June 20, 2006

YouTube Rodeo: Top of the Pops R.I.P.

The Guardian here is reporting in tomorrow's edition that the Beeb is pulling the plug on the television program Top of the Pops. Despite being a little square, the program looms incredibly large in the stories of the punk, new wave and indie scenes. The show has been on the air for 42 years and at the height of its popularity in the 1970s drew as many as 19 million viewers. TOTP has faltered in recent years, but fortunately YouTube has a ready supply of clips from throughout the life span of the show. Here's Nirvana famously not playing along to the soundtrack of their No. 9 hit "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on Nov. 17, 1991. Cobain sings the tune like he's Peter Murphy and doesn't even pretend to play the guitar, with Novoselic and Grohl pretty much following suit. The audience tries really hard not to be bummed. Here's P.I.L. doing "Death Disco" in 1979. Here's The Strokes doing "New York City Cops." Here's Bad Finger doing "No Matter What" in 1970. Here's Yazoo doing "Don't Go" in 1982. Here's The Cure doing "The Walk" in 1983. The quality on that one is pretty bad, but Robert Smith looks so strung out it's probably best that way. And one more: below is The Sugarcubes (remember, Bjork's old band?) doing their excellent track "Hit." The sound and video to that clip aren't even close to synchronized, but we had such a crush on Bjork back then we had to post it. Anyway, so long Top of the Pops, and thanks for all the fish.

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