July/August/September 2006

The archived Happenings index is here...

(Aug 11th) A forgotten chapter of the Galaxy's history, when the redundant mine-sweeping equipment was consigned to the deep.
(Aug 11th) Paul Freeman tells of his brief sojourn on Radio Essex and how he carried a coffin to No 10 Downing Street as a protest on August 14th 1967!
(Aug 11th) Page Seven of Mini-memories is updated with a photo of Lorne King's Big L identity bracelet
(Aug 11th) Radio London Holidays With DJs – John Church was the resident jock in Estartit.
(Aug 18th) – John Bobin has written the full story of his band The Fingers especially for the Radio London website.
(Sept 1st) – John Otway's Aylesbury Homecoming at the Hobble on the Cobbles
An interview with the Oldies Project team by Wim de Lang, reproduced by kind permission of Hans Knot.

September 11th , five years ago, the world experienced one of the most horrific events in its history.

After finally making contact with some of the original crew of the USS Density, (the ship that became Big L's mv Galaxy), we were in Dallas, Texas, for a reunion that would explain the history of Radio London to the assembled personnel.

We had our trusty iBook and digital camera on-hand to immediately upload the events of the reunion to our website, for the benefit of our readers. Little did we know that we would end up reporting from the US about how 9/11 had affected the American people and our very humble reunion.

You can read our reports here:

Our first reports as events unfolded

Our Reunion reports with many pictures

And now, the news....

Offshore Echoes' Radio Caroline Story update

"Radio Caroline is probably the most famous of all the offshore 'pirate' radio stations, and her story has become something of a broadcasting legend. These web pages from Offshore Echoes' look at the history of the famous offshore station, from the start of Radio Caroline and Atlanta, and include their merger, the grounding of the Mi Amigo in 1966, the Cheetah II, and more.

The latest pages conclude the story of Caroline in the 1960s, looking at the introduction of the 1967 Marine Offences Act, Caroline International and the fateful day in March 1968 when both ships were seized and forced off the air. We also look at Caroline's deejays in the 1960s.

Future parts of the Caroline story will be covering the 1970s and 80s. If you have any interesting photos, documents, audio or other items you'd like to share and see on this site, please contact us."

Click here to read the Radio Caroline story.
Bye Bye George Harrison
Achim Schultz in Germany says, "I love George, I love The Beatles, I love the 60s, I love Rock 'n'Roll ," Achim has written and recorded a tribute song to his hero. 'Bye Bye George Harrison' which includes many titles of songs written by George. Watch the video here.
A group called Riff/Raff from Berlin offers a strange combination – the hits of ABBA as they might sound if played by AC/DC! If you can't imagine the result of that, clips of Super Trouper and Take a Chance on Me can be heard on the band's website.
Eddie's Still Playing
Rosemarie Edwards from Barnsley, has written to say that she is the web designer for her friend Eddie Rambeau, whose version of Concrete and Clay was in the US charts. (See fab Forty 140365). Eddie will also be familiar to Caroline North listeners for his 1965 single 'My Name is Mud'. Eddie's 'Clock' was a climber in the Fab Forty for 6th November 66.

Eddie is still recording and is also a talented photographer and artist.

It's SeptembAAAARRR, it's ITLAPD and it's Wench Swap and Sea Shanty time!

International Talk Like a Pirate Day is THE big event for Septembaaaarrr and PARROT – Pirate Anoraks Revere Real Offshore Terminology – is proud to present a new addition to our Radio London ILAPD Supplement, to assist Radio London viewers in getting as much silliness as possible out of the occasion. The Radio London 'Sound of Music' Shanty 05 proved so populaaaaaar with singin' scurvy-sufferers, that we just 'ad ter quill anothaaaaaar fer 2006.

A large number of ex-offshore radio pirates, all experts on Marine Offences, be appearin' in our ILAPD Supplement, on behalf of Radio Caroline North and South, City, Essex, London, 270, Scotland and RNI. We even have renegades from the land-bound Radio Luxembourg! Also appearing are the Pirate BBC Essex team 2004, who arrrrr currently limbering up their cutlasses for Pirate BBC Essex 2007.

