Monday, May 23, 2011

The Old Grey Whistle Test

Record sales didn't matter. Trends didn't matter. Demographics didn't matter. All that mattered on the Old Grey Whistle Test (heretofore referred to as OGWT) was that they considered you a "serious" act making "worthy" music. This is what set OGWT apart from other British music shows such as Top Of The Pops. The show strove to avoid the mainstream popular acts of the time and instead feature the innovative,earnest and authentically talented artists of the time. The acts were diverse and spanned a great number of genres, and they played live with an occasional prerecorded instrumental track. There was no out-and-out miming on OGWT.

 The sets were decidedly no-frills, plain and sometimes the acts would perform in front of the backside of another show's set. Another thing that contributed to the show's Spartan appearance was that it broadcast from a studio known as Pres-B which was usually used for in vision continuity (station breaks) thus, it was quite small.

The first host was Richard Williams, features editor for Melody Maker. In 1972 disc jockey Bob Harris took over, known for his whispering delivery. Ann Nightingale became the host in 1978 until the show's end. The show ran from 1971 to 1987 and was the prototype for future "serious music shows such as The Tube and Later With Jools Holland.
To follow are some of the acts presented on the show during it's run.

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