Well it’s nearly come to end. Did you last the course for a year? Radio 2’s supremely enjoyable documentary series Sounds of the 20th Century concludes this Thursday evening with a review of 2000.
The juxtaposition of music and news reportage is very powerful and can sometime pack quite an emotional punch. I don’t know what the listening figures have been like but I’m aware that there has been demand for podcast and CD versions of the series, both unlikely given the cost of rights for the music and some of the archive material.
Of course the idea for the series itself is a recycled one and has its genesis in Radio 1’s 1980 series 25 Years of Rock (1955-79). That was so popular that it was repeated with added years in 1985 as 30 Years of Rock (1955-1984). I have that series on tape so it’s been interesting to spot the differences between it and the current version.
Both 25 Years of Rock and 30 Years of Rock relied heavily on the old newsreel films (British Pathé and Movietone) for their news stories. So it was apposite that Adrian Juste’s light-hearted look at the events of 1980, 26 Years of Rock, used the voice of British Pathé for 30 years, Bob Danvers-Walker.
26 Years of Rock was first broadcast on Radio 1 on Friday 26 December 1980. This recording is of the revised repeat on Saturday 26 September 1981.