Forty years in the past, two of music’s greatest stars walked into BBC Radio 1 and sat all the way down to assessment the week’s new releases.
Michael Jackson and George Harrison spent the subsequent 90 minutes discussing singles by Foreigner, Nicolette Larson and The Blues Brothers, in addition to the tales behind their very own songs.
The BBC discarded the present, retaining solely a brief clip. However now a uncommon recording has been discovered and restored.
Excerpts will probably be broadcast in a special documentary this weekend.
Listeners will hear Jackson, simply months earlier than releasing Off The Wall, focus on how Motown refused to let him write his personal music; whereas Harrison explains what it was prefer to work within the songwriting shadow of Lennon and McCartney.
At one level, Jackson turns to the previous Beatle and says: “Let me ask you a query, did you guys at all times write your individual stuff from the start?”
The guitarist replies: “Effectively, John and Paul wrote proper from earlier than we ever made a document.”
Jackson appears bowled over, asking: “How did you handle that?”
“I do not know,” drawls Harrison. “They had been intelligent little fellows.”
The environment sounds relaxed and good-humoured all through, and the 2 musicians take the duty of reviewing the songs critically, though at one level Harrison confesses: “To inform you the reality, I’ve no thought what’s a success and what is not a success today.”
The programme was a part of a long-running Radio 1 collection known as Roundtable, which was introduced in 1979 by David “Child” Jensen.
“They had been each pretty guys to speak to,” he remembers of Jackson and Harrison.
“We knew we had an excellent present on our fingers, simply by the overall vibe within the studio earlier than the mics went dwell.
“It was like Juke Field Jury – folks judging their friends. Within the case of the Beatles and Michael Jackson, in fact, it is not fairly their friends however actually [people] in the identical line of enterprise.”
Though the broadcaster ranked the encounter as considered one of his favorite ever interviews, the BBC erased the programme and, for years, solely low-quality bootleg recordings had been obtainable.
That was till Richard Latto, a producer at BBC Radio Solent, set about looking for an entire copy.
“I put the phrase out on the collectors’ circuit and a chap known as Richard White got here ahead with a cassette recording of your complete broadcast,” he says.
“This was incredible information as a result of the BBC solely held a brief, four-minute extract from the present, which is tiny when in comparison with the [full] programme, which accommodates some very particular moments that had been considered misplaced endlessly.”
Nevertheless, restoring the audio to a listenable commonplace was “an incredible problem”, he explains.
“There is a clip on the internet which is barely audible and offers you an thought of the problem we confronted. We spent hours sharpening and sprucing the uncooked sound, which was recorded in 1979 off an AM radio through the dead nights, so stricken by numerous hiss and distortion.
“After intensive work, we had been in a position to get the voices of the legendary stars and Child to chop by means of with incredible readability.”
The outcomes will probably be broadcast on BBC Radio Solent on Saturday, 9 February, the 40th anniversary of the unique broadcast.
It should reveal why Jackson wore a pith helmet all through the recording and the way Harrison took a 12 months off music to “go to the races”.
On the tape, they assessment Foreigner’s Blue Morning Blue Day (“It will get your consideration” – Jackson) and Lenny White’s cowl of Girl Madonna (“I choose the Fab 4’s model” – Harrison).
The previous Beatle discusses the deserves of canopy variations and discloses how he’d written the Beatles’ traditional One thing with Ray Charles in thoughts.
“Because it occurred, the track ended up with over 150 cowl variations,” he says. “However when Ray Charles did it, I used to be actually disenchanted. It was a bit corny, the best way he did it.”
“You wrote One thing?” exclaims Jackson. “Ohhhh, I did not know that. I believed Lennon and McCartney did that.”
“Yeah,” Harrison replies. “Everyone thinks that.”