TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

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It's My First Time...

Pop stars pop their cherries on TV

We all have to start somewhere, but in many cases it took a while.

The Animals

Granada Scene At 6:30 - Wednesday 18th March 1964

Baby Let Me Take You Home

The Animals had to head down to Manchester to make their TV debut, rather than staying in Newcastle as, presumably, Tyne Tees weren't interested, or, probably not aware of the scene going on in the their own city. Mike Jeffreys, their manager, got them a booking on one of the most influential local ITV shows. Scene at 6.30 would play host to pretty much all of the country's most important acts over its five year history. However, the record itself wouldn't be released for another week, so it might have been in vain. Just two days' later they hit the big time as an appearance on Ready Steady Go! would help the record get into the lower reaches of the chart.

Shirley Bassey

AR Jack Hylton Presents: Variety - Thursday 29th September 1955

Stormy Weather

The genesis of Shirley Bassey's fame pretty much co-insided with the beginning of ITV. Just a few days' after the station launched Bassey made her TV debut. Signed by Johnny Franz to Philips, her first release, Burn My Candle in February 1956 didn't do much business. Franz claimed to have seen her on TV and as a result signed her. It was presumably the above appearance.

Her appearances in Jack Hylton shows on stage would extend to TV once Associated-Rediffusion came on air, a channel which Hylton was connected with, guaranteeing her exposure to the areas of the UK that had ITV. Bassey probably becomes the first singer in the UK to use TV to make them a star.

The Beatles

Granada People And Places - Wednesday 17th October 1962

Some Other Guy, Love Me Do

Nearly two weeks after the release of their debut 45 they found themselves in Manchester's Granada studios for its early evening news show. Since Liverpool never had its own TV channel (although it now has Liverpool TV, a community channel) they had to travel the twenty miles across Lancashire between lunchtime and evening gigs at The Cavern. It must have been something of a novelty for their fans to see them on TV and then 'in the flesh' only two hours' later, but their success would only bring animosity from some of the Cavern regulars who didn't want to share them. Granada's Johnny Hamp had previously seen the band in Hamburg and suggested that Granada catch them in action at The Cavern upon their return. They were filmed in August 1962 performing Some Other Guy in front of a crowd who were hostile to their new drummer. The clip was put on the shelf until 1963.

Marc Bolan

Rediffusion Ready, Steady, Go! - Friday 12th November 1965

The Wizard

His debut single The Wizard had been released by Decca and Bolan was given an invite to the best possible place to promote it. However, that week RSG was still mired in controversy over P J Proby's reluctance to appear unless he got, what he considered, a sincere on-air apology from Cathy McGowan. He had appeared on the show a few weeks' before and had been faded out during one of his songs and threw a hissy fit, threatening never to appear on the show again. Despite his absence, Bolan's debut show looks like a classic, with Wilson Pickett, The Small Faces, Tom Jones, The Nashville Teens, a couple of visiting French Stars Sylvie Vartan and Johnny Halliday, and first-timer Bolan playing his pop-pysch tale of a meeting with a strange man wearing a pointy hat in the woods. It was an uptempo Donovan-esque track which doubtless attracted RSG. He must have impressed Rediffusion TV as they asked him to play the same song on the tea-time favourite The Five O'Clock Club on the 23rd November.

A couple of setbacks then followed, as intended but cancelled appearances on ATV's The Mod Ball and ABC's Thank Your Lucky Stars in 1965 put him back to square one. However Lucky Stars came to his aid on 19th February 1966 as he made his third appearance promoting The Wizard, a single which was now three months' old. His second Decca 45, The Third Degree attracted no attention from the telly when released in June 1966, so he would have to wait until 16th December 1966 and Ready Steady Go to plug his sole Parlophone release Hippy Gumbo. Desdimona, his one hit with John's Children in summer 1967, found no takers in UK TV land. It would take a year until his return to our TV screens. BBC1's early evening How It is played host to Tyrannosaurus Rex on 27th September 1968, probably to play One Inch Rock. It would be over two years' later, a name change and Ride A White Swan's debut on Top Of The Pops on 12th November 1970 to help make Marc the superstar he always thought he should be.

David Bowie

BBC1 Juke Box Jury - Saturday 6th June 1964

His first single, Liza Jane by Davie Jones and The King Bees, was featured on BBC1's weekly pop trial by TV Juke Box Jury. That week's jury was made up of Charlie Drake, Diana Dors, Bunny Lewis and Jessie Matthews. According to Geoff Leonard's Juke Box Jury website only Charlie Drake voted it a hit, while Jones was in the hot seat listening to the comments and soaking up the embarrassment before revealing that he was backstage all the time.

