Main content
This programme will be available shortly after broadcast

A musical journey through the 1970s, with Elton John, David Bowie, Curtis Mayfield, Steppenwolf, New York Dolls, Roxy Music, Patti Smith, Blondie, Iggy Pop and The Jam.

The Old Grey Whistle Test was launched on 21 September 1971 from a tiny studio tucked behind a lift shaft on the fourth floor of BBC Television Centre. From humble beginnings, it has gone on to provide some of the best and most treasured music archive that the BBC has to offer.

This programme takes us on a journey and celebrates the musically mixed-up decade that was the 1970s, and which is reflected in the OGWT archive. There are classic performances from the glam era by Elton John and David Bowie, an early UK TV appearance from Curtis Mayfield, the beginnings of heavy metal with Steppenwolf's iconic Born to Be Wild anthem and the early punk machinations of the 'mock rock' New York Dolls. Archive from the pinnacle year, 1973, features Roxy Music, The Wailers and Vinegar Joe. The programme's finale celebrates the advent of punk and new wave with unforgettable performances from Patti Smith, Blondie, Iggy Pop and The Jam.

Artists featured are Elton John, Lindisfarne, David Bowie, Curtis Mayfield, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Steppenwolf, Vinegar Joe, Brinsley Schwarz, New York Dolls, Argent, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Captain Beefheart, Johnny Winter, Dr Feelgood, Gil Scott Heron, Patti Smith, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Cher & Gregg Allman, Talking Heads, The Jam, Blondie, Iggy Pop and The Specials.

1 hour, 29 minutes

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:18

    David Bowie

    Queen B****

  • 00:47

    Bob Marley & The Wailers

    Concrete Jungle

  • 01:18

    Talking Heads

    Psycho Killer

Credits

Role Contributor
Producer Stephanie McWhinnie
Executive Producer Mark Cooper

Broadcasts

Featured in...