Top of the Pops exits stage left


I was out one night with a group of very grand people from Queens, and the discussion turned to the music people listened to in their teens. I was fascinated by descriptions of Pink Floyd and Staus Quo concerts, amazing collections of LPs and all nature of sophisticated musical tastes. When the conversation turned to me, I had to sheepishly admit that growing up in Laois in the 1970’s, highlights were very much along the lines of Big Tom and the Mainliners, Hugo Duncan and Bray City Rollers. Oh yes, and that was in the Macra na Feirme Hall, to add insult to injury- The Ballroom of Lost Romance! The only connection we had to what was going on outside the world of showbands was Top of the Pops on Thursday night. It was mandated viewing, and Friday mornings were dominated with discussions of the night before. Farewell TOTP, you were an institution and served so many of us, so very well. Update Thanks to John for the picture!

  • harpo

    ‘The only connection we had to what was going on outside the world of showbands was Top of the Pops on Thursday night.’

    Miss Fitz:

    Yet another example of the difference between you Irish and we British.

  • Miss Fitz

    Tell us more Harpo, thats the point…. Did you not watch TOTP, or is this a generational issue?

  • cladycowboy

    I take it you’re not a ‘Great Big Sea’ fan, harpo?

  • Fanny

    “I was out one night with a group of very grand people from Queens…”

    Queens, NY, I take it. Very few, if any, grand people in QUB 😉

  • Miss Fitz

    Nice one Fanny! They were all visiting QUB, so that might explain things!

  • harpo

    ‘Tell us more Harpo, thats the point…. Did you not watch TOTP, or is this a generational issue?’

    Miss Fitz:

    What I meant was that while the ‘only connection’ you had to a non-showband world was a BBC show called Top Of The Pops, we British living in NI had free access to this show and much much more. As did the Irish living in Northern Ireland come to think of it.

    We were living in a modern society that had free access to pop culture, and you weren’t. We were that outside world you only had a peek at on a Thursday night.

    I did watch TOTP. I was an avid viewer.

    On the generational theme, tell me this. What did your elders think of TOTP, or you watching it? Was it dismissed as modernist British filth and depravity? Intended to pollute the minds of Irish youth? Did the showband police send out units to stop Irish youth from watching Bowie, Queen, Slade, Mud, and Wizzard? Were you sent off to Hucklebuck Boot Camp if you were discovered watching TOTP?

  • harpo

    ‘I take it you’re not a ‘Great Big Sea’ fan, harpo?’

    cladycowboy:

    No, not at all.

    I’m more of a Metallica fan myself.

    Do you remember the days of waiting to see if they would have AC/DC, Motorhead, or Thin Lizzy on TOTP, in addition to all of the pop acts? Heavier rock singles rarely made it to the top 10, and it was a treat if they included such a band on the basis of their latest single being a chart new entry.

  • cladycowboy

    ‘Do you remember the days of waiting to see if they would have AC/DC, Motorhead, or Thin Lizzy on TOTP, in addition to all of the pop acts? Heavier rock singles rarely made it to the top 10, and it was a treat if they included such a band on the basis of their latest single being a chart new entry.’

    Just a bit before my time! I’d have the same experience with Nirvana etc. Still, even then TOTP was about as close to being on the music pulse as a Laois dancehall of the 70’s.
    Was given a Great Big Sea CD by Canadians i met travelling there, i thought it was excellent!

  • Fanny

    But seriously, Miss Fitz, I followed TOTP from the first note of the sig tune of the first show, right up until I well … grew too old to “appreciate” house and rap. (An aside, how come black people gave us rock ‘n’ roll and black people fucked it up again with inane rap?)

    I know what you mean about the ballrooms. There was an odd situation in Ireland during the showband era. Great music was being made in the cities but it was largely underground. We had a guy named Pat Egan who kept the flame of rock burning with one page per week in Spotlight, a mag devoted almost entirely to showbands.

    The showbands kept the rest of Ireland from not discovering until much later what real music was all about. The showbands were copyists who, with only a few exceptions, had nothing original to offer. They had some good horn players though.

    Then a decade or two later, came U2 and the others, and all Ireland could find out how talented our boys and girls has been all along. Think of how good we’d be now if our “beat groups” had had a better deal way back then.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Harpo

    “What I meant was that while the ‘only connection’ you had to a non-showband world was a BBC show called Top Of The Pops, we British living in NI had free access to this show and much much more. As did the Irish living in Northern Ireland come to think of it.”

    That’s an awful lot of store you’re putting by being able to watch British television. But wait, you’re just warming up….

    “We were living in a modern society that had free access to pop culture, and you weren’t….”

    This is Belfast in the 70s you’re talking about, right? In fairness, I don’t think you’re living on the same planet as the rest of us, so who am I to say whether you were living in a modern society or not…..?

    But wait: here comes the killer line!

    “We were that outside world you only had a peek at on a Thursday night.”

    Ah how the denizens of Laois must have dreamed of the futuristic world of 1970s Belfast!

    “If you will it, it is no dream,” wrote Theodore Herzl.

    I think you’ve slightly misinterpreted what he meant by that Harpo. He meant that all things are possible – he didn’t mean that simply saying, or even believing that things are/were so, makes them so.

    Though fair dues: funniest post EVER on Slugger!

    “On the generational theme, tell me this. What did your elders think of TOTP, or you watching it? Was it dismissed as modernist British filth and depravity? Intended to pollute the minds of Irish youth?”

    Sweet mothering Jesus….

