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 » Alan Freeman

1927 - 2006

 

Unit 3 was the LP Spot

 

Alan in the BBC studio 1968

 

Sitting in a London park 1968

 

Smiling in 1976....

 

...with Genesis in 1977...

 

 

.....and in 2001

 

 

At the Sign..

 

From 1961 Alan Freeman made famous the musical piece written by Brian Fahey titled 'At the Sign of the Swinging Cymbal' by using it as his theme tune to Pick of the Pops and later for his Saturday Rock shows.

 

The arrangement was re-vamped in 1970 by Brass Incorporated for Alan and is still in use over 40 years later on Radio 2.

 

In 2002 a modified version by the Propellerheads was heard on the new Sunday Radio 1 Chart countdown.

 

Brian Fahey version 1960 

 

Brass Incorporated 1970

 

 

Born 1927 in Australia, Alan 'Fluff' Freeman (real name Alan Leslie Freeman) worked as an announcer on Melbourne local radio, and came to Britain in 1957.

He recalled listening to a BBC Light Programme show where, at the end of a record, the announcer said stiffly with a BBC accent "..and that was new gramophone record sung by Frank Sinatra" and could see the need for a more lively, modern presentation style on UK radio. He stayed in Britain, where listeners enjoyed his unique style of presentation.

He joined the Light Programme in 1961 with a show Records Around Five. In September of that year, replacing David Jacobs, he began to present Pick of the Pops, then a singles chart feature in a short-lived Saturday evening show called Trad Tavern. In January 1962 Pick of the Pops became a programme in its own right with a regular Sunday teatime slot; produced by Derek Chinnery and presented by Alan Freeman, the show soon became a national institution.

Unit 1 was the Chart Newcomers (later climbers).

Unit 2 was the New Releases

Unit 3 was the Pick of the Pops LP Spot

Unit 4 was the Week's Top 10

Alan Freeman naturally joined Radio 1 with its launch in 1967, continuing to present the weeks singles chart countdown on Pick of the Pops, which he fronted on Sunday evenings until September 1972.   Following this he presented the Saturday Rock Show featuring music from the progressive, hard rock and heavy metal genres from 1973 until September 1978. Acts featured were diverse as Pink Floyd, Jean Michel Jarre, Jethro Tull, Caravan, Genesis, Steve Hackett, Yes, King Crimson and Vangelis.

During the 1960's and early 70's Alan also featured regularly on Radio Luxembourg.

He left Radio 1 to join Capital Radio in 1979 hosting their Saturday morning show Pick Of The Pops Take Two.

 

Alan is remembered as as the voice behind 'Brentford Nylons' and 'Omo' during the 1960s and 70's.

 

In 1987 he received the Radio Academy's Outstanding Contribution to UK music Radio Award and in 1988 he was honoured as the Sony Awards' Radio Personality of the Year. Alan's catchphrases include:"Erm...................", "Greetings Pop Pickers", "Alright", and "Not 'Arf".

 

He came back to Radio 1 in January 1989 and fronted the 'Pick of the Pops' early Sunday afternoon show but this time in an 'oldies chart' format as well as the Saturday Rock Show which was now aired in an evening slot.

 

In December 1992 Alan signed off from presenting Pick of the Pops on Radio 1, but it wasn't the last time he would front this show for the BBC. He continued with the legendary Saturday Rock Show until October of 1993, when Matthew Bannister took charge of the station.

 

Moving to Capital Gold and Virgin Radio during the period 1993-1996,  Alan came back to the BBC, this time to Radio 2 in April 1997 to present 'Pick of the Pops', once again playing retro BBC charts, until April 2000. He also broadcast a  series of opera/classic highlight shows on Tuesday nights on BBC Radio 2, until 2002.

Alan was awarded an MBE in 1998.