Honoraaaary Anaaaarrraks, Mark 'Cap'n Slappy' Summers and John 'Ol' Chumbucket' Baur the instigators o' International Talk Like A Pirate Day are gettin' busier and busier with public appearances, cutlass demonstrations an' book signin's every year.

On Septembaaaarrr 18th, one day before this year's BIG event, those living in the USA were able to see an ITLAPD edition of Wife Swap – retitled Wench Swap. The wench in question, Mad Sally, is telling the story of becoming a landlubber, in her diary, for the Keep to the Code website, where she says:

If I know one thing about pirates, it is this: They don't sit around and say, "If only I'd had the courage to go on that great adventure." No. Real pirates roll the dice and leap into unknown waters in search of the buried treasure within themselves. Some sink and some swim, but they have better stories to tell.

Will Mad Sally survive without the grog barrel? Will the landlubber wench cope with swillin' out the bilges, shovellin' up parrot poop and replenishing Ol' Chumbucket's chumbucket? Will Ol' Chumbucket and Cap'n Slappy convert her to their plunderin' ways and carry her off to Treasure Island? And will we ever get to see the show (or Chumbucket and Slappy for that matter) on this side o' the briny?

Mad Sally's best fashion tip from the diary:

Remember ladies: a good corset and brassard combination lifts and separates, maximizing the look of any treasure chest!

This advice may well have been heeded by the "Twenty-two vicious vixens, wanton wenches, and fresh freebooters who were ready to compete to win the heart, the hand, the hook, or some other body part, of none other than Cap' n Slappy himself!" Yes, Cap'n Slappy is on the lookout for a mate. Not a first mate, but a comely wench. (We're assuming from this that he didn't successfully capture the Wench Swap woman). The good Cap'n launched a quest for a winsome ladylove in the form of a competition called Buccaneer Bachelor – with stunning prizes for the lucky wench he chose on Septembaaaarrr 19th!

The winner, who goes by the name of Foxmorton impressed the judges with her STUPENDOUSLY CLUELESS PIRATE'S GUIDE TO CHOOSING, TRAINING and LOVING YOUR SEA BEAVER

Masters of Soul, Funk and Blues (updated 14/09)
"It's like Coke and Pepsi filming an ad together; GM and Ford executives caught swapping blueprints"

Carl Dixon, possibly the world's biggest Motown aficionado, witnessed recording sessions from an incredible musical collaboration between former Motown and Philly recording artists.

I was invited to a massive recording session by one of the producers and had the time of my life in the studio. Detroit artists singing new versions of Philly tracks and Philly artists singing Motown tracks! I was there for the Detroit singer/Philly songs sessions. Unbelievable. I am sure you will be thrilled to hear the tracks when released. Bunny Sigler was singing backing on these sessions with non other than Phil Hurtt (Detroit Spinners etc). I even sang a scratch track with Phil singing lead to one of the songs with non other than the Funk Brothers in the studio! Uriel Jones, Spider Webb, Eddie Willis and Bob Babbit. Spider counted us in and I was beside myself. It was great! The Velvelettes are now my buddies – they did some great work on a couple of tracks. Bobby Taylor was electric. Watching Lamont Dozier singing and chatting in the studio control room about his visit to the UK, was fabulous. Being kissed by Carolyn Crawford, Pat Lewis, Pree and The Velvelettes in the same week – wow! On another day I went to the Motown Museum and coincidentally, The Velvelettes were there, so we watched them perform ‘Needle in a Haystack in the 'snake pit!' (photo, left) They are due to appear in the UK in November, tour dates here.

The album is released in September and there is a number of samples on the web site, including Bobby Taylor’s terrific version of ‘Love Train’ and Bunny Sigler’s ‘Gotta give it up’, which in my humble opinion has redefined these classic tracks for both the old and a new generation. Indeed this whole project has injected something new into these timeless classics giving new and old fans the quality of production so many of us enjoyed during the sixties and seventies. There are pre orders available for the double CD and a track listing. Just listen to the ‘TSOP’ sample on the website!

Philly local newspaper feature here

Otway Pleases Cobbles Crowd (by Knees Club Founder, Mary Payne)

Sunday, August 27th was a momentous occasion for Aylesbury. A free 'Hobble on the Cobbles' concert in the Market Square had been organised by Aylesbury Showcase and John Otway was headlining as he'd done back in 1978. Read comments from the public here.