Rediffusion Ready, Steady, Go! - Friday 19th June 1964

Davie Jones & The King Bees - Liza Jane

Jones found himself in the company of Dusty Springfield, The Animals and The Crickets for his musical TV debut. However, the single sold poorly and the group were let go by Vocalion after the one release. It would be another five years before the public would give a damn, and even then it was just a one-off hit until his next breakthrough in 1972.

Culture Club

BBC2 Something Else - Saturday 6th October 1979

In the late seventies our South London Boy was living in Birmingham, and turned up at Pebble Mill for a recording for BBC2's youth magazine show, chatting with the hosts about fashion. Martin Degville from the future Sigue Sigue Sputnik also went along for a laugh.

BBC1 Top Of The Pops - Thursday 26th November 1981

The Jets - Yes Tonight Josephine

George O'Dowd / Boy George is seen dancing along to this rockabilly-lite take on a Johnnie Ray oldie. Despite being a part of the crowd around Bow Wow Wow (as Lieutenant Lush) he never appeared on TV with them.

BBC1 Top Of The Pops - Thursday 23rd September 1982

Culture Club - Do You Really Want To Hurt Me

If you're going to make your TV debut then The Pops was the deep end. Boy George later claimed that Culture Club were given the chance to appear due to a cancellation by Shakin' Stevens, although their producer Steve Levine recalls that an Elton John promo clip was ditched in favour of that weeks' highest climber, Culture Club. Unfortunately since the track was being mimed-to George misses his vocal intro.

David Essex

Rediffusion The Five O'Clock Club - Tuesday 11th January 1966

Can't Nobody Love You

His second of four 45's for Fontana resulted in an appearance on tea-time's Five O'Clock Club, plugging the track that had been released the previous month. He would be back on the show 23rd August 1966, promoting the dodgy sounding (for a kids' show) Thigh High. There's no documentation of another appearance until a November 1968 slot on Granada's Discotheque plugging his only Pye 45 Just For Tonight. There had been another one off single, this time for MCA's UNI label in 1968 and had he stayed with them he might have been given a chance to appear on 1970's Jesus Christ Superstar, but it wasn't to be. A few more appearances on Time For Blackburn in 1968, London Weekend's Set 'Em Up Joe in summer 1969 and Lift Off in 1970 still added up to nothing. He made brief appearances in a couple of movies, before getting the leading role in the West End production of Godspell, leading to a hit cast recording and a highlights broadcast on BBC1, Easter Sunday 1972. Despite his theatrical and movie career there's no evidence of any acting appearances on TV before his first musical one, unlike Peter Noone, Davy Jones and Stephen Marriott. There would be a couple of 1973 TV appearances for John Denver and the God-slot What Shall We Tell The Children?, reading a Spike Milligan story, before the debut of the magnificent Rock On for London Weekend's Russell Harty Plus on the 26th August 1973.

Georgie Fame

AR Ready, Steady, Go! - Friday 3rd January 1964

Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames - Do The Dog, Shop Around

Having played behind many British and American pop and rock acts of the late fifties and early sixties courtesy of manager Larry Parnes Clive Powell/Georgie Fame found himself keyboard player in Billy Fury's then backing-band The Blue Flames, becoming band leader at the end of 1961 when they and Fury parted ways. Although he played with acts that would have appeared on TV, it's unlikely that he appeared on shows produced by Jack Good as he tended to employ his own musicians, but it's not impossible. The Blue Flames released a couple of instrumental singles for ska/bluebeat label R&B in 1963, leading to a deal with EMI's Columbia label later in the year. Signing to a major label got the newly re-christened Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames the attention of radio and TV producers and they made their debut, doubtless playing live, on the first RSG of 1964. It's notable that he didn't play the new single, as there wasn't one, so he played two songs from the Rhythm & Blues at the Flamingo live set. Fame and his band reeked of the cool aesthetic that mods craved and he would make several live appearances on the show until he went solo. Fame would later become a TV regular, eventually sharing a series in 1969 with friend Alan Price.

Fleetwood Mac

BBC2 Late Night Line-Up Colour Me Pop - Friday 19th July 1968

Despite the Eric Clapton era John Mayall's Bluesbreakers making several appearances on teatime kids' show The Five O'Clock Club and Ready Steady Go, they were absent from TV after Clapton left. There would be no known TV appearances to promote 1967's A Hard Road, Mayall's album with his new guitarist Peter Green. After forming Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac and signing to CBS's Blue Horizon label they almost immediately found themselves with a top three album, without much promotion, but it would take several more single releases to attract any kind of attention from TV producers. After a try out pilot show in May 1968 BBC2 gave the go ahead for the UK's first dedicated pop TV show to be broadcast in colour. Colour Me Pop was there to promote (mostly) albums, so it was perfect vehicle for bands like Fleetwood Mac who would be given the chance to showcase their album.

