I was about to write that “Theme One” is a “seldom heard” classic by Beatles producer George Martin, but seeing how for years, every single morning when Radio 1 began its broadcasting day this was the ceremonial first song, that really wouldn’t be the case for our UK readers. In fact, people of a certain age in England heard this all the time as Wonderful Radio 1’s signature fanfare.
Radio 1 was launched at 7:00 am on September 30th, 1967 after the prosecution of the offshore pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline as a way to service the youth listeners. The Controller of Radios 1 and 2, Sir Robin Scott, came on said a few words, then introduced Martin’s “Theme One.” After this Tony Blackburn, who’d been a DJ at Radio Caroline himself, played The Move’s “Flowers in the Rain” followed by the Bee Gees’ “Massachusetts.”
“Theme One” (Despite it being labelled a “variation” by the uploader, this is the original):
An orchestral version of “Theme One” recorded later:
What a brilliant and glorious way to start the day hearing this song must’ve been. It’s like waking up with the warm sun on your face, even in rainy Britain. Really inspiring and amazing. Of course you’d have an easier time getting out of bed in the morning after hearing this! “Theme One” also closed Radio 1 and 2 at the end of the broadcast day at 2 am. This is one of my favorite pieces of music ever. I wish it had been developed into a full symphony. Anecdotal memories of the broadcasts found on the Internet indicate that some echoey footsteps and then the aural cue of walking into a large room preceded the organ. Additionally, prior to that a series of beeps and a sine wave went out, as the BBC’s broadcast technicians fired up their gear.
Continues after the jump…