As children in the 1970’s, we weren’t taken in a car by our parents to supervised clubs. Nor were we expected to dance to grown-up music like John Denver or Eric Clapton. No, we ran wild and played wherever we wanted. Building sites, railway yards and the roofs of garages served very well as playgrounds and we had our own children’s music too, presented to us on the radio each week by Ed ‘Stewpot’ Stewart.
Children’s records were full of humour and weird stuff. And ‘Stewpot’ repeated the same old records frequently so that they became firm favourites. This includes the brilliant ‘Right Said Fred’, sang by Bernard Cribbins and produced by George Martin at Abbey Road inbetween Beatles sessions. It’s a song moving a piano.
The fact that one of only four national radio stations at the time devoted a couple of hours to children’s songs was a big deal. Children had status; we had our own music, jingles and we were people in our own right, not just pester-power consumers for advertisers. Buying records was expensive, so listening to the radio was the only way to get to hear this kind of music.
Looking back, it was a very male dominated programme – the hits like ‘A Windmill in Amsterdam’ and ‘My Brother’ were all blokes. The only Junior Choice regular I can remember by a female artist is ‘Que Sera Sera’ by Doris Day. The song doesn’t foretell widespread women’s liberation, female prime ministers and The Slits, but, you know…. que sera sera.