Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Top Pop Hits At Pocket Money Prices

Top of the Pips - the infamous nipples edition (Vol 16)

If there's one format that's a precision indicator of  70s pop culture fashions and flavours, it's those bumper bundles of refitted hits at budget prices - Hallmarks' Top of the Pops albums. Omnipresent and affordable, new and updated editons of TOTP repopulated the record racks of Woolworths, Boots and sometimes supermarkets with an industrial efficiency and unrelenting refresh rate of 'every six to eight weeks' according to volume 60's sleeve blurb from ..

It's too easy to raise a purist eyebrow over these popular compilations. Dig about the genre and you'll find it's not all charity shop fodder, some highly prized items are buried in the back catalogue: the 'nipples' cover of Vol 16 ,  the bondage gatefold (Best of 71) - and the golden nugget I've spent too long scouring cyberspace for  - Volume 60,  with a playlist pulling together I Feel Love, Oh Lori and Pretty Vacant.

From what was a mostly cottage industry of session musicians and production anono-bods,  moments of glowing self-sufficient invention and thrifty studio trickery can be found. Take Bohemian Rap (or Bo Rap to give it's full title)  as Ben Soundhog says....

The version of Bohemian Rhapsody is bordering on genius, considering it was done in about a day rather than the seventy million years the original took.

Top of the Poppers - Bohemian Rhapsody

An online goldmine and encyclopedia of all that is TOTP (and TOTP related) is available here at the wonderful - Top of the Pops: The Definitive Website. Did you know TOTP series ran until 1985, that Larry Adler and Tina Charles appear on some editions? That two volumes topped the charts, Find out which models make multiple cover appearances, thumb through a breakdown of acts, tracks, sleeve notes and international variations.

If you have any interest in 70s retro-ology, spin over and browse away - I guarantee TOTP - TDW will be right up your Hit Parade...

PS - wonder if there were ever any outtakes that never made the final edit, perhaps it's time for TOTP expanded or deluxe editions?


Cusp said...

Blimey ....a real blast from the past 'Playmates' :O): back to the era of nipping down to the telephone box for a listen to that week's Dial-a-Disc.

Is there a good source for more info on the people who actually did the covers ? I know Elton John is supposed to have played sung on the early ones

sH said...

The Elton John ones have been compiled on CD a few times in the past. The quality of them is, er... variable - 'Love Of The Common People' and 'Lady D'arbanville' stink - but his version of 'Spirit In The Sky' rocks a good 'un.

Mondo said...

Terry who runs the TOTP site - has all the info you need, Elton appears on Snake in the Grass on Volume 5 . You'll also find members of Blue Mink and Uriah Heep popping up in places.

As sH says Elt's versh of Spirt is a stormer (not from the TOTP comps, but a similar spin off line) and here if you fancy grabbing.

Althought the jury's still out on whether this is his royal Bowieness during his session days or not

Five-Centres said...

For Xmas 1973 I remember getting one with Skywriter on it. I had many more, they were great. I particularly liked the Hot Hits collection, which always featured some Seventies fox in a bit of sports kit, like a rugby shirt or girl in bikini brandishing cricket bat.

Piley said...

Was always a fan of these as a kid, to the complete bemusement of my dad! I was record crazy, but buying more that a couple of singles a month was impossible. These albums made it possible to own the songs without breaking the bank - sometimes the songs were still in the charts by the time the album was out. Still got all mine!


John Medd said...

This was the first one to cross the threshold at Medd Towers. My Sweet Lord was woeful. And as for Grandad - well, I think you can use your imagination.

Mondo said...

Did you know Bond girl Caroline Munro can be spotted on the cover of Hot Hits 11 FC, and what was the run of comps that featured some old grandad punting about in a 1920s car with topless girls swooning over him?

Have you got Volume 60 in there P, that's one I'm after - with Pretty Vacant on the playlist? I only had TOTP Vol 42 and a 12 tops spin off (mine was the top left cover) - does your collection include the end of year round ups with poster?

That's Vol 15 . Watch this space John - Terry from the TOTP site will be making a guest blog spot appearance here, with a When Top of the Pops Cultures Collide type post, which may be an antidote to those howler earfuls of yours

darnall 42 said...

great top of the pops postings.most of elton johns session work was with hensley productions who licensed thier tracks to Deacon for thier pick of the pops albums and pye's marble arch label chartbuster series (i uploaded the first pick of the pops to my blog and it has 5 tracks recorded by old reg )he also recorded a few for bwd productions which appeared on mfp's hit's 70 album