Category Archives: Music

Hear Here 5: Elementally Yours Broadcast Three

This is the final IYPT show and this month’s playlist is inspired by the TV program Seven Wonders One Planet by David Attenborough, and chemical elements named after places. Combined together I’m going to travel on a musical odyssey around the globe visiting the seven continents, as well as travelling into outer space, to take in some stellar areas that have helped name elements. With such a heavy itinerary to accomplish, the show took 2 hours and 50 minutes to do. Some historical events, one death and two birthdays influence the song choices too. These are my complete lab book notes.

Angie’s Allsorts Show 233 Hospital Radio Leighton 26th November 2019

Playlist

1. NEIL DIAMOND with AMERICA (Am-AMERICIUM 95): Continent 1 Americas)

2. TINA TURNER with NUTBUSH CITY LIMITS (Birthday 1939 so 80 today, born Nutbush Tennessee)

3. DOLLY PARTON with MY TENNESSEE MOUNTAIN HOME (Ts-TENNESSINE 117)

4. MAMAS & PAPAS with CALIFORNIA DREAMIN (Cf-CALIFORNIUM 98, Bk-BERKELIUM 97, Lv-LIVERMORIUM 116 after the Lawrence Livermore Lab in California.

5. JOHN DENVER with ALASKA & ME (Continent 2 Arctic)

6. MATT MONRO with FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (Ru-RUTHENIUM 44 from Latin for Russia Rhuthenia; Db-DUBNIUM 105 from Dubna in Russia, Fl-FLEROVIUM 114 for Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions located in Dubna Russia. : Continent 2 Arctic & Continent 3 Europe)

7. KENNY BALL with MIDNIGHT IN MOSCOW (Mc-MOSCOVIUM 115)

Travel Odyssey Phase One. Image credit abmj

CONNECTION CONUNDRUM (travel down to Baikonur Kazakhstan for launch across the universe)

8. BEATLES with ACROSS THE UNIVERSE (He-HELIUM 2 for Helios Greek for Sun, Se-SELENIUM 34 from Selene Greek for the moon, Pd-PALLADIUM 46 for Pallas an asteroid, Ce-CERIUM 58 for dwarf planet Ceres, Hg-MERCURY 80-the swift Roman God rather than the planet, U-URANIUM 92 for planet Uranus, Np-NEPTUNIUM 93 for Neptune, Pu-PLUTONIUM 94 for dwarf planet Pluto.

9. CILLA BLACK with WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS LOVE (Latin for Earth Tellus gives Te-TELLURIUM 52)

10. NATASHA BEDINGFIELD with SINGLE (Birthday born 1981 so 38 today)

Answer: NOT Both Cilla and all the Beatles hail from Liverpool and shared a manager in Brian Epstein. These two songs were recorded specially as part of a compilation charity album for the World Wildlife Fund WWF. The album was called No One’s Gonna Change Our World and released on December 12th 1969, just in time for Christmas. All the stars which included Rolf Harris, The Hollies, Spike Milligan, The Bee Gees, Lulu, Dave, Dee, Dozy, Beaky Mick & Titch, Cliff Richard & The Shadows, Bruce Forsyth & Harry Secombe offered their services for free. Composers, Publishers, and Recording companies waived their fees as well, to enable all royalties from record sales benefit the World Wildlife Fund.

Launch: 11. FRANK SINATRA (Fr-FRANCIUM 87, Na-SODIUM 11, K-POTASSIUM 19. Si-SILICON 14, N-NITROGEN 7, At-ASTATINE 85, Ra-RADIUM 88 (other variations) with FLY ME TO THE MOON (Se-SELENIUM 34 for the moon)

Rarity Record of the Week: 12.  JIMI HENDRIX with VALLEYS OF NEPTUNE (Np-NEPTUNIUM 93)

Return: 13. PETER SCHILLING with MAJOR TOM (COMING HOME) (Theme for Deutschland 83 & 86)

(Ge-GERMANIUM 32 from Latin Germania for Germany, Re-RHENIUM 75 Latin Rhenus for the Rhine, Ds-DARMSTADTIUM 110 for Darmstadt where it was discovered, Hs-HASSIUM 108  from Latin Hassius for the Hesse region)

Travel Odyssey Phase Two. Image credit abmj

14. BONNIE TYLER with LOST IN FRANCE (Ga-GALLIUM 31 from the Latin Gallia, Fr-FRANCIUM 87)

15. TONY MARTIN with LAST TIME I SAW PARIS (Lu-LUTETIUM 71 from the Latin name for Paris Lutetia)

16. NATALIE COLE with AS TIME GOES BY (Historical Event: Film Casablanca had its World Premier on this day in New York 1942: Continent 4 Africa)

17. TOMMY DORSEY with NIGHT IN SUDAN (Historical Death Dorsey died 1956)

Linking Lyrics Slot: Theme TUTANKHMUN (Exhibition Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at Saatchi Gallery London has 150 objects from his tomb on display from this month until May 2020)

18. BANGLES with WALK LIKE AN EGYPTIAN

19. ROLF HARRIS with TUTANKHAMUN

20. TOTO with AFRICA (safari in Kenya, visit Victoria Falls, Table Mountain in Cape Town South Africa.

Travel Odyssey Phase Three. Image credit abmj

21. RIMSKY KORSAKOV’S SONG OF INDIA (indirect references: Be-BERYLLIUM 4 from Belur India, In-INDIUM 49 for India: Continent 5 Asia). Note-113 Nihonium is named after Japan-song played in show two.

