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Archived Obituaries – Page 2

Obituaries – most recent at the top of the page

Keith Martin
1934 - 2024

Keith Martin, one of offshore radio's pioneers, died in February, just weeks short of his 90th birthday. Keith had suffered from cancer for some time and unfortunately, recent, gruelling treatment at the Royal Marsden hospital had failed to halt its progress.

Although most offshore radio fans will know Keith best from his Radio Atlanta and subsequently, Radio Caroline days, Keith's on-air career began much earlier than that. He related the story of the start of his life in broadcasting in a major feature that he penned for the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame. It contains a photo of him with two other well-known Keiths – Skues and Fordyce.

Over the years, Chris and I met Keith at a number of offshore celebrations and more recently, he was a regular participant in a chat group of pirates that started via Zoom during the pandemic. He was a man of a million anecdotes and memories and seemed to have met, or worked with, everyone who was anyone in the world of broadcasting.

It's sad that Keith died only in few months short of the 60th Anniversary of the start of the short-lived Radio Atlanta and its merger with Caroline, as he would surely have enjoyed celebrating with his former shipmates, even if only via Zoom.

Keith's story on The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame

A tribute from Keith's friend John Fleming

Alan 'Neddy' Turner
1939 - 2023

We were sorry to learn that Alan, who had been seriously ill for some time, died, on October 1st aged 84.

When Radio Atlanta merged with Radio Caroline in 1964, Alan was aboard the Fredericia on her famous voyage north. Broadcasting all the way, she sailed to her new anchorage in Ramsey Bay off the Isle of Man to become the home of Radio Caroline North.

As Alan was always present at radio gatherings, we met on many occasions. During one of the Radio Mi Amigo broadcasts from the LV18, he was kind enough to show me two buildings in Church Street that he believed might have housed the Radio Caroline offices when the ships were serviced from Harwich. Alan later confirmed to me that the correct building was #50.

"I looked back through a lot of old papers and found that Anglia Marine was at No. 50. There were a lot of small businesses in Church Street fifty years ago and the buildings look a lot different when they have been turned into private houses. So now you know."

Chris Denning

The death has been announced of former Big L and later Radio 1 DJ, Chris Denning. Denning died in June 2022 at HMP Bedford, at the age of 81, while serving a sentence for child sex offences, but his was only made public late in 2023.

Denning joined Radio London to replace Dave Cash in April 1966 and left to work for the BBC in August 66.

Lorne King

(Lorne Gary Kassian)

1943 – 2023

Our tribute to Lorne, a Big L DJ from February to May 1967

(Left) signed Radio London publicity shot

Jackie Dannatt
September 1978 – June 2023

We are very sorry to learn that our friend Jackie has died aged 44.

Although very much younger than us, Jackie was hugely interested in offshore radio and we shared a lot of fun times with her and husband Chris at numerous watery wireless events. Very sadly, Jackie's life was shortened by a rare, life-threatening illness.

Mary and Chris

In the photo Jackie is enjoying participating in Offshore 50, August 14th 2017.

Farewell to Jeff
Sadly, we have to say farewell to one of the most famous members of the Knees Club, Jeff Beck, who died on January 10th, 2023. Jeff signed up as member #247 of the club at a High Wycombe Town Hall gig. It was May 10th, 1966 and he was lead guitarist with the Yardbirds.

A couple of months later, Jeff appeared with the band at France's Provins festival, where they performed their Fab Forty #1, 'Shapes of Things' and follow-up success, 'Over Under, Sideways, Down'.

Jeff reputedly detested being asked to perform his biggest solo hit, 'Hi-Ho Silver Lining'.

A Fond Farewell to John Ross-Barnard

Visit our photo tribute page to Radio 390 and Britain Radio Broadcaster J R-B

A page is now available for posting tributes, condolences to John's family and making donations in his memory. John's funeral is on November 24th.

Remembering Mel Howard

Visit our photo tribute page to Caroline and Radio Scotland DJ Mel Howard

Remembering Johnny Moran
August 2022

Johnny Moran, who died in August 2022, was born in Australia and began his radio career there before joining Radio Luxembourg in 1964. He lived and worked in the Grand Duchy for two years, until moving to the UK in 1966.

In April 1966, both Earl Richmond and Dave Cash were leaving the Galaxy and Johnny signed up to fill one of the DJ vacancies, but changed his mind at the last minute. Chris Denning, another ex-208 DJ, took the job. However, Johnny's voice was heard on Radio London in September 1966, hosting a programme recorded at London's Marquee Club, sponsored by Elida hair care products.

Johnny joined the BBC in 1967 and presented a number of shows, but it's Radio 1's long-running pop magazine programme, Scene and Heard, for which he is best remembered.

Johnny's parents were from Sheffield and his was the first voice heard in 1974, on Keith Skues's new station for the city, Radio Hallam. Johnny presented the Breakfast Show on Hallam until the late-1980s.


The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame's clip from the Elida sponsored show

Johnny's Radio 1 connection to John Peel

Clips of Johnny's Radio 1 programme All Our Yesterplays

Our two-page tribute to Radlon MD, Philip Birch

Tony Lawther's report of John Sales's Funeral

Stephen Chesney's report Our tribute to John Edward includes Stephen's report of his funeral, with additional information regarding the fate of John's 'family member' Metal Mickey

Remembering Ron Buninga

Visit our photo tribute page to Captain Buninga's son Ron

Remembering Robbie Dale

Visit our photo tribute page to The Admiral of the Beat Fleet

Remembering Alan Hardy

Two new pages added to our tribute report on a celebration of Alan's life held in September 2021.

July 2121 – Sad Month for Offshore Radio

We are sorry to report the recent demise of a number of offshore personnel from the Sixties and Eighties.

Britain Radio's Jack Curtiss (left) died at his home in Seattle. Mike Barraclough kindly reposted on the Free Radio Forum, a message from Jack's family that had appeared originally on Facebook.

Jack was living in Australia and unable to attend the 2006 Radio England/Britain Radio Reunion organised by Grey Pierson, but he stayed up late to participate by telephone. He told us: "I was suitably attired for the occasion (and hour) in a Pierre Cardin bathrobe, flannel pyjamas and floppy Aussie bush hat. The beer is South Australian-brewed Cooper's Pale Ale, the local favorite in Adelaide."

Others who left us in July are Wally Meehan, who broadcast on Caroline North in 1967, and from the Eighties offshore era, engineer Mike Watts and DJ Dennis Jason, who also participated in Big L RSLs around the turn of the century.

Philip Anastasi
Dean Parrish 1942 - 2021

Years before his discovery as a Northern Soul star, Dean Parrish featured in the Fab Forty for several weeks in July and August '66 with his stomping version of The Exciters' 'Tell Him'. The song had been a big UK success in 1963, for Billie Davis. Dean's follow-up 'Turn on Your Lovelight' (a much-covered song first recorded by Bobby Bland in 1961) was picked as Dave Dennis's climber in Oct 66, but sadly did not become a hit.

The man whose family knew simply as Philip Anastasi, died in Staten Island, NY, at the age of 79 and was buried at Pinelawn Memorial Park.

The story of Dean's rediscovery in the States and transformation from unknown artist to Northern Soul success, is related on Wikipedia. (Thanks to Jon Myer for initial information)

Anita Marina Rossi
Nita Rossi
April 1948 – March 2021

Nita spent a total of eleven weeks in the Big L Fab Forty, nine of them with her highly collectable single 'Untrue Unfaithful (That Was You)'. The follow-up 'Here I Go Again' was picked as Mike Lennox's climber, but spent only one week in the Fab Forty.

Nita's son Marco has kindly allowed Keith Gunson to forward her memorial card to us for inclusion on the Radio London website.

The dedication translates as:

"Do not mourn my absence, feel me close and talk to me again. I will love you from heaven as I have loved you on earth."

John Barry Mason MBE
July 1935 – April 2021

Barry Mason co-wrote numerous songs that became Fab Forty successes, mostly with his long-term songwriting partner, Les Reed, who died in April 2019.

The Day Will Come - Rod Stewart
24 Sycamore – Wayne Fontana
Cloud Nine – Winston G
Have Pity on the Boy – Paul & Barry Ryan
Here it Comes Again – Fortunes
Just Like a Man – Emma Rede
Super Girl – Graham Bonney
Tabitha Twitchit - Dave Clark

Barry also released two singles of his own that both featured in the Big L charts, 'Over the Hills and Far Away' and 'Misty Morning Eyes'. The latter was a Fab Forty #8 in June 1966.

Barry's prolific songwriting career, of course, extended way beyond the Radio London era. He he won five Ivor Novello Awards and was a former 'King Sod' of the Society of Distinguished Songwriters. He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to music in the 2020 Birthday Honours.

Songlink International Tribute

Freddie Ryder 1942 - 2021

Freddie was a recording engineer for Caroline at the Chesterfield Gardens studios. Also a singer and musician, he released seven singles between 1965 and 1968, the first of them under his real name, Freddie Self. He gained the name of Ryder after Gerry Duncan organised a Caroline, 'choose a new name for Freddie' competition, which attracted some ridiculous suggestions. His singles 'Some Kind of Wonderful' (1965) and 'Man of the Moment' (1966) both spent time in the Caroline Countdown of Sound.

On Facebook, Caroline's Keith Hampshire posted the following moving tribute to his friend.

"The year was 1966 and a snotty-nosed kid from Calgary, Alberta had the unmitigated gall to think he could get a job on Radio Caroline in England. With a month or two's experience, he was dumb enough to think he had a shot. After weeks of trying to get an interview, Chief Deejay Tom Lodge decided to give him an audition. He was taken to a downstairs studio in a majestic building in Mayfair and was told to do his stuff. A friendly recording engineer spent the time to make sure his efforts weren't wasted. His name was Freddie Ryder. Freddie came from Liverpool and was great friends with all the local musicians because he was a Helluva singer himself. He recorded for Mercury and Columbia. He should have had a world-wide hit (in 1968) with the song 'The Worst That Could Happen' written by Jimmy Webb, but this was not to be. Over the years this kid from Calgary has kept in touch with the man who helped change his life. Every year we would exchange Christmas cards. Freddie suffered the ravages of Parkinson's Disease for the last 20 years of his life, but he was singing, smiling and having fun right up until his passing on January 22. He died peacefully in his sleep. Do yourself a favour and Google Freddie Ryder. He was a great friend!! Rest in peace, Buddy."

Chris and I met Freddie on only a couple of occasions. He attended our offshore reunion at the East Coast Rock Cafe, Harwich in 2001 and was present at Roger Day's 40th Anniversary Caroline Reunion at the Red Lion in Mayfair.

Offshore Echoes Tribute. With thanks to Chris Edwards for a link to the memorial page for Freddie, set up to raise funds for the Cure Parkinson's Trust.

About Gerry Duncan's 'choose a new name for Freddie' competition. (Scroll down the middle of the page)

Recent Sad Departures

Mary Wilson 1944 - 2021
"A singer, best-selling author, motivational speaker, businesswoman, former U.S. Cultural Ambassador, mother, and grandmother, the legendary Mary Wilson made great strides on her inevitable journey to greatness."

Mary's own website

Guardian Tribute

Roy Sheeran, temporary Electrical Engineer aboard the Galaxy.
Brian Nichol of Felixstowe and Offshore Radio Facebook Page has informed us of the death of Roy, who gladly shared with us his memories of working aboard the Galaxy in 1965. Brian tells us, "Roy had been suffering with a dementia-type illness for a few years now, so perhaps it's a release."
Roy's memoirs from 2015

Christopher Moore 1940 - 2021
Chris Moore was a Radio Caroline founder and one of the first voices heard on the station at its launch in 1964.

Offshore Echoes Tribute

Hilton Valentine 1943 - 2021
Hilton Valentine of the Animals has died aged 77. Eric Burdon wrote in tribute: "The opening opus of Rising Sun will never sound the same!... You didn’t just play it, you lived it! Heartbroken by the sudden news of Hilton’s passing. We had great times together, Geordie lad. From the North Shields to the entire world...Rock In Peace."
Guardian Tribute

James Lee Purify 1944 – 2021
spent several weeks in the Fab Forty as half of soul duo James and Bobby Purify. Bobby, who was James's cousin, died in 2011.
Best Classic Bands Tribute

Phil Spector 1929 – 2021
Producer of Fab Forty 'Wall of Sound' classics 'River Deep, Mountain High' and 'Unchained Melody'.
Best Classic Bands Tribute

Trisha Noble 1944 - 2021

We are sorry to learn of the death in January of Australian singer and actress Trisha Noble. Trisha is known to offshore radio fans for her appearance (as Patsy Ann Noble) alongside Patrick McGoohan in the Series 2, Danger Man episode, 'Not So Jolly Roger'. It was filmed in 1966 on the Red Sands sea fort occupied at the time by Radio 390. Her then -current single 'He Who Rides a Tiger' featured twice in the episode. The song relates to the 1965 British crime drama of the same name, starring Tom Bell and Judi Dench.
(Thanks to John Sales)

RIP Stuart Aiken

On January 11th, Ron O'Quinn posted some very sad news on Facebook. He wrote, "One of my best friends, Stuart Aiken, passed away. Stuart lived in Duddington (Northants) and had hosted me many times on my trips to the United Kingdom. Stuart had also visited me at my home in Georgia. He was a good and decent man and a steadfast and loyal friend. I will truly miss him and our frequent phone calls."

