Oct/Nov/Dec 2009
Two pages for
July/Aug/Sept are here
The archived Happenings index is here...

More news... Page 2

Lucy Ann O'Donell
11th March 1963 – 22nd September 2009

The woman who, as a small child, inspired John Lennon to write 'Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds' has died following a long fight against Lupus.

The painting that inspired Lennon's song and the story behind it, are in our Sgt Pepper feature.

Lucy was a family friend of Toby Walker, who runs the Soulwalking website and he has included an obituary for her on his Respect memorial page.
(Photo courtesy of Toby.)

Bobby Graham 1940 – 2009
Bobby Graham, who died at the Isabel Hospice in Welwyn Garden City on September 14th, was "without doubt the most recorded drummer in British '60s pop, but he was an uncredited session man."

Bobby's numerous Fab Forty entries include Petula Clark's 'Downtown' and 'I Know a Place', Marianne Faithfull's 'Come and Stay With Me', Hedgehoppers Anonymous', 'Good News Week', The Fortunes', 'You've Got Your Troubles' and 'Gloria' by Them.
Bobby was the producer of Dave Berry's 'This Strange Effect', which became the Netherlands' top-selling 45 of all time.

On his personal website, Bobby had posted a diary of a typical day's work, starting at 0700 with scarcely a break before finishing the final job at 0145 the following morning. The following extract reveals the less-than-glamourous life of a session drummer.

"7.00pm: Tonight is Van Morrison & Them, and is just myself, Jimmy Page, Big Jim Sullivan, and Alan Weighall, along with American Producer Bert Berns, we put down 4 titles in a 3 hour sessions and as the other guys leave to go home (The Pub) I have to stay behind to overdub some drums on some tracks by Brian Poole, his producer Mike Smith arrives late so we don't get started until 11.15pm. "

"It was an exciting but really hard life as a session man," said Bobby, "but I wouldn't have changed it for the world."

BBC News

Thanks to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame

The Sound of the Nation – live! The Billy and Wally Extravaganza, Pontins Southport

The Radio London/Caroline 199 partnership is working hard to bring the stage show telling the story of offshore radio to more theatre audiences, featuring narratives by Roger Day and Johnnie Walker.

The latest performance went down a storm at a sold-out show at Pontin's holiday camp, Southport on October 3rd 2009. The show was part of one of the variety extravaganzas staged regularly around Merseyside by Billy Butler and Wally Scott, who have worked as DJs on a variety of local radio stations and are famous for their quiz show, 'Hold Your Plums'.

The 'Caroline 199' line-up is Ian Forshaw – lead guitar, vocals... Ian St John, pirate DJ; Keith Gunson, Bass guitar, vocals... Keith Power, pirate DJ; Peter Alcock, drums and vocals; Tony Cook, keyboards. As usual, the show was stolen by the world's most famous moose, Cousin Moosie, Superstar (seen, right, with an adoring fan) on guitar and backing vocals.

The full story of how Radio London met Caroline 199 and how the show came to fruition, is below this item, with photos from previous performances.

Caroline 199 also have their own band website with many more photos.

Below: Photos taken at Pontin's, Saturday 3rd October, 2009

Rehearsals and Sound Check
The band and dancers in full swing
A section of the packed (and appreciative) audience
Stop! In the Name of Love

See photo montage of Cavern Show

Caroline 199 also have their own website.

Right: Photos taken at the Adelphi, 28th August 2009

Caroline 199 – live! Liverpool Beatlefest 28th August
Following the successful preview on July 4th at Liverpool's Cavern Club, of 'The Sound of the Nation – Live!', the band 'Caroline 199' performed a 40-minute revamped version of the show at the Liverpool Adelphi on Friday, August 28th, as part of the massive annual International Beatles Week Festival.
It was quite something to be the first act on during a long weekend of mostly Beatle-themed performances! The show went very well and the audience seemed to greatly enjoy it. Quite a few people came into the hall when they heard the band. They were dancing, taking photos and shooting video and clearly enjoying themselves and we left them on a high.

The 'Caroline 199' line-up is Ian Forshaw – lead guitar, vocals... and Ian St John, pirate DJ; Keith Gunson, Bass guitar, vocals... and Keith Power, pirate DJ; Peter Alcock, drums and vocals; Tony Cook, keyboards and the world's most famous moose, Cousin Moosie, Superstar – guitar and backing vocals.

