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25 December 1976


The hassles some bands subject themselves to in order to appear on Top Of The Pops astonishes even us.

Take for example the other Wednesday, when the TOTP bosses summoned famous pop group Jethro Tull before them to play their new record 'Ring Out, Solstice Bells' on the programme that very same day. The people at the Tull office were delighted, until they realised they'd mislaid three members, including leader Ian Anderson.

Superstar Ian (well, so he tells us) was shopping in Oxford Street. Guitarist Martin Barre was driving up to London from Wales, and drummer Barriemore Barlow was attending his uncle's funeral in Birmingham.

As we all know, an appearance on TOTP guarantees an immediate increase in record sales, so up at the Tull office the scramble button was pressed. A distress call for Martin Barre to phone the office was broadcast by Capital Radio and luckily he heard it. Barrie Barlow was located by telephone after the office had phoned every Barlow in the Brum area. But Ian Anderson was still adrift, and failed to respond to tannoyed calls in every major department store in Oxford Street.

Where on earth was the man?

Eventually, after Tull's accountant's wife heard the Capital distress call and telephoned her husband, who had just been with Anderson, he was located in a boutique. A hurried recording session was arranged to lay down a backing track, and with only minutes to spare all members of J. Tull made it to the TOTP studios.

The band, you might hazily recall, used to be termed "progressive" and "underground" so why such panic to get them on the grisly Pops nightmare? Answered A. Spokesman, "Well, it's a good number to do."

We'll take their word for that.



Thanks to Mike Wain for this article.