Monday, 30 December 2013

Top Of The Pops

Top of the Pops, also known as TOTP, is a British music chart television programme, made by the BBC and originally broadcast weekly between 1 January 1964 and 30 July 2006. It was traditionally shown every Thursday evening on BBC1, before being moved to Fridays in 1996, and then to Sundays on BBC Two in 2005. Each weekly programme consisted of performances from some of that week's best-selling popular music artists, with a rundown of that week's singles chart. Since the programme started when music videos were rare, often when there was no performance or video clip for a certain song, they would illustrate the songs with dance.

Of course, the Beatles themselves made a couple of appearances on Top Of The Pops, but their performances weren't kept by the BBC. The most important one must have been the famous Paperback Writer episode in 1966, from which we have a lot of splendid colour photos.

16th of June, 1966: The Beatles made a surprise appearane on Top Of The Pops, performing Paperback Writer and Rain.

When Paperback Writer was resurrected on the show in 1976 for it's tenth anniversary, the performance footage was already lost, so here's what the audience had to be content with:

Also from 1976, here's the Top Of The Pops Dancers illustrating Wings' "Silly Love Songs", from 1976.

Of course, eventually a real music video for the song was made by Wings.
One video that never was made, was for George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord".  Here's Tony Blackburn from Top Of The Pops in 1971, introducing the dancing troupe "Pan's People" who illustrates that song.

Audiovideo content administered by Universal Music Group. There's a bit of dancing going on in the background of this one as well, John Lennon's "Instant Karma".

To round off the solo Beatles dancing performances, here's one of Ringo's: "Back Off Boogaloo".

The one Beatles performance on Top Of The Pops which still exists, is 25 seconds of "Ticket To Ride". They performed both songs from the single: Ticket To Ride and Yes It Is. For the first time, The Beatles wore the fawn-coloured jackets they would later wear for their Shea Stadium concert on 15 August 1965.
The edition of Top Of The Pops was shown on Thursday 15 April from 7.30-8pm. It was later wiped by the BBC, in common with their archiving rules at the time.

However, a snippet of the performance was included in an episode of Doctor Who entitled The Executioners, part of a mini series known as The Chase. The episode was first screened on 22 May; although the episode of Top Of The Pops did not survive, the episode of Doctor Who did, and as a result part of The Beatles' performance from this day was preserved.

The episode was originally to have included The Beatles appearing as themselves in the future, wearing make-up to look older. However, Brian Epstein objected and the producers used the Top Of The Pops performance instead.

We have heard rumours that several sixties episodes of Top Of The Pops have been recovered, so we'll just have to wait and see if the Beatles' appearances will show up again.

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