REVIEW: Ready Steady Go book and box set – Andy Neill

REVIEW: Ready Steady Go book and vinyl box set – Andy Neill

Before Top Of The Pops, The Word and The Tube there was a music show that was something all the more cooler; it had a style and myth that still surrounds its fibre until this day. There is also a fascination around the programmes that are sadly no longer in existence but with all these daydream believer thoughts Ready Steady Go can still hold a crowd, maybe much larger than what tuned into the original series of the 60’s. 

Let’s lay down the praise first and foremost. Andy Neill has exhaustively researched and compiled the hefty 272-page book to perfection. There are plenty of unseen pictures captured here – The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks as well as slightly lesser known big players of the period including The Action (bass player Mike Evans is quoted as saying when they appeared on the show he and drummer Roger Powell took acid and performed on the show whilst tripping), The Walker Brothers, The Spencer Davis Group and many, many more who are all featured exposing the sheer love everyone had for the programme.

The book features quotes from many of the performers including Pete Townshend and Lulu and scenesters like Andrew Loog Oldham, but for many it was presenter Cathy McGowan whose everyone’s eyes were on. One week she might be wearing a Mary Quant number, the following week a mini skirt from Carnaby Street, with her hair hovering just below the eyebrows. Plus the lucky so-and-so got to meet and greet all the stars; there are some wonderful pictures of McGowan being adored by her audience and the artists she got to mingle with. There is also a cute, innocent interview with her interviewing Jagger: 

Cathy: You know when you’re going to come on, we get hundreds of letters from girls, asking me if I’d give them to you, and the kind of things they want to know is, how many times do you wash your hair? 

Mick: About twice a week.

Cathy: And who cuts it for you?

Mick:  Usually Keith, but sometimes other people.

Cathy: And who cuts Keith’s?

Mick:  Keith cuts his with a mirror.

Cathy: And mums write in to me and say, how many times do they take a bath? 

Mick:  If it’s a hot country, every day.

Cathy: That’s a super answer, Mick, and do you think if you got married, it would affect you as a person, and your popularity?

Mick: It might do. I only fancy unmarried people, so why should anyone fancy a married me?

What makes this easily the greatest book on the show is the episode guide in the closing pages of the book. As stated, many of the episodes are no longer in existence, making the daydreamers longing for the episodes featuring The Small Faces, The Miracles and Georgie Fame to make an appearance from somewhere, but it would seem this book is the place to see the final word on the programme. The accompanying vinyl box set and merchandise help the punter become firmly equipped in 60’s memorabilia. 

The box set might not feature anything new but it does feature a number of golden tracks that featured on the show including Manfred Mann (‘5-4-3-2-1’), Dusty Springfield (‘I Only Want To Be With You’) and Marvin Gaye ‘How Sweet It Is’; a 24-page booklet with words from Vicki Wickham plus further pics including one of Theresa Confrey and Patrick Kerr, supreme ‘mod movers’ of the period. Finally, BMG is launching a Ready Steady Go! Shop which includes a new branded T-shirt, tea towel and Tote bag! All in all, the love for this fabulous TV programme has never waned, rather it has only grown to bursting point with time. So grab yourself a piece of the action! 

The book, box set and other items can be purchased here

Matt Mead

Matt Mead

Freelance writer who likes anything with heart and soul