Saturday, 25 February 2017

Sounds of the 60s

I don't think my Facebook feed has been quite so busy as it has been in the last couple of months following the enforced departure of Brian Matthew from Sounds of the Sixties.

I'm a member of the Sounds of the Sixties Facebook group and the fact that Brian was absent and replaced by Tim Rice, then the news that he'd wouldn't be returning, had the avids in uproar. To cap it all the show is to continue with Tony Blackburn but at the ungodly hour of 6am on Saturday morning, two hours earlier.

As if to rub salt in the wounds of Brian's devoted listeners, Radio 2 boss Lewis Carnie wrote in the current edition of the Radio Times the somewhat illogical statement that "Brian is irreplaceable at 8am on a Saturday, so we're moving the Sounds of the 60s to 6am, with a live show hosted by Tony Blackburn". So he's both irreplaceable and replaceable it seems.

Of course network controllers are perfectly at liberty to have a schedule shake-up and, it must be admitted, that until this year Radio 2's schedule has been pretty static of late. However, last month's overnight changes caused a ruckus and now Brian has publically declared that the decision to leave was by mutual agreement as "absolute balderdash. I was ready and willing and able to go back".  All very messy and sadly not untypical of the gulf between management and on-air talent - witness the shoddy treatment of Alex Lester who, after nearly 30 years with the station had no visit from an executive, nor even the offer of a farewell drink.

The furore surrounding SOTS was discussed on yesterday's edition of Feedback


Brian has been hosting  Sounds of the Sixties since March 1990. But he wasn't the first presenter; when it started in 1983 Keith Fordyce was in the hot seat. When Keith left in 1986 there was a string of guest presenters - all musicians and singers who'd enjoyed fame in the 60s - plus quite a few shows with Simon Dee.


When Brian took over there was a promise of "new, improved nostalgia" (see article above). The formula has been pretty much unchanged in the intervening 27 years. Brian's presence has always lent an air of authority to the show - he was there at the time on Saturday Club, Easy Beat and Thank Your Lucky Stars. When, today, Brian played a clip from the 60s BBC Transcription Service series Pop Profile featuring George Harrison it was Brian interviewing.  But let's not forget that Tony Blackburn has equally valid 1960s credentials - and still sounds as fresh as he did back then - and there's continuity too with producer Phil Swern compiling the show.

But today was the end of an era for Brian, doubly so as it not only marks the end of a 27  year run on Sounds of the Sixties but, including Round Midnight, it's the first time Brian hasn't been on the radio at least once a week in 39 years.  

From my own archive here's an edition of Sounds of the Sixties from 23 October 2004.


This morning's  swansong was a trip down memory lane with archive clips and mentions of past show features. This is the show in full.



"This is your old mate Brian Matthew saying that's your lot for this week. See you again soon"

2 comments:

Big Al said...

Hi Andy
I came across your blog when looking for Sound of the Sixties recordings. Isn't always the same you don't know what you've got till it's gone. R.I.P. Brian.
Anyway, I'm astounded by your blog, until I came across this I only had a vague notion of what a blog was, although I'm sure all blogs are not created equal. I am gobsmacked by the amount of stuff on here and your knowledge and your resources. So many memories have been awoken from the mists of time and the depths of my brain.
With regard to SOTS with your own contributions I managed to get over 30 programs mostly from Mixcloud (another resource new to me) but if you have any more I,m sure many others would be as grateful as myself.
Many thanks and regards from Alan Jarvis

Andy Walmsley said...

Hi Alan. Thank you for your feedback. I do have some more SOTS and in time I'll probably post them on Mixcloud. I also post via the Retro Radio Facebook group - I think you may already be a member of this group.

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