Thursday, 20 November 2014

Theme Time : Area Code 615 - The Old Grey Whistle Test

Area Code 615 was a Nashville country rock band in the 60s and 70s who took their name from the Central and Eastern Tennessee telephone area code.



Their track, Stone Fox Chase, became the theme tune for BBC2's long running music programme The Old Grey Whistle Test (1971-1988) which was, quite simply, the finest TV platform for music ever, 



The title of the show derived from a Tin Pan Alley phrase from years before; when they first got a pressing of their record, they played it to the old doorman, resplendent in their grey suits. If the doormen were later heard to whistle the song, they knew they would have a hit on their hands.



With its bare studio and its unashamed trendy older brother style hosts - the show was especially at its peak with its second incumbent, the legendary and much imitated 'Whispering' Bob Harris, who fronted the show from 1972 to 1978 - The Old Grey Whistle Test basked in its 'minority appeal', offering a more sensible and mature approach than the bubblegum pop frippery of BBC1's more mainstream Top of the Pops. Playing host to many seminal acts of the 1970s, the programme was extremely influential and its foundations can still be seen today with the likes of Later...with Jools Holland  

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