Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Welcome Guest!

Join us now to get access to all our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, and so, so much more. It's also quick and totally free, so what are you waiting for?

BLACK LIVES MATTER! ×
BLACK LIVES MATTER!

The Old Grey Whistle Test


Recommended Posts

The Old Grey Whistle Test was always one of the best music tv shows to watch, with some great live sessions. I often wondered where they got the name for the show and finally got around to looking it up this morning.

"It was a 'tin pan alley' phrase from years ago. When they got the first pressing of a record they would play it to people they called the old greys. The ones they could remember and could whistle having heard it just once or twice had passed the old grey whistle test".

Here's the article.

The Old Grey Whistle Test first went on air in September 1971 and became one of the most influential music shows for a generation. Sally Taylor has been meeting some of the figures from the South who were instrumental in its sucess.

Despite it's low budget the show was a great success. Bands soon found their album sales would soar after an appearance.

When the Old Grey Whistle Test went on air in 1971 it was unique. In a world accustomed to Top of the Pops, here was a show on which the bands performed album tracks and were interviewed after they had played. This was before the days of miming. The music was live and, since the idea was to air new sounds, many of the bands were making their first television appearance. Presenter Bob Harris recalls how the show's name was inspired by the doormen (in grey suits) who worked at the music publishing houses in London's Denmark Street, known as 'tin pan alley':

"It was a 'tin pan alley' phrase from years ago. When they got the first pressing of a record they would play it to people they called the old greys. The ones they could remember and could whistle having heard it just once or twice had passed the old grey whistle test".

The programme went out on BBC2, last thing on a Friday night, from a tiny studio on the fourth floor of Television centre. In the days before 24 hour television the station would close down at the end of the evening. This gave the last programme of the day some flexibility.

If things were going well for the Old Grey Whistle Test they could stay on air. Some shows ended after 25 minutes while particularly good ones sometimes extended to an hour and a half.

They had a budget of £500 per show, which was very low even in those days. In addition to the technical costs the artists themselves had to be paid. David Bowie, for example, played three songs and was paid £50.

John Lennon refused to accept his fee in cash, insisting that he should be rewarded instead with chocolate Bath Oliver biscuits!

The titles sequence featured an animation of a man kicking a star. He was to become affectionately known as The Starkicker.

The show's title music, with it's distinctive harmonica, was a track called Stone Fox Chase by a Nashville band, Area code 615.

When bands were performing the sound was often so loud that the camera crew could not hear what the director was saying in their headphones.

The programme makers continually broke new ground. The first ever 'simulcast' of radio and television , the first live transatlantic broadcast of a rock concert and the television coverage of Live Aid were all achieved by the Whistle Test team.

Sadly, the programme is no more, having ended it's run in 1987, but it passed the musical baton to it's successors.

A succession of programmes such as 'Later with Jools Holland', 'The Tube' and 'The White Room' have all drawn inspiration from Whispering Bob Harris's Old Grey Whistle Test.

Source

post-41-1089197057.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

" the old grey whistle test " and " top of the pops from the bbc in london " were very popular here in new zealand...saw my first live led zeppelin on top of the pops on tv way back when..........

______________________________________________________

Bob Harris: The Whispering Years

Bob Harris is best known as the face of the premier live music show in the 1970s, The Old Grey Whistle Test, but his trademark 'whisper' has always given him a distinctive presence on radio.

Now after 30 years in the music business Bob tells the story of his roller coaster journey. From the young passionate music fan who moved to London in the late 60s determined to make music his life, he carved a niche for himself in music journalism by co-founding Time Out and launched his radio career with Sounds Of The Seventies on Radio 1. The Old Grey Whistle Test soon followed and during the years he fronted the programme he interviewed, and toured and hung out with some of the biggest names in music: Marc Bolan, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Queen, the Bee Gees, John Lennon...

However it hasn't all been good. His career has had as many downs as ups (he has had to rebuild it four times); he's been married three times, near bankrupted and hounded for his record collection by a fellow DJ. Yet 30 years on from his first broadcast, with strong and loyal audiences for his two shows on Radio 2, Bob is still driven by his passion for music.....

post-41-1089202090.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Our picks

    • Wait, Burning Man is going online-only? What does that even look like?
      You could have been forgiven for missing the announcement that actual physical Burning Man has been canceled for this year, if not next. Firstly, the nonprofit Burning Man organization, known affectionately to insiders as the Borg, posted it after 5 p.m. PT Friday. That, even in the COVID-19 era, is the traditional time to push out news when you don't want much media attention. 
      But secondly, you may have missed its cancellation because the Borg is being careful not to use the C-word. The announcement was neutrally titled "The Burning Man Multiverse in 2020." Even as it offers refunds to early ticket buyers, considers layoffs and other belt-tightening measures, and can't even commit to a physical event in 2021, the Borg is making lemonade by focusing on an online-only version of Black Rock City this coming August.    Read more...
      More about Burning Man, Tech, Web Culture, and Live EventsView the full article
      • 0 replies
    • Post in What Are You Listening To?
      Post in What Are You Listening To?
    • Post in What Are You Listening To?
      Post in What Are You Listening To?
    • Post in What Are You Listening To?
      Post in What Are You Listening To?
    • Post in What Are You Listening To?
      Post in What Are You Listening To?
×
×
  • Create New...