The Onyx had the honor of being one of the most played bands in the early days of BBC Radio One. Over the course of 5 years the band recorded an endless array of studio sessions and Radio One Clubs.

At the time the BBC was required to dedicate a certain amount of time to real musicians playing real instruments. DJ’s were not allowed to play records all day long, real people had to fill in the gaps. This of course led to an unprecedented number of our favorite bands entering the Maida Vale studios to record songs for broadcast. For some bands this was only a fleeting visit, for others it was fairly regular gig.

Depending on which show the band was recording would guide their choice of material. If a band were recording for John Peel and Top Gear for example they had more creative freedom than the daytime shows. Often the remit was ‘keep it short and keep it recognisable’. Often band’s would plug their latest single, while also recording some choice cover versions or try out a newly written song.

The Onyx were BBC regulars. Having a formidable reputation as a covers band the BBC would rope them in, often once a month, often to record cover versions for broadcast (and occasionally a version of their latest single). As most of the shows the band recorded for were mild daytime fodder (Terry Wogan, Terry Brandon, Jimmy Young, etc.) they often recorded hits of the day.

The band also appeared on Volume 265 of the Top of the Pops LP series (Time Off and On Our Way). These very rare LP's contained live and studio recordings, along with DJ chatter and cue sheets. Produced in small runs they were usually issued for use at overseas radio stations. Onxy were preserved on at least one LP with two tracks;


Here’s a selection of BBC recordings from 1970/71

Time Off

On Our Way (Sky)

Paint It Black (Rolling Stones)

Meet On The Ledge (Fairport Convention)

A version of Good Vibrations also exists, but unfortunately t remains tucked away on a dusty old reel to reel.


As well as in-studio session the BBC also hit the road and broadcast live sessions as part of the Radio One Club. Live from venues across the UK these gigs gave bands the opportunity to let their hair down, so to speak, without the constraints of performing popular three minute pop songs.

Thanks to local entertainer, and one time Onyx superfan, Trevor Prisk (aka Trevor Fontaine), several Onyx Radio One Club shows still exist via rough and ready off-air recordings. Mainly consisting of covers, the tapes provide a rare glimpse of the Onyx in  live setting. Dates are lost in time, but the first two are probably '68/69 and the final show will be '71/72.

Here’s the setlists, along with some audio samples.

    Unknown location. Exeter, Devon.
Guitar: Alan Hodge

Lightning Strikes

Wake Up Sunshine

Can't Explain

Alone Again Or

Paint It Black

Does Anybody Know What Time It Is

    Queens Hall, Barnstaple, Devon.
Guitar: Alan Hodge

On Our Way

Whole Lotta Love

March Of The Mods

Something's Coming On

She's Not There

    Old Barn Club, Penzance, Cornwall.
Guitar: Bernie Lee

Can't Explain

Beyond and Before

Don't Let It Bring You Down

Wooden Ships

Funk 49

You Don't Have To Cry

    To wrap up the Onyx involvement with the BBC, here’s a list of sessions and transmission dates (thank you to Nigel Lee’s for supplying the majority of data). Considering the reputation the band had this must be an incomplete list, but it gives you some idea on busy the Beeb kept them! All listing are for The Onyx, Vineyard recorded no sessions with the BBC.    

16th - 20th: David Symonds
30th - 3rd Jan 1969: David Symonds

30th Dec 1968 -3rd: David Symonds

10th - 14th 1969: Jimmy Young
22nd: Chris Denning
24th – 28th: Keith Skies

10th – 14th: Jimmy Young

12th: Phil Jay
14th – 18th: Dave Cash
21st – 25th: Jimmy Young
28th – 2nd May: Sounds Like Tony Brandon

28th April – 2nd: Sounds Like Tony Brandon
12th – 16th: Sounds Like Tony Brandon
19th – 23rd: Terry Wogan

21st – 25th: Terry Wogan

11th – 15th: Sounds Like Tony Brandon

6th – 10th: Terry Wogan
12th: Pop Workshop
27th – 31st: Terry Wogan

10th – 14th: Dave Cash
17th – 21st: Jimmy Young
23rd: Dave Eastwood

8th – 12th: Terry Wogan
28th – 4th Jan 1970: Jimmy Young
29th – 2nd Jan 1970: Terry Wogan

Dec 28th  1969 –  4th Jan: Jimmy Young
Dec 29th 1969 – 2nd Jan: Terry Wogan
19th – 23rd: Dave Cash

2nd – 6th: Terry Wogan
9th – 13th: Jimmy Young
23rd – 27th: Terry Wogan

9th – 13th: Jimmy Young

20th – 24th: Terry Wogan
27th – 1st May: Sounds Like Tony Brandon

27th April – 1st: Sounds Like Tony Brandon
11th – 15th: Sounds Like Tony Brandon
18th – 22nd: Jonnie Walker

13th: Noel Edmonds
22nd – 26th: Sounds Like Tony Brandon

20th – 24th: Jimmy Young
25th: Gary Taylor

17th – 21st: Tony Blackburn

5th: Pop Workshop
7th – 11th: Tony Brandon
14th – 18th: Jimmy Young

5th – 9th: Barry mason
12th – 16th: Jimmy Young

2nd – 6th: Terry Wogan
2nd – 6th: Jonnie Walker

11th – 15th: Terry Wogan

17th – 21st: Dave Lee Travis