After the Gold Rush – Neil Young
Apollo 13 expedition abandoned
All Right Now – Free
Chicago Seven tried for inciting riots
Ball of Confusion – the Temptations
President Nixon send troops into Cambodia. Four students at Kent State
University, Ohio shot dead by national guard
Ohio – Neil Young
Interview with father of dead student
Fire and Rain – James Taylor
Nigerian Civil War ends
Dead Parrot Sketch – Monty Python’s Flying Circus
Black Night – Deep Purple
Storms and flooding in Belfast. Bernadette Devlin on trouble in Northern
Let It Be – the Beatles
Apple deny reports that Paul McCartney has left the Beatles. Beatles film Let It Be released. Paul McCartney releases solo album.
Maybe I’m Amazed – Paul McCartney
Germany beat England in World Cup quarter final Tony Jacklin wins US Open golf
I Want You Back – the Jackson Five
Harold Wilson calls general election. Voting age lowered to eighteen. Interview with first time voter. Edward Heath becomes prime minister, and forms new cabinet.
Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell
Isle of Wight Pop Festival. Interviews with attendees, and Caroline Coon from
Release. Anti-drug message from Mark Farner of Grand Railroad Funk.
In the Summertime – Mungo Jerry Rag
Mama Rag – the Band
Government introduces industrial relations bill. Interviews with Robert Carr and Vic Feather.
Question – the Moody Blues
Jimi Hendrix dies
Voodoo Chile – Jimi Hendrix
Janis Joplin dies. Palestinian guerrillas hijack aeroplanes
Ride a White Swan – T Rex
President Nasser of Egypt dies
Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel
Aleksandr Soltzenitsyn wins Nobel Prize for Literature
The beginning of the first half of the thirty part series.
It’s interesting to hear the 1970s editions of Twenty-five Years of Rock now. At the time the music of the early to mid seventies was too old to be up to date, but not old enough to be nostalgia, and with the later seventies
editions some records and events included in the programmes would be now long forgotten, while other records and events would be conspicuous by their absence.
1970 was the tail end of hippy era. A lot of the music is folk rockby people like Neil Young, Jon Mitchell, James Taylor and the Band, or heavy rock by Free and Deep Purple. It was the year that the Beatles split, and Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin died (although they didn’t play any of her music in the series).
It was also the start of the seventies. If the 1960 programme gave little indication of the type of music that was coming in the next decade, the 1970 programme features two influential new acts. T Rex had one of the first
glam rock hits, and there’s the Jackson Five, featuring Michael Jackson who was still a big star long after the seventies.
Britain got a new Conservative government, and the programme includes a newsreel clip of Edward Heath’s new cabinet, which included Margaret Thatcher.
But Monty Python’s Parrot Sketch was definitely first broadcast in 1969. Surprisingly there’s no mention of the death of General De Gaulle, or the skinhead craze.
Layla – Derek and the Dominoes
Edward Heath applies for Britain to join the Common Market.
Imagine – John Lennon
Beatles’ split official. Interview with John Lennon.
My Sweet Lord – George Harrison
Earthquake in California
Your Song – Elton John
Postal workers strike. Britain changes to decimal currency Mick Jagger marries Bianca de Macias
Brown Sugar – the Rolling Stones
England win the Ashes. D B Cooper robs plane over Seattle. Arsenal win FA Cup and
Champions League Cup
Hot Love – T Rex
Rolls Royce gets into financial difficulty
Get It On – T Rex
Princess Anne presents Society of Film and Television Arts Awards. Clip from Dad’s Army. Anti-Vietnam War demonstration in Washington erupts into violence
Theme from Shaft – Isaac Hayes
Jim Morrison dies in Paris
Riders on the Storm – the Doors
Edward Heath on trouble in Northern Ireland. Pub bombed in Belfast. Minister of Home Affairs announces internment order.
It’s Too Late – Carole King
Homes bombed in Derry. Civilians attack British troops.
Won’t Get Fooled Again – the Who
Black Panther George Jackson shot dead while escaping from prison
Yours Is No Disgrace – Yes
Attica State Prison riot
Black Magic Woman – Santana
Oz editors charged with obscenity and jailed. Richard Neville, Felix Denis and Jim Anderson interviewed.
Hors D’Oeuvres – Sid Phillips Band
Women’s Liberation Movement in Hyde Park’s Speakers’ Corner.
Resurrection Shuffle – Ashton, Gardner and Dyke
Hot pants. Clockwork Orange released. Festival of Light rally in Trafalgar Square
Get Down and Get With It – Slade
Voting age in the USA lowered to 18. School leaving age to be raised to 16. Interview with education secretary Margaret Thatcher
Maggie May – Rod Stewart
East Pakistan becomes Bangladesh following civil war
Bangla Desh – George Harrison
Milton Obote of Uganda ousted in military coup led by General Idi Amin. President Nixon announces he will visit China in 1972
Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
The Beatles’ solo careers started. The Oz magazine trial was another sign that the sixties were over. The Rolling Stones started their own label, and Rod Stewart and Elton John made their breakthrough. The glam rock movement was taking off with Marc Bolan having more hits, and Slade joining the glam scene. The American
rock scene was getting more mellow.
