And now, the news...
Robin Peter Smith (Crispian St Peters)
Sadly, 'Changes', the Pied Piper from Swanley's follow-up to his huge hit, only scraped into the UK nationals at #47 and the US Hot Hundred at #57. However, it did go Top Twenty in the Radio London Fab Forty, reaching #16.
Crispian St. Peters became Knees Club member #253 at High Wycombe Town Hall on May 17th, 1966 where he was backed by Lancashire group, The Puppets. He kindly gave the Knees Club gang a lift home in his Jag. My friends and I agreed to run a fan club for him, although this project never came to fruition.
In August of the same year, Crispian starred alongside the Small Faces, Dave Berry, Wayne Fontana, Neil Christian and the Koobas on Radio England's 'Swinging '66' tour.
In his later years, Crispian had been dogged by poor health and was forced to retire from regular performances due to a stroke in 1993. His last major public performance was in 1999 at Dartford, with the Fortunes.
Crispian's official website, reports that after a recent spell in hospital, the singer had said, “I don’t think I will be around much longer. Make sure that if you write about me, don’t forget the band, they have been the best friends anyone could have.” The best friends he was talking about were the members of his most recent band, Old Crow.
Among the tributes posted on the site was one from Keith Skues, who wrote, "I was saddened to learn the news of Crispian St Peters' passing. I have always enjoying playing his music from way back in December 1965. He certainly went through the wars health-wise in the last few years and bravely battled on... At least he is now at peace.
(Thanks to Offshore Echoes and the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame)
As promised to readers in the June Hans Knot International Report, I've finally started upgrading the Offshore Radio section of my website, the first major overhaul since the feature was introduced in late 2007 in the wake of the commemorations of the 40th anniversary of the Marine Offences Act.
I'm trying to help newcomers - if you've been on various mailing lists over the years, then you've gathered a list of sites that are useful. But newcomers often don't know where to look. It's very much a "work in progress", but I've uploaded the first section, Offshore Programmes and Recordings.
The spirit of offshore radio is alive and well and there are a number of stations broadcasting recordings of archive offshore programmes. Even more are actually recreating the Veronica Top 40 charts and the RNI Top 50 from yesteryear, plus some of the "old sea-salts" are still broadcasting, so I've listed transmission days and times. Finally, there's a list of a few sites where readers can access recordings online.
Over the coming weeks, I'll be uploading my "Guide to Offshore Radio Sites on the Net" and an "Offshore Charts" section – including the majority of the 1970 RNI Charts – plus finally digging through my photo archive for pictures taken at the various offshore events I've attended in recent years. A much longer-term project is digitising the 12 scrapbooks I have of offshore cuttings and notes covering, primarily, the period from 1964-1970. Heaven knows when that will start and how long it will take!
The site will be continually updated as new/revised information comes to light. With that in mind, I'd welcome any contributions/suggestions/amendments. If readers have any websites they'd like to share details of, then please contact me.
(Photo: Hans Knot)
(Photo: Martin Van der Ven)
Excellent Maunsell Photos
Photo © 2006 Hywel Williams
and a national Save Analogue Radio campaign has been launched. You can click through to sign the petition via the Southgate Amateur Radio Club site.
Montréal's Marc 'Mais Oui' Denis paid his own tribute to Roger in this special feature.
On Saturday afternoons, it's 1965
Fab Forty compiler 'Fab' Alan Field says:
I'm just writing to let you know of a radio show that I've been listening to for a few weeks, that other fans of the "golden age" of music may be interested in tuning into. The show is simply called "1965" and it's hosted by a friend of Oldies Project producer Kees Brinkerink, by the name of Dirk van Dijk. Kees sometimes appears on the show too.
In each programme Dirk plays a specialist selection of hits from the current week in 1965. He generally features new entries in the US, Dutch and English charts, as well as some French and Italian hits and new ones in the Fab 40. It's always an interesting batch of records, and the show is a great listen.
