Oct/Nov/Dec 07 is here
The archived Happenings index is here...

(Updated Jan 25th) George Hare's terrific photos of both the Fredericia and the Mi Amigo with some fantastic memorabilia of the Cavern Club. On Page Three, the mystery lady is identified and more photos are added!
(New March 08) A three-page photo report of the Zombies 'Odessey and Oracle' reunion
(New Feb 08) What was that 'pussycat' jingle all about? 'Fab' Alan Field investigates (Updated March 7th) Ziggy responds and 'Sloopy' adds his own thoughts about jingles.

Click left for a full list of recent updates to the Big L Fab Forties!
(Feb 2nd) which FF track contains the words 'Rolling Forks' and why did Cliff play Aladdin?
(Feb 9th) why John Schroeder created Sounds Orchestral
(Feb 15th) a revamped page with new photos
(Feb 23rd) the Zephyrs aka Slash Wildly & the Cut-Throats

(March 1st) straight back in the FF – the Moody Blues
(March 7th) Scotland's Sundowners

And now, the news....

Retirement Home 'Radio Amigos'
50 years ago, in July 1958, the launch of Radio Mercur started the offshore radio boom in Europe. Nowadays, the offshore stations are increasingly considered in a nostalgic way. The deejays and personnel having served on the ships, as well as their listeners, are getting older. This also applies for the hundreds of people who visit the annual Radio Days in Erkrath, Calais and Amsterdam with melancholic feelings. Many of these enthusiasts have even reached their retirement age, are wearing glasses and some even need hearing-aids, have synthetic hips or need specific assistive technology.

These are the reasons that the organizers of the Amsterdam Radio Day (Hans Knot, Rob Olthof and Martin van der Ven) have been dealing with the question of how to help all these elderly radio enthusiasts. In several brain-storming sessions comprehensive plans were made which are now laid out to the public for the very first time. After several discussions and negotiations with financial institutions and insurance companies, the financing of the project has been assured. Flats in the "Radio Amigos" retirement home can be booked from today. Details on the project including some pictures can be found here.

Mike Smith
December 1943 – February 2008
The Dave Clark Five's keyboard player and lead singer, Mike Smith, has died in Stoke Mandeville hospital. Mike had been in the hospital's Spinal Injuries Unit since September 2003, when a fall at his Spanish home had left him, tragically, a tetraplegic. During his long stay, he had enjoyed talking about music with members of Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio who regularly visited the unit. Last December, Mike moved from the hospital to live with his wife Charlie in a specially-adapted home. He was re-admitted on February 26th, with a chest infection and subsequently died of pneumonia.

The Dave Clark Five spent many weeks on the Big L charts. From appearing in the first-available Fab Forty, 24th January 1965, with 'Everybody Knows', they enjoyed seven subsequent entries. Their biggest FF hit was 'Catch Us if You Can' – from the group's film of the same name – #2 in August 1965, retitled 'Having A Wild Weekend' for US viewers. A benefit concert 'England Swings', was organised for Mike in 2005 and held at BB King's in New York City. It starred DC5 contemporaries the Zombies, Denny Laine, Billy J. Kramer and Peter and Gordon. An ebay auction included a guitar signed by Bo Diddley. Mike had been hoping to be able attend the band's induction into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in New York on 10th March this year. The ceremony went ahead and the band was inducted by actor Tom Hanks. Sadly, there are now only three remaining DC5 members. Founder Denis Payton died in December 2006. Smooth Radio's Peter Young says:

"Mike was a nice bloke. I met him in the 80s when he recorded a jingles package for Capital and we were invited to submit any ideas or special lyrics. I remember joking with him that he should use Dave Clark to drum on the tracks. He replied 'I thought you wanted a drummer!'

Mary Payne

USA Today; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee list; CNN; Dave Clark Five site

A Sign of the Times?
While visiting one of my favourite places, the lake at Watermead, a couple of miles from Stoke Mandeville hospital, I was interested to see that the local paper had decided that enough people remember the Dave Clark Five for them to make Mike Smith's sad death the subject of their billboard. Maybe gone are the days when it's assumed that the main target audience for media is the young. Alternatively, they may feel that all age groups now know about these great bands? Just a thought. – Chris

Poignant Hall of Fame Ceremony (March 14th)
The audience gave the surviving members of the DC5 a standing ovation as they were inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 10th 2008 by actor (and fan) Tom Hanks.

Dave Clark said that losing Mike Smith and Dennis Payton had made the past two years "difficult and very personal" for him. He added that Mike had tried desperately hard to attend the New York ceremony, but sadly had passed away less than two weeks earlier.

