The Early Radio London Fab Forties
Sunday 11th April 1965

New entry at #39
Long before he considered jumping ship from Caroline South, Tony Blackburn's singles were being aired on Big L!

Fab at the Top
In the history of the Fab Forty, few acts succeeded in going straight from climber to #1, but the Beatles have done just that, leapfrogging 39 other singles to grab the top slot.

Last
This
 
Week
Week
1
Ticket To Ride Beatles
7
2
Here Comes The Night Them
4
3
The Times They Are A-Changin' Bob Dylan
1
4
For Your Love Yardbirds
2
5
Catch The Wind Donovan
10
6
I Can't Explain Who
8
7
Stop! In The Name Of Love Supremes
13
8
Everybody's Gonna Be Happy Kinks
15
9
Little Things Dave Berry
3
10
The Minute You're Gone Cliff Richard
33
11
Bring It On Home To Me Animals
5
12
Concrete And Clay Unit 4 + 2
6
13
The Last Time Rolling Stones
23
14
Nowhere To Run Martha & the Vandellas
9
15
Goodbye My Love Searchers
22
16
Pop Go The Workers Barron Knights
28
17
King Of The Road Roger Miller
11
18
I'll Be There Gerry & the Pacemakers
14
19
Reelin' And Rockin' Dave Clark Five
20
20
True Love Ways Peter & Gordon
21
A Little You Freddie & the Dreamers
25
22
Hawaiian Wedding Song Julie Rogers
27
23
Birth Of The Budd Roy Budd
19
24
You're Breaking My Heart Keely Smith
12
25
Silhouettes Herman's Hermits
24
26
Bye Bye Girl Applejacks
35
27
Three Rooms With Running Water Cliff Bennett & the Rebel Rousers
28
Love Her Walker Brothers
30
29
The Kind Of Boy You Can't Forget Little Frankie
30
A World Of Our Own Seekers
32
31
Casting My Spell Measles
16
32
Come And Stay With Me Marianne Faithfull
17
33
Do The Clam Elvis Presley
26
34
Congratulations West Five
35
I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry Frank Ifield
18
36
Give Him A Great Big Kiss Shangri-Las
29
37
Bring Your Love To Me Righteous Brothers
37
38
This Diamond Ring Gary Lewis & the Playboys
39
Don't Get Off That Train Tony Blackburn
40
Make Me Know You're Mine Swinging Blue Jeans


Returning to the Fab Forty at #28 – the Walkers



Disc of the Week  
I Want That Boy Chantelles

I Want That Boy Chantelles Parlophone R5271



The production on I Want That Boy can safely be described as 'Spectoresque'. The Chantelles were lead singer Iris (Riss) Long, (aka Riss Lana, aka Riss Chantelle), Jay Adams and Sandra Orr. The vocal group had evolved from the Lana Sisters, a trio that had released seven singles between 1958 and 1960, and had included Dusty, prior to her Springfields days.

During the Beatles' one-week stint at the Gaumont Cinema, Bournemouth, 19th-24th August 1963, the trio was billed as The Lanas. They were one of the unfortunate acts obliged to perform in the second half of the concert, during the hysterical build-up to the Fabs. With their 50s-style sequinned frocks, publicity posters proclaimed them 'The Glamorous Lanas'. Although the Beatle show's programme publicity photograph shows the Dusty in the line-up, she had already left the Lanas by this time.

In 1965, the Chantelles were heavily promoted as the Big L girl group and this was their first release. No doubt the reason behind the selection of I Want That Boy as Disc of the Week is twofold. First, the B-side is the PAMS of Dallas Big L song, London, My Hometown and second, that song had been assigned (for the purposes of copyright outside North America) to Radio London's publishing company, Pall Mall Music. The Chantelles also appeared twice in the feature film centred around Radio London, Dateline Diamonds (released on DVD and VHS in 2003), singing I Think of You and Please Don't Kiss Me. Part of Dateline Diamonds was filmed aboard the Galaxy in the autumn of 1965, but the 'Radio London studio' in which the Chantelles suddenly appear and start singing, is a Pinewood Studios mock-up, bearing no resemblance to the tiny studio aboard the ship.

(Click on the photo to buy the Dateline Diamonds DVD. Click here to buy the VHS. Both I Think of You and Please Don't Kiss Me are available with other Chantelles recordings on the Go Girl compilation CD.)

Our Dateline Diamonds feature, with full cast list, photos taken during the filming and cinema foyer promotional photos, is here. Below, right, the Chantelles from the film, in the 'mock-up' Radio London studio, with Programme Director Ben Toney watching from the 'control room'.

