September 13, 1958: Oh Boy! first broadcast on ITV

Oh_boy_1958-Wikipedia
Oh Boy! (1958-1959)

Oh Boy! was the first teenage all-music show on British TV airing in 1958 and 1959. It was produced by Jack Good for ITV.

Good had previously produced Six-Five Special for the BBC, but wanted to drop the sport and public-service content from this show, and concentrate on the music. The BBC would not accept this, so Good resigned.

ABC allowed Good to make two pilot all-music shows, which were only broadcast in the Midlands. These pilots were successful, so the programme was given a national ITV slot on Saturday evenings, in direct competition with 6.5 Special.

The artists covered a broad spectrum of music including ballads, jazz, skiffle and rock and roll. The show was broadcast live from the Hackney Empire.

Each week Oh Boy! featured resident artists plus a selection of special guests. The residents included Cliff Richard (singing on 20 shows), the Drifters (Later to become the Shadows, 17 shows), and Marty Wilde (17 shows). Guests included Billy Fury, Shirley Bassey and Lonnie Donegan; with occasional US stars, such as Conway Twitty and Brenda Lee. The solo artists were supported by a specially created house band Lord Rockingham’s XI, who went on to have hits in their own right, including a No 1 single “Hoots Mon”.

Only three of the 38 shows (or 40 shows including the two pilots) still exist. The last of these original shows was broadcast in 1959. The slot was soon taken by another music show produced by Good, Boy Meets Girls, which starred Marty Wilde and started in September 1959.

The show was revived in 1979 for the retro rock and roll stars of the day, this time the show included Shakin’ Stevens, Alvin Stardust, Joe Brown, and Lulu. Joe Brown was the only one of the artists who was performing across the UK in the 1950s to appear on the 1970s Oh Boy! show.

A live album, Jack Good’s Oh Boy!,made up of tracks by various artists featured on the Oh Boy! TV series. The artists include Cliff Richard, the John Barry Seven, the Dallas Boys, Vince Eager, Cuddly Dudley, Neville Taylor and the Cutters, Peter Elliot and the Vernons Girls.

The album was recorded before a live audience on October 19, 1958, except for Cliff Richard’s vocal tracks which were recorded two nights later and added to the backing tracks recorded at the earlier session. The recordings were made at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios.

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