  • circles

    “Do you remember the days of waiting to see if they would have AC/DC, Motorhead, or Thin Lizzy on TOTP” –
    Goodness gracious Harpo, and you a loyal british subject and all – especially as AC/DC were nothing but the descendants of common criminals and Thin Lizzy were bringing you music that was made where people didn’t live in a modern society and had no free access to pop culture. Papist filth no doubt intended to pollute the minds of British youth.
    I wonder if ye’d catch yerself on – its only rock n’roll (and Peters and Lee).

    The defining TOTP moment though has to be the night The Stone Roses and The Happy Mondays were both on, signalling the end of Thatcher, the rise of dance culture and the return of real music to our radios. Hows about that then!!

  • TAFKABO

    What next? A thread about the demise of Spangles and Spacehoppers?

    Top of the Pops is shite, and was always shite. Sure, there was a time when watched it cos it happened to be the only shite available, but it was still shite.

  • TAFKABO

    I mean Jimmy unprintable allegations Fuckin Saville ferfuxsake???

  • Miss Fitz

    Tafkabo
    If you tell me what spangles and spacehopperes are, I’ll gladly devote one of MY threads to it.

  • circles

    Ach now TAFKABO, thats not always been the case.

    Yes there was a lot of cack at times, but man, the Roses AND the Happy Mondays on the one show!!! – indeed the only show where you had any kind of access to popular modern music that wasn’t buried in the midnight hours on BBC2 (à la Whistle Test), or in the saturday morning kiddies selection (the chart show – which was shite too).

  • bertie

    TAFKABO

    You wash your mouth out.

    I’m just putting the last wee stitches in a black armband 😉

  • slug

    A spangle is a sweet.

    A spacehopper (and I had one) was a mode of transport, comprising a round pneumatic blown-up plastic thing that you sat on with two handles you held onto as you literally moved forward by bouncing.

  • bertie

    slug

    that is open to misinterpretation 😉

  • Resolve

    lol @ Bertie… genius 😉

    Top of the Pops? I suppose it has been an institution, and served its generation well. The internet has taken over now, though; and there are loads of dedicated digital channels for every preferred genre. While the excitement in looking forward to the weekly show can never be replaced, demand and supply dictates. 100%. Its time has come. I, for one, won’t shed a tear.

  • Robert Keogh

    circles,

    Roses and Mondays on the same program? when was that? I stopped watching TOTP when I went to college (was never in front of a TV at 7:30 anymore).

    Despite the tonnes of cack TOTP had on (Bucks Fizz always sticks in my mind) and their inability to play Frankie Goes to Hollywood there were many memorable moments. The one that stands out for me is the time Vanessa Paradiso played that awful song “Joe le Taxi”. During one of the instrumentals she did a 180 turn and was waggling her ass at the audience and got a very enthusiastic response that quite obviously discommoded her and she rapdily turned around again. Laugh! I tell ye!

  • Shuggie McSporran

    Bucks Fizz Rule OK

  • harpo

    ‘That’s an awful lot of store you’re putting by being able to watch British television.’

    Billy:

    Not me. That’s what Miss Fitz said – that TOTP was her ‘only connection’ to the non-showband world. I thought that was a bit over-dramatic, but then I didn’t live in the ROI, so I’ll take her word for it.

    ‘Ah how the denizens of Laois must have dreamed of the futuristic world of 1970s Belfast!’

    Well, I just repeated what she said. She didn’t, and I didn’t, say anything about it being futuristic, but from what she says, NI didn’t suffer from showband domination to the same degree as the ROI.

    ‘I think you’ve slightly misinterpreted what he meant by that Harpo.’

    I didn’t make any comment on what that dude said, since it wasn’t quoted anywhere on this thread. As for the content of what he said, she was the one who said that TOTP was her only connection to the outside world.

    ‘Though fair dues: funniest post EVER on Slugger!

    Thank you. Glad to see you took it as humour. I was playing on the image we had of ‘the Free State’ as we grew up. Generations of kids being raised by strict Catholics, being beaten at school by nuns and Christian brothers, living repressed lives. Having to go to showband dances. But they saw the fruits of freedom through glimpses of things like TOTP. Miss Fitz just confirmed it all.

    ‘Sweet mothering Jesus….’

    Gotcha!

  • harpo

    ‘Top of the Pops is shite, and was always shite. Sure, there was a time when watched it cos it happened to be the only shite available, but it was still shite.’

    TAFKABO:

    Much of it was, but look at Miss Fitz’s thread opener. It was forbidden fruit glimpsed by the repressed youth of the ROI. Sure we British had the freedom to enjoy such pop culture or not, and dismiss it as crap if we thought it was, but look at her attitude. It was a beacon of hope to the youth of the ROI. They saw that the British had the freedom to not only put such shite on TV, but to explore such shite. Meanwhile they were living under the oppression of showband culture.

    It’s much like the East Germans before the wall came down. They longed for the freedoms of West Germany, even though such freedoms were often wasted on stupid pop culture.

    You may dismiss TOTP on the basis that Demis Roussos and Paper Lace were the usual fare on display, but think of an Irish youngster brainwashed on showband music. That was freedom baby!

  • Shuggie McSporran

    harpo

    “NI didn’t suffer from showband domination to the same degree as the ROI”

    Obviously you didn’t get around much in Northern Ireland in the 1970’s!

  • aquifer

    Whats wrong with showbands? Live guitars, spangly suits, underage drinking in the back of the hall, and a serious snog before heading back home in the grassy night.

  • TAFKABO

    I’ve never forgiven the Irish for not giving Horslips their due.

  • Miss Fitz

    I think that comparing County Laois and Belfast is quite unfair, and certainly not like for like. Having said that, I wrote an article in 1980 for the Irish Times, describing my first trip to Belfast. It is probably really interesting in light of this discussion, and if I have a chance over the weekend, I’ll copy it on to my Blogspot thingie.

    There really was a chasm of difference back then, although not as repressed as Harpo would have us believe.

