The Happenings pages contain details of recent updates and amendments to the Radio London website
Any items added to the site or updated within the past month will be flagged appropriately with an or flash.
In the news section all new, or currently active stories (apart from obituaries) are headed in orange, including stories that are liable to remain current for some weeks. Naturally, you may need to scroll down the page to see older items which may have been amended. The latest updates and amendments will always be found on this first page, while older news items will be saved on separate pages. Older obituaries are transferred to a separate archive page.
The News starts here.
Cousin Moosie's Moosetastic Store
Hi, I'm Cousin Moosie and I want to introduce you to my Cafepress Store where you can buy teeshirts, sweatshirts, hats, mugs and a variety of merchandise featuring the Big L 50th Anniversary logo on the left, designed by my friend Mary. She's busy running the Radio London website, so she's asked me to look after the store for her.
Our original Radio London embroidered teeshirts and sweatshirts are still available.
Carl, who has died in Kent at the age of 95, was a 42-year-old established actor from Ramsgate when he joined the new offshore station Radio Caroline in March 1964.
Carl had made several minor films which included – with a touch of deja vu – the part of a sailor in 'Watch Your Stern' and he had appeared in a number of TV dramas in the Fifties, prior to joining Caroline. Although he did not work aboard the ship for long, Carl produced recorded programmes for Caroline and his voice was heard regularly in commercials - which were a radio novelty at the time. His TV credits include Dr Who and Z Cars and – appropriately – he played 'a voice on the radio' in the 1969 TV Series, 'Out of the Unknown'.
In 1967, Carl was one of the presenters of 'Swingalong' on the BBC Light Programme. Best described as eclectic, the mid-afternoon show included pop stars of the day alongside jazz duos and session men.
Carl continued his acting and voice-over work and in the Eighties, presented 'The Big Band Show' on Invicta Sound. In 2008, he told the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame that he was keeping himself busy organising film shows in old people's homes and community centres.
The East Anglian Film Archive houses 'The Radio Caroline Story' a 9-minute black-and-white film, narrated by Carl.
Chris and I were truly sorry to hear of the untimely passing of Geoff Kemp. We had the pleasure of meeting him and his partner Paul Peters on a number of occasions, usually aboard the LV18 in Harwich. They co-presented shows on Forest FM and were delighted to be part of Pirate BBC Essex, where Paul was nicknamed 'The YTS Pirate' by the late Dave Cash.
Paul and Geoff ran their successful business Palfrey and Kemp, in Lymington for over 30 years. As 'Britain's Rudest Shop', it gained massive press coverage when they retired in 2012.
"Geoff had always been interested in old motor cars, and I was mad about radio and still, so much wanted to visit those real American radio stations that I'd seen in the films. Somehow we got this idea of 'doing' Route 66. I told him, 'You can see all the old cars that you want, and I'll call into every radio station that we pass, and make a nuisance of myself, asking to have a look around.' And so we started to talk about, and plan, our trip along Route 66".
Right: Geoff with friends aboard the LV18. l to r Tony Lawther, Tony Currie, Paul, Geoff, Mary and Moosie; Tony O'Neil in front.
After the very successful Route 66 tour, the pair were back home and back in the press, talking about their adventure and were interviewed by Dave Cash for BBC Kent.
We know that Geoff will be greatly missed and we extend our deepest sympathy to Paul and to Geoff's family and his many friends.
Friend Ron Buninga:
See our story 'Radio London meets Radio Essex'
February Birthdays(Feb 17)
Many happy returns to both.
Get well soon, Tom (Feb 16 17)
He has been home from hospital since February 2, making lots of Facebook posts as he often does. He thanks people for their support as he is going through a tough time.
Tom chatted to Graham Barnard on BBC Radio Suffolk at 1830 on February 8 about the 50th anniversary of Radio City closing down and also recorded an interview with Keith Skues. (Thanks to Mike Barraclough)
|Michael of Sealand on Radio 4(Feb 16 2017)
Prince Michael of Sealand (left) has been interviewed by Vanessa Feltz (sitting in for Jeremy Vine) about the origins of his micro-principality, which celebrates its 50th Anniversary in September. The interview is enhanced by a phone contribution from Sealand's Head of Homeland Security, Mike Barrington, whose novel solution for repelling boarders is to drop a car battery on them! (Interview 68mins into the programme) (Thanks to Jon Myer)
A Pirate's Tale with Richard and Twiggy(Feb 16 2017)
Nick Carter has asked us to publicise 'The Real Boats That Rocked', a charity event in Reading on Saturday, 29th April.
Richard Swainson recounts his role at the very start of British offshore radio with Project Atlanta, then onto his central role in the hugely successful Radio London – 'Big L'.
Roger 'Twiggy' Day presents his '50 Shades of Day' - a look back at his 50-year broadcasting career on Radio England, Radio Caroline, Independent and BBC local radio. Proceeds to Prostate Cancer UK.
