July 2005
June 2005 is here... The archived Happenings index is here...

(updated June 11th) Were there two bands called 'Sons of Fred'?
(updated June 26th) The Big L Fab 40 meets Vancouver's CFUNtastic Fifty! The mysterious Charles Dickens who toured with the Stones
(updated June 11th) News of the 'Hammers' from Hull
(updated June 26th) Compare the Big L Fab 40 with Vancouver's CFUNtastic Fifty, where nine of the Top Ten singles were British!
(updated June 5th) In the new Lost Jocks Page, 'Who Found 7', an ex-RNI jock is found in Tasmania and a staff member from Curzon Street is in Yorkshire.
And now, the news....

John William Baldry 1941 – 2005

The six-foot-seven singer known as Long John Baldry, died on July 21st in Vancouver. He had lived and worked in Canada for 25 years.

John was, first and foremost, a blues artist and founder of the British R & B scene in the early Sixties, often appearing at London's Marquee Club with the likes of the Cyril Davis Allstars and the Stones. He featured on the 1962 album 'R&B From The Marquee' and appeared on 'Around the World With the Beatles', the landmark international TV show, where he performed 'Got My Mojo Working'.

Although John's biggest success, the angst-ridden pop ballad 'Let the Heartaches Begin', occurred after the demise of Radio London, he had made two earlier Fab 40 appearances. These were in October 1965, with 'How Long Will It Last' and November 1966, with 'Cuckoo'.

The Long John Baldry website is here.

Ben Remembers Jim on Luxembourg

Several Sixties icons featured in the three-part 'where are they now and what are they doing' programme 'After They Were Famous', broadcast on ITV.

Wednesday's programme focussed on 'ex-medics', including Richard Chamberlain and Jim Dale. Hearthrob, Richard Chamberlain, whose TV role inspired an unlikely ladies' fashion in the form of 'Dr Kildare-style blouses' is now an artist in Hawaii.

Jim Dale, who turns seventy in August, is enjoying a wonderful year. He has won three 'Audies' for his audio book recordings and his just received an MBE in the Queen's birthday honours.

Many people would not recall Jim's early career beyond his many Carry On film appearances. In fact, he became an early 'teen idol', dropping the surname 'Smith' in favour of 'Dale'. As George Martin's first recording artist, he released a number of successful singles, scoring a #2 hit, Be My Girl, in 1957. He also hosted the pop programme, 6-5 Special and Thank Your Lucky Stars, including the last-ever edition. He penned the lyrics for the title song for Georgy Girl, a cinema success and a Top Five hit for the Seekers, both in the Big L Fab 40 and the national charts.

Jim's own website makes no mention of his having been a 208 DJ, but Ben Healy says he recalls listening to Jim on 208. Jim is certainly pictured in that role, in a trio of photos in the 1965 edition of the Radio Luxembourg Book of Record Stars.


Congratulations to Caroline DJ Simon Dee, who was seventy on July 28th. Simon was aboard the Fredericia from the start of broadcasting at Easter 1964 but transferred to the Mi Amigo at the Caroline/Atlanta merger. Simon famously introduced Jimmy Smith's live Hammond performance from the deck of the Mi Amigo.

Man of Action hits 70!
Congratulations to musician and songwriter, Les Reed OBE, who celebrated his 70th birthday on July 24th. Les, who has penned numerous hits, for the likes of Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdink, was of course responsible for the RNI 'Man of Action' theme.

On Radio Two's Sound of the Sixties (July 23rd), Les favoured another offshore theme, 'Image' (the Hank Levine version) as his birthday request. 'Image' is supposedly based on a five-note radio station ident.

Les won a BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) 'Million-Airs' Award to honour over three million TV and radio performances of 'It's Not unusual'. This equates to around seventeen years of continuous airplay – and that's in the US alone!

Les's own website is here.

Inshore Radio of the Offshore Kind
in Aylesbury-on-Sea!

Aylesbury in Bucks is the most unlikely place for a beach party. Why? Because it is the farthest point from the sea in the UK! This didn't stop local councillor Ray Ghent coming up with the idea for a day of fun at Aylesbury-on-Sea. Alongside imported sand for the sandcastle competitions, there were mermaids and donkey rides.

Vale Park in Aylesbury became home to a day's broadcasting by Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio. The programme was also relayed to Hemel Hempstead and St Albans hospitals, with some of their presenters taking part.

Before the 10am start time for the Outside Broadcast, back in the confines of SMHR's land-locked studio, Martin Kinch got listeners in the mood by playing many summer sounds of the sixties.

Stoke Mandeville's Chief Engineer Paul Andersson made sure the broadcast was all above board and legal, otherwise someone may have had to walk the plank. Tarmac is so hard to fall on!

Click on the studio picture (centre) for a larger view

How tickled I am, Missus!

Appropriately, the Follow That Dream label is issuing the soundtrack to Elvis's film Tickle Me, on July 18th 2005 in the UK – exactly 40 years to the date the Tickle Me EP entered the Big L Fab 40 at #30! (For more details, see the Fab 40 18/07/65). The film is available on VHS.

Fans of things extremely silly, will enjoy clicking here to visit a website where you can tickle Elvis and make him quiver and giggle!