22. SEEKERS with I AM AUSTRALIAN (Continent 6 Australia)

23. DURAN DURAN with MY ANTARCTICA (Continent 7 Antarctica)

Essential Stopover: Antarctica/South America/Europe:

24. JULIE COVINGTON with DON’T CRY FOR ME ARGENTINA (Continent 1 Americas)

25. AMICII with OLYMPIA ETERNAL FLAME (Cu-COPPER 29 for Cyprus, Mg-MAGNESIUM 12 from Magnesia in Thessaly region. Mount Olympus on border area of Thessaly & Macedonia.

Flyover mainland Europe especially Poland (Po-POLONIUM 84) heading for Denmark.

Travel Odyssey Phase 4. Image credit abmj

26. DANISH NATIONAL RADIO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA with COPENHAGEN STEAM RAILWAY GALLOP (Hf-HAFNIUM 72 from Latin Hafnia for Copenhagen)

27. AVICII with SOMEWHERE IN STOCKHOLM (Ho-HOLMIUM 67 from Latin Holmia for Stockholm) NOTE: Not far from Stockholm the village of Ytterby has named four elements: Y-YTTRIUM 39, Tb-TERBIUM 65, Er-ERBIUM 68, Yb-YTTERBIUM 70,. Six other rare-earth elements were discovered in the village Sc-SCANDIUM 21, Gd-GADOLINIUM 64, Dy-DYSPROSIUM 66, HOLMIUM 67, Tm-THULIUM 69, and LUTETIUM 71.

Travel through Scandinavia & Northern regions such as Greenland, Iceland and Faroe Islands looking for the Northern Lights.

28. RENAISSANCE with NORTHERN LIGHTS. Back in Scotland we stop off for a good Scots breakfast in the village of Strontian which gave its name to the element Sr-STRONTIUM 38

29. RACHMANINOV PIANO CONCERTO NO 2 EXCERPT (Historical Event: Film Brief Encounter went on general release in 1945)

30. EUROPE with THE FINAL COUNTDOWN (Eu-EUROPIUM 63)

Hear Here 4: Elementally Yours Broadcast Two

This is the second of three special shows celebrating 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table. Several elements are referred to through artists and song titles. This playlist acknowledges a historical event and two birthday jukebox artists as well.  My lab book noted 30 songs played in just under 2.5 hours, and this is the raw science data once more.

Angie’s Allsorts Show 230 Hospital Radio Leighton 27th August 2019

Playlist

1.THE NOLANS with CHEMISTRY

2. TOM LEHRER with THE ELEMENTS (PERIODIC TABLE) written in 1959, so it goes up to Nobelium 102. Tune Major-General’s Song from The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert & Sullivan.

3. PAUL SIMON (P-Phosphorus 15, Au-Gold 79, Li-LITHIUM 3, Sm-SAMARIUM 62, O-OXYGEN 8, N-NITROGEN 7) with YOU CAN CALL ME AL (Al-ALUMINIUM 13)

4. SUNDAY NIGHT AT THE LONDON PALLADIUM (Pd-PALLADIUM 46) next door neighbour

5. DAVID SOUL (August Birthday Jukebox Artist: David turns 76 tomorrow the 28th) with SILVER LADY (Ag-SILVER 47) living opposite

6. NEIL DIAMOND with GOLD (Au-GOLD 79) DON’T RUST

7. BZMKER (B-BORON 5, K-POTASSIUM 19, Er-ERBIUM 68) with NIHONIUM Original Mix (Nh-NIHONIUM 113 other word for Japan, named in 2016)

8. JOHNNY CASH with RING OF FIRE (Western Alchemy Hermetic Element Fire)

9. DAMIAN RICE with VOLCANO (HISTORICAL EVENT: Eruption of Krakatoa peaked in 1883. Kr-KRYPTON 36, K-POTASSIUM 19, At-ASTATINE 85, O-OXYGEN 8)

10. IRON (Fe-IRON 26) MAIDEN with STORM TROOPER (High 5: No. 5 w/e 27/8/05)

11. JEAN MICHEL JARRE (August Birthday Jukebox Artist: Jean Michel turned 71yrs on the 24th) with OXYGENE II (O-OXYGEN 8)

12. LANDSCAPE with EINSTEIN A GO GO (Es-EINSTEINIUM 99, Ag-SILVER 47, Og-OGANESSON 118, O-OXYGEN 8)

Rarity Record of the Week:  13. KATE & ANNA McGARRIGLE with NaCl (Na-SODIUM 11, Cl-CHLORINE 17)

14. JULIAN LENNON with SALTWATER (Western Alchemy Hermetic Element Water)

15. STING & STRONTIUM 90 (Sr-STRONTIUM 38) with EVERY LITTLE THING SHE DOES IS MAGIC

16. NICKEL CREEK (Ni-NICKEL 28) with REASONS WHY

17. DAVID GUETTA ft SIA with TITANIUM (Ti-TITANIUM 22)

18. ASAP SCIENCE with THE ELEMENTS OF THE PERIODIC TABLE (update 2018: all elements to 118 sung in order) Tune-Can-Can piece from Orphee aux Enfers by Jacque Offenbach.