It's broadcast (in Dutch) every Saturday afternoon, from 1600 to 1800 UK time, on Enschede FM in the eastern Netherlands. To listen online click on "livestream" and then, when that page opens, click on the word "hier" in large green text.
Kid Creole Collection
The final Friars Aylesbury gig at the old Civic Centre before the centre's demolition to make way for a brand new theatre, will be on Friday, June 4th. Headliner is Paul Weller, with special guest, Aylesbury's own John Otway (see story lower down page). Tickets have already sold out.
|Peel is The Word
May 1967 was the date when the first surreptitious broadcasts of The Perfumed Garden began in the middle of the night on 266. It's an appropriate time for The Word magazine to choose John Peel as its caricature cover-star, with his portrait linked to a feature by David Hepworth, 'The Taming of Rock Radio – why there'll never be another Peel'.
It's a fascinating feature full of depressingly quotable quotes, such as: "Ten years ago I asked the Programme Director of one of Britain's foremost commercial chains if there was anybody on his stations who chose their own music. 'I hope not,' he said."
The piece does contain an error concerning Radio London. Peel – described by Hepworth as 'the indefatigable contrarian' – didn't arrive on Radio London in 1966; it was a year later.
(Thanks to Colin Ellis, Peter Young and the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame.)
The previous record of 1,651 was set on International Talk Like a Pirate Day 2009, in Portland, Oregon at the 4th Annual Portland Pirate Festival. No doubt, come September, they'll have cutlasses drawn in Oregon, ready to retake the record.
In other news, could this be the future of offshore radio?
(Thanks to Alan Hardy.)
Parliamentary Pirates (Updated with results 07/05)
'Blunderbustering' instead of filibustering in the House of Commons? The May 2010 Parliamentary election saw people dressed as pirates running against former offshore radio pirates.
The Pirate Party UK manifesto covers 3 main areas: copyright and patent law, privacy law and freedom of speech.
Rival Mad Cap'n Tom, who wears an eyepatch and sports a drake on his tricorn, has policies that include removing duty from rum, free duct tape for every household, and requiring schoolchildren to be trained in swordsmanship an' gunnery. (Duct tape? Or did he mean DUCK tape?). There's no doubt that the good Cap'n's presence would bring a breath of salty air to Question Time in the House. No doubt he would set up a plank over the Thames for any MPs caught claiming for gold-plated bilge pumps and the like for their weekend galleons.
Story on The Register
Radio London feature: International Talk Like a Pirate Day
Result: In the cutlass and eyepatch sector, Pirate Party UK candidate Jack Nunn (90 votes) beat Mad Cap'n Tom by 6 votes. There were no reports of press-ganging at the polling stations.
Defending his seaside seat was the renowned former pirate, Roger Gale. In the Sixties, Roger broadcast on both Caroline North and South, Radio Scotland and Yorkshire's Radio 270. Roger was first elected as the Member of Parliament representing Margate, Herne Bay and the Villages (North Thanet) in 1983. Appropriately, he presented a programme called 'Party Time' on Caroline South.
Result: Roger Gale retained his safe seat, besting Labour's Michael Britton by over 13,500.
Far away from the coast in Buckingham, Colin Dale followed his former Radio Sutch boss David 'Screaming Lord' Sutch on the campaign trail for the Monster Raving Loony Party. Colin, a former resident of Buckinghamshire, assisted his lordship in launching Radio Sutch. Lord Sutch himself (who failed an interview as a Radio London DJ) 'fort' 41 elections and formed the OMRLP in 1983. He garnered his biggest vote of 783 in 1994.
A couple of the party's more colourful manifestos were:
However, some of the party ideas eventually became law. One of Lord Sutch's original campaign issues concerned lowering the voting age to 18 and legalising commercial radio.
