Music Memories

In 1986, my favourite TV programme was Top of the Pops. Every Thursday night, I could be found glued to the TV waiting to hear if my favourite song had made it to the prestigious No.1 slot. Mum and Dad used to moan and groan about the ‘hideous racket’ coming from the TV, but they always let me watch it.

I was fourteen years old that year and had recently got into athletics. A friend suggested we join the local athletics club so we did. But there was one snag – the main training day was a Thursday evening – at the same time as Tops of The Pops. Now, this was 1986, before most households had a video recorder. So I didn’t have the option of recording the show.

It was May and Rock Me Amadeus by Falco was No.1. I loved the song. It was so different, so powerful and highly catchy. I had to know if it was still No.1. And I knew just the thing to do.

I may not have had a video recorder, but I did have a tape recorder. It wasn’t a particularly good one, but it served the purpose it had been bought for – for my friend and I to sing into (or screech would probably be a fairer word for it).

So I told Dad what I planned to do. He’d need to have the TV on so it picked up the sound. He muttered that it was ‘alright, I suppose’. The tape recorder wasn’t very good at picking things up, so I positioned it as close to the TV as possible.  

Off I went to athletics club, and back I came eager to listen to Tops of the Pops. When I pressed ‘play’, you could definitely tell it was Top of the Pops. But I clearly hadn’t accounted for all the background noises, which were somehow much louder than the TV – Dad rattling the paper the whole way through, coughing, belching and other such bodily noises, Mum starting a conversation about the mess Dad made when he ate his biscuits in the lounge and of course, I’d forgotten that we have the loudest clock in the world and so the TV programme also had to compete with its incessant ticking.  

So, after all that, was Amadeus still No.1? No, it wasn’t. Usurped by Spitting Image and The Chicken Song. I wasn’t impressed.

Did the recording of Top of The Pops last? No. Neither did the athletics.   


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10 Responses to Music Memories

  1. Darlene says:

    I love this story!

  2. Kim Smyth says:

    I was the same way about missing my favorite shows, I’d even cancel plans if Miami Vice was on, lol. Today, that show seems so corny, but back then, it was the “hot” thing!

  3. I remember something similar in the early 70s. I taped some Elvis records one day and When I played them back I could hear my mam in the background washing the pots. I still played the tape though, it had some of my favourite Elvis on. As you know, with the old cassette recorders, it was a laborious job taping from records. I think I still have the tape about 45 years later.

  4. Ritu says:

    So funny!
    I used to get my dad to record TOTP so I could record the songs from it!
    The Chicken song was hilarious!

  5. Paul Ariss says:

    Holding the tape recorders microphone close to the speakers of the radio when the charts were announced and trying to time it so you’d turn it off just before the DJ started talking again created an excitement CD’s and streaming cannot match! It brought a sense of danger, and some VERY short songs!

  6. Great post! And I love the sign “Music”–off-key singing and completely different lyrics than original sum up my “creative” experience 🙂 Good thing I live alone! 🙂

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