Footnote Archive: Discover rock music’s greatest visual archive

With the DVD market now saturated with more musical treats than we could ever have imagined, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to wade through the shelves and select the ones that genuinely offer what they say on the sleeve, and those that have been banged together for a quick buck, by someone who possesses more nerve than footage.

One series that has never disappointed and, likewise, should require little introduction, is the three-volume “Old Grey Whistle Test” set.

Released through the BBC’s own archives, it was home to some of the most scintillating live TV footage of the 1970s and 1980s. Indeed, it would be no exaggeration to describe it as one of the all-time crucial music television ventures, and the fact that it aired only in the U.K. does not detract from its importance. Enough of its content has leaked out elsewhere, across any number of individual artists’ retrospectives, that few music fans of the era have not seen at least one classic “Whistle Test” performance — and most wish they could see more.

Let’s dig deep into the vault to produce a not-quite complete episode guide to the show, but certainly the most complete yet published, for the halcyon years 1970-1977. The show went on for another decade, and we may look at that in the future. But this is where the key performances are, because for many years, “Whistle Test” was the only show that would give such bands a serious crack of the whip. Later, other shows competed for the deities’ favors. Before that, this was it.

Details from a few shows are missing from the list and more than a few of the songs performed. But every performance that is currently available on DVD is noted, together with a number that circulate on the collectors’ circuit. Use the list to catalog your own collection of “Whistle Test” clips, to complete a discography of your favorite band or as a time machine to whisk you back to the days when rock ’n’ roll television was something to be treasured. And now, without further ado, cue that old, familiar theme music… “Stone Fox Chase” by Area Code 615.

NOTE: Footage marked OGWT 1,2, 3 is available on the official BBC compilations of those titles; OGWT Years 1971-72 etc. was broadcast during the BBC-TV series of that title. Other material circulates among collectors, courtesy of sundry retrospective TV documentaries, Youtube and so forth, or it can be located on individual artist collections as noted.

