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“Top Of The Pops” - First appearance

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
This isn't from the BBC special from 1971. They taped that on 25 September (it was shown in November). 'Superstar' was released as a single in early September, so they may have performed that on Top of the Pops around the same time while they were in the UK, when it would just have entered the Top 40. No idea if copies of the show still exist though - the BBC wiped a lot of their shows from this era and in fact we're lucky that the BBC Special didn't get recorded over, as a number of shows for other artists in that series have been lost.

As a side-point, I wasn't aware that in the week that 'Superstar' debuted in the UK Top 40, Shirley Bassey was in the Top 10 with her cover of 'For All We Know'. This would explain why 'For All We Know' was relegated to the position of de facto B side of 'Superstar' here.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
The 1971 BBC special was released on DVD back in 1971 (as “Live In London”), but it was sourced from a Japanese broadcast master so it has Japanese subtitles and a BS-2 logo. I don’t think the original non-Japanese English master exists anymore, as the BBC probably junked it. Richard probably used a copy he had (or maybe the BBC gave him a copy of the Japanese master) for use on the “As Time Goes By” album.
 

Chris Mills

That was funny....like the dark vomited up
The link I provided is a photo which I believe is from an early appearance at the BBC and almost certainly filmed in the Top of the Pops studio. The BBC regularly broadcast archive footage from Top of the Pops on BBC iplayer, but Carpenters performance has never shown up as far as I know.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
The 1971 BBC special was released on DVD back in 1971 (as “Live In London”), but it was sourced from a Japanese broadcast master so it has Japanese subtitles and a BS-2 logo. I don’t think the original non-Japanese English master exists anymore, as the BBC probably junked it. Richard probably used a copy he had (or maybe the BBC gave him a copy of the Japanese master) for use on the “As Time Goes By” album.

I'm not sure that's right. The BBC have re-run the show a few times in recent years (one shortened version that cut a couple of group songs like 'I Fell in Love with You' and a longer version). Obviously there was no logo on the picture, so they are presumably still using their own copy of this. The DVD you mention isn't an offical release so they obviously used whichever version of the show they could lay their hands on, hence the Japanese subtitles.

It's hit and miss in terms of which shows survived. The Carpenters and James Taylor shows still exist, but the Bobbie Gentry, Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro shows have all been lost.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure that's right. The BBC have re-run the show a few times in recent years (one shortened version that cut a couple of group songs like 'I Fell in Love with You' and a longer version). Obviously there was no logo on the picture, so they are presumably still using their own copy of this. The DVD you mention isn't an offical release so they obviously used whichever version of the show they could lay their hands on, hence the Japanese subtitles.

It's hit and miss in terms of which shows survived. The Carpenters and James Taylor shows still exist, but the Bobbie Gentry, Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro shows have all been lost.
I know that with the BBC they did export their programs, and a lot of there original masters for their taped shows from the 50’s to early 80’s no longer exist. However they have been able to recover some shows that the licensed to other parts of the world, but these are copies of the masters and in some cases SECAM or NTSC conversions. So it’s possible that they’ve recovered a copy from an English speaking country like the US, Canada or Australia. But these copies could also be edited, since different countries have different commercial lengths, so you mentioned the shorter version. If they got that first, that version may’ve been edited for commercials in another country.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
I know that with the BBC they did export their programs, and a lot of there original masters for their taped shows from the 50’s to early 80’s no longer exist. However they have been able to recover some shows that the licensed to other parts of the world, but these are copies of the masters and in some cases SECAM or NTSC conversions. So it’s possible that they’ve recovered a copy from an English speaking country like the US, Canada or Australia. But these copies could also be edited, since different countries have different commercial lengths, so you mentioned the shorter version. If they got that first, that version may’ve been edited for commercials in another country.

Hard to say whether the BCC has the original master or not, but in a way it doesn't matter as they've definitely shown the full-length broadcast on occasion - the quality seemed fine to me. The shortened version ran for 30 minutes, which fits better into programming slots (the longer one is 40 minutes I think), so I imagine that's why there are different-length versions.

The BBC has also shown two versions of the 1976 New London Theatre show - a shorter version (which cut songs like the Spike Jones 'Close to You') and a longer version. Again, I suspect this was to fit it into the favoured 30 minute programming slots. BBC4 has shown the full versions of both shows in recent years, but that channel's programming isn't so tied to 30/60 minute slots, so longer shows don't cause that problem.
 

