Welcome, Guest. Please Login
YaBB - Yet another Bulletin Board
  To join this Forum send an email with this exact subject line REQUEST MEMBERSHIP to bbcstaff@gmx.com telling us your connection with the BBC.
  HomeHelpSearchLogin  
 
Page Index Toggle Pages: 1
Send Topic Print
Bernie Andrews (Read 9961 times)
dave taylor
YaBB Newbies
*
Offline



Posts: 1

Bernie Andrews
Jun 18th, 2010, 6:56pm
 
Bernie Andrews former producer of such BBC Radio Shows as Saturday Club & The BBC Top 40 died last week. No more details as yet. Anyone else have details?
Back to top
 
 
IP Logged
 
rdsjohnny
YaBB Newbies
*
Offline



Posts: 1

Re: Bernie Andrews
Reply #1 - Jul 13th, 2010, 7:19am
 
Yes I do.

He was a good friend

Bernie and I first met in BH Foyer on 28 September 1957, we were fresh faced TO’s, he came from the GPO and I from national service. We didn’t speak much then but during the first week of our induction course we were in the Crystal Palace canteen when this miserable looking chap approached me, “Can I join you for coffee?” and that was the start of a friendship which lasted for 53 years.

I remember his early studio in his bedroom in Rochester Way, my then fiancée, Carol, made his curtains from Blue Velvet, he had a Reslo ribbon microphone, Vortexion 4 ch mixer and tape machine and we spent happy hours making our own radio shows.

In our early days we would skive off and monitor the Goon Show from 5 PP Control Room, and often went to live studio sessions, I remember specially Steve Race’s “Music about Town” with producer Johnny Kingdon in Aeolian 2, and Skiffle Club with Jimmy Grant, then as our careers developed we moved away from the control room. He became a very skilled XP Tape operator and editor, while I was an SM, frequently we worked together on Sports Report and Thursday Roundabout with Ken Sykora, there we all shared love of folk and country music, recording Robin Hall and Jimmy McGregor, The Spinners, Dot Y Pete, and so on. He was a big fan of Guitar Club and of course Saturday Club. Later we both became producers, I was in Gramophone Department hand he went to Popular Music  based in Aeolian Hall, Bond Street as Saturday Club producer. He took endless trouble with his recording sessions and this earned him the respect of major artists. Particularly Beatles with whom he became friends, he had a flat in Shepherd’s Market where they would often drop in, John Lennon in Andy Peebles interview before he was shot mentions Bernie with affection.

Bernie always inspired great loyalty from his female colleagues, Shirley Jones, Pan Tarrant and Pinky, and his artists, John Peel, Top Gear, Brian Mathew, Anne Nightingale and even Tony Blackburn on Top 40, but he felt resented by some of his colleagues in the Pop music dpt. because he was so fastidious in his work, taking a long time over sessions, often overrunning, and his closeness with the artistes caused resentment. Bernie was never afraid to stick his neck out, there was one year when November 11 fell on a Saturday and consequently the “Saturday Club” Programme had to include the two minute silence in memory of those who had fallen in two world wars. Bernie looked at the audience figures a few weeks later and noticed that, by some statistical freak, it appeared that the figures for the silence were bigger than those for the programme. He wrote a memo to Ken Baines, Head of Popular Music, in it he said,
“I think we’ve hit on a winner here. I am volunteering to produce the omnibus edition of the silence as a complete half an hour as it could get us very good figures! The consequent savings could then be used to increase the meagre £220 a week budget which I currently have for “Saturday Club”. Ken Baines, a man not noted for his sense of humour, was not at all amused and gave Bernie an angry bollocking for his tasteless idea!

Our professional paths separated when I became part of “hated Radio 1 management” which put me in a difficult position, he was not an easy person to manage, very individual  and he had an idiosyncratic way of working, sometimes all night not days, in fact he could be very argumentative, an awkward old sod! He once he staggered up to the fourth floor wearing flippers to complain to his boss Mark White about the damp in his office.
He even decorated his office himself to get it the way he wanted it complete with an aquarium, he worked as he wanted and was not a great Radio 1 team player and made his feelings about my chaps in their ice cream jackets very public! When reprimanded about broadcasting the dodgy lyric in the Rolling Stone’s “Star Star” he went to street to canvas pedestrians re their interpretation of the words as understood, he never backed down in an argument and never forgave someone who had crossed him. He could certainly be a stubborn old bugger!

