Monday 13 May 2013


'At the third stroke'
Hard to believe (our children/grandchildren certainly wouldn't) that we used to ring up (from our land lines) a pre-recorded voice to get the time. It's almost as unbelievable as Dial-a-Disc. Maybe one day our call centre culture will seem just as anachronistic to future generations.

Perhaps the most famous speaking clock of them all was Pat Simmons (she had the gig from 1963 to 1985). Ms. Simmons sadly passed away in 2005, but her voice has been immortalised forever.

Not least by The Sweet: in 1973 if you flipped Hell Raiser over you'd have found this on the B-side.

Burning was that rare thing - a frighteningly original rock song. And literally frightening. Fast forward to 1:44 for some hot speaking clock action.


  1. The Sweet were a rocking rock band hidden under a Chinn/Chapman glam exterior. Some of the later albums like "Off The Record" were really top draw rock stuff as many of the B-sides pointed to - the fact that Andy Scott bought an Gibson ES after seeing a picture of Richie Blackmore holding one says a lot - most notably that Andy didn't do too much research of Mr Blackmore's tone!!! Haha!

  2. Pick a flip, any flip - almost all are gems. Give Us a Wink is the album that come closest to their B-side style.

  3. Such a stonkingly great, bonkers tune.

    The LP I always go back to is 'Sweet Fanny Adams'. Yes, in an ideal world I'd swop 'Rebel Rouser' & 'Peppermint Twist' for a couple of the b-sides, but, in my opinion, the fairy dust Phil Wainman sprinkles over the album, was never quite reproduced after the band began twiddling the knobs themselves.

  4. F - There was a whole lot of Sweet/Purple crossover going on: Brian Connolly replacing Ian Gillan in Wainwright's Gentlemen, Sweet ripping off Woman from Tokyo with Windy City and members from both bands regularly playing 5-a-side together.

    M- Yes and a regular touchstone as far as this blog is concerned.

    TS - They recorded SFA with Phil Wainman when Chinn and Chapman went on holiday!

  5. I can't add anything about the Sweet...
    But I do remember when I was a kid being allowed to ring up 'TIM' as a special treat so as to hear the magic voice at the other end of the phone. Simple pleasures...

  6. Those winter evenings must have flown by!

  7. I used to regularly call 'Dial-a-Disc' when I was a lad. Why? I have no idea. Just dial 16 and listen to a song down a phone that you could hear for free on the radio. We were strange back then.