Sep 202011

I love Monty Python‘s old cheese shop bit. A small detail during the opening of the sketch sticks with me more than all the cheese-related stuff: the sign outside the cheese shop that reads Licensed for Public Dancing. Two men are then seen folk dancing behind John Cleese’s character, as he gears up for his futile bid to order some cheese. The following performance of Jethro Tull made me think of the incongruous dancing in the Python skit. Keep an eye on the dancers in the background.

Can you cite other instances of rock’s most incongruous dancers?


  11 Responses to “Rock’s Most Incongruous Dancers?”

  1. Happiness Stan

    Hello everyone, first time posting for me, hi!

    This is a fairly loose interpretation of the term “rock”, but anyone who, like me, grew up in the 70s in the UK watching Top of the Pops every thursday became so accustomed to the bonkers dancing in both audience and the regular dance troupe that most of us would still consider the random movements that accompany Mr Anderson and co here to be completely normal, and indeed such movements were routinely emulated at many a school disco by those of us programmed to know no better.

    I don’t know if it’s available on Youtube, but one week the same programme in about 1978 featured resident dance troupe Legs & Co dancing to the Smurf Song, a routine which involved them holding their noses and waving their arms about due to misreading the line “Can you climb through a small key hole” for “a smokey hole”. Oh how we chuckled. Even as a frustrated teenage boy I had to work hard to get excited about their routines. They really were very bad, and if ever a topic were initiated as to which nations are natural dancers and which are not, I would cite Top of the Pops as a prime example of a period when England lost the plot.

    I was watching the first ever episode of Batman (the 1960s one) with the kids at the weekend, and our hero gets drugged by the Riddler at a party and starts getting on down with the kids performing a wonderfully idiosyncratic routine.

  2. Bravo, Happiness Stan, for that excellent debut post! Very funny stuff. Welcome aboard!

  3. How the hell did those top of the pops kids dance to this song?

  4. cliff sovinsanity

    Are you sure this clip wasn’t supposed to be part of a “If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…” thread ?

  5. Happiness Stan

    I’m sure that Ian Anderson is on record as saying that it actually came about the other way round.

    Jethro Tull wrote the song after an anthropological expedition to the Top of the Pops studios. They spent six months hiding behind the machine that made everything go pink towards the end of each song and came up with Witches Promise as the perfect accompaniment for the dancing, which explains why band and audience meld so seamlessly in the clip.

  6. Happiness Stan

    thank you 🙂

  7. Happiness Stan

    bottoms, post 4 was supposed to be a reply to sethro b’s, it moved, I’ll get the hang of this thing yet…

  8. ladymisskirroyale

    I don’t know about the dancing, but watching Ian Anderson, all I could think of was Igor in Young Frankenstein.

  9. ladymisskirroyale

    Dear Happiness Stan,

    What about this classic TOTP, which, alas, has not been shown in all it’s glorious wonder?

    Also, Stan, as another child of fair Albion, I must warn you to take your caution: the Hallers have not been kind to the likes of the English and their dancing moves. There is an eviscerating review of poor Thom’s dancing for “Lotus Flower” that is probably easily found in the archives.

  10. Happiness Stan

    Hello ladymisskirroyale, I had to watch it with the sound turned down, but unfortunately could still hear the music in my head. That is splendid indeed I’m wondering if Germans count as Brits, although being on our TV is probably enough to make it count.

  11. tonyola

    Aww, don’t be so quick to sell yourselves short. After all, it was an Englishman who invented the Freddie.

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