Episodes
Published 11/29/23
You wonder why her life hasn’t been made into a movie. Jenny Boyd’s mother had so many children she didn’t realise her daughter had quit school and become a model. The world of London clubs and fashion magazines was the start of 60 years’ close observation of rock stars in every context leading, eventually, to the publication of ‘Icons of Rock’, her interviews with 65 musicians. Among the highlights in this pod she talks about... … what life’s like when your sister marries a Beatle. … the day...
Published 11/29/23
We ran our metal detector over this week’s rugged rock and roll terrain and dug deep when it beeped. Among those prime locations …   … the secret of Top Gear’s golden age.   … is Bob Dylan a “cold weather concept”?   … why Holger Czukay’s ‘Movies’ is a pivotal record.   … Daryl Hall’s restraining order on John Oates: inter-band fall-out scales brave new heights.   … the ground-breaking ingredient in ‘He’s Gonna Step On You Again’ by John Kongos.   … why Joni Mitchell, Lee Perry and Pink Floyd...
Published 11/27/23
The week’s rock and roll luggage was put through the scanner by our sharp-eyed security chiefs and the following items kept back for scrutiny … … 82 year-old jazzer in lucrative samples windfall! … is there a more excruciating ‘mum’ moment than the 12 year-old Elijah Blue Allman’s in the Cher video If I Could Turn Back Time? …. the staggering sum total of what the Beatles did on 30 July 1963. … “Mailbox money”: how Phil Manzanera made more from a hip hop record than from 15 years of Roxy...
Published 11/21/23
As if by some magical alignment of the planets, the  Specials, Madness and the Beat were all listening to the same music and developing the same look at precisely the same time, though completely unaware of each other. And when they started releasing records, the 10 year-old Daniel Rachel was transfixed. What happen next is recorded in his hectic and engrossing book, Too Much Too Young: the 2-Tone Records Story, the huge characters, the daily dramas, “the dance sensation that’s sweeping the...
Published 11/18/23
Jude Rogers – writer, broadcaster, old pal of the pod - first heard Kirsty MacColl when she was nine and felt a connection ever since. She’s just written the sleevenotes for ‘See That Girl’, the best, most diverse and exquisitely packaged compilation of her music ever assembled, an eight CD box-set of singles, rarities, unheard songs, live and Glastonbury appearances, demos, BBC sessions and collaborations, along with an entire unreleased album.   As Jude points out she wasn’t overlooked, but...
Published 11/14/23
This week’s winning hand from the rock and roll card deck includes …   … a silver salute to musicians who don’t dye their hair.   … did Al Pacino play Phil Spector? Roger Daltrey as Franz Liszt? Was Gary Oldman Joe Strummer?   … rock stars you’d swap lives with.   … the “theme-park-ification” of pop music.   … the mysteries of rock and roll are slowly evaporating. As Tom Waits said: “before the internet, we used to wonder. I miss the wondering.”   … the immortality of the Florida salesman who...
Published 11/13/23
Slade were as revolutionary as T. Rex or Roxy Music, Daryl Easlea points out. At one stage they were outselling Bowie and Bolan. They were the band that hauled the sedentary early ‘70s audience to its feet. The sound of the Ramones was built around ‘Slade Alive!’ and you can feel them in the bones of the Pistols and Oasis. We talk here to Daryl about his funny, energetic, nostalgic and affectionate new book, ‘Whatever Happened to Slade?: When The Whole World Went Crazee’, stopping off at...
Published 11/09/23
John Higgs' brilliant and wide-ranging book 'The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band Who Burned A Million Pounds' came out ten years ago and just keeps on selling. It sold initially to the fans who bought their records. Then to those absorbed by the fringe figures in their mythology - Ken Campbell, Alan Moore, Robert Anton Wilson, the Discordians. And then to people who just wanted a staggering and barely believable story about the attacks by two free-wheeling cultural terrorists on the worlds of...
Published 11/07/23
"The Beatles gave us a continuing soundtrack of unparalleled charm and reassurance", Derek Taylor said. "As long as they kept on delivering fresh songs along with the morning milk, everything was right in our optimistic world". It happened again on Thursday. Is the old magic still there? Also on the menu in this week's podcast... ... Fact or fiction? The extravagant adventures of Bill Drummond and why burning £1m still haunts the KLF. ... does it matter if musicians falsify their past? Paging...
Published 11/05/23
There are broadly three Ian Broudies in the public imagination. One is the songwriter with a catalogue of softly psychedelic left-field pop tunes. The second is the record producer behind Echo & the Bunnymen, the Fall, the Coral and Terry Hall. The third is the co-composer of our new national anthem. He talks here about early life in Liverpool and the records that enthralled him (See Emily Play, Autobahn), what he learned from his mentor Roger Eagle (who ran Eric's Club), a life-shifting...
Published 11/03/23
Billy Sloan, Glaswegian broadcaster and music columnist, has written his memoir, ‘One Love, One Life’, about a career that’s allowed him to point his microphone at an astonishing array of musicians and started back in the old analogue world of tight-deadline newspaper journalism where you hammered out your Chuck Berry interview as the rolls of film were biked back to the office to be processed. This covers a lot of ground including …   … the moment that changed his life.   … why the London...
Published 11/02/23
We spin the reels of the rock and roll fruit machine this week and get the following pay-outs …   … the preposterous present they gave Bobby Charlton when he retired.   ... “the leaning man from Alabam”.   … ‘Skinny Minnie Shimmy’ by Lattie Moore And The Emperors and other apparently fictitious rock and roll hits.   … a Radio One DJ who was also an actor, erotic sculptor, travel writer, sheep farmer, flamenco guitarist and ballet dancer. Why has no-one made a film of the life of Mike...