Herman's Hermits

Peter Noone had been a successful teenage actor appearing in numerous TV dramas in the UK from 1961 onwards. The first I can trace is Granada's drama Family Solicitor, in an episode called First Eleven Plus, broadcast Wednesday 30th August 1961, where the fourteen year old Noon (no 'e' at the end) played a schoolboy called Harrison in a story about a school playing field being sold off for building land. A few months' later he appeared in the then one-year old drama series Coronation Street, playing Len Fairclough's son Stanley for three episodes in December 1961. Things then go quiet until...

Rediffusion Ready, Steady, Go! - Friday 14th August 1964

Herman's Hermits - I'm Into Something Good

The seventeen year old Noone and his mates head down south to Kingsway, London to plug their debut 45 on the best pop show on TV, the first in a stream of hits lasting until 1970.

The Hollies

ATV Carroll Levis Junior Discoveries – c.1959

Tony Hicks, future Hollies guitarist played washboard, presumably in a skiffle band. If it was it must have been a very late one.

Granada Scene at 6.30 - ? May 1963

The Hollies didn't have to go far to make their telly debut, appearing on Manchester's early evening news and arts show. Tasked with finding the talent show producer Johnny Hamp said "I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw them. They were dressed in jeans and shirts that didn't match, and they looked more like rough kids than musicians. But we put them on, because they had a new kind of talent, and they never looked back."

The first show I can attribute an actual date is this...

Grampian Joe and The Music - 26th July 1963

(probably) Searchin'

Their first 45 (Ain't That) Just Like Me failed because it just wasn't very good. However, hiding on the B side was The Hollies' greatest weapon. They could play and sing alright, but they could write their own songs. Everyone was doing it then, but many lacked the confidence to suggest that their own song should be the A side. So there it was, 'Hey What's Wrong With Me' written by Nash - Clarke, stuck on the B side. Just Like Me attracted no attention from any TV producer, so it was on to the next single, and another cover. Leiber and Stoller's Searchin' was a familiar song to all the working bands, so why they thought it would have been a good choice for their second single is anyone's guess, but it was more likely down to their recording manager Ron Richards. But again, flip it over. Whole World Over, another Nash - Clarke song, was so much better. The intended B side When I'm Not There was also written by a Hollie, Tony Hicks. When Searchin' was played on Juke Box Jury 17th August 1963, the day after its release, juror Pat Boone suggested the audience buy the original. Anyway, back to Aberdeen. Joe and The Music was a thirteen week series beginning the weekend of 6th and 7th July 1963 centred around folk singer Joe Gordon, who had been recording Scottish folk music for HMV since the late fifties. Among the many pop guests intended for the series were The Beatles. He didn't get the Fabs, but no complaints, he got The Hollies instead.

Engelbert Humperdinck

ABC Oh Boy! - Saturday 21st February 1959

Gerry Dorsey

The press reported that a special train was laid on to bring 100 fans from Leicester, courtesy of the Leicester Chronicle, specially for the show. They were there to support local singer Gerry Dorsey, making his Oh Boy debut. 22 year-old Gerry had been signed to Decca, but with just one release and no success he quickly moved onto Parlophone, a label which seemed to be fascinated with pop TV shows, releasing Six-Five Special, Wham and Oh Boy tie-in releases, so it might work this time. After  two flop releases in 1959 and 1961 he had reason to give up with recording. But TV had other ideas. By October 1959 with Oh Boy behind him he moved to Manchester to work on Granada's The Song Parade, a show which he regularly appeared on for over a year. Appearances on Thank Your Lucky Stars in 1961, The 625 Show for the BBC in 1963, Thank Your Lucky Stars again in 1964 kept him going until his luck and record contracts ran out. He then regularly auditioned for ABC's Opportunity Knocks from 1964 onwards, again with no luck, and it had to be bad luck as he was a fine singer.

Rediffusion The Five O’Clock Club - Tuesday 5th July 1966

Engelbert Humperdinck - (possibly) Stay

For once, good fortune found him. After running into ex-singer Gordon Mills in 1965 he suddenly found himself with a new manager, but Mills had a shock for him. In order to gain a new audience maybe a name change would be a good thing, and that name would be...

Engelbert could also be forgiven for thinking the merry-go-round would be taking him for yet another ride as he was now back at Decca, where it all began back in 1959. But for his first new single Humperdinck suggested recording two songs written by someone called 'Dorsey.'