Relegating SOTS(Feb 16 2017)
As he is best mates with Phil 'The Collector' Swern, it seemed inevitable that Bessie would be given the the job of hosting SOTS, but with the programme starting so early, we reckon that diehard 'Avids' will be listening much later, via iPlayer.
Simon O'Hagan, on Radiotimes.com is dismayed by both the removal of Brian and the new starting time. "Losing Brian Matthew is one thing, but moving Sounds of the Sixties' start time is quite another," he says . "6am! On a Saturday morning! That is not a time to be awake. Nor is it a time to put out a show that actually deserves to be listened to and not just have on as background." Simon explains that too often we arefed a simplified idea of the Sixties, comprising the Beatles, the Stones, Carnaby Street and Woodstock, with very little in between. "Sounds of the Sixties, " Simon maintains, "Shows how much more there was to the decade. Nowhere else would you hear, say, Doris Day followed straight after by Captain Beefheart.*"
(*Not quite true. That could happen on Oldies Project! – Webmaster.)
A petition to reinstate Brian, launched by Steve Lowman of Selkirk has attracted nearly 10,000 signatures. While it's unlikely to have any impact on the Beeb, it shows support for poor Brian and hopefully will let him know that he was appreciated, if not by the Corporation, by his loyal audience. Brian will be back to host a farewell SOTS on Saturday, 25th February, 0800.
Steve Lowman says, "I suggest, if possible, that we do our best to reach 12,000 signatures on this petition, as a tribute to Brian, before he broadcasts his last SOTS show. It is good to know we can look forward to some more occasional shows with Brian on bank holidays."
(left) Ousted: Brian, pictured during his 208 days
Here are a few comments we have received:
"According to the Head of Radio 2 (the time reschedule) is because 'Brian Matthew is irreplaceable at 8am on Saturday mornings.' What nonsense!"
"I hope it's not just a short-term sop to Avids. Radio 2 is being ruined."
"Just another Radio 2 bland-out on the horizon. Tragic!"
"Sounds like the death knell for a once highly-rated show. A double blow, with Tony Blackburn presenting and the move to 6am. Apparently older people are early risers (not me!), but how many will set their alarms for 6am on a Saturday and how many will bother to 'listen again'? (Not me!) An insult to the work of Brian Matthew, Phil Swern and the millions of faithful listeners the show currently has. Dreadful."
"Whilst I feel it is good that Tony will be playing Sixties music (and jingles perhaps?) in his traditional breakfast slot, I shall be sorry to lose Brian Matthew's scholarly manner of presenting the programme with detailed information about each track played. Equally, I shall be disappointed if Tony is forced to read Brian Matthew's 'script' - it just wouldn't be right for him. 06:00 is also ridiculously early just for a two-hour programme. Perhaps extending the programme by an hour (to 09:00) would allow Tony to have a Breakfast Show of a proper length and could satisfy the 'Avids' who would still be able to hear some of the programme without having to set their alarm clocks to the crack of dawn."
(Thanks to Jon Myer , Mike Barraclough, Alan Field and our commentators)
* see our story Radio London Racer Returns to Goodwood (scroll down page.)
'I was Cuddly Ken's Producer' – Kate Adie
The then Head of BBC Radio, Ian Trethowan, warned David that if things went wrong on the Everett front, his job was on the line. David was brave enough to go ahead with the broadcasts anyway and even organised a press launch (right). A young lady on the BBC Bristol staff whom David describes as 'a toughie' was Kate Adie and Kate was given the job of producing the controversial show. Asked what he thought about BBC Bristol, Kenny described it as "A cuddly little radio station that I'll be able to groove on." It was his then wife Lee who came up with the idea of syndicating the shows to other local radio stations.
(Thanks to Mike Barraclough and Paul Rowley)
News Links(Jan 28 2017)
Everyone wants to go and live on Sealand!
Tony Prince recalls Top Rank Sheffield
Hans in his Radio England teeshirt, supplied by Rick Randall (see SRE reunion photo pages) and minus his beard
Dutch Radio Day Returns(Jan 28 2017)
The previous edition ncludes stories of the former Caroline office at the Zeekant 105 in Scheveningen and WSJC – The World's Smallest Radio Station.Hans says: "On our huge Flickr site 'The Offshore Radio Archive' (containing more than 16.500 photos) there's a special album called 'Antique Radios'. You will find more than 300 pictures of vintage transistor and valve radio sets, many of them with offshore radio stations like Veronica, Caroline, London, RTV Noordzee and even Atlanta and 390 on the dial. This unique collection is definitely worth a visit."
Busy Hans also produces a magazine, 'Freewave Nostalgie' which is free to download and produced 5 times per year.
Hans & Martin have a blog on the net for readers who want info concerning tunes, music used for jingles and more, and have followed the ‘Zeezender Discography’ since 1994 on www.soundscapes.info.