Chris and I did not know Stuart well, but we knew there was little about offshore radio that did not interest him. Radio England was his favourite station, but he loved them all and he enjoyed listening to Oldi
es Project. We met on a number of occasions and over the years exchanged many emails and recordings.

The photo shows Stuart (right) with Trish and Steve Young at a small offshore gathering by the Thames when the Youngs visited London in August 2009.

Gerry Marsden, MBE (24 September 1942 - 3 January 2021)

Gerry and the Pacemakers had enjoyed their biggest hits before Radio London came on the air in December 1964. 'Ferry Cross the Mersey', the title song from a feature film of the same name, was present in the earliest Fab Forties and they enjoyed four more entries with 'I'll Be There' (April 65), 'Walk Hand in Hand' (Nov 65), 'La La La' (Feb 66) and 'Girl on a Swing' (Nov 66).

In his memoirs, Radio London founder Ben Toney noted that Gerry was a friend, who wed his fiancée at London's Caxton Hall on October 11th 1965, the same day as Ben himself married Ronagh Clarke.

In 1967, the Pacemakers split up and Gerry's first solo release 'Please Let Them Be' was Willy Walker's pick in May 67 and spent another week as a climber and a week in the Fab Forty.

Gerry led the United Kingdom team of singers, who also happened to be Fab Forty artists – Lois Lane, Dodie West, Roger Whittaker and Oscar (Paul Nicholas) – to victory in Belgium's 1967 Knokke European Cup song contest.

Gerry's older brother and fellow-Pacemaker, Freddie, died in 2006.

Spencer Leigh obituary in The Independent.

Farewell to more Fab Forty artists

Geoffrey Stephens (1 October 1934 – 24 December 2020)

Geoff Stephens who contributed so much to Sixties music and spent numerous weeks on the Big L playlist, both with the New Vaudeville Band and as a composer, has died at the age of 86. He wrote, or co-wrote the likes of 'Winchester Cathedral', 'Finchley Central', 'Semi-Detached Suburban Mr. James' and 'there's a Kind of Hush' and was also responsible for discovering Donovan.

Geoff was also behind 'We Love the Pirates' the 'save the offshore stations' single issued under the pseudonym of The Roaring Sixties.

(Photo: Getty Images)

In 1995, Geoff was awarded the Gold Badge of Merit by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors and in 2000, the Ivor Novello Award for Services to British Songwriting.


David Stuart Chadwick (Chad Stuart)
10 December 1941 – 20 December 2020

Chad Stuart of duo Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde has died aged 79. Chad and Jeremy found most of their fame prior to Big L's arrival and had enjoyed bigger 'British Invasion' success in the US than the UK. 'Willow Weep for Me' appeared in one of the earliest Fab Forties and subsequently there were several more weeks on the Big L playlist for the duo with 'Distant Shores' (picked as Dave Dennis's climber) 'Before and After' and 'Teenage Failure'.

(Thanks to Jon Myer for notifying us of these sad departures.)

Leonard Borisoff
Len Barry
June 1942 – Nov 2020

Before his solo career, Len Barry had enjoyed hits in the USA as the original lead singer of the doo-wop group The Dovells.

As a solo artist, he spent over twenty weeks on the Radio London playlist. His biggest hit, '1-2-3' appeared in the Fab Forty on Oct 31st 1965 at #16, became #1 on Nov 14 and spent 7 weeks in the chart in total.

Follow-up 'Like a Baby' appeared in the FF at the beginning of January '66 and enjoyed another seven-week run, peaking at #1 on Feb 6th.

Len Barry's subsequent UK releases were less successful on the Radio London playlist, despite three of them being picked as DJ climbers.

'Somewhere' spent two weeks in the Fab Forty in March 66;

'It's That Time Of The Year' was Ed Stewart's pick in June 66, while 'I Struck it Rich' was Kenny Everett's three months later, but neither record spent long in the Fab Forty.

Len's Fab Forty swan song, 'The Moving Finger Writes', was chosen as Mark Roman's climber for April 23rd 67, but spent only 2 weeks in the Big L chart.

Soul Source obituary

Spencer Davis (Spencer David Nelson Davies)

July 1939 - Oct 2020

We are sorry to report the death in Los Angles of major Fab Forty artist and Knees Club member Spencer Davis.

The Spencer Davis Group enjoyed many weeks in the Big L Fab Forty, starting with 'Every Little Bit Hurts' in two of the earliest of the station's charts in February '65. Follow-up 'Strong Love' got plenty of Big L airplay, but only made #18. At the time listener complaints were received about being unable to buy the single because of distribution problems.

'Keep On Running' took the Boxing Day '65 #1 spot, 'Gimme Some Lovin' also went to #1. 'I'm a Man was picked as a Radio London Club Disc of the Week and climbed to #2.

'Time Seller', composed by Spencer and Eddie Hardin, was picked as Mike Lennox's climber. It was proving a very popular track in the final Fab Forty at #8 and would very likely have gone higher had Radio London continued. However, the group's biggest Big L success was 'Somebody Help Me'.

Spencer joined the Knees Club as member 167 at the Marquee Club in Wardour Street. It was April 9th, 1966 and he was making a solo guest promotional appearance one day before his group held the #1 spot in the Fab Forty with 'Somebody Help Me' for the second week running. This was a big accolade from Radio London. Major hit records usually left the Fab Forty very quickly to make way for new releases and scarcely any artists held the #1 slot for more than one week.

The Spencer Davis Group played its last dates during a 2017 tour with two different sets of musicians backing Spencer for dates in Europe and the US.

Guardian Obituary

Group profile on Brumbeat.net

Rare colour cinema promotion for 'Time Seller'

Sad Departure of four more Fab Forty artists

Roy Charles – Hammond
Roy C
1939 - 2020

Roy C was an American southern soul singer, songwriter and record executive, best known for his 1965 hit, 'Shotgun Wedding'. The single was released in the UK on April 22nd 1966, picked as a climber that week and it entered the Fab Forty the following week. By May 1st, the single was up to #5 and featured in a competition during Top Deck Time, a 15-minute show sponsored by the makers of Top Deck Shandy. Listeners were asked to name the recording artist of 'Shotgun Wedding', with the first 5 correct entries set to win a case of the sponsor's latest drink, Rumba.

'Shotgun Wedding' was also the first record played on Big L by Keith Skues when he joined the station on May 3rd.

Roy C's follow-up UK release 'Twistin' Pneumonia' was picked as John Edward's climber, but failed to reach the charts.


Eliza Janet Thomson
Barry St John
1943 - 2020

Barry St John was obliged to share her Fab Forty success of post-apocalypse song 'Come Away Melinda' with a cover version by Wendy Huber. She had spent several weeks in the Caroline charts of 1964 with her cover of the Newbeats' 'Bread and Butter' and spent two weeks at #40 with 'Come Away Melinda'. In 1968, Emperor Rosko signed her to Major Minor and produced her album 'According to St John' which has since become successful in Northern Soul circles. Barry St John's voice enhanced many well-known albums and recordings, such as 'Dark Side of the Moon', 'Madman Across the Water' and 'Imagine'.

Herald Scotland obituary


Roy Head
1941 - 2020

"Head moved with the funky precision of James Brown. He'd drop into splits and execute cartwheels and somersaults off the stage. His feet moved a mile a minute with mercurial fluidity. As a vocalist he hissed and growled like an alligator. ...His vocals crackled with electricity, the Saturday night/Sunday morning duality rooted in restraint and release. 'Treat Her Right' was a monster single built on feel."

'Treat Her Right' reached #2 on the Fab Forty. Follow-up 'Wigglin' and Gigglin' was picked as Tony Blackburn's climber and in January 66, 'Apple of My Eye' (as Roy Head and the Traits) made it to #12.

Houston Chronicle obituary


Tommy Devito
1928 - 2020

Sadly, Tommy Devito became a victim of the Coronavirus. An original Four Seasons founder, beside Frankie Valli, his brother, Nick, and Hank Majewski, Tommy spent numerous weeks in the Fab Forty. Tommy and the other original members of the extremely successful harmony group, who inspired a musical 'Jersey Boys' were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Mirror obituary

(Thanks to Jon Myer)


Willy Walker received the very sad news that his old friend Mike Lennox had passed away in Mexico in September 2020, a victim of Covid-19.

We have two full tribute pages to Mike

Three Fab Forty artists who left us in August 2020

Mark Philipp Wirtz (3 September 1943 – 7 August 2020)

Mark Wirtz wrote and produced the single that's probably more associated with the last weeks of Radio London than any other, 'Excerpt from a Teenage Opera', best known to Big L fans as 'Grocer Jack'. With a release date set for July 28th, the record appeared as Tommy Vance's climber on July 16th 1967 and had reached #6 by the final Fab Forty, three weeks later. Mark Wirtz's full-length production of his intended rock opera, never came to fruition, but Keith West's 'Grocer Jack' single became a massive hit, reaching the top spot in 16 countries. When Radio One launched on September 30th, Tony Blackburn included no less than six records in the station's first show which had been in the final Fab Forty and one of them was 'Grocer Jack'.

The second 'Teenage Opera' single, 'Sam', came out in November, but lacked the same impact (and the same airplay) as its predecessor.

Strange Brew Tribute


Pat Fairley, bass player with Marmalade, died August 11, 2020

Marmalade first appeared on the Big L playlist with a 'He's a Good Face', which was a Disc of the Week in January 1966, when they were still called The Gaylords. Although the band's biggest hits came after the demise of Radio London, 'It's All Leading Up To Saturday Night' was picked as Keith Skues's climber on September 4th 66 and 'Can't Stop Now' became a two-week climber on April 9th 1967.

Fab Forty 300166

The Scotsman Tribute


Trinidad López III (13 May1937 – 11 August, 2020)

Although Trini Lopez did not spend many weeks in the Fab Forty, three of his singles were DJ picks. 'I'm Coming Home Cindy' was TW's climber, 'La Bamba' was Duncan Johnson's and 'The Bramble Bush' was Mark Roman's.

Rolling Stone Tribute

(Thanks to Jon Myer)

Glyn Geoffrey Ellis (Wayne Fontana) 28 October 1945 – 06 August 2020

Wayne Fontana, whose records spent many weeks on the Big L Playlist, has died aged 74.

Um Um Um Um Um Um was being played during the opening days of Radio London in December 1964 and The Game of Love spent weeks in the earliest Fab Forties. Wayne subsequently spent many weeks on the Big L playlist, both with the Mindbenders and as a solo artist.

Wayne joined the Knees Club around May 1966 and appeared in the London shows of Radio England's Swinging 66 tour.

Photo taken during a visit to the radio England ship Olga Patricia, courtesy of Grey Pierson

A personal tribute to Wayne by Michael McDowell

Promo for Swinging 66 on the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame

Gordon Sheppard, died 30th July 20, aged 93

We are sorry to have to say farewell to Radlon's Promotions Manager, Gordon Sheppard, who worked for the station throughout its duration. Norm St John tells us that Gordon passed away on July 30th. Although we exchanged a number of emails and some phone calls, we were unfortunately unable to meet Gordon as he suffered with ill health and had been housebound for some years.

Gordon very kindly provided material from his personal archives for the Radio London website and entertained us with his fascinating recollections. In tribute, we have updated extensively existing features about some of Gordon's numerous promotions.

Gordon Sheppard's Big L Promotions at Olympia

Gordon's Stories about other promotions, including the Big L eyebrow-singeing fireworks event

RIP Peter Green

Peter Green, who was a Fab Forty artist as a member of Shotgun Express, died on July 25th, 2020.

The item on the left is part of a Chris Welch feature published in Melody Maker, September 1967, about the musicians he considered the Top Seven guitarists.

BBC Website obituary

Two Fab Forty Artists who left us in May 2020

We have to say farewell to two Fab Forty artists, who left us in May 2020, Little Richard (d May 9th) and Phil May of the Pretty Things (d May 15th)

Little Richard Rolling Stone obituary

Phil May Guardian obituary

Tribute pages to our close friend Alan Hardy, who died in March.

We also paid our respects with a montage of photos, to Caroline's founder Ronan O'Rahilly who died in April.

Norma Cecilia Tanega (January 30, 1939 – December 29, 2019)

Norma Tanega was not only a singer, songwriter, and classically trained multi-instrumentalist, but a talented artist.

Norma spent a total of nine weeks on the Radio London playlist after her self-penned 'Walking My Cat Named Dog' became a climber on March 20th 1966. The internationally successful song enjoyed 8 weeks of Big L airplay, peaking at #4 on May 1st. It did similarly well on the Caroline and National charts, but the PRHoF points out that while the other offshore stations played Norma Tanega's original version, Radio City favoured a Barry McGuire cover.

