Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ready Steady Go! (1963-1966)

Following on the success of Juke Box Jury (JBJ) and Thank your lucky stars (TYLS), Associated-Rediffusion (later Rediffusion) wanted a program which caught the attention of mods in London. Elkan Allan devised Ready Steady Go! as a platform for the fashionable faces and acts which were popular mainly on the London Club scene. The program was produced by Vicki Wickham and became incredibly influential and a must for all Mods nationwide. RSG! was recorded in small studios at Rediffusion's headquarters in London and had a club atmosphere with guests and audience in close proximity. Paul Gadd (aka Paul Raven and Gary Glitter) was for many years the warm up act and also help with studio security. The show caught the mood brilliantly and went out on Friday with the banner “The weekend starts here!” Keith Fordyce and Cathy McGowan were the main presenters but others occasionally guested.

Cathy McGowan became a ‘face’ and Queen Mod but she was originally cast to represent 'a typical teenager.’ To begin with her interviews were erratic and she would often stumble over her lines especially in the presence of charismatic pop stars. The selection proved most effective and Cathy McGowan became a professional trendsetter.

At first the theme tune was “Wipe Out” by the Sufaris but later this was replaced by Manfred Mann’s ‘5-4-3-2-1’: then at the end of the run by Manfred Mann’s ‘Hubble , bubble, toil and trouble.’

Guest artists mimed to their records but by late 1964 some performed live and the show switched to all-live performances in April 1965. Artists performed the full version of their songs which was something that had not been previously encouraged. A similar latitude was later taken in BBCs, Old Grey Whistle Test. All the popular acts of the era appeared on RSG!. Donovan was promoted as a discovery and UKs answer to Bob Dylan.

The show was also responsible for introducing UK viewers to Jimi Hendrix. However, like JBJ and TYLS, RSG! gained its highest ratings when the Beatles appeared.

Once the Mod culture passed the viewing figures dropped and RSG! was axed in 1966. Despite its popularity in the UK and content it was never shown in the United States. Part of this was due to the program being made in black and white.

Dave Clark (DC5) did have the foresight to buy the rights to RSG! after the show was cancelled. In the 80s with the flurry of retro, Clark negotiated to have RSG! episodes shown on the US Disney Chanel. Although Clark has never married he was once romantically linked with Cathy McGowan.


Worth a listen
You cant do that (1964)

Dave Clark Five
Catch us if you can (1965)

Catch the wind (1965)

Jesse Fuller
San Fransico Bay Blues (1962)

Jimi Hendrix Experience
Hey Joe (1966)

Manfred Mann
5-4-3-2-1 (1964)
Hubble bubble toil and trouble (1964)

Wipe out (1962)

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