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Gordon Trueman Riviere Waller
4 June 1945 – 17 July 2009

Gordon Waller who partnered Peter Asher as harmony duo Peter and Gordon, has died of a heart attack, aged 64.

When Caroline came on the air at Easter 1964, Peter and Gordon were riding high with Paul McCartney's song 'A World Without Love' - a huge success on both sides of the Atlantic.

They featured many times in the Fab Forties, their first appearance being March 14th 1965, with the Buddy Holly cover, 'True Love Ways'. It reached the Big L Top Ten and stayed in the chart for over two months. After only two week's absence, the duo was back with another cover, this time with the Teddy Bears' 'To Know You is to Love You', which held the top slot on July 4th. 'Baby I'm Yours' took a trip to the Top Ten in October, as did another McCartney composition 'Woman', in March '66.

Two novelty songs, 'Lady Godiva' and 'Knight in Rusty Armour' followed in October and November of '66. The release of 'Lady Godiva', which allegedly offended the mayor of Coventry, was accompanied by a well-orchestrated publicity campaign. No doubt the mayor's objection to its lyrics did the song far more good than harm.

Peter and Gordon's final Fab Forty entry narrowly missed the Top Twenty in April 1967.

Towards the end of the 20th Century, Gordon Waller ran a music publishing business in America and in recent years, he reunited with Peter Asher, playing a few shows in Los Angeles, New York and the Philippines.

Steve Young is pictured right, with the duo at the Caroline Wimbledon Palais promotion for 'Lady Godiva'. Gordon is on the right of the photo. Steve writes:

"I remember having a pint with Gordon and Peter in a pub somewhere in London. Both of them were very down-to-earth and Gordon was definitely the 'lighter' of the two. Then, of course I introduced them at the Wimbledon Palais where they performed Lady Godiva while a young 'exotic dancer' rode around the dance floor on a white horse – not an event you'd quickly forget!

It's so sad to read of the demise of so many icons of the Sixties era and I feel that we lose a little chunk of the best times ever when they pass away."

Thanks to Steve for the photo. The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame has two photos of Peter and Gordon's visit to the Galaxy from the personal collections of John Lait and Duncan Johnson.

Guardian obituary

(l to r) Jack, Harry, Cherl and Michelle

Radio England jocks reunited... but no sign of Olga

Svenn Martinsen's painstaking research led to the subsequent discovery of the former Radio England ship Olga Patricia still afloat as a fishing vessel, Earl Conrad Jr. Jack Curtiss's own research finally led him to his long-missing shipmate Johnny Dark (Harry Putnam). In 2009, Jack returned to the USA for his daughter's graduation and planned a reunion with Harry, which he had hoped would be aboard the old ship.

Jack writes:

Pirate 'shipmates' Harry Putnam (Johnny Dark) and Jack Curtiss reunited after a separation of 42 years on the very shores of the bay that the 'Old Olga' (now Earl Conrad Jr) still plies today as a fishing vessel. The idea of actually meeting at the ship yielded to logistical considerations and the lukewarmth of the present owners to fresh publicity... Chesapeake sports fishermen strongly object to the operation. The meeting took place in May, close to the 43rd anniversary of SRE itself.

Joining the two of us for a dockside luncheon near Annapolis were Harry's second wife Cherl and his daughter Michele Trankovich. Together we scanned the waters that sunny Maryland afternoon, but caught no glimpse of the one-time twin-tower radio marvel of the North Sea. The crabcakes were delicious, however.

The End of the Beano for Vinyl Outlet
The closure of famous secondhand record store Beanos of Croydon, which had traded for thirty years, has been on the cards for some time. Now the shop doors have finally closed after a mystery deal with an anonymous record dealer, owner David Lashmar told the Croydon Guardian.

In April, David told the paper how his vinyl emporium had played its part in 'The Boat That Rocked'.

"Last year I got a call from Shepperton Film Studios. They didn't want a record, they wanted eight thousand. They wanted to simulate a studio and record library on the Radio Rock pirate radio ship. Since they are a film company and, in common with most of the media, they wanted the records yesterday or, actually, the next day."

Sex, Drugs and Woolly Semmits
Jack McLaughlin (right) who was known aboard the 242 ship Comet as both 'Yak MacFisheries' and 'The Laird O'Coocaddens' is currently presenting 'Sex, Drugs and Woolly Semmits', an excellent series on BBC Scotland where he interviews Scottish recording stars of the Sixties. The programmes' subjects include Maggie Bell and Graham Knight of Marmalade (who remarks on the amazing contrast the band found when they first travelled from Glasgow to London). The shows are available online.

Thanks to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame for the photo

New Additions to Offshore Echoes' Themes
Chris Edwards reports

The Offshore Radio Themes pages at Offshore Echoes have now been updated with more audio clips and more pictures. There are now over 1800 mp3 clips of theme tunes.
Visit the offshore themes web pages

(l to r) Graham, Chairman and Director of Estates for the South Bucks Hospital Trust, Keith Bowden, Chris Phillips, June Snowdon, Ray Wingrove, Dave Rimmel.

(l to r) A gaggle of early members: Marylyn Phillips (née Hughes), Keith Bowden, Chris Payne, Chris Phillips, Ray Wingrove, Dave Rimmel, Mary Payne (née Wingert).