Humperdinck had a much deserved stroke of luck when on the 5th February 1967 singer Dickie Valentine had to drop out of the Sunday Night at the London Palladium show due to illness. Decca suggested this singer who had a new single, a cover of a country hit Release Me. The record had already come in at 39 in the chart two weeks before the Palladium appearance, then up to 23 a week before the show, then up to 12 as a response to the show. The day after the broadcast all copies that were in the shops had run out and Decca received orders for another 80,000. By the end of the decade his hits The Last Waltz and Release Me were both in the top ten biggest sellers of the 1960s.

Elton John

TWW Now!!! - Friday 20th May 1966

"The Bluesology" were listed for this edition in Melody Maker backing Patti LaBelle & Her Belles. Elton/Reg Dwight's band were supporting them on a nationwide tour. Although Bluesology were a recording act in their own right, releasing two singles on Fontana and one on Polydor, no TV producers appeared to be interested.

BBC1 Juke Box Jury - Wednesday 27th December 1967

The 433rd and (thankfully) final edition featured Spencer Davis as the Hot Seat guest who mentioned that Reg Dwight and Bernie Taupin had written a song for his band's new LP.

BBC1 Lulu and A Song For Europe - Saturday 22nd February 1969

Elton and Bernie's song I Can't Go On Living Without You was in the shortlist of six songs to be considered as the UK entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. The British TV audience thought it not as good as Boom Bang A Bang apparently, but to be fair that song actually won the contest (along with three others).

Granada Discotheque - Wednesday 19th March 1969

Ayshea's debut as a co-host featured the proper TV debut of Elton Johns, as the TV Times listed him. It was likely that he was still promoting his second single, Lady Samantha, which had come out two months' before.

Tom Jones

BBC Wales Donald Peers Presents – 1960

Tommy Wooward - I'm Looking Out The Window

The twenty year old Tom made his TV debut singing a Cliff Richard cover on fellow Welshman Peer's show which was only shown locally.

TWW Discs-A-Gogo – 1961

The Senators – unknown

The Senators made one appearance and, despite the show's name, they didn't appear to have made a disc to promote. They would later become Jones' backing band.

BBC Wales Donald Peers - 6th and 8th June 1962

Tommy Scott – unknown

Returning to the show for two appearances, he had now changed his name to Tommy Scott. Tommy Scott and The Senators would be one of South Wales' best bands.

ABC Lucky Stars (Summer Spin) - 19th September 1964

Tom Jones - Chills and Fever

After a false start with a Joe Meek recording session in 1963 Tom Jones, as he now called himself, had earned a Decca recording contract and had started on the ladder of promotion with this, his first single, released in late August. The Senators had become The Squires, but didn't get a credit on the label. Having moved down to London from South Wales they found themselves having to go further back to Aston, Birmingham for their national TV debut.

The Kinks

AR Ready, Steady, Go! - Friday 7th February 1964

Long Tall Sally

Their menagerie of managers bagged The Kinks the best TV show of its era to promote the band's first 45. According to a Melody Maker report at the time they played live, while photos have them playing at the bottom of one of the studio's famous spiral staircases with Pete Quaife and Mick Avory on a large podium and the Davies brothers between them and the camera. Despite the perfect promotional spot it didn't help. It didn't sell, and to be honest it was a poor single. They would have to wait until late July and You Really Got Me until they could outrage parents properly.

Led Zeppelin

BBC All Your Own - Sunday 6th April 1958

The JG Skiffle Group - Mamma Don't Allow, The Cotton Song (Cotton Fields)

Like thousands of others Jimmy Page and his school chums had formed their own skiffle group. However, by 1958 it seemed a bit late. Skiffle was fading, slowly being replaced by blues copyists, something that Page would later latch on to himself. But they were given the chance to appear on national telly and on Easter Sunday there they were live on a youth talent show. Radio Times described the show as "A programme in which children from all over Great Britain have been invited to take part" Jimmy and his pals were briefly interviewed by host Huw Weldon about their ambitions, with Page expressing an interest in biological research. But by 1962 he had made music his living and on 6th March 1965 Page would appear on ABC's Thank Your Lucky Stars playing his solo 45 She Just Satisfies.

BBC1 How Late It Is - Friday 21st March 1969

Communication Breakdown

The Flying Burrito Brothers were to be musical guests for the second edition of BBC1's late night venture into the counter-culture, but they couldn't appear due to a Musician's Union dispute, but it was hoped that they would appear on the 9th May show. Jimmy Page later claimed that this was a pilot show, which gave the impression that they had appeared on the first edition of the show on 14th March, but they were in Sweden on that date. The producers hoped to book Led Zeppelin again for a future edition. Some chance.


