December 2005
November 2005 is here...
(Updated Nov 12th) Ex-Boys Blue member Tony Hart tells of their brush with stardom
Updated Nov 19th) A correction regarding (The) Mustang
(Updated Nov 19th) A profile of West Midlands favourites, Herbie's People, by band member Michael Taylor
(Updated Nov 26th) A couple of non-climbers appear on the Big L playlist
(Updated Dec 3rd) An advert for a group who cut six singles, yet have remained incognito
(Updated Dec 10th) Gert van der Winden adds four new climbers to the Big L Fab 40 for 12/12/65
(Updated Dec 16th) Gert van der Winden identifies a DJ climber from the Big L Fab 40 for 19/12/65

Comment on the Big L Fab 40 here!
And now, the news....

Steve is still in hospital

Stephen Burnham from Norfolk (mentioned in the Children in Need story below) has had to undergo major surgery. You may have heard dedications for Steve on Cardboard Shoes's 'Pirate Radio Skues' programme on Dec 19th, when Keith played both Big Lil and Craise Finton Kirk for him. Steve's brother-in-law Brian is kindly keeping us in touch with his progress. To begin with, the surgeon was pleased with the results of the operation and Steve was sitting up and chatting and hoping that he might be allowed to go home for Christmas. However, a complication occurred and Steve unfortunately had to undergo emergency surgery on Boxing Day and will remain in Intensive Care for some days.

On behalf of everyone who has enjoyed Steve's company at various offshore gatherings, we would like to send him our best wishes for a speedy recovery in 2006.

Every Jock's Nightmare
The latest edition of Ian MacRae's newsletter, The Radio Wave , #45,
includes: Turkey gets presenter fired* Every Jock's nightmare* Radio station buys pub*

Ted Allbeury 1917 - 2005

Radio 390 founder Ted Allbeury has died at the age of 88.

Radio London founder Tom Danaher says:

Ted became my very best and respected friend in the radio business. We came close to going into the onshore radio business together when the first licenses were being granted. Ted was unsuccessful in obtaining one of the locations he felt would be good, so we never made the move. He went back to doing PR work and his writing. He did very well with his publishings. I would visit him, Graz, Lisa and Sally at Tunbridge Wells and go riding in his proudly-owned Rolls. Ted was a grand person.

Ted leaves a son David and two daughters, Lisa and Sally. A full obituary is published on The Times online.

(Photo courtesy of Keith Skues, from his book 'Pop Went the Pirates')

Chris Edwards has added an interview with Ted to the Offshore Echoes website

Tony Meehan 1943 - 2005

Born Daniel Meehan, Tony was the Shadows' drummer from 1958 to 1961 During that period, the band enjoyed many top ten hits, including number ones 'Living Doll', and 'Travellin' Light', with Cliff Richard and with instrumental releases of their own, including 'Apache'.

After leaving the band, Tony teamed up with fellow ex-Shadow, Jet Harris, and had three top ten hits in 1963.

By the time Radio London arrived, Tony was working as an a & r man for Decca. He was present in the control room during the doomed Beatles audition. Tony was the producer of three singles for Wishful Thinking, two of which were chosen as Big L climbers, but never made it into the Fab 40.

Jet Harris, writing on the Home Page of his website wrote:

"He will be greatly missed by me and I know many others. But he will be greatly remembered for his fabulous contribution to musical in peace."

Going Pirate for Children in Need

BBC Radio Stoke chose the theme of pirates for this year's fund-raising drive for Children in Need. All the presenters dressed the part, admitting that pirate gear made it difficult to wear headphones, renegades got tangled up on the leads and clip-on earrings were sheer murder on the ear-lobes!

Stuart George celebrated offshore radio during his morning show, his first live interviewee being Radio London's Mary Payne. (Click here to listen to the interview. The file is 1MB in size. Non-broadband users should download the file prior to playing.) Stuart's 'pirate' show also featured recorded contributions from Dave Cash and Peter York. Dave gave his recollections of the Kenny and Cash show and how it started from listening to the tape of Charlie and Harrigan on KLIF; Peter talked of how he had originally hoped for a job on Radio London, but ended up on Radio City. He described the weird sea-fort structures with wobbly walkways and how suprised he was to come ashore and learn of the huge popularity of the stations and the impact they were having on popular music. Stephen Burnham from Norfolk (left) who was a phone-in contibutor, writes:

"As always many thanks for a wonderful website, it's got to be the best of all the offshore radio sites.

I had Radio Stoke on all morning and part of the evening thanks to the internet, I have to admit I like Radio Stoke. I think it's got the right balance between music and speech, unlike Radio Norfolk, which has gone over more to speech than music.

Regarding the pirate day coverage on Radio Stoke, although it was good to have it running throughout the day, it was a bit weak, and I felt it was more for Radio Caroline. There were only three real jingles i.e. Caroline, Swinging Radio England and Britain radio. Why no Big L jingles? At least Radio Norfolk has used Big L jingles in the past.

I enjoyed your contribution on air - that was great. And of course Dave Cash and also Peter York, the local Staffordshire presenter who was on Radio City.

I managed also to go on air, wasn't on very long this time, as they were hoping for Caroline contributions and I am a Big L fan. At least I did manage to say something about Big L on air.

Peel Project News

Hans Knot's new edition of the International Newsletter is packed with features as usual. Amongst them are news of a restoration project on John Peel's final Perfumed Garden programme and a contribution from Rob Chapman, author of 'Selling the Sixties', regarding offshore radio listening figures. To sign up for the free emailed newsletter, contact Hans at

(Left) Hans looks great in his new Radio London teeshirt. For a larger picture, see our photo gallery.

