Showing posts with label BBC Radio. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BBC Radio. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

BBC: Sean Ono Lennon interviews Julian Lennon, Paul McCartney and Elton John on "John Lennon At 80" Oct. 3


 Details from the BBC about a pair of special radio broadcasts in honor of John Lennon's 80th birthday:

In a worldwide exclusive for Radio 2, to mark what would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday, Sean Ono Lennon interviews Julian Lennon, Paul McCartney and Elton John in two-part documentary, John Lennon At 80 to be broadcast on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 October, 9-10pm.

And John Lennon At The BBC brings together from the archive, classic performances and interviews (Sunday 4 October, 7-9pm). All programmes will be broadcast on Radio 2 and BBC Sounds, and will be available to listen again on BBC Sounds for 30 days.

Additionally, each of the conversations Sean has with Julian, Paul and Elton will be available to listen to in full on BBC Sounds after John Lennon At 80 has been broadcast.

John Lennon would have turned 80 years old on Friday 9 October. Hosted by his youngest son Sean in his first ever radio show about his father, this is a celebratory, musical, family portrait of the legendary musician. It sheds fresh light on John’s remarkable life in music - one which created some of the most important musical milestones of the 20th Century - and also delves deep into his incredible back catalogue.

Each of the hour-long programmes journey through his incomparable and prolific musical life as a Beatle, as a solo artist, with Yoko Ono, and as a collaborator. Sean, in conversation with his older brother Julian, bring their unique insights as John’s sons, sharing their thoughts and recollections about their father’s compositions and significant moments. This is the first time the brothers have ever spoken publicly together about their memories of their dad, and the first time Sean has talked about John publicly with his fellow Beatle and song-writing partner, Paul McCartney, and Sean’s godfather, Elton John. The programmes will be made by independent production company, Listen.

Helen Thomas, Head of Station, Radio 2, says: “John Lennon is one of the Radio 2 audience’s most popular and best loved musicians, so we’re thrilled and honoured that Sean’s first ever radio programme in which he talks at length about his father, alongside his brother Julian, Paul McCartney and Elton John, will be broadcast on our network.”

Sean and Julian talk personally about their father and how he taught them about music. Julian recalls his dad buying him a guitar when he was around 11 years old. It helped him get into playing music, and he remembers recording an early school gig which he sent to his dad on cassette. Together, Julian and Sean recall Lennon’s final album, Double Fantasy, with Sean describing it ‘overwhelming’ to listen to because some of his earliest memories are of being in the studio with his dad during the recording of it. They talk about their memories of finding out their dad was a Beatle, and not like everyone else’s dad, with Julian talking about seeing fans at the end of the garden each day when he was two or three years old growing up in England, and Sean recalling similar scenes outside their apartment building in New York.

Paul McCartney shares his memories of meeting John, talking about the combination of him and John, saying: “I look back on it now like a fan, how lucky was I to meet this strange teddy boy off the bus, who played music like I did and we get together and boy, we complemented each other!” Sean asks about his grandma, John’s mum, who had a massive influence on his life and music, but sadly died when John was a teenager. Paul shares some lovely memories; “She was a doll, you would have loved her”, and explains how much she was like John.

About their writing partnership, Sean asks if there were any songs he and John didn’t like or if they struck gold from the beginning? Paul says: "There were a few songs that weren’t very good… you know, clearly young songwriters who don't know how to do it", and then picks up his guitar and plays an example, an excerpt of a Lennon/McCartney track called Just Fun which they never recorded. He goes on to say: "Eventually, we started to write slightly better songs and then enjoyed the process of learning together so much that it really took off." And on whether the Let It Be period (The Beatles broke up soon after) really was as gloomy as the press made it out to be, Paul says he always thought it was until he saw some recently discovered footage of the recording sessions and recalls a photo, taken by Linda, of them both writing during the sessions, saying it reminds him of the strength of his friendship with John with the photo showing a different, less gloomy side which gave him ‘hope’. Sean also asks about his father’s insecurities, with Paul replying that his confidence was a ‘shield’, explaining that his wit guarded him from his insecurities as: “Wait a minute, there’s this guy ‘John Lennon’ who’s like a genius, clever, witty, confident, and everything why would he have insecurities? Because we’re all fragile beings.”

