Following on from yesterday’s post, Nicky (ta) suggested this:
Those of a certain age will remember the old rock tv show, The Old Grey Whistle Test fronted by “Whispering” Bob Harris. Back in the mid 70s it was virtually the only non-chart music show on TV, put on late by the BBC (just before the Open University physics broadcasts, it seemed but then the OGWT had a very similar audience – fans of the “heavy” and “progressive” music that my generation wanted to overthrow. TV Smith – lead singer of punk band, the Adverts – drolly introduced the band with the words, “welcome to the 1978 show” (well, as it was 1978 that seemed really modern at the time…)
I’d forgotten how the show got it’s name, til Nicky reminded me last night.
In the dark ol days of Tin Pan Alley, of ten-a-penny hitfactories down Wardour and Denmark Street, Soho, in-house composers used to have their work subjected to the OGWT.
That is, they played their choons to the Old Grey cleaners who started work when the composers stopped (at 5pm) and if the OGs were later heard whistling a tune they’d only heard once or twice, it was deemed a good ‘un.
There was nothing special – or influential – about the OGs, but if they found the tune catchy enough to whistle that was enough to know what to do.
And now, the Bob Harris ending.
(Pause that goes on for quite a bit longer than seems comfortable).