The Weekend Starts Here: 1965 TV Debut Spells Ready Steady Who!

On January 29, 1965, the UK’s celebrated TV music show ‘Ready Steady Go!’ hosted The Who’s TV debut.

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The Who - Photo: David Wedgbury/Trinifold, courtesy of the artist
The Who - Photo: David Wedgbury/Trinifold, courtesy of the artist

“The weekend starts here.” That’s what they used to say on the UK’s celebrated TV music show of the 1960s, Ready Steady Go!, and it was never more true than on the Fridat night of January 29, 1965, when the show welcomed the television debut of The Who.

The group had had a tumultuous last few months of 1964, in which they changed their name from the High Numbers and started the “Maximum R&B” Tuesday night residency at London’s Marquee Club that did much to confirm their popularity. Then producer Shel Talmy secured the deal with Brunswick in the UK and Decca in the US that led to the debut Who single “I Can’t Explain.” It was released in America in December, and at home in the new year, on January 15.

I Can't Explain (Shel Talmy - Stereo Version)

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The success of that 45, which went on to No.8 in the UK in April, owed an immense amount to the vast exposure offered by the band’s performance of it on RSG. A television institution soon after its introduction in the summer of 1963 with presenters Keith Fordyce and Cathy McGowan, it was a real starmaker of a series, and The Who became frequent visitors to TV House in Kingsway, London where the show was recorded.

On the edition that staged their debut appearance, they were in the company of major hitmakers the Animals and the Hollies; Goldie and the Gingerbreads, whose appearance led to their only hit, “Can’t You Hear My Heart Beat”; the up-and-coming but yet-to-chart Donovan; and a not-quite-20-year-old Elkie Brooks, many years before she became a hit soloist or even before her days with Vinegar Joe.

Listen to the best of The Who on Apple Music and Spotify.

To ensure a good reception, The Who’s co-manager Kit Lambert arranged for the audience to be well-populated with members of the group’s fan club, who were given Who football scarves to wear. The next night, the quartet were back in regular gig action with a show at one of their true spiritual homes, the Ealing Club. The group’s association with RSG topped the UK EP chart continued when, in December 1966, they with the five-track Ready Steady Who disc.

Buy or stream The Who Hits 50!.



  1. Terry Hatlon

    February 2, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    What a band!!!!

  2. Paul troalic

    January 31, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    Yep followed them from the start, performed covers of their songs and finally went to see them last March at the O2. Superb band.

  3. Alan Hardy

    January 29, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    It’s about time Dave Clark was persuaded to make Ready Steady Go prgrammes like this available to the public. He bought the masters many years ago and sadly all these great performances and sixties musical and cultural history are locked away and the public are being denied enjoyment. Universal – how about having a word with him and putting them out on DVD?!

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