Norma's follow-up release, 'A Street that Rhymes at 6am' was picked as Chris Denning's climber for 29th May, but did not reach the Fab Forty.

On the strength of her hit, Norma toured North America as the only female performer with Gene Pitney, Bobby Goldsboro, Chad and Jeremy and The McCoys. On June 24th, she appeared on Ready Steady Go!, where she met Dusty Springfield. They became a couple and Norma moved to England for five years and wrote songs for Dusty.

Norma's 'You're Dead', from the 1966 album 'Walking My Cat Named Dog', as covered by Harriers of Discord, is the theme tune to the film and TV spoof-vampire series 'What We Do in the Shadows'.

Kenneth Lynch, OBE 18 March 1938 – 18 December 2019

Kenny Lynch was an actor, singer and songwriter and one of the first artists to be heard on Radio London, as his single 'My Own Two feet' was played during a test transmission on Dec 22nd, 1964. Prior to Big L's arrival, 'What Am I To You' was in the Caroline charts of '64 for several weeks. He toured with the Beatles and was one of the first artists to cover a track from the 'Please Please Me' LP – 'Misery'. Ringo Starr has added his condolences to the many posted on Kenny's personal Twitter page

Ben Toney recalled in his memoirs how Kenny's song 'I'll Stay By You' won the 1965 Brighton Song Contest, but the result was erroneously announced at the event as 'Leave a Little Love'. The single made the Fab Forty in June 1965. Kenny's Bobby Goldsboro cover, 'It's Too Late' was a climber in January '67.

As a songsmith, Kenny enjoyed two massive hits in early 1966, with co-writer Mort Shuman. Cilla Black's FF #2 'Love's Just a Broken Heart' came in January '66, and the following month, a #1 for the Small Faces, 'Sha La La La Lee'.

Kenny was a prolific charity fundraiser and was awarded the OBE in 1970 for services to entertainment. He was also member #312 of the Knees Club, having joined at a Radio London Club afternoon at the Marquee in the summer of '66.

Ben Toney's account of Brighton Song Contest

Kenny Lynch Family Twitter Page

Keith Peter Milborrow
October 1952 - August 2019

Everyone who knew Keith from various radio gatherings, but especially those who were present at our 2019 August 14th commemoration, was shocked by the sad news that our friend had died suddenly over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Radio London and August 14th meant a lot to Keith and we are all glad that he was able to be with.
Please click here for our full tribute


Ian Magan, 9th August 2019

The New Zealand Herald reports the sad demise of one of Radio Hauraki's original pirates, Ian Magan, who has died in Auckland shortly after his 80th birthday.

New Zealand Herald

Anthony Salvin Hall
Tony Hall April 1928 - June 2019
Decca Records Music Executive, Producer, Writer & DJ and "a good friend to 'Lil'"

"Tony was a major force in Radio London's early days and a good friend to 'Lil', cos he knew where the influence lay. 91 is good innings, and we're all heading that way." Mark Roman

Pete Brady recalled, "When Big L first went on air, we had very few current records. The record companies were not very interested in us. I went round most of them in London with little luck, but Tony Hall at Decca was helpful and gave a couple of dozen singles – literally a shoe box full. In the first few weeks of 1965, these and a few others were continuously recycled."

Tony supported Big L throughout the station's existence and was instrumental in promoting records that went on to become mega-hits. "Thanks to Radio London, which was a big help," he said, "We got 'River Deep, Mountain High' to No. 1 in England." In April 1967, Tony asked Alan Keen if he would ('as a favour') play 'A Whiter Shade of Pale', sparking-off an international mega-hit for Procol Harum.

In his 'My Scene' column in Record Mirror (April 2nd 1967) Tony wrote, "Don't know whether the RM can claim any credit, but since our column on Top 40 radio a few weeks ago, I noticed two significant new sections to Big L's playlist. Apart from the Fab 40 and climbers, there's now a 'Ballad Box' – additional records aimed especially at the housewives and aired between 9.00am and 3.00pm. Plus – of great interest to RM readers – a 'Soul Set', aired during the late afternoon and evening. Personally, I feel this is all a step in the right direction, and I congratulate whoever made the bold decision."

A full obituary is here

'A Whiter Shade of Pale'

(Thanks to Alan Hardy)

Alan Keen – Radio London Programme Director
Died April 2019

We were very sorry to learn of the death of Alan Keen, who was at the heart of Radio London from start to finish.

Friends and colleagues pay tribute.


Leslie David Reed
1935 – 2019

Les Reed co-wrote around sixty hit songs, but in offshore radio circles, the writer and producer will be remembered best for 'Man of Action', the instrumental picked as the theme for Radio Northsea International. Few RNI listeners will forget hearing the tune played continuously on May 15th 1971, while Alan West made desperate calls for assistance after the ship was fire-bombed.

Among the Les Reed Fab Forty successes, are 'It's Not Unusual', 'Leave a Little Love' and 'Here it Comes Again'. 'The Last Waltz' was heard briefly during Big L's final week, but was not released until August 18th.

The Guardian: When Les Reed Ruled the Airwaves


Graham Robert Stewart
'Baby' Bob Stewart
July 1939 – March 2019

"I've never been a publicity freak or an ambitious 'ladder of success climber'. "

Born in Liverpool, Bob decided to swap his Scouse accent for an American one after he joined Radio Caroline in 1965. He worked aboard both the Mi Amigo and the Fredericia staying with Caroline North until shortly before the MOA became law in 1967. He then joined Radio Luxembourg, working from the Grand Duchy, and remained with 208 for many years of his broadcasting career.

In the early days of the Radio London website, between 1999 and 2003, when Chris and I were assisting offshore radio personnel in finding each other, I began corresponding with Bob. It started in June 1999, when David Williams heard from Bob's wife Cynthia that Bob had throat cancer and had undergone major surgery. I posted this news on the website and began passing on 'get well' wishes sent by Bob's ex-colleagues from Caroline, 208 and Jazz fm and from non-radio friends and former listeners.

Bob seemed to be perpetually fighting a petulant computer and a mail system that automatically rejected everything I tried to send him! Bob was in poor health, but he usually made light of it and always sounded cheerful. Below is some of the correspondence I received from him:

"I only went to Caroline House twice - once to get the job and once three years later to quit! I only recall meeting Ronan twice. Once when he visited the ship and the second time to tell him I was quitting. I did receive some memos addressed to 'the mystery man of the north ship'. Some DJs just revelled in the spot light. Others didn't like it so much. I didn't want to be 'involved' any more than the pleasure of going out there and playing music."

(Left) on the Caroline North tender, photo from the late Jim Murphy collection

In 2002, when Jerry Leighton had been found, following a long search, Bob wrote:

"Thank you for forwarding the email address of 'the seldom seen kid'. He certainly kept a super-low profile for a long, long time. I'm sure Jerry knew of the desire of many folks to reach him, but I guess he just didn't want to be involved. Strangely enough I can fully understand that, as I too prefer to 'stand back'.

I've never been a publicity freak or an ambitious 'ladder of success climber'. I know if I had, I certainly could have gotten further and been more prominent, but I didn't want that, even at Luxembourg. As a career move this was akiller but I bumbled along for over thirty years.

Life has a nasty way of moving you on from place to place. In my case the moves tended to be country to country rather than town to town and it's very easy to lose contact with good folks. It's good  folks that make life worth while, so I  really am grateful to you."

Our condolences to Bob's widow Cynthia and his family in Texas and his son Darren, daughter-in law Denisa and granddaughters Demi, Deana and Deni in the UK.

Mary Payne

Pages on the Radio London site relating to Bob:

Bob's Sixties address in Liverpool;

Bob talking about Caroline North;

Messages sent to the Radio London website for Bob

A full obituary with many tributes is on The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame.

Noel Scott Engel
Scott Walker
January 1943 - March 2019

This obituary attempts to cover mainly the Walker Brothers part of Scott's long and complex musical career.

Stardom arrived early for Scott. When he was only eight years old, The Denver Post described him as having, "The volume of Mario Lanza, the stage personality and showmanship of the late Al Jolson and a deep, vibrating, baritone-bass voice that's all his own."

By the age of 12 he had been cast in minor roles in Broadway musicals and he appeared on a TV talent show, aged 15. This led to the release of his first single 'When is a Boy a Man', in 1957 under the name of 'Scotty Engel, the baritone from Denver'.

(Photo) Scott being interviewed by Simon Dee (right) for his TV show 'Dee Time'. Photo by Dezo Hoffman from 'The Simon Dee Book'

Scott Engel and John Maus were already playing and recording in California as the (unrelated) Walker Brothers, when they were persuaded by Gary Leeds, who was already familiar with touring the UK as PJ Proby's drummer, to embark on an adventure. The trio travelled to England to make their fortune.

There is little doubt that the offshore stations were instrumental in the Walkers' success, although it did not hurt that they were all teen heartthrob material. The trio was friendly with Kenny and Cash and recorded a short (circa 7 seconds) jingle for them – 'Kenny and Cash, in London'. It should really have been 'on London'. All of the Walkers' Sixties releases appeared in the Radio London playlist, beginning with March 7th 1965, when Dave Cash picked 'Pretty Girls Everywhere' as his climber. It entered the Fab Forty the following week, stayed for a second week and peaked at #25.

'Pretty Girls...' was the first of four 1965 Radio London Fab Forty entries for the Walkers. They were back two weeks later with a new climber – 'Love Her' – the first of their 'Wall of Sound'-type recordings, which spent a fortnight in the chart. The breakthrough hit, a cover of Jerry Butler's 1962 'Make it Easy on Yourself', arrived on August 1st.

Big L Programme Director Ben Toney revealed in his memoirs how he became friends with the group and how he persuaded the Walkers' manager Maurice King that this was the standout track on their album and really ought to be the band's next single. It went on to spend nine weeks on the Big L chart, three of them in the Top Ten, reaching #4. When the album 'Take it Easy With the Walker Brothers' was released, the cover contained complimentary sleevenotes from both Dave Cash of Radio London and Tony Blackburn (then of Radio Caroline). This was the first time a major record company (Philips) recognised the pirates and their influence. 'My Ship is Coming In', a Jimmy Radcliffe cover, arrived in the chart of the last week in November and peaked one place higher than 'Make it Easy...'at #4.

The following year, the trio was scarcely out of the Fab Forty and The Walkers were mobbed wherever they went. During 1966 and 67 more of their singles were selected as Radio London Club Disc of the Week (DOW) than any other act.

On 20th February 1966, 'The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore' was Dave Cash's climber and became a Fab Forty #3 on March 20th, spending eight weeks in the chart. The 'I Need You' EP was DOW for June 5th and went Top Ten in July, as did July 3rd's DOW, '(Baby) You Don't Have to Tell Me'. On July 10th, the single, on its way up at #21, met the EP, on its way down at #22! 'Portrait' was Album of the Week for 21st August, with 'Another Tear Falls' DOW on September 11th and in the Top Ten in October.

Film theme 'Deadlier Than the Male' was DOW for Dec 4th and heading for the festive Top Ten. In 1966, a more potent combination than a Walker Brothers' record and an espionage movie, would have been impossible to find! The band was massively popular and like the Beatles, the Walkers suffered the indignity of being unable to hear themselves sing for girls screaming.

Early in 1967, the Walkers were obliged by work permit problems to leave the UK for six months and new releases were thin on the ground. 'Stay With Me Baby' was selected as DOW for 22nd January, whizzing up to #4 two weeks later. The last Walker Brothers Sixties release, 'Walking in the Rain' was Ed Stewart's climber for 7th May and went Fab Forty Top Ten a month later.

By March 1969, the trio had gone their separate ways and Scott began hosting a 6-part BBC TV Series, 'Scott', where he introduced other recording stars of the day.

Mary Payn

The late Ben Toney's memories of picking 'Make it Easy on Yourself' as a hit


Jeff Jones
November 1945 – February 2019

Chris and I and everyone who met him at Offshore 50, were saddened to learn from Jon Myer of the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame, of the death of Radio 270's Jeff Jones. We had not met Jeff until he attended the reunion in 2017, but he very kindly brought gifts of shortbread for us and our co-organisers Jon and Alan Hardy.

Jeff (right of photo) met his ex-Radio 270 shipmate Guy Hamilton at Offshore 50

The last time I heard from Jeff was at Christmas that year, when he wrote, "You did such a great job in August. I still talk about it. Thank you."

Mary Payne
(with thanks to Jon Myer)

Obituary in The Scotsman


Alan Milewczyk – The Pole With Soul
1949 – 2019

Hans Knot tells us that Alan went into hospital in February to undergo major surgery, but very sadly, he failed to survive the operation.

Alan was a true radio fan and of course a lover of soul music. During the 2009 Radio Day in Amsterdam, Hans and co-organiser Martin van der Ven presented him with the 'Radio Anoraks Award'.

In 2007, Alan attended the Radio Academy Celebration of Sixties Offshore Radio in London, where Hans captured this photo of him with Ronan O'Rahilly. Alan produced an excellent report of the event which was greatly appreciated by the organisers.

