Sounds of the 60s

It’s great to listen to radio for the surprises, to hear music that you’ve not heard before and to hear people talking about something interesting that had previously passed you by maybe.

But sometimes, it’s comforting to listen to old favourites, it requires less concentration and it can bring back some marvellous memories. One such programme that i listen to regularly is Brian Matthew’s Sounds of the 60s – a show that has been broadcast for 30 years. It’s the half-a-diamond jubilee, so to speak.

Thankfully, he plays somgs that didn’t make it into the hit parade, it would become boring otherwise. But most of the music does have the 60s vibe to it. Sometimes he’ll play a record, and it will bring back visions of my Mum singing along while stirring the washing in the copper. Yes: a copper fudll of nearly boiling water, Daz, clothes and a big stick to stir it all up. We’d never even heard of washing machines at that time. But the point is, my Mum was a lovely singer, of opo music yes, but especially of old, traditional Scottish folk songs.

But this morning as I belatedly listened to last week’s programme, I was surprised, even shocked, and disappointed: Brian Matthew played a ’60s record that I didn’t like. Some of them I love, they’re great songs, some I like because off the associated memories, the rest are enjoyable and I won’t notice if I never hear them again.

But to hear a record that I chose to fast forward through, well, that’s a first. I won’t name the song, but you have a couple of days in which to listen to the programme – I suspect you’ll be able to work out which song is out of place.

Sounds of the 60s – BBC Radio 2 every Saturday, 8-10am.

Sounds of the 60s

Happy International Women’s Day – to everyone.

On BBC London 94.9 this afternoon, Danny Baker is wearing high heeled shoes to mark the occasion.


But I remember about 20 years ago on GLR when Johnnie Walker became Jenny Walker to acknowledge International Women’s Day. All the records he played were by women and it is one of those shows I wish I’d recorded for posterity.

All of which, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with Sounds of the 60s which is the main topic for today.

This is another one of those shows that I try to listen to each week, but usually end up hearing later in the week. It’s presented by Brian Matthew, and has been for over 20 years now, although the show itself has been running since 1983. The format has evolved over the years but I do like hearing songs from the 1960s, probably for the first time. Equally, it’s nice to hear some old favourites for the first time in many years.

Lately, Brian has also been playing old BBC sesions, whether from his old 1960s show Saturday Club (which I would listen to whenever I could get away with it) or from later in the ’60s, bands like Pink Floyd on John Peel’s Top Gear programme.

So, that’s Sounds of the 60s on Radio 2, and pretty much every show on BBC 6 Music playing John Peel sessions.

Something that I don’t think will ever stop surprising me is just how much 1960s music is being released now on CD: so many compilations.

And, not only that: I was too young in  the ’60s to buy new records, and I feel I ought to make up for lost time, and buy some… But then, with a programme like this on every week, I probably have my fill of 1960s pop music.

Playlists for every show are available at the BBC Sounds of the 60s site.