is up to now, or how the band split up. There seems to be no ongoing theme throughout the programme except that most people featured have birthdays that week, (e.g. 'Happy Birthday to Limahl from Kajagoogoo, 47 today!' popping up on screen whilst they play the debut performance of 'Too Shy'). This is not necessarily a bad thing as it means that there is something for everbody. The programme doesn't just feature timeless classics, though, and often features those novelty record, just to nudge the public's consciousness that they really were as bad as we remember them to be... However, the downside to this is that you often only get a few songs that are any good in the 45 minute show. Thankfully, the programme gives a detailed preview at the top of the show about what is coming up next, so displeased viewers can switch over without having to sit through Ms Dion in the vain hope that there will be some Thompson Twins coming up. At the end of the show, a 'contemporary' song is usually played, although this is usually some MOR American easy-listening radio hit, which will never cross over to the UK.
Having said this, 'TOTP2' did help increase sales of Eva Cassidy's 'Songbird' album, when a rare performance was featured. There are sometimes special programmes, which only feature the work of one artist or band (e.g. Bee Gees and Shania Twain). these obviously tend to be good for fans, but not to viewers wanting more of a variety. In all, it is a good show, although it is probably slightly biased towards music from the 60's and 70's (and therefore to the over 30's and 40's), than it is to something more modern. Of course, the whole idea of the programme is to provide nostalgia, and so it's no surprise that it takes this format. However, I'm sure there's a gap in the market for a show showing just 1980's TOTP footage...
Being an early 50something I must confess I have a soft spot for this programme. It is like a time machine, a history programme if you like, transporting us back to more innocent times and illicit pleasures. How many parents of today, about to tell their offspring off with the usual "what do you look like" have had to bite their lip as some perfect example of 70s sartorial elegance has popped up on TOTP2. Its the same with the nmusic. Just as you are about to tear junior off a strip for the latest caucophany emitting from their room on comes some screeching band from your youth with a song you haven't heard for years, making an almighty din which now grates on your nerves. I like the programme because it mixes the different eras. The only time I dislike it is when they do one of their specials and concentrate on one artist or group.
Anybody who likes older pop and rock music will enjoy this show. It offers a great selection of old pop and rock from years gone by. The 45 minutes of broadcast time this show is allocated is full of hits taken from the archives of the last thirty years. Some selections are better than others but you will find that tracks are chosen to coincide with a member of the group's birthday, or some other ocsasion. There have been Abba, Rolling Stones and Bee Gees specials in the past. Most clips come from old TOTP programmes and their are also bits from 'The Old Grey Whistle Test' Steve Wright actually spoils this show because he just won't shut up! His co-compere, Johnnie Walker is a little better and what he has to say is 'somewhat useful', (as we say on Dooyoo). This programme covers thirty years of hit music so if you like the 'golden oldies' type of stuff you are bound to find something to suit your taste in the line up. Bear in mind that some weeks (not often), the line up is pretty awful but it varies a lot from week to week. This programme would certainly benefit from a more ordered play list and less of Steve Wright.