My Hometown, written by PAMS jingle company's legendary composer Euel Box, had been commissioned as part of the Radio London jingles package. Hundreds of versions of what was in reality an extended station jingle, were recorded by PAMS for North American radio stations – and some of those 'home towns' must have proved lyrically challenging. The song frequently achieved popularity with local station audiences who would regard it as unique to their own city. Stations often released a single of their lyrically-localised version of the My Hometown song and many become regional hits. Audiences were unaware that the song was part of a jingle package and that numerous 'home towns' throughout the USA and Canada had ther own, customised versions. However, in the UK, London, My Hometown was unique. The 98 CKGM Super 70s Tribute Page, run by Marc Denis, contains a good example in Montréal, My Home Town, (credited to 'The CKGM Singers'). There was even a follow-up, Have a Ball in Montréal!

The same situation with My Hometown exists with 'Big Lil' - often regarded by Big L fans as Radio London's own exclusive theme tune. 'Big Lil' is, in fact, a PAMS music bed played on the electric organ, entitled The Sonowaltz. It was part of the 'Sonosational' Series 18, which, like My Hometown was written by Euel Box. The music was then customised by PAMS adding 'wonderful Big L' and 'wonderful Radio London' using a Sonovox-effect voice. (The late Chris Elliot, who had used the Sonovox device to record numerous jingles, explained that it was possible to obtain a vaguely similar effect by taking an electric shaver and pressing it into the vocal chords.) The truth is that PAMS has superimposed many a North American radio station name in a Sonovox voice over that particular music bed, to comprise part of the station's customised jingle package.

On the Galaxy, the Sonowaltz was frequently used as a lead-in to the bottom-of-the-hour news bulletin. DJs began to joke that 'Big Lil' was 'on her way' or 'sitting at the organ' ready to play the station theme music and the tune took on its own persona.

We feel an item that was included in 'Happenings' in 2002, and has been updated since, is worth repeating here.

In January's Happenings, 2002, night-owl, Philip Lowe asked:

Can you tell me the name of the music played at the close of the day's transmissions of Radio London and who played it? In the same way that Caroline used to play out with Jimmy McGriff Round Midnight, so Radio London played out with something similar. The name Sister's Salvation springs to mind, but I'm not sure.

Many thanks, Phil Lowe

'Fab' Alan Field discovered a link to a track called Sister Salvation. Written and recorded in 1961 by jazz trombonist Slide Hampton and his Octet, the track is now on Youtube. Phil recalled a piece of music 'similar to Round Midnight'. There is no similarity whatsoever between Sister Salvation and Jimmy Mc Griff's famous recording of the Thelonous Monk composition, but it transpires that Sister Salvation sounds so similar to the Big Lil Sonowaltz that the listener could mistake it for two different arrangements of the same music. The 'Wonderful Big L' Sonovox inserts recorded for Big Lil, would fit Sister Salvation perfectly. The PAMS Sonowaltz recording was made around the same time as Slide Hampton's. It was part of the 'Sonosational' Series 18, which was written by Euel Box.

Alan went into detective overdrive and contacted US jingles expert, Ken R. (www.kendeutsch.com) Ken commented:

I think it's very likely that Sister Salvation was the inspiration for the Sonowaltz.

It's not big news that Euel Box, the main writer of Series 18, borrowed styles that were popular in 1961 when the series was written. One of the cuts is even named "Prado" after Perez Prado who provided the inspiration for that cut.

Other cuts in the series were based on Henry Mancini riffs and other well-known composers of the time. There's a definite "Mr. Lucky" sound to one if you listen closely.

Most people are not aware of this, but it went on with almost every series. In the mid 60s the bossa nova cut from Series 29 was a direct rip-off of a Ray Charles song!

In the late 60s Spanky and Our Gang, Sergio Mendez and others influenced the writers. In the early 70s it was the Carpenters, Blood Sweat and Tears and Chicago.

It always surprises people who hear these jingles for the first time, because they are more familiar with the songs than the jingles. To us jingle collectors, we are so used to the jingles that we almost forgot that most of them were "borrowed" from popular artists.
A year later, in January 03, we heard again on the subject from UK jingle expert Norman Barrington:

I read with interest your piece on the origins of Euel Box's Sonowaltz (Pams series 18).

The origins of particular Pams cuts are the subject of much interest in the jingle fraternity. I agree that Sister Salvation sounds very similar in many ways and could indeed have been an inspiration to Mr Box (inspiration is a kinder word than rip-off!) however I think (along with others) that Blue Brass Groove from the band of Julian 'Cannonball' Adderley is more likely the source.

It's a composition from his brother Nat and can be found on Youtube.

On a trip to Groningen to visit Hans Knot, Hans played us Blue Brass Groove and we are inclined to agree that although both tunes are similar and are written in waltz-time, the composition and arrangement of Blue Brass Groove more closely resembles the Sonowaltz (or maybe it's or vice versa!) than Sister Salvation. As the Slide Hampton recording came out in 1960, while the African Waltz album containing Blue Brass Groove was issued the following year, maybe Nat Adderley gained his inspiration from Slide Hampton.

Mike Barraclough tells us that the music-bed version of the Sonowaltz with no station ID voiceover, is now on Youtube.


Tune in next week for another Big L Fab 40!

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