19. DIANA ROSS with CHAIN REACTION

Elemental Scrabble Artists

6a. LADY GAGA (La-LANTHANUM 57, Dy-DYSPROSIUM 66, Ga-GALLIUM 31) with POKER FACE

10a. KINKS (K-POTASSIUM 19, In-INDIUM 49/or I-IODINE 53 & N-NITROGEN 7, S-SULPHUR 16) with YOU REALLY GOT ME (High 5: No. 4 w/e 27/8/64)

Studio Aug 27th with co-star Doogie Duck. Image credit abmj

Hear Here 2: Celebrating National Album Day

I thought for National Album Day (October 12th 2019) I’d celebrate my “first albums” on various formats, and acknowledge some special ones I personally sought out.

My own audio collection began with “Rupert Bear and the Firebird” a story on vinyl, a Christmas gift aged 3. The first contemporary music I ever owned was inherited from a work colleague of my Dad’s, the ABBA cassette “Arrival” which was released in 1976, so I must have been an old 6 year old or a young 7. Very late to the party I got my first CD aged 24 “Let’s Face the Music” a compilation of music celebrating the ice-dance routines of Torvill & Dean.

             My First Albums in 3 Formats. Image credit abmj

As I grew up, cassette or vinyl albums would appear wrapped in Christmas paper, and looking at them now (yes I still have them) there are some ABBA ones (my Mammy liked them too), Aled Jones (I like church/choir music/treble singing), several Sixties sets and stand alone albums from Dollar and The Kids from Fame. Recently I got our record player going again, and heard Dollar for the first time in decades, and STILL knew the words. The same with The Kids from Fame, though I’ve got a CD version of that now, which is more user friendly for my hospital radio show.

The special theme for this year’s event is “Don’t Skip”, an initiative to encourage people to listen to a music album all the way through. This made me think of my two “specials” which I distinctly remember seeking out, “Sandy” by John Travolta and Jean Michel Jarre in Concert “Houston/Lyon”.

                Specially Sought Albums. Image credit abmj

Since my John Travolta tape is dated 1978, it is little surprise that the film “Grease” had some influence on this choice. It features two songs from the film “Sandy” and “Greased Lightning” but has many other beauties as well, which I’m still word perfect on. I discovered Jean Michel Jarre as a teenager, when his Rendezvous Concert from Houston was broadcast on the BBC. I’d never heard of him, but was captivated by both the sound and spectacle of the occasion. Jarre used the Houston skyline as a canvas for a wondrous laser show which accompanied his music, a soundscape that was hauntingly beautiful, electrifying and soul inspiring all at once. I will never forget catching my breath and the shiver down my spine, as I watched Jarre playing his laser harp.  A little while later I found the “Houston/Lyon” tape and listening to side 2, took me right back to that TV experience. Many of Jarre’s albums are conceptual ideas, and each tune seamlessly blends into the next. Although you can listen to the pieces individually, to get the full experience, the style almost demands a full listen.

So many memories wrapped up in these childhood music gifts. I will make an effort over the weekend to indulge myself in some audio nostalgia.

Music in an Instant

Music from the Sixties has a particular resonance with me, probably because of having access to my Mammy’s 45rpm record collection. There is innocence at times in the lyrics (particularly the early part of the decade), an evocative feel to the era and a quality of sound that is very distinctive. Back then it seems that the music industry took the time to let projects develop, whereas these days it looks like a song appears in an instant, only to be gone just as quickly.

Think about it, the Beatles Sgt Pepper album and the Beach Boys Pet Sounds album both took months, if not years to craft.  The many hours in the studio taken to express this creativity, meant music fans had to wait for the next big release. Today, with streaming heavily influencing the music industry, artists seem to bring their work out more frequently. Apparently it’s because “you can’t slow down creativity”. Perhaps, but will the majority of any of this be remembered with any fondness in ten years time, let alone over 50 years? Somehow I doubt it.

The BeatlesAbbey Road Anniversary Edition” album became a record breaker last week, when it returned to the number one spot in the UK album chart, after a period of 49 years and 252 days. The group previously held the record with a re-release of “Sgt Pepper” in 2017 which had a mere gap of 49 years 125 days between number one spots. I guess these re-releases have given the original fans the opportunity to re-live their music memories all over again (with added bonus material), whilst younger fans have had the chance to feel the emotion of a “classic album” big release event. But I wonder if many of today’s big recording artists will have the same allure on future generations as John, Paul, George and Ringo?

