Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Beat Club

In terms of pop music television series, Beat Club deserves to be included in All Things Rockin' despite its relative obscurity compared to other 60s-era shows of the type. Broadcast from Bremen,Germany on Erstes Deutsches Fernsehen, the national public tv channel of ARD (Germany's version of The BBC), it ran from September of 1965 to December of 1972. It holds the distinction of being the first German tv show to feature pop music, and can be described as a mash-up of Top Of The Pops and The Old Grey Whistle Test. It had the cheesy, flashy production values of TOTP combined with the eclectic, charts-ignoring diversity of acts found on OGWT. Here's a promo trailer for the show.

The show was co-created by Gerhard Augustin and Mike Leckebusch. Augustin and Uschi Nerke were the initial hosts and after eight episodes Augustin stepped down and was replaced by British disc jockey Dave Lee Travis. Earlier episodes featured live performances with a plain brick wall as a backdrop. In 1967 a more professional look was adopted with large cards appearing in the background displaying the names of the performers. Also around this time a troupe of female dancers billed as "The Go-Go Girls" (no sense overthinking things, right?) who would dance to recordings on those occasions that the act was unable to appear in person.

In early 1969, Travis was replaced by Dave Dee of the band Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich. On New Year's Eve of that year the show went to from black and white to colour broadcasts and again featured exclusively live performances. In 1970 Dee left the show leaving Nerke as the sole host.
Tuning in to the show one could catch  the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Alice Cooper, Stevie Wonder, Rory Gallagher and pretty much anyone you could think of performing live for your pleasure. While not ground -breaking, as other shows in Europe and The United States got to it before them, Beat Club definitely delivered in terms of content.

The former television series is now a weekly radio programme on Radio Bremen 1 and on a web channel offered by the station. It is still hosted by Uschi Nerke. When the tv show's run ended it was replaced by another pop music series called Musikladen.
To follow for your consideration are several reasons Beat Club was such an important part of All Things Rockin'.

No comments:

Post a Comment