Treasure chest of classic pop tapes found in radio station vaults

Chief Reporter,Terry Kirby
Friday 16 May 2003 00:00

A lost archive of live recordings by some of the biggest names in rock music of the 1970s and 80s is to be released on CD after more than 600 forgotten tapes were uncovered at two radio stations.

Elvis Costello, U2, Rod Stewart, Madness and Roxy Music are among the many artists featured on the recordings made for Radio Clyde and Radio Forth – both now owned by Scottish Radio Holdings. The first CD is due to be released later this year on River Records in a deal with Universal Music although the artists featured still has to be decided. "It is a real time capsule with some great performances. It's unique. We've got one tape which has 60,000 people singing along to Rod Stewart doing 'Sailing'," Richard Findlay, chief executive of Scottish Radio Holdings, said.

The archive is believed to be the largest outside the vaults of the BBC. Some of the collection, such as the live recordings for the In Concert series on Radio 1 in the 1970s and 80s, is being broadcast on the BBC 6 Music digital channel.

The rediscovery came about simply because Mr Findlay suddenly wondered what had become of the recordings made when he was managing director of Radio Forth during the period. He organised a search and the recordings were found in attics and cellars at the offices of the two stations.

"Most of the recordings were made by a large, outside recording studio that Radio Clyde had at the time. Although it doesn't compare with the kind of thing we have now, it was very, very good for its time, so the standard of the recordings is excellent.''

Under music industry regulations of the time, the recordings could only be broadcast once and repeated once, and after that they were simply put aside and forgotten about.

Permission from the artists to release their work still needs to be obtained but Mr Findlay said most were enthusiastic about the idea. Universal Music already owns many of the labels to which the artists were or are now contracted. "In many cases, these recordings have been unknown to fans, music retailers and music lovers," said Nigel Haywood, of Universal. "Their resurrection ... will be eagerly anticipated.''

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