In later years one of his joys was to listen to “Give us a clue” and he would record in duplicate on CD and DAT every edition to listen to again and again, he never lost his love of radio despite being a TV addict.

After we had both left became closer again and shared a love of gardens. He had wonderful red hot pokers which made a super display and he have me a huge black plastic bag of roots, we never thought they’d all grow and we planted them all in Skipton, now our garden is full of the things and they are in full flower and whenever we look at them we will always be reminded of Bernie.

He was always careful with his money and loved to shop for a bargain, his favourite stores being Aldo and Lidl. Iit’s a little known fact that on the stock market shares in Lidl dropped ten points on the news of Bernie’s death. Not sure if they will ever recover! We even found one in Spain.

We shared a love of Spain, where he had tried several times to settle but had always become frustrated with Spanish practices and the manana attitude to getting things done, like telfonica not coming to repair his phone line quickly and he desperately needed a friend to share with but found it impossible to find anyone willing to put up with him, maybe because he was somewhat fussy in his habits. How fussy was he? Well put it this way, he owned a toaster but never used it and always did his toast under the grill because the toaster it didn’t cook both sides exactly the same.

However, he came to stay with me for several years running and at the airport I would push him in a wheel chair as we laughed about looking like Lou and Andy from his favourite TV Show Little Britain, “I want one of those!”Pointing at some silly unobtainable object. In Spain he became popular with my local friends in Estepona where he loved a grilled dorada on the BBQ. He always intended to go back to Spain on a semi permanent basis, but like many of Bernie’s ideas he never quite got round to it, but he said to me in the Spring that he would not spend another winter in the UK, Wasn’t that truer than he knew!

Last few years had been difficult, Jeff and Rita visited more than me but mobility problems were making life increasing difficult for him and it was apparent to us that he needed a helper and he found this concept hard to accept. His stubborn nature made him cling on to his independence to the end, even a few weeks ago when I went to see him I discussed what would happen when he came out of hospital and he was reluctant to accept his need to sell up and go into sheltered accommodation. The prospect of packing up and moving overwhelmed him, he knew he couldn’t manage in on his own so maybe that’s why he gave up mentally and finally let go. As I said earlier he was a TV addict, particularly of local news and Jeff and I knew his illness was serious when he said he had not looked at TV for a couple of weeks, nor shown any great interest in the General Election.

Where ever he is now, the struggle is over, he had a fascinating life, it’s a pity he never got round to writing the biographical book it would have been a great read. We shall all miss him and the large number of you here today is a testament to the way so many of you, his friends, think so fondly of him. He was a great old bloke, a friend I could share anything with and I know my phone bill will be halved now I can no longer call him for a short phone call of an hour or so. Bye Bye Bernie.
Johnny Beerling, Controller Radio 1 1985 to 1993

If anyone who knew Bernie wants to know more there's a longer version of this published as a blog with lots of pictures on my website www.johnnybeerling.com/blog.
Back to top
 
 
IP Logged
 
Administrator
YaBB Administrator
*****
Offline



Posts: 2825

Re: Bernie Andrews
Reply #2 - Jul 21st, 2010, 10:24am
 
A tribute by Annie Nightingale from "The Guardian"


"I Produced Their First Session" was the title of the book that Bernie Andrews never got around to writing. Mention any popular music name of distinction from the 1960s and 70s and Bernie, who has died aged 76, would say, "I did their first session", meaning he had produced their first – and crucial – BBC radio recording. Bernie would often work into the small hours to produce the best performance possible, and he allowed the musicians to overrun their strictly allotted studio time. He then sensibly, and with great foresight, took the master tapes home and hid them from the sort of BBC bureaucracy that became infamous for "wiping" tapes for the sake of economy.

