Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ready Steady Go!

Ready Steady Go!, was one of the UK's first rock/pop music TV programs. It debuted in 1963 and became a smash hit. The show appeared Friday in the early evening opening with the line "The weekend starts here!" The show was introduced by a song which changed over the course of the show's run. The first song was The Surfaris' "Wipe Out" but it was later replaced by Manfred Mann's "5-4-3-2-1". The song was yet again replaced with Manfred Mann's "Hubble Bubble, Toil and Trouble". The show was more youth oriented then it's rival Top of the Pops. The most famous presenters were Keith Fordyce and Cathy McGowan. (Though the early shows were introduced by Dusty Springfield.) Cathy McGowan joined in 1964 after answering an advert for "a typical teenager" to be an adviser. She beat out 600 other applicants for the job apparently because she answered "fashion" to one of the questions. Instead of an adviser she found herself presenting. Her status as a fan was evident in her style; stumbling over lines, losing her cool, and inexperience. She was young and intriguing to the audience. Unlike her her partner Keith, she joined in various fun and games including miming with The Rolling Stones to other peoples records. The most notable miming being "I Got You Babe". Due to her antics she became very popular. In fact she may have been the inspiration for the character Susan Campy from The Beatles 1964 film A Hard Day's Night. In the movie when George Harrison tells the producer of a fictitious teen television show that Campy is "... that posh bird who gets everything wrong", the producer replies, "She's a trendsetter. It's her profession." (Lucky girl!) McGowan was a girl in touch with the times and fashion. The viewers could relate to her because she was their age and had some of the same thoughts and ideas. She was soon crowned "Queen of the Mods". She became a role model for young women, was attractive to men, and introduced fashion to many young women. According to her biographer, Anna Wintour (editor of Vogue) was one of those young girls who McGowan introduced fashion to. Twiggy who regarded McGowan as her heroine said, "I'd sit and drool over her clothes. She was a heroine to us because she was one of us". Along with Cathy's easy going vibe there were other aspects of the show that people loved. The artists preformed the full version of their songs unlike many other music programs who demanded they cut it short. This was a factor of the show that people loved and helped it grow in popularity. RGS! received its highest ratings when The Beatles preformed on March 20, 1964. The Beatles gave an interview and performed their songs, "It Won't Be Long", "You Can't Do That", and "Can't Buy Me Love". Although the Rediffusion's company had bigger facilities in Wembley they recorded at small studios in headquarters in Kingsway, London because it was easier to attract stars to central London. Since the studio was small and compact the cameras which were very large with rotating lens turrets rather than zooms, were impossible to hide. Thankfully people were able to use this as a plus and brought the cameras into the action of the show. The show grew in popularity over the years and somewhat surprisingly had a popular following among the British mod youth subculture. As McGowan's star power grew her partner Keith Fordyce left in March 1965. Without missing a beat she took over the show. But in 1966 as the "beat boom" movement was fading and the show was cancelled. The last episode premiered on December 23, 1966. As the show came to and end Cathy's once bright star began to flicker. She continued in journalism and broadcasting. She became a board member for London’s Capital Radio. In the late 1980s she worked for the BBC's Newsroom South East, which specialized in entertainment. She wound up interviewing many stars that she had met during her time on RSG! She interviewed Michael Ball, who became her partner in the 1990s. She also interviewed and Debbie Harry of Blondie, whom she described as the most beautiful woman she had met! (I mean come on, who doesn't love Debbie!?) Ready Steady Go!, is a legendary TV show. Along with the lovely Cathy McGowan presenting, the show allowed artist to preform the full version of their song, introduced fashion, and was youth oriented. The show helped change the music seen. In a way it was the Sixties' MTV. The show proved that music is a huge part of our lives. Ready Steady Go!, was a huge part of the Sixties revolution because it showed new music that was fun and made us wanna dance and laugh.
Brian Jones

Cathy McGowan

Marianne Faithfull

Keith and Cathy

The Beatles

The Rolling Stones

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