Early music television – UK

Jack Good“It will become the standard practice for every artist to make a film of themselves performing their record. These short films will be sent to TV producers for their programmes…it would not be a disc at all but a videotape. You would play it on your television, which would have a recorder-like attachment, which would also allow you to record your favourite TV programmes.” – Jack Good, January 1959  http://www.billyfury.com/wider_world/jackgood/ Jack’s vision became reality when The Beatles began making videos expressly to air on television after they quit touring in 1966.   http://hh.wikia.com/wiki/Jack_Good  However, it was Richard Lester who was awarded “Father of the Music Video” by MTV for inventing the music video with “multi-angle filming of a live performance” for their first movie, “A Hard Day’s Night”. Fifteen years later, MTV was launched on cable television stations [from New York] using music videos from dozens of British and American musicians.   Besides British radio, television was instrumental in helping to build careers for many of the beat bands of the 1960s. Besides creating a fan base, these shows were helpful for musicians, promoters and record executives, in developing their portfolios. Amongst the earliest beat/rock bands to gain notoriety were Cliff Richard and The Shadows. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ch3VggfNXmM  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0QuLjr9wkc&index=6&list=RDlFi1K-93vR4 The Beatles who became music superstars, took full advantage of the television medium in both the UK and the USA besides parts of Europe throughout the 1960s. They were also the first group who opted for music videos rather than touring in 1966. The premise for MTV [which began in New York 1981] was based on music videos which featured several British bands of that era.  “The Beatles had used music videos to promote their records starting in the mid-1960s. The creative use of music videos within their 1964 debut film A Hard Day’s Night, particularly the performance of “Can’t Buy Me Love“, led MTV decades later to honour the film’s director, Richard Lester, with an award for “basically inventing” the music video.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTV http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-Five_Special It was the BBC‘s first attempt at a rock and roll programme, an innovation and much imitated, even today. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6BLsRmqB08 “Time to jive on the old six five”. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0274288/fullcredits/

The Six-Five Special is a British television programme launched in February 1957 when both television and rock and roll were in their infancy in Britain. It was called Six-Five Special because of the time it was broadcast – it went out live at five past six on Saturday evening. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g16-3EWyEgc  Producer Jack Good “had just seen the film Rock Around The Clock (US, 1956), which on its British release had gained a certain notoriety for exciting teenage audiences to the level of riot in the cinemas. The thrilling aspect to the cinema screenings for Good was when the audience took to the aisles to dance to the music. It was this high-energy participation that Good infused into 6.5 Special in 1957.” jack good   Harry Robinson

Composer/music director Harry Robinson, was in a dispute with Jack Good for financial retribution over use of name “Lord Rockingham (rocking ’em) as he created the musical sound of the group. HR dispute