Britain was entering another new era with the changeover to decimal currency, parliament voting for Britain to join the Common Market, and the rise of the feminist. But the troubles in Northern Ireland, and the anti-war protests and racial tensions in America got worse.
All the Young Dudes – Mott the Hoople
Students’ Union protest in London
School’s Out– Alice Cooper
Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhoff arrested. Miners’ strike leading to energy crisis in
Heart of Gold –Neil Young
Miners return to work
Vital Transformation – John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra
Trident crashes in Staines, Middlesex. Japanese terrorists, recruited by PLO, shoot passengers at Lod Airport in Tel Aviv
Without You – Harry Nilsson
British soldiers shoot 28 unarmed civilians in Derry. Interview with Father Edward Daly, and other witnesses.
Lady Eleanor –Lindisfarne
IRA bomb parachute regiment headquarters. Edward Heath announces plans to solve troubles in Northern Ireland.
Big Eyed Beans From Venus – Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band
Silver Machine – Hawkwind
Racial tension in Alabama. Governor George Wallace shot.
Do It Again – Steely Dan
Gravelly Interchange, aka Spaghetti Junction, opens
Spam – Monty Python
Thick as a Brick – Jethro Tull
Karin Janz, Olga Korbut, Mark Spitz win medals at Munich Olympics
Goodbye to Love – the Carpenters
Palestinian terrorists murder Israeli athletes at Olympic village
American Pie – Don McLean
One million people unemployed in Britain. Interview with Anthony Barber over “floating the pound”.
Money Programme sketch – Monty Python
I Saw the Light – Todd Rundgren
George Best suspended by Manchester United
Mama Weer All Crazee Now – Slade
Bobby Fischer interviewed after beating Boris Spassky in World Chess Championship
Ziggy Stardust – DavidBowie
The Jean Genie – David Bowie
George McGovern runs for president. Break-in at Democrat Party’s Watergate office. President Nixon re-elected.
Merry Xmas War Is Over – John Lennon
Vietnam War statistics. Last American infantry unit leaves Vietnam. Henry Kissinger negotiates end for Vietnam War.
Virginia Plain – Roxy Music (The original broadcast also included Rock n Roll by Gary Glitter.)
The 1971 programme ended with President Nixon announcing he would visit China in 1972, but we don’t hear about his visit in the 1972 programme. He did manage to get re-elected that year, but news came out about the Watergate break-in that would lead to his downfall.
1972 also saw the start of the industrial unrest in Britain that would lead to Edward Heath’s downfall. Bloody Sunday should have been included in the introduction in the first programme as the troubles in Northern Ireland was one of the main news stories of the seventies. The 1972 Olympics are remembered for the wrong
Three years after his Space Oddity David Bowie re-emerged as one of the leading lights of the glam rock era. As well as his own hits he wrote a song for Mott the Hoople. Roxy Music followed to Bowie style, while glam rockers like Gary Glitter and Slade drew on old style rock n roll. The biggest glam rock star from America was Alice Cooper.
Reelin’ in the Years – Steely Dan
Nixon states that he is not a crook. Britain joins Common Market. Interview with Edward Heath. President Nixon’s inauguration. Six men charged over Watergate break-
You’re So Vain – Carly Simon
USA ends its involvement in Vietnam War. Train drivers’ strike
Part of the Union – the Strawbs
Edward Heath announces wages squeeze
Money – Pink Floyd
Red Rum wins Grand National
Superstition – Stevie Wonder
Bob Halderman and John Ehrlichman resign over Watergate. Sam Ervin presides over Watergate hearing. Interview with John Dean.
Stuck in the Middle With You – Stealers Wheel
Nixon denies involvement in Watergate break-in. Watkins Glen Rock Festival
Jessica – the Allman Brothers Band
Interview with organiser Jim Koplik, and festival attendees
Ramblin’ Man – the Allman Brothers Band
Northern Ireland referendum. IRA bombings in London. Tu-144 crashes at Paris Air Show
Whiskey in the Jar – Thin Lizzy
Clashes between Protestant extremists and British army in Northern Ireland. Uri Geller demonstrates fork bending
Papa Was a Rolling Stone – the Temptations
Sioux Indians take hostages and demand rights for Red Indians. Academy Awards.
Marlon Brando refuses Oscar for The Godfather.
Long Train Runnin’ – the Doobie Brothers
Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan
Gerald Ford becomes Vice President
Hocus Pocus –Focus
Blockbuster – the Sweet
Princess Anne marries Captain Mark Phillips
Get Down – Gilbert O’Sullivan
Nixon interviewed over Watergate scandal
Desperado – the Eagles
Cod War between UK and Iceland. Marjorie Wallace, Miss USA, is crowned Miss World. Fashions news, including coloured hair
Walk on the Wild Side – Lou Reed
Yom Kippur War
Tubular Bells – Mike Oldfield
Fuel shortages in USAand Europe. Edward Heath meets Arab oil ministers. Nixon asks Americans to cut down on fuel for heating.
