The Radio London Trophy Meeting,
Above scans courtesy of Martyn Hammond
The event's programme shows the impressive line-up of the The Walker Brothers, Tom Jones, the Small Faces, Paul and Barry Ryan, David Garrick, Chris Farlowe, The Pretty Things and Susan Maughan. They all made personal appearances, but did not perform, while live acts were Episode Six, David Bowie and the Buzz, John McCoy's Crawdaddies. Episode Six were signed to the Philip Birch Agency and both David Bowie and the Buzz and John McCoy's Crawdaddies – soon to change their name to The Real McCoy – played regular gigs at the Marquee Club. Radio London sponsored The Bowie Showboat, which ran from April 10th to June 12th on Sunday afternoons at the Marquee Club in Wardour Street, between 3.00 and 6.00. After a gap of a few weeks, Big L sponsored another run of The Bowie Showboat from August 21st to Nov 13th.
Ed Stewart spun the records, assisted by Keith Skues, Mike Lennox, Duncan Johnson and Mark Roman (who was celebrating his 25th birthday that week). Although the group is not listed in the programme, Keith Skues recalls the Settlers also being present.
The star attraction, The Walker Brothers, had been advertised as arriving by helicopter, but reports say that drummer Gary Leeds piloted a plane carrying the group. In that afternoon's Fab Forty, the Walkers' EP 'I Need You' had risen to #15 and a solo release by Gary, 'Twinkie-Lee' was at #28. At the height of their fame the trio was to be seen everywhere. 'Fabulous 208' (the Radio Luxembourg-associated magazine) was currently offering a full-page colour pin-up of Gary. 'Rave' was telling 'The Scott Story' and Dutch magazine 'Teenbeat' offered a pull-out Walkers poster.
A feature in the New Musical Express a year earlier had claimed that the Walkers 'loved wild, wild fans' and they certainly got them! As soon as the plane touched down, fans rushed in and surrounded it. The unfortunate Rowan Bulmer, who was the official photographer for both the Marquee Club and Ready, Steady Go! was injured when the crowd pushed him into the aircraft's still-rotating propeller. He was taken to hospital, but fortunately, he had escaped with just a minor injury.
The Walkers were not the only artists being mobbed. Sales executive Godfrey Morrow had given a lift to Brands Hatch to a young Welsh singer who'd only just vacated the #3 slot on the Fab Forty with 'Not Responsible'. It was not until Godfrey dropped him off outside the Grovewood Suite at Brands Hatch that he realised that Tom Jones was becoming a huge star. As soon as he stepped out of the car, Tom was surrounded by crowds of girls.
Above: The cause of the riots – the arrival of the Walker Brothers (Thanks to Brian Long and 'The London Sound' for the picture)
Right: John 'Hutch' Hutchinson's memoir 'Bowie and Hutch'
Below: Gary Walker participating in Pirate BBC Essex in 2009
Tom Jones was not thought previously to have performed that day, but John 'Hutch' Hutchinson, guitarist with Bowie's band (who had been christened The Buzz by Earl Richmond) has different recollections. In his book 'Bowie and Hutch', Hutchinson says that the artists who were making personal appearances on June 19th were present to receive awards. They were, however, presenting awards – the race winner trophies – on behalf of event organisers the London Motor Club. Susan Maughan and Tom Jones jointly presented the Radio London Trophy to Tony Lanfranchi, while Peter Gethin received the Arthur Howes Show Biz Trophy from the Walker Brothers. Tony Lanfranchi later signed up as Big L's official racing driver for the station's sponsored Formula 3 races.
The live acts performed from on top of the trackside control box. Hutch recalls seeing Tom Jones's backing band the Squires, doing a sound check. He thought their singer was 'looking a bit of a prat' with a white bow in his hair, which was probably a management decision to try and cash in on Albert Finney's hairstyle in his 'Tom Jones' film.
The out-of-control Walkers' fans had caused further disruption when they invaded the track before the racing had ended, causing the Les Leston championship to be delayed for twenty minutes. Police were called to clear the track, but barricades had to be erected around the grandstand where the musicians had taken refuge, to prevent more problems from the rampagers. Later, a parade of the stars around the track in vintage vehicles, which included the Big L deejays, incited another Walker fans invasion.
When it was time for them to leave, Bowie and the Buzz found the progress of their band bus, a converted ambulance, was hampered and nearly halted by a mob. This was not an attempt to reach Bowie, who was then some years off from attaining megastardom. The fans thought the van was a decoy being used as the Walkers' escape vehicle, leaving the van's occupants somewhat unnerved by the hoard's attempts to access their idols.
