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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

Active 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!).
 
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