Mary Payn

Alan's report

Peter Halsten Thorkelson

Fab Forty artist Peter Tork, the keyboardist and bass guitarist of The Monkees and the eldest member of the band, has died aged 77. His family issued a statement, saying:

"Peter's energy, intelligence, silliness and curiosity were traits that for decades brought laughter and enjoyment to millions, including those of us closest to him."

Rock History Music Youtube tribute

Recent sad losses to the radio world are John Whitmarsh, Harry Putnam and June Whitfield

John worked under the persona of 'Jonathan Hall' on Radio 390 in 1966-7.
Jack Curtiss announced the death of Harry, his friend from Swinging Radio England/Britain Radio. Harry was also an airtime salesman for both stations and for Radio Essex and hosted an R&B show on Britain Radio as 'Johnny Dark'.
(With thanks to Jon Myer of the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame)

Dame June Whitfield
We must also give honourable mention to actress and comedienne, Dame June Whitfield, a radio veteran of far too many shows and personas to mention, who died at the end of December, aged 93. June's big break came in 1953, in the Light Programme comedy 'Take it From Here', where she became known for her role as 'Eth' in 'The Glums'. June's long career in radio, TV, film and theatre continued until 2016.

Links to the tribute pages to Peter Young.

Keith St John 21/11/18

Jon Myer of the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame was notified of the recent death of Big L racing driver Keith St John. His best friend George Day told Jon that Keith died in Marbella on Wednesday, November 21st, aged 81.

Duncan Johnson
Died October 11th 2018

Our Three-page tribute was last updated with a contribution from Mike Lennox

Jon Myer reports on the Capital Radio Reunion that took place on October 16th.
"There was a general toast to absent friends, then Duncan's friend Liza made a short speech about him and we drank another toast to him. There was a lot of love in the room for Duncan."

Frank Laseter (Larry Dean)
1938 - 2018

On August 23rd, Ron O'Quinn posted on Facebook that his best friend Frank Laseter had died. Frank was known to the many listeners to Radio England, as Larry Dean.

Full tribute page to Frank

Aretha Franklin
1942 – 2018
Respect to Aretha

"If a song’s about something I’ve experienced or that could’ve happened to me it’s good. But if it’s alien to me, I couldn’t lend anything to it. Because that’s what soul is all about."

International tributes have poured in for Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul, who has died aged 76. The first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame had given her final performance in November 2017 at a concert in aid of Elton John's AIDS Foundation.

Aretha first appeared on the Radio London playlist in April 1967. Having recently been a US success, 'I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)' was picked as Paul Kaye's climber, on 16/04/67, and made its way to a Fab Forty #14.

The following month, Paul Kaye picked Aretha's next and best-known release 'Respect' as his joint climber alongside the cover version by Salena Jones. The two recordings received equal Radio London airing until they reached #23 in the Fab Forty. The following week Salena's version had vanished and Aretha was alone at #11, quickly climbing to #4.

Aretha entered the final Fab Forty, 06/08/67, at #20, with 'Baby I Love You', although the record's official release date was not until August 18th.

Variety: Sam Moore appreciation; the Guardian; BBC News; udiscovermusic

Eddie 'Chank' Willis
1936 – 2018

Another sad loss to the world of soul is that of Funk Brother Eddie 'Chank' Willis, who played on classic Motown hits too numerous to mention. 'Reach Out, I'll Be There', 'You Can't Hurry Love', 'Back in My Arms Again', 'I Hear a Symphony' and 'Love is Here and Now You're Gone' are among those that reached the Fab Forty.

Alan Hardy kindly sent links to a tribute and a 4 minute audio clip of Dennis Coffey talking about working with Eddie.
Read our report of the2004 Funk Brothers gig at the Festival Hall.

Ton Beekes
July 21st 2018

Hans Knot sent us the sad news that Ron Buninga's friend Ton Beekes has died of cancer. Ron had told us the devastating news that in 2017, Ton had been given only one year to live, but he said they were able to make the most of the time Ton had left.
On July 21st, Ron posted on his Facebook Page, "Verloor vandaag mijn liefste en beste vriend", which translates as "Today I lost my dearest and best friend". The friends lived in Soest in The Netherlands.

(Right) Ton pictured at Mary's 60th Birthday Party in November 2009, with the late Rob Olthof. Photo: Martin Van der Ven.


Neil Jones
1949 - 2018

Farewell to Neil Jones, a founding member of Cardiff's Amen Corner. 'Gin House Blues', the 7-piece band's second release on Deram, was chosen as one of the Radio London Club's final Discs of the Week, for the week commencing 09/07/67. It subsequently climbed to #4 in the Fab Forty and reached Number 12 in the Nationals.

BBC Website tribute

Ben Toney
1931 – 2018

Radio London's Star of the Lone Star State
3-page tribute

Paul Harris
1948 - 2018

Paul Harris, journalist and author of 'When Pirates Ruled the Waves' and over 40 other books, has died after a short illness.

NUJ Tribute

Sad Departures

Graham Gill
On April 9th, Hans Knot sent the sad news that Graham Gill died at his Amsterdam home, just days short of his 82nd birthday.
Visit our tribute page


Andy Riley

Chris and I were sorry to learn of the recent demise of Caroline stalwart Andy Riley.

In 1999, our friend Jenni Baynton had been spending weekends doing maintenance work aboard the Ross Revenge, alongside Linda Braxton, Pauline and Dave Miller, John Knight, Dave Francis, John Boak and others.

On May 16th 1999, I wrote to Jenni:

"I hope you and Linda have been enjoying yourselves working on the Ross. I understand Andy Riley was on board this weekend and I don't know if you discovered that he knows us. Andy used to assist Robbie Owen with his Saturday evening show on ElevenSeventy in Wycombe and Chris and I met him when we went to the station last year with Chris Elliott."

Chris E was being interviewed about his book 'The Wonderful Radio London Story'. Andy later visited us at home, and I believe we gave him some old carts (courtesy of Sky TV) for use on Caroline.

(Right) Andy, left of photo, with Sietse Brouwer. Photo: Pauline Miller

(My husband) Chris recalls Andy relating how he would go ashore and buy tins of beans, spaghetti hoops and the like to feed the Ross workers, a situation that appears to have improved once Jenni took over as the ship's cook.

Pauline Miller remembers:
"Andy was a nice bloke, very clever and somewhat eccentric but what a refreshing change to find someone a bit different. I remember him very well from our time on the Ross, he used to wear two shirts at a time, different colours, so the left side was one pattern and the right side a different colour and he managed to do them up together somehow so they didn't fall off.  I also remember him demonstrating a sort of Star Wars laser thing by getting a stick to light up when it was put near the transmitter, all clever stuff."

Smooth sailing, Andy.

Mary Payne

It's very sad to think that several members of what Jenni described as "The Queenborough painting party" are no longer with us. Jenni herself passed away in July 2000, but her legend lives on in the ship named after her. The LV Jenni Baynton is home to Radio Waddenzee and Radio Seagull.

David Sinclair (David Vincent)
On March 14th 2018, Guy Hamilton forwarded the sad news of David's demise, sent by his three sons, Chris, Steve and Ross, in Canada. David broadcast from Radio Essex, Radio 270 and Radio 390 and published a book about his adventures in offshore broadcasting, 'Making Waves'.
(Right) David was in England in 2015 to attend the Radio Essex 50th Anniversary Reunion in Whitstable.

Sir Ken Dodd (1927 - 2018)
Ken Dodd died at the Knotty Ash home where he spent his entire life. Most obituaries describe him as a comedy legend, but he also released many successful records and made numerous appearances in the Fab Forty.

The statue of Doddy with his trademark tickling stick was erected at Liverpool's Lime Street station in 2009.

Guardian obituary

Fantastic 'van art' tribute portrait

Tributes from friends

The Vogues' singer Bill Burkette
The band is probably best remembered for 'Five O'Clock World', which although massively popular in North America failed to make much of a dent in either the Big L or theUK national charts. The Vogues' most successful Fab Forty release was 'You're the One', but they lost out because of competition with the Pet Clark version.

Triblive Tribute

William "Bill Flo" Flores of The Chocolate Watch Band
Their single 'The Sound of Summer' was picked for the final Fab Forty as a joint climber for Chuck Blair and Dave Cash.

Ace Records tribute

We must also give mention to the passing of Trevor Baylis - the inventor of the wind-up radio

David Williams, Caroline North newsman
It came to our knowledge only in March 2018 (thanks to Nigel Fell and Jon Myer) that David had passed away a year earlier. Chris and I first encountered David when he participated in the Big L 97 RSL and he attended many subsequent offshore reunions. In recent years David been living in Belgium and we last met him at the Amsterdam Radio Day in 2014, where this photo was taken.


John Stewart Hatt

(also known variously by on-air names John Stewart, Chris Stewart or John Aston)

March 1943 - December 2017

Our Tribute Page to John is here

Paylng Last Respects to John

In September 2019, Christine Hatt, John's widow, scattered his ashes from Caroline's current ship, MV Ross Revenge. A small party of family and close friends accompanied Christine to pay their last respects to John, who was known for broadcasting on more offshore stations than any other DJ, as his ashes sailed out to sea for a final time.



William Henry Hatton
June 1941 – September 2017

"Lennon deserved a smack, no doubt about that, but someone shouted out: 'Billy, if you hit him, your career will be over!'" quote from Spencer Leigh's Guardian obit

Radio London belatedly bids farewell of Billy Hatton, bass player and harmony singer with Liverpool's Fourmost, who died on September 19th. In 1963, the Fourmost signed with Brian Epstein's NEMS company and subsequently recorded Lennon and McCartney songs. They frequently played as a supporting band on Beatle tours.

The band's glory days were mostly during the Merseybeat era prior to Radio London, but they made the Fab Forty with 'Girls, Girls, Girls' (#22, 281165) and 'Everything in the Garden' (Greenaway & Cook) (#35, 110765). The novelty release 'Auntie Maggie's Remedy' (George Formby) was picked as Norm St John's climber in October '66.

The Fourmost appeared at the prestigious NME Pollwinners' concert on May 1st 1966.

In later years Billy mentored young bands at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, but left them under no illusions regarding the realities of life on the road.

Bill Leece's obituary

(Thanks to Jon Myer)

George Redburn Young
6 November 1946 – 22 October 2017

George Young, who emigrated from Scotland in his teens to Australia, where he founded the Easybeats, has died just short of his 71st birthday. With bandmate Harry Vanda, he wrote the international hit 'Friday on My Mind'. Picked as Tony Blackburn's climber it reached #5 on the Fab Forty on 13th November 1966, when George was aged just 20. After the band folded in 1969, he went on to produce AC/DC. (Thanks to Jon Myer)

Left, GoSet Australian magazine cover, courtesy of Barry McKay at Poparchives

NME obit; news.com obit


Remembering Jack Good and Jerry Ross who both left us recently (2017)

Jack Good

TV pioneer Jack Good, who died on September 24th, was responsible for the earliest live pop music programmes seen on British TV. Good made TV history in 1957, when he produced Saturday teatime show 'Six-Five Special' in the days when rock 'n' roll was new to the UK and British acts were attempting to emulate US heroes. The music was the subject of widespread establishment disapproval and instantly popular with teenagers. With nothing shown on our minuscule monochrome TV sets that was pre-recorded, the combination of a live studio, pop idols and screaming teens made the BBC twitchy. With the Beeb anxious to introduce decorum to the show by way of non-musical content, Good departed for ITV, where he made 'Oh Boy!' followed by 'Wham!' and 'Boy Meets Girls'. Cliff Richard, the Shadows and Marty Wilde were all 'Oh Boy!' regulars. In 1964 Brian Epstein asked Good to produce a one-off Beatles special, 'Around the Beatles'.

After at first failing to interest US TV executives in similar shows, a pilot show made and funded by Good was finally spotted by an ABC Executive and this led to the popular 'Shindig!', which ran between 1964 and 66.

Good later produced stage musicals and in 1992 became the subject of one himself – 'Good Rockin' Tonight'..

Ronald Tennant wrote to The Guardian:
"There is a wonderful documentary being made by Ron Furmanek all about Jack & his very outstanding career. Ron began it last year & even visited Jack in Oxford to film him in 2016 celebrating his 85th birthday. A couple of singers Jack discovered long ago, Joe Brown & P.J. Proby were also there & will be in the film with many others. Ron also recently discovered some never before seen early pilot "Shindig" American TV shows & some of those clips will be included in the documentary all about the legend Jack Good."

Jerry Ross
Jerry Jan Ross, who died on October 4th, 2017 was an American songwriter, A&R man, record producer, record label owner and one-time DJ on WFIL. His biggest hit as a writer was 'I'm Gonna Make You Love Me', which he co-wrote with Kenny Gamble. Best known as the 1968 smash for Diana Ross, The Supremes and the Temptations, the song was first recorded in 1966 by Dee Dee Warwick.
Among Jerry Ross productions that appeared in the Fab Forty were 'Sunny', '98.6', 'Sunday Will Never Be The Same', 'When Love Slips Away' (Dee Dee Warwick) and 'I Dig You Baby' (Jerry Butler)..

