By Mike Wallbank, Feb 15 2019 05:19PM

Pleased to say I'm recovering well from my recent heart 'op'. having received the very best of care from the wonderfully dedicated NHS staff at Wythenshawe Hospital NW Heart Centre, on the Critical Care Unit and Ward F6. Thank you all once again for your prayers and good wishes. I was determined to be well enough after the 'op' to celebrate my 60th birthday with friends and family, which I did, last Saturday. I'm looking forward to being back on Tameside Radio in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, here's the next best thing ~ a Spotify playlist, which I've compiled, spanning the decades from the '50s to now. I hope you might find one or two tracks (hopefully more!) to your liking:

As you'll see from the following notes, several of my choices have been inspired or prompted by recent conversations, chance encounters and events...

By way of a change, this being a personal playlist selection, rather than an actual show, I'll start with some recent releases, altho', to be fair, they are mainly artists or songs influenced by music of the past


Listen (Ravenhead demo) (Cobain Jones)

[2018] ... seventeen year old rising star from Stalybridge who was a recent guest on Your Tameside, presented by Mark Andrews and Dan Eyers, from the toppermost team at the weekend on Tameside Radio. Singer-songwriter Cobain lists The Beatles and Oasis among his main influences.

Vote For Me (The Specials)

{2019]... 2-Tone and ska legends celebrating their 40th anniversary year in style, sounding on top form, with a track from their first new album in decades Encore which went straight in at # 1 on the album chart. Recommended by ska aficionado Andy Pearson, a long-time friend who I worked with, back in the '80s when Specials singer Terry Hall moved on to form The Fun Boy Three and later, The Colour Field

Cool Like You (Blossoms)

[2018], Stockport's finest, with the title track of their second album ~ my first new vinyl in decades, a Christmas present from my niece Emma Wallbank

Listen To The Man (George Ezra)

[2014]... another of my current favourite artists, writing and performing some of the most listenable songs this century with great warmth and distinctively deep vocal. Listen To The Man is on his first album Wanted On Voyage - the video features a guest appearance by acting royalty Sir Ian McKellen

Grab Life (Jerry Williams)

[2017] ... recuperating as I am from my recent life-enhancing heart 'op', the title has now taken on an added significance. A song which first made me sit up and take notice when friend and radio colleague Rob Crossland played it on his Hit20 show as a 'One To Watch' by an up and coming artist ~ someone who Rob believes will be bigger in the future.The BBC Introducing platform for unsigned artists has helped the 23 year old from Portsmouth to build an ever-growing following, If Grab Life is anything to go by, I'm sure we will be hearing much more from Jerry Williams...

Dreams (Ruti)

[2018] ... The Voice series winner covering a song by The Cranberries (1994, # 27) which has also been heard recently in a TV ad

True Love Ways (Buddy Holly)

[1958]'s 60 years this month since the plane crash which claimed the lives of rock n roll legends Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper (JP Richardson). Buddy - just 22 when he died - was up there among the finest talents of his generation, Ahead of his time as one of the first artists to write and perform their own songs, a huge influence inspiring The Beatles and many more. True Love Ways is for me, one of the most beautiful songs ever written, displaying a maturity of musical style and lyric writing which belied Buddy's tender years

Bad Penny Blues (Humphrey Lyttelton Band)

[1956] ... Paul McCartney apparently based his piano riff for The Beatles' Lady Madonna (1968, # 1) on this popular jazz instrumental

Come Together (The Beatles)

[1969] ...John Lennon at his brilliant best on the Abbey Road album - no surprise at all that, 50 years on, Come Together would be chosen as one of the late '60s Fab Four songs played by an eclectic gathering of local musicians and singers - including my good friend, pianist Tim Mottershead and his vocalist/music partner Bill Holmes - at an enjoyable charity gig which I attended a few weeks ago at the Green Man Gallery in Buxton.

