Various Artists

Top of the Pops, Vol. 53

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With the Top Of The Pops team's peerless version of "Bohemian Rhapsody" already a kitsch cult legend among people who cared for such things, interest in their next assault on the Queen songbook was high - and it was not to be disappointed. Of course "You're My Best Friend" was nowhere near the accomplishment that its predecessor represented, but still the kingly interplay of vocal and harmony, the trademark Brian May guitar sound, and all the massed production tricks and twiddles that made a Queen record what it was were in place. And Bruce Baxter, Tony Rivers and co nailed the lot of them.

There again, Top Of The Pops Volume 53 is a winner (almost) all round. Liverpool Express's "You Are My Love", another production tour de force, sounds even spacier in Baxter's hands than the original ever did and, while "Tonight's The Night" winds up the same vocal cropper as the series' every other attempt on the Rod Stewart catalog, Bert Meagher enacts another superb Bryan Ferry ("Let's Stick Together"). Elton John/Kiki Dee's "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" is as joyous as you could wish, and there are excellent echoes of "You To Me Are Everything" (the Real Thing) and "Young Hearts Run Free" (Candi Staton)..

Finally, the umpteenth reissue of "Leader Of The Pack" is celebrated with a reprise of the tremendous version first aired four years earlier, on Volume 27. Well, if it ain't broke...

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