May 10, 2009


(Making an indelible impression on a curious teenage mind.)

If there was one single thing, one defining moment that turned my life around as a teenager, it would be the first time I heard "The Dreams" in 1966.

No, The Dreams are not a band - nobody played guitar, you can't dance to them. The Dreams was the first part of a four part Electronic Music piece originally broadcast over the BBC in 1964 and released by the BBC Transcription Service to radio stations in the U.S. shortly after.

It was described as "an invention for radio" conceived and written by Barry Bermange and scored by The BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The result was haunting, hypnotic and totally overwhelming for these fifteen year old ears. It completely changed the way I listened and reacted to music.

Having only captured half of it on tape at the time, I waited years to find the complete recording, when a radio station tossed out their BBC Transcription library. We collectors are adept at being dumpster divers, even before it was fashionable.

For a long time I thought Barry Bermange (a talented writer on his own) was the one behind the whole concept. I didn't realize until much later that The BBC Radiophonic Workshop was actually the brainchild of Delia Derbyshire, and she was the one responsible for the incredible electronic sound that accompanied the voices.

Her work has been sadly neglected over the years (she died in 2001), but reading about her I came to realize she had a huge influence over a lot of people in the 60's, from Luciano Berio to The Beatles.

Hearing The Dreams today is just as fresh as when I first heard it that Saturday night in 1966.

Some things are just destined to stay with you.

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