50 YEARS OF TOP OF THE POPS : AUG 15 – AUG 21

It’s a Royal Edition this week, so put on your best clothes and be on your best behaviour.

This week saw the 37th anniversary of Elvis Presley faking his death to open up a chip shop. Remember, he’s not dead, he’s just having a break. The week after he faked his death, Legs and Co did a tribute. It’s what he would have wanted.

No even a Number 1 in 2002 off the back of a sportswear commercial could tempt him out of retirement.

That day, was Madonna’s 19th birthday. It’s unknown wether that ruined it. On her 34th birthday, Nottingham Forest played Liverpool in the first ever Sky Super Sunday. It’s unknown if she watched it.

Meanwhile, sharing a death date with Elvis, is Ronnie Drew of the Dubliners.

Born the day after Madonna, a woman who believes Heaven is a place on earth, and her surname is the most heavenly place on earth.

Kevin Rowland (no relation to Kelly Rowland) from Dexy’s turned 61 this week. They did more than one song you know.

So, we’ve had The King Of Rock N Roll, The Queen Of Pop, and now, John Deacon from Queen, 63 this week.

Queen’s TOTP appearances were rare. It’s a pity they didn’t do one for Radio Ga Ga. It would have looked amazing the whole audience doing the hand clappy bit at the chorus.

And now, Europe, who actually came from Europe (Sweden) with The Final Countdown.

Their follow-up single, The Final 15 To 1, didn’t chart so high.

It’s an onslaught of poodle hair rockers now. Led Zep’s lack of singles denied Robert Plant any TOTP action until his solo career.

Phil Lynott would have got his Bus Pass this week.

Joe Strummer would have been 62 this week. Here’s his only TOTP appearance, pretending to be a football commentator.

50 YEARS OF TOP OF THE POPS AUG 8 – AUG 14

We begin this week, by jumping straight into Madness, as Chris Foreman turned 58 this week.

Randomly, they once did a song with Feargal Sharkey. Amazingly, Sharkey wasn’t the only one on stage to grow up in Northern Ireland, as Chas Smash spent a year as a teenager living in Coleraine.

Now, quite literally, a criminal record.

East 17, innit?

There are some people, who erroniously think Justin Timberlake is the most talented member of N*Sync

Remember Vanessa Amorosi? Absolutely everybody does!

And now, for a bit of S Club 7

This week’s sad bit, Whitney Houston would have been 51 this week. (And yes, I know this is from the German version of the show, but they used clips from the UK show)

Joe Jackson turned 60 this week. His solo career never scaled the heights of his bother Michael. (WARING : Second clip introduced by Jimmy Savile)

And now Sparks, featuring the classic line-up of Adolf Hitler and Kevin Keegan.

…… which nicely links us into another band featuring brothers, Dire Straits.

It would have been brilliant if they did a studio appearance for “Money For Nothing”, as you just know the props department would have had a Microwave Oven, a Refrigerator and some Colour TV lying around the stage.

He made an appearance on earlier with Madness, but Feargal Sharkey turned 56 this week, so it would be rude not to include.

I could be lazy and play “Teenage Kicks” but it’s not The Undertones best song. It’s not. And i’m not even going to apologise for saying it.

(WARNING : First clip features Jimmy Savile at the end)

Now for some Sarah Brightman. It’s almost, but not quite, time to say goodbye.

Actually, it is. Goodbye.

PORTADOWN 3-0 LINFIELD 9.8.2014

Well, this wasn’t supposed to happen. Although, given Linfield’s opening day results over the past ten years, it probably was.

The new era of Warren Feeney’s league management began at the venue where David Jeffrey took charge of his first Linfield match, back in January 1997.

On Linfield’s last visit to Shamrock Park, they were 1-0 up inside 18 seconds. The start today wasn’t as quick but there were still early chances.

Both teams had attempts on goal early on, before Linfield began to make better use of the ball, getting into promising positions, mostly out wide, but not getting the luck of the bounce, or not helping themselves with a poor delivery.

Despite the fact that Portadown’s keeper wasn’t forced into a save, you had the feeling that a Linfield goal was soon.

A goal did come, but it was for Portadown, as Gary Twigg managed to get himself some space before firing home from outside the box. It was a shock to the system.

Linfied’s performance deteriorated for the rest of the first-half, it was a relief to get in at half-time to get their heads cleared.

Unusually, Linfield attacked their fans in the first-half rather than the second-half, meaning that wouldn’t have that advantage in the later stages of the game.

Despite being 1-0 down, Linfield were still in the game. You had the feeling if they got one, they could get another and win the game.

There were two quickfire goals early in the second-half. Unfortunately, they were both for Portadown.

Defensively, both goals were horror shows. A poor defensive clearance hit another Linfield player and landed straight at Gary Twigg to finish home from a few yards out.