A Lifetime’s Love of Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond celebrates his 78th birthday today (24th January 2019) and I first heard his gorgeous vocals aged four. It was instant love at first listen when my Dad brought home a double 33rpm album of Neil’s called “Diamonds”. A Google search has informed me this album was released in 1974 in the Netherlands, which fits in with my merchant seaman Dad bringing it back whilst on leave, and my feeling Diamond’s music has been virtually ever present in my life. Until I was an adult, this album was my only exposure to Neil’s music other than seeing his film The Jazz Singer on TV.

                                  Diamonds Album Cover

But what an album “Diamonds” is, from that first fun happy sounding song “Cracklin’ Rosie” to the last gut wrenching heartbreaker “Morningside”. Between these came every style of music genre, from the rock inspired “Cherry Cherry”, the storytelling ballad about “Mr Bojangles”, the country sounding “Kentucky Woman”, spiritual “Holly Holy” and the beautiful emotive love song “Play Me”. I may have been very young, but I recognised the lyrical genius of Neil Diamond immediately. His music, words and delivery evoked in me just about every emotion possible. I could be singing and dancing one minute, playing hard rock air guitar the next, listening attentively mesmerised by the poetic quality of his lyrics, and breaking my heart sobbing uncontrollably to finish.  “Diamonds” was an emotional rollercoaster.

It wasn’t until I was at university and met the man who became my husband that I found another Neil devotee. Looking at Rob’s music collection I knew he had good taste when I spotted Abba, at a time when it wasn’t fashionable to admit being a fan of theirs. Spotting several Neil Diamond albums that were all new to me, I realised Rob was a keeper. Although we both loved Neil’s music, neither of us had seen him in concert. So we shared the experience together, going to our first show in 1999 followed by several more, until the final one in 2017 celebrating Neil’s 50th anniversary.

That first concert showcased “The Movie Album: As Time Goes By” and I was enthralled listening and seeing Neil perform. His rendition of “Unchained Melody” (a favourite of mine from The Righteous Brothers) was the best I’d ever heard sung, as it’s not always easy to make out the words. I told Neil the same thing in a note I wrote in my hotel the next morning, using the stationary in the room. I posted it to the venue and thought nothing more about it. A few months later I was surprised to receive a thank you card from Neil, which I have to this day.

                                        Neil Notecard

For posterity my Neil Diamond Concert Portfolio details 7 concerts spanning 18 years:

First Ever Show:  Wembley Arena London Tuesday March 9th 1999 at 8pm

  1. Earls Court London Saturday 27th July 2002 8pm
  2. Ipswich Football Stadium Thursday 26th May 2005 8pm
  3. NIA Birmingham Tuesday 10th June 2008 8pm (Home Before Dark tour)
  4. LG Arena (formerly NEC) Birmingham Tuesday 28th June 2011 8pm
  5. Genting Arena (formerly LG Arena) Birmingham Saturday 11th July 2015 8pm (no Rob)
  6. Manchester Arena (formerly MEN Arena) Sunday 1st October 2017 (50th Anniversary tour)

What I’ve always admired about Neil is that he performs his concerts solo without reliance on warm up acts. Diamond certainly has enough in his repertoire to perform several shows without repeating songs. It’s incredibly gruelling on the artist though, and I’ve been mindful these last few years that Neil and other singers I enjoy (Sydney Devine & Dolly Parton) are all on the wrong side of 70 now. Each of them give their all on stage, and I’ve increasingly thought “will this be the last concert”.

Watching Diamond’s 2017 show there were two or three fleeting moments when I thought Neil’s age maybe catching up with him. Strangely at the same moment an old work colleague’s name popped into my head for the first time in years. Her mother had Parkinson’s disease and she had been to a Billy Graham meeting in Glasgow, where I was singing in the choir. Within minutes of Graham coming to the stage, my colleague’s mum muttered “he has Parkinson’s same as me”. My colleague laughingly said “mum sees it everywhere now, the tell-tale signs, which she then described”. It wasn’t until many years later it was revealed Billy Graham had been diagnosed with the condition. Therefore Neil’s announcement of his retirement from touring, after a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease somehow didn’t shock me the way it should have. Remembering that wonderful final concert, and those odd feelings, I realised I’d had a weird kind of premonition. Every fan only wants Neil to be healthy and happy and his well-being is of paramount importance, so although the 50th anniversary tour ended prematurely his disappointed fans understood.

Neil Diamond’s anniversary show in Manchester was one of the first big events at the re-opened Arena following a terrorist attack.  Neil performed five songs I’d never heard before, so huge is Diamond’s back catalogue of work. I had to turn to Google again, to discover the song titles and which album they came from. One song in particular, Neil dedicated to the memory of those killed in the MEN bombing after the Ariana Grande concert of May 22nd 2017. The song “Dry Your Eyes” from the 1976 “Beautiful Noise” album was very emotional to hear, the lyrics sounding as if they had been written especially for that night. When Neil announced that he would be making a donation to the victims’ fund (I think it was the evenings merchandise revenue), it seemed the entire audience rose to their feet and applauded for a long time. Then almost total silence in that vast arena as Neil sang that emotive song. It’s a part of the evening I’ll never forget.

