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Spencer Leigh (radio presenter)

Spencer Leigh (born 1 February 1945)[1] is a BBC radio presenter and author, with particular expertise in the development of pop and rock music and culture in Britain.

Spencer Leigh
Spencer Leigh.jpg
Headshot of Spencer Leigh
Born (1945-02-01) 1 February 1945 (age 74)
OccupationRadio presenter, author, obituarist
Years active1972–present
Spouse(s)Anne Leigh


He started broadcasting on BBC Radio Merseyside in the early 1970s. His first series, No Holds Bard was based around the Mersey poets. His music programme On the Beat has been running on BBC Radio Merseyside since 1985 and is currently broadcast between 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm on Sundays. Over the years, Leigh has interviewed thousands of musicians on the show.[2]

His first book was Paul Simon - Now and Then, published in 1973, the first biography of the American singer-songwriter Paul Simon. Since then, he has written, or collaborated on, over two dozen books. Many of his books relate to The Beatles or Merseybeat and he has interviewed many people connected to the Liverpool 1960s scene. There have been several one-off series on BBC Radio Merseyside, the best known being 'Let's Go Down the Cavern' in 1981.

Leigh has written the sleeve notes or CD booklets for over 200 albums. He writes obituaries of musicians for The Guardian, The Independent,[2] and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and he also writes for Record Collector, Country Music People and Now Dig This.

His history of British pop before the Beatles, Halfway To Paradise (1996), has been expanded and issued in two volumes as British Pop Before The Beatles, available only on Kindle. His biography of Buddy Holly was published by McNidder and Grace in 2019.[3]


  • Paul Simon - Now and Then (1973)
  • Presley Nation (1976)
  • Stars In My Eyes - Personal Interviews With Top Music Stars (1980)
  • Let’s Go Down the Cavern (1984)
  • Speaking Words of Wisdom (1991)
  • Halfway to Paradise, Britpop 1955–1962 (1996)
  • Drummed Out! - The Sacking of Pete Best (1998)
  • Baby, That Is Rock and Roll, American Pop, 1954–1963 (2000)
  • Brother, Can You Spare a Rhyme? - 100 Years Of Hit Songwriting (2001)
  • Puttin' on the Style - The Lonnie Donegan Story (2002)
  • Sweeping the Blues Away - A Celebration of the Merseysippi Jazz Band (2002)
  • The Best of Fellas - The Story of Bob Wooler, Liverpool's First DJ (2002)
  • Twist and Shout! - Merseybeat, the Cavern, the Star-Club and the Beatles (2004)
  • Sound! - The Liverpool Pop Quiz Book (2004)
  • Wondrous Face - The Billy Fury Story (2005)
  • Things Do Go Wrong (2008; Kindle 2012)
  • The Cavern - The Most Famous Club in the World (2008)
  • Everyday - Getting Closer to Buddy Holly (2009)
  • Tomorrow Never Knows: The Beatles on Record (2010)
  • It's Love That Really Counts - The Billy Kinsley Story (2010)
  • The Beatles in Hamburg (2011)
  • The Beatles in Liverpool (2012) Republished in paperback, 2014
  • The Beatles in America (2013)
  • British Pop Before The Beatles: Volume 1 The Story (2015) ebook
  • British Pop Before The Beatles: Volume 2 The Profiles (2015) ebook
  • American Pop Before The Beatles (2015)ebook
  • Best Of The Beatles: The Sacking Of Pete Best (2015) Updated 'Drummed Out. Paperback and ebook
  • Frank Sinatra: An Extraordinary Life (2015)
  • The Cavern Club: The Rise of the Beatles and Merseybeat' (June 2016) Revised and updated version of 'The Cavern'
  • Simon and Garfunkel: Together Alone' (2016)
  • Love Me Do to Love Me Don't: The Beatles on Record' (June 2016) Revised version of 'Tomorrow Never Knows'
  • Elvis Presley: Caught In A Trap' (2017)
  • Buddy Holly: Learning The Game' (January 2019) Revised and updated version of 'Everyday - Getting Closer to Buddy Holly'

Spencer Leigh has also written or collaborated on the following books with other authors:

  • Memories of Buddy Holly with Jim Dawson (1996)
  • The Walrus Was Ringo - 101 Beatles Myths Debunked (2002) by Alan Clayson and Spencer Leigh
  • 1000 UK Number One Hits (2005) by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh
  • Aspects of Elvis - Tryin' To Get To You (1994) edited by Alan Clayson and Spencer Leigh
  • Behind the Song - The Stories of 100 Great Pop and Rock Classics (1998) by Michael Heatley and Spencer Leigh
  • The Beatles Book' (Hunter Davies (2016) with Keith Badman, David Bedford and Spencer Leigh)
  • 30-Second Rock Music' ([Mike Evans]) (2018) Edited by Mike Evans with Gillian Gaar, Patrick Humphries Paul Kingsbury, Spencer Leigh and Hugh Weldon


  1. ^ "British National Bibliography | The British Library". Retrieved 2015-07-13.
  2. ^ a b "Saturday Presenters: Spencer Leigh". 26 June 2007. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  3. ^ Retrieved 2 February 2019