In the early 80s Ready to Roll was NZ’s premier TV pop show. It emerged in the pre-music video boom mid-70s hosted by Roger Gascoigne (and later Stu Dennison) with bands and dancers live in the studio. By the early 80s it was a seamless video clip Top 20 countdown — introduced by the Commodores pumping ‘Machine Gun’ — and appointment Saturday evening viewing for music fans (and a regular in the week’s Top 10 rating shows). It then evolved into a brand, spawning a number of RTR offshoots (Mega-Mix, Sounz and New Releases), before disappearing in the mid-90s.

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Ready to Roll - Nice One Stu excerpts

Television, 1975 (Excerpts)

After-school show Nice One was a popular classic of NZ childrens television, with the show's signature theme tune ("Nice one Stu-y!") and Stu's thumbs-up salute, totemic for kids of the 70s. Host Stu Dennison played a cheeky, pony-tailed schoolboy who delighted children and infuriated adults with his irreverent antics. But Dennison developed the persona in short live segments for Ready to Roll (shot live at Avalon Studios, excerpted here). Prototype Stu is seen being a truant, reciting rude poetry, singing 10cc and ribbing Roger Gascoigne and 70s metrosexuals.     

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Ready to Roll - NZ Record Awards 1978

Television, 1978 (Full Length)

The NZ Music Awards ceremony now fills Auckland’s Vector Arena and is a major social and music industry event. In 1978 the awards were broadcast in this 16 September Ready to Roll special, cobbling together finalists at Avalon Studios. Stu (Nice One) Dennison is the host (in brown overalls); and there are performances from John Rowles, newcomer Sharon O’Neill, the Rodger Fox Big Band, Hello Sailor, Toni Williams and Golden Harvest (who feature teeth-picking lead guitar in best Hendrix style). Just two awards are covered here: for single and album of the year.

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Ready to Roll - opening titles

Television, 1984 (Full Length)

These are the 80s opening titles for the music show that made 6pm on Saturdays essential viewing time for pop music fans in the 70s and 80s, where a weekly fix of chart action was topped off with the opportunity to guess the week’s number one. These titles replaced the late 70s set (scored by the Commodores ‘Machine Gun’). Synth pop was now the prevailing sound, the colours favoured 80s electric neon; and the graphics showed a debt to the arcade shooter computer games that arrived in Space Invader's wake. Featured artists came next and then the countdown ...