Neil’s setlist for my final concert was: In My Lifetime-In My Lifetime compilation; Cherry, Cherry; You Got To Me; Solitary Man; Love on the Rocks; September Morn; Play Me; Song Sung Blue; Beautiful Noise; Jungletime-Beautiful Noise album; Dry Your Eyes- Beautiful Noise album; He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother; Forever In Blue Jeans; You Don’t Bring Me Flowers; Red Red Wine; I’m A Believer; Brooklyn Roads; Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon; Be; Lonely Looking Sky; Skybird; Jazz Time-September Morn album; Crunchy Granola Suite; Done Too SoonTap Root Manuscript album; Holly Holy; I Am…I Said. Encore: Sweet Caroline; Cracklin’ Rosie; Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show.

The show was a celebration of Neil’s musicality and lyricism, the songs at times distinctly spiritual or poetic in nature. I relate to his music because it touches me deep within and puts into words everyone’s need for expression. Neil’s voice is that soothing balm in times of strife, a source of advice and inspiration and that friend who vocalises your inner thoughts with complete understanding.

To the boy who walked on “Brooklyn Roads” with his imaginary friend “Shilo”,  who grew to be a “Solitary Man” writing “Beautiful Noise” knowing to “Leave A Little Room For God”, my message is “I’m A Believer” and always will be full of “Delirious Love” “If You Know What I Mean”.  Happy Birthday Neil Diamond you are a real gem of a guy, it’s been a delight knowing your music.

                                              Concert Tops

ANGIES ALLSORTS SHOW 220 RADIO LEIGHTON 14TH NOVEMBER 2018

7.30-9.30pm: Part 1-56m 46s Song 1-11; Part 2-57m Song 12-23

When Radio Leighton began officially broadcasting to patients on November 14th 1968 Hugo Montenegro topped the UK music charts with The Good The Bad and the Ugly. In football, England was half way through its tenure as World Champions, Manchester United were the  European Cup holders and Crewe Alex had division three league status, having gained promotion in the summer. The UK was between Eurovision wins, Prince Charles celebrated his twentieth birthday as a university student, neighbour BBC Radio Stoke was only an 8 month old baby and man had yet to walk on the moon.

To celebrate Radio Leighton’s golden birthday   I’d like to take you on a nostalgic journey playing music and looking back at some of the news and sports headlines from over the years. Welcome to my Angies Allsorts News/Sports & Music Archive, and listen out for my Golden Team references throughout the show.

  1. ALSO SPRACH ZARATHUSTRA (GT 1: 2001 A Space Odyssey film 1968 release)

Elvis Presley used this tune to herald the start of his concerts after he returned to the singing stage following his 68 Comeback Special. Here’s a song from that TV broadcast

  1. ELVIS PRESLEY with IF I CAN DREAM (GT2: Elvis 68 Comeback Special)

Evocative lyrics sung at a time of racial conflict and inequality in the USA when Elvis’s nation was embroiled in the Vietnam War. Back here the Race Equality Act was invoked and the Dagenham Women walked out demanding equal pay rights. Considering the tensions in our society today and seeing people still fighting for equal pay NOT A LOT SEEMS TO HAVE CHANGED.  But something that did change for Elvis in 68 was he became a father for the first and only time, when his daughter was born on February 1st. Thanks to modern technology our Golden Team member Lisa Marie sings alongside her Dad:

Rarity Record of the Week: 3. ELVIS PRESLEY/LISA-MARIE PRESLEY with WHERE NO ONE STANDS ALONE (GT3: Lisa-Marie born Feb 1st 1968)

The loneliest people over Christmas 68 were the crew of Apollo 8 who became the first humans to see the dark side of the moon and to witness how beautiful and fragile planet Earth was. Just 7 months after Apollo 8 paved the way to the moon Neil Armstrong took his “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” when Apollo 11 went to/ Eagle landed on the moon in July 69

  1. CLIFF RICHARD with FROM A DISTANCE (GT4: Apollo 8 over Xmas 68 became the first manned space flight to leave low earth orbit and travel to the moon)

Extra audio from Stewart: Countdown & “Houston The Eagle Has Landed” announcement

Another man taking a giant leap that summer was James Bond when he got married to Tracy in the film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Who can forget George Lazenby in his only Bond film being widowed in a drive-by shooting on the way to his honeymoon?

  1. LOUIS ARMSTRONG with WE HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD

I mentioned James Bond because Daniel Craig the 6th actor to play the role was born in Chester on March 2nd 1968. So Daniel is another Golden Team member/ GT5. Somehow I don’t think his parents would have dreamed their son would grow up to play such an iconic film role, or be called upon as Bond to escort the Queen to the 2012 Olympics.