The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, T Rex, Fairport Convention and many others had Bernie to thank. He often booked double sessions so that the young and mostly impecunious musicians could make better use of precious BBC recording time. According to Bernie's friend and fellow producer Jeff Griffin, the Rolling Stones had failed their first BBC radio audition, but Bernie foiled the corporation by booking them as a backing band for Bo Diddley. He then recorded some of the band's own numbers and sent the results to the Audition Unit as a "trial broadcast". This time the Stones passed the test – a necessary box for them, at that moment, to tick.

Bernie grew up in Eltham, south-east London. After doing his national service in the RAF, and working as a Post Office telephone engineer, he joined the BBC in 1957 as a technical operator. He became a producer, having proven that he had a huge empathy and understanding of music and broadcasters.

Before Radio 1 was launched in 1967, Bernie produced Saturday Club on the Light Programme, one of the few shows on the network to feature pop music. Bernie's frequent booking of the Beatles in their early days was a significant step for them, which they did not forget. For Saturday Club's fifth anniversary show, in 1963, Bernie lined up the Beatles, the Everly Brothers and Kenny Ball's Jazzmen, among many others, and overspent the budget on performers from the permitted £310 to a scandalous £483, 12 shillings and sixpence. Bernie also entertained the Beatles in their early days at his flat in Shepherd Market in Mayfair, west London, and they kept in touch with him, sending him letters and tour postcards throughout their career.

Bernie effectively launched the BBC career of John Peel. He championed John's early Top Gear broadcasts, and fought to keep him as a presenter when not all of the BBC management was keen to do so. Bernie was John's first producer, nurturing his abilities as a DJ and broadcaster, before John's long-running partnership with John Walters began.

Bernie was a sort of guerrilla figure within the BBC. He became my producer in the early 70s, after Radio 1 had deliberately broken up the partnership between Bernie and John Peel. Why? The BBC seemed not to approve of too close a partnership between producer and presenter. I had only recently been allowed on to the previously all-male Radio 1. Sexism was still rife, and Bernie helped enormously to build my confidence and my abilities. He kept an aquarium full of goldfish in his office to calm him and counteract his frequent angry run-ins with the management. He also partook of the odd jazz cigarette, smoked surreptitiously under his desk, with the windows wide open.

Bernie built up a huge record library, at one time owning a collection of every 45rpm pop record released in Britain since 1958. He lived for music. He worked non-stop. I used to refer laughingly to his nine-to-five existence – 9pm to 5am. He would call me at home at all hours, not that I minded, to discuss the finer points of a programme running order, or to agonise over which record we were going to drop because of time constraints.

We were always getting into trouble for playing songs with dubious lyrics. When the Rolling Stones released Goats Head Soup in 1973, I listened to the album in Bernie's office and then played some tracks on a live Radio 1 show the same night. One was called Star Star. Its chorus, absolutely not obvious unless you had it pointed out, repeated the words "star crappity smacker" several times. When this came to light, it was Bernie as producer who was carpeted.

Bernie prepared his defence thus: he took the LP back to his then home, in Wraysbury, Middlesex, and invited passers-by – total strangers – into his house, saying: "Please can you have a listen to this song and tell me if you can hear any, well, 'rude' words in the lyrics?" Not one of his "focus group" could detect any offending words in Mick Jagger's vocal. But Bernie stood to be fired over this incident, and it took several weeks, and a lot of anguish on his part, before he was exonerated.

Bernie was dedicated to his calling as a producer and extremely conscientious. During the spell of my request show on Radio 1, in pre-email days, he would scrutinise every letter and card that had been sent in. If he was suspicious that a record was being requested rather too much, he would track down the requestee, phone them, and then give them a good grilling to ensure this was not a record company employee trying to get a free plug. But eventually the rebelliousness of his personality to the more corporate aspects of the BBC proved incompatible. Bernie took early retirement in 1984 and lived in Spain and in Dorset.

John Peel, myself and other Radio 1 broadcasters fortunate enough to have worked with Bernie are indebted to him. He built our careers with the most dedicated altruism. He had a Goonish sense of humour and was a celebrated eccentric. He took lightbulbs back to John Lewis's department store if he considered they had not fulfilled their life span. He once insisted on helping a man with a white stick across Oxford Street. The man eventually convinced Bernie that he had 20:20 vision, did not wish to cross Oxford Street and was just trying to carry home a new broom handle.