You could say it was lucky, but if you’re in the positions, things like that happen in your favour.

When the ball bounced in Portadown’s penalty area, there wasn’t a Linfield player to take advantage. That was a massive difference today.

A new striker was always going to be a priority for Linfield. Today showed why.

Soon after, Portadown got down their left, and a Ross Redman corss was diverted into his own net by Sean Ward.

Even though there was plenty of time left, realistically, the game was over.

Worst part was how heads dropped in the immediate aftermath of each Portadown goal. It was like the last two years all over again.

Linfield had chances and moments in the remainder of the game, but realistically, didn’t look like even getting a consolation goal.

Portadown had chances as well, it looked too easy for them at times when they attacked.

With Cliftonville and Crusaders drawing, thankfully, today’s result wasn’t as catastrophic as it could’ve been, but it still hurts.

Thankfully, there’s another game coming up soon to put today behind us, away to Glentoran on Wednesday night. Glentoran is always a big game. It becomes bigger due to today’s result.

Today was supposed to be a new start, it turned out to be a false start. 37 more chances to put it right thankfully.

Photo album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 8.8.2014

1. Family Of The Year – Hero
2. Kasabian – Bumblebee
3. Bombay Bicycle Club – Luna
4. Royal Blood – Figure It Out
5. 3D Shark – Spuds

Last week, was the Twins Day Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio. Unsurprisingly, it was a celebration of twins and all their twinniness. There have been some bands that have featured twins. So, in celebration, here is a chart for you.

FIVE SONGS BY BANDS FEATURING TWINS

1. Bee Gees – You Win Again
2. Bros – When Will I Be Famous?
3. Tegan and Sara – Closer
4. The Proclaimers – Letter From America
5. Doves – Black and White Town

50 YEARS OF TOP OF THE POPS : AUG 1 – AUG 7

Hello and welcome to this week’s round-up from the TOTP archives. We start, near the start, in black and white times, with Amen Corner.

And now, some Garbage that shouldn’t be put in a bin.

This week’s sad bit. Pete De Frietas from Echo and the Bunnymen would have been 53 this week.

Which nicely links us into another Scouse band ………

And we end, with Geri Halliwell, not in anyway ripping off La Isla Bonita.

But before we go, RIP Mike Smith.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 1.8.2014

1. Sheppard – Say Geronimo
2. George Ezra – Cassy O
3. Black Rivers – The Ship
4. Royal Blood – Come On Over
5. Kaiser Chiefs – My Life

If you haven’t noticed, it’s International Yorkshire Day today. So to celebrate, here’s a chart for you. It’s very Sheffield centric.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM YORKSHIRE

1. Heaven 17 – Temptation
2. Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know?
3. Pulp – A Little Soul
4. Def Leppard – When Love And Hate Collide
5. Kiki Dee- Star

50 YEARS OF TOP OF THE POPS : JUL 25 – JUL 31

We start this week with a treat for you. Mick Jagger turned 71 this week. We’ve pretty much exhausted all the Rolling Stones appearances, so here’s Mick trying a solo career in 1987.

Another week, another Royal Birthday. Roger Taylor from Queen, who narrowly beats Roger Taylor from Duran Duran as the most famous Roger Taylor in pop, turns 65.

No clip yet, but there’s a treat at the end (Not really a treat, but a tenuous Queen linked video)

Also celebrating a birthday this week is John Craven’s wife Beverley.

And Taka Hirose from Feeder.

This blog has accidentally taken on a theme of the 2000 US Presidential Election. Last week we had Gore (Martin, of Depeche Mode) and this week, we have Bush (Kate, much loved popular solo artist. Not the band fronted by Gavin Rossdale)

Some more birthdays, some drummers attempting to blow out candles this week, include, Sean Moore from Manic Street Preachers, who turned 46 this week.

And another drummer birthday this week, Bill Berry, formerly of REM.

Also celebrating this week, former Housemartin Norman Cook. And of a few other acts as well.

And finally, remember that Queen treat for Roger Taylor’s birthday? Prepare to be underwhelmed.

McFly were set to have the last Number 1 on the last weekly edition of TOTP with a cover of “Don’t Stop Me Now” – Until Shakira and Wyclef knocked them off.

You may be interested to know that epsiode was broadcast 8 years ago yesterday.

This was broadcast a few weeks earlier. I warned you it was underwhelming.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 25.7.2014

1. The Courteeners – How Good It Was
2. Wild Beasts – Mecca
3. Jake Bugg – Messed Up Kids
4. George Ezra – Budapest
5. Coldplay – A Sky Full Of Stars

This week, saw the 45th anniversary of the Moon Landing/Faked Moon Landing, depending on what you believe. So, in honour of this, let’s have a Moon themed chart for you. Ironically, there’s no Keith Moon.