Joan Jett performed a musical tribute to the group - who led the British Invasion as the first UK band to tour the US. BBC News photos

Chris Cary (Spangles Muldoon)
1946 – 2008
Sadly, the Offshore Family has lost another member with the death of Caroline's Chris Cary in Tenerife. Chris, who had previously made a good recovery from a serious stroke, was felled by another stroke in January 2008 and went into a coma. His partner Sybil who had been at his side, was on the point of returning Chris to the UK by air ambulance for treatment when he passed away. Jon Myer from The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame writes:

"I was very sorry to hear the news that Chris Cary (alias 'Spangles Muldoon') has died following the stroke he suffered at the end of last month. I had the good fortune to work for Chris in 1988 and can honestly say I have never had a boss like him, either before or since. I liked him – and learned a hell of a lot from him. I will be posting a tribute on the site within the next few days and would welcome contributions from friends and former colleagues. If you wish to write something, please email it to me. Thanks very much."
Well-wishers may also leave message of condolence on the messageboard where Sybil had been posting news of Chris's conditon. Chris's personal website is here.

Chris's funeral took place on March 19th, the anniversary of the day in 1980 on which the Mi Amigo, the Caroline ship he served upon, sank. Mourners included former shipmates Johnnie Walker and Roger Day. Don Stevens has written a personal account of the funeral here. (thanks to Jon Myer)

(Photo taken at Roger Day's Caroline Reunion in London, March 2004)

Big L meets Caroline in Vancouver
Steve Young (Caroline South) writes:

I finally made the trip over to Vancouver this past weekend and had a chance to meet-up with Mike Lennox (Michael Graham). We had a really enjoyable coffee together, although our meeting was brief as I had a very busy weekend with lots of places to go, people to see and things to do. Michael is a great guy and we discovered that we share a lot in common, over and above our pirate radio days. He's still in real estate and is now developing a vacation rental property in Mexico.

I really enjoyed meeting him and we're planning to get together again sometime soon. It's nice to establish a new friendship with an acquaintance of old, we talked about old friends some still present, some departed, it was a trip down memory lane.

Sorry the photo isn't a lot better, I had to take it myself with the old 'extended arm' trick.

Brilliant Zombies 'Odessey and Oracle' reunion
Forty years since the release of their ground-breaking album Odessey and Oracle, the four surviving members of the Zombies reformed the band to perform it in full at three shows at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire on March 7th, 8th and 9th.

Chris and Mary attended on Sunday March 9th and were bowled over by the perfection of the music. Their three-page photo report is here.

Newspaper reviews: Guardian; Independent

Radio London back in Mojo Magazine

The Radio London website gets a nice plug in the April 08 issue of Mojo, in the 'Surf's Up' column. This is the second time we've appeared in the column - the previous one was in autumn 2006. This time, we've got the top story and we're pleased that our friend Martin Van der Ven's website also gets a mention.

We believe the column is compiled by Fred Dellar, who was responsible for Radio London's previous mention, so thanks a lot, Fred!

(thanks also to Jon Myer, who spotted the item and kindly scanned a sample clip for us.)

Carl's Dream Trip to Motown
Regular visitors to 'Happenings' will have seen stories of our friend Carl Dixon and his love of Motown and Philly music. In fact, so great is Carl's knowledge of Motown, that it was immediately recognised by label founder, Berry Gordy. Carl met him when working on Sky TV's Book Programme, where Berry was appearing to promote his biography 'To Be Loved'. When David Freeman asked him a question he couldn't answer, Berry immediately replied, "Ask Carl – he'll know!"

Over the years, Carl has forged many friendships with his recording heroes and in March 2008, he will be achieving a lifetime ambition when he travels to Detroit with his wife Michelle, to record his own musical compositions with legends of the Motown stable. After that, he'll be heading for Philadelphia and more recordings with more musical heroes.

All Carl's friends are very proud of his achievements and wish him a wonderful trip. You can follow his blog and hear some of his music here.

He just couldn't get enough radios
Ian MacRae's 68th edition of his newsletter, The Radio Wave, includes the following stories: Radio station gives away divorce for Valentine's Day * Surround sound: Man forges cheques, buys radios with the proceeds
* Broadcasting details of sex organ not on.

The Story of March 3rd 1968
Forty years ago this month Radio Caroline North and South were silenced by boarding parties and the ships were towed away. This momentous day in radio history is recalled in recollections by Bud Ballou and Martin Kayne here. Also see newspaper clippings from the time in our Francis Pullen collection feature.

Webby Celebrates 50 Years of Charts Down Under
It was March 2nd 1958 when the first National Top Forty music chart arrived in Australia. Graham Webb has very kindly sent us an audio file where he celebrates this significant event and plays clips of the tunes in the very first Top Ten.

Webby has also drawn our attention to an item in which he features on Australian writer and broadcaster Debbie Kruger's website. Debbie says of her book 'Songwriters Speak':

My lifelong passion for music, writing and communicating culminated in my first book, Songwriters Speak, released in August 2005. Featuring interviews with 45 of Australia and New Zealand's greatest songwriters, it truly was a labour of love. I spent over four years putting it together, and just before my 43rd birthday I became a published author at last!