On one occasion, when a group of guests arrived at Bernie's home, they included a poised and beautiful woman who told him she was a singer. He sat her down and gave her advice about her future career. He had not recognised her as the already highly successful Marianne Faithfull.

There is an apocryphal story, recounted by himself, of Bernie producing a session with Stevie Wonder. The cue light in a BBC studio signifying "ready to record" is traditionally green. Bernie is reputed to have said to Wonder, blind almost since birth, "When you're ready, Stevie, on the green."

Bernie is survived by his brothers John and David.

• Bernard Oliver Andrews, radio producer, born 17 August 1933; died 11 June 2010


Source:-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2010/jul/20/bernie-andrews-obituary
Back to top
 

The Administrator.
 
IP Logged
 
Colin Davies
YaBB Newbies
*
Offline



Posts: 1

Re: Bernie Andrews
Reply #3 - Aug 21st, 2010, 2:32am
 
I live in the US, and I only just learned about Bernie's death.  I was a Studio Manager (POA) from 1968-1970, mostly working on Radio 1, and I often worked with him, and of course I had heard of him before then.  I well remember the first time I met him, in the BBC club.  There was a group of us, and after about 15 minutes Bernie turned to me and said, "I think you were born mid-April." (My birthday is April 13th).  

Of course he was hugely talented and enormously influential and had a vast knowledge of the music scene, and I particularly remember him for two things.  Firstly, he was always extremely kind to me when I first started work, and he continued to be kind and thoughtful right until the last time I spoke with him on the phone a few months ago.  I kept in touch with him over the years (I remember well a wonderful lunch he cooked for me and John Beecher, whom some of you may know, a couple of years ago), and he always took a real interest in what I was doing (among other things, I'm now a radio DJ here in the States).  He would much rather talk about other people than himself.

The other reason I remember him was that he never gave up the struggle.  He was always a rebel, always an outsider, always fighting against the system.  I joined the BBC straight from university, and so I and my fellow trainees had all been at university during the summer of '68.  We were a fairly rebellious group, and we found most of the other producers to be anything but rebellious - basically company yes-men.  But never Bernie.  Yes, he complained a lot, and yes he could be curmudgeonly, but he always spoke his mind and he never, ever sucked up to authority.  He was the one we admired and the one we respected.  We didn't really care that the higher-ups didn't like him - what mattered to us what that the musicians did.  And throughout the decades he retained that integrity. There really wasn't another one like him.
Back to top
 
 
IP Logged
 
Administrator
YaBB Administrator
*****
Offline



Posts: 2825

Re: Bernie Andrews
Reply #4 - Aug 26th, 2010, 8:05pm
 
This is taken from the Daily Telegraph:

Bernie Andrews
Published: 6:54PM BST 26 Aug 2010


Bernie Andrews, who has died aged 76, was the maverick producer behind the early BBC radio appearances of many of the leading pop artists of the 1960s, including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix.

In his dimly-lit production cubicle, Andrews painstakingly strove to secure the best performance possible from his musicians, frequently letting them overrun their strictly allotted studio time. His nocturnal working habits earned him a reputation as a nine-to-five man — 9pm until 5am.

After these sessions, instead of lodging the master tapes in the BBC library, Andrews invariably — and crucially — took them home. This was in breach of the rules, but it meant that much precious material escaped the BBC’s infamous policy of “wiping” tapes to save money.
 
When the Beatles first recorded at the BBC in March 1962, Andrews immediately spotted their potential. In 1982 a Radio 1 series, The Beatles at the Beeb, featured archive recordings of these early sessions, but included only a fraction of the recordings the group was known to have made. Indeed, of the 53 programmes featuring the Beatles playing live, only one was in the BBC archive.

A fresh search was made for the missing material, thought to have been lost or permanently “wiped”. Two years later Andrews took early retirement, and in 1988 was able to furnish another Radio 1 series, The Beeb’s Lost Beatles Tapes, with clips of the group from his personal archive, material (music and interviews) previously thought to have vanished.

