Jim’ll Fix It

Jim fixing it for a kid to have tea with K9 from Doctor WhoJim’ll Fix It started in 1975 and ran till 1994, though the peak of the show will always be the Seventies for me. Jimmy Savile hosted the ‘fix it’ show which was all about granting wishes for people who wrote in. There was no charity or sick kids involved in this which there would be now, it was basically whoever wrote in the funniest or cleverest wish that would get picked to have their wishes granted.

The one I remember the best were the scout troop who wanted to eat their packed lunch while riding a rollercoaster. One of the reasons this wish was so memorable was that a clip of it was used in the opening credits. I clearly remember this poor kid holding a drink bottle with straw and getting covered, but laughing his socks off. Today my memory was jogged by trying to eat a McDonald’s in the car while Alys was driving. Kind of has the same feel to it.

Jim looking slightly more bizarre than usualSo anyway, another thing about Jimmy Savile was how weird looking he was. He was tiny and skinny with long white-blonde hair, dark glasses, wearing a track suit and hundreds of gold chains and rings and a freaky false laugh. He also always had a massive cigar in his hand even though most of the time it wasn’t lit. Not the sort of person most people would leave their kids with? Strangely no-one questioned that.

Jim'll Fix It medal - they sell them on ebay nowAfter people had been ‘fixed’ they got a medal on a red chain, which said ‘Jim fixed it for me’. And you can make your own badge now as well. How cool is that? Adults and kids got ‘fixes’ and sometimes other people would write in to get a fix for their friends or family. A few times I remember famous people being fixed, either because someone wrote in before they were famous or because there was a special show for famous fixes.

Jimmy was a popular DJ and carried on working as a DJ while also presenting this show. He used to present Top of the Pops sometimes, and also do a Sunday lunch-time thing that my mum used to listen to, where he would play some song from the dark ages and ask people to ring in with the name of the song and artist. He was always a stickler for the full title, including bracketed phrases that were popular in the sixties.

According to wikipedia, it wasn’t Jimmy that granted the wishes at all, but the producer of the show. So I’m at a loss as to work out what Jimmy’s role was apart from to play the sugar-daddy.

Apparently there is now a comeback show, though I’d never heard of this until I did the research for this post. That scout troop have gone back and done the ride again. Now that makes for some good youtubery.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

Black Lace

Black Lace Greatest Hits (also available as a blank tape)This band, loved and hated by party goers, are more famous for their eighties hits such as Agadoo, The Music Man, Superman and The Conga, but Black Lace began in the Seventies and represented the UK in the 1979 Eurovision Song Contest. (Eurovision is an oft-repeated theme on PopandCrisps, perhaps for its tack value).

According to Wikipedia many of these hits are actually covers, though people may think they are originals. For instance Agadoo is a translation of a French song, Agadou, and Superman was an Italian song. Well, well, who’d have thought that such uber-tack could be non-English?

I have fond memories of Black Lace, dancing around the garden on summer evenings and in the discos I used to frequent. There is something about being in your early teens that makes really annoying and repetitive songs seem attractive. They certainly made us giggle.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

The Kinks

The Kinks on Top of the PopsThe Kinks had hits through the Sixties and Seventies and into the Eighties and are apparently preparing now for a comeback. Some of their major hits are still played on ‘classic’ radio and have been covered by other artists, for instance You Really Got Me Going, Sunny Afternoon, Waterloo Sunset. My favourite song of theirs was Lola.

As a child I knew that The Kinks had their name because they were supposed to be kinky. Though I didn’t know exactly what ‘kinky’ was supposed to mean, I knew it was something a bit naughty and worth a giggle. So although to say you liked The Kinks wasn’t quite as shocking as saying you liked the Sex Pistols, it still got a raised eyebrow.

The Kinks' single cover for LolaMy mum had an album with the ‘Greatest Hits’ of the Sixties and Seventies on it which I used to play a lot as a child. I’m sure that this was in the Seventies, which is ironic but not unusual. Lola was one of the songs on this album. I played it over and again trying to work out the lyrics.

It seemed to me to be a story about a man who went to a bar and danced with someone who he thought was a woman but who turned out to be a man dressed as a woman. Pretty shocking for 1970, though it seems quite tame today. Robbie Williams has covered the song for a special BBC thing, and I’m sure that’s actually a woman in the video snogging him.

