Sunday, 21 May 2017

My Top ∞ Radio Songs #7: In The Beginning...

It should come as no surprise to me that last week's radio post drummed up a few memories. It made me happy to hear how radio reminded you all so much of growing up, of listening late at night under the covers, of your parents and families...

Me too. Here are a few of my earliest radio memories:

  • Terry Wogan in the morning before school. I wrote about Tel last year on his untimely passing. He started on the Radio 2 breakfast show in 1972, the year I was born, so he was there all through my childhood. We were never a Radio 1 household, my parents being that much old and my brother and sister both having left home, so Terry's musical choices helped shaped my own in my formative years.
  • Jimmy Young after Terry. I remember hearing the famous Terry / JY handovers a lot when I wasn't at school. I remember my dad had a radio in his shed and he listened to JY in there once he retired from the motor trade (when I was a teenager) and went back to being a joiner. JY's musical choices were a bit more old school than Terry's, so he was more likely to play my dad's favourite: Frank Sinatra. If the radio wasn't on in my dad's shed, you could place money on the chances of him whistling Strangers In The Night to himself... if the circular saw wasn't whirring.
  • John Dunn and Ray Moore too. Oh my father had a rabbit and he thought it was a duck...
  • Friday Night Is Music Night. My dad worked as an auctioneer for a big motor auction company before being made redundant when I was about 7. After that, he set up his own car auctions (with a couple of former colleagues), though it was a bit of a struggle to get that business off the ground at first. They couldn't even afford a cleaner, so dad, mum and me used to go over there after school on a Friday night and clean the offices, stopping off for fish and chips on the way home. Friday Night Is Music Night reminds me of that, and my dad's love of the big bands. He was a trombone player himself when he was a kid and I followed his footsteps into the local brass band as a teenager, playing tenor horn. 
  • Late night radio. I'm not sure I remember exactly who was on Radio 2 at nights when I was a kid (I should probably look it up), but I do know that from an early age I kept my bedside clock radio on all through the night. Not for me, hiding the pocket-sized tranny under the covers. Late night radio was legit in my house... maybe that explains why I still need music to help me get to sleep forty years later. More on that another time though...

In the meantime, here's another favourite radio song. Art Alexakis from Everclear is a little bit older than me, probably nearer the age of some of you guys who left comments last time. His radio flashback begins in 1970 when all we had was the AM radio (or Medium Wave, as it was known in my house).

7. Everclear - A.M. Radio
I'd be in bed with the radio on
I would listen to it all night long
Just to hear my favorite song
You'd have to wait till you could hear it on the
AM radio


  1. I get now how why you have a love for many of those older songs that would have been played on Radio 2 when you were a kid. Clock radio all night though! First of all clock radios didn't really exist a decade earlier when I was a kid and the parents definitely wouldn't have allowed it (they were hot on saving electricity in our house and power cuts/3 day weeks were a reality). I did a radio post last summer: where I waxed lyrically about the old GEC Wireless I had in my bedroom as a teenager. Fantastic quality but to get Radio 2 I had to tune into the Light programme!

    Lovely memories here Rol as ever - thanks for this one.

  2. I guess I should count myself lucky to be born in the era of the clock radio AND the Walkman. Oh, and after the power cuts...

  3. Completely get the clock radio bit. That was my first radio. Then I graduated to a boom box sometime during middle school. Yikes! More to say about that, but I'll wait until you expand on your thought about needing music to sleep.

    1. Skipped the boombox - the walkman was more my style.

  4. My dad was 'The Man from The Pru' and his job involved collecting small amounts of money for insurance polices - the sort of job that technology has done away with. It's impossible to write about his work in such a lovely and nostalgic way as you've described your dad above. Lovely stuff Rol.


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