Radio London became involved when Ian Forshaw contacted Chris through Trevor Dann of the Radio Academy. Although they are too young to remember the 60s, Ian and fellow band member, Keith Gunson (below, left ), play Sixties music with their band and are big pirate radio fans. They attended the Radio Academy's 'A Celebration of Offshore Radio' (ACOOR) in August 2007 and were impressed and fascinated by the video material that Chris had edited together for the event.

Ian and Keith had long held an ambition to stage a live production that explained to the audience the major role of offshore radio in the decade's music scene, with 'Caroline 199' playing the songs to fit the story. Their idea was for the whole show to be an audio/visual experience, including dancers, capturing the offshore radio atmosphere. Although the band is called 'Caroline 199', the other offshore stations are by no means neglected in the show. Chris assisted by providing audio/visual material to be screened behind the stage to illustrate 60s offshore radio history. The script is by Mary Payne and the show is narrated by Roger 'Twiggy' Day.

The next ' Sound of the Nation – Live!' performance is a further extended version of the show, scheduled for October 3rd at a Pontin's Sixties event in Southport, which is sold out.

Bengt Wärmlind from Sweden has written a short review of the show, with photos. www.magicalbeatletours.com

Unfortunately, there are no individual page links, but from Bengt's Home page click on 'Beatles Week 2009', then 'Friday 28th August The Adelphi'.

Long shot of the stage from the sound and vision desk All you need is love

....talking of Fab Forty artists
John Bobin, of
the least psychedelic psychedelic Sixties band ever, Fingers, has written to tell us about his new musical venture.

I am doing some recording with John Potter – a great Rock and Roll pianist who used to be with Dr Feelgood and Wilko Johnson’s Solid Senders. On drums, we have an old pal of mine, Bill Legend, who was with me in Mickey Jupp’s band Legend and then went on to play with T Rex. Our guitarist is Dennis Masterton, from In 2 Deep and Hunt, Runt, Shunt and Cunningham. We call ourselves The Oriole Express.

We are working on an album right now and have uploaded a video onto YouTube of us playing 'Jambalaya'. It’s also on my website: www.myspace.com/johnbobin

Paul and Ray proud Gillard winners
Paul Rowley took silver at the annual Frank Gillard Awards, held in Nottingham on October 8th, for his documentary 'The Other Radio Caroline', about the much-loved, but often-overlooked Caroline North. BBC Essex breakfast show presenter and former Caroline DJ, Ray Clark, has won bronze in the Best Presenter category.

Paul Rowley says:

I was beaten by a programme by BBC Hereford and Worcester called Family Life, which had already won a Gold at the Sony Radio Awards earlier this year, so it was no disgrace to get the runner-up prize.

I'm told by one of the three judges (who argued for me to get the gold) that there was a three-way split between me, the winning entry, and a programme by BBC London about the London Assembly.
Had I won, the opening line in my acceptance speech would have been. "This is a first. Radio Caroline wins BBC award !" But I did get a nice scroll!

I've been very lucky and now have won four Gillards, a gold, two silvers and a bronze over the last eight years.

It's quite fitting a programme about pirate radio has won a silver award named after Frank Gillard. He was the BBC Director of Sound Broadcasting (classic BBC job description) during the pirate revolution, and part of his argument in overseeing the introduction of Radio 1 and BBC Local Radio in 1967, was in response to the success of the pirates.

Congratulations to both winners and you can read Paul's tribute to Mike Ahern and about Mike's favourable reaction to 'The Other Radio Caroline' here.

Radio London Kneesflashes
A nice collection of photos of the Thames Estuary forts is here.

Bob Kingsley, radio presenter and voice-over artist writes in his blog about August 14th and the demise of Big L:

My mother asked, “What on earth’s the matter? Why all the tears?”
“Ray-ray-Radio London’s k-k-closed down,” I said through my sobs.

Chris mistaken for Renegade
Real Radio Northwest have been running a competition to track down their mystery man the 'Real Radio Renegade'. Anyone thinking they spotted him was required to ask the exact question, 'Are you the Real Radio Renegade', in order to win sums of money with several zeros on the end. Naturally, the competition to catch him was hot.