My lifelong friend and Knees Club Official Jenny and I had been there in the 1978 crowd, Jenny heavily pregnant with a daughter she named Josephine. Now it was Josephine who was the expectant mother, and later that same day, she gave birth to her second son.

Forty years to the month since he joined the Knees Club, member 338, David Stopps (right) welcomed Otway on stage as he had 28 years earlier. At the time, David was running Aylesbury's famous Friars music club. Over the years, Friars promoted the likes of David's fellow KC members David Bowie and (Ian) Gillan and innumerable famous names including Ian Dury, Genesis, the Police and of course, Otway.

Old partner-in-music Wild Willy Barrett and his magic fiddle were special guests for Louisa on a Horse, one of precious few songs to include the town of Princes Risborough in its lyrics.

Otway still did somersaults and jumped off stepladders, but wasn't quite as acrobatic as he was in '78, when he climbed the stage scaffolding and sung from the balcony of the Green Man pub, now renamed the Market Tavern.

The Bucks Herald, which carried the front page story, 'Otway Puts us Back on the Map' estimated the number of attendees as around 2,500.

Full 'Hobble on the Cobbles' photo-feature here.

Cow Top Hits
Ian MacRae's 52nd edition of his newsletter, The Radio Wave, includes the following stories: Outraged and Outspoken DJ quits on air * Cow Top Hits * L. A. Mourns Last Country Station * Number of Songs on MP3 Players Linked to Radio habits.

Another great tale of the Briny Broadcasters
This month, The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame looks back to late 1965 when an old Irish lightship, the Comet, was being converted into a spanking new radio ship in Guernsey. The PRHoF has exclusive photos and memories of the work going on as Radio Scotland began to take shape.
Engineer Tony Rock says: "The installation was like a comic opera and has a place of honour in my compilation of anecdotes spanning 40 years of international field engineering."

Back in the Offshore Family
Paul Peters responds to our recent feature, where he told the story of his brief spell on Radio Essex.

'GREAT' Thank you so very much. I now feel that I'm back and part of the family again. Radio meant so very much to me as a kid. I would ride out to Brookmans Park (the BBC Transmitters for London) and spend hours just looking up at the masts. I still do the same now. I often drive over to Minehead and on the way I pass an old BBC Station, just like Brookmans Park, the buildings have been let off to Reptile World or some such thing, but the masts are there - WONDERFUL!

There is also a little commercial Radio Station at Watchet. It's in an old boat house right on the sea wall, I sent them an e-mail and told them that whenever I pass it I think of the Pirates. Sea and Radio will always go together for me!

It's a shame Ed Stewart is no longer on Radio 2 on Sundays, as he always played a few Radio London jingles on his show nearest the 14th. I wrote to him about 9 years ago and told him about my adventures at Radio Essex. Ed phoned me at two mins to three on the 14th August, just as he was about to start his show.
"Hello, is that Paul Peters?"
I thought, who the hell is it, nobody I know around here knows me by that name?
"It's Ed Stewart here!"
"It's not!" I replied.
"It b***dy well is mate," he answered "and I'm phoning to say I'll be playing you a few Big L jingles in today's show. I thought I'd better phone, as you say you will be listening out for them on the 17th."
"Oh Gawd!" I said. "I've got the date and the Curzon Street address around the wrong way!"

Otway in the Independent

John Otway was interviewed for a four-page spread in the Independent on Sunday Magazine, published 20th August and the self-syled microstar even appeared on the front cover!

(left) Otway explains to his Aylesbury lecture audience at The Ship Inn, how falling over on The Old Grey Whistle Test proved the turning-point in his career!


Loss Jets
An anonymous contributor from Spain has drawn our attention to the official website for Los Jets, a band first established in Madrid in 1958. One-time Jets member Ricky Morales, went on to enhance the Fab Forty in June 1967, as a member of Los Brincos, with their single 'Lola'. Thanks to Terry Kay for pointing out that this is a completely different song to the one recorded later by the Kinks.
Knees Club member is 'Bark Staving Ronkers'
John Bobin, a Knees Club member whose band Fingers was in the Fab Forty in January 1967, has written Bark Staving Ronkers, a book about life as a Sixties musician which is attracting rave reviews. John says: "My book is directed towards the hundreds of thousands of Rock and Roll and Pop music fans who remember a period when their entertainment was not provided by bands that had been ‘manufactured’ by TV shows."

