Juke Box Jury

The best thing that punk did was to shake things up. The second best thing punk did was to say things out loud that most people would be too polite to say – the key word being ‘boring’. The thrill of seeing punk stars on TV for this specific purpose is hard to describe, but let’s try and re-create it for you.

Arguing over whether a song is good or not has been a human pastime for centuries. In 1948, a new TV programme began on KTSL Channel 2 in California which went on to fill many hours of programming time worldwide. Originally in the slot before Billy Graham’s ‘Hour of Decision’, the early US Jukebox Jury finished in 1954 because it was little more than a radio show with cameras. However, the BBC took on the format in 1959 and made it popular with 12 million viewers in the 1960s before finishing in 1967.

Move on to 1979, and for some reason, the idea of showing famous people listening thoughtfully to 3-minute pop records was resurrected in the UK as potentially great TV. Nowadays, it seems tediously slow; you just want to swipe left after about 8 seconds of the thing. Having John Lydon as a panel member to judge whether a record would be a ‘hit’ or ‘miss’ in June 1979 was therefore genius, and his bow-tied performance doesn’t disappoint.

“It was mediocre, full stop.”

 “It ain’t the Donna Summer that I know. I hate it. It was awful.” drawls a smoking, drinking Johnny Rotten.

“Weedy” is his description of Abba, and Showaddywaddy is

“rubbish”.

Always mesmerising to watch, John Lydon was the talk of the school the following Monday because, of course, EVERYONE had watched it.

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