Two pages for
Jan/Feb/March 2010

Two pages for
Oct/Nov/Dec are here
The archived Happenings index is here...

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Site Updates

(March 12th) Craise Finton KirkIn our fully updated story of the Big L anthem, there are now links to buying the song.

And now, the news...

In the US Hall of Fame at last
Musicians are not eligible for entry into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame until the 25th anniversary of their first album release, although some have been waiting much longer than that for recognition. "We started out in the ’60s — now we’re in our 60s," said Knees Club member Terry Sylvester of the Hollies, who are among this year's 25th Anniversary inductees.

The band's omission till 2010 is surprising, given that their Hall of Fame biography says: 'The Hollies charted more hits on Billboard’s Hot 100 from 1964 to 1975 than any other British band except for the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Their tally of 22 charting singles during that period bested even the Who!"

The Hollies (left) also spent many weeks in the Fab Forty and in the UK National charts, as did the many performers who benefited from their considerable songwriting skills.

Ex-Hollie Graham Nash is one of few artists to be inducted to the Hall of Fame twice, the first time in 1997 with Crosby, Stills and Nash. He told Rolling Stone he was thrilled that the honour had been bestowed on his long-term friend Allan Clarke, whom he first met in 1947, describing him as, "A very underestimated lead singer."

Allan and Graham, Bernie Calvert, Eric Haydock and Terry Sylvester attended the Ceremony at New York's Waldorf Astoria on March 15, 2010. Hollies drummer Bobby Elliott and guitarist Tony Hicks were unable to be there due to touring commitments with the current version of the band.

The Hollies had already been presented with The Ivor Novello Award for 'Outstanding Contribution to British Music' in 1993.

Terry Sylvester talks to Sirius XM DJ Dusty Street about his induction.

Midas Touch: The Very Best of the Hollies is a 2-CD, 48-track EMI compilation. All tracks are also available as MP3 downloads.

Also gaining their rightful place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are the Brill Building songwriting ensemble of Jesse Stone, Mort Shuman, Otis Blackwell, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, sadly, most of them posthumously. Members of the Brill Building collective contributed numerous tracks to the Fab Forty, including 'We've Gotta Get Out of This Place' and 'Walking in the Rain' (Mann and Weil), 'Shake, Rattle and Roll' (Jesse Stone), 'Doo Wah Diddy Diddy' and 'River Deep Mountain High' (Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry), 'Sha La La La Lee' (Mort Shuman – with Kenny Lynch) and 'Fever' (Otis Blackwell).

Cynthia Weil said at the ceremony, "From the bottom of my heart and with the greatest humility, I thought you guys would never ask."

Radio Six International celebrates 10th BIrthday
Congratulations and "Well done!" to our friend Tony Currie (right) on the 10th birthday of his internet station Radio Six International, on March 9th 2010.

LV18 plans in doubt
Although Tendring District Council had already given a positive result to the LV18 Planning Application for a permanent mooring for the historic lightship at Harwich Quay, a more recent report in the Harwich and Manningtree Standard indicates that someone is determined that the plan will not go ahead, after the council took the extraordinary step of discussing the matter behind closed doors. As one commentator asks, "If they have nothing to hide, there is nothing corrupt or underhand happening, why shouldn't the public be there?" Indeed.
Albany's links with Pirate Radio
Local news reports from Albany, New York, revealed that a young man watching the screening of 'Pirate Radio' (aka 'The Boat That Rocked') at the Spectrum Theatre, had arranged to make a public marriage proposal to his fiancée during the end credits. The prospective bridegroom had arranged for photos of the two of them to be projected on the cinescreen and as a "live Black gospel choir planted in the audience burst into 'All You Need is Love', he popped the question. Coming up the aisle as the crowd for the next showing filtered in, their giant images still looming on the screen behind them, they looked pretty happy, and way too young to have been alive in 1966, when 'Pirate Radio' takes place."

Unfortunately, the happy couple remain unnamed and nobody seems to have established the reason for 'Pirate Radio' being the young man's choice of film for the proposal.