Scottish One Night Stand - Thursday 27th February 1964

Lulu & The Luvvers

Scotland's own Little Miss Dynamite (as the press called her) made her debut on Scottish TV's talent show for new beat groups. Three bands were featured in each show, along with a professional group. Lulu and her group shared the studio stage that evening with Tommy Dene and The Tremors and The A Beats, but she would have to wait until Friday 1st May 1964 for her national TV debut on Ready Steady Go, performing her Decca 45 Shout, but without her band The Luvers/Luvvers, despite being credited on the label. Lulu (with or without her band) immediately became a familiar face to viewers around the country, racking up at least 24 appearances on British TV in 1964 alone. Like Tom Jones she would have to ditch the group in order to move forward professionally and by the late sixties she was hosting her own shows and series, but despite To Sir With Love selling two million copies in America she never attracted TV producers there like Jones had.

Manfred Mann

Southern Day By Day - Thursday 10th October 1963

Manfred Mann in a ten-minute feature about rhythm and blues.

Manfred Mann (the band) were London-based, so quite how Hampshire's Southern TV got the scoop of their TV debut is a puzzle. However, folkies Robin Hall And Jimmie MacGregor were preparing a new series for Southern, Robin and Jimmie and Rhythm and Blues, which on Sunday 29th December 1963 featured The Manfreds. In-between these broadcasts they made their RSG debut, probably playing Cock-A-Hoop.

The Move

Mike Sheridan was Birmingham's John Mayall. Guitarists like Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Mick Taylor made themselves able band members until a higher calling took them away to other bands. Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne had both been through Mike Sheridan's Lot or The Nightriders, while Rick Price had also recorded with him. Although Sheridan made his TV debut on Rediffusion's tea-time treat The Five O'Clock Club on 15th November 1963, returning on 7th July 1964 and 9th February 1965 it was notable that Birmingham's local ITV channel ATV didn't invite them. Something that didn't go unnoticed. In late January 1969 The Move send a telegram to ATV. "Birmingham's only hit parade group, currently in the top five for the fifth time, we wonder if you are aware that in three years together we have never appeared on ATV from Birmingham, even in an interview." In March 1969 they were finally given a chance to appear locally on the nightly news magazine show Today.

Rediffusion Ready, Steady, Go! - Friday 9th December 1966

Night Of Fear

Once again the Brummies had to head to London. Despite name-dropping ATV shows For Teenagers Only and Midlands At Six in their NME Life Lines profiles in 1967 it's probable that they hadn't appeared on those shows as the article was likely to have been written by their legendary (for all the wrong reasons) publicist Tony Secunda. Talking about the appearance Roy Wood told Beat Instrumental magazine "We put the fear into the Ready Steady Go people when we had a dressed-up midget explode from the bass drum."

Olivia Newton-John

BBC2 The Dick Emery Show - Monday 29th May 1967

Pat & Olivia (Pat Carroll & Olivia Newton-John)

After the failure of her first UK single release Till You Say You'll Be Mine in May 1966 Olivia decided to stay in the UK, reuniting with her singing partner Pat Carroll who also had to come over from Australia, where the duo had been regulars on the Time For Terry TV show in Melbourne. Despite not having a recording deal the two proved popular on stage and gained a regular gig as resident guests on The Dick Emery Show in 1967 and 1968. After Carroll's visa expired she returned to Australia and Olivia carried on alone in the UK.

LWT Stewpot- Saturday 3rd October 1970


After losing his job as the Musical Director for The Monkees Don Kirshner made certain that he would not be in a position to be dumped again, so he created a cartoon band, The Archies, that wouldn't berate him about a lack of musical credibility. After their massive success, he made his next move, this time a movie project, a British group chosen for their looks as much as musical talent. After the movie and soundtrack again both flopped they then signed with Decca for a one-off final release, I Could Never Live Without Your Love, which also flopped. They made their one UK TV appearance on Ed Stewart's weekend show over two months' after the single was released.

BBC1 The Cliff Richard Show - Thursday 24th December 1970

Her personal relationship with writer / producer and ex-Shadow Bruce Welch meant she would have come into contact with Cliff Richard, who immediately became a big fan, asking her to sing on some of his recordings, including his early 1971 hit Sunny Honey Girl. Olivia would make her solo TV debut on Cliff's BBC1 show, as did Marvin Welch & Farrar. In late 1970 she signed to Festival Records, a London-based Australian independent production company, licensed to Pye in the UK and UNI in the USA and with them began a long stream of hits, lasting well into the 1980's.

