the old grey whistle test


Do you know what can happen when a zillion inches of heavy snow fall? Both your Internet and television can go out. Which forces you do desperate things…like raid your DVD collection. Which is exactly what my honey and I had to do last night, when faced with a TV/Internet-free household. I’m not whining, because we wound up watching one of our favorite bands, Lynyrd Skynyrd perform on “The Old Grey Whistle Test.”

For those of you not familiar with the program, don’t feel bad. I hadn’t heard of it either until my boyfriend, musical genius that he be, introduced me to it. The show, usually abbreviated as TOGWT, was an influential BBC2 television program that ran from 1971 through 1988. The focus was on “serious rock,” rather than whatever pop-y was topping the charts at the moment. Shoestring, would be the best way to summarize the show’s budget. Bands played in front of bare-boned backdrops on simple, non-glitzy sets. (Fact: The entire studio was 32-by-22 feet!!)

Despite the modest set, artists were stoked about the show and many crazy awesome acts of the era appeared. Like, for example, Bob Marley and the Wailers. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Yup. Who else? Um, well, Judas Priest. Steely Dan. AC/DC. THIN LIZZY. Ramones. ZZ Top. Steppenwolf. Electric Light Orchestra.
I could go on and on and on and on and on and on.

Enough rambling…here are some of my favorite clips.

“Rocker,” AC/DC

“I Ain’t the One,” Lynyrd Skynyrd

“American Girl,” Tom Petty

“Reelin’ in the Years,” Steely Dan

“Don’t Believe a Word,” Thin Lizzy

Anywho, if you’re into classic rock and if you are on-board the Netflix train, you might be happy to know that you can get compilations of “The Old Grey Whistle Test” (Volume 1, 2 and 3) mailed right to your door. How sweet is that? Very, I’d say.

Big hugs,


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