Harry Robinson “Henry MacLeod Robertson http://www.runmovies.eu/?p=6356 was born in Elgin, Scotland on 19 November 1932. His professional music career began in 1957 as composer and conductor for TV shows such as Six-Five Special and Oh Boy! Applying for membership of the Performing Right Society the following year, he registered the pseudonyms Henry MacLeod, Harry Robertson and Harry Robinson, the last-named of which became his usual credit. He also worked for record labels EMI and Decca, and was musical director for artists such as Craig Douglas. Robinson’s own hit record Hoots Mon performed by Lord Rockingham’s XI (actually Robinson and the studio band) topped the charts for three weeks in 1958. http://toeslayer.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/harry-robinson-1932-1996-aka-lord.html For the West End stage Robinson arranged and conducted the Lionel Bart musicals Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’be (1960) and Maggie May (1964), and he did television spectaculars for Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli and The Beatles. His film music career began in 1966 with a series of features and serials for the Children’s Film Foundation, but he is chiefly remembered for Hammer horror scores such as The Vampire Lovers (1970), Countess Dracula (1971) and Twins of Evil (1971). http://www.andtheconductoris.eu/index.htm?http://www.eurovisionartists.nl/conductor/dir020.asp?ID=269 Confusingly for filmgoers, Robinson occasionally reverted to his alternate pseudonym Harry Robertson, notably for Hawk the Slayer (1980). He also scored commercials such as Barclaycard. Robinson’s untimely death at 63 occurred in Wandsworth, London, on 17 January 1996, and the death was registered under his real name Henry MacLeod Robertson.” http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0731862/bio Harry Robertson, a long time friend of  the premier Scottish music promoter, Albert Bonici, came back to his hometown of Elgin on several occasions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Robertson_(musician) Jack Good quit as producer but used composer-director Harry Robertson [of Elgin, Scotland] for his second British TV production, Oh Boy! [1958-9] advertised as “an explosion of beat music” “Backing for the performances was provided by Lord Rockingham’s XI – of which there were 13 members – a group put together specially for the show by Good and music arranger Harry Robinson, who named the band as a play on the words ‘rocking ’em’. Before confirming the line-up of musicians, Robinson locked himself away in a seaside caravan with a pile of American records in an attempt to understand and replicate their sound. His efforts paid off; Lord Rockingham’s XI sounded authentic and their muscular performances helped add to Oh Boy!‘s appeal.” http://toeslayer.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/harry-robinson-1932-1996-aka-lord.html  http://www.tvpopdiaries.co.uk/ohboy.html before developing another music show, Shindig, in the United States. The Buddy Holly song “Oh Boy!” had been recorded the previous year and likely was the inspiration for the title of this ground breaking television show. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyWe-qrRQ0k http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qF_0qevxVIQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63wl2gYxg_k http://www.youtube.com/watch? p>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oh_Boy!_(TV_series) Oh Boy! was the first teenage all-music show on British TV airing in 1958 and 1959. It was produced by Jack Good for ITV.Good had previously produced Six-Five Special for the BBC Television, but wanted to drop the sport and public-service content from this show, and concentrate on the music. The BBC would not accept this, so Good resigned. http://www.screenonline.org.uk/people/id/574989/ Good continued to work on television programs and produced Around The Beatles featuring several beat acts of the day. http://dangerousminds.net/comments/around_the_beatles_little_known_1964_tv_special . “In 1967, it is understood that Jack Good put together a band of musicians under the name of Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band as a promotion for the Beatles album of the same name.” “Although it was made during the first flush of Beatlemania and broadcast on television on both sides of the Atlantic (and internationally) in 1964, “Around The Beatles,” a one-off TV special produced concurrently while A Hard Day’s Night was being shot, is a comparatively “buried” Beatles treasure.” Jack Good produced The Monkees, about a group who wanted to be The Beatles. http://www.monkeesconcerts.com/blog/jack-good-talks-33-13-and-more-on-headquarters-radio http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thank_Your_Lucky_Stars_(TV_series) Thank Your Lucky Stars was a British television pop music show made by ABC Television, and broadcast on ITV from 1961 to 1966. The Beatles second national television performance was on the programme, the first being on Tuesday Rendezvous on 4 December 1962. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beat_Room The Beat Room was a series of British television programmes presenting beat, rhythm and blues and other pop music, which was shown on the BBC2 channel in 1964-65. The first show, broadcast on Monday 6 July 1964 at 6.35 p.m., featured The Animals, Lulu & the Luvvers, and Millie Small. The final show was broadcast on 29 January 1965. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ready_Steady_Go! Ready Steady Go! (or simply RSG!) was a pioneering British rock/pop music television programme which used to air every Friday evening in the mid-1960s. It was conceived by Elkan Allan, head of Rediffusion TV. Allan’s intention was to produce a light entertainment programme that broke away from the “bums and tits” style of light entertainment being transmitted by ATV, at that time. The show gained its highest ratings on 20 March 1964 when it featured the Beatles being interviewed and performing their songs “It Won’t Be Long“, “You Can’t Do That” and “Can’t Buy Me Love” – the last of which was a hit at the time. The Beatles interview [1963]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6J12gmgiYs The Beatles interview [1964] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_eofTY2z0k The Rolling Stones interview [1964]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9EDO4GaZtg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_of_the_Pops Top of the Pops “began on New Year’s Day 1964 in Studio A on Dickenson Road in Rusholme, Manchester. The first show featured (in order) the Rolling Stones with “I Wanna Be Your Man“, Dusty Springfield with “I Only Want to Be with You“, the Dave Clark Five with “Glad All Over“, the Hollies with “Stay“, the Swinging Blue Jeans with “Hippy Hippy Shake” and the Beatles with “I Want to Hold Your Hand“,[6] that week’s number one (throughout its history, the programme always finished with the best-selling single of the week). Meanwhile, Jack Good who produced early music television shows in the UK, went on to produce the American music show, “Shindig!” Shindig!’s premiere episode was actually the second pilot, and featured Sam Cooke and The Righteous Brothers. Later shows were taped in Britain with The Beatles as the guests. The series featured other “British invasion” bands and performers including The Who, The Rolling Stones and Cilla Black.

Shindig https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/shindig/ continued to broadcast episodes from London throughout its run. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shindig! Albert Bonici, Scottish promoter and friend of Harry Robinson organized a regional television variety show in the early ’60s.

Here’s John MacDonald’s account: “I always love reading about Albert Bonici… I worked for him way back in 1963. He decided to venture away from pop groups for a while and put together a variety show called “Three’s Company”.  It starred Anita Harris , Steve Cameron, and Allan Bruce ( who was sacked by Albert shortly after the show started after various disagreements, and replaced by a Canadian Singer from England Ronnie Hall). I was a young instrumental supporting act at the ripe age of 15 on the show . We also did a TV series from Grampian in Aberdeen. Sadly no footage of the show was kept in there libraries – it was only a short weekly series. Alex Sutherland was the Musical Director for the TV show and the rest of the time we toured around the north east part of Scotland. Sadly it wasn’t the success Albert expected it to be and the show was spilt up. He later used Anita Harris for guest spots at the Two Red Shoes ballroom. Meanwhile, myself and Steve Cameron were sent to the Webster hall in Arbroath by Albert to finish our contract in a Chalmers Wood Show called “Holiday time” – one of the acts on that summer season we replaced was a virtually unknown comedian who was struggling with the local Scottish audience because of his Liverpool accent. His name was Jimmy Tarbuck!

