Category: top of the pops

Ike Turner backstage at The Top of the Pops in 1966.

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Backstage The Top of the Pops

  1. The Rolling Stones (1964)
  2. The Supremes (1965)
  3. Ike & Tina Turner (1966)
  4. Cher (1966)
  5. Jimi Hendrix (1967)
  6. Shirley Bassey (1968)

On this day in music history: November 4, 1982 – Wham! make their first appearance on the UK music show Top Of The Pops. Newly signed to CBS distributed Innervison Records in the UK, Wham! release their debut single “Wham Rap (Enjoy What You Do) in June of 1982. Unfortunately, the record lands with a resounding thud, peaking outside of the UK pop singles chart at #105. The duo follow it in October of 1982 with "Young Guns (Go For It)”. The songs’ narrative is about two teenage friends, with one (George) worrying that his mate (Andrew) is rushing too quickly into marriage with his girlfriend, instead of staying free and enjoying his youth. The breakdown features the girlfriend (performed on record by singer Lynda Haynes) admonishing her boyfriend, when she feels his friend will come between them. The would be bridegroom jumps to his friend’s defense, telling his girl “hey shut up chick, that’s a friend of mine, just watch your mouth babe, you’re out of line!!”. The funky and danceable track gets off to a promising start, entering the UK singles chart at #73, then leaping to #48 the following week. Then it stalls, dropping to #52 the week after that. Initially it looks like Wham! will have two failed singles in a row, when something unexpected happens. The duo get a call from the producers of the popular music series Top Of The Pops. Though their record is outside the UK top forty, they are asked to perform on the show, when another scheduled act has to drop out at the last minute. Seizing the lucky opportunity, George and Andrew, along with background singer and dancers Shirlie Holliman and Diane “Dee C. Lee” Sealy, quickly work up a routine for their appearance. Introduced by new co-host Mike Smith, Wham! take the TOTP stage with a vengeance. In less than three and a half minutes, they put on an electrifying, show stopping performance, that becomes the talk of the town the next day. That single television appearance reverses the fortunes of “Young Guns (Go For It)”, with Innervision immediately receiving orders for over 30,000 copies of the single. It jumps from #52 to #24, eventually peaking at #3 on the singles chart in December, helping launch Wham! into major pop stardom. The success of “Young Guns” leads to their first single “Wham Rap”, re-entering the chart and peaking at #8.  Both singles are picked up for release in the US by Columbia Records in early 1983. Though neither make the Hot 100, they become dance floor faves in US clubs, leading the way to the massive success Wham! enjoy in the US and around the world during the 80′s.

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January 25, 1967: The Rolling Stones appear on BBC TV’s Top of the Pops

(Photos by David Redfern)