    I was never a ‘trendy’ person, and many of my cohorts were into music outside of the Macra-style events. (Trying not to use words like ‘hop’, ‘do’ and ‘social’

    Mind you, it was still very much a commnuity focal point, and all the action (in all senses) took place there. Harpo, maybe they were just more innocent times, in some ways

  • andy

    I understood Tom and the mainliners got some serious alternative credibility… if only for one night.
    One of my mates was telling me how Tom and the boys were touring round 60’s America and did an outdoor gig – about 20,000 people turned up , thinking they were some hippie band, and that the “mainlining” in question involved heavy introvenous drug use.

    Probably apocraphyl but I did laugh

  • harpo

    Miss Fitz:

    You should have been in Cork in 1967!

    Pink Floyd concerts in 1967:

    April 7 1967 Floral Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
    September 15 1967 Starlight Ballroom, Belfast, Northern Ireland
    September 16 1967 Flamingo, Ballymena, Northern Ireland
    September 17 1967 Arcadia, Cork, Ireland

    Jimi Hendrix Experience Tour 1967:

    Jimi Hendrix — 40 min
    The Move — 30 min
    Pink Floyd — 17 min
    Amen Corner — 15 min
    The Nice — 12 min
    Eire Apparent — 8 min
    Outer Limits — 8 min

    November 28 1967 Belfast, Northern Ireland

  • bertie

    aquifer

    “Whats wrong with showbands? Live guitars, spangly suits, underage drinking in the back of the hall, and a serious snog before heading back home in the grassy night. ”

    There is something familiar about you 😉

  • harpo

    ‘Harpo, maybe they were just more innocent times, in some ways’

    Miss Fitz:

    Maybe that was the case in Laois, but in the UK, we were living life to the full. Pink Floyd in Ballymena for example.

    Jimi Hendrix was presented with a birthday cake after that show in Belfast, but he was a little bit out of it, so to speak, and more interested in what he was smoking.

  • harpo

    ‘There is something familiar about you ;)’

    bertie:

    Is that a claim that you two snogged?

  • slug

    Harpo

    The Rolling Stones also came to the Flamingo Ballroom, Ballymena. Pink Floyd too, eh.

    We British had all the advantages.

  • slug

    Rolling Stones British Dates – 1964

    Spa Royal Hall, Bridlington, Yorkshire
    Queens Hall, Leeds (2 shows)
    “Top Of The Pops”, BBC TV recordings, Manchester [aired July 16]
    “Teen And Twentry Disc Club”, Radio Luxembourg recordings, IBC Studios, London
    “The Joe Loss Show”, BBC radio, London
    Beat City Club, London
    Hippodrome, Brighton, Sussex (2 shows)
    Andrew Oldham Orchestra session, Regent Sound Studios, London
    “Top Gear”, BBC radio show, London
    “Ready, Steady, Go!”, AR TV show, London
    Empress Ballroom, Blackpool
    Imperial Ballroom, Nelson, Lancashire
    De Montford Hall, Leicester (2 shows)
    “Thank Your Lucky Stars,” (a.k.a. “Lucky Stars Summer Spin”), ABC TV recordings, Teddington, Middlesex [aired Aug. 8]
    Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
    Flamingo Ballroom, Ballymena, Northern Ireland

  • McGrath

    TAF:

    I’ve never forgiven the Irish for not giving Horslips their due.

    Posted by TAFKABO on Jul 27, 2006 @ 10:56 PM

    Im starting to like you more and more. The horslips were before their time, excellent. I first heard them when I was very young. (I’m 38)

    Harpo:

    Honestly, how deprived was the ROI from pop culture back in Miss Fitzs’ time? What has NI got to offer pop culture compared to what the ROI nurtured?

    In terms of music, think….

    ROI – U2, Corrs, Cranberries, Thin Lizzy, Rory Gallagher, In Tua Nua, Clannad, Pogues, Sinead O’Conner, Hothouse Flowers, Boomtown Rats, Aslan.

    NI – Van Morrison (has lived in SF over 30 years), SLF, Undertones.

    In terms of Literature…..fill in the blanks man.

    More precisely, get a grip. There were no authoritarian restrictions on music or art in the ROI back in Miss Fits time or any other time. People from Laois obviously just liked that kind of showband shite I guess.

    What are you basing your opinion on? Was this something your parents instilled in you, or was this something your community instilled in you? Maybe this is just your own personal misconception?

    Can you agree that not every aspect of human nature in Ireland is not based on Us’ins and Them’ins? That is the real insight (understanding) in this discussion.

  • McGrath

    I’m Rockin Out to “Speed the Plough” right now. Excellent stuff. Theme of the song applies equally to some young lad in Ballymena as opposed to some lad somewhere in Laois.

    Harpo, our differences are only superficial.

  • McGrath

    The girl I love waits for me now, she’s standing by the well, she may have to wait until it’s dry, cause I am off to hell.

    Speed the plough, I’ll wait no more for fire from God, listen to me now, speed the plough, speed the plough.

    [Solo……]

    I counted lines on her pretty face from the tears she cried.

    Her cheeks were bleached as white as snow as she kissed me goodbye.

    We heard their arms, we could not see, I knew our time had come.

    I turned my back on prison farm and then began to run.

    Speed the plough, Ill wait no more for fire from God, listen to me now, speed the plough, speed the plough.

    [Rock out dual solo….]

    Repeat…..various theme and solo.

