Television: Ready Steady Go!

David Bowie and the Buzz filmed an appearance on the music television show Ready Steady Go! on the evening of Friday 4 March 1966.

The day before the band had recorded a new backing track for ‘Can’t Help Thinking About Me’. On this day Bowie added a new lead vocal part..

The rehearsals and filming took place over two days at Associated-Reddifusion’s Wembley TV Studios at 128 Wembley Park Drive, London.

Cathy McGowan the show’s presenter was as glamorous and famous as any pop star, as was the show’s producer Vicky Wickham, at least within the music business, though I never understood why – it was something to do with being one of Dusty Springfield’s friends I believe. Cathy was very professional, smiley and nice to everybody, even to me and The Buzz – we were just a backing group after all.

The other acts on the show that day were The Small Faces, The Yardbirds and Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich – now there was another band with a real thing for nicknames. Although the show was described as being ‘live’ this meant that we were to record our ‘live’ sound in the morning, and then mime to ourselves in order for the cameras to shoot the show in the afternoon – the show went out that evening. The introduction to ‘Can’t Help Thinking About Me’ was a distinctive guitar riff that I had copied from The Lower Third’s recording and it was also the main ‘hook’ on the record. I played it on an acoustic 12-string guitar that David lent me, and the morning recording session went off without a hitch from Dave B, Hutchie, Ego, Dek and Chow’s point of view.

The afternoon was much more fun, I had decided that I would mime using my Telecaster (to the sound of David’s old 12-string on the backing track) and wondered if anyone would notice and tick me off. I got away with it; David noticed but didn’t mind and we both enjoyed the joke. The Yardbirds kept pretty much to themselves, but Steve Marriott of The Small Faces was quite the opposite. While David was miming, Steve leapt about behind the cameraman exhorting David to ‘come on mate, perform!’ Apparently David and Steve had known each other for some time – maybe even since their schooldays I think. Anyway they were both London Boys weren’t they?

We all enjoyed our TV debut, it had been great fun, it was certainly the first time on the telly for me and for Ego, Dek and Chow too, and it felt like we had joined some kind of exclusive club – even that we had ‘made it’ in some smallish way.

John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson
Bowie & Hutch
Rehearsal: Ready Steady Go!
Live: David Bowie and the Buzz, Chislehurst Caves
Also on this day...

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