1984 (David Bowie)

[1974] ... from the album Diamond Dogs, hugely influenced by the funk-soul of Isaac Hayes' Theme from Shaft. I always thought it should have been a single in the UK, as it was in the US. It would also have been a terrific film theme. Like much of the DD album, Bowie apparently had it in mind

for a stage musical, which ultimately never happened

Blackberry Way (The Move)

[1969] ... to mark my 60th birthday earlier this month, Jeanette, one of my loyal regular listeners and a good friend from Radio Starlion at Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport, compiled for me, among other things, a list of songs which were No.1 on the chart on each of my birthdays * from 1959 through to the present day. Blackberry Way was the nation's toppermost of the poppermost in February '69 when young MW, pupil at Denton Central Juniors, made it into double figures. With one of the best sing-a-long choruses ever, it was a first chart-topping single for Roy Wood, four years before he added a couple more with Wizzard (* see also George Harrison, The Jam, Blondie)

What Is Life (George Harrison) *

[1970-71] ....another potentially huge hit single that never was, at least not in the UK where it was tucked away on the B side of My Sweet Lord (* # 1 on the day I turned 12!) What is Life first appeared on George's triple album All Things Must Pass, released towards the end of 1970. Beyond these shores, it was the follow-up single to My Sweet Lord, reaching the Top 10 in the US and Canada and # 1 in Australia. Its obvious hit potential in this country was finally recognised when Olivia Newton John took her version into the Top 20 the following year (1972, # 16). It's a positive, upbeat song with that trademark Harrison guitar sound, also to be heard on the 1969 hit Badge, co-written with Eric Clapton for Cream and on his old Beatle bandmate Ringo's first solo hit It Don't Come Easy (1971)

A Town Called Malice (The Jam) *

[1982] ... another of my birthday No.1s (as a 23 year old, I was a senior reporter for the local weekly papers Droylsden Reporter and East Manchester Reporter) A terrific bass line and some nifty organ playing made this one of the trio's biggest and best, topping the chart for three weeks. '82 was their best year for high chart placings, four Top 10-ers in all, including Beat Surrender which was another # 1 and their last hurrah before calling it quits

Jacob's Ladder (The Monochrome Set)

[1985] ... rockabilly punk with a hint of gospel - they packed plenty into a very catchy song of less than three minutes ~ fun from start to finish! One of those singles much heard on the radio but sadly didn't shift enough copies to secure even the the lowliest placing in the Top 75.

Understanding Jane (The Icicle Works)

[1986] of a run of singles by the Liverpool band which made the lower reaches of the chart but nowhere near matching the same dizzy heights as their biggest hit Love Is A Wonderful Colour (# 15, 1983-84). I've had the pleasure of meeting bassist Chris Layhe on a couple of occasions, through our mutual friend Jeanette (see Blackberry Way, above). These days Chris teaches guitar with Manchester Adult Education Service and in his spare time is one of the leading lights of a popular monthly Vinyl Night in Heaton Moor, Stockport. Understanding Jane was part of an exclusive acoustic set which he played at Jeanette's significant birthday celebration last year

Saturn 5 (Inspiral Carpets)

[1994] ... another bass player from a famous band who I happened to meet during the past year Martyn Walsh is actively involved in arranging and planning community events in Haughton Green ~ including, last November, the lighting of a commemorative beacon on the village green to mark 100 years to the day since the signing of the Armistice at the end of the First World War. I was particularly proud to be invited to host the ceremony which took place a month after Martyn and his team organised a poignant weekend-long event to remember the young men of Haughton Green who fought in the war and, in many cases, never returned. It was great to be part of the Tameside Radio Outside Broacast Team covering this excellent event, known as Tommy Tomorrow

Maria (Blondie) *

[1999]... top of the chart in the week when I hit the big '40', amazingly, 17 years since their last major hit. Debbie and co were back, sounding as fresh as ever with an instantly catchy song whch went straight to # 1, deservedly so

Bus Stop (Graham Gouldman)

[2017] ... from a double CD 10cc's Graham Gouldman and Heart Full of Songs, including his own acoustic versions of songs which he originally wrote for other artists. Bus Stop was a Top 10-er forThe Hollies in 1966, the year after they had a similarly huge success with another Gouldman composition....

Look Through Any Window (The Hollies)

[1965] ... definitely up there as one of their very best, with that distinctive jangly guitar sound which has influenced countless other bands ever since.

Top Of The World (Who's Molly)

[2017] .... Swansea band championed by two previously mentioned friends, journalist Andy Pearson, who lives and works in the South Wales city by the sea and radio presenter Rob Crossland, who chose Top of The World as another of his Ones to Watch


By Mike Wallbank, Jan 20 2019 03:16PM

I'm pleased to say Dave Taylor is looking after The Show That Time Forgot for the next few weeks, with a different featured year of music and memories in each hour.

You may recognise Dave as one of the team on Your Tameside, our weekend magazine programme, where he is usually out and about with our Outside Broadcasts, or interviewing guests in the studio (Saturdays 10am-2pm, Sundays 10am-1pm).