I changed the lyrics slightly in my head to make it about a woman dressed as a man, as I usually did. But my favourite bit wasn’t the insinuation of kinky sex, but the mention of cherry cola which I loved but which wasn’t readily available then.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

The Beatles Legacy

The Beatles in 1970 looking very different to their initial clean-cut matching haircut imageThe Beatles broke up in 1970 (announced according to Wikipedia in April 1970 by Paul McCartney). So technically you could say, if you were going to be really pedantic about it, that I shouldn’t discuss them on a Seventies nostalgia blog.

However, considering my mum was a great Beatles fan and for the first ten years of my life I hadn’t even realised they’d actually disbanded before I was born, I think that I’m entitled to discuss the band. They had such a huge impact on the music scene that they did not cease to exist as an entity merely upon disbanding.

So their legacy runs through music and into popular culture, including attitudes to drug taking, psychedelic uniforms, groups of boys with matching haircuts, all sorts of things. What mystified me about them (apart from how on earth could my mother think they were cool) was the duration of their popularity. Their music stayed in the charts throughout the Seventies and Eighties and continues today in cover versions. As solo artists, each one of The Beatles had a successful career and some still do.

There were many boy bands before The Beatles, but they seem to be the ones who are remembered for making the format and achieved worldwide recognition for it.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

Elkie Brooks

Elkie Brooks with band – look at that fabulous Seventies style!Elkie was a singer with a crooning husky voice, most famous or at least most remembered for Pearl’s A Singer from an album in 1977. Elkie sang Nights in White Satin in 1982. Originally recorded by The Moody Blues, another great band. I remember this as the Seventies, but have been corrected by Wikipedia.

I’m sure I remember the video for Nights in White Satin featuring a herd of white horses galloping in slow motion. Or that might have been something else. Anyway, I mistakenly believed this song to be about knights who wore white satin suits. I imagined these knights in shining armour on white horses galloping to the rescue of Elkie dressed as a princess in distress and letting down her long hair for them to climb up. I was only a child. And obviously very influenced by Disneyfied fairytales.

Years later, I saw the name of the song written down and realised she was singing about sleeping on satin sheets. Ooooh! Right. Now I get it.

Elkie is still doing the circuit as I found out last week when a colleague mentioned that her husband was going to a concert. Apparently she is still amazing.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

Suzi Quatro

Suzie Quatro on guitarSuzi Quatro was my absolute heartthrob! I loved her for the way she looked, the way she sang, the fact that she did whatever she wanted and didn’t care.

I so wanted to be her when I grew up, probably the only woman during in my childhood I wanted to be like, all my other heroes being male.

In most of the clips of Suzi her face is obscured by a long fringe but this early clip shows that she is in fact totally delicious and my major crush is justified. Still rocking with no adornment or falsity, Suzi is so refreshing compared to other old timer female singers.

Most people think of Can the Can when they think of Suzi Quatro, but my favourite was always Devil Gate Drive.

When I was sweet sixteen I was a juke box queen down in Devil Gate Drive.

Not quite true of me, but I did love discos. I still listen to Devil Gate Drive now and sing it in the car.

Like many Seventies stars, Suzi was extremely talented and is still around now. She is still gorgeous and has fantastic fingerwork. This clip had me sweating.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

Bohemian Rhapsody

Queen, a still from the Bohemian Rhapsody videoThe late, great Freddie Mercury wrote the Bohemian Rhapsody and recorded it with his band, Queen in 1975.

I will no doubt write a popandcrisps post for Queen, but this song requires its own post, given the profound influence it had on me and thousands of others from the Seventies to the modern day.

I still sing it now, and have had particular lyrics spinning around my head while at work lately, which prompted me to write this. ‘Goodbye everybody’ is one, and another is, ‘Just got to get right out of here.’ But enough of me and my godawful job! I think that one of the reasons it was so popular then and has remained so to this day is due to these lyrics tapping into the heart of the disaffected psyche.

Although, according to Wikipedia, Freddie wrote these lyrics as random phrases that fitted in with the music, others have interpreted deep psychological, spiritual and philosophical significance. The singer is a condemned murderer who has an epiphany prior to his execution, or he is having a drug-induced hallucinogenic nightmare and is plagued by devils.

When I was growing up, a bohemian was someone who preferred art over material wealth, who lived an alternative lifestyle, especially in terms of their sexual relationships, who maybe was from a rich background but preferred to live in poverty and squalor, perhaps due to political ideals. I always wanted to be a bohemian, and I suppose some people might say I am, though you don’t hear the word so much these days. It’s insulting or patronising to be called bohemian now, as if it’s somehow quaint. It’s comparable to ‘hippy’.

