Johnnie Walker's Sounds Of The '70s

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Johnnie meets Bill Payne and Paul Barrere from Little Feat, and we hear from Jimmy Cliff.

Bill Payne and Paul Barrere, from Jimmy Page's "favourite American band" Little Feat, are Johnnie's guests this week.

Founded by Lowell George, "the Orson Welles of rock 'n' roll" according to Jackson Browne in 1969, the band fused rock 'n' roll, blues, country, gospel, junk and jazz to become a cult band, beloved by musos, fellow musicians and live audiences alike.

Following two albums, guitarist Paul Barrere joined the line-up in in 1972 before the band released their funkier feeling album Dixie Chicken and Paul went on to become co-songwriter with keyboardist Bill Payne. They talk to Johnnie about their body of work in the 70s, being asked to jam with the Stones, and the untimely death of Lowell George.

Also on the show Johnnie celebrates 40 years of The Harder The Come. It was the first commercial movie to be completely produced in Jamaica and was a big success, making even more of a star of lead actor and musician Jimmy Cliff. in My 70s, Jimmy re-visits the making of the film, discusses the success of his soundtrack, and why he's covered The Clash's Guns of Brixton on his new album.


Johnnie celebrates the 70s, playing classic tracks and archive sessions.

Johnnie celebrates the 70s, playing classic tracks and archive sessions from both sides of the Atlantic.


Johnnie spins some Elton John '70s tracks and talks to the English singer Elkie Brooks.

Johnnie marks Radio 2's Elton John weekend with a few choice tracks and the husky-voiced English singer Elkie Brooks shares her memories of the decade in My 70s.

Born in Salford, Brooks' first gig was at the age of 13 and, two years later, she was a professional singer. Her cover of Etta James' Something's Got A Hold On Me was released by Decca in 1964.

After working the cabaret scene and supporting groups including The Beatles and The Animals during the 60s, she formed Vinegar Joe with Pete Gage and Robert Palmer, releasing three albums through Island Records before the group split in 1974.

Brooks then launched her successful solo career with debut album Rich Man's Woman in 1975, which was critically acclaimed and also featured a controversial album cover.

This was followed by Two Days Away in 1977, featuring Brooks' biggest hit single of the 70s, Pearl's A Singer, reaching No. 8 in the UK Singles Chart. Shooting Star in 1978 and Live And Learn in 1979 rounded of the decade, and Brooks continued her success into the 80s.

Also on the show, to mark Radio 2's Elton John Weekend Johnnie spins some tracks from the compilation Elton John: Classic Album Selection (1970-73), which was re-released in July.


Johnnie Walker meets English boogie rockers Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt from Status Quo.

The Quo have released an incredible 29 studio albums during their long career and 22 of their singles have made it into the UK Top 10. The pair talk about the last 50 years together, as well as reuniting with original band members ahead of their Christmas tour.

Johnnie also looks at the work of The Jam in the 1970s, on the 30th anniversary of their split in 1982, when Paul Weller was just 24 years old. Johnnie takes a tour through their 1970s' albums In The City, This Is The Modern World, All Mod Cons and Setting Sons, picking his favourites and telling the stories.


Johnnie starts the New Year celebrations early with Robert "Kool" Bell from Kool and the Gang.

Robert talks to Johnnie about the genesis of those feelgood hits, their struggle in the 70s to hit the big-time and how Saturday Night Fever and Ladies Night gave them the push they needed. Plus Johnnie wants to know what how the Kings of a New Year disco celebrate themselves.

Also on the show one of Johnnie's youngest listeners, gives his memories of a decade that he wasn't even born in! Martin from Sussex got in touch with the show this year and impressed us with his musical knowledge. Together with Johnnie he talks about how he got into in the music of the 70s, despite only being 14 years old.

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This week, Johnnie Walker meets the actor, musician and former teen idol David Essex.

After breaking through in 1973 with Rock On, many people were surprised to find David had written the song himself. Aside from a glittering pop career with 13 top ten hits in the decade, Essex is also a noted actor and appeared in the stage musical Godspell and the original production of Evita.

David talks to Johnnie about his memories of the 70s, his number one hits and what it was like to be a teen idol and a songwriter at the same time.