SERIES ONE
  • Sept. 21,1971: Lesley Duncan, America
  • Sept. 28, 1971: Heads Hands & Feet (“Warming Up The Band” on “OGWT Vol. 2”), Bridget St. John
  • Oct. 5, 1971: Cat Stevens, Jack Bruce Band
  • Oct. 12, 1971: Lindisfarne (“Fog On The Tyne”; “Meet Me On The Corner” on “OGWT Vol.  3”), Wishbone Ash (“Jailbait” on “OGWT Years 1971-72”)
  • Oct. 19, 1971: Stone The Crows, Loudon Wainwright III
  • Oct. 26, 1971: Buffy Sainte-Marie, Day Of Phoenix
  • Nov. 2, 1971: Ralph McTell, Family (“Spanish Tide”), Stoneground
  • Nov. 9, 1971: Gordon Giltrap, Alice Cooper (“Under My Wheels” on “OGWT Vol. 1”)
  • Nov. 16, 1971: Frank Zappa And The Mothers of Invention, Jean Luc Ponty
  • Nov. 23, 1971: Redwing, Alice Stuart
  • Nov. 30, 1971: Emitt Rhodes, The Move (“Ella James”)
  • Dec. 7, 1971: Elton John (“Tiny Dancer” on “OGWT Vol. 1”), Fanny
  • Dec. 14, 1971: Uriah Heep, Colin Blunstone
  • Dec. 21, 1971: Alexis Korner, Gerry Rafferty
  • Dec. 28, 1971: Roy Young Band, Lesley Duncan
  • Jan. 4, 1972: David Ackles, Muddy Waters
  • Jan. 11, 1972: Fairport Convention (“The Hanging Song” on “OGWT Years 1971-72”),
  • Jimmy & Vella
  • Jan. 18, 1972: Bell & Arc, John Martyn
  • Jan. 25, 1972: Curtis Mayfield (“We Gotta Have Peace” on “OGWT Vol. 1”, “Keep On Keeping On” on “OGWT Years 1971-72”), Rock ’n’ Roll Allstars
  • Feb. 1, 1972: Poco (“Just For Me And You” on California Comes To The Whistle Test), Stevie Wonder
  • Feb. 8, 1972: David Bowie (“Oh You Pretty Things” on “OGWT Vol 3”; “Queen Bitch” on “OGWT Years 1971-72”; both plus “Five Years” on “Best Of Bowie” DVD)
  • Feb. 15, 1972: Jimmy and Vella, Mick Greenwood Band
  • Feb. 22, 1972: Rick Nelson, Hookfoot
  • Feb. 29, 1972: Franklyn Seals, Strawbs
  • Mar. 7, 1972: David Elliott, Plainsong
  • Mar. 14, 1972: Al Stewart, Paul Brett
  • Mar. 21, 1972: Judee Sill (“Jesus Was A Cross Maker,” “Enchanted Sky Machine”), Audience
  • Mar. 28, 1972: Randy Newman (“Political Science” on “OGWT Vol. 1”), John Dummer Band
  • Apr. 4, 1972: Kevin Ayers (“May I?” on “OGWT Vol. 2”), Claire Hamill
  • Apr. 11, 1972: Vinegar Joe (“Rusty Red Armour”), Jonathan Kelly
  • Apr. 18, 1972: Manfred Mann’s Earthband, Linda Lewis
  • Apr. 25, 1972: Jerry Lee Lewis (“Chantilly Lace–Whole Lotta Shaking” on “OGWT Years 1971-72”), Country Joe MacDonald
  • May 2, 1972: Linda Hoyle, Jackson Browne (“Jamaica Say You Will” on “OGWT Vol. 3”)
  • May 9, 1972: Tom Paxton, The Doors
  • May 16, 1972: Beach Boys (“You Need A Mess Of Help” on “OGWT Years 1971-72”), Magna Carta
  • May 23, 1972: Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge (“Help Me Make It Through The Night” on “OGWT Vol. 1”), Quiver
  • May 30, 1972: Focus, Don McLean
  • Jun. 6, 1972: Ashman Reynolds
  • Jun. 13, 1972: Sandy Denny, Richie Havens
  • Jun. 20, 1972: Roxy Music (“Ladytron” on OGWT Vol 2, “Remake Remodel” on “Bryan Ferry–Roxy Music Video Collection” DVD), Sutherland Brothers
  • Jun. 27, 1972: J. Geils Band, Natural Acoustic Band
  • Jul. 4, 1972: Impressions, Todd Rundgren
  • Jul. 11, 1972: Rolling Stones
SERIES TWO
  • Sep. 12, 1972: Frampton’s Camel, Loggins & Messina (“House At Pooh Corner” on “OGWT Vol. 2”)
  • Sep. 19, 1972: Everly Brothers, Jimmy Stevens
  • Sep. 26, 1972: Steppenwolf (“Born To Be Wild” on “OGWT Vol. 3”), Linda Lewis
  • Oct. 3, 1972: Stone the Crows, Jim Croce (“… Working At The Car Wash Blues”)
  • Oct. 10, 1972: Home
  • Oct. 17, 1972: Plainsong, Mickey Newbury, Santana
  • Oct. 24, 1972: Birtha, Mike Hugg
  • Oct. 31, 1972: Ellis, Harry Chapin
  • Nov. 7, 1972: Stealers Wheel (“I Get By” on “OGWT Vol. 3”), Bridget St. John