  • Moochin photoman

    Sans plane pour moi
    Sans plane pour moi moi moi moi moi moi
    oooooooUoooooooOooooooo
    Sans plane pour moi

    Repeat till fade

  • faartrick

    spacehoppers are still going strong. in fact, outside all our local supermarkets, the ten or more car parking places, nearest the doors are marked out for folk using spacehoppers
    only thing is them disabled wans always take the spaces

  • Alan

    TOTP was all the mainstream there was in the 70’s, mind you, it made a big difference when punk flung itself onto the stage. From Peters and Lee, Linsey de Paul and the Osmonds, we leapt to the Buzzcocks, the Jags, the Skids, Stranglers . . . Raw rock that anyone could play, and everyone tried to.

    Still remember the black and white cartoons behind the music on Whistle Test in the pre-video age. There were times, however, when Whisperin’ Bob was just too whispery.

    McGrath – I’m told that Therapy, Ash and Snow Patrol should be added to your list.

  • darth rumsfeld

    eh? what’s this about?
    music ended when Hugh Cornwell left the Stranglers folks!

  • Moochin photoman

    Dont forget David Holmes to the list and in the interest of balance……..our own saccarine champion Daniel”spawn of the devil” O Donnell

  • piebald

    The BBC and ITV signals broadcast well into the Republic and covered 7 or 8 counties of the “ROI” – maybe this was for the benefit of the lost “Lost Tribe of Israel” people left behind after partition but the natives tuned into Match of The Day and TOTP in equal measure.

    Now if we could only get a decent TG4 signal in these counties it would be a bonus…

    piebald

  • George

    Forget TOTP,
    thanks to a rather large arial we managed to join the elite 6 channel group, leading to a crush at the front door of a Saturday from Doctor Who afficionados.

    TOTP was on Network 2.

  • Resolve

    Christy Moore – “Natives”

    “For all of our languages we can’t communicate

    For all of our native tongues we’re all natives here

    Sons of their fathers’ dream the same dream

    The sound of forbidden words becomes a scream

    Voices in anger, victims of history

    Plundered and set aside, grow fat on swallowed pride

    With promises of paradise and gifts of beads and knives

    Missionaries and pioneers are soldiers in disguise

    Saviours and Conquerers, they make us wait

    Like fishers of men they wave their truth like bait

    But with the touch of a stranger’s hand innocence turns to shame

    The spirit that dwelt within now sleeps out in the rain

    For all of our languages we can’t communicate,

    For all of our native tongues, we’re all natives here

    The scars of the past are slow to disappear

    The cries of the dead are always in our ears

    And only the very safe can talk about wrong and right

    Of those who are forced to choose, some will choose to fight”

    Who could sum it up better?

  • It’s interesting that the Ballroom of Lost Romance is mentioned with such disdain. Presumably Miss Fitz doesn’t realise that this humble institution has gone on to have far more of an effect on music in Ireland than she might have realised. Since 2002, The Ballroom of Romance, an independent music club night organised by Dublin-based band The Holy Ghost Fathers and named after the midlands dance venue, has hosted over fifty nights and nearly two hundred bands, and has been a staple of Dublin live music of the (mostly) ‘not crap’ variety.

    Some linkage:

    http://www.holyghostfathers.com/
    http://www.ballroomofromance.com/

    Or do a search on the ever-active Thumped messageboard for ‘Ballroom’:

    http://www.thumped.com/bbs/

  • Resolve

    While on the subject of music, there’s a point I want to make.
    I have a certain Unionist friend who I debate with very often. NI politics is one of the staple subjects. When I suggest that he is as Irish as I am, he usually responds by saying that he feels no connection with Irish culture. when I enquire as to the specifics of this assertion, he usually comments on the “fiddly-dee” music, etc. I point out to him (something he always acknowledges, but never learns from) that English folk music is very similar to Irish trad music. Folk music from Scotland, likewise. One need only look at current English Folk heroine “Kate Rusby” to understand my point. Indeed, one of my favourite singers (Sandy Denny) and her band The Fairport Convention (which also included the legendary Richard Thompson, possibly the UK’s most talented and underrated popular musician of recent memory) are from England. When I first played it to my Unionist friend, he mentioned the point that he had no affinity with traditional Irish culture. I had to laugh. Crying was probably more appropriate. There is a cultural continuity in these two islands, one that is easily obscured by the exaggeration of small cultural differences. This is done to create political capital, but only results in ignorance. We’d do well to consider this story, and keep it in mind – if only as a metaphor…

  • piebald

    Hi Resolve,

    That great song Natives is a Paul Doran song. I only found this out last week whilst looking for the lyrics online.

    Couldn’t find out anything more about Paul Doran except for a little bit here

    http://www.getagig.ie/modules/AMS/article.php?storyid=137

  • Resolve

    Piebald…

    Many thanks. I didn’t know that, nor have I even heard of Paul Doran… until now, that is. Like I said, thank you. One of THe best songs. He wrote “The Holy Ground” too, i see. Excellent. Your link says he has been praised by the likes of Bono and Jackson Browne. IMO, Jackson Browne is one of the best lyricists in all of modern popular music. Praise from the likes of him is testament to Doran’s reputation. I look into him further. C ya

  • harpo

    ‘I point out to him (something he always acknowledges, but never learns from) that English folk music is very similar to Irish trad music. Folk music from Scotland, likewise.’

    Resolve:

    And so what? I hate folk music.

    It’s not part of my culture. Nor that guy’s either. I don’t feel any connctiion to trad Irish folk music because I’m not interested in folk music at all.

    Culture is whatever people are interested in. You can’t define culture for people and say ‘that is your culture’. But many try to, saying that English culture is for example Morris dancing and English folk music.

  • harpo

    ‘More precisely, get a grip. There were no authoritarian restrictions on music or art in the ROI back in Miss Fits time or any other time. People from Laois obviously just liked that kind of showband shite I guess.’

    McGrath:

    I wasn’t being serious. Lighten up.

