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Sounds of the 60s: Wikis


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Sounds of the 60s is a long-running Saturday morning programme on BBC Radio 2 that features recordings of popular music made in the 1960s. It was first broadcast on 12 February 1983 and introduced by Keith Fordyce who had been the first presenter of the TV show Ready Steady Go! in 1963. Since 1990 the presenter has been Brian Matthew.



In the mid ’80 the format changed and each week the programme was presented by a different artist from the Sixties. Many famous names were involved, including: Alvin Stardust, Eddie Grant, Herb Alpert,Graham Nash, Frankie Valli & Bob Gaudio, Tom Jones, Neil Sedaka, Donovan, Mike Stoller, Bruce Welch, Duane Eddy, Bill Medley, Roy Wood, David Crosby and many more. "I Love SOTS" car stickers were given free to listeners.

In December 1988 the then producer Stuart Hobday re-discovered Simon Dee the first voice to have been heard on Radio Caroline in 1964, and persuaded him to present a listeners’ all-time-favourite Top 20. The response from the public was so great that Dee was booked for a three month run early in 1989. His success led to another three month contract later in the year. Unfortunately his constant demands for the show to go live along with a growing list of complaints to BBC top management meant that his contract was not renewed.

Subsequently Brian Matthew, who had introduced Saturday Club on the BBC Light Programme until 1967, took over as regular presenter


Brian Matthew

Matthew first presented Sounds of the 60s on 31 March 1990 and was still doing so in 2008, his place being taken temporarily between September 2006 and February 2007 by former Radio Caroline and BBC Radio 1 disc jockey Johnnie Walker (and, during Walker's own absence in December 2006, by three guest presenters: Sandie Shaw, Joe Brown and Suzi Quatro). Matthew returned on 10 February, revealing that his prolonged absence had been due to a viral infection contracted while in hospital for a routine operation.

Features of the show

Matthew, who made the programme very much his own, turned it into something of a cult, one aspect being its very own slang: "SOTS" (acronym of the title); "avids" (listeners); "the Vocalist" (the show's producer, Roger Bowman). The two-hour programme is divided into one-hour "A" and "B sides" and the names of those listeners whose requests are to be played are announced at the start of each "side". There were also well-researched features, such as an "A to Z of the Beatles" (recordings of which were repeated during the shows from which he was absent, to maintain his presence in the programme), and "SOTS" T-shirts for listeners whose record requests were played. Although the playlist was almost entirely restricted to music recorded in the 60s, space was found for a time for so-called "roots" records from the 1950s, while recordings from that or earlier decades that re-entered the sales charts in the 60s were also eligible. Throughout the show's run, its theme tune has been the Shadows' "Foot Tapper" (1963). However, in later editions (particularly after the return of Brian Matthew in 2007) Foot Tapper has not been played at the beginning of the show and has such a short snatch at the end that it is not always shown on the 'Music Played' page of the BBC website.

Since July 2007 the show's producer has been Phil Swern, whom Matthew has nicknamed "The Collector".

Related shows

For several years Radio 2 carried a complementary show of music from the 1950s, Sounds of the 50s, which was presented by singer and entertainer Ronnie Hilton. In the 2000s there was also Sounds of the 70s, a title first used in 1970 for a daily late-night show of "progressive" music on Radio 1. Radio 2's version of Sounds of the 70s was presented by singer songwriter Steve Harley and latterly by Johnnie Walker.


External links


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