Scottish music television programming began with BBC broadcasts like The Heather Club hosted by Andy Stewart https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyLXjPdBKEA http://www.andystewart.info/early/index.shtml and presented traditional artists like Jimmy Shand https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rh_yXHd6jvk&index=1&list=PLgCj8OyjywiRZ4gVhERsAUNEk-XrvBT7U https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Sp8Lyjk49w

The White Heather Club was a BBC variety show that ran on and off from 7 May 1958 to 1968.It was an early evening BBC television programme. In 1958 the so-called “Vera” was invented. This was the BBC’s first videotape recording device. The White Heather Club was recorded, and is therefore one of the earliest TV programmes that can still be viewed today, although only six episodes survive in the BBC archives. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_White_Heather_Club

Many musicians in the north of Scotland were featured on Grampian Television and ITV [both part of STV] though most of the programmes were not recorded. Famously, only program notes of the Beatles appearing on ITV children’s show “Round up” in Glasgow singing “Please Please Me” after finishing their first tour in Scotland [January 1963]. They also appeared on “Thank Your Lucky Stars” the following week http://www.beatlesbible.com/1963/01/13/television-thank-your-lucky-stars/ though some bits remain from Scottish TV:

http://edinburgh.stv.tv/articles/250879-rare-footage-of-the-beatles-to-be-screened-for-first-time-in-over-40-years/ In the following ITV retrospective, here are some music bits that preceed modern entertainment competitions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLBWM9yT53T3Y-VqEID6PHBMbsBb6o0_S-&v=i1Dvr27pTf0

Radio and television were of course mediums that would catapult entertainers to stardom even if they were from a small community in Scotland or the north of England.  Several folk and traditional Scottish singers whose only recordings remain on vinyl [NORCO RECORDS LTD] appeared on early Scottish television in the early ’60s. Grampian Television which began as a regional program for the north of Scotland, became STV – BBC’s Scottish television programming. Music variety shows like Aye Yours which aired at 8 PM on Fridays 1965 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SOXJHN5Ze8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_APsClzS20I and the folk music program, O Come Ye, were early offerings for the fledgling new station.

Feb 4th, 1965 All set for a TV career – Isla Macdonald (she would later call herself Isla St Clair) a 12 year’s old Aberdeen Academy school pupil of 196 Morrison Drive looks all set for a career in television. Following an appearance she made recently at a folk-song festival in Edinburgh she has been booked to appear in a folk song programme on STV. Isla will probably make her first appearance in the March edition of the monthly
programme of “O Come Ye” which is compered by Archie Fisher. Isla inherits her musical talent from her mother, Mrs Zetta Macdonald, a former
Findochty resident and a native of Buckie who is a prominent member of Aberdeen Folk Song club and a traditional folk singer…” http://www.buckieheritage.org/pdf/1965.pdf

Isla St Clair, a traditional Scottish singer, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTkGNcntD7s and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTkGNcntD7s was able to jumpstart her career at the age of 12, thanks to early television appearances:




My research began in 2007 as a visitor to the north of Scotland. Growing up a few miles from San Francisco, I would frequent the active music scene on weekends besides being a fan of British BEAT music and never missing Shindig! on television. When first visiting the small community of Elgin in 2007, I was surprise to learn how the Beatles and many other vocalist and musicians came to perform during the early days of their careers. In the early 1950s, Albert Bonici began promoting dances though it had been an ambition since his teenage years. When he and Henry Robertson co-organized a string of jazz dances in the north Scotland, they could not have predicted the enormous success of the venture. Albert Bonici became one of the most respected promoters in the UK having arranged a high volumn of music venues throughout the north of Scotland which delighted music lovers during the height of the jazz and beat music era. Whilst known for booking the Beatles at the beginning of their 1963 tours, Albert Bonici brought most of the top British acts to north-east Scotland besides working with Scottish musicians to boost their careers. SCOTBEAT was created to share a bit of history about the BEAT years in Scotland and also a tribute to a man with a vision who, with the help of his family and staff, created a happening that is still fondly remembered by those who attended dances and concerts. Albert A Bonici hosted many up and coming bands who went on to gain international acclaim for their contributions. Besides other local resources and interviews, SCOTBEAT presents exclusive photos, adverts, and documents from the A Bonici Archives [circa 1960s]. Unless otherwise agreed, materials are not to be used for financial gain and ask that you respect the terms below. Materials presented are not to be used for financial gain without consent. © 2014-2019 SCOTBEAT.wordpress.com. All rights reserved. No part of this web site may be copied, redistributed, broadcast or published in any form without crediting this blog and/or copyright websites mentioned. All correspondence, flyers, programs, and photos from the Bonici Archives are not to appear in print other than through the propietor of SCOTBEAT. Use of the site signifies your agreement to all of these terms without condition. Please reference https://scotbeat.wordpress.com when sharing materials found here as the site is continuously updated to present the subject matter accurately and as a historical resource. Thank you.

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Posted in 1960's pop music

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