Sunday, 20 October 2019

A Life In Music: The Men Who Make Mellotrons

In a workshop not too far away from you, magic is being made (and recreated). 

John Bradley and Martin Smith have been involved with Mellotrons all their lives. 

What is a Mellotron? Well, please read on, and listen to the companion podcast. 

John is the pragmatic engineer who can look at a piece of kit and know exactly what to do. Martin was and is a superfan of 60s, 70s and 80s music with a decided taste for Progressive Rock. The Mellotron simply reeled him in. John's dad ran the original Streetly Electronics, based in a small building just to the north of Birmingham. They made Mellotrons. Musicians beat paths to their door. It was John and Martin who revived the current business. And now the musicians are calling on them. 

The Mellotron was key to 60s and 70s pop. Then it sort of fell out of fashion. But the sounds on countless Beatles, Genesis, Moody Blues and Barclay James Harvest tracks, and tons more are still in demand. So much so that John and Martin's order book is full for the next two years. And as for their stellar client list...

Be warned: there's one teeny little swear word; it's so funny, I couldn't bring myself to cut it out. I travelled to the workshop for the Lives in Music interview. Copious amounts of tea were consumed. Followed by copious amounts of editing. 

The podcast has now been published: go here to listen, subscribe and/or download... or go to the player at the bottom of this post. 


If you are still not entirely sure what a Mellotron is, read the exhaustive details on Wikipedia here...

Some samples

Here's a YouTube link for Strawberry Fields Forever...
This is a Link to one of the earliest recorded uses of the Mellotron ...
or how about this Moody Blues cut?

Other Links

Streetly Electronics website
Streetly Electronics on Facebook

Listen to the podcast

Lives in Music 

Lives in Music celebrates people who have spent a lifetime in music. They may be famous; they may be people who have simply spent their lives working at their craft for the love of it. They all have stories. Lives in Music is a Radio To Go production.

Also published in Lives In Music 

all with show notes and music links

1 - Ruby Turner 
2 -  
Steve Ajao
4 - 
Mike Hatton 
5 - Horace Panter
6 - Jasper Carrott

7 - 
Sam Slater
8 - John Patrick
9 - Gordon Giltrap
10 Jim Simpson

The theme music for this series is by local band Big Q Fish. 'Boksburg Jive Toon' was written by Brian Neil, and recorded at the Jam House, Birmingham, in 2017.


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1 comment:

Triplanetary said...

That was a wonderful interview and presentation, I think this will be a great future reference for all