Since 1991, Alan had suffered with arthritis and from 2000 lived in a nursing home, Brinsworth House in Twickenham. He passed away peacefully there on 28th November 2006, aged 79. Tributes

 

RADIO REWIND AUDIO CLIPS

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Audio© BBC

 

Chat with David Jacobs Sept 1961

 

FULL SHOWS

26.05.63 BBC Light  Pick of the Pops 57m 

02.06.63 BBC Light  Pick of the Pops 59m

26.01.64 BBC Light  Pick of the Pops 57m

22.03.64 BBC Light  Pick of the Pops 1h

05.04.64 BBC Light  Pick of the Pops 1h

26.04.64 BBC Light  Pick of the Pops 1h

10.05.64 BBC Light  Pick of the Pops 1h

02.08.64 BBC Light  Pick of the Pops 56m

04.10.64 BBC Light  Pick of the Pops 58m

15.11.64 BBC Light  Pick of the Pops 56m 

03.01.65 BBC Light  Pick of the Pops 58m 

07.03.65 BBC Light  Pick of the Pops 1h

13.02.66 BBC Light  Pick of the Pops 53m

27.02.66 BBC Light  Pick of the Pops 58m

17.03.68 Radio 1  Pick of the Pops  1h 57m

28.12.69 Radio 1  Pick of the Pops review of 1969   2h

04.01.70 Radio 1  Pick of the Pops 1h

 

NEW 17.11.77 Classic Rock Show 1h 27m
NEW 05.05.78 Classic Rock Show
NEW
15.01.89 Classic Rock Show 2h (2 discs)
NEW 19.03.89 Classic Rock Show (2 discs) 1h 52m
NEW 16.07.89 Classic Rock Show (3 discs) 2h 57m
NEW 09.09.89 Classic Rock Show (3 discs) 2h 57m
NEW 16.12.89 Classic Rock Show (3 discs) 2h 55m
NEW 14.04.90 Classic Rock Show (3 discs) 2h 56m
NEW 05.05.90 Classic Rock Show (2 discs) 1h 22m
NEW 21.04.90 Classic Rock Show 37m
NEW 20.04.91 Classic Rock Show (3 discs) 2h 56m
NEW 28.09.91 Classic Rock Show 1h 19m
NEW 09.01.93 Classic Rock Show 1h 15m
NEW 23.10.93 Classic Rock Show 1h 05m
 

CLIPS

Hi There, Pop Pickers! (April 1964)

End of a 'Pick of the Pops' show (1964)

Countdown* with (Nov 1967)

Theme Tune Clip by Brian Fahey

POTP Top 30 countdown 15.05.68

Jingle to denote chart climber 1967 - 1969 **

What's New show (Dec 1970)

 

The following clips are taken from an Alan Freeman What's New show Monday 28.12.70. with a review of the year.

 

Handover from Terry Wogan

more Black Sabbath wanted!

more Kansas Hook wanted!

Not happy about Sacha Distel

Will Joe South catch on in the UK?

 

 

Pick of the Pops Trail (1970)

Handover from Terry Wogan - What's New (1970)

more Clips

POTP_countdown March 1971

10 years of POTP show 1972    Closing this show

Asking for your poem and 'Freeman's Fancy' c1973

24.09.72  final Pick of the Pops. 

Johnnie Walker hands over to Alan's Youth Call show live from the Stewarton Annick Youth Centre, Ayrshire, July 1973

Erm..! (c1973)

Allright?  Not Half!

Handover to Rosko 1973

Introducing 'The Story of Pop' (1973) 

07.07.73  R1 Rock Show 1h

26.10.75  R2 Insight look at the Pirates 1h

Muppets talk about Alan

PoP Quiz 1977 

30.09.77 10 years of Radio 1 documentary with  1h

26.08.78  presents his final Saturday Rock full Show 210m

With Mark Goodier on Top 80 of the '80's (01.90)

more from this New Year's Day show show

A to Z of Rock Voiceover  The Letter 'U'

Andy Peebles hands over (1989)

Intro to Rock Show (1990)

Pick_of_the_Pops_on Radio 1 (1990)

Smashey & Nicey will miss Alan (1992).