Someone else being mobbed that day was ship's steward, Mitch Philistin. He'd gone to the event with Duncan Johnson, who introduced him to everyone they met. Every keen Radio London listener had heard Mitch on the air, thanks to his regular appearances on TW's Coffee Breaks. Mitch, who had sailed with the Galaxy from Haiti, was still learning English. He appealed to the audience to write to him to help him with his language studies and was already receiving plenty of fan mail. Mitch found that at public events, everyone wanted his autograph, a button off his jacket, or even his tie.
Left: Mitch made a very brief appearance in the Radio London film 'Dateline Diamonds', released in April '66
The Big L deejays (who were, of course, also regarded as stars) signed autographs and posed for photos. Although Radio London owned no sophisticated outside broadcast equipment, Keith Skues used a portable recorder to tape interviews for later broadcast. Sadly, nobody seems to have kept copies.
Mike Lennox and Stewpot left the event in the yellow Lotus Elan that was on offer as the prize in the Radio London 'Win a Lotus' competition. The pair had been drinking and Stewpot, who took the wheel, had not driven a sports car previously. He got pulled over by the police for drunk driving, but got off lightly with the Law, by offering to play the officer a request. However, the pair's irresponsible behaviour caused them to be hauled over the coals by Radlon's MD, Philip Birch. The prize car was, fortunately, unscathed.
Needless to say, the motor racing fraternity was unimpressed by the appearances of such hoi polloi as radio deejays, pop stars and the shenanigans of their fans at a race meeting and scathing reports ensued in the motoring magazines. However, the Brands Hatch attendance figures doubled that day, Radio London events were to follow.
Below: Steve Marriott of the Small Faces and Tom Jones pose with a vintage Renault.
(Photo: Getty Images. Photographer uncredited )
Below: Tony Lanfranchi, winner of the Radio London Trophy
(Thanks to Brian Long and 'The London Sound' for the picture)
Below: The Big L Win a Lotus Elan competiton. Click on the picture to show a legible version. The competition (which cost 3d per column to enter) was scheduled to end on July 28th, but proved so popular that it was extended until September. Actress Diana Dors presented the car to the winner at 'King of the Stocks', another Radio London Brands Hatch meeting, this time featuring stock car racing.
(Thanks to Brian Long and 'The London Sound' for the picture)
A galaxy of stars! Tom Jones, John & Gary Walker, a newly-beardless Ed Stewart, Mark Roman and Mike Lennox.
Ed looks somewhat different from the photo on the event programme.
(Photo from the Mark Roman archives)
L. M. C. Radio London Car Races
Above scans courtesy of Martyn Hammond. Click on the righthand events programme to show a legible version
The 1967 Radio London meeting on Sunday, June 18th, was organised under much stricter controls than the previous year and it has to be said, was a much less spectacular event. Despite this, Michael Kettlewell of Autosport magazine still somewhat disapprovingly described the evening show as "a wild pop concert".
It was certainly nothing like as wild as in 1966. The Walker Brothers, whose appearance had caused so much chaos a year ago, had by then split up and this year, two of the advertised special guests were conspicuous by their absence.
During the afternoon, a parade of celebrities around the track included the Moody Blues and Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch. Listed in the programme as making personal appearances were David Bowie, 'Tristram, the Seventh Earl of Cricklewood' (the lead singer with the New Vaudeville Band), Cliff Bennett, Pink Floyd and David Garrick. We have found nothing to confirm that either Bowie or Pink Floyd (up to #11 from #39 in that day's Fab Forty) actually put in an appearance. However, Pink Floyd does seem to have cancelled several scheduled appearances around this time. The official Pink Floyd website does not list the band as being present, but a number of Floyd-related sites have picked up the Brands Hatch reference and listed it as an actual personal appearance. Some even have the visit to Brands Hatch on July 18th at Brands Hatch listed as being part of the band's 'The Piper at the Gates of Dawn' tour. Pink Floyd would surely have been invited to appear in order to promote the tour and the album of the same name, but the intention was never for them to perform. The band's LP was being championed by John Peel and was subsequently chosen as the final Radio London Album of the Week.
The above scans and advertisement below, courtesy of Chris Leith
Click on the two newspaper items to show a more legible version.
(The bottom part of the righthand one has unfortunately not scanned well)
Radio London's then-current racing driver, Keith St John, is mentioned in the Kent Messenger item as hoping to be at the wheel of his new Formula 1 McLaren Climax. The reason he was only 'hoping' to be there was that Keith was recovering from an injury sustained in a previous race. On the day, he was unfortunately still not fit to drive.
As to the missing guests, we can only speculate. However, what probably happened was that the copy to be included in the Brands Hatch programme of events had to be submitted to the printers well in advance. By the time the programme had gone to print, some of the information was no longer valid and presumably the two star acts who had received such extensive promotion in the race programme, had pulled out. The advertisement that appeared in the Chatham Standard, which would have been produced much nearer to the event date, fails to mention appearances by either Bowie or Pink Floyd, so do both of the Kent Messenger features promoting the Radio London meeting.
