Sure, they sent us some crappy reality shows, but in the music television department the British will always definitely win out. I posted about Carla Bruni-Sarkozy on Later… With Jools Holland the other day, and it got me to thinking: Why don’t we have any shows like that over here? We don’t have anything even close to the President of France’s wife performing next to Metallica on a national level.
I tuned in to one episode a few years ago and Grandaddy, Magnetic Fields, and Keb ‘Mo were in the round. That’s pretty inclusive. Sure, Conan, Letterman, those guys showcase a band here and there, but they’re not specifically music-oriented. And the sound is near impeccable on Later. The Brits have a great history of this, with The Old Grey Whistle Test and Top of the Pops, but so do we! I’ve watched quite a few Soul Trains and Solid Golds in my day. What happened?
Check this performance out and notice how, at the beginning, Jools says “Thanks, Television. We’ll be hearing more from them later.” Can you imagine that happening on a network here today? In 1992? Ever? And then to follow it up with John Cale reinventing one of his best songs?
Sigh. That kind of thing just doesn’t happen here!