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Monday, 21 September 2015

Rewind: 1971 The Old Grey Whistle Test Debuts on BBC2

On this day in 1971 The Old Grey Whistle Test was broadcast for the very first time on BBC2. Richard Williams, then Features Editor for the weekly music paper Melody Maker was the presenter.

It's most famous presenter was "Whispering" Bob Harris who led the show from 1972 through to 1978. Annie Nightingale then took over and her reign ended in 1982. Following her departure there was a new name - simply Whistle Test, a new time slot (I think it was around tea time) and new presenters - Andy Kershaw, Richard Skinner, David Hepworth and Mark Ellen all took turns in presenting the show up until it finished on January 1st 1988 (after a live New Year's Eve Special that finished in the early hours of New Year's Day).

To celebrate this iconic show I thought I'd throw together a playlist of just a few of the bands who played on it (there's actually 83 performances and then the final show in the series).

There are links added to discover more music so click on them.



1971
Heads, Hands and Feet - the first band to play live on the show.
Neil Young - there's actually a full performance that's worth checking out as well.

1972
Roxy Music
Jerry Lee Lewis
The Crickets
Curtis Mayfield
Steppenwolf

1973
Rory Gallagher
The Wailers
Humble Pie
New York Dolls

1974
Captain Beefheart
Montrose
Dobie Gray
Johnny Winter

Not included on the playlist but there's a Full 44min Performance by Joni Mitchell that's worth checking out as well.

1975
Lynyrd Skynryd - the version of Freebird is truly outstanding and well worth playing a second time!
Sensational Alex Harvey Band
Judas Priest
Little Feat
Dr Feelgood
John Lennon

1976
Patti Smith
Fleetwood Mac
Iggy Pop (Not actually 1976 but I've left it in, guy who uploaded it put wrong date on it)
Nils Lofgren
Not included on the playlist but worth checking out a 40min performance by Bonnie Raitt.

1977
The Tubes
The Motors
The Dictators
Ultravox!
John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett
The Runaways

1978
Television
Ramones
Talking Heads
The Jam
The Adverts
The Vibrators
Cheap Trick
Tom Waits
Blondie
Siouxsie and the Banshees

1979
Madness
Tubeway Army
Secret Affair
The Specials
Joe Jackson
The Damned
The Skids

28mins of Blondie recorded on New Year's Eve 1979. Well worth checking out.

1980
OMD
Teardrop Explodes
ZZ Top
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Checkout Ian Dury and the Blockheads special from 1980. 

1981
U2
Altered Images
Scars
The Selecter

1982
Japan
The Go-Go's
Gang of Four

1983
Robert Wyatt
Aztec Camera
The Pale Fountains

1984
The Cocteau Twins
Lou Reed
Billy Bragg
Depeche Mode
The Fall

1985
The Jesus and Mary Chain
Sisters of Mercy
The Cure
The Waterboys
Prefab Sprout


1986
Suzanne Vega
Elvis Costello
The Smiths
INXS
The Pet Shop Boys
The Pogues

1987
The Cult
Age of Chance
The Alarm
Thrashing Doves

The last four videos on the playlist are from the final show broadcast on 31st December 1987 (I had included Part 1 but then discovered it had been muted by You Tube so removed it but the remaining four parts seem to work okay)

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