  • Christopher Eastwood

    Harpo

    You seem to completely miss Resolve’s point. His friend did not frame his objection in terms of genre, but the perceived country of origin. So, in an ironic sense, it was the friend who adopted the “one country, one culture” reasoning that you proclaim to hate so much, and not Resolve.

    The same argument could be made by a nationalist against the Union. This, of course, would be ridiculous. Likewise, the friend’s reasoning is ridiculous, as his reason for being uncomfortable with the notion of a UI centres around a perceived cultural gap that doesn’t exist. The trad music he objected to (on grounds of its perceived Irishness) actually originated in England! think about it, Harpo…

    p.s. I have only started posting here, but I have been reading your comments. Some have shocked me. I don’t take shit, Harpo. Look out for me 😉

  • harpo

    ‘Who could sum it up better?’

    Resolve:

    These guys –

    The break of day has come, I see the cracks have just begun
    To line the walls, line the walls
    I want to see the little girls and boys destroy their toys
    And line the walls, line the walls
    What a fate for little girls
    British boys minds in a whirl
    Tell you things that’ll make your curls
    Straighten out, straighten out
    Straighten out, straighten out

  • harpo

    ‘You seem to completely miss Resolve’s point. His friend did not frame his objection in terms of genre, but the perceived country of origin.’

    Christopher:

    I didn’t miss any point. The objection was to the type of music, not where it came from. Where is it mentioned that he didn’t like it because it is from Ireland? Trad Irish folk music is put forth as part of what Irish culture is all about, and that guy felt nothing for it. Nor do I.

    With me it is about the genre. I don’t like folk music, whether it’s English, Irish or Scotish. Thus a people who set such music up as being part of their culture aren’t going to appeal to me.

    Now you may argue that there is much more to Irish culture, and I’m sure that there is, but go anywhere in the world to the local Irish club or whatever they call it, and it will feature trad Irish folk music as a large part of their culture. It does nothing for me.

    ‘So, in an ironic sense, it was the friend who adopted the “one country, one culture” reasoning that you proclaim to hate so much, and not Resolve.’

    Not at all. ‘The Irish’ set trad Irish folk music up as being Irish music, not folks like me. To the point that when people think of Irish culture they think of trad Irish folk music, Irish dancing, gaelic sports etc.

    ‘Likewise, the friend’s reasoning is ridiculous, as his reason for being uncomfortable with the notion of a UI centres around a perceived cultural gap that doesn’t exist.’

    Does it?

    ‘The trad music he objected to (on grounds of its perceived Irishness) actually originated in England!’

    Again, you have it backwards.

    ‘but I have been reading your comments. Some have shocked me.’

    Which ones in particular? You need to get out more.

  • harpo

    ‘ROI – U2, Corrs, Cranberries, Thin Lizzy, Rory Gallagher, In Tua Nua, Clannad, Pogues, Sinead O’Conner, Hothouse Flowers, Boomtown Rats, Aslan.’

    McGrath:

    The Pogues are (mostly) English.

  • Christopher Eastwood

    Harpo

    I suppose that, on the Last Night of the Proms, when ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ is played it is not supposed to signify “Britishness”??? Come on… music is ALWAYS central to culture. For example, the American tradition of folk music ala Woody Guthrie and, later, Bob Dylan… this is pure Americana… but that does not necessarily preclude Jazz or Rock being seen to be “also American”. Around the world, when you go into an Irish bar (and inevitably hear Irish trad music) that is because it is the most popular cultural expression of Irish musical culture. In the same way, Black America is only a small percentage of the total population. Does this mean that Hip Hop/Rap is not associated with modern American culture??? Like I said, come on…

  • Christopher Eastwood

    Harpo:

    In relation to your misunderstanding of Resolve’s post, he said:

    “When I suggest that he is as Irish as I am, he usually responds by saying that he feels no connection with Irish culture. when I enquire as to the specifics of this assertion, he usually comments on the “fiddly-dee” music, etc. I point out to him (something he always acknowledges, but never learns from) that English folk music is very similar to Irish trad music”…

    Since you can read English, i need not walk you through a logical reading of this post…

  • circles

    To Robert Keogh:
    The Roses and the mondays were on TOTP in 89 as they were both booming. Ripped the trousers of the nation and stuck its head in a bucket of cold water. A moment in pop history (along with Ian Browns Whistle Test “amateurs” outbreak – and 100 points to everyone who understands that)

  • circle

    “The Pogues are (mostly) English.”

    What?

  • PHIL

    My two favorite Top of the Pops moments:

    1982, Dexys Midnight Runners performed “Jackie Wilson Said” with a picture of darts player JOCKIE Wilson behind them.

    1995, Guest presenter Chris Eubank told us that Suggs was at number six with Cecilia.

    Worst moments:

    Every non musician that has appeared on the show, take a bow Joe Dolce, St. Winifreds School Choir, Jive Bunny, Milli Vanilli, Stars on 45 and especially Chas and Dave and the sodding Tottenham Hotspur FA cup final squad!

  • bertie

    I’ve come to doubt my sanity here but Harpo. please confirm – you weren’t being serious were you. I assumed you weren’t and I asssumed that it was obvious that you weren’t but as it appears fro the responses that it wasn;t obvious, maybe I am alsi wrong is supposing that it wasn’t serious.

    If that makes any sence at all 😉

  • harpo

    ‘Come on… music is ALWAYS central to culture.’

    Christopher:

    And to return to the original point, what if you don’t like trad Irish folk music?

    The original point was that one poster (Resolve) told a unionist friend that the friend was Irish, and the friend responded that he didn’t feel Irish because of things like not liking trad Irish folk music.

