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  1. #1

    BBC Radio 1960's

    We struggled to get to hear much US soul music on the BBC in the early 60's. The corporation had problems though, as they had to do as the powerful musicians union wanted. So most of their broadcast time was taken up with live music broadcasts, record plays came 2nd best. Even then, the BBC had a 'policy' of supporting UK acts recordings over US ones, so many times we'd be played a UK beat group cover version of a recent US R&B / soul hit.
    This all changed when the pirate radio stns set up off-shore of England. They had little or no space & no money, so live musician sessions weren't a possibility for them. So vinyl ruled 100% of the time & with US black music being the hip thing, they played the US versions not the UK cover.
    The BBC eventually adapted [[by creating RADIO ONE, etc) but it took them a few years.
    HOWEVER, with R&B being the in-genre, all the top UK acts were soon playing R&B / soul ... so when they were asked to do a live BBC radio session, it wasn't only their own tunes that they played ...

  2. #2
    Rod the mod always loved his soul music ...


  3. #3
    The Beatles & Stones did loads of R&B / soul covers BUT so did many other Brit groups ...

  4. #4
    Not an actual BBC recording but they did do all these songs live on the BBC ...

  5. #5
    The group that started it all [[UK wise) ...

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by jsmith View Post
    We struggled to get to hear much US soul music on the BBC in the early 60's. The corporation had problems though, as they had to do as the powerful musicians union wanted. So most of their broadcast time was taken up with live music broadcasts, record plays came 2nd best. Even then, the BBC had a 'policy' of supporting UK acts recordings over US ones, so many times we'd be played a UK beat group cover version of a recent US R&B / soul hit.
    This all changed when the pirate radio stns set up off-shore of England. They had little or no space & no money, so live musician sessions weren't a possibility for them. So vinyl ruled 100% of the time & with US black music being the hip thing, they played the US versions not the UK cover.
    The BBC eventually adapted [[by creating RADIO ONE, etc) but it took them a few years.
    HOWEVER, with R&B being the in-genre, all the top UK acts were soon playing R&B / soul ... so when they were asked to do a live BBC radio session, it wasn't only their own tunes that they played ...
    The forum software won't allow me to like this post, but I do!

    LIKE!

  7. #7
    The Who on UK TV ....

  8. #8
    Most of us in the UK at the time didn't realise that many pop groups' hits were covers of American soul songs. The Four Seasons songs were in particular widely covered.
    I'm sure most "non-soul" music fans are still non the wiser.

  9. #9
    TRUE; the likes of the Stones, Hollies, Dave Clark Five, Hermans Hermits, Searchers, Lulu, Moody Blues, Cilla Black, Sandie Shore, Georgie Fame, Animals, Walker Brothers [[who were American but UK based), Alan Price Set, Mindbenders, Love Affair, Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, Freddie and the Dreamers AND MORE had hits with covers of US originals.

  10. #10
    Big UK hit + US original ...


  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Stax_of_Motown View Post
    Most of us in the UK at the time didn't realise that many pop groups' hits were covers of American soul songs. The Four Seasons songs were in particular widely covered.
    I'm sure most "non-soul" music fans are still non the wiser.
    We kind of had the same problem here during the fifties around the time of the beginning of rock and roll. I was listening and buying songs by the Crew Cuts, McGuire Sisters, Pat Boone and others and did not know that they were covers of R & B artists. I still like some of those covers now that I am aware of the originals, but now I cringe when i hear Pat Boone singing Tutti Fruiti phonetically when he sings "Wop bop a loo bop a lop bom bom"

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by jsmith View Post
    We struggled to get to hear much US soul music on the BBC in the early 60's.....This all changed when the pirate radio stns set up off-shore of England. ]
    I was stationed in Germany in the mid-sixties and got my music from AFN. It was mostly easy listening type music. But I was able to tune into Radio Luxemburg at night and appreciated what i was listening to. Was that pirate radio?

  13. #13
    Radio Luxembourg was not a pirate radio station as it was a legitimate radio station based in Luxembourg. The British Broadcasting Corporation had a monopoly on any English language radio based in the U K. and was strictly non-commercial. Radio Luxembourg legally broadcast commercial English language programming from Europe's most powerful transmitter which enabled reception in the UK, albeit subject to atmospheric distortion and static. It is fondly remembered on two counts: a memorable advert for a system to win football pool bets, by Horace Batchelor of Keynsham, and for it being the sole broadcaster of black r&b / soul music when the BBC would not give it airtime. That's how I first heard black music on the AEG Telefunken radio set, listening through my deaf father's WWII bakelite headphones. Radio Caroline was a pirate radio station which undermined Radio Luxembourg until legislation put it out of business.
    Last edited by MIKEW-UK; 06-24-2024 at 12:30 PM.

