Monday, July 31, 2006

I can't believe I missed this one...I thought about it, but didn't have time to ask the question on the 29th, so I'll ask it now.

What were you doing 25 years (and two days ago), on July 29th, 1981? I know where I was early that day....watching the royal wedding. Along with a million of my closest friends all around the world. It was estimated that a billion people tuned in.

What happened on July 29th this year? Well, in britain the big news was that Top of The Pops was officially dead, at age 42.5 years.

It was kind of shock to read that it was ending. After all, this show gave a big break to more than a few worldwide performers.

We didn't really have anything like it....and god knows we never will today.
At it's prime, TOTP was a fascinating view of what was going on in british music. What the fans liked, not what the record company told you you'd like.
When it started, TotP used to only play records that were climbing the charts....not ones that had already peaked and were on the way down. Why the change? well, in the early days (through the first three decades, maybe longer), the playlist was really based on what was being played and sold in record stores....not picked by a producer. So you might see James Galway, The Stones, and some punk band you'd never heard of before all on the same program. And that new unknown band would be known around the country the next week because:
a. they'd been on TOTP
b. because they'd been on TOTP, you'd rushed out to buy the single over the weekend, and then wanted your friends to hear it, and they went and bought it because it was all over radio, too.

There weren't as many choices in those days, and "pop" music stations played everything. same thing here: in most cities, the "big" station played music that crossed boundaries: it wasn't odd to hear the beatles and george jones on the same station, perhaps followed by a tony bennett hit. They were all "hits," and everyone knew the songs.

i could go on and on, but I'll spare you.

But then pop music has changed, too.


Blogger Z said...

I remember the day WAVA died. I stayed up and listened to her last breaths. No Top 40 in DC after that.

10:52 AM  
Blogger jk said...

whoa...i remember when wava died, too. Especially the first time, when it switched from rock to top 40, i was working for the competiton across town. We were very happy.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Z said...

Let's not forget MTV in our nostalgia...

I watched the tapes of the whole first day yesterday and 1) couldn't believe how crappy the videos WERE, 2) how much the repeated them AND the same artists and 3) how many videos Split Enz had on rotation. I figure the Brits (and Brit-likes in the case of NZ's Split Enz who were pretty awesome I must say) had the videos on tap and ready to go...hence the Brit invasion of the 80's when MTV started because seriously, after watching a day of MTV, it's pretty clear - there wasn't much else to watch!

Oh gosh I cannot believe I spent breaks from college plugged in and turned on watching MTV while mouth breathing!

7:55 AM  
Blogger Z said...

Well, when she died when I listened, she went directly to G-d himself.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Z said...

Well, when she died when I listened, she went directly to G-d himself.

1:26 PM  

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