    And there’s your problem. If music IS a central part of a culture, and you don’t like that music, does that mean that you are not of that culture? Bsed on what we know about the most popular forms of Irish culture, the friend feels indifferent to them , and therefore not Irish.

    The same goes for other things that are central to a culture. If a nation’s culture has certain central things that distinguish it from any other (or all others), and you don’t like them, then where does that leave you?

    I think Resolve wants to convince his friend that the friend is Irish, but when the friend points out that he doesn’t feel culturally Irish, Resolve avoids the reality of that, and attacks on a different basis – the unrelated point that the folk music of the British Isles is related. But he ignores the point that the friend probably doesn’t like folk music at all.

    It’s a daft argument anyway. Say the friend did like English folk music, but not Irish folk music. Wouldn’t that make him British (or at least of English ethnicity)? As opposed to Irish.

    Resolve was making the odd point that trad Irish folk music had common themes with English and Scottish folk music, so that presumably someone who saw themselves as British wasn’t that far removed from someone who saw themselves as Irish.

    What Resolve ignores though are 2 points:
    1. British/English culture doesn’t have folk music as a central pillar of that culture.
    2. Even if it did, what if a person doesn’t like folk music at all? Does that leave them cultureless?

    I don’t understand Resolve’s original point at all.

  • harpo

    ‘Since you can read English, i need not walk you through a logical reading of this post…’

    Christopher:

    You would be better to go through a logical reading of it yourself. At no point is it mentioned that the friend objects to the music on the basis of its origin.

    The friend is obviously like me. I don’t like trad Irish folk music. I don’t like any folk music. So the Irish stuff could come from Germany or Uganda, or Japan. I still don’t like the sound of it.

    Why do you assume that the dislike of the music is based on his knowledge of where it comes from?

    Are you saying that any unionist who doesn’t like trad Irish folk music only dislikes it because it is Irish?

  • harpo

    ‘What?’

    circle:

    Which part didn’t you understand?

  • harpo

    ‘I’ve come to doubt my sanity here but Harpo. please confirm – you weren’t being serious were you.’

    bertie:

    Serious regarding what?

    The repressed ROI? Of course not. I was just playing on the picture that Miss Fitz presented, and her ‘only’ link to a non-showband world.

  • Pete Baker

    “There were no authoritarian restrictions on music or art in the ROI back in Miss Fitz’s time or any other time.”

    *ahem*

    The Committee On Evil Literature

    Just saying…

  • bertie

    harpo

    Cheers mate! 😉

  • McGrath

    *ahem*

    The Committee On Evil Literature

    Just saying…

    Posted by Pete Baker on Jul 28, 2006 @ 09:47 PM

    Ah, I see.

    I suppose I meant authoritarian, communist style.

  • Shuggie McSporran

    McGrath

    ROI – U2, Corrs, Cranberries, Thin Lizzy, Rory Gallagher, In Tua Nua, Clannad, Pogues, Sinead O’Conner, Hothouse Flowers, Boomtown Rats, Aslan.”

    NI – Van Morrison (has lived in SF over 30 years), SLF, Undertones.

    So you’ve scored it thus:

    ROI – 12 / NI – 3

    That looks like a rather lopsided hometown decision. I asked a panel of independant UN observers to have a look at this and they amended your list as follows:

    Thin Lizzy can also be counted as an NI band due to the involvement of Gary Moore.

    ROI – 12 / NI – 4

    You included In Tua Nua and Aslan who never appeared on TOTP. (I’m surprised you didn’t mention Cactus World News) – points deducted anyway.

    ROI – 10 / NI – 4

    You failed to mention NI band Silent Running who actually did appear on TOTP (even though they really wanted to be U2 and had even less impact than the two you mentioned)

    ROI – 10 / NI – 5

    You included one hit wonders The Hot House Flowers but ommitted NI one hit wonders band The Starjets

    ROI – 10 / NI – 6

    and NI one hit wonders D’Ream

    ROI – 10 / NI – 7

    The independant adjudicators gave you a point for one hit wonders The Frank and Walters

    ROI – 11 / NI – 7

    The independant adjudicators scored Dana who had several hits in the 70’s including a number 1 back when it meant something (she was a bit like a Derry Olivia Newtown John)

    ROI – 11 / NI – 8

    You failed to tackle the issue of Boyzone and Westlife, and their various offshoots, who together have made ROI responsible for some of the worst shite ever recorded.

    ROI – 9 / NI – 8

    You forgot to mention Phil Coulter, who probably wrote and produced more hits for more bands than anybody else during the 70’s, (and as a solo artiste sold more albums in both ROI and NI than anybody else)

    ROI – 9 / NI – 9

    Considering the relative populations of ROI and NI you ROI people need to get your musical act together if you seriously want to compete with your talented neighbours.

  • Resolve

    FAO Harpo…

    I am getting more and more amazed by you. Are you for real?

    Mr Eastwood – thank you very much! lol… hit the nail on the head. Now excuse me, Harpo.. I am going to “walk you through it”. Obviously, Christopher had too much faith in you… (bear in mind i am locked!)

    “When I suggest that he is as Irish as I am, he usually responds by saying that he feels no connection with Irish culture. when I enquire as to the specifics of this assertion, he usually comments on the “fiddly-dee” music, etc. I point out to him (something he always acknowledges, but never learns from) that English folk music is very similar to Irish trad music”..

