Saturday, 7 November 2015

From the Alan Freeman Playlist

Alan 'Fluff' Freeman (Courtesy: Daily Mail)

Here, as promised, is the list of tracks that I remember Alan Freeman playing on his BBC Radio 1 Saturday Rock Show from around 1973 to 1978. This is all from memory, as I did not keep any of my seventies recordings. What I tended to do, as I was young and decent cassettes were not cheap, was record tracks that I liked, listen to them and then record over them. At the time, I did fill in the index card, which is the reason for being able to remember certain tracks and the parent albums. I rarely, if ever, recorded entire shows and did not date them in any case. The dates I have provided are only the release dates of the albums. A few years ago I did produce a handwritten list, in order to help me track down various albums on the internet, and this provided the outline of the following on this blog.

When Alan Freeman returned in the nineties, I again recorded certain items and played them in the car on my way to-and-from work. My memory of this is hazy, so it did not interfere with the seventies material. When he transferred to Virgin radio, I kept a more detailed handwritten list, which I may later type and post on these pages. Distractions came from the fact that Freeman ran an afternoon programme concurrently with the Rock Show, mainly for chart music, but he did play singles by rock bands. Additionally, I would have heard occasional rock tracks on other radio shows, including John Peel‘s brief series which followed the Rock Show on Saturday afternoons. There was also Tommy Vance‘s later Friday Rock Shows and his Saturday afternoon ‘magazine’ programme. Again, I might be able to produce a list of tracks from his show, but it would be shorter!

Uncertainties include for example, the fact that I recall much of Bad Company’s first album being played frequently, but which tracks and on which Freeman show, I am unsure. The same, to a certain extent, can be said for Thin Lizzy and Led Zeppelin. So, here, I made educated guesses. Some tracks were from Tony Wilson-produced sessions, but which, again, further muddy the water. Certainly, A Million Miles Away by Rory Gallagher was a Wilson session, as it was a request and the letter’s author said they thought it was better than the album version. A number of pieces from Queen’s News of the World were broadcast as sessions. Pete Atkin’s and Kevin Coyne’s songs may have been from sessions.

Some other educated guesses include songs by Beckett, Boxer, Brand X, Budgie, Roger Daltrey/ Phillip Goodhand-Tait and Free. There are tracks by Focus and King Crimson used as jingles, yet to be researched. A few unknown (or forgotten) tracks include those by Peter Baumann, Coloseum II, Graeme Edge Band, Greenslade, Isotope and others. There was an instrumental by The Neu, played by Alan Freeman, but which was also used, I think, as a jingle by John Peel. In some cases, as with Focus, Son Seals, and Stephen Stills with Eric Clapton, I have forgotten both the track and album titles. Freeman was not averse to punk rock and frequently played songs by The Flamin’ Groovies, The Ramones and others in the early days of the movement. These meant little to me, so I omitted any mention.

Alan Freeman had a one-off half-hour show devoted to Brain Salad Surgery by ELP, consisting of album tracks and an interview with Carl Palmer. I am fairly certain of the details of this and have included the tracks. Most were played on his Saturday show too. To conclude, the majority of the tracks listed, from 1973 to 1978, are excellent and are thoroughly recommended.


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