This is an updated version of a post from a couple of years ago. At the time I had just bought a high end S-VHS Panasonic VCR and had been diligently transferring everything I had, including a lot of off-air recordings from the Chart Show. And last week I borrowed a couple of VHS cassettes which had good versions of some more, so I thought it would be a good idea to update the post.
Way back when I started this site, I explained how it was the Chart Show that hooked me into Prefab Sprout in the first place. It was a bit of a Saturday morning institution and in the days before Youtube and wall to wall satellite TV was something I’d sit down religiously in my flat in Brighton to watch before going to the shops, often including a trip to HMV which was just down the hill and across the road, and was where I’d buy albums by the bands that had impressed me. Which included “From Langley Park to Memphis”
I think the Chart Show started on Channel 4 and eventually moved to ITV, but it was a product of the video age, in that it consisted entirely of promo videos cut together with little flashy (by the standards of the time) inserts of computer graphics. And no presenters at all. One of the most characteristic elements was that about two thirds of the way through each song, a menu bar would appear from which a mouse pointer would select from two icons, resulting in little text boxes, each with a snippet of information about the bands or the songs. It was actually done by a production assistant using an Amiga 500.
So I’ve created an edit of all the Chart Show snippets I have for Prefab Sprout, now in pretty good quality throughout, and a tremendous time capsule it is too. There’s “Cars and Girls”, “King of Rock ‘N’ Roll”, another broadcast of “King” but I’ve just included the Amiga 500 section of that. Then a “back to back” segment – the show was very big on these – of “When Love Breaks Down”, “Cars and Girls” again, and “Hey Manhattan”. Next “The Golden Calf”, another “King of Rock ‘N’ Roll” in a “vintage video” format for which again just the Amiga stuff is included, “Carnival 2000”, “The Sound of Crying” (which reveals the identity of the dancing peasant woman), “If You Don’t Love Me”. “Life of Surprises”, and tailed off with “Electric Guitars” from 1997 which also includes a little interview with Paddy. By this time, the Amiga 500 had been retired.