Swingin’ Cymbal

Oct 4, 2010

Anyone over a certain age will remember Dave Nice, the presenter of “Pick of the Pops” on the BBC Radio Light Programme. He rotated with other presenters from September 1961 and then became the sole voice of the BBC Top 20 (later increased to a Top 30) from January 1964 to September 1972 when the sixties officially ended and the world prepared for the delights or otherwise of Glam Rock and the Osmonds and the Partridge family.

From 1967 to 1972 I regularly recorded “Pick of the Pops” in its Top 30 Sundays 5pm to 7pm phase. Dave kept it simple, just giving us the names of the singers/bands and song titles, along with how many places in the chart the single had risen or fallen. And of course the programmes were advert and Jingle free apart from the theme music used behind the chart countdown. Just for the record, (pun) “At the sign of the swinging cymbal” by Brian Fahey and his Orchestra was used between 1961 and 1966. The “b” side was “The Clanger”. (I don’t know why his name was spelled “Brian Faye” on the single as later LPs he released used the correct spelling). For the period of 1966 to 1970 the instrumental “Quite beside the point” by the Harry Roberts Sound was adopted as the theme. From 1970 onward “At the sign of the swinging cymbal” returned as the theme tune to “Pick of the Pops” , only this time it was performed by Brass Incorporated.

PS: Didn’t Alexis Korner have a radio show that followed “Pick of the Pops” at 7pm on Sundays in the 1970s ? In hindsight I now wish that I’d recorded some of those instead.

PPS: Of course, with the “Collective Consciousness Society” he produced a quite famous pop theme tune himself…