BBC Transcription Services

Database of
Top Of The Pops
BBC Radio Shows

Top of the Pops, a 1-hour new music program hosted weekly by Brian Matthew, featured selections from recording sessions at BBC studios assembled for syndication/export outside the UK. Top of the Pops was also the name of a well-known BBC TV series, but there is no connection between the radio show and the TV show. Over the years this has caused much confusion to collectors of audio tapes who have assumed tapes credited to Top of the Pops were performances from the TV program.
The syndicated radio series began late in 1964 and billed itself as “featuring live London performances of Britain’s top sounds.” The standardized format of the show was to feature 4-5 different artists doing 3 songs each, occasionally with a brief interview segment included. Since artists generally recorded 4-5 titles at a session which were generally all broadcast on BBC’s pop programs in the UK, it meant that in syndication a song or two was generally dropped, so some of these recordings don’t exist on any syndicated export. This general format changed early in 1969, when the top artists of the day became less willing to record specially for the BBC, and performances from TV and records (with minor overdubs, or straight from the record) were also included as a means of filling up a program. Files on the actual syndicated programs are not available, and so the information here is not 100%