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John Peel Soft Machine Special 1976

John Peel Soft Machine Special 1976

My Cassette Recording of the John Peel Soft Machine Special 1976

Back in 1976 John Peel did a ‘Soft Machine Special’ show on Radio 1. This hour long show featured tunes by Soft Machine, Kevin Ayers, Robert Wyatt, Gong, Isotope, Euterpe and many other bands. It really was quite brilliant and here you can download it in mp3 format.

I have now got an mp3 audio file from a cassette that I made on the 17th August 1976. The recording isn’t brilliant quality as my radio was an old Ekco Nautilus PT310 and my cassette recorder was a mono Phillips N2225 and I made the recording 37 years ago! I still have the EMITape C120 cassette. On the other side I recorded ‘Livestock’ by Brand X – oh what strange music I was into when I was 14!

I seem to remember there was always a problem with ‘mains hum’ if I ran my radio off mains, it was OK on batteries but I guess I couldn’t afford any at the time. There was also a problem when the motor used to kick in on my parents fridge, so there are a few odd noises in there too. When these momentary blips of interference occurred the automatic gain control on the cassette recorder would temporarily turn the recording volume down. I thought I had the edge over all my friends efforts at recording off the radio in those days as I had an FM radio, so be thankful for that. As I say, the recording of it isn’t brilliant, but I believe it is the only intact copy of the radio show available online today.

This is the most important radio show that I have ever heard in my life, and it changed my life. I really haven’t been the same since, I think that is a good thing. This was definitely my first introduction to the music of Kevin Ayers and the radio show includes; Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes, Joy of a Toy continued, Everyone Knows The Song and lots of other tracks where Kevin was involved.

I’ve stored the mp3 safely in my Amazon Cloud Storage, if you want a copy just enter your email in any of the ‘get updates’ fields on this site and I will send you the download link. Please comment below, I’d love to hear what you think.

74 comments… add one
  • Curtis Roberts December 8, 2013, 11:09 am

    Thanks for the offer. It will be wonderful to hear the radio show.


    • Rick December 8, 2013, 11:24 am

      Hey nice to hear from you Curtis, I’ll try and sort the recording out this afternoon.

      • Rick December 8, 2013, 12:59 pm

        It’s done – check your email 🙂

        • Curtis Roberts December 8, 2013, 3:27 pm

          Hasn’t come through yet. Will check again later. Many thanks. Nice to hear from you also. Curtis

  • john December 8, 2013, 4:30 pm

    thanks for the possibility. i am very curious. best john

    • john February 19, 2014, 5:09 pm

      hello, i still would love to hear the soft machine special but unfortunately i don’t have a link yet 🙁

      • Rick Lomas February 19, 2014, 6:20 pm

        John you should now have an email with a link you need to click, just do that and you will be sent the download details straightaway.

  • Iñigo Artigas December 10, 2013, 9:41 pm

    You´re very nice sharing your appreciated treasure with us.
    Thank you very much, i´ll also appreciate it with much respect

  • Rogue Alien December 21, 2013, 9:28 am

    First heard Soft Machine when Big L played ‘Love Makes Sweet Music’. I was even more mightily impressed when Jack De Manio interviewed them on Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme, tho’ I didn’t know that Robert (Wyatt) Ellidge’s mum was BBC scriptwriter & Woman’s Hour broadcaster Honor Wyatt (see also http://www.robertgraves.org/issues/15/6367_article_247.pdf, which sets out her cultural credentials) & that favours had almost certainly been asked. But it was the Soft’s Prom appearance in 1970, on a night programmed by Tim Souster, that set me by the ears. I played my dodgy open-reel recording of that still-stunning set any number of times as a keen ‘teenage avant-garder’. Unfortunately, the ousting of Robert Wyatt (total madness! why, oh why?) knocked most of the individuality & quirkiness out of the group, &, especially after the dead hand of Mr Karl Jenkins had fastened on their throat, they became, to my ears, yet another bunch of jazz-fusion, more-notes-per-minute merchants. I’d love to hear your dodgy Peel tape. Fortunately for you, you won’t need me to upload my crap Proms recording, since the gig has been released at least twice – once on vinyl in the late ’80s by Reckless Records & more recently on the Blueprint ‘Live 1970’ CD, with the music’s origins deliberately left vague to avoid acknowledging the infringement of BBC copyright.

    • Rick December 21, 2013, 9:48 am

      Dear Mr Alien, thanks for the comment. You should have an email by now with a link in it, click that and you will get access to the dodgy tape.

  • Germán Betti January 20, 2014, 1:47 am

    Oh man! No words, it’s just great! I felt like I was in the 70’s and I’m only 17 years old hahah, it’s great! I heard many of these songs but there are some songs that I never heard and they just blew my mind! Many Thanks!

