On the Beat
Spencer Leigh has been broadcasting on BBC Radio Merseyside for over 30 years. "I'm embarrassed to say that my first series was a poetry one called No Holds Bard, and I didn't appreciate at the time that written puns didn't work on radio.
"That was in 1972 and I hope I've improved since then."
His music programme, On The Beat, has been on air since 1985 and, as a result, he has interviewed hundreds of musicians. Once a month he hosts a 'Juke Box Jury' with local personalities commenting on the new releases.
There have also been special concert performances from Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas, Dennis Locorriere, Sonny Curtis, China Crisis, Clinton Ford, the Merseybeats, John Power, Pete Wylie, Hank Walters and Up and Running.
From time to time, Spencer amalgamates his interviews in special series, the best-known being the 1981 series, Let's Go Down The Cavern, which led to him writing the first book about the Merseybeat era, also called Let's Go Down The Cavern.
This has been updated and revised as Twist and Shout! Merseybeat, the Cavern, the Star-Club and the Beatles (Nirvana Books, 2004). This book also incorporates parts of Spencer's very successful series about Liverpool groups in Hamburg, Germany Calling which was broadcast on Sunday afternoons in the summer of 2006.
Spencer's recent books include The Cavern - The Most Famous Club In The World (2008) and Everyday - Getting Closer To Buddy Holly (2009) His biographies include Billy Fury, Lonnie Donegan and the Cavern DJ, Bob Wooler.
Spencer has written the sleeve notes for over 200 albums and was delighted when the soundtrack album, The Best Of Heartbeat, made Number One on the album charts in 1994. "Of course no one bought it for my sleeve notes," says Spencer, "but it was great to see it at the top of the best sellers."
You may find Spencer's work in such magazines as Record Collector, Mojo, Goldmine, Now Dig This and Country Music People. He writes obituaries of musicians for The Independent and says "When I meet someone, I am tempted to offer them the full package of radio interview, magazine feature and forthcoming obituary."