Published 10/30/23
Toothsome hors d’ouvres, mains and ‘items from the trolley’ on the rock and roll menu this week include …   … Bowie’s Pin-Ups v Ferry’s These Foolish Things: who won? … the worst band name in history and why.   … the fan who hired a plane to fly a message past Morrissey’s record label.   … the Stones’ Hackney Diamonds: best album since Black And Blue or tedious riff-less dirge?   … why only solo acts can tell stories onstage.     … why the Dutch love the Byrds.   … things we never imagined 50...
Published 10/23/23
The godfather of British independent labels, Immediate, was started in 1965 by the Stones’ manager Andrew Oldham and Tony Calder, its winning slogan: “happy to be part of the industry of human happiness”. As Simon Spence correctly puts it, “it all got very messy”. Oldham tended to fall out with people and then threaten to kill them. Simon’s excellent book, ‘Immediate: the Rise And Fall of the UK’s First Independent Record Label’ has the details (he also co-authored Oldham’s two memoirs,...
Published 10/21/23
As it emerges from the upheaval of Cross Rail, music historian Peter Watts looks at this densely-packed thoroughfare between Charing Cross Road and Covent Garden, which started off selling sheet music, grew into the place where many writers sold their tunes for a few quid while a wise minority hung on and made fortunes, a street that continues to provide a home for music businesses to this day. Includes.... ...the Victorian "rookeries" of St Giles ...how a coal mining accident made the...
Published 10/19/23
picy and nutritious items in the rock and roll bouillabaisse this week include …   … Roger Waters at the Palladium: a masterclass in how to insult an audience.   … “without Andrew Loog Oldham, the Stones would have been Manfred Mann.”   … the only rock star who can tell a story onstage.   … Nempnett Thrubwell, Hinton Blewett, Glaister Fagan … Leafy Somerset hamlet or venerable reggae dubmeister?   … the money Dave Grohl made from Nirvana (and it’s less than you’d imagine).   … why Barry...
Published 10/17/23
Nick Banks - nephew of the great Gordon Banks – saw a note pinned by his favourite band to a wall in 1986, his Sliding Doors moment: ‘Pulp Want Drummer. Call Russell or Jarvis’. What happened next he records in his memoir ‘It Started There: From Punk To Pulp’. We talk to him about life in Sheffield in the ‘70s and ‘80 and why it took 15 long years for Pulp to crack it. Among the highlights …   … why punk rock was like “Harry Potter’s Sorting Hat”.   … what drummers bring to groups.   … Pulp’s...
Published 10/12/23
Engaging blips on the rock and roll radar this week include:-   … Iron Maiden album title or novel by Jeffrey Archer?   … selling Ringo’s ashtray.   … the Blood Doner: the Hancock script that keeps on giving.   … “Terrible album title. Terrible album cover, too.” The start of Rolling Stone’s review of which immortal record?   … how come acting runs in families but writing and music don’t?   … Smash Hits: the Musical - you heard it here first. And why the Live Aid musical will work.   … A...
Published 10/09/23
Will Sergeant’s just put out the second volume of his memoirs, both of them Sunday Times best-sellers, Echoes and the first edition, Bunnyman. Here he revisits the Liverpool of the ‘60s and ‘70s in extraordinary detail - the clothes, the records, the gangs, the school days, the early shows he saw - and the many reasons he wanted to form a band. On the agenda …   … ‘rockist’ cliches the Bunnymen detested.     … why America loved early ‘80s British groups.   … the powerful appeal of Jethro...
Published 10/08/23
Crime novelist Cathi Unsworth turned Goth in her teens in rural Norfolk fired by a cocktail of Dennis Wheatley, the Damned on the Peel show and the dark arts of the York Festival “Gothtopia” bill in 1984. She devoted long hours to trying to construct Robert Smith’s “tarantula hair” and acquiring black lace garmentry. Something about its music and folklore chimed with a life marooned in the middle of an East Anglian beanfield pondering tales of Shuck, the fabled fire-eyed ghostly hound alleged...
Published 10/04/23
Richard Morton Jack interviewed over 200 people when assembling what’s unquestionably the best, most colourful, comprehensive, revealing and accurate portrait of Nick Drake ever published. We talked to him about ‘Nick Drake: The Life’ at a live podcast recording at 21Soho on September 25 and explored various remote corners of this sad, surprising and eternally gripping story, among them ….   … the fate of the tape of the 20-year old Drake playing for the Stones in Morocco in 1969.   … what...
Published 10/03/23
Spice-filled items tossed into the conversational cooking-pot this week include:-   … our charming encounter with Gary Numan, possibly the world’s most contented man.   … the next step in the age of spectacle: the sensory bombardment of U2’s shows at the Las Vegas Sphere and the crippling cost of experiencing it.    … Taylor Swift’s genius for publicity and the subtle art of connecting with “Joe Six-Pack”.   … the shockingly unwise and unfathomable pronouncements of Roger Waters and how his...
Published 10/02/23
Gary Numan is about to set out on a UK acoustic tour, some of it in churches and one date in a cathedral. He talks here - from the Scottish estate house he’s just bought – about some of the first shows he saw and what he’s learnt about live performance. This includes ...   … the peculiar effect of seeing Nazareth at the Rainbow in 1973.   … the fate of the £5 note he’d asked Queen to autograph.   … why he doesn’t talk onstage, and why that’s about to change.   … what musicians take for...
Published 10/01/23
Neil Storey is an old pal from our magazine days who worked in the press office at Island. He looked after U2, Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, the B-52’s and many others. About 15 years ago he began the mammoth task of compiling a series of books telling the story of virtually every record the label released in its pioneering history, tracking down and talking to all those involved - musicians, producers, designers, photographers, label staff – and collecting old music press ads and ephemera from...
Published 09/27/23