Forty-year heroes
On Monday July 6th, four members of Wycombe Radio, the station broadcasting to Wycombe and Amersham hospitals, were awarded certificates to honour forty years of service to hospital radio. Keith Bowden, Dave Rimmel, Ray Wingrove, and Chairman Chris Phillips received their commendations from Hospital Broadcasting Association President, June Snowdon. June emphasised the importance of the recipients' voluntary work, which she pointed out amounted to many thousands of hours over forty years! The Chairman and Director of Estates for the South Bucks Hospital Trust presented forty-year voluntary service certificates on behalf of the hospital.

Chris Phillips and Ray Wingrove were members of Wycombe Film Society when they decided to start Wycombe Hospital Broadcasting Association, which launched as Wycombe Radio in October 1967. Chris Payne, who had had just moved to the town, having recently founded Radio West Mid with Alan Hardy, was soon recruited.

The two married couples in the photo (right) met through Wycombe Radio. Mary and Chris Payne celebrate their 39th wedding anniversary this year, while Marylyn and Chris Phillips celebrate their 37th.

This Lazy Life
John Bennett, aka Sloop John B wrote:

I wonder if you could help me with information about a track? The disc, 'Lazy Life' by the band, Heart And Soul, was a hit in Australia in 1969, on Festival Records.

A keen Radio Caroline North fan thinks he may have heard this track on the station in April, 1967. He didn't know the name of the track or the band, but I identified it from the lyrics he provided. Is it at all possible that Caroline North played this track in 1967, or has the man concerned got his years mixed up? I seem to recall it was later than 1967, but my memory may be totally out on this. I have got a recording of 'Lazy Life' but it's on reel-to reel- tape, so I can't scan any info of the label.

We have had quite a response to John's appeal for info.

'Lazy Life' (written by Gordon Haskell) was released in Australia in 1969 by Heart & Soul on Festival FK 2949, along with an EP of the same title, on Festival FX 11620. Neither is thought to have seen a UK release.

The version played on Caroline was a 1967 release by South African William E – born William Charles Boardman. He also recorded under numerous names, including Quentin E. Klopjaeger, Billy Forrest and The Dream Merchants. 'Lazy Life' appears to have been released in South Africa under the Quentin E. Klopjaeger name, as were covers of 'Dandy' and '98.6'.
Pirate Radio Hall of Fame has more than one recording confirming that the track, credited to William E, was played on Caroline South. Tom Edwards, sitting in for Johnnie Walker on the 9-midnight show played it on 11th August 1967. No chart placing is given in either recording, and there's no evidence of the track having been picked as a Sure Shot. (The chart covering that date currently in the Stonewashed Collection is incomplete.) Jon Myer believes that as the two Carolines had similar playlists at that time, 'Lazy Life' was likely to have been heard on both stations.

Bernard Smith observes:

From about Spring '67, Caroline's policy on current singles was that if it was in the sales Top 50 (which was the basis of Caroline's chart from that point) it qualified for a free play; other new releases had to be paid for, though I suspect Phil Solomon didn't have to cough up for Major Minor stuff! In the audio clip, the Polydor label is name-checked, which seems to confirm this.

Paul Coates says:

'Lazy Life' certainly was played on Big L during its last few days on air. To me the song has a very similar vibe to The Smoke's 'If The Weather's Sunny', released around the same time.

We currently have no recorded evidence of Radio London airplay of the single. However, during the station's final weeks, record companies were clamouring to have their new releases played and there are likely to be singles that made it to air, but do not appear on the Fab Forty listings as they stand. In June 67, the Dream Merchants were in the climber list two weeks running with 'Rattler' and the following month, 'Billy Forest of the Dream Merchants' took 'Hello Lover' into the Big L chart.

Gordon Haskell's website reveals that his song topped both the South African and Australian charts. The William E version was heard on Radio 2's 'Sound of the Sixties' on 31st January 2009.

John sends thanks to everyone who kindly responded to his query.

Can video help this radio star revive Britain’s struggling music industry?
This Independent article features Zane Lowe, who appears on Radio 1 and MTV and reveals that Zane's father Derek was a radio pioneer. In 1966, he founded New Zealand's offshore station Radio Hauraki with Chris Parkinson and David Gapes.

Also spotted, a blog by Talita Twoshoes, whose imagination was captured by the idea of offshore radio after watching 'The Boat That Rocked' on a long-haul flight.

Mystery Picture Sleeve
Both Alan Hardy and Jon Myer spotted this new release with an unsual choice of photo for its picture sleeve. The Thames forts appear to have nothing to do with either the record in the sleeve or the band who recorded it. Suggestions, anyone?


Music Legends of Eel Pie Island
A plaque unveiled on the riverbank at Twickenham commemorates the music legends who played the famous club on Eel Pie Island. Local lads the Rolling Stones became stars there before hitting the big time, alongside the likes of David Bowie and the Who. It's nice to note that several of our Knees Club members played the renowned club and have been honoured as legends. The plaque is sited opposite the Thames island location where the Eel Pie hotel unfortunately burnt down in 1971. Although accessible by footbridge, the island is privately owned and not open to the public.

A contemporary version of the Eel Pie Club, which aims to keep alive the spirit and sounds of the original, currently meets at Richmond's Cabbage Patch pub.
Click on the small photos above and below, to view legible versions.

Proposed Peel Memorial Centre
Former member of Scaffold, John Gorman, is behind plans to turn the former Birkenhead Town Hall into a memorial centre to his friend John Peel. The Grade 1 listed building is being offered for sale or lease. Story here.

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