Real pirate radio does, however, have a strong 1966 link with Albany, New York. Larry Dean had worked for WPTR Albany, prior to joining Radio England. He arrived aboard the Olga Patricia bearing a tape of PAMS WPTR jingles, which were immediately put to use on Don Pierson's new station. DJs changed their names to fit the jingles package and one of them became Chuck Blair. Another took the name of Johnnie Walker, which these days is his legal moniker

The Three in a Row for Radio London
Our friend and frequent correspondent Mike Terry has successfully put Radio London in the spotlight on Radio 2's Saturday morning programme Sounds of the Sixties, by getting three Fab Forty tracks selected by producer Phil Swern for the show's Three in a Row spot.

Two of the tracks were designated DJ climbers – Keith's 'Daylight Saving Time', which was John Peel's pick from 11th June 67 and 'Listen to My Heart' by the Bats, Tony Blackburn's climber from 11th December 66. Both singles subsequently made it into the Fab Forty. The third track, Cyrkle's 'Turn Down Day' appeared as an unassigned climber for just one week, 14th Aug 66. Sadly, SOTS failed to credit the Radio London website for this information.

Mike (who has had a record number of pirate-related requests played on SOTS over the years) has recently started a Facebook group 'Wonderful Radio London 266', for those who enjoy chatting about their favourite station and says it has already attracted many members.

Dorothy Calvert (née Rowe)
1928 – 2010

"I had a terrible struggle to keep things going and the people who worked for us, in employment."
Dorothy, on the subject of running Radio City.

(Right) *Reg had bought William the monkey as a gift for daughter Susan, but William decided he liked Dorothy best. He was often to be found perched on her shoulder, became very protective of her and was liable to attack anyone who went near her – including Reg!

Dorothy Calvert, who died on February 21st, will always be remembered as the courageous lady who took on the onerous task of running Radio City only days after her husband was shot dead and who continued to run the station successfully despite receiving threats and intimidation.

Dorothy had been so against the idea of her husband Reg running Radio City, that for a while the matter had caused a serious rift in their marriage. Therefore, it came as a shock to everyone who knew the couple that after Reg's untimely death, Dorothy chose to take over the reins of the Tower of Power, insisting on soldiering on with the Radio City broadcasts for as long as possible. She must have felt that to do so would be the best tribute she could pay to Reg. Dorothy was to prove a very competent station boss and from the staff memos she sent it is clear that she would stand for no nonsense and she knew exactly how she wanted the programming to sound. "Anything resembling jazz must be deleted," she instructed, while complaining that, "We seem to be hearing rather an over-abundance of echo."

The Calverts had married soon after WWII and Dorothy worked hard at various enterprises as she raised her daughters Susan and Candy. The print business, Hartex Agency, that she started from the ground floor of the family's rented Southampton home, kept bread on the table while Reg was establishing dancehalls and booking bands.

A few years later, the Calverts purchased a former stately home in Rugby, called Clifton Hall, where Reg ran a school for pop singers. It fell into decline after Reg's interests turned to acquiring and running Radio City.

"My father was always one step ahead, planning his next scheme rather than sticking to the one he had made successful," daughter Susan recalls. "My mother had to pick up the pieces and carry on managing whatever he had started. She helped to manage the groups, pay the wages, organise the dances and keep my father in check!"

TOM EDWARDS, RADIO CITY HEAD DJ, pays his own tribute

After the shooting of Reg Calvert, his widow Dorothy, with no hesitation, took over the running of Radio City transmitting from the Shivering Sands Towers. She was a strong, determined lady who not only had to cope with the death of her husband but also look after her two daughters Candy and Susan. Dorothy not only became my boss but more importantly was a friend. Her memos to me have surfaced again on sites such as The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame. Memories of 45 years ago come back in an instant as I read them.
Dorothy kept City going for many months, but after receiving a fine at Southend courts in February of 1967, she instructed me that the station would have to close down almost at once. She did promise us all that she would try to get us work and was true to her word. Both myself and Ian MacRae found ourselves on board Radio Caroline South within days, while Paul Kramer went to Caroline North. The rest as they say is history. 
After many years, I re-connected through the internet with both of Dorothy's daughters and the years just fell away. Little did we realise all those decades ago, that computers would change everyone's lives in an instant.
Last Sunday, 21st February 2010, I heard from Susan that her Mother had died. Always a strong woman, even in her early eighties, Dorothy remained young at heart. I would like to think she was proud to be the female boss of a station that is still remembered by so many to this very day.

