Wednesday, 1 January 2014

"Yes it's Number One - It's Top of The Pops"

Goodness gracious me Guys and Gals but it's hard work finding out much about the first ever episode of a this important piece of television and indeed, popular music industry !  For starters, when the heck did it actually start that New Years day exactly 50 years ago ?  Some say 6.30, some 6.35, one site has it as 2pm ! So, I thought I'd take the word of the guy who was there at the time, here re enacting that same moment 25 years later !

 "Welcome to January the First 1964 - it's 6.24 pm and it's a programme you've never heard of before, it's called Top of the Pops and, there's the charts !"

Anyone who's been following me and Moor Larkin for the last year will know that the first show presented by Jimmy and Alan 'Fluff' Freeman was filmed in Manchester in that converted church.  It took quite a lot of time to get from Manchester to London in those days ( more than 5 hours) and it cost £5 to get there by train !

The 1st January 1964 was, like today a Wednesday ! Top of the Pops weekly slot was, for many years, a Thursday night - here's an admission ticket - note the age restriction !

Along with Jimmy and Alan that night was a 'disc girl' or 'spinner', yes the artists did mine and those turntables we see in the few pics available, really were used ! 

Here's Samantha and Pete

And here she is with her husband Mickey from the Monkees whom she met in January 1967 

Enough of the history lesson for now, let's enjoy the music of the artists who appeared on our screens that night !

Who came first, the Stones or Dusty ?  Thanks Chris !

Next up we have this chap and his band - the recording may just be the one used in the show !

 In case any of you are missing the links and the man himself, whilst no film of the first show exists, we do have this from the NME Poll winner Concert from April 1964.  Jimmy's presentation style was certainly, unique I think you will agree !

Who next Guys and gals ? Oh, yes indeed dee it's the one and only Gene Pitney on a bus !!

It's not the best recording of the song, and I do have it on good authority that, in the show, the song was accompanied by film of the audience dancing, but, this video got my attention.  Is the Golden Gate Bridge 24 hours from Tulsa ?

Are you feeling 'Glad all over yet' ? Oh well, make do with the song then for the time being !!

Try as I might, I've not been able to find the next song allegedly called 'Wishing Well' by The Shadows and Cliff Richard, so, we'll have to make do with Cliff and the boys other contribution to the show which comes courtesy of a Dutch television show rather strangely called 'Top of the Flops' broadcast on 27th November 1963 - a nice piece of pop show history !

Next we have a group who didn't have far to come that night Manchester's own - The Hollies

Next up - a lesser well known band from some place called Liverpool !

Next - the Swing Blue Jeans and that 'Hippy hippy Shake'

Oh and who was that comical bunch of lads Jimmy was to introduce again in April of 1964 ? Is that Petra introducing them this time in the Blue Peter Studios ?

Before we come to the last song of the show I thought I'd amuse you with a little snip of an 'outake' from Christmas 1969 - What on earth ?

Pete and Jimmy were obviously having a bit of fun that night whilst rehearsing for this !

Last and by no means least it's Number One guys and gals - it's those Liverpool boys again !

Happy New Year Everyone !


  1. Some of us are having a TOTP's party on Twitter - grt fun Join us !!

  2. In 1983, Radio 1 broadcast the 1000th Edition of TOTP in stereo, along with a documentary on the show. Here is the full broadcast, some great insights into the beginnings

    1. Big thanks to you Chris for supplying the info about the show that day - We had a great night last night did we not !

  3. I was watching footage of the 1973 10th anniversary show of TotP recently and Jimmy was hugging close someone called Samantha. I had no idea who she was, but now I know!! I can recognise her!!

    I noticed that Jimmy's "hugging style" was very intimate. He pulled her tight into his underarm/chest, and it reminded me a bit of his so-called "assault" on the Nolan girl that was all the rage back in the autumn of 2012.

    Thing is, later in that 1973 show, he's hugging a bearded bloke, who was the studio director I think, and guess what.... Jimmy has his arm hooked right round the guy, and is pulling him tight against his underarm/chest. I have to say that instinctively I feel that I would have found Jim's intimate hugging style quite off-putting, but then I never met him, and so felt the force of his personality. Maybe in the context of his ebullient stage persona, it might have felt quite enjoyable.

    I daresay that if Jimmy had been asked to take lessons in the ethics of hugging, he might have felt a little offended....... ;-))

  4. Well spotted Sir ! I noticed that too - he was the same with men and women and most of them did not seem to mind or take offence as it was obviously part of his act. Remember the scene with Louis T at the railway station he always asked for a kiss off ladies - and always got one. They saw the harmlessness of his behaviour BACK THEN !