    • Rick January 20, 2014, 6:15 am

      That’s fantastic – I’m so pleased you liked it. Stick around, hopefully we will dig up some other treasures. Keep listening 🙂

  • Terry Collins January 20, 2014, 12:29 pm

    I have a recording of Kevin playing at Mr. Kyps in Poole, Dorset on 25th October 2002. I can DropBox it if you like.

    Also, please do send me the URL for the John Peel show – I do have all the tracks I’ve heard on the video, but it would be nice to have them all without the gaps!

    • Rick January 20, 2014, 5:58 pm

      Hi Terry, I sent you an email with some info in – did you get it? I’m rather excited about hearing the Poole gig.

  • iamthetruevine January 24, 2014, 9:30 pm

    would love to hear this… can you send me the link to the peel sessions tape please?

    • Rick January 24, 2014, 9:33 pm

      You should have an email with a link to click – do that and it will take you to the download page. Please come back and tell me what you think 🙂

  • Steven May 7, 2014, 11:33 pm

    Soft Machine was the first live band that I heard in concert when the opened for Hendrix at SUNY Stony Brook in March ’68. I was fortune to catch them again on Aug 23 1968 at the Singer Bowl. Had front row seats! Those two evening are with me to this day.

  • Cary Heuchert August 17, 2014, 4:10 pm

    Hi Rick,
    I’m interested in the Soft Machine radio special MP3 link, as well.
    I’ve been a long-time fan of the Softs and Kevin Ayers solo work. I bought “Odd Ditties” on LP in the late-70’s, and it was a life changing event for me also. Please send me the link. I would love to hear it!!!
    Vancouver, Canada

    • Rick August 17, 2014, 6:35 pm

      Cary – check your email, it’s all there 🙂

      • Cary Heuchert August 18, 2014, 5:20 am

        Thank you, Rick. It’s a wonderful broadcast!!!

  • MG September 24, 2014, 11:40 pm

    Oh my gosh, I would LOVE to hear this!!! I hope it’s not too late! I just found this beautiful, amazing blog moments ago!!!

    Well…either way….thank you so much! I’m loving the blog!

    • Rick September 25, 2014, 6:05 am

      Check your email MG 🙂

  • Jim Bowers October 5, 2014, 9:16 pm

    Wow !! I’ve been a fan of Kevin Ayers since the seventies, the Soft Machine and Canterbury scene too. Finally got to see Kevin in Norwich in 2005.
    Would love to hear this radio show. Could you send me a link ?

    • Rick October 7, 2014, 3:32 pm

      Sorry about the delay there Jim – check your email now.

  • hugh manatee December 24, 2014, 12:57 am

    thanks for sharing….looking forward to hearing the show.
    does it include anything from when percy jones was in the softs?

  • Rooksby January 4, 2015, 8:11 pm

    Hi Rick,

    If you’re still patiently sat at the other end of this email address (!) & are able to send me a link for Peel’s Soft Machine Special then yes, please do, I’d really love to hear it.

    Many thanks sir,


    • Rick January 7, 2015, 7:57 am

      I just sent you an email, there’s a link in there that will send you all the downloads we have so far. Sorry it took so long for me to spot your comment.

  • Luke January 11, 2015, 2:52 pm

    It would be so nice to receive a message with link to the Peel’s Soft Machine Special 🙂
    Canterbury is my main inspiration
    Luke, bassist of Tatvamasi (Cuneiform)
    Thank you!

    • Rick January 11, 2015, 7:55 pm

      On its way 🙂

      • Luke September 14, 2015, 12:08 am

        why are you sleeping???
        should I have to wait 100 years?

        • Brent Manuel January 18, 2021, 9:26 pm

          Many thanks for making this available. I first came across Kevin’s music in about 1980 when I bought Soft Machine vols 1 &2 and Kevin’s Joy of a Toy & Shooting at the Moon, both as twofers on vinyl. I absolutely loved those albums, I was 18/19 years old and they were part of the soundtrack to a delightfully misspent youth! Saw Kevin play a gig sometime in the late 1990s in Southampton with the Wizards of Twiddly. Great night.
          Just listened to Dr Dream for the first time in a long time, and with the links you provided offering more for me to hear for the first time, I’m well happy. Thanks.

          • Rick January 18, 2021, 9:36 pm

            That’s very cool Brent. I still chuckle a bit every time I look at that old cassette. That John Peel show really did change my life, almost overnight. I’m really glad that so many people are enjoying the download 40+ years later. It sounds like you are a similar age to me (I was born in 1962).

  • Mark February 13, 2015, 3:01 pm

    I look forward to hearing a copy of your dodgy John Peel Soft Machine Special cassette 😉

  • RS July 19, 2015, 2:40 pm

    It would be wonderful to have a copy of this recording. Do share the link with me please.