The MRLP also wanted MPs' expenses allowance to be withdrawn and the money "in future be distributed to the poor and needy so that they can waste it instead." In light of recent expenses scandals, it doesn't sound such a bad idea.
A current manifesto proposal that:
seems positively non-loony.
Result: Colin polled 856 for the MRLP – above 4 other Buckingham candidates.
In the interest of fair reporting, we must mention Tarquin Fintimlinbinwhinbimlim Bus Stop F'tang F'tang Ole Biscuit-Barrel of the Silly Party and Kevin Phillips Bong, candidate for the less radical Slightly Silly Party.
Ex 270, Radio Scotland broadcaster Mark West (Wesley on RNI and Luxembourg) has made a short satirical feature called 'Gordonomics' which he has posted on YouTube. It's about "the consequences of Gordon Brown's 'prudent' economic sleight-of-hand and how the citizens of a once-wealthy kingdom struggle to pay their debts."
(Thanks to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame.)
Happy Birthday, Robbie!
Many happy returns to The Admiral of the Beat Fleet, whose personal photo collection is here.
The end of a long quest
"I am thrilled and proud to announce that I have finally found one of the most sought-after Radio London Fab Forty entries. I discovered the Sharon Tandy test pressing on eBay and I paid quite a lot for it, but I just had to have it."
The search for one or two elusive singles continues. 'Just Leave It To Me', by Big L DJ Tony Brandon was played as a climber during the final Fab Forty (6th Aug 1967), but remained unreleased. Even Tony does not possess a copy! Kees says:
"I will keep looking out for any form (acetate and test pressing) of the Tony Brandon single, 'Just Leave It To Me'. I’m glad there is a Radio London recording of it, so that we at least know what it sounds like."
Read the full story of the Sharon Tandy recording here.
|Can 'People Power' bring back Pirate BBC Essex?
The Pirate BBC Essex broadcasts of 2004, 2007 and 2009 from lightship LV18 recreated the sounds and, most importantly, the atmosphere of the Sixties offshore stations. Former watery wireless jocks travelled from around the world to participate and listeners sent e-mail and texts by the thousands as well as flocking to Harwich to meet the DJs and join in the fun.
Now a petition has been launched for BBC Essex to present another pirate broadcast.
To sign it, click here and do not be put off by the page that appears, inviting you to make a donation to ipetitions. You may well wish to donate, but it is not mandatory to do so in order to add your signature.
(Left) Messrs. Blackburn and Walker enjoyed representing Radio London and Radio Caroline at the Easter 2009 broadcast
London Pirates' long-standing love of Towers
The short film includes interviews with Robin Adcroft and Tony Pine, both of whom were involved with other offshore stations in the Sixties and Seventies. They are now campaigners for Project Redsand, which aims to save and restore the historic structures.
The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame assisted the documentary-makers by supplying stills of the forts as they were in the Sixties.
Celebrating our Eleventh Birthday
At eleven years old, the Radio London website is beginning to run out of space on the cake for candles, but it certainly isn't running out of material. Even with over 1800 pages, there's always a backlog of material awaiting our attention. We aim to update the site weekly, if possible.
The Fab Forty, which we thought we had completed several years ago, continues to expand as new Radio London recordings are unearthed and musicians who appeared in it continue to come forward. There are also many remaining Caroline Countdowns awaiting addition to the Stonewashed Collection and several more remaining parts of Radio London founder Ben Toney's memoirs.
Many thanks to everyone who kindly sent birthday greetings. John Bennett wrote, "Yours is a truly fabulous resource, database, spiritual home and entertaining website that is the most highly regarded and much-loved one, ever!
It's very nice of you to say so, John! – Mary and Chris, Webmasters (Photo: Martin van der Ven)
Tenth Birthday Celebrations
On March 14th 2000, we received an e-mail from Jon Myer about his new website, The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame, headed, 'Another anorak hits the web.'
