Reelin’ In The Years Productions, one of America’s largest footage archives, and Double 2 BV, a Netherlands production company, have acquired the rights to the Dutch music program Countdown. Often referred to as “Europe’s #1 Rock Show,” Countdown was on-the-air for 16 years (1977-1993), and was broadcast in 18 countries, making it one of the most successful music shows in the history of television.
The archive contains over 3,000 hours of musical performances, interviews and concert appearances by the greatest rock, R&B, pop, new wave and rap/hip-hop artists of the era, including: Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, U2, Michael Jackson, The Police, David Bowie, Beastie Boys, George Harrison, Billy Joel, Whitney Houston, Run-DMC, Depeche Mode, Culture Club, Duran Duran, Blondie, The Cure, R.E.M., and thousands more.
Click here to view a 12 minute demo of a small sampling of the archive.
With the launch of MTV in 1981, many music artists started appearing less frequently on American television, instead preferring to send music videos to promote themselves. However, in Europe MTV did not premiere until August 1987, so the best way these artists could reach a wide audience was to appear on music programs such as Countdown. Because Countdown was broadcast in 18 countries and seen by millions of viewers, the artists realized the power of the Countdown audience and made sure to make an appearance on the show for maximum promotion.
In addition to thousands of in-studio performances, Countdown went on location to capture concert performances by artists such as Prince, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Eurythmics, Steve Miller Band, Jacksons, De La Soul, Madonna, Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Pearl Jam and AC/DC, who in 1979 debuted their classic “Highway To Hell” on the program. In the course of conducting on-location interviews, many times the Countdown film crew would capture unique moments such as Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry performing “Walk This Way” in a music store, and U2’s Bono improvising a country ballad on guitar backstage.
While a small fraction of the Countdown tapes had been transferred many years ago, most of the archive was not accessible. Reelin’ In The Years Productions and Double 2 BV have now begun the monumental task of transferring and cataloging the full archive, which contains nearly 3000 master tapes. In addition to the footage that was edited for broadcast, a massive amount of raw tapes have been discovered, featuring songs that were never broadcast and unedited interviews lasting up to 30 minutes. This will be the first time that the full Countdown library has been available for licensing to all forms of media.
For licensing information or to search their database regarding the Countdown archives or other RITY libraries please visit their website at www.reelinintheyears.com.