The archived Happenings index is here...

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Site Updates
(Updated Feb 3rd) A third page of clippings from International Times is added to the Peel collection.
(Updated Feb 25th) Minimemories: A letter from Billboard to Radio London's MD

And now, the news....

Swinging Radio England
Chris Edwards from Offshore Echoes writes:

Radio England probably should have been one of the most successful of the 1960’s offshore radio stations, being based on Radio London, which was hugely popular with listeners, and financially rewarding for its investors.

Radio London’s business model was based on American Top 40 radio, but given an Anglicised basis. Radio England went for the full-on version of US Top 40 radio. England may have been swinging, but in the mid-60s it wasn't yet ready for all the bells and whistles of unadulterated US pop radio. Perhaps ironically, some twenty years later, offshore station Laser 558 was hugely successful with a US Top 40 format.

Radio England’s problem was that it was ahead of its time, and it didn't bring the returns it was hoped for. However with those that were ready, it retains a fond place in the memory.

Offshore Echoes are pleased to present a new Radio England website feature.

Tune in early for the Big L Fab 40!
The Oldies Project team reports that during the netcast of the Big L Fab 40 on the morning of Sunday 12th March, their internet servers reached full capacity. This is a first for Oldies Project and a clear indication of the popularity of the service they provide, which is backed up by the positive comments posted in their guestbook. Why not click on the Oldies Project icon and add your own?

Oldies Project apologises to Radio London fans who were unable to tune in on Sunday 12th and reminds listeners that if you miss the Big L Fab 40 it is repeated on Wednesday at 1800 UK time. Whenever you tune in to Oldies Project, you'll hear a great mix of music, with a couple of Fab 40 faves per hour, preceded by a Big L jingle.

Steve's Progress

Our friend Steve Burnham from Norwich is continuing to undergo hospital treatment, following a major operation in December. It's very hard going, but Steve reports that he is cheering himself up by listening to his favourite radio recordings and Pirate Radio Skues.

One of Steve's favourite DJs is Mark Roman and Mark sent him a personal get well wish which must have brightened his day considerably.

John Junkin 1930– 2006

Actor, writer and Radio Caroline DJ John Junkin has died in the Florence Nightingale Hospice, Stoke Mandeville. John is named as the first voice heard on Caroline, on Good Friday 1964, although much of the station's early output was taped and he never actually sat behind the microphone on the Fredericia.

John will be well remembered for his film and TV roles and he both contributed to and appeared in many comedy shows. One of them was Capital Radio's Sunday lunchtime comedy pop quiz, 'You Ain't Heard Nothing Yet'. Team-mate Peter Young recalls:

John was one of the most affable people you could wish to work with. His humour was always spot on, but never loud or rude. He was a gentleman who seemed happy to be part of a team, rather than the star. My favourite John Junkin performances were 'Shake' in 'A Hard Day's Night', and playing a character called 'Evelyn' in a long forgotten double act with Tony Hancock, in the 1966 ABC TV series 'The Blackpool Show'. There's a short clip of this in the Channel Four 'Heroes Of Comedy' programme on Hancock.

Fake Sex Ads on the Beeb!
The latest edition of Ian MacRae's newsletter, The Radio Wave , #47, includes a letter from Caroline's Steve Young and the following stories: Howard Stern in Sirius Trouble * Oprah's Big Contract * BBC's Fake Sex Ads * Tears Before Bedtime for Radio Promotions Girls.

All change for JW, MBE
In the year of the 40th anniversary of the start of his offshore career on Radio England, Johnnie Walker, sporting top hat and tails, collected his MBE from Buckingham Palace on Friday, February 24th, and was asked by Prince Charles about life on Radio Caroline. (If someone had read you that sentence in 1968, would you have believed it would ever come true?)

The following Monday, Johnnie announced that he will quit his Radio Two Drivetime show at the end of March to concentrate on presenting a new Sunday programme and on conducting high-profile rock interviews. Congratulations on the gong, Johnnie, and good luck with your new ventures.

The Sunday slot that Johnnie is supposedly taking over is the one currently occupied by Ed Stewart, although no official BBC statement has been issued to this effect. The Beeb has already received many protests about Drivetime being handed over to Chris Evans.

More from Mich's Photo album
The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame has two more pages of a wonderful collection of previously-unseen photos from the collection of Michel Philistin, the popular steward aboard the Galaxy. One is a glamour shot of Keith Skues in his cardboard pyjamas (but no sign of Daphne!). There's news from 'Dynamite' Dave Simser from the short-lived Tower Radio and more archive recordings, bringing the total number of audio clips on the site to 450!