I’m reminded when I think of the 2012 London Olympics of the many events that have brought a tear to the eyes, such as military conflicts which have been seen on a wide scale throughout the worlds regions. In the sporting world football has had its share of tragedy since 1968 with fans perishing on the terraces of Ibrox in 71, Hillsborough in 89 and Bradford & Heysel in 85, and of course the Munich massacre of Israeli athletes in 72 deeply affected the Olympics that year. Our vulnerability has been particularly exposed when Mother Nature has vented her wrath through volcanoes, earthquakes, famine, flash floods and wild fires. Human error was behind disasters such as the Piper Alpha fire in 88, the Exonn Valdez in 89 and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. But it has been human malice that has caused the most devastation with bombings during the troubles, Lockerbie in 88, the Manchester Ariana Grande concert and Westminster Bridge both in 2017, the World Trade Centre in 2001 and the London bombings in July 2005 the day after the city was awarded the Olympics. A small moving tribute to that dark time was included in the opening ceremony in 2012 and I think the hymn is a fitting memorial in acknowledgement to all those lost:

  1. EMELIE SANDE with ABIDE WITH ME

Of course it’s sad to think of those no longer with us but I think it helps to remember the joy and love those people brought into our lives. Celebrity alumni of the November 14th birthday club certainly live on through their achievements and include artist Claude Monet born 1840, US composer Aaron Copeland 1900, first Prime Minister of India Nehru 1889, discoverer of insulin Frederick Banting in 1891, and former first lady Mamie Eisenhower 1896.

There are tears of joy as well as sadness and during 2012 I didn’t half well up at times. Never in decades of watching gymnastics or the Tour de France did I think I’d witness Great Britain achieve the ultimate success in these activities. Bradley Wiggins became the first British winner of the Tour in 2012, since then Chris Froome is a four time winner and Geraint Thomas won the 2018 Tour de France. British Gymnastics Olympic success that began in 2012 has rolled on unabated to my utter delight. Other happy British sporting moments I recall from Leighton’s 50 years include boxing world champions Jim Watt, Alan Minter, Barry McGuigan, Frank Bruno. Olympic success for Torvill & Dean in 84 and a young rower Steve Redgrave won his first Olympic gold in rowing that summer. He went on to win 4 more golds in the following 4 summer games. I think Sir Steve’s 5 Golds from 5 games surpasses Sir Chris Hoy’s 6 Golds from 3 games for cycling. Lewis Hamilton won his fifth Formula One Drivers Championship this year. In 1985 Boris Becker become the first unseeded and youngest player to win the men’s singles at Wimbledon. And Dennis Taylor won the World Snooker Championship 18-17 frames with the last ball in the last frame, defeating Steve Davis. A good song to summarise the effort and emotion behind all these sporting achievements is:

  1. WHITNEY HOUSTON with ONE MOMENT IN TIME

The birth of a baby is a special moment in time and Radio Leighton shares its special day with French cyclist Bernard Hinault 64, former US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice 64, the Prince of Wales 70, British actor Russell Tovey 37 and Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise 85 and reporter Katy Kay 54.

Through medical innovation parenthood became a greater possibility in 1978 when the first test-tube baby Louise Brown was born. The lyrics from my next song I feel sums up parent love of a child very well.

  1. ANASTACIA with YOU’LL NEVER BE ALONE (GT6: Anastacia 50 on September 17th)

Another famous birth of 1978 changed the land of soap drama forever when the Ewing’s and Barnes entered our homes in the American soap Dallas:

  1. DALLAS THEME TUNE

Yes JR, Bobby, Miss Ellie & Co became household celebrities and The Who Shot JR saga made the national evening news headlines. Until JR and Southfork came along most people would have probably associated the city of Dallas with the assassination of John F Kennedy on November 22nd 1963. He was elected the 35th President of the United States in 1960 and was the youngest to reach that office. He later declared that man would go to the moon by the end of the Sixties. Alas, Kennedy never lived to see his vision fulfilled and the days of “Camelot” with Jack and Jackie ended. Another American couple who captured the world’s imagination were Danny & Sandy from the 1978 film Grease:

  1. JOHN TRAVOLTA & OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN with YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I WANT

40 years after Grease, it wasn’t Danny & Sandy making headlines but Prince Harry and Meaghan Markle when they married at St George’s Chapel Windsor. Here is a song from the wedding ceremony:

  1. THE KINGDOM CHOIR with STAND BY ME

Another “Get Together” that got people talking in 2018 was the impromptu appearance of Jason Donovan alongside Kylie Minogue during Proms in the Park. There little dance on the stage had the crowd ecstatic. You know both Jason and Kylie turned 50 this year, as did the musical Joseph:

Linking Lyrics Theme GOLDEN 50 YEAR OLDS (all show)/ Artist of the Week JASON DONOVAN

  1. JASON DONOVAN & KYLIE MINOGUE with ESPECIALLY FOR YOU (GT7 Kylie born May 28th& GT8 Jason Donovan born June 1st 68 both 50) [Note: I said Especially For You the third best selling single of 1988, it was actually fourth. I forgot Kylie’s I Should Be So Lucky was third, Yazz & The Plastic Population with The Only Way Is Up was second and Cliff Richard with Mistletoe & Wine was the top seller of 1988]
  2. JASON DONOVAN with ANY DREAM WILL DO (GT9: Joseph & His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat performed in its embryonic form Easter 68 thus aged 50)

Extra audio from Stewart-HRL birthday greeting from Alan Harding & the wedding song for Scott & Charlene Robinson in Neighbours. Almost 19.6 million UK viewers tuned in to see this TV soap spectacle in 1988.