Check Martin van der Ven's website, the Offshore Radio Guide for current and back issues of the International Newsletters and see a very cute photo of Hans as a young lad! To sign up for a personal copy of the free emailed newsletter, contact Hans at email@example.com. You can also read the newsletter on line, at www.hansknot.com where Hans has made a huge compilation of programmes that could be heard on offshore radio, catalogued station-by-station, not to mention a very long list of the Radio London advertisers. "If you want to sell in England...."!
Hans looks great in his Radio London teeshirt. For a larger picture, see our photo gallery
Who recalls the Radio London Beat Band Contest?(21/01/17)
Kingsley Harris, Co-ordinator of the East Anglian Music Archive is doing research on East Anglian bands of the Sixties. The Chalfont Movement from Ipswich won the Radio London Beat Band Contest in July 1967 held at The Rhodes Centre, Bishops Stortford. They were presented with their prize by John Peel. (We hope to include a photo soon.)
So far, we have been unable to unearth any information about the Beat Band Contest, although Big L hosted regular Radio London nights at The Rhodes Centre from Feb 6th 1967. Nearly all of the DJs were hosts while ashore. Big L nights were also held at another Herts venue, The Hermit Club in Hitchin. In 1967, the DJs were kept incredibly busy with onshore events, as there was a number of regular RL gigs, including the Nautilus Club, Lowestoft and Billy Walker's Upper Cut Club. The latter was the venue for a 'Discoveries of Tomorrow' talent contest, but Radio London was not involved beyond heat 12, which was held on June 8th, 67.
If anyone has further information concerning the Radio London Beat Band Contest, the Rhodes Centre, or indeed East Anglian bands of the Sixties, please get in touch.
Rhodes Centre Radio London nights, hosts and bands. (Extracted from 'The London Sound' by Brian Long.)
Feb 6th First Radio London Night. No info re compere or band
Feb 13th Ed Stewart. No info re band
Feb 20th Mark Roman. Band: The Exception
Feb 27 John Edward. Band: The Style
March 6th Mike Lennox. Band: Pussyfoot
March 13th Tony Blackburn. Band: The Teapots
April 3rd Band: Yum Yum
April 10th Ed Stewart. Band: The Switch
April 17th Chuck Blair. Appearances by: David Essex, Mood Indigo
April 22 The King George and the Harlem Kiddles Tour
April 24th Pete Drummond. Band: Wages of Sin
May 1st Chuck Blair. Band: Pussyfoot
May 8th Ed Stewart
May 15th Tony Blackburn. Band: The Style
May 22 Mike Lennox. Bands: Episode Six, The Quadrant
June 5th Tony Blackburn. Band: Late Hours
June 12th Pete Drummond. Band: The Switch
June 19th John Edward. Band: The Step
June 26th Ed Stewart. Band: Craig King and the Midnight Train
July 3rd Pete Drummond. Band: The Mooch
July 10 John Peel
July 17th Keith Skues Band: The Mooch. (Admission 4/6d)
July 23rd Tony Brandon. Band: First Movement
31st July Band: The Unsolved
7th August Band: The Go Five
Reminder of the good old pirate days(Jan 17)
(left) Keefers poses with fellow Canadian Cousin Moosie
'First Cut' was a massive hit in Keefers' adopted country, Canada, where he's a big star. However, if you want to embarrass him, just mention his least-successful recording. The awful 'Millions of Hearts', credited to Keefers' Kids, was released in the UK in 1967. It was played as a new release on Oldies Project's 'This Week in 1967', just before Christmas.
Keefers says: "I can't believe they ever released 'Millions Of Hearts' because there were never any contracts signed and I had left England long before it ever came out. My uncle in Epsom sent me a copy and I almost died of shame!"
We can well understand how he feels about that dreadful record, which seems to have escaped, rather than have been released and by all accounts would be best locked up again for ever!
|Keefers on Radio Four
BBC Radio 4's 'Soul Music' is a series about individual songs and pieces of music and the artists who have recorded them. The edition about Cat Stevens' 'First Cut is the Deepest' features an interview with Keith Hampshire, whose version of the song was the first to reach Number 1, topping the RPM 100 Canadian national singles chart in May 1973. Keefer's recording also charted in the USA.
This edition of 'Soul Music' was broadcast in April/May of 2015, but is still available on iPlayer.
Frank assures fans he'll be fine(Jan 17)
Frank has been in showbusiness for 50 years, while Graham has worked in the broadcasting industry for 62!
The photo caused Hans to recall another of Frank's friends. "When hearing the name 'Frank Ifield' memories are coming to me from Radio London days and the Tony Windsor show opening with "Helloooo" and 'Waltzing Mathilda' sung by Frank."
Photo © Adam Quinn: Adam Quinn, Frank Ifield and Graham Webb.
Pictured left with Frank during a UK visit in 2004, is the late Pauline Halford, who co-wrote his autobiography, 'I Remember Me'. Radio London site visitors may recall Pauline's guest appearance to talk about the book on Keith Skues's show during the Big L 2001 broadcast from Clacton pier.
