From 1971 to 1987 BBC2 aired a magazine-style program revolving around rock music call The Old Grey Whistle Test. I had never heard of this show until a few years ago when a co-worker was playing a clip and I saw that name in the background. While staring at Talking Heads performing “Don’t Worry About the Government” in what looked like a bare room I asked him, “What’s ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’?”
“You’ve never seen it?” he asked me with an excitement that I know: It comes when you introduce someone to something you know they will love.
“Just type it in on youtube. It’s just more of this…but it’s pretty much only ever great bands, or at least great performances. I’ve wasted so much time watching clips from it.”
That interaction was a few years ago and I’ve been able to introduce quite a few friends to the joys of OGWT. If you like what many people call”classic rock” you will be in clip-heaven. From immediate rock stars like Queen, Blondie, and The Police to still-obscure names like A Stewart and Judee Sill, the Old Grey Whistle test played host to many of the most influential names in rock music and, for all the time I’ve wasted on youtube I am glad that some of it has been discovering these gems.