Pink Floyd

Granada Scene Special: It’s So Far Out It’s Straight Down - Tuesday 7th March 1967

Interstellar Overdrive, Percy The Ratcatcher (aka Matilda Mother)

Nicely timed to co-inside with the release of the first 45, Arnold Layne, on the 10th March, Manchester based Granada came down to 'that there London' in January 1967 to observe the freak-out scene. They caught the band at the UFO Club, in the west end of London playing to similarly freaky dancers. The previous day however Granada might have played another show in the Scene series called The Rave. It was to feature The Move with Pink Floyd as guests.


BBC2 The Old Grey Whistle Test - Tuesday 24th July 1973

Keep Yourself Alive (Filmfinders clip)

Despite being fans of the band Queen never actually appeared live in the OGWT studio, so it was Philip Jenkinson's Filmfinders to the rescue and footage of World War II was summoned up to support the track, a little like Lou Reizner would do with the awful All This And World War II about three years' later. Despite the fact that this show still exists in the BBC archives, this track however is not mentioned in the BBC INFAX list of surviving appearances. Queen's name would appear on the Tuesday 13th November 1973 edition, but the band were on tour supporting Mott The Hoople at the time, so it was likely to have been another film clip. That edition of the show is now missing, something that Queen fans would have to get used to.

BBC1 Top Of The Pops - Thursday 21st February 1974

Seven Seas Of Rhye

Top Of The Pops was like the Call-Up, you had to go. Although the band were seen very much as an album act they knew the value of a hit and released singles from day one. This was their second, but it wouldn't be released until 25th February, four days after their Pops appearance. Allegedly a film clip of David Bowie's Rebel Rebel was meant to be used, but wasn't ready, so Queen were called in to replace it. Freddie performed a live vocal over the record, and wore a black shirt and pants with a silver belt. This would be the first of three Pops appearances in support of the record, and all three were wiped shortly after by the BBC in a money saving exercise. Thankfully, the early seventies saw the beginning of the 'home video' revolution in its various formats, the most popular of which at this time would be the Philips cassette system, and it's those home recordings that have survived and are now in circulation.

The Rolling Stones

Although the band didn't make it to on TV until summer 1963 one member of the group already had some TV experience. Monday 14th September 1959 ATV's Seeing Sport: Rock Climbing was broadcast from High Rocks, Tunbridge Wells in Kent with Michael Jagger and his teacher father explaining the importance of correct footwear. Michael said nothing, just showing us his plimsolls as requested by Jagger Snr.

ABC Lucky Stars (Summer Spin) - Saturday 13th July 1963

Come On

The band were taken to Carnaby Street by Andrew Oldham in order to buy matching suits for their big TV debut, choosing a houndstooth design. The image was at odds with their unkempt hair which garnered a comment from the show's host Pete Murray to the effect that the Hairdresser's Union wanted to see them after. Keith nearly caused backstage fisticuffs with the Irish showband The Cadets for what they were wearing. It had to be said they were dressed like part-time sailors.

Roxy Music

BBC2 The Old Grey Whistle Test - Tuesday 20th June 1972


Despite the urban myth of Bob Harris not liking Roxy Music when they appeared on the show the fact is that he wasn't even hosting it then. When Planet Janet's finest made their TV debut Richard Williams was the host. He had championed the band after hearing a demo tape and wrote about them in Melody Maker in the summer of 1971. However Whistle Test didn't give time to unsigned talent, so they had to wait nearly a year before their TV debut, which by that time they had the now classic line up.

Whistle Test was past the bedtime of many of us, so we had to wait until 24th August 1972 and their Top Of The Pops debut playing Virginia Plain, as profound an influence and as shocking a spectacle as Bowie's Starman a few weeks' earlier.

Sandie Shaw

ABC Lucky Stars (Summer Spin) - Saturday 18th July 1964

As Long As You're Happy Baby

'Miss Sandy Shaw' as she was referred to in Record Mirror was due to make her TV debut on the prime time Saturday night record show, promoting her first single released on the 10th July. However, union trouble at ITV meant that the show due for broadcast on the 4th July, but cancelled, would finally get an airing tonight, elbowing Sandie's intended debut. She would eventually appear the following week on the 25th July 1964 show.

Rediffusion The Five O’Clock Club - Friday 24th July 1964

As Long As You're Happy Baby

She finally gets her overdue TV debut, albeit on kids' TV, but the single is a flop. Thankfully There's Always Something There To Remind Me takes her to the top a few months' later and she becomes not only a regular on British TV for the rest of the decade, but eventually gets her own series on BBC1 in 1968.