Hans has also very kindly supplied another page of clippings for our Peel Pages.

Festive outing for the Revival Show
Kenny Tosh writes from Belfast:

Good news - The Revival Show is back! Well, all be it for December, Saturdays 1100 - 1400 for the next three weeks on Carrickfergus FM 107.6, also on the net. This is all the ex-jocks from Citybeat, when it was a good station, so I was asked to do my bit. (There are some people with good taste in music!) Time to dust off the bell ...ding ding! ...good, it's still in great working order!

New Otway World Tour Dates Announced

When John Otway guested on the Johnnie Walker Show, he revealed that his planned World Tour 2006 had been postponed from Spring to Autumn.

John has now confirmed that he will be playing a pre-tour gig on 27th October 2006 at Liverpool's Cavern Club. The tour will then depart the following day, from John Lennon airport. There are still some places for anyone wishing to participate in this once-in-a lifetime experience and full details are available on the Tour Website.

Meanwhile, this year's Mad, Bad and Dangerous Tour with the Hamsters and Wilko Johnson continues till Christmas. Website with dates and venues, here.

John Lennon Remembered
October 9th 2005 would have been John Lennon's 65th birthday and Thursday 8th December marked 25 years since the devastating day of his assassination in New York. Many stations aired programmes celebrating John's life and music.

From December 3rd to 9th, BBC Radio 2 hosted a Lennon tribute week while BBC 6 Music hosted its own Lennon Day on Thursday 8th, which included an interview with John and Yoko conducted by John Peel. BBC Radio 4's programmes include an interview, never before broadcast in the UK, with the founder of Rolling Stone magazine.

John's widow and the mother of his son Sean, Yoko Ono, has compiled a book (left) of memories of her late husband, including contributions from Mick Jagger and the late Ray Charles.

John's first wife Cynthia's biography of her late husband, called simply 'John', has just been published by Hodder & Stoughton to mark the occasion. Their son Julian has written the introduction.

Click on the jacket photos for ordering info. Read extracts from Cynthia Lennon's book, where she tells of partying at the Ad Lib club with the Who and the Stones, and how she prepared an ill-fated dinner for Peter Cook and his wife.

Please visit individual station websites for details. BBC radio is available via the internet.

The Beatles: The Biography

Bob Spitz's massive tome tells the tale of the fab four talented Liverpol lads who became prisoners of their own success. The warts-and-all biography runs to nearly 1000 pages, 32 of them devoted to photographs.

Click on the jacket photo for ordering info.

Stan Freberg Live
BBC Radio 4 Weds 7th Dec, 1830 - 1900
The BBC flew wireless wizard Stan Freberg over specially for a one-off recording at London's Comedy Store on September 19th. Alan Hardy was lucky enough to get tickets and invited Mary, Alan Field and Peter Young. It turned out to be a memorable evening, with radio legend Stan proving that the material he wrote around 50 years ago, is as durable as its creator. Stan is not only a brilliant parodist but was responsible for creating hundreds of memorable radio commercials. Jingles fans will be familiar with 'Who listens to radio?', sung by jazz singer Sarah Vaughan, where the word 'radio' is memorably rhymed with 'toast and marmalade-io'!
Why the Big L racers chose Purple-and-White
In the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame Radio London racing driver Keith St John tells how the racing team was formed, names the key members and explains why the team colours changed from purple to purple and white. The PRHoF also celebrates Radio Scotland's 40th birthday with pages of photos, memorabilia and audio clips, and the traditional Christmas Page has been updated.

More 'Wets' enter Hall of Fame
With the announcement of the Radio Academy's latest inductees to its Hall of Fame, Johnnie Walker and the late Tommy Vance join the Roll of Honour, alongside fellow 'Wets' Tony Blackburn, Kenny Everett, Stuart Henry and John Peel. (Thanks to Jon Myer).

Caroline in the Seventies
In Bob le Roi's site update:
'Scrapbook' begins a new series on Radio Caroline in the 1970s with many exclusive never-before-published photographs. 'One Subject One Link' picks up on the recent Ofcom statement about the proliferation of illegal Pirate Radio Stations.

From Beneath The Wizard's Gown – Marc Bolan Unglittered by Tony Stringfellow

Tony's book (click on cover for ordering info) is now published and he is busy promoting it. You may well catch interviews with him on radio or TV.

"The father of glam rock, Marc Bolan, was renowned for glitter, make-up, camp clothes and performances... He died at a time when his persona was still engulfed in the commercialisation of the pop character he had created, leaving the full enigma of his mind untold.

Much has been written about Marc Bolan the 'Glam Rock King' but little has touched on the person below the make-up. This book aims to do just that, inspired by a large selection of previously unpublished poetry of Bolan's, reflecting his earlier works in 'The Warlock of Love'.... This book aspires to look into the eyes of Marc Bolan, unglittered."

Marc Bolan appeared only briefly in the Fab 40, right at the end of Radio London's life, as a member of John's Children. His song, 'Sara, Crazy Child' was first published by the Radlon-associated Pall Mall Music.

Tony's website is here.

What Brian Really Wants for Christmas

A new Brian Wilson festive offering. What I Really Want for Christmas has fifteen seasonal tracks , eight of which are carols. Also included is the Beach Boys' Christmas favourite, Little Saint Nick.

Click on the sleeve for purchase details.

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