June 2005
We took a break during May, but April 2005 is
here... The archived Happenings index is here...

Big L Fab 40 Updates
(updated May 05) The first single advertised on British TV
(updated May 29th) Photos of the band with the line-up that poses more questions than answers
(updated May 29th) The Scottish sisters who recorded a Donovan song
(new April 22nd) More scrapbook photos, taken at Stewpot Mansions
And now, the news....

Fab at 200,000!
A big thank you to the many loyal visitors to the Radio London website. Our Home Page 'hit' counter reached a massive 200,000 on Sunday, June 21st! Sadly, no-one has claimed the 'Fab at 40' teeshirt prize we offered to the 200,000th visitor, so we're going to wear it ourselves if no-one comes forward!

Beach Boy 'gave away' God Only Knows!

Listening to Oldies Project, I often find myself dashing to look at the computer display and find out what band we're hearing, because OP plays so many unusual versions of well-known songs.

An unfamiliar recording of 'God Only Knows' came on and Chris said, "Who's that?" I said, "I bet it's Tony Rivers and the Castaways, because nobody else sings harmony like that." Of course, I then had to go upstairs and check, but it turned out I was right!

I sent this tale to Tony Rivers – now living in Spain. Tony replied with the following great story:

God Only Knows was given to me by Bruce Johnston (after he'd played me Pet Sounds) who told me that the Beach Boys did not plan to release it as a single!!! We made our own version of it and sank without trace (should have done Sloop John B!), BUT we released it before The Beach Boys. EMI let it come out the week before them! Not my favourite BB cover we made, but it had its own style.

Tony Rivers and the Castaways appeared only briefly in the Fab 40 with 'Come Back', but of course you can hear that on Oldies Project too!

Tony's website: www.tonyrivers.com

Pirate Clark's New York Nomination
Pirate Radio Essex (and of course, Caroline) DJ Ray Clark, was a finalist in the New York Festivals Radio Programming Awards, for the second year running. In 2004, Ray's offshore documentary 'All At Sea' was shortlisted.

This time, Pirate Clark's BBC Cambridgeshire afternoon programme was nominated in the History category for its coverage of the D-Day 60th Anniversary.
Anyone who missed Ray's 54-minute documentary, can listen to it here
More releases to make you SMiLE

"Thirty-seven years after the brilliant SMiLE album was hatched as a creative thought, you can see the music come to life in a two-disc DVD package featuring nearly four hours of material, including the documentary Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson And The Story of SMiLE, as well as an exclusive performance of SMiLE shot in its entirety in Los Angeles and nearly two hours of never-before-seen bonus footage."

For info on the Smile DVD, released June 13th, click on the sleeve photo, (left) for more info.

Brian Wilson completists can adorn their collection with the recently-published book 'Smile. The Story of Brian Wilson's Lost Masterpiece'. (Click on the jacket photo, right, for more info)

Suit you, Sir Johnnie!
The following is a sentence you thought you'd never read:

Page twenty-four of the Radio Times for 11th to 17th June contains a rather unusual photo – Johnnie Walker looking elegant in a suit!

Caroline gets a mention, when JW is described as 'a survivor from the pirate era'. (They ought to have been a little more specific and said the Sixties offshore radio era – the 'pirate era' has never ceased.

This celebrates Johnnie being polled #14 in the 'Top 40 Most Powerful People in Radio'. RT compiled their chart from 'Top 5 broadcaster' lists submitted by 70 top radio industry people. (We hesitate to use the word, 'suits' again...) JW beat fellow Radio 2 weekday afternoon host, Steve Wright, by one place.

Kevin thinks we're awesome!
Kevin Patrick writes from New York:

I contacted you several weeks ago having stumbled on your site and wrote you a few notes at the time. I love it so much – just constantly poring over the charts and all your memories. Can I become a Knees member too? (Just kidding!)

I have my own internet station and have attached a link – so you can see the mention I gave you.

Best, Kevin

Kevin's station, dedicated to John Peel and Joey Ramone, called Radio Beautiful plays "The latest releases from England and America – that in the past you read about but radio would ignore – and seminal acts from the 60's onwards. Not to mention fun songs you sometimes don't want to admit loving – and then some." The playlist is updated every Saturday.

We are flattered to find the Radio London site described as 'awesome' and 'a must for historians and budding musicologists'. Very kind of you, Kevin!

