Synth Britannia – BBC video of the birth of synth music


Incredible… Synth Britannia – BBC video of the birth of synth music. It starts off with Kraftwerk with interviews from OMD and whatnot… Thanks Jason! Parts 2 through 9 in the related videos on the YouTube page.

10 thoughts on “Synth Britannia – BBC video of the birth of synth music

  1. Jel says:

    Some real facts as opposed to BBC invention:
    1. Kraftwerk was picked up by our production team at University Radio Loughborough in 1974 on the pre-release of Autobahn. Our pushing of it drew it to the attention of BBC Radio One, which led to the tour. Therefore, the claim of Tomorrow’s World to have made it a hit in 1975 is total bovine ordure, they were simply tryng to nick some of the glory. We also broke Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells.
    2. At that time I was presenting their classical show Classical Gas, which says something about our orientation. Loughborough was and is one of the UK’s leading technological universities, particularly being the home of Nick Phillips, the laser expert who did all those amazing shows, and the leading bands would do a courtesy gig when they came to see him – I was ASM, for instance, when Queen visited the weekend Bohemian Rhapsody broke. For all of that, Loughborough’s musical heritage was actually English Folk!
    3. The punk tradition did NOT inherit electro from this lineage, but rather generated their own ideas, partially based on what they heard. In the 1976-7 period I was on an industrial gap year in Birmingham UK, one of the scenes which generated punk, and they took nothing from the previous heritage, which was much more orientated towards concept albums by the likes of Rick Wakeman, Focus, Genesis, Jeff Wayne and Isao Tomita. My own scene there was the nascent Christian Rock scene of the Jesus Centre, which heavily influenced the students of the Birmingham Conservatory and in particular Simon Rattle, the leading classical conductor.
    4. Our backgrounds tended towards the gently post-1968 semi-subversive decline of European flower-power – for example, my school was instrumental in setting up the National Youth Theatre movement from which Clockwork Orange sprung, family friends included the Peter Sellars/Anita Eckberg crowd, and so on and so forth: the point is that this was not one person’s dynamic but the zeitgeist of the culture which produced this.
    5. The heritage continues: Thijs van Leer, for instance, is passing the Focus heritage on to the original bandmembers’ children.
    Jeremy Main
    Program Controller
    University Radio Loughborough 1975-6

  2. paolo- says:

    Gah, part 9 is missing !

    1. Maker Dino says:

      …not missing, it’s UNAVAILABLE in the USA because of stupid copyright restrictions!

      This is an excellent documentary. Loved it!

  3. ZackZ says:

    I thought (for one) Beaver and Krause used Moogs before 1970. Should Kraftwerk be credited as the “inventors” of solely electronic music? Were they even strictly synth?

    1. Jel says:

      Indeed, it’s an interesting question to what extent Bob Moog was influenced by Theremin (whose products he started of manufacturing) and Martinot, and by the feedback experiments of the WWII military wireless designers.
      Does anyone know, in particular, what synth the Hollies used? It may have been some form of voice-box – they are one of the earliest users of electronic modulation I know of.

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