Andrews also amassed a huge personal record library, and at one time reputedly owned every vinyl pop single released in Britain since 1958.

As a young producer, Andrews would sometimes book double studio sessions so that his protégés could make the most of precious BBC recording time. It was said that when the Rolling Stones failed their first BBC radio audition, Andrews booked them as a backing band for Bo Diddley. He then recorded some of the group’s own numbers and sent the tapes to the Audition Unit labelled “trial broadcast”. This time they passed.

Bernard Oliver Andrews was born on August 17 1933 and grew up at Eltham, south-east London. After national service in the RAF, he worked as a Post Office telephone engineer.

When he joined the BBC in 1957 as a technical operator, he was already a serious radio enthusiast, and had his own home studio equipped with four channel mixer and tape machine. He would often sit in on live studio recording sessions for such programmes as Skiffle Club, but his official duties as a tape operator and editor confined him to programmes like Sports Report.
His breakthrough came when he was appointed a producer in the Popular Music division and took over Skiffle Club’s successor, Saturday Club.

At the time, Saturday Club was one of the few shows on the Light Programme to feature pop music. It also happened to be Paul McCartney’s favourite radio programme. Andrews was instrumental in getting radio airplay for the Beatles’ first single, Love Me Do, in 1962.

The following year, to mark Saturday Club’s fifth anniversary, he lined up the Beatles, the Everly Brothers and Kenny Ball’s Jazzmen, among others, blowing the budget of £310 by spending £483 12s 6d on the performers. The Beatles received 50 guineas.

Andrews became a personal friend of the group, regularly inviting them to his flat in Mayfair before the foursome had a permanent London base. On tour in the early 1960s, they sent him regular letters and postcards from all over Britain and beyond. In 1980 John Lennon spoke affectionately of Andrews in his last radio interview, recorded the night before he was murdered.

In 1967 Andrews helped to launch the BBC career of the presenter John Peel, becoming his first producer on his nightly Top Gear programme on Radio 1 before Peel’s lengthy partnership with John Walters.

From 1976 until 1984, when he retired, Andrews produced the Sunday Top 20/Top 40 show on Radio 1.

A difficult man to manage, Andrews cared nothing for the nuances of BBC protocol, single-handedly decorating his office in his own colour scheme and installing an aquarium of goldfish to calm his nerves. These were further soothed by the occasional joint, which he would smoke under his desk with the windows open. Once, wearing frogman’s flippers, he staggered up to his department head on the fourth floor to complain about the damp in his office.

Andrews enjoyed retelling a tale — almost certainly apocryphal — of a recording session he produced with Stevie Wonder. In a studio the cue light that signals “ready to record” is green. “When you’re ready, Stevie,” Andrews allegedly instructed the singer, who has been blind almost since birth, “on the green.”

His eccentricities ranged across both his professional and his private life. Notoriously frugal, he would return light bulbs to John Lewis if he considered that they had not lasted long enough.
In retirement he tried, unsuccessfully and on several occasions, to settle in Spain.

Bernie Andrews, who died on June 11, is survived by his two brothers.
Back to top
 

The Administrator.
 
IP Logged
 
Administrator
YaBB Administrator
*****
Offline



Posts: 2825

Re: Bernie Andrews
Reply #5 - Aug 30th, 2010, 11:10am
 
This is taken from the Independent:

Bernie Andrews: Radio producer who worked on Saturday Club, Top Gear and with Annie Nightingale
By Pierre Perrone
Monday, 30 August 2010


In the late 1980s, after record companies had reissued many of their best-sellers on compact disc, they began contemplating the release of the BBC sessions recorded by major acts such as the Beatles, the Who, David Bowie, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Fairport Convention and Led Zeppelin.

The only snag was that, in the 1960s and early 1970s, it had been BBC policy to wipe and reuse the expensive tapes.

Thankfully, the radio producer Bernie Andrews had had the foresight to squirrel away or make copies of many of the original recordings he had himself overseen when producing shows like Saturday Club and Top Gear for the Light Programme, and the evening output of Radio One after the launch of the station in 1967. He also amassed a huge record collection, purported to have included every single issued in the UK between 1964 and 1975, which was later purchased by Elton John. Something of a maverick, Andrews didn't always see eye to eye with BBC management but he was fiercely loyal to the presenters he worked with, most notably John Peel and Annie Nightingale.

