Roll Over Sid Vicious

This is a documentary I made at the end of 1989, broadcast on Suffolk Group Radio (Radio Orwell & Saxon Radio) between Christmas and New Year. It attempts to show how pop music evolved during that decade, starting with the first top 10 of 1980. The interviewees are all record producers whose work was prominent in that decade for one reason or another. I was pleased that almost all of the produces I approached were willing to take part. They were: Martin Rushent (Human League, Ultravox etc.), Morgan Khan (dance music), Clive Langer & Alan Winstanley (Madness), Bill Drummond and Dave Balfe (both early pioneers of 'indie' music), Steve Lillywhite (U2, Big Country, Simple Minds), Colin Thurston (Duran Duran), Hugh Padgham (Phil Collins).

Part 1: We Don't Need No Education

Track 1: Back to punk

Track 2: The Rise of the Machines

Track 3: Rapper's Delight

Track 4: Upstairs at Eric's

Part 1: Tell Johnny Rotten The News

Track 1: Guitars Rock

Track 2: Vibrant, Varied, Exciting

Track 3: Human League Dubs

Track 3: The Effect of Technology

Part 3: The Last Great Rock n Roll Band

Track 1: Hit Factory

Track 2: More Money, Less Investment

Track 3: Independent Support

Track 3: Exceptions and Futures

Electric House, Ipswich, before Tower Ramparts Shopping Centre was built. A green double decker bus is stopped outside the back door. The words Radio Orwell are embalzoned across the shop front
Electric House, home of Radio Orwell, Ipswich. Image probably dates from the late 70s


I have fond memories of making this programme, probably the best thing I did while working in radio. There were a couple of people I tried to get to meet who said no, most notably Trevor Horn (Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Buggles etc.). I'd been trying to get to meet Rod Temperton for many years but failed on this occasion too, but the ones I did get to meet were all exceptionally friendly and willing to help. I met Martin Rushent in the very studio where Ultravox and the Human League had recorded many of their songs, including Don't You Want Me; Steve Lillywhite I met at his home on a day his wife, Kirsty MacColl, was appearing on daytime TV and I recall that he was annoyed the the presenter introduced her as 'someone who managed to combine stardom with motherhood'; Colin Thurston too I met at his home and, here's a silly thing to remember, before I left he showed me where the bathroom was in case I needed it before going back on the road home (I did).

I spent hours editing it together in Studio B, in the basement of Electric House, and eventually offered the programme to Capital Radio but, well, they had something similar and didn't take my version. Ah well. It's actually too short as well. When it was broadacast I had to fill in the rest of the hour with other records of the decade. It could have been two x two hour programmes rather than three x one hour.

The title … is horrible. I know. Sorry. Oh and, talking of forgiveness, ahem: copyright.