In 2013 Jerry was inducted into the Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame.

(Thanks to Jon Myer)

Glen Travis Campbell
April 22, 1936 – August 8, 2017

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. 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.

In September 2016, Jimmy Webb dedicated a UK tour as a tribute to his friend and long-term collaborator Glen, who was in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's disease. Jimmy told the audience that he visited Glen regularly and reported that, very sadly, he was no longer able to sing or play his guitar. A terribly poignant ending to an illustrious musical career.

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 by using footage that he'd shot during one of Glen's last performances in 2012. (Mary Payne)

In a deeply-felt eulogy, Jimmy told Variety magazine, "This I can promise. While I can play a piano Glen will never be forgotten. And after that someone else will revel in his vast library of recordings and pass them on to how many future generations? Possibly to all of them."

Jimmy Webb tribute in Variety

(Thanks to Alan Hardy)

Paul Wynn
Paul Hollingdale March 1938 - July 2017

Paul was a true radio pioneer in more ways than one. First heard on British Forces Network and Radio Luxembourg, Paul could lay claim to being the earliest pirate broadcaster to the UK. His prerecorded shows were aired via an innovative venture, Commercial Neutral Broadcasting Company (CNBC) ''your friendly host off the Dutch coast' The station leased airtime from Radio Veronica to broadcast an English-speaking service to the UK. This was almost four years before the start of Radio Caroline, but the signal was weak and attracted few listeners.

"I am pleased in a way even for the short time we were on the air, to have pioneered the idea and we were the originators of the idea," he told Colin Nichol in a 2009 interview. "I mean Ronan O'Rahilly came along later and so did Allan Crawford but we were the people that actually put it on the air and put the thoughts into their heads."

On the Light Programme, Paul presented shows like 'Swing Into Summer' and 'London Swings' and when the station became Radio 2 on September 30th 1967, Paul was first on the air at 0533, with his 'Breakfast Special'. He started the show with Julie Andrews singing the title song from 'The Sound of Music'.

Paul broadcast on a number of stations after leaving Radio 2. In 1976, his voice launched Reading's Radio 210. He was also part of the launch team for Britain's first country music station Country 1035 in 1994 and he opened Blue Danube Radio, an English-language station in Vienna.

Keith Milborrow writes:
"Paul was another person I used to see at BBC Radio Brighton when I was a contributor to one of their programmes in the 1970s. Between Radio Two and 210 Thames Valley, he spent a while at BBC Radio Brighton hosting "Saturday Session" on Saturday afternoons between 15:00 and 17:00. It was basically a music programme containing updates and goal-flashes from Brighton and Hove Albion's weekend game or similar reports following the fortunes of Sussex County during the cricket season. The music 'format' seemed very similar to the music he used to play on Radio Two, as the local station was forced to use library music (mostly light, easy listening music) to eke out its meagre Needle Time allocation.
Whilst at Radio Brighton, I believe Paul was attempting to set up a business providing interviews with recording artists to accompany the new releases that the record companies would give to the BBC local radio stations as an encouragement to promote their new material. It has to be remembered that at this time (early to mid-70s) there was hardly any commercial radio on the UK mainland, so to 'advertise' any new product, the music industry relied on BBC plays. I do not know what became of this project. Perhaps it might have been overtaken by events such as the development of commercial radio or Paul's later employment in the commercial sector."

Photo: Hans Knot, 2007

Paul interviewed by Colin Nichol in 1984

Dave Gilbee
(Dave MacKay)
September 1941 - May 2017

Early in 1965, Dave was juggling two careers, working as an air traffic controller, while, when he could manage to fit it in with his shifts at Gatwick, moonlighting as a Radio City DJ on Shivering Sands Fort. He ventured further out to sea aboard the Laissez-Faire in August 1966, where he broadcast on Britain Radio as Dave MacKay, staying after the station changed its name to Radio 355, and till its enforced closure in August 1967.

Keith Milborrow shares his memories of Dave:
I met Dave on several occasions in the 1970s when I knew him as the owner of "Sounds Unlimited", a hi-fi shop in Brighton. He was a frequent contributor to a programme on BBC Radio Brighton with which I was involved called "Audio".  If any new tuner, amplifier, tape recorder etc, came on to the market, we invited him into the studio to give the expert's view on the new piece of technology. At that time I was totally oblivious to his past maritime broadcasting history - it was then not the sort of thing you spoke about whilst on BBC property! It was only years later that I read that he had been on Radio 355 as Dave MacKay and was the voice on the hastily produced Radio 227 jingles - Swinging Radio (sung) "double-two seven" (voiceover by Dave).
After his shop- keeping days Dave resumed his broadcasting career (but this time on dry land) with freelance work as a presenter on BBC Radio Brighton and later appeared on Essex Radio and Melody Radio in London.

(Thanks to Jon Myer for relaying the sad news)

Dave takes the mic at the Radio England/Britain Radio 40th Anniversary reunion held at the Red Lion in Mayfair in May 2006.
Left) Perusing a collection of memorabilia, with Laissez-Faire shipmate, John Ross-Barnard.

The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame has some clips of Dave when he broadcast on Radio 355.

Dave presents 'It's a Funny Old World' on Prime Time Radio, 20th October 2005.

Alan Zeffertt
Mike Allen
1931 – 2017

Mike's ex-wife Rhoda Zeffertt has confirmed that sadly, Mike died shortly after his 86th birthday and had been suffering from Parkinson's Disease. He was a songwriter for Allan Crawford's Merit music when, with his writing partner Tony Day (aka Eddie Anthony), he joined Radio Atlanta. Shortly afterwards the station merged with Caroline and became Caroline South. One of the duo's songs 'Looking for Love' was recorded by John L Watson and the Hummelflugs and made an appearance in the lower end of the Caroline Top 50 in January 1965.

Mike presented a variety of programmes aboard the Mi Amigo, including the Caroline Club Magazine and the Good Guy Disc Date.

After leaving Caroline, Mike hosted freelance shows for the BBC, and wrote Jazz articles. When he moved back to his home town of Portsmouth, he joined Radio Solent and also wrote witty articles for the Portsmouth Evening newspaper.

Our sympathy to Rhoda, Mike's family members and friends.

Photo from the Robbie Dale Collection, with thanks to Jon at the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame

A feature about the song penned for the Hummelflugs by Mike and Eddie, is here

Russell Percival Tollerfield
1944 - 2017

Russell Tollerfield, the engineer who 50 years ago drew the short straw to switch off theRadio London transmitter, has died at the age of 72.

A full tribute page to Russ has been added and updated (April 29th).

Brian Matthew
1928 - 2017

Although it is impossible to include everything that Brian achieved in his long life, we must mention the start of his broadcasting career and some of the programmes for which he became famous.

Many people will have heard his mellow voice first on the then-Light Programme's Saturday Club, but Brian's earliest radio broadcasts were in 1948, with British Forces Network. After appearing in various stage productions, he took up a two-year post in 1952, with the foreign section of Dutch overseas radio in Hilversum. In 1955, he was offered a position at the BBC as a trainee announcer. Brian recalls in his 1991 autobiography, 'This is Where I Came In', that records were still almost exclusively of the 78 rpm variety which before tape recorders were widely-used, were the main medium for news reports and dramas. He relates the perils of attempting to organise smooth continuity between records, particularly when some of the recordings ended mid-sentence at the end of one 78 and resumed on the next! Brian's BBC training included both pronunciation and annunciation – a far cry from 20th century broadcasting.

Brian announced on comedy shows such as 'Hancock's Half Hour' until, in June 1957, he was approached by producer Jimmy Grant to front a programme unlike any heard previously on BBC radio. It was called 'Saturday Skiffle Club', even though Brian admitted that at the time, he had no notion as to the nature of 'skiffle' music! The show was an immediate success and in October 1958, it evolved into 'Saturday Club', the two-hour Saturday morning programme that became a vehicle for memorable live sessions by top bands and singers. Ten months later, the programme that the BBC had thought would never attract a listenership, had an audience of 5 million. Its success brought about Brian being asked to present 'Easy Beat', a prerecorded, one-hour live-audience show, transmitted on Sunday mornings. Brian fronted episodes 1 to 468 of 'Saturday Club' before being replaced by Keith Skues and then Tom Edwards.

Above: Presenting 'Saturday Club'

Although Brian resigned from the BBC after being caught committing the ultimate corporation sin of voicing a Murraymints commercial, he continued hosting his BBC programmes on a freelance basis. His resignation left him free to record regular Pye record company shows for Radio Luxembourg and to front ATV's 'Thank Your Lucky Stars', which he did for five years.

Despite initially being somewhat underwhelmed by the Light programme's replacement station Radio One, in 1973, Brian came up with the idea for 'My Top Twelve', which he saw as a more contemporary 'Desert Island Discs'.

Between 1978 and 1990 he hosted Radio Two's arts magazine, 'Round Midnight', a nightly live programme that mixed light entertainment, music and interviews aired between 2300 and 0200. Brian enjoyed the late hour, and with acting in his blood, he especially relished featuring interviewees hotfoot from the West End stage.

From 1990, until his recent retirement, Brian hosted Radio Two's 'Sounds of the Sixties', where he gained a massive audiences, members of which he nicknamed 'Avids'. Not a huge fan of the pirates, Brian nonetheless played a request for Radio London's 50th birthday, December 2014.

A petition to reinstate him as the programme's presenter was signed by over 12,000 listeners, but sadly, Brian became gravely ill and died on April 8th.

Radio Two tribute

Charles Edward Anderson Berry Sr
Chuck Berry
1926 - 2017
"If you tried to give rock and roll another name you might call it Chuck Berry" – John Lennon

The singer/songwriter who inspired a thousand recording artists, including the Beatles and The Stones has died at his home in St Charles County, Missouri, aged 90.

The inventor of the 'duck walk' was already in his fourth decade when the Sixties started swinging. In the early years, his music was brought to a new audience when the Beatles covered 'Roll Over Beethoven', the Stones covered ''Carol' and the Beach Boys revamped 'Sweet Little Sixteen' as 'Surfin' USA'. 'No Particular Place to Go' and 'You Never Can Tell' were in both the Nationals and the Caroline charts in 1964. He made #14 in the Fab Forty of February 65 with 'Promised Land' (successfully covered by Elvis in 1974) and #13 with 'Club Nitty Gritty' in January 67. 'Back to Memphis/I Do Really Love You' featured in the final Fab Forty (060867).

Photo: Russ & Gary's "The Best Years of Music"

Chuck received many musical honours, including a Lifetime Achievement Award presented to him at the 26th annual Grammys in 1984. Towards the end of his life, ill health was beginning to take its toll and Chuck's last concert was in October 2014.

Newsday photo collection of momentous Chuck Berry moments

Russ & Gary's "The Best Years of Music" tribute

Basil Sisman
Carl Conway - one of Caroline's first DJs
February 1922 – February 2017

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.

Photo from the Caroline Annual

Carl's Pirate Radio Hall of Fame entry

Geoff Kemp
d February 2017

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.

The following year, they fulfilled a long-held ambition when they embarked on The Mother Road Tour, travelling the famous Route 66 and visiting various radio stations along the way. Paul wrote:

"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.

Mary Payne


Friend Ron Buninga:
"We got the news through a friend of Paul's sister last weekend.
So sad. Ton and I have had a nice contact with Paul and Geoff. They have been over to The Netherlands a few times and we got together on two occasions."

Links: The Rudest Shop in Britain; The Route 66 Radio Tour, Paul and Geoff's interview with the late Dave Cash.

See our story 'Radio London meets Radio Essex'

Stuart Russell
(d January 2017)

We were very sorry to learn of the death of Stuart Russell (no relation to the Caroline DJ of that name). Although Stuart had no internet access, his name will be familiar to visitors to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame, where he was a regular contributor, and to listeners to the Keith Skues Show. Stuart was a prolific correspondent with many people who will miss him, although they never met him in person.

Jon Myer, PRHoF

Stuart had been a loyal supporter of the PRHoF for many years. I will miss his regular text messages and letters. I never met him, but feel upset to learn of his death. Stuart suffered a number of mini-strokes recently and I last had a text from him on Thursday 19th when he had been awaiting treatment at Gloucester Royal Hospital for six hours.

We corresponded a lot over the years. I gather Stuart used to walk to the newsagent every day to collect newspapers for elderly neighbours, looked after people's dogs, and seemed like a thoroughly good bloke. He had a lot of friends in Exmouth and dreamed of swapping his council house in Gloucester for one in Exmouth, but it never happened.

He had strong opinions on what was wrong with Capital, the BBC, etc. and he corresponded with a number of former offshore DJs including Tony Brandon and Tom Edwards.

Keith Skues

Sad news indeed.
Stuart was a great offshore radio fan. I didn't know him personally., but he regularly sent me reams of paper about his memories of the watery wireless days. His most recent communication was a Christmas card. He was one of the 'old brigade' - no typewriter, no computer, but I believe hundreds and hundreds of archive tapes and CDs. It will be interesting to know where all his old radio archives will go.

