Looks like a bit of a Neil Fest on BBC4 on Friday

From 9.00pm GMT onwards


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  1. Neil at the BBC - Superb new compilation

    I was glad the ‘At the BBC’ bit was an hour long (a new compilation of clips MMXXI) and it contained some amazing performances and interview segments.

    Fascinating now to look back on Neil’s changing styles through the decades. Is it me or did he seem to defy age after the 90s and look even better? All I can say is that if I age as well as him, I’ll be content.

    The standout for me was the 1974ish Play Me performance with Shirley Bassey – so intense and sensuous, even I forgot about the scarlet spangly jump suit. Shirley herself is so sensual herself in that performance, but there is a chemistry in the duet that lifts it to another plain.

    A dose of that same sensuality comes through on the 2009 Flowers duet with Linda Press.  In some ways, Neil’s stage presence still developed into his later period and the Hot August Nights era, post the Rubin revival.

    His Jools Holland performance of Ain’t No Sunshine is just wonderful.

    The BBC concert from 1972 that topped and tailed the programme is such a great illustration of why Neil deserves such respect as a singe songwriter. I do hope they show the full restored version of that concert again some day – that series had some stellar, intimate performances from some of the greats. I am always aware that this period of Neil gives us that visual glimpse into some of the natural presence that pervaded the original Hot August Night performances and are all we have of him at the absolute height of his powers. Not that he dwindled too much in my eyes – like all of us, he just got older.

    I felt emotional being reminded of Neil’s appearances like this – and this programme selection was a good demonstration of why he has endured for so long.



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