For the first time, Sean speaks publicly to Elton John, who talks about what it was like being around John. He tells a great story about cycling eight miles to buy a copy of Sergeant Pepper in Hatch End because he was such a fan! And from being a fan to finally meeting John, he tells Sean: "When I met your Dad I felt like I’d known him all my life and that’s the biggest compliment I can pay him." He talks about the Madison Square Garden performance John did with him in 1974, which became Lennon’s final live gig appearance, but was also where he was reunited with Yoko Ono after a period of separation. Soon after she was pregnant with Sean, hence the reason Elton is his godfather.

In John Lennon At The BBC, Liza Tarbuck explores the BBC's archive of John Lennon, from his earliest days with The Beatles up to his final interview recorded just two days before his death in December 1980. His work, both as a musician and as a high profile peace activist, still resonates as loudly today as it did during his lifetime. He appeared frequently on BBC programmes and these provide a fascinating insight into his creative output and worldview. His contributions were articulate, often controversial and always searingly honest as he talked about subjects including the Vietnam War, his protracted struggles with the US authorities as he tried and eventually succeeded in securing residency there, the break-up of The Beatles, his treatment by the press and the development of his music throughout the 1960's and 70's.

The featured programmes include his 1971 appearance on Parkinson alongside his wife Yoko Ono, performing his own poetry on Not Only But Also, talking to current Radio 2 presenter Bob Harris about his Rock 'N' Roll And Walls And Bridges albums on The Old Grey Whistle Test, an early 'pop profile' for the BBC World Service with Brian Matthew, and his explosive 1969 interview with veteran New York Times war correspondent Gloria Emerson which was captured on film for the BBC's 24 Hours. Also featured are tracks from throughout his solo career which have been painstakingly restored and remixed for the newly-released collection, Gimme Some Truth. These are heard alongside exclusive performances of some of his most celebrated songs including Imagine, Love, Woman and Happy Xmas (War Is Over) featuring Katie Melua, Roachford, Aloe Blacc and Jack Savoretti performing with the BBC Concert Orchestra. This is a BBC Audio production.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Vintage clippings: George Martin and the launch of Radio One

On Sept. 20, 1967, the BBC launched Radio One, its first station dedicated to pop music. The station and format was spurred into being from the commercial offshore "pirate" radio stations broadcasting into England from international waters.

Obviously, the pirates and Radio 1 played a lot of Beatles music, and the new station commissioned the band's producer, George Martin, to pen a theme song for its launch, which he titled "Theme One."
Here are some vintage clippings about the station's launch, followed by Martin's theme.






Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Monty Lister - broadcaster who did the first radio interview with the Beatles - dead at 92

Former BBC Merseyside Radio announcer Monty Lister, who did the first radio interview with the Beatles back in 1962, has died at age 92.

Via Radio Today:

[Lister is] perhaps best remembered for recording the first broadcast interview with The Beatles for Radio Clatterbridge in 1962 for the programme Sunday Spin, which he also broadcast to Cleaver Hospital in Heswall.

The band, who were playing at Hulme Hall, were about to hit the big time and had just signed Ringo Starr so Monty and assistants Peter Smethurst and Malcolm Threadgill decided to turn up and see if they could get the new Fab Four on tape.

Peter told the station in 2002: “Mr Epstein rang me up and gave me up hill and down dale for not asking his permission. I think it was the right decision by Monty to go ahead irrespective.”


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Listen: BBC radio documentary on "The Beatles' Final Concert"


Listen here.

Details from BBC World Service:

The Beatles' final public performance was a short 'rooftop concert', which took place 50 years ago at their Apple Corps headquarters in central London on January 30, 1969. 

With contributions from several of those who witnessed the historic performance, including director Michael Lindsay-Hogg, photographer Ethan Russell, engineer Alan Parsons, technician Dave Harries and Ken Wharfe, the policeman who was sent by his superiors to `turn that noise off’, the programme explains the tensions and resentment that existed between the four members of the world’s biggest band, as they struggled to rediscover the joy of playing together after 12 months of acrimonious arguments, and how the concert was an attempt to kick-start a new album. 

 In reality, the performance, which featured five songs that would eventually be included on the band’s Let It Be album, only served to highlight the deep divisions within the band, and 30 January 1969 will go down in music history as the final concert performance by one of the most influential bands of the 20th Century.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

50 years ago today: George Martin's "Theme One" launches BBC Radio 1

Fifty years ago today, the BBC (sort of) shrugged off its stuffy mantle and entered the world of pop music radio.

