Saturday, March 10, 2012

Review of This is Where I Came In - Autobiography of Brian Matthew

Matthew, Brian. This Is Where I Came in. London: Constable, 1991. Print.

As a science/engineering librarian I have reviewed many new technical books in my career. It seems very strange reviewing a book that is over 20 years old. For many years I have been an enthusiast of the popular music of the 1960s and am especially interested in specialty radio shows playing the music of that era. Too many radio station play the same burned out oldies over and over. About 8 years ago a poster on an oldies message board talked about Sounds of the 60s with Brian Matthew on BBC2. The show airs Saturday mornings from 8 AM - 10 AM in the UK which is 3 AM - 5 AM on the east coast of the USA. Fortunately for me each show is archived for a week.  You can find it at

I really feel in love with the show which is a good blend of British and American Oldies including rarities and the staples of oldies radio. I regularly listen to the archived version on Sunday mornings. On two occasions Brian played my requests. One was Niki Hoeky by P.J. Proby while the other was a dedication to my wife Karen I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love by Petula Clark. I wrote to Brian stating that I must be America’s most avid listener of his show.

I really wanted to find out more about Brian. His name sounded familiar, but I could never could place it until I heard Sounds of the 60s. Very recently I discovered a Facebook Group dedicated to the show. A poster briefly discussed the autobiography. I thought that if it wasn’t too expensive I would try to obtain a copy. I went to and ordered the book from a used book dealer for only $12 including the shipping. The dealer stated that book was mailed on February 2. When I reported that I hadn’t received the book on February 23, the dealer presumed the book was lost in the postal mail and gave me a refund. I then ordered the book from another dealer and received it in a short time. However, the other day the book came from the original dealer, so I have two copies. There are only two libraries in the USA (Library of Congress and Penn State University) that hold the book. It is possible that I have 2 of the 4 copies in the United States.

Many autobiographies are done by ghostwriters, but This is Where I Came in was written by Brian Matthew himself. I must admire Brian for his exceptional memory of so many events in his life. He was very sincere as his was not afraid to talk about the setbacks in his life. His first love was the theater as he was a student at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) in the UK. His went to the Netherlands for his first job in radio. He later came to the BBC and spoke proudly of seeing the Beatles at Shea Stadium in 1965 and interviewing them. He spoke of his experiences with Saturday Club and Round Midnight. It is very hard to be successful in show business, but Brian made his mark as an actor and as a broadcaster.

The book ends somewhat abruptly when on page 223 he says he got the job in a theatrical production of Lynchville by Snoo Wilson. It’s difficult for the reader to ascertain if he enjoyed acting or the radio most.

Since the book was published in 1991, it didn’t discuss Sounds of the 60s, so I must refer my readers to the Wikipedia entry.( ) . I am not aware of any other acting or radio gigs over the last 22 years. Perhaps readers of this blog entry can fill me in. I always admire radio personalities like Cousin Brucie, Bob Shannon, Bob Radil, and Pete Fornatale among many others who know the music and the recording artists. Brian Matthew seems to be a walking encyclopedia of British rock of the 1960s. I am sure that he gets help from his producer Phil “The Collector” Swern.

Brian Matthew is now 83 years old and does the show every week. I was concerned when Brian was ill between September 2006 and February 2007 as Johnnie Walker and others filled in. I wish Brian the best of health and to borrow a line from Bob Dylan, “May he stay forever young.”

1 comment:

ronntenn said...

Certainly a great choice of song,P.J.Proby "Niki Hoeky". Proby from Texas has lived in England since 1964.He's worked with Andy Williams,Johnny Cash,Elvis Presley,The Rolling Stones,The Beatles & many many more.He knew Sinatra & Dean Martin,he drank with them & was engaged to Claudia,Dean's daughter.
Best singer ever but these days does not get the recognition he deserves.He's just complterd a huge U.K. tour "60's Gold". He outshone everyone on the bill & at 75 was the oldest guy onstage.
Ron T. (a fan,collector & friend of P.J.)

Personal-Journals blog