Unfortunately, on Thursday in Southport, people (for reasons unknown) mistakenly thought the man with the Real money was Radio London's MD, Chris Payne (

"When the first lady asked me 'Are you the Real Radio Renegade', I was a bit taken aback, and inclined to answer, 'Well in some circles I guess I could be regarded thus!'" said Chris.

They were shouting at him from across the road and screeching cars to a halt in front of him to yell the challenger question out of the window. He couldn't go anywhere without being pestered stupid by rapidly-disappointed punters. Looking at the pics on the Real Radio website, it was hard to spot much of a resemblance between The Renegade and Chris, but some clue had obviously convinced a lot of people that he must be their man.

Chris says, "Eventually I was actually fed up with being asked and just about to call Ofcom to complain (yes, really), when it seemed to die down. I actually gave up trying to walk into the town itself because of it. The irony is that now that I've seen the picture of the man in question, I did see him while I was eating my breakfast and looking out of the window at the hotel's car park!"

This takes us back to the far-off days when daily newspapers used to have a mystery man at seaside resorts, giving away £1 notes, or if you were lucky, a fiver, to anyone who spotted him and offered the correct challenge.

Tom's a Morris Minor Fan
Knowing that Radio London's Texan founders Tom Danaher and Don Pierson had both been car dealers, we sent Tom a link to a news story. Wiltshire landlord and professional roof-thatcher Jim Goodland had customised his Morris Traveller with its own thatch, to match its 'half-timbered' elegance.

Tom responded to the story:

Hi Mary & Chris,
 So nice to hear from you and to see the Morris Minor photo. The Minor was one of my favorites.
I started my car business in 1955 with one of the first Volkswagen dealerships in the US. A short time later, Don Pierson went in the VW business in Amarillo, and that's how we met. My next move was to form another dealership to sell British cars, adding different makes until I was selling most of them: Hillman, Sunbeam, Triumph, Jaguar, Rolls/Bentley, Land Rover and Morris Minors. The Minor was one of my favorite makes. The Minor Station wagon was very popular. Don then also added a British car dealership in Amarillo. Those days in my life provide many good memories. Sometime I should tell you the whole untold story about Don's and my exploits.

If you check out the Curtiss Jenny Museum, Wichita Falls, Texas, you can see a little of my activity these days. No more far-distant crop-duster delivery trips or movie flying, but I feel privileged, at 85, just to fly the old 75mph "Jenny". Our Jenny is one of the only two that are still flyable. We try to fly it the 1st Saturday morning of each month.
I hope this finds you both well and happy, and that we will stay in contact and see each other again.

The photo (from the museum website) is Tom in his role as a uniformed guide.

Radio London Kneesflashes
A Guardian feature reveals that Geoff Travis, founder of the Rough Trade record label, was a Radio London fan who enjoyed listening to Peelie's Perfumed Garden.

Addictedtovinyl.com says that The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat) on The Doors' L.A. Woman album was supposedly inspired by XERF, the border-blaster station in Mexico where Wolfman Jack first socked it to the USA.

The WROW-AM Radio Daybreak team of Jackie Donovan and Steve Van Zandt, staged a 'Taking of Green Island' pirate stunt for 19th Septembaaar – International Talk Like A Pirate Day. (Anorak trivia: WROW is in Albany, New York - the place where Larry Dean worked on WPTA and acquired the original of several Radio England jingles including the one that gave young Peter Dingley his new moniker of Johnnie Walker.)

New Edition of 'Pop Went the Pirates'
'Pop Went the Pirates II' is a second, updated edition of Keith Skues's history of offshore radio, with additional chapters taking up the story where the first editon left off in 1994.

The weighty tome updates 'where are they now' information and covers the numerous RSLs and reunions that have taken place since – not forgetting the three Pirate BBC Essex broadcasts and the renewed interest created by the release of 'The Boat That Rocked'. Click on the book jacket to order a copy.

Keith appeared in Cambridge to recall his pirate years when the Radio Academy East Anglia honoured his 50 years in radio. He was interviewed by Radio Academy Chief Executive, Trevor Dann and the interview is available on the Radio Academy website. (Thanks to Mike Barraclough.)