Wonderful Friends World-wide
In the aftermath of the London bombings on July 7th, messages of concern and support were received from members of the Big L (and Density) family in the USA – California (2), Florida (2), Michigan, Nashville and Texas (2), Canada (British Columbia, Quebec,) Australia and Holland. Radio London founder Tom Danaher wrote from Texas:

Dear Mary, So many thanks for your report and my relief that you and Chris are well and safe. It's consoling to know that the entire sane part of the World is on your side. Hope none of your friends or family were affected. Best regards, Tom

Thank you all very much for your kind thoughts. Sadly, it looks as if one of the bombers was an Aylesbury resident whose house is now being searched. It is not close to where we live.
'Free the Pirates'
It has come to light that on Saturday, July 22nd, 1967, a 'Free the Pirates' concert, sponsored by Radio Caroline and starring the Move and the Pretty Things, was held at London's Alexandra Palace. Does anyone have any information or memorabilia of the event?

A Brace of Red Ships
Our friend Hans Knot, although having recently undergone surgery, took the trouble to send us a kind message after the July 7th bombings. Hans had to take a break for a while, but his latest edition of the International Newsletter is now complete and has interesting photos from Guernsey of the Ross Revenge and a picture of Radio Waddenzee's lightship LV8.

To sign up for the free emailed newsletter, contact Hans at hknot@home.nl

A site for Abie
Mike Brand tells us that former Voice of Peace DJ Tim Shepherd, has launched a site dedicated to founder Abie Nathan.

Margrave of the Marshes
Mike Terry has sent a link to a story on the Cheshire Online website, concerning the late Big L DJ – John Peel's autobiography. John's widow Sheila and his four children have now completed the book, to be called Margrave of the Marshes, which was only half-finished when he died suddenly in 2004.

Higher Frequency Radio Waves?
In the latest edition of The Radio Wave newsletter, #40, Ian MacRae asks subscribers to vote whether they prefer to receive a monthly edition, or a shorter version, sent fortnightly.

Edition #40 includes: World Record for Biggest Number of Quiz Contestants * Personal research on Michael Jackon Verdict Causes Lots of Noise * Intruder Tells Radio Host He's Not Funny Anymore * Listener Gets Candy Bar – Sues for $100,000.

A Sad Week for Soul Music

Renaldo 'Obie' Benson Jun 14 1936 – July 1st 2005

Obie Benson, whose rich bass voice and clever choreography routines were an integral part of Motown's Four Tops (left) for an amazing fifty years, has died in his birthplace of Detroit, Michigan. He last appeared with the Tops in April this year, before being beset by failing health.

Obie was also a songwriter, who co-wrote the Marvin Gaye classic What's Going On.

Sadly, only two original members of the Four Tops remain; Abdul "Duke" Fakir and Levi Stubbs. The Tops are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and were honoured last year on the floor of the Michigan Senate with a resolution marking the group's 50th anniversary. (See Happenings, June 04) They appeared at Live Aid in Philadelphia. The Four Tops graced the Big L Fab Forties with no less than nine singles.

Luther Ronzoni Vandross, 20th April 1951 – 1st July 2005

Luther Vandross has died in New Jersey, aged only 54. The award-winning singer, who sold millions of albums, suffered a severe stroke in 2003 and never fully recovered.

Luther's break came in the mid-Seventies when he became a backing singer for David Bowie.

Full obituaries for Luther and Obie can be found at Toby Walker's Soulwalking site.

The Real Story of Live Aid

Chris says: My intention was to write a feature about the original Live Aid in 1985. Why? Because at the time, I played a part in setting up and looking after all the satellite feeds for the transmission. One small problem got in the way. Where the heck is all my memorabilia of the day? On the morning of Live 8, it finally dawned on me where the file was located...

Eventually, I'll relate the story of how the whole broadcast very nearly wasn't in stereo, how on earth (or in space!) the tv signals reached more parts of the world than were previously thought possible, and why if it hadn't been for a technological first and a little control room next to the Guinness factory in Park Royal, west London, and... well, I won't spoil it!

In one of the meetings in the run-up to the broadcast, Bob Geldof gave us his message (below left), and you can see the first page of the running order of artists as it was given to us for 2nd July. According to the recent TV documentary, most of them weren't even booked by then!

Click on either pic for a larger version


The Big L Fab 40 meets the C-FUNtastic Fifty!

As many Radio London visitors who love the Big L Fab 40 enjoy looking at chart comparisons, we have added two surveys from Canada to our Fab Forties for 18/04/65 and 20/06/65. C-FUN was one of Vancouver's top stations in the Sixties and the station's weekly chart was the C-FUNtastic Fifty.

More DJ 'Nobility'!
Our friend Marc Denis in Montreal has unearthed a rare photo. Marc says:

I thought you might like to know that I have just uncovered a photo of British jock ''Lord Tim'' who spent a brief year or two on 980 CKGM Montreal (1965-1966), complete with umbrella, mellon hat and leather gloves (obvious where this dood was from, eh?) You will find this rarish shot in the History section of my CKGM Tribute site in the ''April, 23rd, 1965'' brief, under 'Lord Tim'.

On inspection, Lord Tim resembles John Steed in The Avengers, which was probably the intended 'look'. He does have his own website, and is now a successful artist.

Marc also tells us that a recording of his show from from June 23rd 1980, during CKGM's World's Longest Weekend, is 'Aircheck of the Week' on Rock Radio Scrapbook – Canada's Aircheck Website. Even after the week in question, you can download Marc's clip and discover how a weekend was stretched to NINE days!
More Personal Pics of Daffy Don
To commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the death of Daffy Don Allen (13th May 1995) two lovely collections of personal photos have been added to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame. One is from Don's close friend Kenny Tosh and the other, from 'Nutty' Norah Barnes, who ran Don's Fan Club. The July update sees the addition of Part Three of Norah's collection and a second page of Ben Healy's press cuttings. . The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame was recently contacted by Down Your Way, a Yorkshire nostalgia magazine, planning an article about Radio 270 for a forthcoming issue.

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