Thursday, September 06, 2007

Radio One More Time: Specially recorded jingles

Radio One, by nature of being the only national pop network, had enormous power to make or break the fortunes of new singles. Since rules frowned on the idea of disc jockey and producer's favour being curried by the payment of large sums of undeclared funds into Swiss bank accounts, record labels had to come up with different ways of flattering the gatekeepers of the nation's taste.

One popular way of doing this was to record a specially re-worded version of the single to function as a jingle for one or more shows. So, for example, Owen Paul reworked

You're my favourite waste of time

as

Gary Davies in the summertime.

So vain were the jocks, these sly marketing parries almost always proved successful, helping keep the parent songs in the public eye... well, ear, and almost certainly squeezing a couple of extra plays here and there. And it wasn't just the usual chancers you'd expect to pull this sort of trick who got involved - even Kate Bush did a special Radio One jingle at one point.

The most played reworked jingle, though, would have been The Trainspotter's High Rise tribute to Mike Read. The original chorus ran

High Rise
High Rise
The neighbours are banging on the wall again
High Rise
High Rise
I want to live on the ground


The 'band' happily reorganised this into

Mike Read
Mike Read
Two seven five, two eight five
Mike Read
Mike Read
National radio one


So pleased was he with this, Mike Read used it not only as his main jingle, he also encouraged listeners to sing it all over the world - every day, someone's claim to have sung the tune in Berlin, or at the top of a mountain, or down a mine, would be rewarded with a mug. Naturally, there was no way of establishing the bona fides of the claims, as people didn't have mobiles, much less video cameras in their pockets, but everything was done on trust back then.

So who were these Trainspotters, whose single-turned-jingle got such exposure?

It was, um, Mike Read.

[Radio One More Time]


5 comments:

karlt said...

I don't remember the Kate Bush jingle- how did it go?

James said...

I remember this still going on in the 1990s. The Boo Radleys recorded a 'Wake Up Boo' jingle for Chris Evans and, a couple of reshuffles later, Kevin Greening and Zoe Ball had a few made too (although by this time Radio 1 was embracing dance music more, and so a lot of these jingles were by the likes of one-hit wonders 'Tzant', and not enduring chart heavyweights like Owen P- Oh.)

Anonymous said...

No doubt the talented Mr Moyles got his 'record and own your own jingles and bag an extra sixty grand a year in prs' wheeze from Mr Read. Standing on the shoulders of such giants is why he has become the saviour of radio one. That and carpark catchphrase, obviously. Genius. - E.

CarsmileSteve said...

"handily" Owen Paul (real name Paul Owen, fact fans) was managed by Gary Davies' great showbiz mate Peter Powell...

Siobhan, Andover said...

And of course Mike Read's income was supplemented by all those 20p's from another memorable jingle.
To be fair, I think he did find a worthy charity to donate them all to, mate.

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