  • Nov. 15, 1972: Crowbar, Gladys Knight and the Pips
  • Nov. 21, 1972: Bill Withers (“Ain’t No Sunshine” on “OGWT Vol. 1”), Sparks
  • Nov. 28, 1972: Babe Ruth, Philip Goodhand-Tait
  • Dec. 5, 1972: McKendree Spring, Ralph McTell
  • Dec. 12, 1972: Focus (“Tommy”, “The Bridge from Eruption” on “Focus: Masters From
  • The Vault” DVD); “Sylvia”, “Hocus Pocus” on “OGWT Vol. 1”), Crickets (“Lovesick Blues” on “OGWT Years 1971-72”)
  • Dec. 19, 1972: Faces, Fumble
  • Dec. 26, 1972: Pick of the Year special
  • Jan. 9, 1973: J. Geils Band, Joan Armatrading, Barclay James Harvest (“Thank You” – promo film)
  • Jan. 23, 1973: Roberta Flack, Mike Absalom
  • Jan. 30, 1973: Who (“Relay” on “OGWT Vol. 2”), Shawn Phillips
  • Feb. 6, 1973: Crazy Horse, Roy Harper
  • Feb. 13, 1973: Rory Gallagher (“Hands Off” on “OGWT Vol. 1,” “Walk On Hot Coals”), Duncan Browne
  • Feb. 20, 1973: Strawbs, Judee Sill (“The Kiss” on “OGWT Vol. 2,” “The Pearl”)
  • Feb. 27, 1973: Country Joe McDonald, Tassavalan Presidentti
  • Mar. 6, 1973: Argent (“God Gave Rock’n’Roll To You” on “OGWT Vol. 2”), Shawn Phillips
  • Mar. 13, 1973: Roger Daltrey (“Giving It All Away” on “OGWT Vol. 3”), John Martyn (“May You Never” on “OGWT Vol. 1,” “I’D Rather Be The Devil” on “OGWT Years 1973-74”)
  • Mar. 20, 1973: Humble Pie (“Black Coffee” on “OGWT Vol. 3”)
  • Mar. 27, 1973: Ry Cooder (“Vigilante Man” on “OGWT Years 1973-74”); “Going To Brownsville” on California Comes To The Whistle Test)
  • Apr. 3, 1973: Roxy Music (“Do The Strand” on “OGWT Vol. 1”), Allan Taylor
  • Apr. 10, 1973: Spirit, Gallagher and Lyle
  • Apr. 17, 1973: Fairport Convention (“Brilliancy Medley” on “OGWT Vol. 3”), Tom Paxton
  • Apr. 24, 1973: John David Souther (“Doolin’ Dalton” on California Comes To The Whistle
  • Test), Birtha
  • May 1, 1973: The Wailers (“Concrete Jungle”; “Stir It Up” on OGWT Vol 1), Yes, Pete Atkin
  • May 8, 1973: Alquin, Jonathan Kelly
  • May 15, 1973: Roy Buchanan, Leon Russell, Jan Akkerman, B.B. King
  • May 22, 1973: Nazareth, Harvey Andrews
  • May 29, 1973: Golden Earring, Loudon Wainwright III
  • Jun. 5, 1973: Fanny, Sonny Terry-Brownie McGhee, Focus (live at the Rainbow)
  • Jun. 12, 1973: Rigor Mortis, Kevin Ayers
  • Jun. 19, 1973: Terry Reid, Del Shannon
  • Jul. 10, 1973: Average White Band (“Put It Where You Want It” on “OGWT Vol. 2”)
  • Jul. 17, 1973: Edgar Winter Group (“Frankenstein” on “OGWT Vol. 1”), Sonny Terry-Brownie McGhee
  • Jul. 24, 1973: Peter Sinfield, the Drifters
  • Jul. 31, 1973: Freddie King (“Boogie Funk” on “OGWT Vol. 3”), Steve Goodman, Eric Burdon
SERIES THREE
  • Sep. 25, 1973: Roger Chapman, Blue and reggae festival footage
  • Oct. 2, 1973: Leo Kottke, Country Gazette
  • Oct. 9, 1973: Don McLean, Leo Sayer
  • Oct. 16, 1973: Bloodstone, John Martyn
  • Oct. 23, 1973: Nektar, John Prine
  • Nov. 6, 1973: Brinsley Schwarz (“Surrender To The Rhythm” on “OGWT Vol. 3”), Gallagher and Lyle
  • Nov. 20, 1973: Man, Bees Make Honey, Greenslade
  • Nov. 27, 1973: New York Dolls (“Jet Boy” on “OGWT Vol. 1,” “Looking For A Kiss”), Michael Chapman
  • Dec. 4, 1973: Hudson Ford, Gordon Giltrap
  • Dec. 11, 1973: Details unknown
  • Dec. 18, 1973: Sensational Alex Harvey Band (“Next”, “Faith Healer”)
  • Dec. 26, 1973: ELP On Tour documentary (“The Manticore Special” DVD)
  • Jan. 13, 1974: Details unknown
  • Jan. 20, 1974: Sutherland Brothers and Quiver, Ralph McTell
  • Feb. 10, 1974: Cockney Rebel, Pete Berryman
  • Feb. 17, 1974: Horslips, Roy Harper
  • Feb. 24, 1974: Babe Ruth, Cousin Joe, Loggins and Messina