    Read both the above quotation from my earlier post, and this explanation, together. My point was that, in mid debate, if the issue of culture arises he asserts that he is “not-Irish” simply because he cannot identify with Irish trad music… ask yourself, would a hip hop star think himself any less American (or at least potentially so) for not appreciating Woody Guthrie? No… exactly like Christopher said, “he” is the one with the narrow definition of “Irishness”, a narrow enough definition which makes it convenient for him to renounce any membership of it. You have shown by your later posts that you suffer under the same problem. Don’t worry, transference is a common and well-studies psychological problem. People criticise in others the exact things that are imperfect about themselves. I believe that you impute this notion on nationalist posters, Harpo.. namely that they have a narrow definition of Irishness, when in fact it is only you (plus a few hardline Republican nut-jobs) who view it in this way. His assertion that he does not view himself as Irish because he doesn’t like “Irish music” means that, at least in his eyes, a prerequisite for Irishness, or a defining characteristic of Irishness, is a love of trad music. To which I would say – get into the 21st century!!! Like England, Ireland has a thriving dance music scene, it has a rock culture, it has a pop culture, it has a variety of musical expressions. To associate “Irishness” with folk music, and hence to reject any affinity with that culture on the grounds of such a distaste for the particular genre, would be tantamount to a northern nationalist rejecting the Union because he didn’t like Elgar, or the Fairport Convention. He may well reject a cultural affinity, but it must be framed in logical argument. Up with any less I will not put!

    Like I said, apologies for the articulation. I am cut lol… nevertheless, I hope you listen to my points, instead of transmogrifying them to suit your own purposes.

  • circles

    Shuggie – now that was a ham-fisted attempt at rigging the results if ever there was one – lets just take a closer look at that wee bit of jigger pokery.
    Firstly, counting Thin Lizzy as a northern simply because the replacement guitarist came from Belfast is more than a stretch.
    Then you deduct points from the southern result for bands not having appeared on TOTP and add some on for Phil Coulter – now when was he on TOTP?
    On top of that you call the Hothouse Flowers one-hit wonders (I mean come on!!) and compare them to the Starjets (?), and D’ream. And on the subject of D’ream – you add points for them and for Dana and take off some from the south for Boyzone and Westlife – now wheres the justice in that?

    Of course on the northern side you forgot the fabulous Ash, Snow Patrol, Therapy? (although they’re better forgotten anyway), and David Holmes (and a few others). But the Band listing for the south is far from exhaustive either (even the Dubliners were on TOTP).
    Anyway, we northerners can be fairly proud of the popular music output, but theres no shame in coming in a distant second to the southerners.

    BTW, any claims on the Beatles (Lennon, McCartney and Harrison) and the original Oasis Line up (Gallagher, McGuigan, Arthurs from Kircubben and McCarroll)?

  • TAFKABO

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned the mighty Clubsound or the Shankill roads finest punks Ruefrex.

    Phil Lynott?

    Phil-istines more like.

  • TAFKABO

    I’m not particularly proud of the pun in that last post.

  • bertie

    TAFKABO

    I can understand that 😉

  • circles

    What about Lord Wogan’s floral dance – now would he be Irish, English or filed under “West Brit”?

    and Barnbrack?
    Actually we had some abysmal music in the north too – soo much for harpo’s enlightened modern world. Clubsound like? Blackthorn? Box Car Willie McCRea? Its a wonder we weren’t begging for the showbands.
    Of course the local entertainment scene may have been just another front in the multi-facetted conflict. With shite music the IRA intended to ensure that the British Army had absolutely no fun of an evening, and would soon be begging to go home.

    Anyway, back to TOTP. I see Jimmy Saville scuppered a live transmission of the last show as he wanted to watch some bloke toss his caber. Now then, now then!!!

  • hurdy gurdy man

    “counting Thin Lizzy as a northern simply because the replacement guitarist came from Belfast is more than a stretch.”

    Actually, Eric Bell, guitarist in the original Thin Lizzy line-up was (and still is) from Belfast.

  • circles

    I stand corrected – although one man does not a band make (unless of course its a one-man-band).

  • TAFKABO

    Like the DUP?

  • circles

    I wonder what music he would play?
    and where would you get a harmonica to fit that mouth?

    There is the old reggae classic by Dawn Penn – “No, no, no (you don’t love me)”

  • TAFKABO

    I wonder what music he would play?

    A cover of Donny Osmonds the Twelfth of Never perhaps?

  • circles

    Theres an old french number “Orange, que tu m’arranges” or so – he could give that a belt too.

  • Shuggie McSporran

    circles

    “..On top of that you call the Hothouse Flowers one-hit wonders (I mean come on!!) and compare them to the Starjets (?)..”

    OK the Hot House Flowers did TOTP and appeared on Eurovision (with the best song of that broadcast) but they were one hit wonders. Their one hit was excellent, but they achieved it in 1988 which no-one could argue was a classic year for pop music (in my opinion it was by far the shittiest year for chart music between 1956 and 2006)

    The Starjets did TOTP they also appeared on Crackerjack. They were acknowledged as the “Bay City Rollers” of punk. Their one hit “War Stories”, even more catchy and uplifting than “Don’t Go” and they achieved it 1979 which was one of thee absoulutely superlative years for pop music.

    ( more info about them on this French website – http://punkmodpop.free.fr/starjets_pic.htm ),

  • circles

    You aren’t by any chance their manager trying to get a bit of reunion fever going are you Shuggie?
    If you are, you’re doing a great jon – you’ve made the Starjets sound so incredible I’m bursting to hear them! “War Stories” – amazing title – approaches the embarassing pathos of Simple MInds utter crap Belfast Child, but turns it into a Boys Own adventure type of thing. Class!!

    Can’t believe the Hothouse flowers only had one hit in the UK charts though. Say it aint so Shuggie!

  • Donnacha

    I can’t believe this, a thread on showbands vs TOTP and only very few mentions of Horslips. SHocking, as they were (and kind of are again) the only Irish band that made Ireland bearable in the 1970s. Cross-border as well and popular all over (as well as shakin all over). Just watched Johnny Fean playing in Kerry last week and he is still a magnificent guitar player. The band is the only reason I started listening to Irish traditional music….