Born in 1933, Andrews was brought up in Eltham, south-east London. He did his national service in the RAF and worked as a telephone engineer for the Post Office before joining the BBC as a 24-year old. His arrival coincided with the corporation's reluctant decision to occasionally cater for teenagers with the introduction of Saturday Skiffle Club, soon renamed Saturday Club. Andrews progressed from tape operator to producer and established an instant rapport with the new breed of pop acts, the Beatles especially.

In December 1980, when John Lennon was interviewd by Andy Peebles in New York a couple of days before he was murdered, he had fond recollections: "I remember sessions with Bernie Andrews, he was a good producer on Saturday Club, we did some good sessions with him. We did a lot of tracks that were never issued on record, stuff from the days in the Cavern and Hamburg, "Three Cool Cats" was one we did. I heard some of the tracks recently, somebody must have pirated them in America you know Bernie."

Andrews understood how much pressure musicians were under when recording a session for BBC radio and made the necessary allowances. If the groups needed a bit more time to deliver, so be it, even if it meant the occasional overspend. In April 1963, the Rolling Stones failed their first BBC radio audition but Andrews arranged for drummer Charlie Watts and bassist Bill Wyman to back Bo Diddley on a subsequent session for Saturday Club. By September the Stones were appearing in their own right, and taped four more sessions the following year. They also guested on Top Gear, which started on the Light Programme in July 1964. Bizarrely, Top Gear was discontinued for a while but revived at Radio One with Peel presenting, first with Pete Drummond, then with Tommy Vance or Mike Ahern, and eventually flying solo from February 1968, a personal victory for Andrews, the programme's producer, who had championed Peel, a former DJ on the pirate Radio London, from the outset, despite misgivings by BBC management.

At the time, the Musicians' Union only allowed American singers to do sessions if they were backed by British players but Andrews succeeded in recording Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band by pretending they were a troupe of magicians, and therefore a variety act. Andrews and Peel also featured the then underground Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd and Tyrannosaurus Rex, who all went to become multi-million sellers. "We use groups that aren't all that acceptable or easy to listen to. By and large, our material is not suitable for any other programmes because it needs listening to," Andrews said at the time.

However, in April 1969, Douglas Muggeridge, the controller of Radios 1 and 2, broke up what he felt was too cosy a partnership, pairing Peel with John Walters, though after initial suspicion these two got on just as famously. Andrews bided his time producing Radio 2's Music While You Work until he was assigned Nightingale, whose arrival at the all-male Radio 1 in January 1970 represented a radical departure. Andrews nurtured Nightingale's transition from journalism to broadcasting and helped her develop into an engaging presenter. They also survived a few run-ins with management.

In August 1973, Nightingale previewed the Rolling Stones album Goats Head Soup and featured the last track "Star Star". As she recalled in Chase The Fade, her book about the 1970s, when she told Mick Jagger at a party at Blenheim Palace the following evening, he did a double take. "'You played WHA-AT?' Mick immediately rounded up other Stones and said: 'Hey, she played "Star Star". We'll give you a special prize.' I didn't know what the fuss was all about, the fact that 'Star Star' had Mick singing 'Starcrappity smacker' all the way through the song. Once you knew, you could hear the words as clear as day. But I was blissfully ignorant, as was Bernie, who had also listened to the track."

Muggeridge gave Andrews a carpeting but the producer took Nightingale's side and argued that it had been an honest mistake. He even solicited the opinion of strangers by dragging them in off the streets to listen to the track. No one heard the offending word. Both Andrews and Nightingale were on thin ice as they had also previously featured "A Souvenir Of London", a Procol Harum track that turned out to about VD, but were let off as BBC TV News had also used "Star Star".

Andrews felt he could take on the BBC "suits" because of his dedication to the job and the time and effort he put into his programmes. When producing Annie Nightingale's Request Show in the late 1970s he developed an uncanny ability for spotting the "phoney" cards scribbled by record company employees rather than the genuine requests, and occasionally set his and his presenter's mind at rest by checking listeners' addresses in the phone directory.