BBC1 Monster Music Mash - Tuesday 4th November 1969

Ambrose Slade - Martha My Dear, Wild Winds Are Blowing

The public could be excused some chin-scratching regarding this TV debut. McCartney's Martha My Dear was taken from the band's first LP which had been credited to Ambrose Slade, while the other song, their new single released two weeks' before, was credited to The Slade. The musical content, pop-pub-club-rock with electric fiddle was at odds with their visual style, as they were sporting their new skinhead look, suggested by their manager Chas Chandler. Despite the apparent mess, it wasn't a total waste of time as the BBC's radio half kept asking them back to play live, and they nearly hit the chart with The Shape Of Things To Come at the beginning of 1970. But another change was on the cards. They would spend the next eighteen months growing their hair, or lampchops in Noddy's case, and preparing their next unforgettable move.

The Small Faces

ABC Lucky Stars (Summer Spin) - Saturday 7th August 1965

Whatcha Gonna Do About It

The Small Faces' TV debut was the day after the record's release, but it's certain that some viewers would have seen the singer's face before, even if they didn't know his name. Before forming The Small Faces in 1965 Stephen Marriott had been a successful adolescent actor, making many TV appearances, probably starting with BBC's Mrs Pastry's Progress on 21st April 1962. Later he would appear in Dixon Of Dock Green, William The Pacemaker both in 1963, the same year as his debut 45 Give Her My Regards, which garnered no interest from TV. He also popped up in Sid James' Taxi and BBC's Television Club in 1964, while his two appearances in the pop films Live It Up and Be My Guest were probably more to his liking as he already had his own band The Moments who had released a lone 45 in the USA. According to legend the band's keyboard player Jimmy Winston misbehaved during their Lucky Stars' debut, swinging his arms around to distract attention away from Steve Marriott, guaranteeing that his days were numbered. Sonny & Cher also appeared on the show and became early champions of the band. The following Friday they appeared on Ready Steady Go where Eric Burdon introduced them as The New Faces.

Dusty Springfield

Strictly speaking Dusty had four debuts.

BBC1 The Six-Five Special - Saturday 26th April 1958    

The Lana Sisters - Cry Cry Baby

The Lana Sisters were a singing trio, one of which was Shan Lana, aka Mary O'Brien, aka Dusty Springfield. The trio's recording career ran from autumn 1958 to late 1960, and despite their lack of success in their home country The Lana Sisters did have one top ten hit in Ireland with their final 45 You've Got What It Takes, a song co-written by Motown founder Berry Gordy. A choice of song that would become more obvious in her later solo career. The trio made many TV appearances over their two years of business, including a semi-regular Saturday evening gig on BBC1's Drumbeat.

ABC Thank Your Lucky Stars - Saturday 27th May 1961

The Springfields - Dear John

It would be ten months between The Lana Sisters final TV appearance in July 1959 and her next venture, a folk/calypso singing trio with her brother Dion, aka Tom Springfield and future record producer Mike Hurst. Shan had become Dusty and by this time she had progressed from standing on one end to standing in the middle with her 'brothers' either side of her. A mere two months' after their TV debut they were given their own four part, fifteen minute, series in the early evenings on the BBC. On Saturday 2nd March 1963 Dusty appeared without the other Springfields on the panel of Juke Box Jury and after a blazing row backstage at Ready Steady Go in August 1963 the trio were finished, but there were still a few appearances that they were contractually obliged to do, with their final appearance on Sunday Night At The London Palladium on Sunday 6th October 1963.

Associated Rediffusion Ready, Steady, Go! - Friday 4th October 1963

Dusty co-hosts the show with Keith Fordyce. With a solo career waiting for her in the wings, she filled in the time appearing as a commere on Britain's newest weekly pop show, along with another appearance on Juke Box Jury.

Associated Rediffusion Ready, Steady, Go! - Friday 15th November 1963

I Only Want To Be With You

Probably as a thank you for her hosting work RSG gives Dusty her solo singing TV debut. Although she would eventually get her own backing band, The Echoes, for live work she would be on her own for the majority of TV appearances. Her mod dress sense singled her out for public attention and her humour brought her back to RSG time and time again.

