This is a most unusual story about a band with their own television series.
Please read on for the bizarre tale of The Arrows.
The Arrows Show was a weekly TV series in the UK which aired between 1976-77.
It was produced by British pop music icon Muriel Young on the ITV / Granada network,
which aired all over England and all the other territories where ITV is broadcast,
Ireland, Scotland, Hong Kong, Australia and South Africa.
The format of the show was that the band Arrows would do three songs.
There were two guests who performed, generally one well known
and one up and coming act. There was also a dance troupe called Him and Us,
who would do one or two go-go style numbers to hits of the day during the show.
The Arrows had two 14 week series, for a total of 28 aired shows.
With repeats that's 56 airings of The Arrows show. Guests included The Drifters, Slade, The Bay City Rollers, Marc Bolan & T Rex,
Slik, Pilot, Gene Pitney, Randy Edelman,
Gilbert O'Sullivan, Flintlock, Dana, Lindsey DePaul, Billy J Kramer, Sheer Elegance, Paul Nicholas, Hello, The Glitterband,
Midge Ure & Slik, Jonathon King, The Real Thing, Peter Noone, The Wurzels,
Showaddywaddy, Billy Ocean, and many more.
Above photo of The Arrows by Gered Mankowitz. Band members from left to right- Jake Hooker, Alan Merrill, Paul Varley.
Arrows re-recording of the song at Abbey Road studios in London
was made an a-side, a full month after it was released as a b-side.
With no label support the Arrows version of the song barely made the top 100.
England was in the midst of a newspaper strike, and there was a marked lack of airplay for the disc
due to the late "flipping" of the song to an a-side.
Moreover and the most important factor was that frankly there was very poor promotion
by the Arrows record label.
Still, in time the song would prove to undeniably be The Arrows biggest
contribution to rock music.
The group didn't like the songs their label were asking them to record,
feeling that they were writing better material than the label
were presenting them to release. The band decided to put their collective feet down,
and demand that they record their own material. The label said no, and then a cold war between the band,
the band's management, and the label started, resulting in the group
having no product released during either of their weekly TV series. It's a sad story, but also a story of musical integrity by the band.
History proved that they were indeed coming up with the goods,
and you can't really present a label a more obvious hit song than "I love rock 'n roll."
If they weren't going to hear that as a hit, the label weren't going to hear anything as a hit song written by the band.
Muriel Young, the show's producer, is a legend in British television,
having hosted many shows, including "Thank Your Lucky Stars,"
a show featuring new and upcoming bands who did very well indeed,
like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, the Kinks and others.
The Arrows broke up after the second TV series due to the immense frustration
of not being able to release records during the airings of their shows
. This in spite of Muriel Young offering them a third weekly series.
Ironically this band's musical integrity has enhanced their cult status today.
They made a stand against the system, and are unique in rock history
as the only band to have a TV series with no current recorded product released.
The total waste of a dream format for a band by their record label.
The US born Arrows singer Alan Merrill was with the Japanese early 70s cult glam rock band
Vodka Collins before forming the Arrows. Their EMI-Japan album "Tokyo-New York" is an underground classic.
He was the first foreigner to break in to the top level of the domestic Japanese rock music market.
Alan Merrill went on to play with bands Runner, Derringer, Meat Loaf
and others after The Arrows.
He has released a number of solo albums in the new millennium,
including "Cupid Deranged," "Never Pet A Burning Dog," "Double Shot Rocks," "A Merrilly Christmas,"
"At The Candy Shop" "Snakes and Ladders" "Face Of 69" "At The Candy Shop" "Songer Singerwiter" and "Numbers"-
Guitarist Jake Hooker retired from playing music after the Arrows,
and married (actress Judy Garland's daughter) Lorna Luft, becoming her manager.
He was a rock manager for other artists as well, guiding the careers of Edgar Winter, Orleans, and The Knack.
He was also is a certified stock broker and trader.
Jake passed away in 2014.
After The Arrows broke up Paul Varley played drums with the band Darling,
and was June Bolan's (Marc Bolan's ex-wife) live in lover.
They had one child, Ilona (Porter). In 1980 British born Paul Varley left the UK to reside in LA,
and played drums with the Terry Reid band.
He passed away in 2008.
In 2002 Paul Varley returned to England. Sadly, he died in 2006 of complications
from recurring bouts with pneumonia, in London.
Terry Taylor plays guitar and is musical director with Rolling Stone Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings, a job
he has had since The Arrows demise. The Rhythm Kings have recorded a large body of work
together with the all star band.
There are some previously unreleased Arrows recordings available on various re-issues
in the new millennium.
Arrows Show video sample clips (below):
Photo below- Arrows phase two, second series, with new addition Terry Taylor. Cover of Look-In, the British TV Guide.
Clockwise from top of sketch - Alan Merrill, Paul Varley, Jake Hooker and Terry Taylor.
Singer Alan Merrill rocks out on The Arrows Show - series 2 - (below)
The Arrows original trio. Taking a break from recording - (below)
Alan Merrill sings a ballad on The Arrows Show - series 1 (below)
Page updated- Jan. 30, 2017-