Dave is also a very able deputy for Alan Ovington on The Rock Zone (Tuesdays 9pm-11pm)

By Mike Wallbank, Jan 17 2019 05:30PM

Thank you for browsing my weekly 'music blog' which includes a full track list for each of my shows on Tameside Radio.

Unfortunately I'm having to take time out for a few weeks to undergo some 'essential maintenance' of the medical kind, but I'm looking forward to being back with you at the earliest opportunity.

The music blog will resume when I'm back presenting the show

Best wishes,



By Mike Wallbank, Jan 13 2019 02:55PM


Cool For Cats (Squeeze)

(1979) ... with Chris Difford singing lead vocal, rather than Glenn Tilbrook, it became one of their biggest hits, the first of two in the same year, which reached # 2 on the chart

For Your Love (The Yardbirds)

(1965) ... written by up and coming Salford-born songwriter Graham Gouldman ~ his first hit, long before making the breakthrough as a musician in his own right with 10cc. Another of his early successes as a writer is on the way soon *

Weak In The Presence Of Beauty (Alison Moyet)

... from the first of today's featured years, her sixth in a run of seven hits, most of which made the Top 10

Cheery Tunes with a sing-a-long quality

... starting with one Holly and then a whole of Hollies

Heartbeat (Buddy Holly)

(1958, US, 1959, UK) ... next month, it will be exactly 60 years since he died in a plane crash, aged just 22

Look Through Any Window (The Hollies) *

(1965) .. played today in.tribute to Eric Haydock, bass guitarist and founder member, who died earlier this month. Th'original US version of another Hollies hit is on the playlist for the second hour **


Silver Star (The Four Seasons)

(1976) ... stands head and shoulders above many of the other singles around on the chart at the height of the disco era, with a strong rhythmic feel and a middle section which slows the tempo down before gathering fresh momentum towards the end. The single was edited down from a six minute album track to be the follow up to the Seasons' only UK # 1, December 1963 (Oh What A Night). Silver Star came close to matching that recent success this side of the Atlantic, reaching # 3, compared with a mere # 38 in America. Drummer Gerry Polci is on lead vocal on both songs, in place of regular front man Frankie Valli.

Newsround Tameside: 32 years ago ~ 1987

Surrender (Swing Out Sister)

... at the time, they were a two-thirds Manchester band ~ singer Corinne Drewery hailed from Nottingham, but keyboard player Andy Connell and drummer Martin Jackson were both Manchester lads

Alone Again (Or) (The Damned)

... the punk pioneers had recently seen a resurgence after covering an epic song from the late '60s (Eloise, 1986, # 3). This time, they revived another song from the same era by American band Love which was widely admired and had been a turntable hit here, but was nowhere near as well known

If You Let Me Stay (Terence Trent D'Arby)

... debut single which did much better here than in his native US

I Love My Radio (Taffy)

... re-recorded version of her 1985 hit in Italy. 'Taffy' - New York-born disco/'Hi NRG' singer Katherine Quaye - also sang on the Ferry Aid charity single Let It Be which topped the chart in April '87

Stand By Me (Ben E King)

... re-issue from 1961 which went all the way to the top after featuring in one of those iconic TV ads for Levi jeans. It had also been 'borrowed' as the title song of the recently released film of the same name

Coming Around Again (Carly Simon)

... album title track and hit single here and in America. Her occasional UK chart hits during the '70s and '80s seemed to follow a pattern of every five years or so ~ the aptly titled Coming Around Again came after Why (1982) ~ before that, it was the Bond theme Nobody Does It Better (The Spy Who Loved Me) in '77. Her UK debut was in late '72 / early '73 with You're So Vain, followed , just a few weeks later, by The Right Thing To Do



Don't Stop Me Now (Queen)

(1979) ... always widely appealing and instantly iikeable, a song which has not only aged well, but seems to have become more popular as time has gone on, after featuring in numerous TV shows, films and commercials. It is also one of most covered Queen songs~ with McFly taking it to # 1, as the official Sport Relief charity single in 2006

Just One Look (Doris Troy) **

(1963) ...biggest US hit for the R&B singer-songwriter known as Mama Soul ~ successfully covered here by The Hollies (1964, # 2)

Yesterday Once More (The Carpenters)

... teaser track for our second featured year ~ at the time, it was Richard and Karen's highest placed hit in the UK, peaking at # 2. They narrowly missed out on the top spot again two years later with Please Mr Postman and right the way through their career, never quite managed a # 1

