The People's History of Pop will be a multi-platform series looking at the history of pop music
From drumsticks to diary entries, new BBC Four series the People’s History of Pop (PHOP) will look at the evolution of music through the eyes of its fans.
The series will be split into four episodes, to air throughout 2016, each focusing on a different decade of pop history.
In an industry first, production company 7 Wonder is working with Historypin, a user-generated digital archive of historical artefacts, to collate music memorabilia from fans across the country.
"There's something crazy and powerful about our musical memories,” said Historypin’s executive director Breandán Knowlton. “Think back to what was playing at your first festival, at your wedding, at that awkward teenage dance.”
The series’ website, www.phop.co.uk, allows users to upload photos of their musical ephemera, as well as audio and video files, and encourages them to write about what they’ve shared.
Early uploads include a 1960s recording of a teenage band imitating The Shadows, a collection of The Smiths fanzine Smiths Indeed, and a Catatonia flight case.
The television series will feature some of the best items that have been uploaded, while the site itself will form an online archive dedicated to music fandom.
The first episode, due to air in April, will go back 60 years to 1956, when Lonnie Donegan’s Rock Island Line prompted a skiffle boom that would soon evolve into rock’n’roll.”
The series will end in 1996, a time of renewed vitality for the British music scene, as Britpop reached its height, UK garage began to emerge and the Spice Girls released Wannabe.
“It takes us to the brink of the internet age in which being a music fan has shifted and become a more globalised, more corporate and perhaps more diffused experience,” producer Zoe Jewell told the RTS.
While the series won’t focus on the past 20 years, fans are still encouraged to upload their treasured ticket stubs, gig posters and mix tapes to the online archive. Among the newer items already on the site are a photo of the Arctic Monkeys putting their brick in the Cavern wall of fame in 2005 and an aerial shot of Robbie Williams playing at Knebworth in 2003, at the time the biggest music event in British history.
(First image by Cee Biscoe)