"Ready Steady Win", summer and autumn 1964
A knock-out "Battle of the Bands" telerecorded and broadcast by ATV Rediffusion, June - September 1964. The prizes were:
(1) £1000 worth of equipment; a recording deal with Decca; and a publishing deal with Keith Prowse.
(2) A Commer van (£750).
(3) £250 worth of stage clothes.
The competition was won by the "Bo Street Runners". The "Harbour Lights" came second, and the "Toggery Five" third. It is not recorded what the "Runners" spent their money on. But at least some Vox equipment may have been chosen.
In late August or early September a picture was taken at the Rediffusion Studios in Wembley Park, where the heats were held, showing the Commer van and an array of Vox amplifiers and so on to the side of the main stage.
At back: an AC80/100 SDL with basket-top trolley, flanked by two large-box AC50 Super Twins also with early trolleys (basket top, a single upright rising from the pivot wheel).
Middle: an AC30, and on the drum riser a Vox Continental organ.
In front of the AC30: a large-box AC50 Foundation Bass set.
The drive to Wembley from Dartford will have been familiar enough: Jennings regularly provided equipment for concerts at the Empire Pool, a few hundred yards away.
At this date, the AC80/100 SDL is likely to have been one of the initial batch of four - two went to the Beatles, the other two were retained for loan and for demonstration/publicity purposes, being shown for the first time at the British Musical Instrument Industries Fair at the Russell Hotel, London, August 21st-25th. Details of the JMI showing at the Fair are collected together here. Notices relating to the first batch of AC80/100 SDLs are on this page.
The only other recorded instance of the type of AC50 Super Twin trolley shown in the picture above comes from late July 1964. The Beatles in Stockholm:
A detail of the cab and trolley used by John Lennon at Stockholm, 29th July 1964. See further this page. The amp is one of the new AC80/100s. Harrison and Lennon's cabs, however, had 2 x 15" Celestion drivers, not the 2 x 12" + Midax horn that became standard for the AC50.
NME, 10th April, 1964. The competition announced.
"Daily Mirror", 19th May, 1964.
Auditions were held on the 20th May at the ATV Rediffusion Studios on Kingsway in London. Selected bands would go through to the main competition.
NME, 24th April, 1964. Televised heats, beginning 8 June at the Rediffusion Studios in Wembley Park.
It is said that in one of the heats, the "Kon-rads", a band featuring David Bowie, were beaten by the "Trubeats", led by Peter Frampton. See the account given here. At some stage in the proceedings, The Birds, with Ronnie Wood on guitar, also competed.
Advertisers claimed that around 1300 bands had been involved all in all - a figure doubtless incorporating those who had submitted demos and applications by post, as well as those that had been rejected at the various audition stages.
The Edinburgh Evening News and Despatch, 18th June, 1964: "Ready,Steady, Win, promises something special for the teenagers - and for those older viewers who dig beat. It is a new series on Channel 10, a contest to find the best new beat group. When the contest was first announced, no fewer than 4000 applications were received. In the series 6 groups will be featured each week; each will play 2 numbers - a standard one and one of their own compositions. The winners each week will move into the finals, which will be the 11th and 12th programmes, and the finalists will be chosen from there. The intros will be done by Keith Fordyce, Gay Shingleton and Michael Aldred."
"TV Times", 22nd June, 1964.
On 6th July, Brian Jones appeared on the judging panel. This heat is presumably the one broadcast on the 8th:
NME, 3rd July, 1964.
"TV Times", 8th July, 1964.
Ticket for the heat of 4th August.
The first semi-final took place at the Wembley Park Studios on the 24th August and was broadcast on Wednesday 26th:
"Look Westward", Wednesday 26th August. The runner at the top of the page does not give the correct date.
The second semi-final took place a fortnight later and was broadcast on 9th September:
"TV Times", 9th September, 1964.
The final was held on the 9th September, the judges being Brian Epstein, Bill Haley, Georgia Brown and Brian Matthew. The telerecording was broadcast a week later in the various regions of the UK.
NME, Friday 11th September, 1964.
TV Times, 16th September, 1964.