Saturday, July 27, 2019

South Africa: Still digging Top of the Pops in 1981

We know of many, many overseas pressings of Top of the Pops records dating throughout the lifespan of the series - starting as early as volume 2 (France and Norway) and running as late as volumes 68 (Italy) and 69 (Israel), towards the end of 1978.

There are a couple more items known from after this point, including one compilation LP from Brazil, 1979 - but this week we stumbled on an even later edition of Top of the Pops - this one from South Africa.

At first glance, it appears to be an equivalent to the UK volume 84 - at least, that's where the cover originated. But the contents do not match; this is not a straight re-press, but a new and unique compilation LP issued only in South Africa.

The tracks range through volumes 84, 85 and 86, so it was released no earlier than summer, 1981, while the UK series was in serious decline. This is the track listing:

Side 1
  • Kids In America - from vol 85
  • What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted - from vol 85
  • Making Your Mind Up - from vol 85
  • Stand And Deliver - from vol 86
  • Bette Davis Eyes - from vol 86
  • Stars On 45 - from vol 86
  • All Those Years Ago - from vol 86
  • You Drive Me Crazy - from vol 86
Side 2
  • A Little In Love - from vol 84
  • Romeo And Juliet - from vol 84
  • In The Air Tonight - from vol 84
  • Woman - from vol 84
  • Mind Of A Toy - from vol 85
  • Night Games - from vol 85
  • Attention To Me - from vol 85
  • Lately - from vol 85

Apart from some Soviet repressings of earlier albums, this is the only overseas Top of the Pops yet confirmed from the 1980s. It's particularly suprising to see such a record issued so late on; the UK series was approaching its conclusion, and would come to an end within the year. And yet here is a South African release, billing itself as volume 1 of what would have been a new series, and starting a new catalogue number series at TOP 001.

They even issued it on cassette as well. Clearly, they thought Top of the Pops still had legs!

This isn't the first Top of the Pops from South Africa - we know of two others, issued way back in 1972, but it may well be the last. Unless a "volume 2" appears, we think this could be the final release outside the UK, not including re-issues, of course.

Let us know, if you think otherwise!

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