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Lives in Music

Oct 11, 2019

Hidden away in their secret workshop, John Bradley and Martin Smith breathe fresh life into vintage machines which powered progressive rock and a lot more: the Mellotron.

What is a Mellotron? Well, please read on as you listen to the podcast. John Bradley and Martin Smith have been involved with Mellotrons all their lives. John is the pragmatic engineer who can look at a piece of kit and know exactly what to do. Martin was and is a superfan of 60s, 70s and 80s music with a decided taste for Progressive Rock. The Mellotron simply reeled him in. John's dad ran the original Streetly Electronics, based in a small building just to the north of Birmingham.

They made Mellotrons. Musicians beat paths to their door. It was John and Martin who revived the current business. And now the musicians are calling on them. 

The Mellotron was key to 60s and 70s pop. Then it sort of fell out of fashion. But the sounds on countless BeatlesGenesisMoody Blues and Barclay James Harvest tracks, and tons more are still in demand. So much so that John and Martin's order book is full for the next two years. And as for their stellar client list...

Be warned: there's one teeny little swear word; it's so funny, I couldn't bring myself to cut it out. I travelled to the workshop for the Lives in Music interview. Copious amounts of tea were consumed. Followed by copious amounts of editing.  


If you want head-spinning details on the inner workings of the Mellotron is, read the exhaustive details on Wikipedia here...

Some samples

Here's a YouTube link for Strawberry Fields Forever...  
This is a Link to one of the earliest recorded uses of the Mellotron ...
or how about this Moody Blues cut?

Other Links

Streetly Electronics website
Streetly Electronics on Facebook

Lives in Music 

Lives in Music celebrates people who have spent a lifetime in music. They may be famous; they may be people who have simply spent their lives working at their craft for the love of it. They all have stories.

Lives in Music is a Radio To Go production.

The theme music for this series is by local band Big Q Fish. 'Boksburg Jive Toon' was written by Brian Neil, and recorded at the Jam House, Birmingham, in 2017.


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