Johnnie also catches up with the sports broadcaster Steve Rider, who talks about beginning his journalistic career in the 70s and picks some of his favourite tracks from the decade.

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This week Johnnie catches up with Ricky Ross and Lorraine McIntosh from Deacon Blue.

The band had huge hits in the 1980s and 90s including Dignity and Real Gone Kid but Johnnie wants to know about their musical education in the 1970s, growing up separately in Scotland, before they met, formed Deacon Blue and got married.

Johnnie asks about how much Steely Dan, who contributed their band name, featured in their record collections and how they first discovered music. Plus, he finds out about the big success of the new album, The Hipsters, and how the couple are preparing for Christmas.

Johnnie also revisits the life and music of Joni Mitchell. For many, she defined the era of the singer-songwriter. As her studio albums from 1968-1979 are re-issued in a new boxset, Johnnie picks his favourite tracks and tells the story of the albums that have influenced countless artists such as Patti Smith, Chrissie Hynde and Courtney Love. He also pays special attention to her seasonal favourite, the beautiful song River.

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The 70s had all the best Christmas hits from Merry Xmas Everybody, to I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day, and Johnnie gets his pick of the bunch in our Christmas show.

We raid the archive to hear the artists behind some of our festive favourites from Greg Lake to Slade, Wizzard, Paul McCartney - plus how to make the perfect Christmas cake with 70s cooking icon Fanny Cradock.

And soul singer, songwriter and hero - Bobby Womack remembers the decade. Best-known in the UK for the song Across 110th Street during the 1970s, Bobby's hits also included Lookin' For A Love and That's The Way I Feel About Cha.

His career dates back over 50 years but he's still achieving great success, collaborating with Blur frontman Damon Albarn on a new critically acclaimed studio album, The Bravest Man In The Universe.

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Johnnie Walker hears 70s memories from Donald Fagen, lead singer of Steely Dan.

Johnnie Walker celebrates the decade of The Band, Blondie and The Beach Boys.

This week Donald Fagen, the lead singer of Steely Dan remembers the decade in the My 70s feature. Alongside Walter Becker he founded the group in 1972, and went on to release six albums in the decade that crossed the genres of jazz, rock and R&B. 1974 saw the band retire from touring and focus exclusively on studio work, with albums such as Katy Lied and Aja among their more seminal works. This year Fagen's memoir Eminent Hipsters has been released in paperback, covering his life, times and cultural heroes.

Also on the show, Johnnie will revisit a moment from the decade courtesy of the BBC archive and another classic seven-inch single will be added into Johnnie's Jukebox.

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Johnnie Walker hears 70s memories from US singer-songwriter and musician Jackson Browne.

Johnnie Walker celebrates the decade of X-Ray Spex, Yes and ZZ Top.

This week he's joined in conversation by one of the most distinctive musicians of the seventies, Jackson Browne. Known for his hit singles Running On Empty and Doctor My Eyes, he also wrote Take It Easy which became one of The Eagles biggest hits. Together with Johnnie he'll cover his music from the decade that became known as his classic period, along with the songs he penned for artists including Joan Baez, Linda Ronstadt and Gregg Allman.

Also on the show, Johnnie will revisit a moment from the decade courtesy of the BBC archive and another classic seven-inch single will be added into Johnnie's Jukebox.

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This week English performance poet John Cooper Clarke appears on the show.

Clarke first became famous during the punk rock era of the late 1970s when he became known as a "punk poet". He began his performance career in Manchester folk clubs, where he began working with Rick Goldstraw and his band The Ferrets. And his first releases were on the independent label Rabid, starting with the EP, Innocents, in October 1977.

He toured with Bill Nelson's band Be-Bop Deluxe in 1978 and was signed by Epic Records, who issued the Nelson-produced debut album, Disguise In Love, in 1978.

With his rapid-fire verbal delivery and stinging social commentary, Clarke quickly emerged as the poet laureate of the punk movement, and he read his work as an opening act for groups including The Sex Pistols, The Buzzcocks and Elvis Costello.

Recently Clarke starred as himself in Plan B's directional debut, Ill Manors, and performed at the film's soundtrack launch. He also revisited his younger years in the award winning Ian Curtis biopic Control.