John Tkacik

Well-Known Member
Hard to say whether the BCC has the original master or not, but in a way it doesn't matter as they've definitely shown the full-length broadcast on occasion - the quality seemed fine to me. The shortened version ran for 30 minutes, which fits better into programming slots (the longer one is 40 minutes I think), so I imagine that's why there are different-length versions.

The BBC has also shown two versions of the 1976 New London Theatre show - a shorter version (which cut songs like the Spike Jones 'Close to You') and a longer version. Again, I suspect this was to fit it into the favoured 30 minute programming slots. BBC4 has shown the full versions of both shows in recent years, but that channel's programming isn't so tied to 30/60 minute slots, so longer shows don't cause that problem.
Forum member Billy Rees's YouTube site has the video of the complete 1971 BBC broadcast including the Tony Joe White segments and it clocks in at 49 minutes. I think the "Carpenters only" version is about 5 minutes shorter.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Forum member Billy Rees's YouTube site has the video of the complete 1971 BBC broadcast including the Tony Joe White segments and it clocks in at 49 minutes. I think the "Carpenters only" version is about 5 minutes shorter.
49 minutes sounds like it was an hour long show originally, as shows (depending on country) from that era generally ran that length without commercials. (The 1960’s Star Trek runs at 51 minutes an episode without commercials for the network masters, or even A Charlie Brown’s Christmas that runs 25:25 without commercials). Compare that to current ad times that take up almost 22 minutes in an hour (since 2016, most 1/2 hour American shows only run 19 minutes and hour shows at 38 minutes without commercials!).
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Would love more information on this, if anyone has any.

I was able to find this dance performance by Pan's People to "Close to You" from October 15, 1970:

 

Dean Lander

Well-Known Member
Living in the UK I have grown up with BBC TV's Top of the Pops. I have never seen the Carpenters perform on the programme except for the above video. Top of the Pops 2, a programme collection of former Top of the Pops shows and BBC performances have shown the Pan's People dancing to "Close to You" but they have also shown songs originally broadcast on the "Live at the BBC" concert (1971) and "Carpenters at the New London Theatre" (1976). It may be possible they did sing on Top of the Pops but as you have already said the BBC erased alot of programmes, mainly due to the expense of broadcast tape at that time.
 

Simon KC1950

Well-Known Member
"Close To You" was featured on Top of the Pops - remarkably in 1990, 20 years after it was first a hit in the UK!

The song was reissued as a special double A side with "Merry Christmas, Darling" in the UK and Ireland. A nice way to end the year which saw a surprise return by the Carpenters to mainstream popularity (Did they ever truly leave it in the UK?). The single reached it's peak of No.25 the week after this appearance. Not bad for a couple of 20 year old songs in the busy Christmas week.

They went with the MYOKOM video for the show.

As ever, a huge thanks to Billy for uploading this video

 

Dean Lander

Well-Known Member
The following list are Carpenters on Top of The Pops (BBC TV in the UK) where the master tape was erased, taped over, missing or were never recorded - I'm not certain if they appeared on the programme or whether the dancers Pans People appeared on the songs as they did on the episode Cuyler has included on 15th October 1970:
1st October 1970: With the Carpenters, Tony Blackburn (Presenter), Birds of A Feather, Bobby Bloom, Desmond Dekker: One or more sequences exist, but the complete programme is lost.
14th March 1974: With Queen, Noel Edmonds (Presenter), Pan's People, Charlie Rich, the Carpenters (Missing).
20th October 1977: Calling Occupants....Legs & Co (dancers) not the Carpenters. Master tape not erased.
13th December 1990: Close to You - as Simon KC1950 above has included. Master tape not erased.

There may have been other appearances on Top of the Pops but some of the episodes broadcast by the BBC simply were not recorded by them. In the early 1970's, one tape was the equivalent price today of £2,000 (Approx $2,800). As the BBC was and is still financed by the public paying for an annual TV licence, the powers that be were choosy with the tapes they kept and those that were recorded over. Someone must have liked the Carpenters as their "Live at the BBC" in 1971 wasn't culled.