A colourful character, Andrews kept an aquarium in his office, and once wore flippers to complain to management about the damp in a BBC building. He took early retirement in 1984 but spent countless hours listening to the radio. He lived in Spain and in Dorset, where he enjoyed gardening.

Bernard Oliver Andrews, radio producer: born London 17 August 1933; died 11 June 2010.
Back to top
 

The Administrator.
 
IP Logged
 
Administrator
YaBB Administrator
*****
Offline



Posts: 2825

Re: Bernie Andrews
Reply #6 - Sep 3rd, 2010, 4:34am
 
This is taken from The Independent, Wednesday September 1st, 2010:

Further to your obituary of Bernie Andrews (30 August), we do in fact have Bernie to thank for the existence of the BBC Session in the first place, writes Russell Clarke. A fixture of Radio One for over 40 years and a crucial building block in any artist's career, the BBC Session was invented by a resourceful Andrews in 1963 as a clever way of circumventing the Musicians Union rules – the so-called Needle Time agreement – limiting the amount of pre-recorded music available to the BBC Light Programme (the forerunner of Radios One and Two) to a mere 35 hours a week.

The agreement was largely in place to protect the jobs of the BBC's jobbing musicians, primarily in any of the BBC's many orchestras, whose roles were thought to be under greatest threat from the burgeoning Beat scene, headed by the Beatles and other groups from Liverpool. Faced with an enormous amount of airtime to fill and barely any allowable discs to play, Andrews argued that the members of pop groups were themselves fully paid up Musicians Union members and so should be allowed to come into BBC studios and re-record versions of their own hit songs – which could then be played quite legitimately on the radio without counting towards the Needle Time agreement.

This small piece of Andrews initiative made the Light Programme and shows like Saturday Club and Top Gear appointment-listening for Britain's youth. It would also have earned the BBC a small fortune since they decided in 1990 to release to the general public the tapes he had hoarded.

Back to top
 

The Administrator.
 
IP Logged
 
peter dixon
YaBB Newbies
*
Offline



Posts: 4
Devon
Gender: male
Re: Bernie Andrews
Reply #7 - Nov 22nd, 2016, 10:11am
 
Administrator wrote on Jul 21st, 2010, 10:24am:
A tribute by Annie Nightingale from "The Guardian"


"I Produced Their First Session" was the title of the book that Bernie Andrews never got around to writing. Mention any popular music name of distinction from the 1960s and 70s and Bernie, who has died aged 76, would say, "I did their first session", meaning he had produced their first – and crucial – BBC radio recording. Bernie would often work into the small hours to produce the best performance possible, and he allowed the musicians to overrun their strictly allotted studio time. He then sensibly, and with great foresight, took the master tapes home and hid them from the sort of BBC bureaucracy that became infamous for "wiping" tapes for the sake of economy.

The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, T Rex, Fairport Convention and many others had Bernie to thank. He often booked double sessions so that the young and mostly impecunious musicians could make better use of precious BBC recording time. According to Bernie's friend and fellow producer Jeff Griffin, the Rolling Stones had failed their first BBC radio audition, but Bernie foiled the corporation by booking them as a backing band for Bo Diddley. He then recorded some of the band's own numbers and sent the results to the Audition Unit as a "trial broadcast". This time the Stones passed the test – a necessary box for them, at that moment, to tick.

Bernie grew up in Eltham, south-east London. After doing his national service in the RAF, and working as a Post Office telephone engineer, he joined the BBC in 1957 as a technical operator. He became a producer, having proven that he had a huge empathy and understanding of music and broadcasters.

Before Radio 1 was launched in 1967, Bernie produced Saturday Club on the Light Programme, one of the few shows on the network to feature pop music. Bernie's frequent booking of the Beatles in their early days was a significant step for them, which they did not forget. For Saturday Club's fifth anniversary show, in 1963, Bernie lined up the Beatles, the Everly Brothers and Kenny Ball's Jazzmen, among many others, and overspent the budget on performers from the permitted £310 to a scandalous £483, 12 shillings and sixpence. Bernie also entertained the Beatles in their early days at his flat in Shepherd Market in Mayfair, west London, and they kept in touch with him, sending him letters and tour postcards throughout their career.

