1971 The Old Grey Whistle Test first aired on BBC TV.
David Attenborough commissioned the program, created by Rowan Ayers.
Music performances from non-chart artists who became known later on such as Roxy Music, David Bowie, Elton John, Alice Cooper, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Roger Daltrey from THE WHO, John Lennon, Dire Straits, Gary Numan. The list is vast.
The show ran until new years eve 1987 – 1988
Presenters over time were;
Richard Williams, Ian Whitcomb, Bob Harris, Annie Nightingale, Andy Kershaw, David Hepworth, Mark Ellen, Richard Skinner, Ro Newton.
The name seems to arrive from a real term, “The Old Greys” that was given to elderly service people working in the buildings where music writing and publication happened, back from the Tin Pan Alley days in the USA. These people would be exposed to the songs and those who could retain part of the melody or hook whistling or humming it, would be a sign that these tunes were likely to be a success. This was known as passing the “Old Grey Whistle Test”.
The most remembered theme tune was a harmonica tune “Stone Fox Chase” charlie maccoy with a Nashville band Area Code 615.