Shivering Sands Towers still stand strong although the MOD have warned me not to go onboard as they are in a highly dangerous state. That wont stop me going to maybe have one last look this year. They remain as a reminder not only to this country's safety in WW11 but also to the change in broadcasting that began in a small way but gathered momentum over the following decades. Without doubt both Reg and then Dorothy gave me my kick start into broadcasting.
My condolences to both Candy and Susan Calvert and their respective families.
Rest In Peace Dorothy Calvert

*See Tom's first memo from new boss Dorothy, April 12th 1966, signed 'will be listening - Mrs C'.


Dorothy was my contact at Radio City, she offered me the job and was very supportive. It's so sad to hear of her passing, but at last she'll be with Reg again. Knowing them, they'll soon be planning their next business move; perhaps we'll soon be listening to Heaven Radio?

*An interview with the Sun less than a week after her husband Reg, aged 37, had been shot reveals Dorothy's courage.

Pirate Radio Hall of Fame obituary tells the story of Reg Calvert and his family and has a wonderful collection of photographs. The pages include contributions from both Susan and Dorothy herself.

Obituary in the Coventry Telegraph

*(Grateful thanks to The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame )

Marie Crofford Bailey
4 December 1926 – 15 February 2010

Mary Payne writes:
We are deeply sorry to report that Marie passed away on February 15, 2010 in Irving, Texas, after suffering from ill health for some time.

Marie was the wife of USS Density crew member Laverne (Verne) Bailey. They were a devoted couple who had been married for nearly 55 years and were instrumental in organising the popular shipmates' reunions that took place bi-annually, beginning in 1965. The organisation of these events had more recently been taken over by their daughter Tanya Baugus, with assistance from the families of other shipmates.

In September 2001, when Chris and I attended our first USS Density reunion in Dallas as representatives of Radio London, Marie, Verne, Tanya and R.V. welcomed us with open arms and immediately accepted us a part of the Density family, which made us immensely proud. Marie shared her birthday with Chris and decided to 'adopt' him as she had never had a son. We called her our Texan Mum and are privileged to have been able to do so. We loved her and shall miss her very much.

Tanya has written to say that the memorial service on February 18th went well and was a celebration of her mother's fun spirit. She also wrote:

"Dad received a letter yesterday from the WWII museum in Fredericksburg stating that they have the ship's bell on display in the Okinawa section of the museum! It took a while to get the paperwork all completed, but the bell is now on display for thousands to enjoy and experience. We were so excited to hear that, and wanted you all to know.  I told Dad I'd try to take him down there this spring to see it.  We really needed some uplifting news right now, and this was just the thing to raise our spirits! If we get to go, I'll be sure to try and get a picture of the display for you."

(Left) Marie, Tanya and R.V. with the bell at the ceremony in Fredericksburg. The story of the bell and how Ron Buninga took it back to its rightful owners, is here

Tanya's husband R.V. has written a heart-warming account of his wife's devotion to her parents, which has led to her being chosen as a finalist in The 2010 Parentgivers of the Year. We wish Tanya the best of luck with winning a well-deserved prize and hope that all our site visitors will cast a vote for her.

Of the other finalists, Tanya says, "I feel totally honored just to be included with all these people."

Neil Christian (Christopher Tidmarsh)
4 February 1943 – 4 January 2010

Neil Christian is mostly regarded as a 'one-hit wonder' from 1966 when his recording of 'That's Nice' became his only national success, a #14. His singles, however, received plenty of offshore airplay (as the advertisement, right, indicates) and he fared much better in the Fab Forty. 'That's Nice' appeared as a climber on March 3rd 1966 and spent seven weeks in the Big L chart, hitting #2 on April 17th.

