Podcast 343 – Beatles supremo Kenneth Womack on the mysteries of Lennon’s last year

Author, renowned Beatles authority, ‘Pop Professor’ and old pal of the pod Kenneth Womack talks about ‘John Lennon 1980: the Last Days In The Life’, his riveting account of events in the Dakota and beyond. Things covered in fascinating detail: the fond and complex relationship with McCartney, the tangled friendship with Dylan, TV watched, stuff bought and sold, the return to the studio and not-so-secret recordings, the withering album reviews, the future plans and the trials of a life lived at this level of celebrity.




Podcast 342 – a close inspection of David Bowie’s dentalwork

In which we look at Chris Frantz’s memoir and its exasperated take on David Byrne (bang goes the Talking Heads reunion), revisit late ’60s Laurel Canyon, unravel some Zappa album titles, marvel at brave new adventures in vinyl sales and how Freddie Mercury’s teeth got the Pistols their big break, and get Hilary Mantel’s tilt on Madonna (“the plain girl’s revenge”).

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Podcast 341 – Author Joe Banks on Hawkwind: to infinity … and beyond!

Writer and counter-cultural connoisseur Joe Banks joins us to talk about Hawkwind: Days Of The Underground, his sparkling account of the rise and 51 year trajectory of the unsung revolutionary heroes. All the following are entertainingly included – their ‘creation myth’ in the white heat of Ladbroke Grove and days as the house band of Radical Politics, the sci-fi adventure with Michael Moorcock and Robert Calvert, the Silver Machine saga, the pioneering rock theatre of Space Ritual, their roles in punk and Krautrock and the saucer-eyed cast members who’ve kept them “the alternative to the alternative”. Key fact: Joe has a Labrador puppy called Lemmy.



The famous Hawkwind clip that was shown on TOTP …

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Podcast 340 – the power shift in favour of the rock audience has begun!

In which we salute the game-changing inventions of the Stones, Kinks and Louis Armstrong, watch the song catalogue sales boom, wonder if the age of spectacle is over, spot the fake alt.country and dark metal bands and take a closer look at the Williams twins v Phil Collins.

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Podcast 339 – David’s day at Donna Summer’s house

In which we applaud the great rock and roll name changes (eg the late Wayne Fontana), get unsettled by ‘Stan’ culture and over-zealous Taylor Swift supporters, take the temperature of the Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, remember some footballers’ hits and wonder how any rock star could be gauche enough to display their gold discs.

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Word Podcast 338 – Shea Stadium revisited

In which we we marvel at the Beatles’ 12-song set 55 years ago (four of them covers), applaud a virtual gig in the Natural History Museum, ponder Alan Bennett and Ellen DeGeneres, wonder when musicians became “creative artists”, spot the fake band (Canadian rock acts v 1972’s ‘Giants of Tomorrow’), and remember Fame, Bugsy Malone and the great Alan Parker.

I’m Down at Shea Stadium …

Backstage at Shea Stadium …

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Podcast 337 – David Mitchell on why writing about the rock boom of 1967 is “an open goal”

Novelist David Mitchell on Utopia Avenue, his fictional account of life in a band (Sunday Times No 1 best-seller!) – plus Bucks Fizz at the Malvern Winter Gardens, the lure of Marillion, the effect of Abba on tooth enamel, “the high register vocabulary” of Rush, the novelistic tangles of the White Album and Tales From Topographic Oceans, and Bowie’s piercing predictions about the internet in 1999 – plus “the Greatest Record Ever Made”.


Utopia Avenue …


Bowie talks to Jeremy Paxman about the internet …

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