It’s the 50th anniversary

Feb 2014 It’s the 50th anniversary

with Jim Stewart


Top of the Pops: 50th Anniversary Illustrated Hardcover


Patrick Humphries & Steve Blacknell McNIDDER & GRACE: ISBN:  9780857160522


IN THE EARLY 60s, it was common practice to transfer successful radio programmes to TV and In 1964 adapting ‘Pick Of The Pops’ into the visual ‘Top Of The Pops was a no-brainer.


For the first time 75% of the charts were UK acts desperate to get TV exposure, it was an instant hit and ran for 42 years.


Top of the Pops: 50th Anniversary by Patrick Humphries & Steve Blacknell looks at the history and legacy of the show, packed with well-known and little-known facts, oddities, on-screen and backstage photos, and recollections, not always favourable, from the artists and presenters.


Each decade is given its own chapter looking at the music and the fashions, the transfer from B&W to colour broadcasting, promoters quickly becoming aware of how one appearance could maximise the records potential, flying in from America just for one career-changing performance, and how many rock acts, supposedly, forced to appear, acknowledged the shows importance, and although some ridiculed the miming process, it still gave them a bigger hit.


It’s a fascinating reminder of a programme that outlasted all others, which was essential family viewing for 25 years until MTV really started to kick in over here. It, was always willing to feature the most ridiculous novelty attempts at chart success, not forgetting the often embarrassing, but highly-watchable, Pan’s People and Legs & Co.


For a programme to maintain prime time viewing slot sticking to its original format, which was adapted on a number of occasions but always went back to basics, you can count on your fingers the number of major chart acts who did not appear live on it.


The Beatles even did it once! And even now it retains the original Christmas Day slot, an amazing achievement.


A thoroughly enjoyable read.