Cheery Tunes ~ Absolutely Lyricless

... two completely contrasting instrumentals ~ both titles prominently repeating the letter 'S'

Side Saddle (Russ Conway)

(1959) ... .tickling the ivories on the first of two consecutive # 1 hits ~ the other was Roulette

A Swingin' Safari (Bert Kaempfert)

(1962) ... title track of an LP that has become a bargain bin car boot classic. Instantly recognisable from countless TV and radio shows - and ads - over the years, amazingly it was never a hit single


Tell Me Where You're Going (Silje)

(1990-91) ... much-played turntable hit with a notorious false ending! It always sounded great on the radio, but could only manage the lower reaches of the Top 75 here. In her own country, Norway it made the Top 10 and was a #1 in Japan. Silje - pronounced SEEL-YA - Nergaard, to give her full name, has gone on to gain worldwide acclaim as a jazz singer and songwriter

Reflections: 46 years ago ~ 1973

Cindy Incidentally (The Faces)

.... one of their handful of hits as a band in their own right ~ running in parallel with the massively successful solo career of their mic stand twirling lead singer, a certain Rod Stewart

Dreamboat (Limmie & The Family Cookin')

... follow-up to the # 3 hit You Can Do Magic ~ Dreamboat just missed out on the Top 30

Frankenstein (The Edgar Winter Group)

(1973) ... lyricless bonus, a classic rock instrumental with many quirky twists and turns ~ if you remember listening to the Saturday Rock Show with Alan 'Fluff' Freeman on BBC Radio 1, during the '70s, you may well recognise some particularly memorable bits which Fluff turned into jingles

Ghetto Child (The Detroit Spfew inners)

... '73 was a vintage year for two 'Detroit' groups ~ the Spinners and the Emeralds, between them, clocked up five UK chart hits. Final score: Emeralds 3, Spinners 2. The end-of-year champions then did a vanishing act and were never seen again on the UK chart, while the '73 runners-up went on to be the more successful in the long run

Pick Up The Pieces (Hudson Ford)

... not to be confused with the Average White Band instrumental of the same name ~ this Top 10-er came with a full set of lyrics. John Hudson and Richard Ford had recently left The Strawbs, having had a huge hit which they co-wrote ~ the highly topical of-its-time picket line chant, Part of The Union

Blockbuster (The Sweet)

... five weeks at # 1 for one of the greatest hits of the glam rock era, which kicked off a spectacularly successful year for The Sweet and songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman



Rhapsody In Blue (Rick Wakeman)

written by George Gershwin, arranged by Tony Visconti

from the album Rhapsodies (A&M Records, 1979)

By Mike Wallbank, Jan 6 2019 02:55PM


A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You (The Monkees)

(1967) ... with the Manchester Monkee, Davy Jones on lead vocal, A Little Bit Me... was their second

major hit, hot on the heels of I'm A Believer. Both songs were written by Neil Diamond, a few years

before he became a high profile performer and a huge star in his own right

Love Will Keep Us Together (Captain & Tennille)

(1975) ... played in tribute to Captain - real name Daryl Dragon - who died last week. Captain and Tenille were a husband and wife duo who had a run of hits in America. The ultra poppy, upbeat Love Will Keep Us Together, written by Neil Sedaka *, attracted plenty of airplay here during the summer of '75, although, chartwise, #32 was as good as it got. They had to wait five years before they finally made the UK Top 10 with Do That To Me One More Time (* Th'original version is on the 1973 Sedaka album The Tra La Days Are Over)

Cheery Tunes with a sing-a-long quality

... getting out and about, getting noticed, playing the field

I Get Around (The Beach Boys)

(1964) ... their first UK Top 10-er, having made their chart debut with Surfin' USA (# 38) the previous year

Runaround Sue (Dion)

(1961) ... # 1 in America, # 11 here. Racey - best known for Some Girls and Lay Your Love On Me - successfully revived the song and took it back into the Top 20 in 1980


Northern Star (Melanie C)

(1999-2000) ... Sporty Spice surprised more than a few people with her first solo outing, a quality performance and production which sounded distinctly different from the group's output. Northern Star was one of the 20th Century's final chart entries, reaching # 4 early in 2000

Newsround Tameside: 34 years ago ~ 1985

Since Yesterday (Strawberry Switchblade)

... Glasgow duo Jill Bryson and Rose McDowall seemed destined for great things, but a similarly appealing follow up single proved elusive

San Damiano (Heart and Soul) (Sal Solo)

... Top 20 hit which was a dramatic change in style for the one-time frontman of Classix Nouveaux

best known for their 1982 hit, Is It A Dream. His inspiration was the Italian village in the title, a place of pilgrimage. It was on a visit there that he rediscovered the Christian faith of his childhood

Jacob's Ladder (The Monochrome Set)

... rockabilly punk with a hint of gospel - they packed plenty into a very catchy song of less than three

minutes ~ fun from start to finish! Another of those singles much heard on the radio but sadly didn't shift enough copies to secure even the the lowliest placing in the Top 75.

