Two pages of Jan/Feb/March are here
The archived Happenings index is here...

Site Updates

(New May 16th, with additional info and photos added 23rd May)

Photo report from the Fort Worth premiere of Grey Pierson's brilliant new Radio England TV documentary

(New March, updated April 08) A new collection of Francis Pullen's newspaper clippings from beyond Summer 1967 and covering the Caroline ships being towed. In pages five and six, Disc and Music Echo readers are not impressed by Radio One and that includes Ringo Starr. And Norm St John is a very naughty boy! And did John Peel appear on Luxembourg in '68?

Francis says: "Just a brief thank you for including some more of my news clippings re Caroline post 3 March '68 on the website – it's very strange to read them somewhere else! Hope all is well with you both, and of course continued thanks for maintaining such a brilliant piece of our radio culture."
(Updated March 29th) April 4th marks the anniversary of the untimely demise of Kenny Everett. Our tribute pages have new clips.
(Updated March 29th) A tiny newsclipping corroborates one tiny piece of the Chuck Blair mystery (6th paragraph down)
(Updated April 11th) More about the 'Flight of the Phoenix', and the script found aboard the Galaxy.

And now, the news....

James Harrel (Jimmy) McGriff
3rd April 3 1936 – 24th May 2008

Jimmy McGriff, who recorded the memorable Radio Caroline close-down music 'Round Midnight', has died. Described on his own website as the 'World's Greatest Blues Organist', Jimmy passed away in a New Jersey nursing home. He had suffered from multiple sclerosis for some years.

Jimmy came from a musical family and was playing piano by the age of five, later switching to organ. He trained at Juilliard and the Combe College of Music in Philadelphia and also enjoyed private tutoring from Jimmy Smith. (Smith was the musician who was to play his Hammond on the deck of the Mi Amigo in 1965).

Ronan O'Rahilly was a huge fan of jazz organists, so it was not surprising that Jimmy McGriff's recording of 'Round Midnight' (a cut on his album 'I've Got a Woman') was chosen for the nightly Caroline close-down. On the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame, Alan Turner also cites the track (penned by Thelonious Monk) as being the first record ever played on Caroline.

On Svenn Martinsen's website, Carl Thompson recalls rescuing the one-and-only copy of 'I've Got a Woman' when the Mi Amigo ran aground at Walton-on-the-Naze.

"I suddenly remembered the closing theme, which was by Jimmy McGriff. I believed that there was only one copy of that; it was scratched, but it was the only one we had on board and I thought we couldn't get another one from London. So I tucked it in my shirt."

The record was handed over to the office in London and went out to Caroline's temporary home, the Cheeta II. When the Mi Amigo returned after repairs, the record was transferred back aboard.

Websites: Jimmy McGriff personal website; All About Jazz biography; Alan Turner's entry in the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame; Svenn Martinsen's Northern Star.

LV18 – star of radio, small screen and now the big screen!

Not content to playing home to various RSLs and Pirate BBC Essex, then starring in Grey Pierson's TV documentary 'Swinging Radio England – A Tale of Pirates, Texans and Teenagers', the lightship LV18 appears in full make-up as the fictional station Radio Sunshine, in the new Richard Curtis comedy, 'The Boat That Rocked'.

Tony O'Neil, Project Manager and Trustee of the Pharos Trust, the charity that owns and operates the historic ship, has issued a press release and a photo of the new movie star.

"We hope that the publicity gained from this will not only highlight our endeavours to bring the LV18 alongside permanently as a tourism and community resource but will also, through 'Film Tourism', attract many people who will want to see the vessel, due to its starring role in 'The Boat That Rocked'."

Links: Pharos Trust press release; our story 'Coming to a Cinema Near You – Offshore Radio' and also 'Fab Offshore Memories', below;Working Title Films site www.workingtitlefilms.com; Swinging Radio England – A Tale of Pirates, Texans and Teenagers; Pirate BBC Essex

Before: LV18 wearing regular lightship red enhanced by Pirate BBC Essex banner...
...After: in full makeup as 'Radio Sunshine'

Arrrrrrrrr! It be the Big 6-0 for Guy!
Guy Hamilton of Radio Essex and Radio 270 celebrated his 60th birthday at a beer festival at his local. Seeing as it was also the birthday of Jon Myer of the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame, they had a joint party where guests attempted to drink the barrels of colourfully-named beers dry.

On this auspicious occasion, Guy was presented with everything an ex-offshore jock could possibly want - a treasure chest, a Jolly Roger and piratical statuette.

(right) Guy aboard the Oceaan Seven, advertising another popular radio station

Fab Offshore Memories
The April auditions held in Dorset, for extras to appear in the Richard Curtis film 'The Boat That Rocked', brought back great memories to Maureen Joyce, sister of singer Nita Rossi. Nita's best-known Fab Forty fave is 'Untrue Unfaithful' which reached #9 on the Big L Fab Forty for October 24th 1965. Maureen naturally hopes that the film will feature some of her sister's music. (See story from The Dorset Echo.) The paper reports that the majority of the filming will take place on a boat in Portland Harbour, and street shots set in the 1960s will be filmed in Castletown. (Thanks to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame)

It's somewhat ironic that the filming of the offshore radio-inspired movie should take place in a county that never had a station off its coast!

Photos of the Timor Challenger, in full make-up for her starring role (alongside the LV18) as a fictional Sixties offshore station are here (Thanks to John Sales)

News continues on Page 2....

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