New Recruits to the Pirate Fleet
In Bob le Roi's site update:
'Scrapbook' reflects back 40 years to when Swinging Radio England and Britain Radio joined the pirate fleet. Part 1 shares the two stations' great jingle history, along with some never-before published photographs. Part 2 tells of Radio Dolfijn, Radio 227 and Radio 355 occupying the Laissez-Faire after the demise of Radio England.

Weather Photo of the Week!

We are proud to announce that Mary's photo of an icy Valentine (left, © Mary Payne 2006) was chosen as BBC Weather Photo of the Week for February 13th to 19th!

Galleries of winners from previous weeks, are not archived, so we have saved the window showing Mary's pic as Weather Photo of the Week. Click on the photo to see it.

Ready Steady Radio Two!
Remember those Friday evenings in the Sixties when nobody could bear to be away from their TV at 6.00pm and miss Ready, Steady Go? The ITV show started in 1963, and soon evolved into an amazingly vibrant addition to the meagre rations of pop we had at that time. RSG is always recalled as the hippest of shows, fronted by the 'smashing, terrific' Cathy McGowan, but it didn't start out that way. The first show, presented by Keith Fordyce and David Gell, featured Pat Boone and Chris Barber. Trad jazz was still popular in 1963.

For most of us, RSG was a 'nose-pressed-against-the windowpane' experience; an exclusive club where we knew the style police would never allow us admission. We were too young to go in and couldn't even dance! But we could dream of dancing amongst those amazingly-hip slightly older kids with their Vidal haircuts, mod suits and Mary Quant dresses, displaying money and looks beyond our reach. Best of all, members of the RSG audience stood a good chance to being seen on TV, within touching distance of a famous pop star. We never gave up dreaming.

On Tuesday, February 14th, 2030 - 2130, BBC Radio 2 remembered RSG in a programme hosted by Sandie Shaw. Visit the Radio 2 website for exclusive on-line interviews and to add your own memories of the show.

Wilson Pickett 1941 – 2006

Wilson Pickett, who was nicknamed 'The Wicked Pickett' for his spirited performances, died of a heart attack on January 19th, aged 64.

The song that established Wilson as a Sixties soul legend, 'In the Midnight Hour', was penned in just one hour. Booker T and the MG's Steve Cropper had listened to some of Wilson's gospel recordings. He noticed that at the fade-out of each song, Wilson would "go into this ritual, 'I'm going to wait till the midnight hour, oh in the midnight hour' and he'd start preaching this 'midnight hour' thing". For Wilson and Cropper, the title 'In the Midnight Hour' was the one that sprang to mind immediately as the perfect song title.

Although only hitting #12 in the UK National charts, 'In the Midnight Hour' reached #2 in the Big L Fab 40 of 17th October 1965. Following it into the Fab 40 was '634-5789' (Feb '66), 'Land of 1000 Dances', 'Ninety Nine and a Half Won't Do' (a climber for two weeks in Aug '66), 'Mustang Sally' (Jan '67) and 'Everybody Needs Somebody to Love' (July '67).

Wilson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 and presented with the Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1993.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: www.rockhall.com

Soul Patrol: www.soul-patrol.com

Steve's Home
Our friend Steve Burnham from Norwich is home from hospital. Steve says:

I am back home, not feeling great, but having come through two big operations in a fortnight, not surprising I suppose. I would really like to thank you Mary and Chris for all your concern and friendship and keeping the gang informed and going through my brother-in-law for updates, and a big thank you to everyone for Monday 19th December on Keith's Pirate Skues programme for all your messages emails, etc. I just adore Big Lil and Craise Finton Kirk. That Monday evening for me was great as I heard the programme in hospital the day before my first operation. Thanks Mary, I will always remember that.

Thanks also for sending me Lil the Radio London parrot and a get well card. It arrived just as I was leaving home for hospital, so that cheered me up as well.

Steve still has further treatment to undergo, but he now has Lil to keep him company – although she clearly can't be trusted not to nick any drinks that might be left unattended!

Sick as a....
We recently unearthed a story from BBC Wales, which proves that parrots, those traditionally-seafaring pets, can actually get seasick. We've never seen a report of any complaints from Rosko's mynah bird, Alfie.

No MBKnee for the Knees Club – but we have a special Birthday Page!
Congratulations to the (self-titled, when on Radio Caroline) Sir Johnnie Walker on his award in the New Year's Honours
. No, Johnnie wasn't knighted, but was awarded an MBE, joining fellow Caroline shipmate Keith Skues in the rank of 'regally respected renegades'! Well done, JW! No MBKnee for the Knees Club's 40th birthday. January 7th 1966 was designated the first National Knees Day. Although it is unknown whether this celebration was an invention of Radio London or of KC Founder Mary Payne, but the date is regarded as the start of the club.
News continues on Page 2....

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