Also on the show, Johnnie explores more great tracks and archive for this week's featured album.

Johnnie spins a collection of great '70s tunes, including 'punk poet' John Cooper Clarke.

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This week Johnnie meets Jeff Wayne, the man behind the multi-million selling concept album The War Of The Worlds.

Released in 1978, the album has gone on to sell over two million copies in the UK, and features performances from artists including David Essex, Phil Lynott and Richard Burton.

Justin Hayward's track Forever Autumn went on to become a top ten hit, and contributed to the two hundred and ninety weeks the album spent on the UK charts.

This year the album has been re-released as The New Generation, and is supported by an arena tour of the production starring Liam Neeson, Kerry Ellis and Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs.

Together with Johnnie, Jeff talks about the frequently challenging and increasingly expensive process behind making the album, both in the studio and in the boardroom.

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This week Johnnie celebrates the work of one of the biggest bands of the 1970s, brother and sister duo, The Carpenters.

Richard Carpenter's talent for musical arrangement and Karen's vocal range, combined with their skills on the piano and drums, made the pair one of the best-selling artists of all time.

40 years on from the peak of their fame, Johnnie Walker spins some of his favourites from their huge array of hits. From We've Only Just Begun, to (They Long To Be) Close To You, Please Me Postman and Yesterday Once More. And he tells their story, with the help of archive interview clips from the 70s.

Also on the show food critic, writer and broadcaster Giles Coren. In My 70s, he remembers the junk food, sugar candy, sights, tastes and smells that he grew up with and the music that was playing in the background.

Johnnie celebrates the work of brother-sister duo, the Carpenters.

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Mike Oldfield talks to Johnnie Walker about his career in the 1970s and Tubular Bells.

Johnnie Walker spins the hits and digs out the rarities from the decade we went decimal.

Mike Oldfield is Johnnie’s guest this week as he releases a new ‘Best Of’ Collection and a box-set including all his 70’s long players. He talks to Johnnie about the hugely successful 1973 release, ‘Tubular Bells’, the groundbreaking instrumental album that launched Richard Branson’s Virgin Records. The self-taught multi-instrumentalist went on to sell over 17 million copies of Tubular Bells as it achieved notorious exposure on the soundtrack of the horror film ‘The Exorcist’. Mike re-visits the early days with Johnnie and talks about their mutual passions – bikes, cars and guitars!

Also on the show Johnnie features the debut album from the Boston’s early new-wave rock band ‘The Cars’. Led by charismatic singer and rhythm guitarist Ric Ocasek and co-lead singer and bassist Benjamin Orr their debut album has been called a ‘genuine rock masterpiece’. Johnnie spins his favourite tracks from the album and tells the story behind it with the help of archive interview clips from the band.

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This week Johnnie Walker gets under the cover with an in-depth look at album art in the 70s. Through a decade that saw the rise of disco, prog rock and punk, album covers swiftly became an art form.

Aubrey Powell of the acclaimed design company Hipgnosis gives his memories of creating album artwork for acts including Led Zeppelin, Paul MCCartney, Pink Floyd and Genesis, and how the arrival of the Sex Pistols marked a sea change in record sleeves.

Also on the show, Steve Knightly from the acclaimed roots duo Show Of Hands gives his memories of the decade, including the influence of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez in his formative years.

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Johnnie pays tribute to the legendary lyricist Hal David. Along with fellow songwriter Burt Bacharach, Hal was responsible for some of the most enduring songs in popular music. Johnnie re-visits the hits from the 1970s.

Folk singer-songwriter Ralph McTell also appears on the show. McTell rose to prominence in the late 60s with his debut folk album Eight Frames a Second. At the time he was a teacher, playing a regular slot at Les Cousins in Soho, London, where he was first spotted.

However his big break was in 1974 with the hit Streets of London, which went on to sell millions globally, including in the UK. The song has since been recorded over 200 times and scooped an Ivor Novello award.

McTell remembers how Streets of London catapulted him to the mainstream and his experiences of the decade that shaped both him as an artist and the folk music landscape around him.

Johnnie pays tribute to the legendary lyricist Hal David, and chats to Ralph McTell.