    Thanks in advance & much appreciated. 🙂

    • Rick July 19, 2015, 7:24 pm

      Check your email RS 🙂

  • J J Plant November 6, 2015, 10:33 pm

    Would very much like to hear this stuff

    • Rick November 7, 2015, 10:27 am

      Check your email JJ you will find links to some great stuff. The Poole gig is wonderful 🙂

  • Laurie Vogt December 1, 2015, 8:58 am

    Thanks for the access … it’s a great opportunity to revisit a past era

  • Jason Newson January 9, 2016, 8:42 pm

    I would really like to hear the 1976 John Peel Show special, and the Poole gig if possible.

    • Rick January 9, 2016, 10:06 pm

      Check your email Jason, all will be well 🙂

  • Kim Lee Harvey March 4, 2016, 11:59 am

    Oh I got the links to the MP3 – thanks you very much.

  • Kurt Kreikenbom August 17, 2016, 11:06 pm

    Thank you, Rick! I’m just listening to the 1976 Soft Machine special. What a treat!

    • Rick August 17, 2016, 11:24 pm

      Enjoy Kurt – I listen to this quite often 🙂

  • Simon August 18, 2016, 4:36 am

    thanks so much for the share, i look forward to listening to it

  • Michael Gabrieli August 18, 2016, 5:48 am

    Wonderful offer. Thanks so much. Can’t wait to hear it.

  • Massimo Moro August 18, 2016, 7:12 am

    Thanks a lot!

  • Vince Casino August 18, 2016, 11:10 am

    Would love to hear 🙂

    • Rick August 18, 2016, 11:14 am

      Check your email Vince – there’s a link there you need to click to take you to the download page.

  • Bert Dobben August 18, 2016, 11:28 am

    I would be pleased to receive the link Rick.

  • nigel simpson August 18, 2016, 1:49 pm

    I love Kevin Ayers music. Since hearing it first in the 70s. Joy of a Toy he signed for me – ‘with best Fishes’ !! Brilliant songs and I loved his lacksadaisycal manner. Yes please would love to hear this show

  • Dave August 18, 2016, 2:30 pm

    Sounds awesome!

  • Mike Atkinson August 19, 2016, 10:03 am

    I would really love to hear this show again, after so many decades. I taped it at the time, and played it many time over, but the tape did not survive….

  • Vincent August 20, 2016, 6:51 am

    Very curious to hear this recording; thanks for the opportunity

  • Luke August 30, 2016, 12:32 pm

    Can I have it, please?

    • Rick August 30, 2016, 1:43 pm

      You should have an email about it now Luke.

  • mdv January 3, 2017, 1:58 am

    would love a complete unsabotaged mp3 of this if still available – thanks and happy new year

    • Rick January 3, 2017, 10:05 am

      Yes sure, check your email now – enjoy 🙂

  • Jos January 12, 2017, 5:57 pm

    Would love to receive a link to the1976 John Peel Show special. Thanks a lot.

    • Rick January 13, 2017, 8:26 am

      Sure Jos, check your email 🙂

  • john ellis February 22, 2017, 5:49 pm

    good ex,

  • john ellis February 22, 2017, 5:49 pm

    a very good offering well pleased,

  • john ellis February 22, 2017, 5:51 pm

    this is fantastic iam well pleased and gratefull for it, if i could offer you a medal.

  • Peter David Smith April 26, 2017, 9:01 pm

    Thanks for the link and for preserving an important moment in time.

  • Rüdiger Höckel May 11, 2017, 7:33 am

    as a longtime collector of The Police I would like to know if Andy Summers palys on some of the tracks that were featured in the John Peel Show.
    Yeah, John Peel was a big influence on my listening to music as well. The show was also (here in Germany) oon the FM channel BFBS (British Forces radio) so once a week I listened to/recorded John Peel with my little tape recorder.
    A very diverse style of music – and finally I found my 2nd best band of all times there: Hüsker Dü!

  • Ketil May 23, 2019, 10:14 pm

    Any chance for a listen? 🙂

    • Rick May 24, 2019, 6:10 am

      Check your email, there will be a link that you need to click to access the downloads.

  • Bbbarry September 16, 2019, 6:22 pm

    Hi, Thanks for this great resource. I’d love a link for the John Peel show!


    • Rick September 16, 2019, 6:25 pm

      No probs – check your email now

  • nick manley November 22, 2019, 11:12 am

    Hello and many thanks for this…good to know that someone else was in the same frame of mind as me at this time. I was 16 and did that classic thing of listening to JP under the covers. But there must have been lots of us or the records wouldn’t have sold.

  • REX BLACK April 25, 2020, 5:58 pm

    Thank You for All You Do regarding Kevin Ayers.
    I have been following him since I bought June 1, 1974.
    I saw him in the 1980s in NYC on 72st Street. It was a wonderful and rare experience.
    Once again, thank you for spreading the gospel of Kevin to the world to keep him alive in everyone else’s mind (he’s already on ours)

  • Christopher Farmer January 2, 2021, 9:40 am

    Like you I recorded this broadcast but it got lost overy the years so it’s great to hear it again in such good quality, I’ve reduced the hum and it sounds very good indeed so many thanks for uploading it

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