Alvin Stardust

ABC Thank Your Lucky Stars - Saturday 7th October 1961

Shane Fenton and The Fentones - I'm A Moody Guy

Singer Bernard Jewry had been called in to replace the first Shane Fenton, Johnny Theakston, who had died suddenly. Signing to Parlophone Records a year before The Beatles Shane Mk 2 only had a couple of hits before Merseybeat came in and ruined everything. He made his debut on the show that would go on to make so many British pop stars in the first half of the decade, Thank Your Lucky Stars, and for his debut he was introduced by Helen Shapiro, who had been discovered on the show earlier in the year herself. He hit the charts twice, first with the Jerry Lordan song I'm A Moody Guy and then with a cover of the American hit Cindy's Birthday the following year before being let go by the label in Spring 1964, despite making many TV appearances in support of his releases. Billy Fury was another artist who would also suffer at the hands of the beat boom and by the early seventies had put together a label for friends and signed the otherwise retired Fenton for a couple of single releases in 1972 using the names Shane Fenton and Jo-Jo Ellis.

Granada Lift Off - Wednesday 24th October 1973

Alvin Stardust (aka Peter Shelley) - My Coo Ca Choo

Meanwhile in London, singer, songwriter and producer Peter Shelley had helped launch the independent Magnet Records in 1973. Shelley had recorded the label's first release, the Spirit In The Sky sounding My Coo Ca Choo, credited to Alvin Stardust, a gesture to the all over-whelming fad of glam rock. Shelley had appeared on Granada's Lift Off promoting the record (apparently) wearing a clown's outfit. He told the label boss he wouldn't do anything like that ever again, suggesting a replacement be hired to be 'Alvin'. Marty Wilde was then contacted and asked if he would take on the persona for promotional appearances as the record was likely to be a big hit. He said no, but he suggested asking a friend of his, Shane Fenton.

BBC1 Top Of The Pops - Thursday 15th November 1973

Alvin Stardust (aka Bernard Jewry) - My Coo Ca Choo

History repeated itself when Bernard was called in once again to replace another nom de plume. Alvin Mk 2 made his TV debut dressed head to foot in black leather with a black mane of hair. He hadn't used rubber gloves when applying the hair dye and stained his right hand, so a black leather glove was employed to cover it. The right-angled, broken arm way he held the microphone was reminiscent of Dave Berry's bizarre mic' technique in the sixties, but overall he had an identifiable visual presence that Shelley never had. Shelly had left the UK for Canada by the late seventies, while Alvin was better to Bernard than Shane ever was, giving him hits until the late eighties.

Status Quo

Border Beatwave - Tuesday 27th December 1966

The Spectres - (probably) Hurdy Gurdy Man

The first recording incarnation of Britain's most popular band since The Beatles lasted three singles and one TV appearance, even then it was only for local TV in Carlisle. They then changed the group name to The Traffic Jam, lasting just one single before changing identity once more to The Status Quo. It didn't even stop there as Mike Rossi would later become Francis Rossi.

BBC1 Top Of The Pops - Thursday 8th February 1968

The Status Quo - Pictures Of Matchstick Men

They finally get their first hit, the first of (probably) several hundred as it seemed. By the end of the shows' run they had notched up over one hundred appearances, but it turned sour in 1996 when Radio One decided not to include their new single on their playlist, deeming them a Radio Two act, which given that Britpop was still in the air was probably not unreasonable. Making an appearance for I Didn't Mean It in 1994 they didn't appear again until 2002.

Rod Stewart

Rediffusion Ready, Steady, Go! - Friday 30th October 1964

Good Morning Little Schoolgirl

Rod The Mod gets to perform his debut 45, a cover of the Sonny Boy Williamson song, on the most mod show of all. He was in fine company that week, sharing the bill with The Kinks, the Yardbirds and American stars The Dixie Cups and Sugar Pie Desanto. Photos taken on set show Rod with a twelve string electric guitar, which is odd as there's only an acoustic heard on the record. Just over a year later Rod would have his own documentary special, also for Rediffusion, despite the fact that he had no hits and wouldn't do until the Jeff Beck Group albums in 1968.

The Who

BBC2 The Beat Room - Monday 24th August 1964

The High Numbers - I'm The Face

Their solitary Fontana 45 had been released the previous month but it had strangely been ignored by the modfathers at Ready Steady Go, so a rival knock-off at the BBC sent out an invite. They didn't have far to go as the BBC's White City studio was just down the road from Who Central at Shepherd's Bush. Sharing the stage with Brenda Lee and The Swinging Blue Jeans they couldn't have made much of an impression beyond their neighbourhood, but they would be back...

BBC2 The Beat Room - Monday 11th January 1965

The Who - I Can't Explain

Four months on, a new name, a new label and a second chance on the same show. The single wouldn't be released for another four days but any publicity would be welcomed as, once again, Ready Steady Go were slow off the mark, but to be fair Rediffusion's That's For Me showed the band's promo clip for the record an hour before The Beat Room appearance. RSG would finally find room for them by the end of the month.