MusicPro (UK) Group News - 4th January 2012

Rare RUSH Performance On OGWT Anniversary Show!

Old Grey Whistle Test Logo

The Old Grey Whistle Test which was regarded as the last 'real' UK television music show reached it's 40th anniversary in 2011 and January 15th 2012 will see OGWT resurrected with a special show at the Sage Hall in Gateshead, UK that will unveil rare footage from BBC Worldwide archive recordings of the show.

The show will be presented by producer/rock historian, Chris Phipps, who has assembled a panel including OGWT producer Jill Sinclair and Lindisfarne founder member, Ray Laidlaw, to help introduce the onscreen material. All three will discuss the merits of OGWT and celebrate the virtues of the music show that was dedicated to rock music rather than chart singles.

The highlight of the show and the clip which is causing the most interest for UK progressive rock fans is an extremely rare recording of Canadian progressive rockers, RUSH, performing Xanadu in it's entirety during a performance that Phipps regards as one of the main peaks of the Old Grey Whistle Test shows. Phipps says of RUSH at the time, "I knew about them but I'd never seen them and that set literally blew me away."

It's unclear at the moment if Phipps is talking about a clip of the band playing live at a gig or a previously unknown set that was recorded in the OGWT studio. MusicPro has contacted the show's producer Chris Phipps and is currently waiting for clarification.

The Old Grey Whistle Test was broadcast on BBC2 and ran from 1971 until 1987. At it's peak The Old Grey Whistle Test was presented by the popular team of Bob Harris and Anne Nightingale and was essential viewing for the serious UK rock fan.

Unfortunately, like most UK tv shows, viewing figures plummeted in the 80's when BBC management insisted on bringing in 'new' and 'younger' presenters in the form of teeny-pop magazine Smash Hits' editor Mark Ellen, Billy Bragg roadie Andy Kershaw and unbelievably, David Hepworth from teen girls magazine, Just Seventeen, which resulted in the show being criticised by serious music fans who just couldn't stomach the new mainly pop and indie oriented format. It came as no shock to rock music fans when the show was eventually dropped completely in 1987.

The Old Grey Whistle Test 40th Anniversary starts at 8pm on Sunday January 15th 2012 in The Sage, Hall Two.

Tickets, costing £12, are available online from

News Navigation Previous NewsNext

Click HERE to go to the MusicPro 'Live' News!