Sample Customer Review: Amazon USA:

A Dizzying Romp through British Music History!

This chronicle of a musician who lived at the center of the tornado that was the British music scene in the Sixties and early Seventies is chock full of names… From the early days of Maximum R & B and rock'n'roll, through the try-anything days of psychedelia to the beginnings of prog-rock, Bobin witnesses to it all - from the stifling effects of BBC control of the airwaves, when 'pirate radio' was the cool source of the hits, through experiences with major record labels looking for that next big money-making group..."

All profits from Bark Staving Ronkers are going to Cancer Research For more reviews, and purchasing information, click the book jacket, left. John has kindly written a band history especially for the Radio London website.

And talking of the Fab Forty... Cheers, Fred!

We were surprised and delighted to discover that in the September issue of Mojo (the cover photo is of Syd Barrett), Fred Dellar features our Big L Fab Forty in his Surf's Up column (subtitled Online Booty Unearthed), describing it as 'the ultimate nostalgia trip' (Short extract, right). Well done to the Fab Forty psephologists (that's 'chart-compilers' to you!) and welcome to any new visitors who have arrived here via the Mojo link.

Of course, the easy way to get straight to the Fab 40 is to go to www.biglfab40.com or via the link on our Home page!

(Many thanks to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame)

208 – It was Great!
Studio engineer and producer Alan Bailey, author of '208 – It was Great!' subtitled 'an affectionate anecdotal journey between 1958 and 1975', has now launched his own website.

Alan's book has quotes from Noel Edmonds, Dave Christian and Michael Palin, 39 pages of photos and 121 pages of wordage in ten chapters, including Chapter Three: K.E.Y.N.S.H.A.M. and Chapter Five: Swinging 60's and Beyond.
Alan tells of his first Luxy programme, where he gram-operated 'Italy Sings' a quarter-hour programme sponsored by the Italian State Tourist Office, presented by Keith Fordyce. he reminds readers that there was no 'self-op' in those days and the records played at 78rpm! Alan also lists some of the numerous recording stars he met in the course of his career and how he ended-up making his own sound effects for a Monty Python recording. (Click here for details of how to obtain the Radio Luxembourg book).

Tone's Box of Delights

Tony Nugus tells us:

Goodmayes Hospital Radio now broadcasts on the Worldwide Web. On Saturday, 12 August, I am broadcasting a live interview with Ian Damon, which will go out at 6pm. I will add music to it and rebroadcast it during one of my future shows. Tone's Box of Delights goes out on Tuesdays 2000 to 2200.

I have recently carried out an interview with Frank Allen, which now appears (without music) on the Searchers' Website. I will be airing the interview, complete with the relevant music, between 2000 and 2100, during my broadcast on the 29th August.

I have also recently interviewed Paul Burnett and David Hamilton and will broadcast those recordings in future shows.

Tony (right) and his wife enjoy a laugh with Duncan Johnson and Jon Myer at Roger Day's recent Margate lecture (see story below). Photo courtesy of Steve Szmidt.

40 years in Radio – first the topless photos, now Twiggy reveals all!
This remarkable landmark was remembered with two events in Lichfield, Staffs and Margate, Kent, in the form of "An Evening With Roger Day".

Jon Myer reports on the Margate event, which he attended with Duncan Johnson.

Roger had spent a lot of time putting together the pictures, audio and videos and, although the technology let him down on occasions, it was done well. He used a number of photos that we are familiar with, as he had "borrowed" extensively from a number of sites, including Radio London and the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame.

The main hall of the Winter Gardens is a big venue and there were, maybe, 200 people there. The main proportion of the evening concentrated on the "wet" years. Roger had pre-recorded audio messages from Bud Ballou, Keefers, Rick Randall and Graham Dene which were reminiscent of those clips on 'This Is Your Life', only without any surprise guests being flown in at the end.

His time with UBN and various ILR stations was covered very quickly with just a few photos, the message from Graham and something I had never seen before - an Aardman film, in the style of Wallace and Gromit, based on Roger doing the Breakfast Show on Radio West. That was very good and I would like to see it again.