Vol 2 of Frank's autobiography, which I (Mary) was greatly looking forward to, as it contained new information concerning the origins of UK offshore radio, will never come out. Pauline, who had put a great deal of work into the venture, very sadly died in 2009, without completing it.
Frank's own website is here.
Photo taken at the Brewer's Tap in Abingdon, by Mary Payne
I went to school with Terry here in Cornwall. We lost contact in the late 60s when he moved away and it wasn't until approximately 11 years ago that he 'phoned me when he had moved back to Cornwall and lived in Redruth. Unfortunately I was unwell at the time and we didn't meet; sadly he died before we got back in contact. Since then I have been trying to locate any recordings that Terry made whilst on-air, without success. Might you have any recordings, or know where I can listen to them?
Did you know that Terry was the instigator of Radio Concorde - "The fastest thing in the air"? I have a copy of a pamphlet that Terry produced at the time and as I worked in a record shop I supplied a Top 40 listing that he used in the one-and-only transmission that the station made from the top of Carn Brea, near Redruth, Cornwall.
I think that I'm correct in saying that Terry used the name Seapoodle because his parents owned a poodle when they lived in Helston, Cornwall.
Mary: As far as I recall, Terry got the idea from Charlie Seawolf, but the decided to pick what he regarded as a more downmarket version of Seawolf. If anyone can help, we will pass on messages.
New Year Greetings
Grammy-nominated Beatles Film out on DVD
'When Kenny Met the Fab Four' disappoints
Generally, the documentary was not well-received. Two listener comments:
"I thought a Radio London Kenny and Cash clip should have been included (and perhaps even a short clip of Caroline North to show his initial spur of enthusiasm for radio). I thought one of the best, poignant bits was Nicky Campbell's story at the end. An enjoyable doc, but not a great one."
"Too many James Hogg speculative comments, but I thought Nicky Horne's story was rather good and well told. About 6 out of 10 from me."
|We Three Big L Kings
The Wombat, Ian Damon kindly sent "A picture of Mitch and I visiting Duncan at Brinsworth Housein December. Lots of great Big L and Capital Radio natters and great memories were had by all."
Caroline AM Licence Application receives good publicity
Radio Caroline has applied for a full-time medium wave licence to serve Suffolk. The former pirate is currently broadcasting online and via a number of outlets including DAB and Manx Radio's AM transmitters, but this would be the first time Caroline would own and operate its own full-time community radio AM service, legally in the UK.
Although there is no timetable for Ofcom's decision, Peter Moore hopes that a positive response will be received in time to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the MOA
The application has received much publicity - including from the Beeb - although it does not appear to be generally appreciated by the media that the two original Caroline stations soldiered on beyond the MOA, till March 1968.
Radiotoday; Mirror.co.uk; EADT
The story is based on two competing radio stations in an idyllic beachside town...a network station playing The Music of Your Life and the other is called The Seventh Wave. That fictional station is edgy and very contentious with some content very much in direct contravention of current broadcasting regulations. Now what if this virtual radio station produced a real fortnightly podcast featuring a compilation of the best bits of programming from the previous fortnight? That could be interesting (I thought). So I've gone ahead and done it.
So what's in it? As an example the first episode includes one of the truly awful artists appearing at the Wilton Bay establishment Bonks Bistro & Bar. A send-up of the classic movie Casablanca. A discussion about God and how he's become a bit low profile lately. A tongue-in-cheek local traffic report. A Donald Trump parody song. And on a more serious note the truth about the health & fitness industry and "Lessons in Life" from George The One-Legged Greek.
To subscribe for free to the podcast on iTunes or to listen on your browser
Two episodes are now available and if you like what you hear and you happen to be a broadcaster anywhere in the world I encourage you to submit an occasional segment away from the frustrations of your usual programme genre, where you may be restricted by station formats or local government broadcast policies, and create something which you've always wanted to do but were unable if you wanted to keep your job! You can use your real name or make one up. For more details on that, email me.
In the latest edition of Ian's newsletter, The Radio Wave,
NZ broadcaster keeps her cool as quake hits on-air • Radio DJ claims Taylor Swift's accusation 'defies credibility' • BBC's Chris Evans under fire for ignoring minute's silenc • Man arrested said radio signals were hurting his head • Mum complains after stars including Bowie and Prince fail to 'turn up' for gig
To subscribe to the newsletter, email Ian and type the word "Subscribe" in the subject line.
Radlon Sales Manager Geoff Pearson
I do remember this 'Guide to Eating Out'. It was a black and white publication, with some pen & ink illustrations, mostly about London. I cannot remember how many were printed or sold. As far as I can remember, Mike Stone was involved in this and other Radlon projects.
There were other weird and wonderful ideas, although how many ever saw the light of day, I cannot say. You will remember the metal car-badge as one of these. I think I had the only Mini that ever sported one! There was one promotion where some company tried to get the station to buy pure nylon shirts. I remember that I had two of them and they were great drip-dry shirts. I don't think we ever promoted them on air, as I think the company stopped making them soon afterwards.