  14. #14
    Thank you for the info. I'm glad that we were able to get Radio Luxembourg at least at night. It gave me access to the latest soul/r&b songs that were being ignored on the Armed Forces Network. I always thought it was a pirate radio station. I guess it no longer exists.

  15. #15
    In the mid 60s soul and Motown was still receiving little radio play and hence little commercial exposure. When I left school and home, at that time, my first job was in a holiday camp, as a dishwasher and as swimming pool life guard. I was reprimanded for playing Motown albums by Isley Brothers, Four Tops and Jimmy Ruffin over the public address system and told instant dismissal if I were to repeat such an outrageous act.

  16. #16
    When the pirates were closed down, Radio Caroline continued, as did Radio Nordsee International. IIRC, the latter had a jamming signal transmitted over the top of it by the authorities, thus making it an unpleasant listen.

    However, in the family house in Southgate, North London that we had in the late 60s, if I placed my Stella portable radio against the narrow bit of wall between the main front and back bedrooms, the signal seemed to be boosted by some wiring therein and I could pick up Radio Veronica, which was a Dutch pirate station that played good pop music.

    I clearly remember Radio Veronica playing "Reflections" by DRATS as an oldie in 1968, because oldies back then were still recent tunes. My memories suggest to me that they played the single mix as it leapt out of my little trannie [[transistor radio!!!).

    Those were the days when you had to work hard and hope a lot to get to hear your music.

  17. #17
    Another US R&B hit song that a UK beat / blues band covered. The Pretty Things were in the Rolling Stones bag but never got as popular ...

  18. #18
    Yet another UK cover version ...

  19. #19
    Yet another UK cover version ... you may know the song ...

  20. #20
    makes one wonder WHO in the UK specifically chose what the public got to hear, and what they didn't, on the radio?? Was it a panel? One guy in a cramped room with a turntable?? WHO?

    In the US yes each station [of hundreds] similarly got to choose what they wanted to play, but with competition, if this station didn't, maybe that one over there would. And if a record broke and station A still didn't play it ... they risked losing the audience seeking it. Quite a balancing act... the taste of the station itself, and the tastes of the listening public.
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 07-04-2024 at 09:29 PM.

  21. #21
    Things at the BBC back in the 60's were run by a board of directors. However, what was played on 'pop radio' would have been very low on their priority list [[pop music being seen by those in the establishment as 'throw-away rubbish ... unlike classical music). So who actually made the decisions on what live bands were booked & what records were to be played is very much lost in the mist of time. The 'out dated' way UK radio was run up to the mid 60's is what brought the idea of pirate radio stns into focus. Once one / two of those had been set up, the whole music scene in the UK changed overnight.
    ALSO back then, there was no internet, few informed guys working for the main UK music mags. So when a 'cover' was released by a UK group, very few Brit music fans would have known who made the original version [[or even that a track was a 'cover' & not an original version).

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by jsmith View Post
    Things at the BBC back in the 60's were run by a board of directors. However, what was played on 'pop radio' would have been very low on their priority list [[pop music being seen by those in the establishment as 'throw-away rubbish ... unlike classical music). So who actually made the decisions on what live bands were booked & what records were to be played is very much lost in the mist of time. The 'out dated' way UK radio was run up to the mid 60's is what brought the idea of pirate radio stns into focus. Once one / two of those had been set up, the whole music scene in the UK changed overnight.
    ALSO back then, there was no internet, few informed guys working for the main UK music mags. So when a 'cover' was released by a UK group, very few Brit music fans would have known who made the original version [[or even that a track was a 'cover' & not an original version). good point
    I'm trying to imagine this board sitting around playing records .... voting yes 5-4 on this one, no 3-6 on that one ....good grief.

    But then again no matter the circumstances ....somebody was making these decisions ...somebody at American Bandstand was deciding what records were to be featured that week .... and on Soul Train...

    I'm laughing because part of the glory of working at record stores was your opportunity to play to the crowd. Tower records famously had the most varied employees and typically you had to suffer the worst advent garde [sp] crap they could hoist on you while stuck there shopping . Because of course they knew better than the general public what the good stuff was, and it sure wasn't any of this pop junk heard on the radio.
    [I've always wondered how many sales Tower LOST by not playing the hot stuff that their customers might've grabbed by hearing it ... over how many did they gain from playing their oddball specialties.]


    I can appreciate the excitement that ensued when all this remote and unbeknownst soul music was discovered and claimed and embraced by the Northern Soul crowd. Spontaneous combustion. A frenzy that fed upon itself and for itself. Very cool.

    [I know, thoughts all over the place today, one leads to another sometimes sorry ]
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 07-07-2024 at 03:25 PM.

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