  • Feb. 26, 1974: Canned Heat, Alquin, Van Morrison
  • Mar. 12, 1974: Chick Corea (“Space Circus” on “OGWT Years 1974-75”)
  • Mar. 19, 1974: Sassafras, Stefan Grossman
  • Mar. 26, 1974: Lindisfarne
  • Apr. 10, 1974: Strawbs, Judi Pulver
  • Apr. 17, 1974: Robin Trower (“A Little Bit Of Sympathy” on “OGWT Vol. 3”), Jesse Colin Young
  • Apr. 24, 1974: Tassavalan Presidentti
  • May 1, 1974: Isaac Guillory, Manfred Mann
  • May 8, 1974: Beckett, Graham Nash (“On The Line on “OGWT Years 1974-75;”
  • “Another Sleep Song” on California Comes To The Whistle Test)
  • May 14, 1974: Nazareth, James Griffin
  • May 21, 1974: Montrose (“Bad Motor Scooter” on “OGWT Vol. 2”), Tim Buckley (“Dolphins” on “OGWT Vol. 1”, “Honey Man” on “OGWT Years 1974-75”)
  • May 27, 1974: Van Morrison
  • Jun. 11, 1974: Butts Band, Bridget St. John
  • Jun. 18, 1974: Dory Previn, Captain Beefheart (“Upon The My Oh My” on “OGWT Vol. 1”; “This Is The Day” on “OGWT Years 1974-75”)
  • Jun. 25, 1974: details unknown
  • Jul. 2, 1974: details unknown
  • Jul. 9, 1974: Elton John, Dobie Gray (“Drift Away” on “OGWT Years 1974-75”), Stevie Wonder (“You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” on “OGWT Years 1974-75”)
  • Uncertain air date: Clifford T. Ward (“Scullery” on “OGWT Years 1973-74”)
SERIES FOUR
  • Sep. 24, 1974: Loudon Wainwright III, Arlo Guthrie, Richard Digance, Planxty
  • Oct. 1, 1974: Wally
  • Oct. 8, 1974: Johnny Rivers, Andy Fairweather-Low
  • Oct. 15, 1974: Climax Blues Band, Barclay James Harvest (from Drury Lane live movie)
  • Oct. 22, 1974: Supertramp (“Dreamer” on “OGWT Vol. 3”), Country Joe McDonald
  • Oct. 29, 1974: Johnny Winter (“Jumping Jack Flash” on “OGWT Vol. 3”), Janis Ian (“At 17” on “OGWT Vol. 3”)
  • Nov. 5, 1974: Jess Roden, Kiki Dee
  • Nov. 12, 1974: Golden Earring, Little Feat, Snafu
  • Nov. 19, 1974: Joni Mitchell, Tom Scott and the L.A. Express
  • Nov. 26, 1974: Pretty Things, Jackie Lynton’s Grande
  • Dec. 3, 1974–Dec. 24, 1974: Details unknown
  • Jan. 1, 1975: Bad Company (“Feel Like Makin’ Love”), Leo Sayer
  • Jan. 8, 1975: Details unknown
  • Jan. 17, 1975: Bachman Turner Overdrive, John Martyn, Little Feat (“Rock ’n’ Roll Doctor” on OGWT Vol 1, “Fat Man In The Bathtub” on OGWT Years 1975-76), Robert Plant interview (on “Led Zeppelin” DVD)
  • Jan. 24, 1975: Bruce Johnston (“Disney Girls” on “OGWT Vol. 2”)
  • Jan. 31, 1975–Feb. 28, 1975: Details unknown
  • Mar. 7, 1975: Richard & Linda Thompson (“A Heart Needs A Home” on “OGWT Vol. 3”)
  • Mar. 14, 1975: Details unknown
  • Mar. 21, 1975: Dr. Feelgood (“She Does It Right”; “Roxette” on “OGWT Vol. 1”), Barclay James Harvest (from Drury Lane live movie)
  • Mar. 28, 1975: Billy Cobham at the Rainbow
  • Apr. 11, 1975: Mick Ronson (“Angel No. 9”; “Play Don’t Worry”)
  • Apr. 18, 1975: John Lennon (“Stand By Me” on “OGWT Vol. 1,” “Slippin’ And Slidin’” on “OGWT Years 1975-76”)
  • Apr. 25, 1975: Raymond Froggatt
  • May 2, 1975: Dr. Hook, Joan Armatrading
  • May 9, 1975: Seals and Crofts (“Summer Breeze”), David Gates
  • May 30, 1975: Sensational Alex Harvey Band (“Give My Compliments To The Chef” on “OGWT Vol. 1”; “Delilah”), Rab Noakes
  • Jun. 6, 1975–Jun. 27, 1975: Details unknown
  • Jul. 5, 1975: Joni Sledge, Jimmy Castor Bunch, Ben E. King, Sister Sledge
  • Jul. 12, 1975: Details unknown
  • Jul. 19, 1975: Be Bop Deluxe (“Maid In Heaven” on “OGWT Vol. 2”)
  • Jul. 26, 1975: Yes concert (“Yes At QPR” VHS)
  • Uncertain airdate: Splinter — “Costa Fine Town” on “OGWT Years 1974-75”; Ducks Deluxe — “Coast To Coast” on “OGWT Years 1974-75”
SERIES FIVE