NEW Fluffy Sweater (1997) chatting with broadcaster Nathan Morley (4 mins).

 

* music is "Quite beside the point" by  Harry Roberts Sound.

By May 1970 the Pick of the Pops show reverted back to a new version of "At the Sign of the Swingin' Cymbal!"  - see Theme Tunes page.

** Jingle from 'Switched on Bach' LP by Walter Carlos

 

 

 

Tributes

 

Here is a selection of personal messages in memory of Alan, as submitted to the Radio Rewind Guestbook shortly after his death in 2006.

 

Dan Bugfire England Tuesday, 28. November 2006 Sad to hear the death of this great disc jockey. you will be dearly missed.

 

Mark Occomore Crawley Tuesday, 28. November 2006 05:58 PM  Very sad news for the broadcast industry.I remember him presenting POTPS & Rock Show on Radio 1. God bless Alan and rest in peace.

 

Jonathan (Xtra large anorak) I'm just listening to some classic Pick of the Pops on Capital Gold with tributes from colleagues. What can I say, he was a true pioneer and someone who's been a real great influence on music radio in this country. Let's hope Radio 1 and 2 can come up with something really special to salute such a warm, unique character and someone who was always a breath of fresh air to listen to whether your music is pop, rock or classical! He's been sorely missed from the radio dial for five years after a career in the UK of more than 40 years! Night, night! Stay bright! God bless you, Formidable Fluff!

 

Dave Stainto My main memories of dear old Fluff were the halcyon days of the Saturday/Sunday rock show, I always taped it off the radio and fell asleep around the archive section waking just as he signed off. Together with TV on the Radio, Tommy Vance, they formed an indelible part of my musical adolescence, and I feel very nostalgic today. There will never be another DJ who will be as passionate about music as Al and TV (and Peely of course). Hope Fluff has 'chuffed off' to heaven to spin some platters, and I hope he told someone he loved them before it was too late. Alright, not 'arf!

 

geoff hobbs   a very sad day indeed , alan was a true gent and great guy . if they have a radio station in the afterlife , it must be the best radio station ever with the greats that have passes and now they have alan freeman on there too r i p fluff mate

 

Bill Norman Washington Tyne and Wear Welcome back friends to the show that never ends....This is truly a sad day  I feel like a favourite uncle has died. Fluff was not only the finest DJ on Radio One but the only one to straddle the pop charts  Greetings pop pickers and the rockers  Greetings music lovers. From Yes to Zeppelin to PFM to Gentle Giant and of course ELP you made saturday afternoon come alive for anyone not interested in football and this at a time when David Diddy Hamilton was on Radio One....so in the words of Aphrodites Child Bye , Bye my friend goodbye

 

Howard (Ted) Edwards Pennant Melangell, Powys  Deeply saddened to hear of Allan Freeman's death. I was a Technical Operator in Broadcasting House London during the 1970s and was priviledged to be able to do 'the panel' on pick of the Pops many times. Great memories "Ted" Edwards

 

Chas Caunt Nottingham A sad day, the passing of someone who had such a profound impact on you in your youth. Memories of listening to Luxembourg under the bedsheets, wanting to be able to keep recordings of Sunday afternoon POTP, but never having enough tapes for the reeltoreel and all that brilliant music delivered with great style  like a breath of fresh air. Rest in Peace Fluff

 

Simon Harris London  Alan Freeman was a huge talent, a genuine pioneer and an icon, he was also incredibly nice and genuine. I had the pleasure of meeting him when he worked at Capital and he very kindly invited me to be in the studio when he was presenting, it was an awesome experience which I will always remember, he was such a huge talent and he really did change British radio

 

Wendy McMullan Cheltenham  I grew up with the "Hit Parade", and Alan was an irreplaceable part of it. Happy memories, Fluff. We didn't realise how much we loved you until you left us.

 

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