Sunday, 26 June 2011

A Look Back At Top Of The Pops 1976

The Surprise Sisters 
I’ve been catching Top of the Pops 1976 over the last few months on BBCFour. 

The reruns of the BBC’s premier pop show for many years kicked off a few months back with a reminder that even the 70s are hailed as a classic decade basically all was not well on the music front.

While Thin Lizzy sang The Boys Were Back in Town and Cliff Richard rode high in the charts with Devil Woman, sitting at the Top of the Pop charts over the first half of '76 were Brotherhood of Man’s Save Your Kisses for Me, JJ Barrie’s No Charge and The Wurzels Combine Harvester.

Still Top of the Pops 1976 remains an education and a reminder that although fronted by the likes of David Hamilton, Tony Blackburn and Noel Edmonds, it did display the variety of music trends that were popular in the British music charts at the time, though it seems almost impossible to imagine such a show appearing on the box these days.

This week’s episode opens with The Surprise Sisters, apparently Noel Edmonds record of the week that perform a melodious middle of the road medley (sorry mash up) of The Beatles Got To Get You Into My Life and You Won’t See Me.

Produced by Tony Visconti, I’m amazed I don’t recall The Surprise Sisters, despite covering material by Andy Fairweather Low and The Beatles. They split up in 1978 to pursue solo careers.

One band still together is indeed The Wurzels, still touring after over 40 years on the music scene. Many often remark how their parody of Melanie’s Brand New Key - Combine Harvester got to Number One, but sorry, after been reminded of JJ Barrie’s No Charge I think we were blessed… And it was also fun to see their appearance on Blue Peter at the time, chasing Lesley Judd around the studio...


  1. I'd forgotten about the Surprise Sisters until I saw this week's TOTP. I have an old album, K-Tel's Hit Machine from 1976 (a cassette bought at WH Smiths in York if I recall) that includes their recording of La Booga Rooga, an Andy Fairweather Low song.

    What an awful record JJ Barrie's No Charge was, I didn't like it then and it's no better with the passage of time. As for Combine Harvester, I have to confess to knowing all the lyrics and will sing along with it whenever I hear it!

  2. La Booga Rooga was also covered by Leo Sayer on one of his albums.

    WHSmiths in York - wow -I bought qite a few books from there as a student in the early 90s!

    To be honest I was even surprised No Charge got to number 1! The Wurzels magic is still going strong - it was a popular one played on the dancefloor on last years Haven holiday and my 8 year old daughter loves it!



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