  • Oct. 7, 1975: Druid, Sadistic Mika Band (“Time To Noodle”; “Suki, Suki, Suki”)
  • Oct. 14, 1975: Details unknown
  • Oct. 21, 1975: John Mayall, Jean Luc Ponty,
  • Oct. 28, 1975: Jack The Lad, UFO, Outlaws
  • Nov. 11, 1975: Lynyrd Skynyrd (“Free Bird” on “OGWT Vol. 1”; full concert broadcast on “Gimme Back My Bullets” expanded-edition bonus DVD)
  • Nov. 18, 1975–Nov. 25, 1975: Details unknown
  • Dec. 2, 1975: Richard Digance
  • Dec. 9, 1975: Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Philippe Catherine
  • Dec. 16, 1975: Strawbs, Ace
  • Dec. 24, 1975: Queen Christmas Concert
  • Jan. 1, 1976: Pick of the Year
  • Jan. 6, 1976: John Prine, Andy Fairweather-Low
  • Jan. 13, 1976: Be Bop Deluxe, Al Webber
  • Jan. 20, 1976: Country Joe McDonald, Barclay James Harvest (“Sweet Jesus”; “Hymn For The Children”)
  • Jan. 27, 1976: details unknown
  • Feb. 3, 1976: Small Faces, Pretty Things, Charlie, Elkie Brooks
  • Feb. 10, 1976: Emmylou Harris (“Amarillo” on “OGWT Vol. 1”), Streetwalkers
  • Feb. 17, 1976: Focus, Gil Scott Heron
  • Feb. 24, 1976: Widowmaker, Kraan
  • Mar. 2, 1976: Rory Gallagher
  • Mar. 9, 1976: Focus, Stackridge (“Dancing On Air”)
  • Mar. 23, 1976: Bonnie Raitt (“Too Long At The Fair” on “OGWT Vol. 1”; “Love Me Like A Man” on California Comes To The Whistle Test)
  • Mar. 30, 1976: Jim Capaldi
  • Apr. 6, 1976: Chieftains, Solution, Patrick Moraz
  • Apr. 13, 1976: PFM, Buffy Sainte-Marie
  • Apr. 20, 1976: Ozark Mountain Daredevils (concert)
  • Apr. 27, 1976: Rick Wakeman
  • May 4, 1976: Shanghai
  • May, 11, 1976: Patti Smith (Hey Joe”; “Land” on New York at the BBC), Jesse Winchester
  • May 18, 1976: Hall & Oates
  • May 25, 1976: Nils Lofgren (“Going Back” on OGWT Vol 2)
  • Uncertain airdate: Ronnie Lane — “C’est la Vie” on “OGWT Years 1975-76”; Billy Joel — “Piano Man” on “OGWT Years 1975-76”)
SERIES SIX


  • Oct. 5, 1976: Joan Armatrading (“Love & Affection” on “OGWT Vol. 2”), John Goldrosen
  • Oct. 12, 1976: Janis Ian
  • Oct. 26, 1976: Peter Frampton
  • Nov. 2, 1976: Cate Bros., Steve Hillage
  • Nov. 9, 1976: Ralph McTell
  • Nov. 16, 1976: Cajun Moon, Be Bop Deluxe
  • Nov. 23, 1976: Linda Ronstadt (concert)
  • Nov. 30, 1976: Al Stewart (“Year Of The Cat” on “OGWT Vol. 3”), Gordon Giltrap Band
  • Dec. 7, 1976: Jackson Browne (“For A Dancer” on California Comes To The Whistle Test), Warren Zevon and Jackson Browne (“Mohammed’s Radio” on California Comes To The Whistle Test)

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