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Gallery update Queen appeared (unaccredited) on BBC’s ‘Keep Yourself Alive’

24 July 1973 – Queen appeared (unaccredited) on BBC’s ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’ with ‘Keep Yourself Alive’ to a video compilation from old black and white cartoons -their first TV appearance.

Queen released their first ever single, ‘Keep Yourself Alive’ on 6 July 1973. The single was reviewed extensively and mostly, but not exclusively, favourably in the music press.

DJ John Peel commented, ‘Some pleasing guitar and synthesizer work…’in his column in Sounds. Not bad for a first single. The single was sent out to all local and regional radio stations for inclusion on their play lists but, with the exception of Radio Luxembourg, it didn’t get any airplay at all. BBC Radio One rejected it no less than five times. EMI sent a ‘white label’ copy of the Queen debut album to BBC Television, in hope that someone might like it enough to plug it – although they forgot to include the publicity material about the band. (A white label copy is an early pressing of a record, used for promotion while the labels and covers of the albums are being printed.)

It landed on the desk of Mike Appleton, producer of the BBC’s rock programme ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test.’ Mike played the anonymous album out of interest and he absolutely loved it, especially the first track!

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He didn’t have a clue who the band were or whom he should contact about the track, but he took it upon himself to include the song on the programme. Having no film to accompany the song, he sent it to a friend in the animation department and asked him to cut something brilliant to go with it.

On 24 July 1973, ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’ featured the song ‘Keep Yourself Alive,’ played over a piece of animation once used by the US President Roosevelt as part of the election campaign. The BBC received numerous calls about the song, including one from Trident informing them the identity of the band.

By now BBC Radio One had heard Queen’s debut album, and although they were still not giving the single any airplay, Queen were approached by John Peel, who was notorious for picking up on new bands he thought worth recommending to his listening public. His radio show regularly featured ‘sessions’ by people he considered up-and-coming artists – he asked Queen to do one.

Having already had the experience of recording for BBC, and knowing that such publicity could only be good for them, the band agreed. They were given the choice of tracks for recording, which took place on 25 July 1973, and selected ‘Keep Yourself Alive’ , ‘Son and Daughter’ and ‘Liar’ from their debut album, and another track, ‘See What A Fool I’ve Been’ which they had been working on.

Source: Queen As It Began

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