We did produce some car stickers, some of which promoted the Radio London Racing Team, but it was mostly just Big L stuff.
Geoff has nailed the description - the book was black and white, including the cover. The pen-and-ink drawing at the top of each restaurant description was of a couple sitting opposite each other but each holding one of those "theatre-mask-on-a-stick" and looking somewhere else.
At least I now know that I'm not delusional. Well, not much.
Fab Forty compiler Fab Alan Field
Fab didn't recall anything about the guide, but has been doing some sleuthing.
"I have found a reference in Brian Long's The London Sound, which reads: '1st August 1966 - Advertisements are heard for the "Radio London Eatwell Guide'. 'The Eatwell Guide' is also mentioned as an advertiser on Radio London in Chris Elliot's 'The Wonderful Radio London Story'. Maybe 'The Radio London Guide to Eating Out" was a subtitle?
The ever-diligent Fab eventually came unearthed a Kenny Everett promo for the book in an aircheck dated 1/8/66.
Mark didn't recall the promo or the guide, but responded
"I have to say that the ad was not one of Kenny's best or indeed the longest. But well done to Alan and twenty million 'A' pluses for coming up with it.
Absolutely amazing! Definitely one of the promos that made me buy the book.
7 shillings and 6 pence - definitely the best 7/6d that I ever invested!
Mary, very many thanks to you and the guys for all your efforts in tracking my memory down. Whenever I'm in the UK I always look in secondhand bookshops and charity shops in the hope of finding a copy but, 50 years later, the odds don't look good. However, should a miracle happen, then I promise you that you will definitely be the first to know!
Terry Davis Update(19/10/16)
It's some years since we heard from him, but Terry Davis, an old seadog and friend of the RL website, has very kindly come up with a couple of terrific adverts for the Eatwell Guide.
"I frequently refer to your pages and still listen to Radio London all the time - with all this modern technology now I have my own version of Big L which plays at the flick of a switch. Because of that I can help you out with chapter and verse on the Eatwell Guide. The first ad has the launch date and is surprising detailed and the other was the regularly-scheduled longer ad. There's at least one other variation with Paul Kaye as a disgruntled customer at a restaurant, but I'll stop at two ads.
Keep the flag flying. I can't believe that I haven't been a pirate for 42 years and that Big L ended 50 years ago next year. I'm still a fan! As my wife tells it, "He spends a lot of his time living in the past!" If anybody wants me I'll be in 1966! All the best, Terry Davis
The two commercials reveal that the 96-page Eatwell Guide (price 7/6) was published on April 1st 1966 by the Eatwell Organisation in conjunction with Radio London and Heathside Music Ltd. Edited by Julian Aston and illustrated by Niky, it could be purchased from bookshops, or direct from Heathside Music Ltd at 120 Marylebone Lane, W1.
Terry tells us the cartoonist Niky's work used to appear in the New Statesman in the early Sixties.
"I believe the Eatwell Guide illustrator was him, but I have no evidence. There was a writer and editor called JOHN ASTON who subsequently became BBC producer of schools programs in the Sixties. Again I have no proof that is the guide's editor, but it's possible it's the right person."
The British Cartoon Archive has a listing for Niky, which unfortunately does not reveal his (or her?) real name and there is no photograph. The entry reads:
"'Niky' was a cartoonist best known for a wordless series - usually three unframed panels - which appeared at the bottom of the last page of the New Statesman from 1960 to 1962, succeeding a similar strip by "GASK". By the end of the run 'Niky' was also providing cartoons for Queen magazine, and alternating at the New Statesman with Donald Parker, who took over altogether on 13 April 1962."
No information has been found regarding Niky's identity or subsequent career, nor any examples of the cartoonist's work.
Hans Knot update (12/16)
Hans has identified the music used to back the commercial as 'Besame Mucho' by The Dutch Swing College Band.
Webmaster's note: Fifty years after Big L offered its eating-out guide, HM Government issued an Eatwell Guide, in March 2016! The current guide concerns healthy eating, but how ironic that the title should be the same!
Tony Blackburn for his part stands by his statements to Dame Janet Smith but recognises that the BBC considered a period off air was appropriate.
Tony Blackburn says: "I do not seek to criticise the BBC for decisions it has made in the past. I have had a difficult year personally, but I'm pleased to be returning to the BBC and can't wait to get behind the mic again."
There will be no further comment.
BBC Press Office
(Thanks to Jon Myer)
|Radio 390 back in the dock after 49 years!
Fab Alan Field says:
"You might be interested to know that the case that ultimately brought down Radio 390 was cited in the High Court yesterday in the legal challenge to Brexit!
Briefly, it's one of many cases said to support the Government's proposition that legal rights and even criminal liability under existing statute law can be varied by Royal Prerogative (in practice read "Prime Minister") without an Act of Parliament.