  1. ANGRY ANDERSON with SUDDENLY

The Marine Broadcasting Offences Bill 1967 changed radio history. The act was brought into being in the hope of killing off the pirate radio broadcasts that competed with the BBC services by playing pop music for a younger generation. The BBC decided to bring in Radio 1 to play pop music, whilst Radio 2 would update the Light Programme, Radio 3 would be similar to the Third Programme and Radio 4 the Home Service. Eight regional BBC centres would also be established including a Radio Stoke-on-Trent which began transmissions in March 1968 (GT10). The 1970 elected Conservative government of Heath allowed the concept of commercial radio to begin, and so the transformation of our national radio service was complete.

  1. RAY STEVENS with TURN YOU RADIO ON

Back in 67/68 when radio was being revolutionised an unknown horse that would become a household name began his racing career. As a two year-old Red Rum took to the flat circuit at Aintree in 1967, the day before Foinavon became the luckiest Grand National winner at 100-1 after a melee at the 23rd fence. After a year of flat racing Red Rum took to the fences instead and became a champion steeplechaser becoming the most prolific horse to run the Grand National. Rummy won in 1973, 74 & 77 coming second in 75 & 76. Here’s a little known fact, in retirement Red Rum was the first horse ever ridden by comedian Lee Mack who turned 50 on 4th August (GT11). Lee became a stable boy as a teenager because he had the idea of becoming a jockey.  A song that came out a few months before Red Rum’s first National victory was:

  1. THE OSMONDS with CRAZY HORSES

One of the most heart warming stories from the Grand National is that of Aldaniti and Bob Champion in 1981. The jockey had been given months to live after being diagnosed with cancer and Aldaniti had been treated for tendon trouble and a fractured hock bone.  By winning the event in 81 having overcome such life threatening hurdles proved that both man and beast had triumphed over the odds. Britain that year won the Eurovision Song Contest with:

  1. BUCKS FIZZ with MAKING YOUR MIND UP

1981 saw a young 19 year old by the name of Lady Diana Spencer making her mind up to accept the marriage proposal of Prince Charles. The happy couple married in St Paul’s Cathedral on July 29th 1981. The birth of two sons Prince William in 1982 and Prince harry in 1984 seemed to complete the fairytale story. Sadly their marriage did not survive and they divorced. On August 31st 1997 Diana Princess of Wales was tragically killed in a traffic accident, and the world mourned her loss.

  1. PAUL ANKA with DIANA

Extra audio from Stewart-Anthea & Shirley singing Happy Birthday

A hit in 1957 the year the Treaty of Rome established the Common Market (EEC, EU) with members Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and The Netherlands. The UK came to the party late becoming a member on the 1st January 1973. Unlike Radio Leighton there will be no 50th birthday celebration of EU membership for the UK as the nation is on the brink of withdrawal.

  1. EUROPE with THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

I’ve heard concern over Brexit with regard to the Eurovision Song Contest and football’s European Cup participation. An odd priority in my opinion, but fear not, because we took part in these long before 1973. In 1968 the year Radio Leighton was conceived, Man Utd became European Champions and Cliff Richard with Congratulations came second in Eurovision just one point behind Spain’s entry La La La sung by Massiel. No one probably heard of the Spanish contestant again. At least when Scot Fitzgerald sang Go for the UK in 1988 and suffered the indignity of losing by a point to Switzerland, the young winner Celine Dion became a world-wide sensation.

  1. SCOT FITZGERALD with GO

Extra audio from Stewart-the 1988 UK Eurovision song & Lets Party from Bob

Celine turned 50 on March 30th and sings a song with lyrics we can all relate to in today’s unsettling and turbulent world:

  1. CELINE DION with A WORLD TO BELIEVE IN (GT12: Celine 50 on March 30th)

Extra audio from Stewart-birthday greetings from Leighton Hospital Chief Executive Tracy Bullock

It’s time for me to sign off now and I hope you’ve enjoyed my nostalgic trip down memory lane celebrating some of the highs and lows over Radio Leighton’s 50 years of broadcasting. My Allsorts show tonight began with a 1968 film tune and I end with one here

  1. BARBARA STREISAND with DON’T RAIN ON MY PARADE (GT13: Funny Girl 1968 film release)

Good night and Congratulations Hospital Radio Leighton for 50 wonderful years.