Coming to a Cinema Near You – Offshore Radio
Two feature films about offshore radio are in the pipeline.

Tightrope Pictures is making 'The Boat That Rocked', a comedy about a fictional Sixties radio station, for Richard Curtis's production company Working Title. Richard attended the Radio Academy Celebration of Offshore Radio last year, with his wife Emma Freud and the film's producer Hilary Bevan Jones, to get a feel for what life was really like aboard the radio ships.The ship Sealink Challenger is starring as the floating radio station – although she is a little young for the job, having been built in 1964. Rhys Ifans, Kenneth Branagh, January Jones, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Bill Nighy are co-stars.Unfortunately, many reports are claiming that 'The Boat That Rocked' is the true story of Radio Caroline and some are claiming it is set in the Seventies, which is incorrect on both counts!Producer Hilary Bevan Jones says, "It's intended as a comedy film and not based on any particular person or radio station, but it is set in that particular moment in time. Obviously, we will be wanting it to have a certain veracity." Press release here (thanks to Jon Myer)

The second film, also set in the Sixties, is called 'Radio Caroline'. The plot centres on Caroline and her fight to remain on the air, but features fictional characters. Ironically (or perhaps deliberately) the surname of the two leads is Cashman!
Producer Saskia Vischer also attended the Radio Academy Celebration of Offshore Radio, with Peter Moore. The screenplay is by Kara Kidman, with Ian Neil as Music Supervisor. The Radio Caroline Creative Vision brochure says:"Audacious. Passionate. Defiant. Sassy. Radio Caroline  has attitude. It’s an inspiring story about rock and roll, social revolution and the fight for free speech. The creative vision exudes the energy and essence of the Sixties with a contemporary twist. The cinematography will be edgy, authentic and powerful." The Creative Vision brochure does not specify if the screenplay is based around the South or the North ship.

The film is expected to be released in theatres and on DVD in 2010. Website www.radiocarolinethefilm.com (thanks to Mike Terry)

Mark's 'Cuddly Toy' was a setter!
Forty years ago – February 1968 – former Big L DJ Mark Roman released a single (Columbia DB8360). We asked if there was a story behind it. Mark says:No story. 'Cuddly Toy' (written by Harry Nilsson) was the 'B' side of 'Gonna Get Along Without You Now' ('cos I liked the Trini Lopez version) and 'Cuddly' was on a Monkees album. I couldn't find written lyrics, so there is an error. The original line was 'the day after Santa came', but it was indistinct and so my version reads 'the day that the setter came', figuring that it might be about a dog! Apart from that, my performance is completely forgettable, not to say c**p (I said not to say c**p!!) so many thanks for remembering.

Offshore Echoes' site The DJs Sing says: "It is believed that the released version swaps the A and B sides, although the pre-release demo copy we have has 'Cuddly Toy' as the A side." Lyrics here.

Otway-related Stories

NO OFFENCE  – Otway aims for another hit!
'No Offence', a track John Otway has recorded with his mate Max Splodge (of Splodgenessabounds) has been released on iTunes and Napster. "Please feel really free to download yourself a copy," says John. "The more of you that do, the closer it gets to a hit!! I've got some Promo CDRs so if any of you can help with radio etc, e-mail me.The microstar has taken a break from touring since Christmas, to focus on part two of his autobiography. He says the writing is going well. "I'm on Chapter 4 and the year is 1990. In the story I've just become a father and I'm about to meet Richard Holgarth." There are eighteen years to catch up with, as part one, 'Cor baby, That's Really Me', subtitled 'Rock 'n' Roll's Greatest Failure' was published in 1990. Of course, having enjoyed a second hit in 2002, not everything in John's life since 1990 has been about failure. 'Strung Together', a tour with Wild Willy Barrett, will run from mid-April until mid-June. See www.johnotway.com for dates and to e-mail John if you can help with promoting 'No Offence'.

'No Offence' is available from the following: iTunes- - Napster - - 7 Digital - - eMusic- -Groove Mobile

Our Hit is on Youtube!
Well OK, it's only the b-side of Otway's hit and we were just two members of the 1000-strong 'choir' who recorded it at Abbey Road and you can't actually spot us in the video, but our names ARE on the credits on the CD!John says: "As more and more bits of video have started appearing on Youtube I decided to put up a few bits from my archive – you can see them on my channel on Youtube. I've added the 'House Of The Rising Sun' video with the choir of 1,000."

Elsewhere on the web, there's an interview with John on the Bucks TV website, recorded by them when he performed at The Hobble on the Cobbles in Aylesbury Market Square in 2006.

News continues on Page 2....

Back to 'Kneesflashes'