Apparently, Radio 390 was only brought within the territorial scope the 1949 Wireless Telegraphy Act by a purely administrative measure taken later (an Order in Council adopting changes to an international Treaty) redrawing the then 3 mile limit.
Stand by for fresh appeals from the 390 DJs if the Government loses the point!"
Onboard the Ross Revenge
"I had wanted to visit the Ross once again for a long time and since they have now obtained suitable Comprehensive Insurance, they have started running trips which allow people to go on board. We went out with Albert Hood and Bill Rollins, plus the skipper of Razorbill 3, Stuart Belbin. Both Albert and Georgina Hood have dedicated their lives to helping Radio Caroline on both the Mi Amigo and Ross Revenge; they are amazing!
Jon Myer and his partner Ursula thought the exhibition was fantastic, the music accompanied by fashion, politics, protest – all from the late sixties. Jon says:
"There is so much to look at that it isn't possible to take it all in. There are headphones to wear and, as you wander round the exhibition, a relevant soundtrack is provided. Offshore radio gets a (very small) mention. There is a "ding ding" with a short bit of Caroline audio plus a Radio London jingle and a clip of Paul Kaye being a bit hesitant on air in the early days of Big L. Later in the exhibition there is some of John Peel's fan mail. There are loads of album sleeves – some on display but others in the sort of browsing box you used to get in record shops. While looking through the sleeves, I spotted a copy of the Radio London Top Rank bingo album. A strange concept - it isn't really in keeping with Big L and, judging by the photos of the bingo fans featured on the sleeve, I can't see there would have been too much of a crossover between Top Rank regulars and Radio London listeners!"
Webmaster's note: Thanks to Jon and Ursula for the report. How weird that the V & A should have unearthed this Bingle oddity (scroll down the page) and included it in the exhibition!
You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 1970 runs till Sunday, February 26th 2017.
|Pop-Pickers & Music Vendors
Both the Radio London webmasters and the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame webmaster contributed to a new book by John van der Kiste about 'Pop Pickers and Music Vendors: David Jacobs, Alan Freeman, John Peel, Tommy Vance and Roger Scott'
"David Jacobs, Alan Freeman, John Peel, Tommy Vance and Roger Scott were in their different ways five of the greatest pioneering British disc jockeys of the last sixty years. All were accomplished media personalities in their own right, and all were passionate and well-informed about the music they presented on radio and sometimes television. Jacobs, a much-respected broadcaster for over sixty years, was the face of 'Juke Box Jury' and the maestro of easy listening and songs from the shows; 'Fluff' Freeman the pop-picker, who introduced the Top 20 rundown, later championing heavy and progressive rock, followed by opera and the classics; Peel revelled in the alternative music scene generally shunned by most daytime presenters; Vance, 'the Music Vendor' the friend and lover of hard rock and New Wave of British Heavy Metal; and Scott an eclectic mix of genres in a career which sadly proved all too short. This book examines the lives and careers of each."
Otway in Montserrat feeling Ot Ot Ot!
(Right) The band setting up in the studio as taken by their drummer Adam Batterbee
The Autumn Gig List and info about the Southend Convention is on his website.
Seated at his piano, Jimmy illustrated the progression of his songwriting career and his 50-year relationship with Glen, using a montage of photos and video clips. Several times, he duetted with Glen, using footage that he'd shot during one of Glen's last performances in 2012.
An amusing highlight was the story of 50,000-watt Oklahoma radio station KOMA, whose Powers-That-Be suddenly decided that 'Up, Up and Away' was about drugs and stopped playing it. As Jimmy said, while most of the other records in the Hot Hundred at the time did concern getting high without the aid of transport, balloon or otherwise, ''Up, Up and Away' strictly concerned canopies filled with hot air. Jimmy's father, a Baptist preacher of renown, went down to the station "with his Bible and his '45" and whatever he said to the PD, the record was reinstated to the station playlist faster than you can say '5th Dimension'. This is not a story that can be found in the station history!
A number of references in the show rang Radio London bells with me, because Big L pioneered records by artists such as Johnny Rivers and the Association, major US artists who were not well-known here.
Right: Jimmy is thrilled to have his photo taken with Mary and Cousin Moosie, Superstar
Glen Campbell, as a member of the renowned Wrecking Crew session musicians, played on the Association's 'Along Comes Mary' – a song that I adopted as my signature tune and I had long been disappointed to discover did reference drugs. The record was #7 in the Hot Hundred, #7 on the Fab Forty and #27 on the Caroline Countdown, but it saw no chart action in the UK Nationals.
Jimmy could not fail to speak of his 'association' with Johnny Rivers and in particular, he mentioned Johnny's huge US hit, 'Poor Side of Town'. The song is of course well-remembered as a Big L turntable hit. Although picked as Tony Blackburn's climber and on the station playlist for several weeks, it never charted.