The audience was very appreciative of the whole evening and queued up to meet the great man after the talking was done. Roger shook hands, signed autographs and posed for photos until everyone was satisfied.

In the audience was Ray Clarke from BBC Essex. We had a quick chat afterwards about the plans for Pirate BBC Essex next August. Roger announced that he has signed up to do the full week on the LV18.

There is a photo report on the Margate evening by Steve Szmidt on Martin van der Ven's site and Jon also spotted a photo feature on Roger's Lichfield evening.

New CD of Daffy Don

Kenny Tosh reports:

The New Daffy Don Allen Tribute CD is out now. Featuring rare air checks from Radio Merseyside and Manx Radio, and tributes from Daniel O'Donnell and Charlie Landsborough. Copies come complete with colour photographs, that include memorabilia from all the stations.

CDs are 15 euro or £10 inc P + P available from
Pat Rock, "Darogue", Ballymahon, Co.Longford, Ireland

Kenny Page Tribute
Carole Anderson writes:
I am the woman who created the website for the late Kenny Page a couple of years ago. Regretfully, I gave it up because I couldn't manage to keep adding any new memories to the site. Recently, I have set up a myspace page and have posted three blogs about Kenny on a myspace page

Marty on the Road Again
Joyce Wilde, wife and manager of Marty, has sent us a link to his latest tour dates.

Sounds from the North East
The subject of regional music scenes around the UK is endlessly fascinating. We've already explored the Sixties sounds of Glasgow and the bands' relationship with Radio Scotland. Now we've heard from Alan Prudhoe, based in the northeast, who co-hosts the website vintagesixtieslive.co.uk with his friend Alan Leightell. The two Alans, former members of the Avalons (Alan P) and the Astronauts (Alan L) enjoy playing Sixties music live and are encouraging other local musicians to join them for regular gigs.

The site's pages of memorabilia are lovely to browse and feature the tales of great talent, bright hopes and subsequent disappointment that have become so familiar to Radio London visitors from the stories we've been sent by members of Fab 40 bands. Particularly poignant is the newspaper clipping about the Downbeats, who won the Oxfam National Beat Contest at London's Prince of Wales theatre. Judges included Brian Epstein and Ringo Starr and the band beat eleven others to win. They must have sounded pretty impressive, so why didn't they make the big time? Sadly, it was a disappointing sequence of events that happened to so many hopefuls.

Another item on display is a letter from 1965 from an agent telling a Durham group that he can no longer offer hoped-for bookings in Germany and expressing his fears that he will go out of business. Alan says this letter 'sums up the Sixties'. We know what he means!

Many musicians are signing the site guest book and joining debates on the forum. The webmasters were stunned when they recently heard from Newcastle's famous Shadow, Bruce Welch.
I Was a Teenage Chart Freak
Chart-lovers will appreciate the above-named site, where webmaster Sir James Chart-Freak, has assembled masses of info from UK listings from the Sixties, as published in the New Musical Express. Sir James explains:

In case you wonder why I have chosen the NME over the Record Retailer chart which is used by the people who compile 'The Guinness Book Of Hit Singles', the answer is simple – the NME was the more widely-read and syndicated chart being used by (among many others) Radio Luxembourg, The Daily Express, The Daily Mail and more. Record Retailer always seemed to be about a week behind all the other charts (NME, Disc and Melody Maker). The BBC, until February 1969, used to compile a chart based on all 4 main music papers. As a result you may notice some differences from the Guinness Book, like “Please Please Me” was the first Beatle #1 in the NME – not "From Me To You", and some acts like Bobby Vee and Acker Bilk made it to number one in this chart while Dave Dee Dozy, Beaky Mick and Tich and Des O’Connor didn’t. Some records that made the NME Top 30, didn’t make the Record Retailer Top 50.

In our own comparisons between the Big L Fab Forty and UK sales-based charts, we refer to 'The Nationals'. The charts we are referring to as the Nationals are those in the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles.

The Fab Forties may not have been exactly 'sales-based', but the more you read about the published charts, the more you realise that record 'sales figures' could be interpreted in numerous ways. Visit: I Was a Teenage Chart Freak website.
News continues on Page 2....

Back to 'Kneesflashes'