If you reckon they don't make 'em like they used to, and find 'TOTP' less palatable nowadays, 'TOTP2' is the show to tune into. Some weeks are better than others, and it's a bit of a lucky dip, but as it has an archive spanning over 30 years, it's odds-on that most shows will feature a few oldies you like. Most programmes feature a pretty catholic 45-minute selection drawn from the vaults, some chosen to coincide with the birthdays of the acts (or a member of the groups) featured. The 'special' shows for a particular artist, like the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Abba, Status Quo, and Bon Jovi have become more of a regular feature. Sometimes they include a handful of new performances specially recorded, and/or interview soundbites. During the early 2001 run of the programme it was particularly interesting to see one show devoted to the Bee Gees, talking alternatively about tracks from their new album 'This Is Where I Came In' and some of the old classics, with new performances or old video footage of each one. Another show a few weeks later had several live performances from Bruce Springsteen, again talking about each song in turn. The earlier series used to include three or four hits from the current chart and a preview of singles expected to be in the next chart, but that format has long since gone by the board. Most of the footage comes from old 'TOTP' programmes, though there are exceptions. Clips from 'The Old Grey Whistle Test' are indicated by the presence of that show's logo on the backdrop, and occasionally material (like the last-ever live performance by Dusty Springfield) has been taken from 'Later With Jools Holland'. Other unspecified sources have been raided; one or two videos of the Clash cropped up not long ago, and Joe Strummer always made it one of his abiding principles NEVER to appear on the programme. Also you may catch the odd perf
ormance recorded for 'TOTP' but not used, like a previously-unscreened INXS clip shown for the first time as a tribute to Michael Hutchence shortly after his death. It's evident that someone on the production team has a weakness for the current crop of Shania Twain wannabes, with appearances from the likes of Mindy McCready, Faith Hill and the Dixie Chicks, which I don't think ever appeared on the BBC-1 parent prog. And sometimes they unearth a genuine rarity, like shots of the Beatles in the studio recording 'Hey Bulldog', presumably put together to promote its heavily projected yet cancelled release on single in September 1999. A while back they also featured Led Zeppelin's 'Communication Breakdown', which Atlantic Records scheduled as a single to promote the first album in 1969 until their manager said no. Leaving aside the obvious issue of personal taste, which means there are some oldies you adore and others you can't stand (may I nominate Candy Flip's pallid karaoke stab at 'Strawberry Fields Forever' for permanent burial?), there are two drawbacks. Steve Wright's often corny and intrusive compering compare unfavourably with that of his predecessor, the better-informed Johnnie Walker. Also the programme has been running for around seven years, usually from autumn to early spring, and it is clear that for the older 'TOTP' shows at least (those which escaped wiping), they are starting to run out of stuff already shown at least once. How many times have we seen T. Rex, with Elton John miming on piano, and 'Get It On', Rod Stewart with the Faces and a rather ill-at-ease John Peel hugging that mandolin on 'Maggie May', or even that fuzzy black and white clip of Diana Ross and the Supremes for 'Baby Love'? Nevertheless it is noticeable that they are searching beyond those 'golden oldies'. Shortly before Christmas 2000 they feat
ured a late 70s 'OGWT' performance from Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, who once came close to making it in the UK though they never quite troubled the singles or album charts. The same goes for a clip of the much-respected yet modest-selling Ry Cooder a little before that. As long as the show can continue to ring the changes and balance the obvious with the more obscure but equally (if not more) worthy, long may it continue. Maybe with a roster of different presenters, BBC?
There is nothing like a bit of nostalgia to get you thinking that Wham! were actually quite good and TOTP2 serves this up in spadesful. It is a clever mix of some current chart music and lots of oldies from various era's. I find the eighties are my favourites as that was my decade, and it's so refreshing to re-see bands hammering at a keyboard with one finger and looking slightly abashed, instead of sequence dancing their way across a stage with their fixed grins. I find I rarely sit through an entire TOTP2 without doing something else; channel hopping when a crappy band are on, or making the tea etc, but when something is on that I like, I have to drop everything. It really take you back when you see the bands from your era, in their dated clothes and hairstyles, singing "your" songs with everyone in the studio in the same kind of clothing. Fantastic!¬
If you need a blast from the past and you can't play any of your records any more because the age of the CD has taken over, then watch TOP2. This show shows music from various past times, anything from Wham to Dexys Midnight runners! Yeh remember them Oh! Come On Eileen, Jocky Wilson Said. I really enjoyed all that music. Not so much Wham but I was on of the first on the dance floor when the Young Guns go for it, I remember the disco night well. Times are certainly changing and some of the music, I just don't understand anymore. At least in the 60's 70's and some of the 80's the songs had a meaning. I can guarentee that everyone who was around then and remember the songs played, has a memory for a particular song. You know what I mean when you hear an old song you always say things like AH! this was playing the first time I met your Mam, or remember this girls, up the Black Horse on a Thursday night disco. We all have done it but with the music today there isn't so many memories you could have, to the rave etc. This is what TOP2 is all about it shows all the older groups and singers and information about them what they are doing now etc. It is a good programme I really enjoy it I actually prefer it to Top Of The Pops, I couldn't tell you who is number one today. I am not old old I am in my very early 30's but I would rather listen to the clasics, you know Cher, Tina Turner, Fleetwood Mac etc, but I do like a dance now and again, but all this music today is only good for dancing to. Bring back the music from the 60's to 80's when a song really meant something to each and everyone.
