Tuesday, 29 December 2015

When pop music was Saturday Club at home in Well Hall

Saturday Club on the Light Programme still has the power to invoke fond memories.

Now if you are my generation, born in the decade after the last World War who entered their teenage years to the sound of Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and Cliff Richard and who can still remember listening to “She Loves You” for the first time, Saturday Club was essential listening.

It had begun in 1955 but I suppose I was not really aware of its existence for another five years.

Back then if you wanted to listen to pop music on the radio it was slim pickings.

There was of course Radio Luxembourg which I listened to on my small transistor radio but the adverts for Horace Batchelor* plus the way the signal would fade and wane irritated me.

And on Saturday nights after the football results there was Juke Box Jury and later Thank Your Lucky Stars which showcased the latest singles and passed judgement on them.  But all too often these were shows watched by the whole family and as much as I loved my parents and young sisters there were times when you wanted to listen alone.

Now Saturday Club just fell into that requirement.

It went out after my sisters were at Saturday Morning Pictures and mum and dad were doing things.

It’s only real rival for me was Pick of the Pops the following afternoon, that rapid whizz through a week’s chart ups and downs.

This after all was the time when I was still too young to go to the dance hall above Burton's on Well Hall Road and those other live music venue like the Welcome Inn and the Yorkshire Grey were out of the question.

But then came Radio Caroline in 1964 followed by its rival radio London and things just were not the same again.

All of which is teetering on nostalgic tosh and so to the point.  Saturday Club was one of those programmes which didn’t just play records but offered up live performances with interviews which always appealed to me.

But the attention span of a teenager is fickle and with the arrival of Ready Steady Go with its visual and slightly edgy feel I was pulled in a totally new direction.

Top of the Pops might be required viewing to be shared with the whole house and discussed the following day at school but RSG had me hooked.

So bit by Saturday Club faded but has never quite left me, and as I enter my 64th year I still have Brian Matthews offering me something of the same on Radio 2 with “Sounds of the Sixties.”

Now that is perhaps the point to close but not before one last observation, which is that I know I am growing old when the music of my youth is now played on Radio 2.

Pictures; of Brian Matthews & Saturday Club, featured on Saturday Club** and Burtons in the mid 1960s

* Horace Cyril Batchelor was as an advertiser on Radio Luxembourg. He advertised a way to win money by predicting the results of football matches, sponsoring programmes on Radio Luxembourg.

**Saturday Club
This site is non profit making and solely for fans of Saturday Club to trade/swap off - air copies of the programme in whatever format eg reel to reel, cassette, cd etc, http://www.saturdayclub.info/

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