TV Pop Diaries

Popular Music on British Television

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THE ARROWS

Granada
2nd March 1976 - 21st December 1976

Anglo-American band Arrows had signed to RAK Records in 1974, but never had the success that label-mates Mud or Suzi Qautro had, so it was pure chance that led them to their own television series. Muriel Young, producer at Granada had been looking for a replacement for the Bay City Rollers' Shang-A-Lang series and had seen the band perform their flop Hard Hearted on Granada's Look Alive in November 1975 and gave them to chance to audition, leading to the series.

It's probable that the support that Granada gave the band surpassed that from their record company. Due to a legal wrangle between the record company and management the band had no new records released during the show's broadcast. Label owner Most had been known for acts of self-sabotage in the past (not allowing Lulu's To Sir With Love to be an A side in Britain for example), so this was no surprise.

The first sixteen-part series debuted Tuesday 2nd March 1976 from 4.25 to 4.50 pm with singer Peter Noone as guest. Guests over the next few weeks would included Slade, Paul Nicholas, Hello, The Drifters and Randy Edelman among others. Dance troupe Him and Us appeared every week, although they would become Him and Us Plus Three in the second series.

The opening credits placed emphasis on the band members, probably trying to invoke a John, Paul, George, Ringo allegiance for Alan, Jake and Paul, and while the audience duly shouted and waved their scarves aloft it wasn't to be.

The second series of the year began on the 28th September with guests including The Bay City Rollers, the band that Arrows had effectively replaced, Pilot, The Drifters, Gilbert O'Sullivan, T Rex and others. By the end of the second series the band had exhausted the few songs they had already recorded and had nothing more to give.

Despite being placed with several hit-making songwriting and production teams the band only managed a few small hits and one album between 1974 and 1977, but luckily band members Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker had written a B side, I Love Rock N Roll, later flipped to the A side. When they performed the song on the show it was seen by The Runaways' Joan Jett, in Britain at the time to play live shows. Years later her version sold millions. It was then covered by Britney Spears in 2001 and sold millions more. Who could have guessed that one of the many small tea-time shows would end up giving pop music a certified classic.