Kenny Everett (b Maurice Cole)
25th December 1944 – 4th April 1995

Radio London asked friends and colleagues of Cuddly Ken to recall their favourite memories of him
Dave Cash took time out from his busy writing and broadcasting schedule to recall 'one dark and stormy night' aboard the Galaxy.

Just a little Auntie-dote that not many people know. At midnight one Tuesday in January 1965, during a force nine gale, Kenny boiled a kettle, made two cups of tea, and carried them from the galley to the mess room without spilling a drop. A feat of extraordinary talent and balance I have never seen duplicated... well, not by anyone who was sober.
All the best, DC

Peter Young and Jon Myer, who both had the pleasure of working with Kenny on London's Capital Radio, have been kind enough to supply stories from those days.
Peter Young: "Kenny arrived and saw me reading the Top Forty in blue striped pyjamas!"

A favourite 'Kenny moment' of mine goes back to the mid-eighties when he asked me to go for an Indian meal with him. I actually can't eat Indian food as it has a very bad effect on me, so I ordered the one-and-only English dish on the menu, which was roast chicken.

He spent quite a lot of the meal slagging me off and saying what a pleb I was for not entering into the spirit of the occasion, so in the end, I ordered the mildest Indian dish they had, just to shut him up. Later that afternoon, I returned to Capital to present 'The Soul Cellar', a programme of very short records. I spent most of the hour in the toilet, leaving my producer to segue the records. As far as I can remember, I only spoke twice in the whole hour. Everett was listening at home and later called me up to say it was one of the best shows he'd ever heard me do!

Another time, I was sitting in a studio in the West End recording a test for a voice over. When I finished, the studio door opened and Ev walked in. He said, "Hang on and I'll give you a lift back to Capital." He then sat down to record his voice over and I couldn't believe that it was exactly the same script as the one I'd just read.

I realised pretty quickly that we were competing for the same job, so naturally I thought that I wouldn't stand a chance. He did a few takes and then we left. About a couple of days later, much to my amazement, I was offered the job. Next time I saw Kenny he said, "You bastard, you got that job!" I said yes, and when I went to record it I actually asked them why they'd chosen me. They told me that I was three times cheaper than Ken. When I told Everett this, it seemed to cheer him up!

Then there was the Saturday morning, in my Capital Countdown days, when my alarm clock failed to wake me .The show started at 9.00am and I awoke in a panic at 8.30. Luckily, I lived 10 minutes away from the radio station, but realised in order to be there on time, I'd have to leave immediately. I put my coat on over my pyjamas and went outside and got a cab.

I got to Capital on time and presented the show as normal in my night attire, without mentioning my sartorial condition on air. When Kenny arrived and saw me sitting there in blue striped pyjamas, presenting the Top Forty, he just said hello and nothing else at all.

The following Saturday when I saw Kenny, I said, "There I was last week sitting there in me 'jim jams' and you said nothing." He said, "On Big L it used to happen all the time so it wasn't unusual at all." He added that, compared to some of the sights he'd seen on the Galaxy, I was a vision of sheer beauty!

Jon Myer: "I WAS that Engineer!"

As a technical operator at Capital in the early days, I used to love working on Kenny's shows. I had been a fan of his Big L programmes, of course, but it was a joy to discover that he was as much fun to work with as I had always imagined.

Memories: doing a show on Christmas morning – also Kenny's birthday. Someone had brought in some champagne and, although it must have been very early in the day, we had been partaking of the bubbly. My memories are a bit vague, but I do seem to remember crossing to the syndicated IRN news a minute early, after both of us had mis-read the clock.

I was present at the birth of the "World's Worst Record Show". Kenny used to have a feature called the 'memory module' on his weekend shows. This was basically just a tape of a load of oldies cleverly edited together, which the engineer would play in for him. One day, I was that engineer and the tape contained an old 'death disc'. I think it might have been Jan and Dean's Dead Man's Curve but can't be certain.

Kenny came over the talkback and said, "God – they made some awful records back then!" and without thinking I replied, "You should do a whole programme of them." When the tape finished, Kenny invited his listeners to send in the worst records in their collections. The rest is history.

From that throwaway remark he created 'The Bottom Thirty' and a series of fantastic programmes. I am certainly not claiming any credit for its invention. It was Kenny who made it work. Anyone else who had played a load of dreadful records would have made something unlistenable. It took a genius like Kenny to make it entertaining.

Peter Young also recalls that Everett of England, presenting the Fab Forty for 18th September 1966, introduced the #19 entry, Wilson Pickett's 'Land Of A 1000 Dances' as being by Wilson Perschnicketty!


Mike Terry kindly alerted us to the website, where Mike Brown has posted a copy of a touching, personal letter which he wrote to Kenny shortly before his untimely death.

Hans Ten Hooge revives Kenny and Cash memories

The Radio London website received a message from Hans Ten Hooge of RNI, trying to track down a song he had heard on Kenny and Cash in 1965. Hans said:

Ever since I delivered newspapers in 1965 I kept the habit of recording Kenny and Cash whenever I could (or I ran out of precious tape, of course).

I have been on the air at RNI 1971- 74, and with Dutch National Radio since 1976. But never again I came across that one intriguing tune: The Lumberjack Man. What is it? Was that the real title? Who sang it? (Hal Wills?) Where can I find it?
Keep up the good work,
Hans (Hans Ten Hooge) Hogendoorn, Hilversum

Mary Payne writes:
At the time, Chris and I could not recall the song at all, but we eventually heard again from Hans that he had tracked it down and he sent us a clip. (A version is now posted on Youtube - although I am not convinced it is the one we heard on Radio London.) Not to be confused with Monty Python's Lumberjack Song, it was written by Hal and Ginger Willis.
Hal is a well-loved country music singer and songwriter and has his own website.

Chris and I may not have heard the song since the days of Kenny and Cash, but as soon as we played The Lumberjack Man, we remembered it and could recall Dave and Kenny playing it frequently, back in 1965. The lyrics contain a mention of 'Johnny cake' and I'm sure I recall Kenny and Cash having a discussion about this, with Kenny mishearing the words as 'jolly cake'! Anything called jolly cake would have appealed to him immensely.
Johnny Cake is a type of cornmeal pancake cooked on a griddle that could be filled and rolled up with sweet or savoury fillings to go in a lumberjack's lunch pail.

When the first Pirate BBC Essex came around in 2004, I was a surprise guest on the Dave Cash Show and brought with me a copy of The Lumberjack Man. Unlike his and Kenny's recording of Knees, Dave was delighted to hear the song again. The record was not released in the UK in 1965 (it did eventually come out on the President label in 1968) so it would not have been on the official Big L playlist at the time.

Cashman and I concluded that he and Kenny might have discovered the catchy song in the record and tape collection that had sailed with the Galaxy from Miami. During its early months, Programme Director Ben Toney had yet to convince record company reps of the benefits of supplying the new station with their latest releases. Radio London struggled for a while with a very restricted playlist that of necessity included a lot of material that had come over with the ship.

Another possibility was that The Lumberjack Man had been in Dave's personal collection when he returned from Canada (or perhaps one of his friends had sent it over) and he'd taken it aboard himself.

Seeing as the song is sufficiently catchy to have remained in people's memories since 1965, it's surprising some enterprising record company did not latch on to it and release it at the time when kenny and Cash were playing it.

Many thanks to you all for sharing your memories of a great broadcaster

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