The term originally derived from the name for people from Bohemia, the area which is now the Czech Republic, in the mistaken belief that the poor travelling people in Europe were from this area. I never really understood what is bohemian about the song other than it being very alternative.

It was so alternative that it was predicted to be a complete flop. But like all good alternatives, the song quickly gained cult status and has ploughed its own furrow in the history of music. I have an idea to write a novel based on the story in the song, but I’m sure that there would be copyright issues here, plus I’ve got plenty of other novels to be getting on with. But this is one of those backburner thoughts.

I memorised the song, including the guitar solo, when I was at the age where memorising songs was important. Still now, if one of my sisters starts to sing it, we will all join in to the joyful crescendo and headbanging finish.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

The Barron Knights

Can't find an older picture of them, but this is the official Barron Knights nowSpecialising in parodies of current chart hits, The Barron Knights became my favourite group just as the Seventies were disintegrating.

They’d been around throughout the Sixties and Seventies, but came to my notice with Get Down Shep in 1978, a song about the Blue Peter dog who I loved.

The other dog song they did was The Sit Song in 1980 about Barbara Woodehouse training dogs. I loved The Sit Song and used to perform it regularly. I don’t remember whether their song is the same one that I sung over and over, but I remember the words of my song clearly.

Siiiiit! Woof. What a good boy!
Drop the lead, walk away, turn around and then you say.
Siiiiit! Woof. What a good boy!
Drop the lead, walk away, turn around and he will stay.

It doesn’t work with my dog.

Anyway, where was I? Yes, The Barron Knights. Never Mind The Presents was one of the two singles I bought at Christmas 1980 (the other was Pass the Dutchie by Musical Youth). These were my first ever music purchases at the age of ten. Before this, I wasn’t allowed to buy records.

I was just getting into the idea of parodying songs, as I’d learned the rude alternative words to some popular Christmas carols. So they were really on my wavelength. I think my sense of humour had just matured enough. Before this, I didn’t know enough about the music they parodied to understand their songs.

Perennial performers, The Barron Knights can still be found on cabaret and at seaside summer seasons, according to wikipedia.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room


Slade as they were in the SeventiesModern texters, bloggers and forum posters who deliberately misspell words to seem kewl have nothing on Slade. Cum on Feel the Noize was released in 1973, and many of their other titles such as Mama Weer All Crazee Now could be lolcats slogans. For a full discography, see Wikipedia.

As I grew up in a midlands village, Slade were very popular in my surrounding area, though I preferred Wizzard. I think it’s interesting that the two major Christmas classics are from these two bands. Perhaps Christmas isn’t Christmas unless said with a Brummie accent?

Slade's official pictureDave Hill is my favourite member, probably because he reminds me of so many blokes I grew up knowing. When he talks he seems really sensible and normal, and yet he does bizarre things and wears outrageous clothes.

They look a bit different in their new ‘official picture’ but Dave is still there wearing his wikid clothes.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

Do You Wanna Touch Me? (No)

Garry Glitter in 1974Garry Glitter, though now a dirty old man, was marvellous on stage in the Seventies. He stomped around in giant high heeled boots, sparkly suit and a huge mop of curly hair. His permanently raised eyebrows gave him an air of being a little bit scary when he stared into the camera.

I thought he was fabulous, though, even if he was a bit scary. I used to stomp around like he did, copying the walk and the way he would stare downwards into the camera which made him look like a giant.

By the time the eighties came around, I realised how naff he was and decided I didn’t like him any more. He was so incredibly naff, especially the clothes, that one of his comebacks was due to students embracing his naff-ness with irony. Did the man have no pride?

According to Wikipedia, between 1972 and 1995 Glitter charted 26 hit singles which spent a total of 180 weeks in the UK Top 100. I liked Leader of the Gang best of all, for a fuller discography, check out Wikipedia.

Garry Glitter just before being sent downMost of these hits were in the Seventies, with a couple of comebacks in the eighties and nineties, and apparently he reckons he’s going to have another comeback now he’s been released from prison.

He does look a lot different now, and if he ever does make it with a comeback I hope it’s not the sparkly suit sort, but more of an ‘old rocker with a guitar’. Maybe along the lines of Keith Richards who is equally wrinkly and horrible.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room