Bernie effectively launched the BBC career of John Peel. He championed John's early Top Gear broadcasts, and fought to keep him as a presenter when not all of the BBC management was keen to do so. Bernie was John's first producer, nurturing his abilities as a DJ and broadcaster, before John's long-running partnership with John Walters began.

Bernie was a sort of guerrilla figure within the BBC. He became my producer in the early 70s, after Radio 1 had deliberately broken up the partnership between Bernie and John Peel. Why? The BBC seemed not to approve of too close a partnership between producer and presenter. I had only recently been allowed on to the previously all-male Radio 1. Sexism was still rife, and Bernie helped enormously to build my confidence and my abilities. He kept an aquarium full of goldfish in his office to calm him and counteract his frequent angry run-ins with the management. He also partook of the odd jazz cigarette, smoked surreptitiously under his desk, with the windows wide open.

Bernie built up a huge record library, at one time owning a collection of every 45rpm pop record released in Britain since 1958. He lived for music. He worked non-stop. I used to refer laughingly to his nine-to-five existence – 9pm to 5am. He would call me at home at all hours, not that I minded, to discuss the finer points of a programme running order, or to agonise over which record we were going to drop because of time constraints.

We were always getting into trouble for playing songs with dubious lyrics. When the Rolling Stones released Goats Head Soup in 1973, I listened to the album in Bernie's office and then played some tracks on a live Radio 1 show the same night. One was called Star Star. Its chorus, absolutely not obvious unless you had it pointed out, repeated the words "star crappity smacker" several times. When this came to light, it was Bernie as producer who was carpeted.

Bernie prepared his defence thus: he took the LP back to his then home, in Wraysbury, Middlesex, and invited passers-by – total strangers – into his house, saying: "Please can you have a listen to this song and tell me if you can hear any, well, 'rude' words in the lyrics?" Not one of his "focus group" could detect any offending words in Mick Jagger's vocal. But Bernie stood to be fired over this incident, and it took several weeks, and a lot of anguish on his part, before he was exonerated.

Bernie was dedicated to his calling as a producer and extremely conscientious. During the spell of my request show on Radio 1, in pre-email days, he would scrutinise every letter and card that had been sent in. If he was suspicious that a record was being requested rather too much, he would track down the requestee, phone them, and then give them a good grilling to ensure this was not a record company employee trying to get a free plug. But eventually the rebelliousness of his personality to the more corporate aspects of the BBC proved incompatible. Bernie took early retirement in 1984 and lived in Spain and in Dorset.

John Peel, myself and other Radio 1 broadcasters fortunate enough to have worked with Bernie are indebted to him. He built our careers with the most dedicated altruism. He had a Goonish sense of humour and was a celebrated eccentric. He took lightbulbs back to John Lewis's department store if he considered they had not fulfilled their life span. He once insisted on helping a man with a white stick across Oxford Street. The man eventually convinced Bernie that he had 20:20 vision, did not wish to cross Oxford Street and was just trying to carry home a new broom handle.

On one occasion, when a group of guests arrived at Bernie's home, they included a poised and beautiful woman who told him she was a singer. He sat her down and gave her advice about her future career. He had not recognised her as the already highly successful Marianne Faithfull.

There is an apocryphal story, recounted by himself, of Bernie producing a session with Stevie Wonder. The cue light in a BBC studio signifying "ready to record" is traditionally green. Bernie is reputed to have said to Wonder, blind almost since birth, "When you're ready, Stevie, on the green."

Bernie is survived by his brothers John and David.

• Bernard Oliver Andrews, radio producer, born 17 August 1933; died 11 June 2010


Source:-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2010/jul/20/bernie-andrews-obituary
Hi I attended all the pop sessions for Transcription service and can't remember a Stevie Wonder one but do remember a Jose Feliciano (also blind)
session so maybe Bernie's memory was faulty here Pete Dixon

Back to top
 
 
IP Logged
 
Page Index Toggle Pages: 1
Send Topic Print