25 Years of Rock – 1970 – 1974



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
prime minister

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

  1. 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.


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