Tony Brandon

I heard the sad news yesterday when I was telephoned by a friend who was formerly Programme Director of Saga Radio - Brian Savin. I never met Stuart but I felt I knew him well. He was a constant source of information over many years and his knowledge of the radio industry was second to none.

In common with so many I am really going to miss Stuart's many letters and texts, together with Christmas and Birthday cards.

Wolfgang Buchholz, Bonn, Germany

The news on your site that Stuart Russell passed away really shocked me.

I knew him for about twenty years, thanks to our joint memories of good old pirate days, especially those of Big L, of course. He liked to talk/write about his teens in Germany, nearby to Essen, where he had been garrisoned, I believe.

When we corresponded before last Christmas, he was looking very much forward to a visit from his old friends from here during the turn of the year.

I will bear him in good remembrance.

David Elie Phillips
Dave Gregory
25/06/1949 - 22/11/2016

Dave's long career in radio commenced with shows on Radio Northsea International in the summer of 1970 and included stints on Radio 1, Metro Radio, Essex Radio, Luxembourg and Jazz FM - with a bit of 'moonlighting' on land-based pirates thrown in. He cited fellow offshore broadcasters Tony Blackburn and Johnnie Walker as major influences. Dave's most recent broadcasts were the monthly 'Gregamix' on Solar Radio.

At the 2014 Amsterdam Radio Day, Dave participated in the RNI Panel and Chris and I enjoyed a pleasant evening over dinner with him and his wife Sue. Our deepest condolences to Sue.

Dave's Radio 1 career; Solar Radio Tribute; Pirate Radio Hall of Fame entry, with clip from Dave's first RNI show.
(Thanks to Jon Myer)

RIP Dave Cash, original Big L DJ
18 July 1942 – 21 October 2016
Link to three Radio London Tribute Pages

Ben Toney spoke to Dave's widow and says, "I had a chat with Sara on the phone, Mary, and she is overwhelmed at the outpouring of comments about Dave.

I know she will appreciate your tribute page as well.

Thank you, Mary for all the hard work you do for all of us. You are the best."

Bobby Vee (Robert Thomas Velline) died 24th October 24th
Bobby enjoyed 38 US Hot Hundred Hits, but his records appeared only twice on the Radio London playlist. 'Look at Me Girl' was Dave Dennis's climber for 24/07/66 and 'Come Back When You Grow Up' featured in the final Fab Forty, 06/08/67, although it was not scheduled for release until nearly one month later, September 1st.

Official website; Russ and Gary's Bobby Vee page


Sir Jimmy (Leslie Ronald) Young, broadcaster and singer, died 7th November.

Mike Terry has kindly sent the following tribute.

RIP Sir Jimmy Young - I first remember him on Luxembourg in he late 50s/early 60s, a weak signal in those lower power days with much fading. It was unique and exciting commercial radio beamed to the UK where there was no competitor in its genre.

When Radio London closed in '67 some thought TW (Tony Windsor) would get the mid - morning slot on Radio 1 and 2 but his illness prevented it. Instead Jimmy got the show and moulded it into a new style of broadcasting merging music with interviews, recipes and much more. Millions regularly listened, but sadly it was hardly what the youth of Britain wanted and I hated it.

Over time however we came to realise what an excellent broadcaster Jimmy was.

Guardian obituary

Don Ciccone
1946 - 2016

Don Ciccone, the lead singer of the Critters and composer of the beautiful 'Mr Dieingly Sad', has died in Ketchum, Idaho. The song was the band's biggest US success, #17 on the Billboard singles chart.

On June 10th, 1966 having only arrived back from 'exile' three days earlier, Kenny Everett was already threatening to return to 'Little L' (by which he meant Radio Luxembourg) if 'Younger Girl' the Critters' first UK release, didn't make the charts.
The Critters single had already received airplay as a climber for the week commencing May 29th, but had then skipped a week on the climbers list. Two days after Kenny's threat, it did, indeed, enter the Fab Forty and climber to #14.

A couple of months later, Kenny picked 'Mr Dieingly Sad' as his climber for 28/8/66 and it entered the Fab Forty the following week.

Radio London gave airplay to follow-ups, 'Bad Misunderstanding', 'Marryin' Kind of Love' and 'Don't Let the Rain Fall Down on Me' (Chuck Blair's climber 23/07/67), but the tracks saw little success in the UK.
(Thanks to Jon Myer)

Full obituary

Joan Marie Johnson
1944 - 2016

The Dixie Cups, Joan Marie Johnson and her cousins Barbara Ann and Rosa Lee Hawkins, began singing as a trio while still in school. Their 1964 single 'Chapel of Love' became a massive US hit in the summer of 1964.

'You Should Have Seen the Way He Looked at Me' released November 1964, was played by Paul Kaye on the fledgling Big L on 9th January 1965 and 'Iko Iko' released the following April spent several weeks on the earliest Fab Forties, climbing to #10 in the chart of, 30/05/65.

The Dixie Cups were inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in New Orleans in 2007.
(Thanks to Jon Myer)

Guardian obituary

Annette Pierson
12th March 1926 – 29th August 2016

Annette Pierson, 90, of Eastland, Texas, passed away Monday, August 29, 2016 surrounded by her family.

Known for her grace, charm and gentle kindness, Annette was also exceptionally witty and a priceless mimic.

A graduate of Abilene High School and Baylor University, Annette employed her talents as a skilled designer for D&W Furniture in Abilene before marrying her childhood sweetheart, the late Don Pierson, in 1948. They moved to Eastland in 1953 when Don acquired the local Olds-Cadillac dealership, and in 1954 Annette designed and oversaw construction of their home on Hillcrest Avenue.

Although life experiences took her around the world, she remained active in Eastland civic affairs through a number of clubs and organizations including the Civic League, Women's Club, Civic Theater and her bridge club.

Annette is survived by daughter, Marilyn Van Zandt and Larry, son, Grey Pierson and wife Paula, son by love, Reza Zaheri, granddaughter Lauren Petree, grandson Trevor Van Zandt, and great-grandchildren Ella Petree, Kendall Quirk and Shaun Quirk.

A celebration of Annette's life will be held at Edward's Funeral Home in Eastland at 2:00 PM on Saturday, September 3, 2016. Her favored charities included First Presbyterian Church of Eastland and Meals on Wheels.

Errol Bruce-Knapp
27th October 1942 – 11th August 2016

Errol, who broadcast under the name of Errol Bruce for over 45 years, was a pioneer of UK offshore radio. In interviews with Spectrum Radio, he explained how he was working in London in 1964, when he applied for a DJ job on the 4-month-old Radio Caroline. An unexpected opportunity for swift employment arose when Bryan Vaughan was rushed ashore from the Mi Amigo via lifeboat, with suspected appendicitis. (The date confirmed by the records of the Walton and Frinton lifeboats, is July 27th.) The DJs, who in the early days did not operate their own equipment, had been left without a technical operator. Bryan's unfortunate illness opened the studio door for Errol, who managed to bluff his way aboard by claiming to be familiar with the studio equipment and its operation. He soon graduated to being a DJ and spent time working aboard both Caroline ships, using the theme tune, 'I've Got a Woman' by Jimmy McGriff. When Radio England began swinging in 1966, Errol joined the team to become 'Bosscat' Bruce, then displayed his versatility by switching styles completely to broadcast on SRE's laid-back sister station, Britain Radio. On returning to Canada in 1968, Errol joined CKFH Toronto and later broadcast with CHUM-FM, Q107, CHOO and CBC.

From the 1990s onwards, Errol became renowned for his interest in Unidentified Flying Objects and his show, later a podcast, 'Strange Days... Indeed', where he conducted interviews with both UFO and other paranormal researchers.

A comprehensive tribute with audio clips is on the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame

Spectrum Radio interview

Walton and Frinton life boat plaque

Tribute on Coast to Coast AM

Photo: from Errol's personal Facebook page

Clarence Edwin 'Eddie' Blackwell

Former Radlon Sales Executive Eddie Blackwell passed away peacefully on June 20th, 2016.

It was Eddie who had the dubious honour of selling the final Big L advertising slot for August 14th 1967 – a commercial that would nowadays be outlawed, for Rothmans' Consulate cigarettes.

Geoff Pearson, Radio London's Traffic Manager, sent the following tribute:

Thank you for sending the sad news that Eddie Blackwell has passed on; very soon there will only be memories left, as time takes us all.

I worked with Eddie at 17 Curzon Street, from the end of '64 to October '66. With Dennis Maitland, he was one of our Ad Sales Execs,who so often made my life hell by booking last-minute ads, that had to have copy or tapes got to the ship for transmission. Last-minute trains from Liverpool Street via Manningtree were often the order of the day, to ensure that copy got onto the tender at Parkstone Quay. As Traffic Manager, part of my job was to plan the ad schedules that were used aboard the Galaxy. We also had to get the copy either in tape or written form, from the agencies. The fact that I was so busy was because of Eddie and Dennis and their ability to sell advertising to the the major agencies was one of the main reasons for the success of Radio London.

I can remember Eddie thumping down the stairs to our basement office with a big grin on his face saying 'I know we're probably full, but you can fit these in the morning show for me can't you?' He would leave the office giggling, followed by a missile in the form of whatever was in my hand at the time. 

Eddie was one of those genuinely nice people that you remember with a smile, people who influenced your life in some way. I was very young when I joined Radio London and almost straight out of Art School, so I had little genuine experience. I grew up during my time there and people like Eddie were always around to help if needed. 

After all these years, I still have visions of Radio London and the people I met there. The one important thing about reaching senior status, is that the world may think we are now useless, but they cannot take away our memories of those days that we changed broadcasting forever. Rest in peace, Eddie.

Gordon Sheppard:

At 'Big L', I used to have lunch with Eddie Blackwell almost every day. Every one of them was hilarious, with us laughing all the time. A real wonderful memory. Sadly, in later years, I failed to contact Eddie, so, I will just hang on to the wonderful memories that I have of him during those lunches.

Peter Flanagan, who also worked at 17 Curzon Street

Eddie's character's presence has remained in my mind, longer than many do. I just remember his behaviour towards me as kind and reasonable, and probably more so than I deserved at that age!

Keith Skues remembers

Eddie was a popular salesman with Radio London and always had time to chat with us as presenters when we came on shore leave and visited 17 Curzon Street.

Ben Toney, Willy Walker, Dave Cash, Tony Brandon and Guy Hamilton all wished to add their condolences.

Photo: Martin Powell Photography

Joan Bates
Princess Joan of Sealand
02 September 1929 – 10 March 2016

Andy Cadier, who worked for the Bates family as Radio Essex DJ Michael Cane, has forwarded the sad news that Joan Bates has died.

Joan Bates was born in Aldershot barracks to RSM Royal Artillery, to Albert Collins, and his wife, Elizabeth. The widow of Roy Bates, aka Prince Roy of Sealand, Joan was a natural beauty who lovingly devoted her life to her husband. A former carnival queen and model, Joan led quite a high profile life alongside her husband, Roy. Joan became happily engulfed by the offshore pirate radio phenomena in the early 1960s, helping to establish the popular Radio Essex. Joan and her family then went on to form their own sovereign state, the Principality of Sealand, on a wartime fortress in the North Sea in the late 60s. Roy declared the independence of Sealand on Joan's birthday, and with it, her title of Princess, in a hugely romantic gesture on 2nd September 1967.

Sealand Official website

(Right) Prince Roy and Princess Joan with the Sealand flag

Sir George Henry Martin CBE
3 January 1926 – 8 March 2016

George Martin's contribution to the Big L Fab Forties was of course, immense. He had a lifetime achievement of 30 #1 hits in the UK and 23 in the United States. The Action, Beatles, Billy J Kramer, Cilla Black, David & Jonathan, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Matt Monro and Peter Sellers all appeared in the Fab Forty with George Martin-produced singles.

"(The Beatles) had a well of creativity that I haven't seen in anybody else."

George was interviewed in 1999 at the Parisian cabaret Scheherazade by Thierry Ardisson. During the 25-minute interview, George talked of Air Studios which he built on Montserrat and of the fundraising album he recorded with a host of stars after the small Caribbean island was devastated by Hurricane Hugo. Naturally, he spoke of his relationship with the Beatles and he also reveals how he and an equally-devastated Paul McCartney helped each other to cope with the news of the murder of John Lennon. The interview ends with Thierry asking George what he thought the Beatles would have become without him - and vice versa.

Edward Stewart Mainwaring
23rd April 1941 – 9th January 2016

"There was something special about being on a pirate radio ship in the North Sea, in a roaring gale in winter. You obviously can't recreate that in a studio on land and that's what gave pirate radio its special magic and appeal to millions of listeners"

2-page Photo tribute, from friends, shipmates and listeners, with Brands Hatch pictures from Mark Roman's archive.

Stephen Chesney writes: A connection between Ed and Terry Wogan has occurred to me.  When Wogan was first given a daily afternoon show on Radio 1, he used 'Drum Diddley' by Joe Loss as his theme tune, just as Ed had done aboard Big L.

