So, who likes gary Glitter?
Ahh, the early 70s; a more simple time when our pop stars were not paedophiles and when the disc jockeys on the nation’s number one radio station were not scared that the next person to knock on the front door would be a policeman.
Ed ‘Stewpot’ Stewart – born Edward Mainwaring in 1941 - is a British DJ and television presenter, best known for his years working for BBC Radio 1 between 1967 and 1980 (particularly Junior Choice) and BBC Radio 2 (1980-1983 and 1991-2006) and as one of the many presenters of Top of the Pops and Crackerjack on BBC Television. For many years he was also associated with the children’s TV magazine Look-In.
Although he began his broadcasting career with radio Hong Kong in 1961, he’s most closely associated with the BBC. Ed has had an often tempestuous relationship with them: in 1983, he was ousted – along with other old favourites including Pete Murray – by the controller of Radio 2 Bryan Marriott with the rather vicious remark: ‘I am not prepared to let the network stagnate. It is time to inject new blood into our programming, and there is no room for Ed Stewart.’ Ed was ‘shocked and disappointed’ at the sacking. ‘I don’t think I’m any more old hat than anyone else in the network’, he said. His replacement was Gloria Hunniford… 54 weeks older than him.
He had a rather outré private life, meeting his wife to be - ‘I arrived (at her parents) at 7pm and was greeted at the door by what I can only describe as a 13 year old apparition! She was simply stunning’ - when she was barely a teenager (and starting to date her at that age, according to his own autobiography, even though he was 30 at the time) and continuing to live with her after they divorced and she moved her lover in to their house.
But anyway, back to the music. Today’s cuts come from a prime slice of ham entitled Stewpot’s Pop Party, one of a number of albums released under Ed’s name during the 70s. As he was most closely associated with radio and TV shows aimed at children, most of Ed’s recordings feature him narrating (or attempting to sing) kid’s songs and nursery rhymes – his debut was the 1968 45 I Like My Toys, performed with the Save The Children Fund Choir, a cover version of the Jeff Lynne/Idle Race song.
Stewpot’s Pop Party is a kind of precursor to the awful Mini-Pops: in other words the album mostly consists of children singing pop songs of the day in the hope of appealing to other children and failing miserably. Pulled together as a kind of instant kids party - the album is awash with the background noise of laughing, squealing children; the gatefold cover features recipes and games and there’s even an insert with pre-printed party invitation. The record includes four tracks by TRex and one by the Move alongside several songs performed by ‘The Children’ and Stewart’s own inane narration…which, as you’ll hear, includes several references to well-known child molester Gary Glitter.
It’s a period piece from a more innocent age. And it’s truly rotten.