Why do we want to watch all the old songs when we have TOTP1 with all the latest chart toppers?? I think TOTP2 is rubbish.They're all old songs that are now out of fashion like the "Beetles" and other rubbish bands with rubbish lyrics! I have no idea why anyone wants to watch it when you can watch TOTP1 with all the latest cool music around like "Travis","Robbie Williams" ect.......... I think TOTP2 should be banned and let TOTP1 rule!
Top of the Pops 2 is like a breath of fresh air, compared to it's longer running and more famous TOTP.O.K I understand that music cannot stand still, and it has to be innovative, but it's great to listen to some really great music for a change and not listening to people pretending they can sing, and to call it houe, garage or rap or whatever.Let's face it, it's mind-boggingly dull as dishwater. I sing better in my bath - well perhaps not. The TOTP 2 show on Shania Twain a couple of weeks ago was superb, and most of the songs were original and written by her. It is very rare these days to find a really talented songwriter, for some reason they are almost an extinct species.You can feel the joy and excitement that she felt in performing the songs - pity it didn't go on longer.
Top of the pops is a classy pop chart show that plays the most popular music of that week. However, top of the pops II only plays the most garbage rubbish posible. Okay so some of the greatest music was made back then but I have not got a clue who half the groups are. I mean - who the hell is ' The Raving Pop dragons and Whirly Gig Steve'? Exactly a nobody in the scummy world of Top Of The Pops II. TURN IT OFF.
I really love this programme. Not only do I get to hear songs that I haven't heard for ages but it is also hosted by one of my all time favourite DJ's, Steve Wright. It is shown at 6 on a Wednesday evening and then repeated on a Saturday afternoon. It features clips from old Top of the Pops and videos from various artists stretching back to the sixties. Not only do you get to sing your heart out to your old favourites but you also get to laugh at the dress sense and also fall about in fits of laughter at the dancing in the audience. If you love music...you will love this show!
Ah, now this is getting a bit more like it. This show is half way there. At the moment, we get a programme with a roundup of current popular music, with a liberal smattering of nostalgia, with various acts from previous decades. Why doesn't the BBC go the whole hog, and just have the show churning out the nostalgia? I am sure this would be a winning improvement, as I am sure that those who watch the show expecting the older stuff switch over when Westlife's new single is mimed to, and the kids likewise channel hop when David Bowie starts strutting around.
Top of the pops two is a very good programme, i watch it whenever i can, it brings back memories of my youth, when the music was better then, than it seems to be now. Today there are some good singers about, but most of them seem to be one hit wonders, not like before when most of the singers had a lot of good records, and were at number one for more than one week, like they are now. Top of the pops two is the best music show at the moment.
I remember the days when my farther used to say whats that rubbish group your watching on TV, music is not like it used to be when I was a kid. Now I find myself doing the same thing to my kids and itching to listen and watch the old groups and where do I do it but on TOTP2 - ace!! I grew up with the late seventies and early eighties music and still find it as fresh as it was then (they don't write songs like that anymore!!!). Its hilarious just to watch Pans people doing what we used to call dancing, terrible sets with very limited movement, quite funny even though I used to fancy the pants off the dark girl. Its also worth watching to see how the styles have changed and how uncool we were back then. Anyway for some excellent music and the occasional chuckle TOTP2 is well worth a viewing.