David Robert Jones
David Bowie
January 8, 1947 - 10th January 2016

It is not widely known that Radio London was very much instrumental in promoting David Bowie's early career. This tribute concentrates on 1966 and 67 and the station plugging his recordings when they were generally ignored elsewhere; it recalls the numerous appearances he made at Big L-sponsored events.

Full-page tribute

(Right) EMI publicity shot 1965


Departures from the music and broadcasting world, December 2015 - January 2016

Ian Fraser Kilmister (24 December 1945 – 28 December 2015)

Not generally thought of as a Fab Forty artist, Lemmy (then known as Ian Willis) spent four weeks on the Radio London playlist as a member of the Rocking Vickers. In tandem with Clinton Ford, the band took Ray Davis's song 'Dandy' to #21 on 13th November 66.

Over on Radio Caroline, where the Rocking Vickers were not obliged to share their glory with Clinton Ford, the single peaked at #38 on December 10th.


Stephen Carlton "Stevie" Wright (20 December 1947 – 27 December 2015)
Between 1964 and 69 Stevie Wright was lead singer with Australian group the Easybeats, widely regarded as the greatest Australian pop band of the 1960s.
'Friday on My Mind' was a hit on both Big L, Caroline and the Nationals. Picked as Tony Blackburn's climber for 2nd October 66, it spent a total of eight weeks on the Radio London playlist, climbing to #5 and 15 weeks on the Caroline Countdown of Sound, peaking at #9.


Robert Colin Stigwood (16 April 1934 – 4 January 2016)
Robert Stigwood was an Australian-born British-resident music entrepreneur and impresario. He managed Fab Forty acts Studio Six and Oscar, as well as Cream and the Bee Gees, and was credited as producer on one or two of Radio London's Pall Mall B-sides. On 13 January 1967 Stigwood signed a deal with his friend and colleague Brian Epstein to merge their two companies.


Giorgio Gomelsky (28 February 1934 – 13 January 2016)
Giorgio Gomelsky owned the Crawdaddy Club in London which boasted The Rolling Stones as its house band, and he was involved with their early management. He also managed and produced the Yardbirds. In September 1966, he launched his Marmalade Record label with The Roaring 60s 'We Love the Pirates' . This anti-MOA Radio London Club Disc of the Week with a Pall Mall B-side, reached #20 in the Fab Forty and was in both the Radio City and Caroline charts.

Jonathan Taylor
November 2015

The Radio London webmasters were sad to receive the news that Jonathan Taylor, who was involved in the Pirate BBC Essex broadcasts from the LV18 in Harwich, had passed away after a short illness. Ray Clark of BBC Essex said:

"A nice guy. The first time I met him was when he was sorting some new equipment at R Cambs. I'd said hello to this guy and was working away and suddenly I hear a phone tone of Big Lil!"

Our condolences to Jonathan's family.

(Left, Jonathan with Roger Day during the 2009 Pirate BBC Essex broadcast.)

(Thanks to Jon Myer)

Hubert Leroy Goins
Herbie Goins February 1939 – October 2015

Herbie Goins was an American singer and songwriter with a gospel background, who spent much of the late Fifties and Sixties working in England. He was with both the Eric Delaney and Chris Barber bands before becoming lead singer with Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated, in 1963. Herbie formed his own band the Night-Timers, in 1965 and the following year, spent five weeks on the Big L playlist with 'No 1 In Your Heart' - later a Northern Soul favourite. First recorded by Motown's Monitors, it peaked at #12 on the Fab Forty in July '66. 'The Incredible Miss Brown', released in September '66, failed to make it beyond the Climber list.

In 1971, Herbie moved to Italy, where he continued to work in the music business. He returned to performing in the Eighties and last toured the UK in 2009, with contemporaries Cliff Bennett and Chris Farlowe. He died in Italy aged 76.

Wikipedia entry

Billy Joe Royal
April 1942 - October 2015

Billy Joe Royal's records were not hugely successful in the UK, but five of his singles spent a total of 12 weeks on the Big L playlist, even though only one of them reached the Top Ten. Although the major Hot Hundred success, 'Down in the Boondocks' spent only one week in the Fab Forty, it remains well-loved and remembered as a Big L turntable hit. The ever-resourceful Kenny and Cash even spliced up the intro for one of their promos. 'Boondocks' had competition from a British version by Gregory Philips, but the original quickly became the outright winner.

Two of Billy Joe's later singles were DJ hit picks - 'The Greatest Love' (Willy Walker) and 'Yo Yo' (Chuck Blair). The latter reached #9 in February 1966. 'Heart's Desire' (later popular with Northern Soul enthusiasts) was a climber for two weeks in June 66 but never made the Fab Forty. I Knew You When' and 'The Greatest Love' both made the lower reaches of the Big L chart.

Most of us in the UK remained completely mystified as to the nature of a 'boondock', until 2001, when Caroline's Bud Ballou finally enlightened us. Someone who comes from the boondocks, aka 'the boonies', will be labelled even more of an outcast than someone who hails from 'way out in the sticks'! (A real-life 'nowhere man', in fact.) 'Boondocks', a Joe South composition, was the only Billy Joe Royal release to make the UK Nationals and the single also spent a few weeks in the Caroline Countdown. (Thanks to Jon Myer)

Billboard obituary

Atlantic publicity shot

Sharon Finkelstein
Sharon Tandy, September 1943 – March 2015

The Radio London website has only recently received the sad news that Fab Forty South African artist Sharon Tandy died in March 2015.

Sharon's cover of Walter Jackson's US Hot Hundred entry, 'It's an Uphill Climb to the Bottom', appeared in the Radio London chart in July 1966 for three weeks, but was never actually released. A year later Sharon's cover of Lorraine Elliison's 'Stay With Me' was picked as Tony Brandon's climber and appeared briefly in the Fab Forty close to the end of Radio London's life in 1967.

Sharon had recorded tracks in 1966 with Booker T and the MGs at the Stax studios in Memphis, and was chosen to take Carla Thomas's place on some dates of the 1967 Stax/Volt European tour, aka 'Hit the Road Stax'. She also recorded a session for John Peel's Top Gear and enjoyed 2 Top 20 hits in South Africa.

Ace Records tribute

(Thanks to Jon Myer)

1964 EMI publicity shot

Priscilla Maria Veronica White OBE
Cilla Black May 1943 - August 2015

Tribute by Mary Payne
It was a strange and sad coincidence that late on Saturday, August 1st, I was playing Cilla Black's 'What Good Am I' from the Fab Forty Top Ten of 11th June 1967, on Radio Mi Amigo. 'What Good Am I' was Cilla's last Fab Forty entry and only a few hours later, while sitting outside the Pier Hotel, we were shocked to hear the news of her untimely death. I went straight aboard the LV18 to tell Tony Currie, who was on the air, so that he was able to put together quickly a tribute montage of her popular tracks.

Cilla's recordings spent many weeks in the Fab Forty, beginning with 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling', #5 in the first-known complete Fab Forty chart from 24th January 1965. It was a success that Cilla was obliged to share with the Righteous Brothers. Her follow-up in April, 'I've Been Wrong Before', spent six weeks in the Big L chart and peaked at #9 on May 23rd. 'Love's Just a Broken Heart' was her biggest Fab Forty hit, #2 on January 30th 1966. Follow-ups 'Don't Answer me' and 'A Fool am I' made numbers 4 and 5 respectively. 'What Good Am I' was picked as Pete Drummond's climber and reached #8 on the Fab Forty.

A touring show co-promoted with a radio station was an innovation when Brian Epstein and Radio London launched Star Scene '65. Throughout October of that year. Cilla toured with stablemates Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas, while the Everly Brothers topped the bill. 

Pete Brady, who had just resigned his DJ job aboard the Galaxy, was free to host a Big L section of the show where teeshirts and records were given as prizes. Pete also wrote backstage reports for Disc, where he reported that Phil Everly was 'knocked out' by Cilla and always watched her performance from the wings.

George Martin told Brian Epstein's biographer Ray Coleman, "Brian had this sense to see in Cilla something I originally hadn't seen. I thought she was this dolly rocker from Liverpool, good and different but not in any way a ballad singer. She was a mini- skirted little girl with a brassy voice. He opened my eyes to Cilla's dramatic potential."

Cilla was awarded her OBE in 1997. She celebrated 50 years in show business in December 2013 and received a BAFTA Special Award the following year in honour of her contribution to entertainment.

George Martin quote: The Independent; Official Cilla Black site; a Canadian website tribute with video links, from Russ and Gary

Michael Valentine Doonican – Val Doonican
February 1927 – July 2015

Popular Irish singing star Val Doonican has died peacefully in a nursing home in Buckinghamshire. Val became well known not only for his best-selling recordings, but for his laid-back primetime TV shows, which he hosted from a rocking chair. However, he had an earlier, lesser-known radio career.

Alan Bailey recalls Val recording a few shows for Radio Luxembourg in London with Pat Campbell. Val and Pat had sung together in Dublin, as members of the Four Ramblers and Pat was a DJ on a 208 Decca-sponsored show, while Val was a Decca artist. Val was also a good friend of 208 DJ Keith Fordyce.

Val hosted a radio programme on the pre-Radio 2 BBC Light Programme and according to Val's Official Website, "Embarrassed the announcers terribly with some of his song titles (you try announcing...'Quit Kickin' My Dog Around' with a straight face). This led to him linking his own material at a time when regional accents were almost unknown at the BBC. However, Val's surname was still not known to his listeners - the powers-that-be in Broadcasting House, having decided that the general public would never remember a complicated surname like Doonican!"

The 'complicated' surname did not prevent Val from becoming a major star and recorded 25 Christmas Specials for BBC TV, attracting audiences of 19 million. Val admitted to the Daily Express that he had felt too embarrassed to watch them. "We'd sit as a family enjoying ourselves," he said, "But as soon as my show started, I'd nip off to another room."

Throughout the life of Radio London, Val made regular Fab Forty appearances. 'Walk Tall' was at #8 on January 10th 1965, one of the earliest-known Big L charts. A month later, the follow-up 'The Special Years' made #6, while 'I'm Gonna Get There Somehow' reached #16 at the beginning of May. Val was obliged to share the glory of #2 with Bob Lind (and no doubt the sales) at the end of March 66, when both versions of 'Elusive Butterfly' were released simultaneously. At the end of November he secured the #3 slot with 'What Would I Be' and was back at #2 in March 67. 'Two Streets' was Val's final Fab Forty entry. Picked as Tony Brandon's climber, it proceeded to climb to #11 in May 67.

One of Val's lesser-known skills was as a harmonica player, which is illustrated by a clip of him playing the theme to the Old Grey Whistle Test, 'Stone Fox Chase', with Charlie McCoy.

Val retired from performing in 2009 and enjoyed painting and drawing, donating some of his artwork to a local calendar.

Official Val Doonican site; 'Stone Fox Chase' clip; Val's paintings
(Thanks to Ray Reynolds, Alan Bailey, Jon Myer

Lynn Annette Ripley – 'Twinkle'
July 1948 - May 2015

With her long, blonde hair and fashionable clothes, Twinkle was the epitome of the female Sixties pop star. In the middle of the decade, she was a well-known 'face' on the music scene and was friendly with the likes of Brian Jones and George Harrison.

Thanks to the influence of her manager Philip Solomon, Twinkle's records were played extensively on offshore radio. Her self-penned hit 'Terry' was a huge success at the end of 1964, beginning of '65, both on the Caroline charts and the nationals and was in the earliest Radio London Fab Forties. Twinkle recorded personal promo messages for Dave Dennis and even modelled the 1965 Big L teeshirt. Her 'death disc' was banned by commercial TV companies, but surprisingly, not by the BBC.

Twinkle also wrote follow-up releases, including 'Tommy' (FF May 1965) and 'Golden Lights' (FF March 1965). Her cover of the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest Winner 'Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son' became the title track on her 1965 EP 'A Lonely Singing Doll'.

She paid two visits to the Mi Amigo during 1965 and in July, appeared at the opening of the Caroline Disc Nights at 100 Club, Oxford Street.

Unfortunately, none of the follow-ups to 'Terry' found the same success. Although Philip Solomon ensured that 'What Am I Doing Here With You' spent several weeks in the Caroline Countdown of Sound in August 66, it did not sell well, or make the Big L playlist.

When the Postmaster General threatened to kill off the pirates in December 65, Twinkle spoke out for the offshore stations. "PIrate Radio made many names famous and was the best thing to ever hit Britain this century. The BBC was old hat and stuffy... Radio Caroline sounded much more friendly," she said.

Daily Mail obituary; 45 cat copy of 'banned' single; "best thing to ever hit Britain this century" quote from 'Pop Went the Pirates' by Keith Skues.

Departures from the music and broadcasting world, April 2015

Benjamin Earl King
Ben E King (September 1938 – April 2015)

Singer and songwriter Ben E King was successful both as lead vocalist with the Drifters and a solo artist. He was regularly in the US Top Ten, and at the top of the charts with 'There Goes My Baby' and 'Save The Last Dance For Me', 'Stand By Me' and 'Supernatural Thing'. 'Stand By Me' shot back to the top when rereleased in 1986 as title song of the film of Stephen King's short story. 'Stand by Me', 'There Goes My Baby' and 'Spanish Harlem' were named as three of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll and the trio, plus 'Save The Last Dance For Me' all earned Grammy Hall of Fame Awards

In 2012, Stand by Me' took the Songwriters Hall of Fame 'Towering Song Award' and Ben E King was honoured with the 2012 Towering Performance Award for his recording of the song.