Afterwards, I asked Jimmy if he still performed 'Love Years Coming', his first recording under the name of Strawberry Children, produced by Johnny Rivers. He said no, but thanked me for remembering the song. Radio London fans will, of course, always remember it, as the #7 in the final Fab Forty and I told Jimmy it was a favourite of mine. I would be surprised if anyone in the audience apart from Chris, Moosie and I had ever heard of it.
Russ and Gary's 'The Best Years of Music'
Gary says: "My Blog partner Russ and I spend literally thousands of hours creating the Blog. (We know the feeling - Mary and Chris) People have asked me, WHY? Well in Russell's case, it just keeps him off the street, and for me it's who I am. Really, we both do this because we are NOT in love with the music of today and we do not want people to forget about the incredible era that we grew up in."
This is their page about the much-recorded song, 'Louie Louie'.
Beatles Film Premiere
Webmasters Mary and Chris watched the premiere in Aylesbury:
I'm sure that Chris and I aren't the only people who felt the main premiere should have been held in Liverpool, rather than London and Paul and Ringo should have insisted upon it.
We watched the film at theAylesbury Odeon and would have liked to have had the opportunity to have seen the special clip referenced in the Liverpool Echo, that included some of the people we'd met there like Beryl Marsden (right). Why Eddie Izzard featured in the main film and they didn't, is a complete mystery. It seems nobody can make a documentary without wheeling in a 'celebrity' to offer their opinion. Luckily, it wasn't done a lot in the film, but why do it at all? No matter how valid someone elses's opinon of what happened, the people who were actually there are the ones who are interesting. I don't know where those 'Liverpool locals' interviews for the 'special clip' were conducted, but I was absolutely amazed when Ron Howard said he had never been to the city! I would have expected him to have made a point of paying a visit before he embarked on the film, to immerse himself in the Beatle culture and visit the National Trust childhood homes of Lennon (bottom right) and McCartney. Something that he would have appreciated from doing so would be to see that Beatlemania definitely continues to exist. Visitors to Aunt Mimi's house are known to be overcome with emotion and some even faint on entering John's former bedroom.
Chris and I enjoyed the film and the restored footage of the concert in Shea Stadium that was shown at the end was fantastic. The footage illustrates clearly the evolution of the band from their early days as enthusiastic youngsters experiencing dizzy stardom. As encapsulated by the 'Eight Days a Week' title, it depicts how gruelling touring schedules and lack of privacy left them exhausted and cynical musicians who longed to come off the road, revert to being individuals and explore new music.
Sadly there was not a terrific amount about the 1966 US Tour, so there were none of the glimpses we had hoped for of Kenny Everett, Ron O'Quinn and Jerry Leighton, who had been given the chance-of-a-lifetime opportunity to accompany the Beatles on tour as representatives of their respective offshore stations.
John and Lyn Preston in Brisbane wrote:
|Pirate Radio: An Illustrated History
BBC Radio Tees, Wednesday, August 24th, during his afternoon show, John Foster interviewed Keith Skues, who talked about life on board Caroline and London and 'Pirate Radio an Illustrated History', his book showcasing Dave Kindred's photos, published in 2014. (Thanks to Alan Field)
John Foster - interview from 1400 onwards.Official press release by Amberley publishers:
Roman Emperor 'reduced to tears'
Cartoon Emperor by Antony Standfield, (Slightly modified by Mary Payne)
August 14th 1967
Photo by Terry Disney/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images. (Uncredited corrected caption by Radio London Ltd)
This picture still appears occasionally in various media, mis-captioned as 'Radio Caroline DJs', although Mary supplied Getty Images with the correct caption and description for it back in 2009.
It may have happened 49 years ago, but for those who were involved, whether as Big L personnel or emotionally, as listeners, it remains a vivid memory. However, after running the Radio London site for over 17 years, we have yet to encounter the ladies who are seen helping the jocks ashore, or even many of the 1000 people who were at Liverpool Street station to greet the returning heroes. We do, of course have great memories of the day shared by David Skeates and the late Geoff Killick, but there must be so many others who have stories to share. You can tell us your memories by clicking here –>Rest assured your email address won't be passed on anywhere else.
During his Caroline Flashback show 1000 to noon on Sunday August 14th, Ron Brown interviewed someone who always has stories to share – The Wombat, Ian Damon. Ron has kindly given permission for us to upload a recording of the interview for our site visitors.
Kind words from two listeners: "3pm on August 14th has always been a time and date I remember with both sadness at the closure of Big L, and the best memories of amazing radio broadcasting, albeit for such a brief time, and indeed, 'We've never heard the like of it again'. Thankfully, the dedication of both Mary and Chris has kept these memories alive for longer than anyone could have expected, so I also remember them both on this day." Best wishes, Francis Pullen, Cambridge
Regarding the Final Fab Forty, Michael Richardson writes: "Please pass on my regards to the producers of the show. Not a dry eye since it started!"