Birthdays Prompt Beer Festival Gathering

When it comes to birthday celebrations, what could be handier than a beer festival within staggering distance of home? Geminis, Jon Myer from the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame and Guy Hamilton, who enhanced a couple of Sixties offshore stations, decided a twin celebration was in order. We hear the pub had been drunk dry well before Monday, the final day of the festival.

Photo (from left): Phil Martin (Radio England/Britain Radio/Radio 355), Roger Scott/Arnold Layne (Essex, 270, 390, Caroline, RNI) – aka Greg Bance, Jon Myer, Guy Hamilton – aka Gerry Zierler (Essex, 270), Mary

New Tee Time!

We decided it was high time that Radio 270's Guy Hamilton had a replacement for the Big L teeshirt which he's shown wearing while aboard the Oceaan 7 (left). That was in 1967, so thirty-eight years later, Radio London presented Guy with a lovely new 'Fab at 40' tee. As you can see, he hasn't changed a bit and looks very fetching in his fab gear!

You can get yours here!

Close Encounter of the Florida kind!

We may look bronzed, but it was during a torrential downpour that Chris and I went with Willy Walker to a Greek restaurant run by an Armenian family in Pompano Beach, Florida! Yes, that is a bit of holly behind us. The restaurant still had Christmas decorations up!

We were pleased to be able to take Willy some personal items that had belonged to his good friend Tommy Vance, plus, of course, a 'Fab at 40' teeshirt, ideal for wearing for his job as a yacht captain!

Anything interesting happen in May while we were away?

A Reunion for the Sixties Club!

Here's one for your scrapbook.... me with the tan between DLT and Mark Sloane, in the check shirt, Keith Hampshire aka "Keefers" and JW. I was determined as we all turned sixty!!!!!!!!! this year we should have a meet. Unfortunately Roger Day couldn't make it as he was working.

I had not seen Keith for FORTY years and the same for DLT, whose birthday was on Wednesday 25th May. Keefers is the baby as he doesn't hit his 6th decade until November. A "spooky" re-union held at the Langham Hotel right opposite the BBC's BH... ironic eh?

I spent weeks trying to get all the "birthday boys" together and as I say, what a shame "Twiggy" Day couldn't make it but as he told me work is work and he called me during the evening and I put him on speaker phone so we could all chat to him.

Also in the shot is Duncan Johnson and he and I talked for a long, long time, for the first time too. What a nice man he is.

Lotsa love, Tom Edwards

(Click on photo to view a larger version)

Click on the sleeve photo to purchase

Episode Six – Love Hate Revenge

Fab 40 afficionados will be pleased to know that a 2-CD, 23-track Episode Six compilation has been released. The band, considered the Big L group, contained future members of Deep Purple, Ian Gillan and Roger Glover. Episode Six recordings were unsuccessful in the Nationals, but the band probably spent as many weeks in the Fab 40 between April 1966 and June 1967, as a number of their big-name contemporaries. They made numerous appearances at Radio London on-shore events, such as the Brands Hatch motor racing.

Graham Carter Dimmock, interviewed by Brian Long in The London Sound, said, "As far as people in the Radio London area were concerned, we were a big chart band. Everything we brought out was always in the chart. People believe what they hear and if they are being told this record's number one or number two, they believe it!"

Although the sleeve photo is from the band's psychedelic phase, their sound evolved through a number of musical styles. Additional demos and out-takes on CD 2 include a version of Burt Bacharach's 'Little Red Book' from the film 'What's new Pussycat' and 'Zip A Dee Doo Dah'. CD 1 contains all the Episode Six Fab 40 hits such as 'Put Yourself In My Place', 'I Hear Trumpets Blow', 'Morning Dew' and the Beatles' 'Here, There and Everywhere'. It also includes both tracks from a single issued in 1967, under the name of Neo Maya. The title track 'Love, Hate, Revenge' was in the Big L chart in February 1967.


Click on the cover photo to purchase

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

"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. However, author Tony Stringfellow has received information that Marc, while still Marc Feldt, appeared on stage at one of the earliest Radio London Club afternoons in April or May 1965.

Tony has delayed publication of his book in order to incorporate late-arriving vital information.

If anyone recalls seeing Marc at a Radio London Club afternoon, please would they get in touch, heading their message 'Marc Bolan' .

Webby in the News

Graham Webb sent a scan of a two-part feature about his broadcasting career, which appeared in the Coolum and North Shore News. He says:

This was in the local paper. It's the first time the story has been told with "no embellishments" and is as accurate as I could ever hope for!



Click on Part One (left) or Part 2, to read the story

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