As the 60’s flourished, the music of this new decade permeated our lives, literally book ending each and every day! Mornings began when our new “clock radio” turned on, tuned to our favorite radio station, at bedtime, music would quietly put us to sleep as we all secretly listened to our tiny Chrystal or Transistor sets we kept hid underneath our pillow, away from the eyes and ears of out parents! However our favorite daily music memory has got to be racing out of school as the 3:00 bell rang! My best fiend Gary and I would head straight to my house, grab a Coke and turn on our favorite “After School” Dance Shows” In the early days all we had was Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” Straight into our living rooms from Philadelphia..? The in Studio dancers looked odd and uncomfortable, and Dick Clark was anything but cool but Gary and I didn’t care about the dancers or Dick Clark, we were there for the live in studio guests, which to our dismay were usually some teen idol type who happened to be in Philly or “The Tri-State area, we endured a steady rotation of Freddie Canon, Paul Anka and Frankie and Annette. Plus the whole program reeked of Dick Clark’s safe, white bread, Americana, yet Gary and I still watched and openly entered into daily debates with the T.V. Screen about how often we’ll have to sit through another Steve Alaimo guest appearance ( right now, if you’re asking yourself who Steve Alaimo is, you’re not alone and that’s our point ) After a few years, Dick made some big changes! He ditched the uncool looking Philly Teens, moved the show to L.A., hired professional dancers and shot every show at some exotic location in So. California. He called it “Where The Action Is”, and with it being from L.A. the quality and diversity of the artists who appeared live greatly improved, but we still had to endure Dick’s “Safety first, No Risks approach to music Television!
In the mid-Sixties Gary and I were without a doubt, new music junkies, i,constantly spinning the radio dial, changing T.V. Channels and reading everything or anything new and different which never included “American Bandstand”, “Where The Action Is” or any other local “Dance Show. And by the end of 1964 Gary and I were convinced that anything new and exciting could only come from one place,…England! And that went for T.V. Dance shows as well Meanwhile, Gary and I reluctantly tolerated Dick Clark’s image of what an American Teenager cared about, we began hearing about a weekly dance show in London, a Friday night program that one critic called “Dangerous” Are you kidding, DANGEROUS ? Now you have our attention Gary and I jumped on it and began our research, which always included a trip to the Pasadena Free Press book store where we read through every music publication they offered! In a matter of minutes from the other side of the magazine rack Gary shouts out “Rick, Ready Steady Go”! Me: Hunh? Yes, Gary found an article about this “Dangerous” Dance show shot in the basement of a local T.V. Station with no air and crammed with long haired kids, The walls of the basement/ makeshift studio were wet from the dancers, cameras and lights! Poetically and technically speaking, IT WAS DANGEROUS! And the host? Her name was Cathy McGowan She was as far from Dick Clark anyone could be ( and we’re not speaking Geographically ) Ready Steady Go was hosted by a sultry black haired Yardley girl who looked like she just stepped off Carnaby Street It just didn’t get better than Cathy McGowan! And the music? Forget about the cookie cutter “Clean Cut Top 40 types, on any given Friday night on RSG you’d catch The Who, The Kinks, The Animals, The Zombies, The Stones and yes, The Beatles! RSG really was “Where The Action Is”
Long before “Top Of The Pops, Ready Steady Go was breaking the rules, breaking the law, breaking new artists and re-writing the production notes on how Television and music should be seen and heard!
Please, take a moment and enjoy this revealing documentary about Ready Steady Go and the uniquely talented people who created it! And, of course share your thoughts, especially if you grew up in the U.K. and enjoyed this ground breaking series!
How did i never hear of this?
Perhaps I wasn’t clear, RSG was broadcast out of London and you could only get the program in the U.K. We only knew about it from Fan-Zines! However you may recall a local d j B. Mitchell Reed, well, when RSG began airing programs where the music performances were live BMR would often air the audio parts on his late night radio show in L.A.!
Lastly, I really wanted to share the documentary primarily for those of us here in the U.S. who never got the chance to see the show!
Throughout the 70’s a regular at the Rainbow Bar and Grille
Soul Train! Of course, and Don Cornelius! Now, he was a cool guy!
Although I had heard of Ready Steady Go, I don’t think it was ever broadcast in the US. American Bandstand was the closest thing for a while, but as Rick notes, mostly a dance show with a music guest. Dick Clark had a show on Sat night that was all music, but all lipsynced. In LA, we had Lloyd Thaxton (which was like Bandstand as mostly a dance show), 9th Street West and Hollywood a Go Go, which had act lipsyncing. Other than Ed Sullivan and Hollywood Palace, each of which had 1 or 2 R&R acts, first real live shows (with some lip syncing) were Shindig and Hullabaloo. I still remember Delaney Bramlett and James Burton as part of the house band, the Shindogs.
I’m glad the post ignited some memories of all these great English bands!
That was what we were hoping for!
Hey Steve, you are correct, RSG was broadcast out of London and you could only receive it in the U.K.! In fact we shared the documentary mainly for readers in the U.S who never got a chance to see the show!
Additionally, you mentioned “Lip Syncing” in1965 RSG made the switch from Lip Syncing to live performances which only made this great program greater!
Thanx so much for listing all those other “
Dance Shows” ! We watched them all!
Thanx you Steven
AND, as a sort of P.S. Didja know hat in 1964 Dick Clark launched his own version of RSG here in the U.S. and, get this, he called it “RSG US” Yep, it only ran for Six weeks until the producers of the original RSG in the U.K. sued Dick Clark for Copyright infringement! “Imitation is the highest form of flattery until it’s infringement!
Wow, I never saw RSG but seeing the groups they had on their show brought back so many memories of groups I really enjoyed listening to and so many I forgot until watching this video. Thanks for the memories!
never saw RSG in Philly, I can remember Loyd Thaxton though…
Yeah! Lloyd Thaxton, I never missed him, although I could never figure out why he had his own show! Plus he reminded me of my uncle Orville!!
Also, no, you would have never seen RSG in Philly, perhaps my post wasn’t clear, you could only get RSG in the U.K.!
I wrote the piece and shared the documentary mostly for readers in the U.S. who never got to see Ready Steady Go!…