The actress and model's recording career included 'Tar and Cement'. Verdelle Smith's version had been a #1 smash in Australia, a US chart entry and in August '66, a minor success in both the Fab Forty and Caroline Countdown. Although Caroline recorded the song with the assistance of Fab Forty artists Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce and Steve Howe with 'Teenage Opera"'s Mark Wirtz producing, it was not a hit when released in May '67. She did have a beautiful song written about her, though. 'Caroline Goodbye' was penned by Colin Blunstone as a sad farewell when their relationship ended.
Caroline was a visitor to the Big L '97 broadcast, during the summer of 1997.
Sinbad and the Pirate Princess clip
1x10" NAB@ 7.5 ips Kenny Dec 1975
1x10" NAB@ 7.5 ips Kenny Xmas 1975
1x10" NAB @7.5ips Kenny
2x10" NAB @7.5ips Kenny parts one and two, two hour
These and maybe other recordings were offered to us, but sadly, when we arranged to meet the person who had contacted us, he gave us a bizarre run around, so we never obtained them even though he initially seemed keen for us to have them.
Meanwhile, the BBC has made a two-hour documentary, Kenny On The Solent, which is billed as 'A celebration of comedy legend Kenny Everett who once worked at BBC Radio Solent. Including exclusive rediscovered material.' Chortle has information on when the documentary will be broadcast, Bank Holiday Monday, August 29, as well as more background information and Radio Solent has confirmed the time as noon till 1400. (Thanks to Mike Barraclough)
Has streaming broken the UK singles charts?
'A turning point for radio in New Zealand' – Radio Hauraki builds up to 50th birthday
Caroline's floating legacy
Billy Walker's Uppercut Club
Radio London has been assisting Chris in contacting people who may have worked or performed at the Uppercut. Resident DJ Roger Day and manager Gordon Sheppard have already responded and John Edward recalls introducing Stevie Wonder at the club, while wearing a hired, blue suit! If any of our site visitors is able to contribute personal memories, please contact Mary, who will pass on all mail to Chris. It would be particularly good to hear from those who participated in the 'Big L Discoveries of Tomorrow' talent contest, run on Sunday evenings from January '67.
|LV18 back on TV
Britain's Lost Waterlands: escape to Swallows and Amazons country. BBC 4, Thursdays. The episode that aired on July 5th (available on BBC iPlayer) features a tour of the LV18, around 52 minutes in.
'Legal Pop' and the Common Market
We have no idea what the lady on the right is doing, but we very much doubt if she is jumping for joy at the prospect of hearing 'palm court doiley' music and 'live mini-bands' on 247 mediumwave.
(Thanks to Hans Knot for the clipping)
Fifty Shades of Day
Roger arranged a big event to mark his half-century milestone – 'Fifty Shades of Day', on Saturday 7th May. He staged it at the refurbished Dreamland, in Margate, where he began his DJ career in 1965, playing 'Hits of the Day' every Wednesday in the Rendezvous Club.
Fifty Shades of Day was an evening of music and tales of the ships that rocked, and it's no surprise that Beach Boys mega-fan Roger booked The UK Beach Boys tribute band to appear alongside him.
Chris Mould, who attended the Dreamland celebration, has very kindly allowed us to reproduce some of the photos of the special occasion, taken by himself and Steve Szmidt. (Thanks to Mike Barraclough for putting us in touch.)
There are many more photos of 'Fifty Shades of Day' at the following links
Below, a group photo in the Dreamland ballroom
LV18 stars in 'Holiday in Harwich'
Proposed offshore radio museum for the Netherlands
Read Han's full report on the project here
Photo (Hans Knot): Willem van Kooten and Bull Verweij (both involved in Veronica in the past) opening a 1994 exhibition
Let's make Aylesbury a major music venue again
(Right) John Otway: Aylesbury's Two-hit Microstar was a frequent performer at Friars (Photo: Mary Payne)
The programmes were first broadcast on June 1st and are available via iPlayer for 28 days. They have also been posted on Youtube. (Thanks to Mike Barraclough)
Model Galaxy makes the news
David says: "I finished that boat and delivered it to Paul Scripps, a Radio London fan, at Clacton-on-Sea."
Keith Skues forwarded a link to the Eastern Daily Press, which carried a 2-page feature about the model. The online version of the story is here, including a Cardboard quote comparing Radio London with Caroline.
Mike Barraclough sent a link to four photos of another model of the Galaxy by Hans Hettelder which was shown at the Belgian Radio Day on May 28th.
|We felt it would be nice to compare the Ciesielski's Galaxy model with one of the ship in her previous life when she was the minesweeper USS Density, made by WWII crew member, the late Frank Gazafy.|
1966 and all that
Susan releases part 2 of Calvert trilogy ebooks
The story follows the life of Reg and Dorothy Calvert from the time they move from Southampton in 1961 with their daughters to Clifton Hall near Rugby. With them come an entourage of young musicians and singers. It did not take long for the inhabitants of Clifton-upon-Dunsmore to realise there were strange 'goings on' at the Hall. Rumour and gossip were rife. Who were these bohemian young men appearing in their village?"
'Sunny Afternoon' The Kinks Story