The Chatham Standard advertisement, (left) which strangely features a photo of a racing Minis which has no relevance to the Radio London meeting, covers all bases by adding the words 'last-minute surprises' to the guest list. However, the advert also guest lists Cream. Was this a mistake? This is the only indication anywhere, that Cream were slated to be Radio London guests at Brands Hatch, although 'Strange Brew' was up to #4 on the a Fab Forty on the day of the race meeting.
The track parade of stars was followed by the Batgers Silmos Lollies Trophy race for GT cars. Batgers, a long-established company based in Clapham, were sponsors of Stewpot's School Spot and had been running a daily competition in it, where participants had to guess which flavour lolly Mark Roman was eating. (These were sweets, rather than ice lollies). The company not only donated a trophy for the race, but also sponsored the post-racing pop show, where Stewpot and Mike Lennox welcomed on stage Episode Six (their cover of 'Morning Dew' was up to #18 in that day's new Fab Forty), Chris Farlowe (whose version of 'Moanin'' had been picked as Pete Drummond's climber) and The Shell Shock Show. Very little is known about the latter, but contemporary advertisements for club appearances indicate that the duo was also known simply as The Shell. They were two Jamaican guys named Youth and Rudy, with a sound described as 'similar to Sam and Dave'.
Back on the Galaxy, Tony Blackburn was presenting the new Fab Forty as he had also done during the Radio London Trophy Meeting the previous year. Tony interspersed the chart rundown with frequent references to what was happening at Brands Hatch and instructions on how the crowd there could win prizes. When he came to the #14 track, The Troggs' 'Night of the Long Grass', he told visitors (who were assumed to be listening at the event on their trannies) that if they could locate Mark Roman and tell him who was singing, they could win a record. Mark should not have been difficult to find, looking resplendent in his full Roman regalia! Next, Tony encouraged young ladies to seek out Marshall Mike Lennox and he then instructed The Marshall to grab the nearest girl and kiss her. Finally, it was Stewpot's turn. He had ten copies of The Hollies' 'Carrie Anne' to give away to the first ten people to reach him. The single was up this week from #2 to the top of the Fab Forty. The outcome of Tony's on-air challenges is unfortunately, unknown.
Mark Roman and Ed Stewart co-presented both the live music and the Nelbarden swimwear fashion show
(Photos from the Mark Roman archives)
In addition to the live concert, the Nelbarden swimwear company, based in Ramsgate, Kent, staged a fashion show, compered by Mark Roman and Stewpot. Brenda Cogdell from the Curzon Street offices also participated in the afternoon's activities alongside the Big L jocks.
The final racing car competition was for the Radio London Trophy, with the prize money the biggest to be awarded that day. Charles Lucas, driving an F3 Brabham-Ford BT21 won the trophy and £80, (the equivalent of £1,461.63, in 2020). His prize was presented by Mark Roman.
Feature by Mary Payne, with thanks to Brian Long for information and scans from 'The London Sound'.
June 19th 1966 (Link to today's Fab Forty)
1) Martyn Hammond, who very kindly provided the scans of the programmes for these two major Radio London racing events, also included the uncredited photo of David Bowie, below, taken at the 1966 meeting. Mark Roman tells us that Leyland had provided a small fleet of Mini Mokes like the one seen in the picture, as courtesy transport. Mark thinks the man sitting behind the Leyland driver in the vehicle behind Bowie looks a lot like Willy Walker, but Willy is believed to have been aboard the ship that week, so it must be someone else.
2) The injured photographer Rowan Bulmer 'Swinging London's Forgotten Photographer' accumulated a fantastic archive of photos of the Sixties era, many of which sadly have been lost.
3) Our 'Dateline Diamonds' feature
4) The Big L Lotus Elan competition (it cost 3d a column to enter) was scheduled to end on July 28th, but proved so popular that it was extended till September. The winner was presented with the car by actress Diana Dors at a Radio London Brands Hatch stock car racing meeting, 'King of the Stocks'. We trust it was in good condition after the Lennox and Stewpot escapade!
5) The Crawdaddies are featured on Stan Laundon's website
June 18th 1967 (Link to today's Fab Forty)
1) The history of sponsors Batgers
2) The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame has a feature devoted to the Big L racing cars which includes a photo of a trendy Mike Lennox, wearing his 1967 fab gear, that may well have been taken at the July meeting
Hundreds of people must have attended both of these Big L race meetings, so if anyone has photos, souvenirs or simply memories of these, or any of the other Radio London racing or stock-car racing events, please get in touch.