Radio 1 launched in response to the popularity of England's pirate radio stations. At a time when there were few commercial alternatives to the government-run Beeb, the likes of Radio London and Radio Caroline broadcast the latest pop music from ships parked in international waters off the nation's cost.

The pirate stations took their cues from American Top 40 radio, with chatty deejays, chart tunes and snappy jingles, and Radio 1 assumed the same template.

Artists such as Jimi Hendrix and The Who recorded jingles for the new station and George Martin composed and recorded its theme song, the groovy orch-psych instrumental "Theme One."

"Theme One" was the first music listeners to the new station heard following an initial welcome from BBC Controller Sir Robin Scott. After the theme, chirpy deejay Tony Blackburn came on to introduce the first proper tune of the day, "Flowers in the Rain," by the Move.

"Theme One" was played on Radio 1 at the start of each broadcast day through the mid 1970s and was later featured on the station in a cover version recorded by Van Der Graaf Generator.

You can hear the original version on the highly recommended Produced by George Martin box set.

The BBC is celebrating Radio 1's anniversary this weekend with a "pop-up station" that will replicate Blackburn's first broadcast and air highlights from the station's history. Listen here.


Friday, January 27, 2017

BBC dumps veteran DJ, and Beatles foil, Brian Matthew

Brian Matthew, who can be heard bantering with the Beatles on several tracks of the band's officially released BBC recordings, has been dismissed from the British broadcaster's long-running "Sounds of the 60s" program.

The Beeb said the decision to remove Matthew was a mutual one. Matthew, on the other hand, says "that's absolute balderdash."

Matthew had been off the air for several weeks after recovering from a fall. The BBC said those health issues signaled that now was “the right time for him to step off the weekly treadmill of presenting the show.”

Meanwhile, Matthew told the Telegraph:
"I was ready and willing and able to go back, and they’ve just said they are going to put the programme in the hands of other people.

“I didn’t really have much in the way of ill health. I had a collapse at home at the bottom of our stairs, and my wife called the ambulance service. They came and examined me and said it was a matter for appraisal at the hospital. They put me on a ward, I stayed there for a while and now I’m back at home.

“I enjoyed doing the show very much indeed. I did it for 25 years. I feel very disconcerted, I must say. I do admit I’m a bit of an antique, but that’s never seemed to matter until now.”

In many ways, Matthew was the sound of the 1960s. He joined the BBC in 1954, becoming host of "Saturday Club" and "Easy Beat." He also hosted ITV's "Thank Your Lucky Stars." He played host to countless stars, over the year. Along with the Beatles, you can hear his voice on BBC sessions featuring the Who, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and more.

You can listen to some of his interviews here.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Paperback of Beatles BBC Archives book out this month

A paperback edition of Kevin Howlett's "The Beatles: The BBC Archives" is list for April 30 release on Amazon.

Here's the blurb:
BBC radio and television played crucial roles during The Beatles' initial breakthrough and subsequent global domination. This book reveals how the relationship between the UK's foremost broadcasting organization and the world's most celebrated pop group developed between 1962 and 1970. This in-depth account of The Beatles' BBC appearances features transcripts of broadcast interviews plus photographs of the group and fascinating documents from the archives. From the unprecedented excitement of Beatlemania to the mature reflection of the last interviews before the group's split, it was all seen and heard on the BBC. You can experience the history of The Beatles the way it really happened.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New complete BBC bootleg circulating

WogBlog has the scoop on a new, nicely packaged 24-CD collection of the Beatles' complete BBC Radio recordings.

The set is a significant update from previous collections in that it's more complete and sounds better.

Available via download, the set includes print-yourself artwork modeled on tape box design of Ken Howlett's recent book, "The Beatles: The BBC Archives 1962-1970." In fact, you can even place the CDs in the box accompanying the book if you wish.

Compilers of the set are urging fans to share the material freely and not charge for it. Inevitably, some folks will likely do so. Though the fan intent is goodhearted, this is a bootleg, in that the Beatles have not officially released most of the contents.

I've seen the files for the set pop up in a few different places, I'm sure you can find them, too.