If Sunday was the worst time for television, the best was probably Thursday night because that was when Top of The Pops was on. At 7:20pm the nation’s youth gathered excitedly in front of the set to watch their pop heroes while their parents made snarky comments about them like “Is that a boy or girl?” It was the one show we all watched and talked about at school the next morning.
If you’re roughly the same age as me this record will bring those nights back like a Proustian biscuit because it was the TOTP theme music from 1970 to 1977 and probably still the one most associated with the show.
CCS (short for Collective Consciousness Society — heavy, man) were a group of session musicians led by Alexis Korner and produced by Mickie Most. I’m probably not the only one who knew their instrumental version of “Whole Lotta Love” for years before I ever heard the original.
It may anger the Rock Gods to say it, but I prefer this to the Led Zeppelin version. Having a flute instead of Robert Plant’s tight-trousered moaning helps it be less of a thrusting Cock Rock record. With that riff it can’t help but sound sexy, but with the brass and Hammond organ it sounds more go-go groovy and designed for Pan’s People to shake their hips to while wearing silver hot pants.
Without wanting this blog to turn into LondonLee’s Book of The Dead I should mark the passing of Mott The Hoople drummer Dale Griffin. I posted this marvelous clip many years ago but it’s one of my all-time favourite Top of The Pops performances and well worth a replay.
As we all know Glenn Frey popped his clogs too. I know we’re supposed to hate The Eagles but they did have some good moments like this one. It sounds even better when you don’t have to look at them.
The BRIT Awards weren’t always the slick extravaganza they are today, you know.
If it wasn’t for the presence of Ian Dury and Nick Lowe you wouldn’t have any clue that popular music had just gone through something of a revolution (and notice that neither of them got actual BPI awards). Rock industry awards are notoriously conservative but this is even less edgy and rock n’ roll than an episode of The Two Ronnies.
It might be sacrilege to say it but I’ve always preferred this version to Bill Withers’ original. Partly because it’s the first one I knew, but I also love its more expansive treatment of the song. That Jackson kid was a hell of a singer, too. Whatever happened to him?