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The Late Movies: The Old Grey Whistle Test

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The Old Grey Whistle Test was a BBC TV show featuring live music. It ran from 1971 through 1988 on BBC2, and many performances are now collected on YouTube -- I'll show you some favorites below. But what the heck does "Old Grey Whistle Test" mean? According to host Bob Harris, the name comes from:

... a 'tin pan alley' phrase from years ago. When they got the first pressing of a record they would play it to people they called the old greys [doormen in grey suits]. The ones they could remember and could whistle having heard it just once or twice had passed the old grey whistle test.

So it's catchy, you see.

REM, "Moon River"/"Pretty Persuasion" Medley

1984. Remember when Michael Stipe had hair? Like lots of hair?

Bruce Johnston (Beach Boys), "Disney Girls"

Features ACTUAL WHISTLING!

Watch this Beach Boys classic stripped down to a piano-and-vocals rendition by its author, Bruce Johnston. Sample lyrics: "Patti Page and those summer days out on old Cape Cod / Oh those happy times, making home-made wine, down in my garage / I remember country shade and sipping lemonade, I guess I'm slowing down / You know it'd be a turn-back world with a local girl in a little smaller town."

John Lennon, "Stand By Me"

1975. I had no idea Lennon recorded this song. Beautiful and somehow heartbreaking around the edges. Check out the shout-out to his son Julian (who would have been about 12 at the time) around 2:18.

David Bowie, "Queen Bitch"

1972, with a sweet blue twelve-string guitar.

The Replacements, "Kiss Me on the Bus"

1986, if you couldn't tell by the hair.

Billy Joel, "Piano Man"

Man, I'd forgotten that this is genuinely an awesome song. 1975. Check out the mustache.

Tom Waits, "Burma Shave"

1979. The poor video quality somehow seems to add to the experience of this thing.

Siouxsie and the Banshees, "Painted Bird"

Note a young Robert Smith from The Cure on guitar. Date unknown, but I'm guessing late 1983.

The Runaways, "Wasted"

Probably 1977? They're really tearing it up here.

Roxy Music, "The Strand"

"The program was about integrity, I suppose, and sort of honest music: basic, straightforward music, often acoustic, to do with musicianship (or ideas of musicianship at the time), and a kind of directness, I guess. And along came Roxy Music, who were none of those things. ... They were a synthesis of lots and lots of things. ... You know, they had an oboe player."

The Police, "Can't Stand Losing You" and "Next To You"

1978. Sweet shades, Sting. Check out the guitar technique in the "Can't Stand Losing You" solo.

Got Any Other Favorites?

Post links in the comments! Search YouTube for "Old Grey Whistle Test" or OGWT to find TONS of stuff.

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Food
7 Places To Grab a Bite of Elvis
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Photo by Keystone/Getty Images

August 16, 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, reportedly from hypertensive cardiovascular disease associated with atherosclerotic heart disease. Just 42 years old at the time of his passing, the King of Rock 'n' Roll had a reputation for loving rich, decadent food as much as he loved music, with the infamous fried peanut butter and banana sandwich being one of his favorite delicacies.

While we can’t recommend them as part of your daily diet, there are Elvis-inspired indulgences to be found at eateries across the country. If you’re ever in the mood for a taste of Elvis, here’s where to go.

1. THE ELVIS MARTINI // FORT WORTH, TEXAS

With roots stretching back well over half a century, Forth Worth's T&P Tavern used to be a rail station stopover for notables including Elvis Presley himself. To honor their history, the bar offers the Elvis—a martini flavored with peanut butter, banana, and bacon.

2. MR. LUCKY'S // LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

Brian Brown

There’s decadent, and then there’s Las Vegas. To match the city’s reputation for excess, Mr. Lucky’s—the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's 24-hour diner—can reinvigorate patrons pulling all-nighters with the King. It’s an enormous plate of 14 banana pancakes served with Nutella, whipped cream, powdered sugar, and 14 slices of bacon. Before ordering, don't forget to tell your family you love them.

3. JOHNNY J'S // CASPER, WYOMING

In 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama paid a visit to Johnny J's while on the campaign trail.
EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

Johnny J’s specializes in burgers named after influential rock stars, including Chuck Berry, Bill Haley, and, of course, Elvis Presley. With the Elvis, patrons can expect a slab of beef topped with red chili and melted cheddar jack cheese, served open faced—without a single banana in sight.

4. BROOKLYN FARMACY & SODA FOUNTAIN // BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

This reworked early 20th-century pharmacy underwent renovations for reopening in 2010. Like any proper soda fountain, they're all about sundaes and milkshakes—including The Elvis, a vanilla ice cream topped with peanut butter, banana, and candied bacon.

5. MEMPHIS MOJO CAFE // BARTLETT, TENNESSEE

Mojo's

The Memphis Mojo Cafe and food truck are go-to spots for burgers, but it’s their dessert that will send Elvis fanatics into a sugar frenzy. Their Elvis Dippers are Nutter Butter cookies dipped in maple waffle batter, deep-fried, and dunked in butterscotch banana cream.

6. OATMEALS // NEW YORK, NEW YORK

The menu at OatMeals offers something for everyone, even if that someone is into Sriracha-covered oatmeal. But the standout might be The Elvis, a bowl of oats topped with peanut butter, banana, bacon, and sea salt.

7. MARLOWE'S RIBS & RESTAURANT // MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

Marlowe's Ribs & Restaurant

Just a few minutes from Graceland, it’s almost a prerequisite that Marlowe’s Ribs & Restaurant would have a surplus of Elvis-inspired items on their menu—and they don’t disappoint. Among their specialties: the Elvis Burger, which comes topped with bacon, smoked ham, and American cheese. For dessert, the Crispy Creme Banana Foster Sundae—a donut with vanilla ice cream, peanut butter sauce, sauteed bananas, and whipped cream—is a modern take on some of the King's favorite treats.

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Pop Culture
Prince Is Getting His Own Pantone Color: Love Symbol #2
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Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

Prince was music royalty, so it only makes sense that purple—the hue traditionally favored by monarchs—was his signature color. To memorialize the late singer/songwriter, who died in April 2016, the Pantone Color Institute and the Prince Estate have collaborated on a custom shade of dark purple to represent the High Priest of Pop.

Pantone

Called Love Symbol #2, "the color was inspired by Prince’s custom-made Yamaha piano, which was originally scheduled to go on tour with the performer before his untimely passing at the age of 57," Pantone stated in a press release. "The color pays tribute to Prince’s indelible mark on music, art, fashion, and culture."

Thanks to the 1984 film Purple Rain and its Oscar-winning music, Prince has long been associated with royal hue. Now, “while the spectrum of the color purple will still be used in respect to the 'Purple One,' Love Symbol #2 will be the official color across the brand he left behind,” according to Pantone.

We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the Funky One’s flamboyant legacy.

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