The next stage is to add more names. I have quite a long list myself - including Ben Healy so, if you don't mind, could I borrow a few facts from your excellent interview - suitably credited of course? Other names who spring to mind: Norman St. John, Ric Dane, Guy Blackmore/Jimmy Gordon, RWB/Ross Brown/Fred Bear, Paul Noble, Tony Monson, Dennis Straney, Pete Bowman, Bob Walton/Lee Gilbert, some more of the 390 presenters and a gaggle of Caroline newsmen (Gerry Burke, Nick Bailey, David Williams), in fact loads more. I think that lot should keep me busy for a while."
Of course, the site has kept him more than busy. Ten years later (and a lot more faffing about!), Jon's original offshore acorn has grown into an enormous family tree and a section encompassing the Seventies stations is under construction. There are very few DJs that he's failed to locate. In 2007, Jon co-ordinated the Radio Academy Celebration of Sixties Offshore Radio and later the same year, The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame was honoured with a well-deserved Radie Award at the Dutch Radio Day.
He has also been a very good personal friend and has assisted the Radio London website on many occasions.
Well done, Jon and congratulations!
Tom tells us he was heard on Radio 2 recently.
I was a guest on the Jeremy Vine show on Thursday 1st April, talking about rehab clinics, etc. It's all part of my history now, but I do it in the hope it may help folk who are as desperate as indeed I once was. I did it live from an unmanned satellite studio in Boston, Lincs... a long way apart from bouncing up and down in the north sea, but I know which of the two I prefer!
Dutch Caribbean Radio Day? Nice idea!
Colin says the island is "all Dutch and just like being in Amsterdam, apart from a lack of trams." He has asked Hans Knot to hold the next Radio Day there, as it's much warmer than Amsterdam in November, but he says Hans isn't impressed with the idea!
She brought out a number of singles in the Sixties, including 'Just For the Boy,' which was in the Fab Forty during March 1965. In July of the same year, Scottish band The Poor Souls made the climber list with Lesley's 'When My Baby Cries'. She also released her own version of the song.
A renowned session singer, Lesley backed the likes of Dusty Springfield and Elton John and appeared on so many albums that her webmaster found it impossible to list them all. (She told him that it would easier listing albums on which she did not sing backup.)
On the tribute page of Lesley's website, Bob Harris wrote that she appeared on the first ever 'Grey Whistle Test' and recorded many sessions for his 'Sounds of the 70's' Radio 1 shows, while her friend and fellow session singer Madeleine Bell said, "Lesley is and will always be my little sister. My first studio session was with her."
Lesley's husband Tony Cox revealed that her own recording of 'Love Song' from her album 'Sing Children Sing' was playing as she passed away.
(Thanks to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame)
In the case of the Lego art, the description 'classic' is geared to the taste of the creator, but there are a few good Beatle covers, including 'Legolver' and 'Leg it Be'. Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' is also a standout recreation.
Peter Young presents Soul Cellar
D Wain's 5-star review on Amazon says:
The compilation contains two Fab Forty Tracks. Both 'I Take What I Want' by James and Bobby Purify and Arthur Conley's 'Shake Rattle And Roll' were in the Top Ten of July 30th 1967 – at numbers 7 (Purify) and 8 (Conley). However, the following week, August 6th, was the final Fab Forty and in an effort to cram as many singles into Radio London's last playlist, the two Top Ten hits lost their chart status and were relegated to the Ballad Box.
"The great thing about Shiprocked is the fact that it describes the people, the surroundings and the conditions in such captivating detail – totally engrossing the reader in the action. Through Steve's words, Caroline staff who were just names or voices begin to feel like friends (and) you become familiar with the ship over and above the commonplace exterior images of it. The tough times show that life was never straightforward and Ronan O'Rahilly (the station's founder) remains as mystical as ever.
For anyone who has an interest in Offshore Radio, Radio Caroline, or just radio itself – this book is a cracker and I can't recommend it enough."