  23. CLIFF RICHARD with CONGRATULATIONS (GT14: UK Eurovision entry 50 years   ago!)

Sydney “Absolutely” Devine In Motherwell

Cleland born entertainer Sydney Devine positively “rocked” Motherwell’s Civic Centre with an electric 90 minute performance on Friday 20th April. Syd’s I’m Back tour returned him to the bosom of his ain folk for the first time in almost twenty years.

The audience, suitably warmed up by the first half acts, always a comedian, a singer and Sydney’s band Legend, awaited with eager anticipation the stage presence of Devine. The arrival of Sydney onto the stage is always heralded by the strains of Also Sprach Zarathustra. As this faded the concert began with “Stop” part of a high octane frenetic paced 10 minute 10 song medley (at least, I lost count).

What followed was a glorious repertoire of songs, the number so numerous because of the longevity of Sydney’s career. He was a boy entertainer long before he left school and turned professional aged 15, and he is still going strong at 78! A nod to his boyhood stardom came from “If I Were A Blackbird” where Syd both sang and unleashed his wonderful bird song whistling, the thing that got him first noticed. Yodelling came into play as well, along with the “Elvis” style knee trembling. In style there has always been an Elvis type quality about Devine’s delivery, not surprising when he sang The King’s songs as The Tartan Rocker, touring in Europe with The White Heather Group back in the 50s & 60s. At one performance Elvis Presley himself was in the building witnessing the Scotsman on stage.

Songs of different tempo and style were included in the playlist,  with several characters acknowledged “Maggie”, “Kelly”, “Laura”, “Honky Tonk Angels” and “Fraulein’” to name a few, whilst “Nobody’s Child” was sung as a tribute to The Alexander Brothers. Other titles I recall being performed include-Save The Last Dance For Me; Eighteen Yellow Roses; A Room Full Of Roses; Cryin’ Time; Make The World Go Away; I Fall To Pieces; Married By The Bible; Pretty Woman; Can’t Help Falling In Love; Crystal Chandeliers and Tiny Bubbles. Audience participation always ensures bubbles float over a part of the auditorium when Tiny Bubbles makes an appearance! Oddly one of Sydney’s three stalwart songs didn’t make the cut and that was “Legend In My Time”.

Knowing the mournful quality of many songs that Sydney performs, I was aware of the carefully crafted playlist created for the show. Not surprising considering the heartache the Devine family have endured recently, when Sydney and his wife Shirley unexpectedly lost their eldest son Gary aged 58 to sepsis.  About an hour into the show Syd slowed the pace with a dedication section, reading out greetings and singing requested songs not already covered. This is where Devine showed his real professionalism, bravely covering most of two songs “The Lightning Express” and “Long Black Veil”, but wisely avoiding the saddest parts. He also used this quieter period to acknowledge his band members and their loyalty to him, particularly Dave on electric guitar 36 years, Dougie slide guitar 42 years and Bill Garden on keyboards 46 years service.

Returning to the show again, Syd began a very moving and emotionally charged section for me. I don’t recall him ever singing “How Great Thou Art” (Mammy favourite hymn) and “The Old Rugged Cross” (Granny favourite hymn) together before. It was like the two most influential women in my life, both long gone, were with me enjoying the show. These were followed by “The Answer To Everything” which always gets me. When Syd sings “do you love me, really love me, as I love you” and the audience scream YES, it’s a spiritual experience. Performer and audience share one heart together in those moments, and it never fails to catch my breath. During “The Answer To Everything” Sydney found himself unexpectedly sharing the stage, accompanied by a fan wearing a red cowboy hat. Whilst the Civic staff had been rigidly enforcing their “no photo” policy, this guy had managed to evade their eye, launch himself from his seat and hurtle onto the stage. He threw his arm around Syd, kissed him and was happy to mouth a few words of the song with his idol. Devine looked a bit flustered by this but continued the show seamlessly, although I don’t think the cowboy seen the show finale, which is always “Scotland Forever”.

The Motherwell crowd enjoyed one and a half hours of sheer unadulterated entertainment, provided by a 78 year old man who is a performer to his fingertips. His vocal range (3 octaves I think) is still there, deep resonances to high heady notes are still knocked out very pleasantly with gutsy conviction. Proof that Sydney Devine is truly a “Legend In My Time” came to me in Glasgow the day before the concert. Walking around a large department store carrying an overnight bag, I was asked three times if I was visiting. Each time I replied I was up to see a Sydney Devine show in Motherwell. Each woman (from three generations) though not professing to being a fan, gave me a big smile and named a different song-“Eighteen Yellow Roses”, “Crystal Chandeliers” and “Tiny Bubbles”. How many other entertainers can say they have made that kind of indelible imprint on the nations psyche?

When the concert finished a throng of people awaited Sydney, all keen to have a word, get a photo or autograph. Every one of them would be met and greeted with humble thanks, charm and good grace. I had a last bus to catch so couldn’t stay, but I managed to grab a photo before leaving.  It was a wonderful show, thanks for the memories Sydney, we love you.

Sydney Devine Waits To Meet Fans. Image credit abmj