  • harpo

    ‘the only Irish band that made Ireland bearable in the 1970s’

    Donnacha:

    You see, there’s that exaggeration again. The same thing that Miss Fitz did at the start of this thread.

    Was Ireland really that unbearable? Or are you all just engaging in hyperbole?

    And Horslips were the ONLY Irish band that made it bearable? Thin Lizzy didn’t count? None of the punk/new wave groups?

    I find it odd that the horribleness of 1970s Ireland is brought up again.

  • harpo

    What’s with including Phil Lynott as Irish?

    The man was born in England, just as Shane McGowan (Mr. Pogue) was.

    Now they may have been of Irish ethnicity, but both men were born in England.

    And I see the old cliches are being trotted out about members of the Beatles and Oasis, and their Irish ethnicity.

    Isn’t one of the contradictory nationalist rules on Slugger that if you are born on the island of Ireland you are Irish?

    If you are born in England, you must then be English.

    Or is this one of those cases where your ethnicity (or where you eventually move to)trumps where you were born?

    The Irish seem to do that a lot, in order to claim people.

    And while we are at it, half of U2 were born outside the island of Ireland. Where were Adam Clayton and Dave ‘The Edge’ Evans born? Well bugger me Rex – both were born in England.

    This is all starting to sound like the Jack Charlton era ROI soccer team. You may want to revisit that list of Irish pop and rock stars and start all over again.

  • Donnacha

    Okay Harpo, for the pedantic among you. Horslips was the only band that relieved the grim 70s FOR ME. Okay? Not tarring everyone with my own brush, I wouldn’t dream of suggesting such a thing. ANd no, Lizzy didn’t do it for me because Horslips were the only rock band bogmen in the back blocks like me could actually see down at the local dancehall. FFS they broke out of Monasterevin! I don’t remember SLF playing the Dun Mhuire or the Castle Ballroom, much as I would have loved it….

  • Donnacha

    Oh and an honourable mention to Rory Gallagher as well for coming down the country to us.

  • Shuggie McSporran

    Harpo

    “What’s with including Phil Lynott as Irish?”

    Hadn’t you heard of the diaspora? UIt’s a big world outside NI harpo.

  • Valenciano

    Watched the last episode last night and only the BBC could do such an Orwellian rewriting of history as to exclude any punk/new wave act from the history, disco was similarly ignored on their nostalgia fest, while you could almost be forgiven for thinking that heavy metal never happened if you watched the programme. That was one of TOTPs problems – it was dominated by middle aged men playing the sort of safe stuff that they thought kids should be listening too. More risque acts were often banned or simply ignored. People have long since stopped caring whats number 1 now so a chart programme is totally anachronistic.

  • harpo

    ‘That was one of TOTPs problems – it was dominated by middle aged men playing the sort of safe stuff that they thought kids should be listening too.’

    Valenciano:

    Nonsense. They played a selection of whatever was in the charts. And since the British charts were based on sales that means they were playing whatever people were actually buying. Now that mans what all people were buying, and not just kids, but’s that the way it was.

    It was called Top Of The Pops because it featured what was at the top of the pop charts.

    The BBC did a good job of catering for people who wanted to hear stuff that wasn’t on the charts via shows like John Peel’s radio show or the Friday rock show. Misty In Roots, Crass and Diamond Head were never going to sell enough to make it to the pop charts, but those shows meant that they still got coverage.

    TOTP may have featured Peters and Lee, Paper Lace, the Bee Gees and Olivia Newton John but that’s because they were popular – they sold records. TOTP never pretended to be anything that it wasn’t.

  • Miss Fitz

    Some of you have made valiant efforts to turn this relatively innocent and fun thread into some kind of treatise on the dark side of the ROI in the 70’s.

    I just want to do a little rebuttal here, and also to tell some of you to seriously lighten up.

    I was never a typical teenager to start, and was involved in politics from the age of 15. Therefore, both the thread and the references therein were pretty limited to my experience. I went to the social in the Macra, latterly because I fancied the son of the local TD and could accidentally on purpose meet him there.

    There was no censorship of music, there was radio and LP’s and gigs and Open Air concerts like Macroom in the 70’s. There was freedom of expression for those whose souls and minds required it.

    For a nerdy kid like me, music was not the core importance in my life. I would have and still would prefer books. However, I did watch TOTP religiously, and like I said, for me and others like me it really was a bit of a link to a different musical experience than the one we were accustomed to. I left home at 16, so I didnt really get to spend all my formative years there, although I must admit I used to go to the National Ballroom in Dublin (I think), with all the other decent culshies.

    OK, do what you will with what I’ve said, but Lord Lads, lighten up. My growing up experiences shouldnt give rise to all sorts of ‘evil south’ legends. I’m not sure my experience was global.

    That is one of the reasons the thread isnt Miss Fitz on behalf of the ROI, it’s just Miss Fitz, and its just my experience.

  • bertie

    My conscience is clear – On this thread I have been lightness itself!

  • Valenciano

    Harpo, not true, in their heyday the Sex Pistols weren’t invited to play at all, “God save the Queen” was never even awarded the tokenistic brush off of being played over the credits at the end of the programme despite reaching number two. To add to that list you can add relatively innocuous songs like “My ding a ling”, Peaches by “The Stranglers”, “Winkers song” as well as tracks by groups like the Prodigy, NWA, Frankie Goes to Hollywood etc etc which were banned despite being top 10 hits because they offended some sort of outdated morality held by the presenters.

  • hurdy gurdy man

    Valenciano,

    The Pistols performed – or at any rate mimed to – Pretty Vacant on TOTP.

  • hurdy gurdy man

    …or maybe that was a promo-video.