Above information is taken from www.tvbrain.info/tv-archive?showname=top+of+the+pops&type=lostshow
also see www.bbc.co.uk/archive/bbc-archives--wiped-missing-and-lost/z4nkvk7 (BBC Archives - Wiped, Missing and Lost)
 

Billy Rees

Well-Known Member
Their only appearance on Top of the Pops was 23rd September 1971. They performed Help and Superstar. Although I've never seen it, the episode is missing from the BBC archives, but may exist in a private collection somewhere. (A lot of footage from missing episodes were recently found in a private collection!) I'm 100% sure they lip-synced to the tracks as all artists appearing on the show back then did... Bands only started singing live on there in the 90s. All other Carpenters songs played on there were mostly Pan's People dancing to their songs.
 

Billy Rees

Well-Known Member
The special (simply titled "The Carpenters") was originally broadcast on BBC2, Saturday November 6th from 9pm until 9.50pm.

The following is from the Radio Times (TV guide)

21.00: The Carpenters

presenting brother and sister Richard and Karen Carpenter who in a year have had a phenomenal rise to fame.
With special guest Tony Joe White

(Colour)

Contributors​

Singer: Karen Carpenter
Singer: Richard Carpenter
Singer/Guitarist: Tony Joe White
Musical Director: Johnny Pearson
Sound: Hugh Barker
Lighting: Bill Millar
Designer: Colin Pigott
Producer: Stanley Dorfman
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
"Close To You" was featured on Top of the Pops - remarkably in 1990, 20 years after it was first a hit in the UK!

The song was reissued as a special double A side with "Merry Christmas, Darling" in the UK and Ireland. A nice way to end the year which saw a surprise return by the Carpenters to mainstream popularity (Did they ever truly leave it in the UK?). The single reached it's peak of No.25 the week after this appearance. Not bad for a couple of 20 year old songs in the busy Christmas week.

They went with the MYOKOM video for the show.

As ever, a huge thanks to Billy for uploading this video

I remember it being a nice surprise to find that single in the shops in late 1990 and then to see it chart reasonably well. However, I recall being disappointed that they used the MYOKOM video for 'Close to You' on Top of the Pops, presumably because it was on the Yesterday Once More/Only Yesterday VHS that was available at the time.

A&M had used 'Close to You' heavily in promoting the UK Only Yesterday compilation in 1990, having already reissued it as a non-charting AA-side single in April, so I'd started to get 'Close to You' fatigue by then and would much rather have seen them using 'Merry Christmas Darling' instead (for which a video version does exist from the Christmas special, although I didn't know that at the time). Plus that 'Close to You' video is awful!

The BBC have been rerunning most episodes of Top of the Pops from the mid-1970s onwards over the last few years and I recall them showing the video for 'Calling Occupants' in one episode from 1977 (I think in the week that the single was at #10 before its peak of #9 the following week), so it seems it appeared twice on the show if there was a Legs & Co performace of it as well?
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Their only appearance on Top of the Pops was 23rd September 1971. They performed Help and Superstar.

It’s unheard of for an artist to perform twice on the same TOTP show, unless the show was a special about them. So I’m doubtful they ever did perform Help. It was more likely to be Superstar, which they’d released as a double A-side single in the UK the week before.
 
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Billy Rees

Well-Known Member
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Top of the Pops (UK) Season 8 - Episodes Guide and Summaries​


38​

23rd September 1971



Presenter: Jimmy Savile Playlist: (7) Marmalade – Cousin Norman (crowd dancing) (and charts) (23) Engelbert Humperdinck – Another Time, Another Place (19) Jethro Tull – Life Is A Long Song (video) (27) Cat Stevens – Moon Shadow (NEW) The Elgins – Put Yourself In My Place (4) Middle Of The Road – Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum (ALBUM TRACK) The Carpenters – Help (ALBUM TRACK) The Carpenters – Superstar (21) The Fortunes – Freedom Come, Freedom Go (1) The Tams – Hey Girl Don’t Bother Me (crowd dancing) (25) Mungo Jerry – You Don’t Have To Be In The Army To Fight In The War (crowd dancing) (and credits)
 

Billy Rees

Well-Known Member
Also, as you can see it was presented by Jimmy Savile which means if it was ever found, it would never be repeated on TV because they've banned anything with him in being broadcast...
 
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