Rhino Factoids: Happy Mondays Debut on Top of the Pops
27 years ago today, Happy Mondays made their debut on Top of the Pops.
It was an interesting turn of events for the Mondays, who – despite having been touring for five years at that point in their career – were extremely anxious about making their debut on a TV series they’d grown up watching. In addition, the Stone Roses were also on the same episode, and the two bands had found themselves in a bit of a rivalry, to the point where the Roses’ manager reportedly warned them to watch their drinks, lest the Mondays try to spike them!
According to a piece on SabotageTimes.com, when the two bands turned up at the studio for their rehearsal, it turned out that Gary Whelan of the Mondays and Ian Brown of the Roses had turned up wearing the same jacket. How embarrassing. Thankfully, each pointed at the other and started laughing, leading to a flip of a coin as to which of them would end up wearing their jacket on camera. Brown won. So it goes, Gary. There were also pranks pulled on the producers of the show during the rehearsal, with Whelan playing bass for the Roses and Mani, bassist for the Roses, playing drums for the Mondays, but someone caught on and threatened to pull both bands from the show if they didn’t cut the crap, so cut it they did.
Arguably the most interesting thing about the Mondays’ performance is the fact that Kirsty MacColl appears onstage with the band, miming her backing vocals from the original record. This in and of itself isn’t all that interesting – although it is pretty cool to see her onstage with them – but the interesting bit is that the Top of the Pops performance was, in fact, the first time the band had ever met MacColl, who’d been on her own to record her contributions.
After their performance, Whelan reportedly took a naked victory lap around the BBC, as he was prone to streaking whilst intoxicated, but it was apparently well-earned: in short order, Happy Mondays were one of the biggest bands in Britain.