Tuesday 28 November 2017

Song cycle

A few weekends ago, I was searching through catch-up tv for something interesting to watch, when I spotted a documentary about the Beatles, originally broadcast in June this year. I don't know how I missed it at the time, but no worries, that's the beauty of catch-up services.

The documentary was about the making of the Sergeant Pepper album, which is now 50 years old, and was presented by Howard Goodall. From the old Victorian poster found by John Lennon in a shop in Kent (which became the lyrics to 'Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite') to the invention of the variable speed tape machine to allow two takes at different speeds to be mixed together ('Strawberry Fields Forever'), it was a very interesting programme. The band's producer at Abbey Road studios was George Martin, who was an integral part of the creative process of recording such an innovative and ground-breaking album. Sadly, I can't find the link to the programme now, my apologies.

Then, the other evening, I was browsing through a social media feed (OK, it was Facebook), when I happened upon a link to CRMK (Community Radio Milton Keynes), which was broadcasting 'Between Two Worlds', a progressive rock show, hosted by an acquaintance from our time in MK. There was an eclectic mix of tracks, none of which I had heard before (I hadn't even heard of the bands!) and I think I will be 'tuning in' more regularly in future. Some of CRMK DJ Kev Slaymaker's shows are available on Mixcloud.

This morning, my thoughts turned to another formative music programme on the radio, Radio One's Friday Rock Show which ran from 1978 to 1993 and was broadcast between 10pm and midnight on a... you've guessed it... Friday evening. For much of the show's time, it was hosted by Tommy Vance (TV on the radio) and was essential listening after lights out. Today I have been reminiscing with the show's theme tune, 'Take It Off The Top' by Dixie Dregs and also the tune which accompanied the weekly quiz, the Friday Night Connection, 'Theme One' by Van Der Graaf Generator.

In listening to the latter, I learnt that 'Theme One' was originally written and recorded by none other than George Martin, also 50 years ago, for the launch of Radio One. Should I have known that? Probably not, I was only five years old at the time.


Mark said...

Good morning Mr Tense, I found your last dissertation of profound interest. I have a regular source of Beatles trivia inasmuch as one of my customers, a musician, does a lot of work at Abbey Road and is big buddies with George Martin's son, Giles Martin. Musically I just missed the Beatles, they split when I was about eight, my first band was Slade!

Bringing me on to VDGG they are one of my fave prog bands. Unique sound because they have no guitars!!! Bass pedals on the organ provide the rhythm and the sax replaces the lead. I have a compilation with 'theme one' on it but have always regarded it as a filler track, I'll have to give it another spin.

Yes I was always into the Friday rock show, late 70's early 80's and Annie Nightingale on Sunday after the top 40 but she always used to infuriate me by deliberately talking over songs while you were trying to tape them!

sorry about the long comment, sincere best wishes to the Tenses, Mark.

Imperfect and Tense said...

I will obviously 'need' to do more research and trawl through the back catalogues of VDGG and Dixie Dregs!