Neil had already disbanded his backing group the Crusaders when he recorded his hit. Its writer Miki Dallon was friendly with Tony Windsor who, according to Micki, "Played the a**e off 'That's Nice'", which had been released on the newly-formed Strike label. When the single took off, Neil had to reassemble his band, with Richie Blackmore, Tornado Evans, Avid Andersen and Tony Marsh, in order to play live shows to promote it. It was at one of these shows, at High Wycombe Town Hall, that the band joined the Knees Club, and Neil became member #218.

The follow-up 'Oops', released in the summer of '66, proved controversial. It was banned from being played on both Ready Steady Go and Five O'Clock Club, as the lyrics were deemed overly sexually-suggestive for early-evening TV. Unfortunately for Neil, the usual formula of having your record banned resulting in a massive hit, failed to work for him. There was no ban on Radio London and 'Oops' was picked as Dave Dennis's climber, inhabited the Fab Forty for five weeks and peaked at #5 on July 24th. Caroline and Radio England were not averse to the record either and in August, Neil Christian and the Crusaders starred alongside the Small Faces on Radio England's Swinging '66 tour.

Released in October, Neil Christian's third Miki Dallon-penned release 'Two at a Time' became Norm St John's climber. Perhaps too similar in style to the two previous singles, the song enjoyed four weeks of Fab Forty action, but reached only #25. However, 'Two at a Time' captured the public imagination in Germany and became a big hit there gaining Neil a new fan base.

Neil Christian is understood to have died following a long battle with cancer.

More info about Neil Christian and the Crusaders here. The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame has a recording of Jerry Smithwich reading a promo for the tour.

Funny how one thing leads to another...
Keith Geddes kindly drew my attention to a really great collection of (post-Big L era) Kenny Everett audio clips posted on Youtube. The only thing wrong with the accompanying slideshow is that a photo of the wrong Roger Scott has been used.

Listening to the clips, it struck me that when you come to the part where Harry Nilsson is singing 'Morning Glory Story' to a backing track, the track sounds remarkably like 'Craise Finton Kirk'!

Documentary-maker Paul Rowley agreed with me and then pointed me to a clip of DLT introducing Johnny Young on Beat Club – the German version of Top of the Pops...Which led me to spotting another very significant clip... Which led me to me completely rewriting and updating the story of 'Craise F(r)inton Kirk'.

(Thanks to Keith Geddes, Jon Myer and Paul Rowley)

Good News from Haiti
Sharona Elsaieh, the daughter of the late founder of offshore station Voice of Peace, Abie Nathan, has managed to contact her family. Sharona, who lives in Haiti with her husband Ynet, had not been heard from since the earthquake struck the island of Hispaniola on January 12th. (Thanks to Hans Knot)

Hermitage FM now on the internet
99.2 Hermitage FM, the new community station for North West Leicestershire, which officially launched on Saturday 14th November, has now gone international, as it can be heard via the net. Station founder and offshore radio fan Jon Sketchley presents an afternoon show 1400 to 1600 daily except Saturday. (Thanks to John Sale

Norm's on the Road to Recovery (updated 29/01)
Norm St John has written from Australia, where he has been recuperating from a nasty illness.

I hope that you had a really happy birthday Mary, I am sorry that I could not make it over. Unfortunately I have not been well and it ended with a spell in hospital, where I was suffering from double pneumonia. I am still in recovery mode and spending three weeks in Victoria, whilst slowly on the mend. The doctors say it will be at least another four-to-six weeks.

I do not have his address, but would you please pass on to Mich (our steward on Big L) my best wishes. He came from Haiti and whilst it was a long time ago, he may still have relatives living there who may have passed away in the recent earthquake.

We are very relieved to hear that Norm (left, aboard LV18 during Pirate BBC Essex, Easter 2009) is on the mend and have passed on many 'get well' messages from former shipmates, such as Ed Stewpot, Cardboard Shoes and Ian Damon and from the friends he made during Pirate BBC Essex.

On behalf of all our site visitors, we send our very best wishes to Norm for a speedy recovery and of course to Mich Philistin and his wife Jeanne, who must be going through an unbearably anxious and distressing time.

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