Angie – the Rolling Stones
Edward Heath announces three day week
Merry Xmas Everybody – Slade
Radio 1 review of the year. Interviews with Emperor Rosko and David Hamilton.
Let Me In – the Osmonds
Eclipse – Pink Floyd
“It’s 1973, and a very happy New Year to everyone.”
Britain joined the Common Market on New Year’s Day, but the story that dominates this programme is the Watergate scandal. America finally got out of the Vietnam War, but more wars started in the Middle East, leading to a fule crisis in the USA and Europe, and more industrial unrest in Britain.
In Britain 1973 is also remembered for the royal wedding. There are some memorable records from Stevie Wonder, Thin Lizzy, and Lou Reed, but You’re So Vain was
definitely a hit in 1972. There’s not as much glam rock in this programme as you might expect. Glam rock group reached its peak in 1973, but then glam was overshadowed by punk for a long time.
Country rock was big. The Watkins Glen Rock Festival was, at the time, the biggest rock festival ever held, but it’s less well remembered than Woodstock. The programme ends with an extract from Radio 1’s review of the year. It mentions that 1973 was the year that
Radio 1’s Newsbeat started, and Newsbeat was still going strong in the early eighties.
Since this programme was made Jessica became the theme tune to Top Gear, and Stuck in the Middle With You has become synonymous with Reservoir Dogs.
You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet – Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Britain suffers from fuel crisis and industrial disputes. South Eastern Gas Board recommends couples share baths. Interview with Joseph Kinsey.
Rebel Rebel – David Bowie
Edward Heath calls general election. Speeches by Edward Heath, Harold Wilson and Jeremy Thorpe.
Election Night Special – Monty Python
Waterloo – Abba
Richard Skinner presents election edition of Newsbeat. Harold Wilson becomes
I Can Help – Billy Swan
Three day week ends. IRA bomb in Tower of London. Martial arts craze
Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas
Rugby match disrupted by streaker. Marcus Lipton MP urges Home Secretary to deal firmly with streakers.
The Streak – Ray Stevens
President Nixon visits Leonid Brezhnev for peace talks Aleksandr Soltzenitsyn
expelled from Soviet Union
This Town Ain’t Big Enough For the Both of Us – Sparks
Patty Hearst kidnapped by Symbionese Liberation Army.
Killer Queen – Queen
Message from Patty Hearst. Interview with Randolph Apperson Hearst. The Exorcist banned by several councils after boy dies after watching the film.
Remember You’re a Womble – the Wombles
Sugar shortage ends
I Shot the Sheriff – Eric Clapton
Mulberry Bush pub in Birmingham bombed by IRA. DC-10 crashes in Paris
Cajun Moon – J J Cale
President Nixon on Watergate investigations. Impeachment process against President Nixon
How Long – Ace
President Nixon resigns
The Show Must Go On – Leo Sayer
Gerald Ford becomes president and pardons Richard Nixon
Gonna Make You a Star – David Essex
Muhammad Ali regains world heavyweight title. Court Line goes bankrupt, leaving British holidaymakers stranded
Y Viva Espana –Sylvia
Package Holiday sketch – Monty Python
The Joker – the Steve Miller Band
Lord Lucan disappears. Harold Wilson calls second election. Labour wins again.
The Wall Street Shuffle – 10cc
Pound falls to its lowest ever level. Vox pops on what people want to see in 1975
Down Down – Status Quo
Can’t Get Enough – Bad Company
John Stonehouse disappears, and later is found and arrested in Australia
Band on the Run – Wings
1974 is remembered as the year the President Nixon resigned. In Britain it was the year that we had two general elections. But the Monty Python sketches were definitely earlier than 1974.
Another news story here is the IRA pub bombing in Birmingham. As with the pub bombing in Guildford the same year, it transpired over a decade later that the people who went to prison for this crime were innocent.
This is the first programme in the series to feature a song from the Eurovision Song Contest. Queen also had their first hit. There are several records in this programme based on the crazes of the year such as kung fu, streaking and the Wombles, the last of these being one of the most successful novelty acts. The programme plays out with Wings’ Band on the Run, one of the first concept singles.
8 thoughts on “25 Years of Rock – 1970 – 1974”
Are recordings of these programmes available anywhere? BBC iPlayer only has the programmes on the 80’s.
They seem to be available via this link –
Gary Glitter’s Rock n Roll originally appeared just before Vital Transmission
Thanks for that link. Especially as these are unedited.
25 Years of Rock was a series I regretted not getting on tape at the time. I used to be in a tv and radio appreciation group, and one of the members said she used to have the whole series on tape.
It was a series I would liked to have seen available on BBC Records, but there vwould have been problems with the copyright clearance.
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Unfortunately I was unable to download the 1981 programme, apparently because of copyright clearance for Tainted Love by Soft Cell. And the 1984 programme was missing the beginning.
I just tried listening to the 1980 programme. It was an abysmal recording. I think these were recorded off air and this edition sounded as if it was recorded on a radio that wasn’t properly tuned in
Also I’m the Leader of the Gang was in the 1973 programme, and was replaced by Gilbert O’Sullivan’s get down for the Radio 6 repeat.