Before you ask, no, I wasn’t one of those people who posted a video of a song about Andy Kauffman when Neil Armstrong died.

FIVE SONGS WITH ‘MOON’ IN THE TITLE

1. The Waterboys – The Whole Of The Moon
2. Savage Garden – To The Moon And Back
3. Beck – Blue Moon
4. REM – Man On The Moon
5. The Police – Walking On The Moon

50 YEARS OF TOP OF THE POPS : JUL 18 – JUL 24

We start with a Royal Birthday. There’s no Public Holiday, but you can take the day off work if you wish. If you get into trouble for it, it’s not my fault. Brian May from Queen turned 67 this week.

Brian May will forever be associated with one of the most flamboyant and iconic performers in music history ……….. Anita Dobson.

Her TV husband walked past me once. He was on his mobile. True story.

Paul Heaton’s wife, Michelle Heaton off Liberty X turned 34 this week.

Also blowing out candles this week was Shaky’s brother, and dad of Rachel, Cat Stevens, being covered here by Maxi Priest, who actually isn’t a Priest, because he’s an Anglican

Meanwhile, the other guy in Savage Garden, the Supergroup formed by footballer Robbie Savage and Graeme Garden from The Goodies (Daniel Jones is his name, since you ask) celebrated a birthday this week.

To The Moon And Back is apt choice, as it was 45 years this week since the Moon Landing (Or Moon Landing was faked, depending on what you believe)

And we have our second Eastenders star this week …..

If i’m in a good mood next week, I might treat you with Sid Owen. If i’m in a bad mood, you might get Martine McCutcheon.

Meanwhile, Martin Gore from Depeche Mode turned 53 this week.

Also celebrating this week, is a band who share their name with the surname of a Top Of The Pops presenter, Fran Healy from Travis turned 41 this week. Not sure how successful they would have been if they were called Edmonds.

In case you’re wondering why Fran was pelted with pies, it’s because they were recreating the food fight in the video for this single.

Meanwhile, it’s now three years this week since Amy Winehouse died.

And finally, Jennifer Lopez pays tribute to defunct cable channel Play

LINFIELD 0-1 COWDENBEATH 19.7.2014

Last time I went to Bangor, it had a grass pitch and was called Clandeboye Park. In the 14 months since my last visit, it has had a 3G Pitch installed, had some renovation work done, and been renamed the Bangor Fuels Arena as part of a sponsorship deal.

With Windsor Park out of use, Bangor Fuels Arena was the venue for Linfield’s “Home” friendly against Cowdenbeath. A trip to the Seaside in the middle of July? That sounds good. We were treated to typical Northern Ireland summer weather ……… pouring rain.

Less than 48 hours after the UEFA Cup game against AIK, this was a much changed Linfield team, 11 changes in fact.

I knew what sort of team to expect, but my main reason for going today was to see what Bangor Fuels Arena Clandeboye Park was like.

Obviously, the pitch was done, and had a Seaview style fence around the pitch, tarmac between terracing and the fence if supporters want to get closer, and supporters can now stand behind the end where the houses are. Though, with the weather as it was today, nobody took up that option, unsurprisingly.

The inexperience Linfield side held their own in the opening exchanges, with Ross Clarke being the focal point of the attacking.

Sometimes he lost the ball trying to do too much, but he was always trying to make things happen.

Eventually, Cowdenbeath took control of the game, creating some chances, which required some last ditch Linfield defending to deny them.

In the final ten minutes of the half, they got behind Linfield’s defence, and (just about) made it count.

Ross Glendenning hesitated, not knowing if he should stay on his line or run out to force the shot, and did neither, but the Cowdenbeath attacker crossed, and it was turned into his own goal by Niall Quinn, trying to intercept it.

Cowdenbeath stepped it up and it became important for Linfield to keep it 1-0 to half-time at least, as such an inexperience line-up could have fallen apart if the gap widened.

Linfield came out for the second-half strong, with Rodney Brown forcing a save from Cowdenbeath’s keeper, who also had to be alert as Conor McMenamin was unable to get a touch to a cross. If he did, he would have scored.

The rest of the second-half was typical pre-season fare, largely interrupted by substitutions from both teams.

Even though it was an inexperience Linfield team, there were still first-team players. In a departure from recent seasons, friendlies have run alongside European games, instead of being announced once elimination has been confirmed, meaning that players such as Ross Glendenning, Ross Clarke, Mark Haughey, Jimmy Callacher and Niall Quinn are getting game time ahead of the start of the domestic season.

Linfield had a late rally but couldn’t get a goal that would have secured a deserved draw, and Cowdenbeath’s travelling fans celebrated the win.

Hopefully, next year, there’ll be a return fixture.

Photo Album