Ben co-wrote 'What is Soul', #23 in the Fab Forty in January 67 and 'Tears Tears Tears', Paul Kaye's climber for 23/04/67, which peaked at #8 on May 14th.

Numerous covers of Ben E King successes include the Duprees' 'Around the Corner', picked as Kenny Everett's cimber for 080865 and Tony Blackburn's version of 'So Much Love', released January 68.

Ben had toured the UK as recently as 2013 and continued to play US concerts till 2014, when he succumbed to ill health.

CBS News tribute


Percy Tyrone Sledge
November 1940 – April 2015

Renowned Southern soul singer Percy Sledge has died at his home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

His very first release in 1966, 'When a Man Loves a Woman' was a million-seller, for which he received a gold disc. It is reported that when the musicians went to the studio to record it, the song had no title or lyrics and was completely improvised by Percy Sledge. However, he generously gave the writing credits to band members Lewis and Wright.

The record hit #1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the R&B singles charts in the USA, made #4 in the UK Nationals and when reissued in 1987, peaked at No. 2. In May, 'When a Man Loves a Woman' was picked as Paul Kaye's climber and reached #3 in the Big L Fab 40. It topped the Caroline Countdown of Sound and was #5 on the City Sixty.

The follow-up 'Warm and Tender Love' was once again allocated to Paul Kaye and made the Top 20 on both Caroline and London in August. 'It Tears Me Up' reached the Big L Top Ten in January 1967 but although Bobby Womack composition, 'Baby Help Me' was played as part of the Big L Soul Set, it did not enter the Fab 40.

Johnnie Walker was a huge fan of soul music and when he arrived aboard Caroline and started his 'Kiss in the Car' campaign, he put Percy's love songs to good use, challenging sweethearts to win a 'Kiss in the Car' sticker by locking lips for the songs' duration.

Percy Sledge was the recipient of numerous awards. In 1989, he received the Rhythm & Blues Foundation's first Career Achievement Award and in 2005 he was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. He continued to perform to enthusiastic audiences until fairly recently, when he was struck down by illness.

Rock n Roll Hall of Fame; Percy Sledge: five best songs

Peter Young: The late Percy Sledge is mainly remembered for the deep soul classic 'When A Man Loves A Woman,' but made many other fine records. We'll hear a lot more from this great artist on Saturday's 'Soul Cellar', including a surprising number of uptempo sides from the soul balladeer.


Stanley Victor Freberg (Stan Feberg)
August 1926 – April 2015

Broadcasting legend Stan Freberg was renowned for his ability to paint believable audio pictures for his radio audiences and for making commercials listenable. He told the New York Times he loved radio from an early age. "I was such a big radio buff when I was growing up that when the other kids ran out to play baseball, I ran inside to listen to the radio," he said, naming his idols as Jack Benny and Fred Allen.

Most offshore enthusiasts will have encountered Stan's work first via hearing his parody of 'The Banana Boat Song' on Uncle Mac's Children's Favourites in the Fifties. His comedy recordings were lesser known in the UK than in the US.

In 1958, Stan launched his own ad agency, Freberg Ltd, with the slogan, "More Honesty Than the Client Had in Mind". His corporate motto was,"Ars Gratia Pecuniae" (Art of the Sake of Money). He made a living from advertising, but was never afraid of taking a pop at the industry via spoofs such as 'Green Chri$tm$' and an anti-smoking campaign. In 1960 he tackled the 'plays for pay' topic of the day via his record 'The Old Payola Blues'. In the Sixties Stan came up with six terrific promo spots for radio as an advertising medium, titled "Who Listens to Radio?", used by some of the offshore stations.

I was lucky enough to see Stan perform at London's Comedy Store in Sept 2005, He was 79 years old and although he looked a little frail and tired by the end, he was still fantastic. The show was recorded for BBC Radio 4, and hopefully will be repeated as a tribute.

Mary Payne

Guardian tribute; tribute from Stan's widow Hunter. All six 'Who listens to Radio?' promos. (Thanks to Howie Castle)


We are also sorry to learn belatedly that another of the USS Density shipmates, Bill Brandstetter, died at the end of December, aged 94. Bill is far left in the above photo.

Recent Departures from the music and broadcasting world March 2015

Yvonne Burgess (Jackie Trent) September 1940 - March 2014
Singer-songwriter Jackie Trent, who has died on the island of Menorca, made many Fab Forty appearances, although some were quite brief. The first was her huge hit, 'Where Are You Now My Love', #2 in May 1965. 'When the Summertime is Over', was Radio London Club Disc of the Week for 13/06/65, but reached no higher than #25. 'All in the Way You Look at Life' was in the FF for just one week in October, 'You Baby' made a short appearance at the end of January 66 and 'Love is Me' appeared fleetingly in March. Another major success arrived in August when 'If You Ever Leave Me' was picked as Paul Kaye's climber and proceeded to climb to the Top Twenty. 'Open Your Heart' was Keith Skues's climber at the end of January '67. Keith paid tribute to Jackie in the March 22nd edition of his BBC programme. A Cat Stevens composition 'Humming Bird' gave Jackie a FF #14 in April and Pete Drummond's climber, 'Your Love is Everywhere', made the Top Ten in July.

Only a few weeks before her sad demise, Jackie had been to the UK, where she had recorded a TV show with Ed Stewart and visited Millside Hospital Radio.

Jackie's personal website


Eric Stanley Taylor (Shaw Taylor) MBE October 1924 - March 2015

DJ, actor and presenter Shaw Taylor has died at his Isle of Wight home, aged 90. He is best remembered for fronting the long-running crime-stopper TV programme, 'Police Five' and for his catchphrase, 'Keep 'em peeled'. When Channel 5 revived Police Five in 2014, Shaw made weekly appearances at the age of 89.

Much earlier in Shaw's career, he was also a DJ on Radio Luxembourg and co-hosted EMI's long-running Friday (formerly Monday) Spectacular, with Muriel Young. It was the norm then for record companies to sponsor programming on 208. Friday Spectacular was a showcase for new EMI releases, recorded on a Monday before a young audience at the record company's Manchester Square studios in London. Tapes were then shipped to the Grand Duchy for broadcast the following Friday. The edition recorded on 8th October,1962 is significant. It is thought to be when Shaw interviewed a young, little-known Scouse quartet about their newly-released Parlophone single, 'Love me Do'. The programme was broadcast on Radio Luxembourg the following Friday, 12th October, and it is believed to have been the Beatles' first radio interview.

(Right) Shaw celebrates with fans at the Christmas recording of the Friday Spectacular, 1963

Ventnor radar tribute; Guardian obituary


Michael David Lookofsky (Michael Brown) April 1949 - March 2015

Michael Brown was the keyboard player, songwriter and co-founder of Left Banke who penned the band's Fab Forty hits. 'Walk Away Renee' was in the Big L Top 20 in October 66, 'Pretty Ballerina' just missed the Twenty in February 67. A B-Side 'And Suddenly' appeared in the chart at the end of May '67 and made #22. Radio London had chosen to play this side of the record, a departure from the usual band style found on the A,'Ivy Ivy'.

Ultimate Classic Rock tribute; Guardian obituary (thanks to Mike Barraclough)


Tanya Renee Baugus
1966 - 2015

With heavy hearts, Chris and Mary announce the untimely departure of our dear friend Tanya, the leading light of the USS Density family.

Memorial pages have been set up by Ben F Brown, Funeral Directors.

Mary Payne's personal tribute page is here.

Sad Departures February 2015

A number of recent sad departures from the music and broadcasting world.

Kenrick Des-Etages (Ebony Keyes/Lee Vanderbilt)

Simon Des-Etages has sent the sad news of the sudden death of his father in London, on February 19th.

(Left) Simon and Kenrick

Trinidadian Kenrick Des-Etages spent his life writing and playing music. He emigrated to London in the 1950s and began singing in amateur nights at his local pub. He took the stage name Ebony Keyes in 1964 and after a couple of failed releases, appeared in the Fab Forty with two self-penned songs 'Sitting in a Ring' in December 1966 and the ballad 'Cupid's House' (which was chosen as Paul Kaye's climber) in March '67.
During that month, Ebony made an appearance as an addition to the bill of the Stax-Volt tour when it played the Roundhouse.

In the Seventies, Ebony Keys became Lee Vanderbilt and collaborated with Biddu and Carl Douglas.

Kenrick was a prolific songwriter and session musician, and continued to write and perform into the Eighties and beyond. Simon has compiled a complete biography of his long musical career.


Christopher Harley (Chris Rainbow)

Chris Rainbow, who died on February 22nd was renowned for writing, producing and recording Capital Radio 194 jingles. Some of them were personalised ones for the DJs, including Kenny Everett and Tommy Vance. Kenny was a huge fan of his work and his two 1974 self-penned releases, 'Give Me What I Cry For' and 'Solid State Brain' were aired regularly on Capital. The tracks featured on the album 'Looking Over my Shoulder', for which Kenny voiced a commercial. Chris was also a vocalist with the Alan Parsons Project and Camel.

In 1977, Chris recorded a song he had written in tribute to Brian Wilson, called 'Dear Brian'. In response to the news of Chris's demise, Brian Wilson posted on his official website: "I felt really bad to hear about Chris Rainbow passing away, he was too young. I remember in the late 1970s, a friend played 'Dear Brian' for me and I was touched and honored by it. It was a beautiful track."

Ultimate Classic Rock tribute; some of Chris Rainbow's Capital jingles (thanks to Jon Myer)

Gary Owens
Radio, TV and voiceover performer Gary Owens died on February 12 at his home in Los Angeles. It was his spoof 'Kremmen's cigarettes' adverts that inspired Kenny and Cash to create the Captain Kremmen character. Gary was well-known as the announcer on Sixties cult comedy, 'Rowan and Martin's Laugh-in' and the long running children's programme'Sesame Street'. Gary was a longtime radio personality at KMPC, KFI, KIIS FM, KFWB and KKGO in Los Angeles and KEWB in San Francisco.
Variety obituary; Youtube clip of Gary (right) making one of his famous'Laugh-in' Introductions

Lesley Gore
Lesley Sue Goldstein, who was better known as singer Lesley Gore, died on February 16th. A protégée of Quincy Jones, Lesley had two singles in the Fab Forty that proved popular with subsequent RSL audiences. Jones produced 1965's 'Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows' and Bob Crewe, 1967's 'California Nights'. 'Sunshine...' has been used many times in films, TV programmes and commercials.
NPR tribute; The inspiration behind 'It's My Party'.

Sad departures December 2014 & January 2015

Alan Bown, leader of The Alan Bown Set, later known simply as The Alan Bown, died on December 16th. Facebook page.

Ian 'Mac' McLaggen, who enhanced the Fab Forties from the release of 'Sha-La-La-La-Lee' onwards as the Small Faces' keyboard player, died on December 3rd. A tribute website has been set up in Mac's memory. Small Faces website.

Little Jimmy Dickens
James Cecil Dickens, better known as Little Jimmy, because of his small stature of 4'11", died on January 2nd in Nashville at the age of 94. The Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, who specialised in humorous songs, spent five weeks in the Fab Forty over Christmas 1965 and New Year 1966, with his novelty release, 'May the Bird of Paradise Fly up Your Nose'. A two-hour funeral service was held at the Grand Ole Opry House, where the singer had performed countless times.
People.com report of funeral

Lance Percival, who died on January 6th, was well known for his talent for improvising topical calypsos, but 'Shame And Scandal In The Family/There's Another One Behind', his double-sided novelty single that spent several weeks in the Fab Forty, was not one of his own compositions. Independent obituary.

Trevor Ward-Davies, best known as Dozy, the bassist and founder of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, died on January 13th. The band, sometimes known as 'The Dozys' for short, enjoyed seven Top Ten Fab Forty appearances. Express obituary.

The Ultimateclassicrock site pays tribute to a number of musicians who departed for the Great Gig in the Sky during 2014.

Toby Walker's Soulwalking site pays R-E-S-P-E-C-T to artists who last year 'just got on board' the Long Train Running.

Added Jan 23rd

Kim Fowley, who died on January 15th, was, to put it mildly, an eccentric. In the earlier part of his musical career he specialised in producing hit novelty records. In the Sixties, he was based for a while in the UK. During that time, he did have a Radio London connection. His version of 'They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha Haa' was in the Fab Forty in tandem with the Napoleon X1V version, in August 1966. It boasted a B-side written by Mike Stone and published by Pall Mall Music.

Kim Fowley is also credited with writing the Kenny and Cash theme 'Nut Rocker', an arrangement of Tchaikovsky's "March Of The Wooden Soldiers" from the Nutcracker Suite.

Archived Obituaries – to Page 1