Solid (Ashford & Simpson)

... best known as a songwriting and production team responsible for several Motown hits in the late '60s and early '70s. Their work elsewhere included I'm Every Woman for Chaka Khan (1978). Solid was the couple's one and only UK hit as recording artists, reaching # 3

Love And Pride (King)

... made it to # 2 early in the year, with four more hits in quick succession during the following 12 months ~ the highest placed being Alone Without You { # 8) and The Taste of Your Tears (# 11)

You're The Inspiration (Chicago)

... single taken from their biggest selling album Chicago 17. Around the same time, lead singer and co-founder Peter Cetera was preparing to leave the band, having already embarked on a solo career



Friday On My Mind (The Easybeats)

(1966)... the perfect tonic to cheer you up at the start of the working week when you just can't wait for next weekend. The Australian group's biggest of two hits here ~ the other came along a couple of years later (Hello How Are You, 1968, #20)

Carey (Joni Mitchell)

(1971) ... one of the great American singer songwriters but amazingly a one hit wonder in the UK as a performer (Big Yellow Taxi). On the other hand, some of her songs have been successfully covered by other artists - there's one later in the show **

Reflections Of My Life (Marmalade)

.. teaser track for our second featured year ~ a chance to reflect on the life and career of lead singer Dean Ford who died last week ~ he wrote the song with bandmate Junior Campbell It was a new entry on the chart at the end of a year, but made the Top 10 just into the following year, which is the one where we're heading back later in the hour

Cheery Tunes ~ Absolutely Lyricless

... two instrumentals spanning the decades, thinking of treats you can eat and the man in a van who would have been selling at least one of them

Ice Cream Man (The Tornados)

(1963) ... the last - and lowest placed - of their four chart entries (# 18), less than a year after their first and greatest Telstar (# 3)

Popcorn (Hot Butter)

(1972) ... catchy, synth-pop novelty hit which sold a million in France, 250,000 in the UK and over two million worldwide


Pilot of The Airwaves ( Charlie Dore)

(1979) ....... any decent song which mentions the airwaves, being on or listening to the radio stands a fair chance of some air time ~ this one was a turntable hit which just about made it into the lower reaches of the Top 75. Charlie has gone on to write songs for the likes of Tina Turner, Paul Carrack, Celine Dion and George Harrison ~ and she can also claim a co-writer's credit for Ain't No Doubt, #1 for Jimmy Nail in 1992

Reflections: 49 years ago ~ 1970

Venus (Shocking Blue)

... th'original, by a group from Holland making their only chart appearance in the UK. Bananarama would equal its # 8 chart placing in 1986, but they were both beaten by Italian instrumental outfit Don Pablo's Animals (1990, # 4)

Temma Harbour (Mary Hopkin)

... I always thought Mary had the writer's credit for this one, and that it was about a place she knew in her homeland of Wales ... but no, the writer was Philamore Lincoln and Temma Harbour is in Tasmania

The Liquidator (Harry J All Stars)

... lyricless bonus ~ a classic instrumental from a golden era of reggae and ska crossing over into the mainstream

Let's Work Together (Canned Heat)

... essentially the same song as Let's Stick Together, which became a huge hit for Bryan Ferry in '76.

American R&B singer and musician Wilbert Harrison wrote both sets of lyrics, recording Let's Stick... in

1962 and Let's Work... in '69.

Both Sides Now (Judy Collins) **

... the one hinted at earlier ~ song written by Joni which Judy made a hit

My Baby Loves Lovin' (White Plains)

... one of those pure and simple, unpretenious pop songs, of which there were many in the '60s and '70s, Once it gets into your head, you are stuck with it



Rhapsody In Blue (Rick Wakeman)

written by George Gershwin, arranged by Tony Visconti

from the album Rhapsodies (A&M Records, 1979)

Mike Wallbank

the show that time forgot

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Pop nostalgia, spanning several decades, with the main focus on the '60s, '70s and '80s. The weekly 'music blog' for the Tameside Radio show of the same name.

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