for Sunday 6th August 1967
the last-ever Radio London Fab Forty

In a desperate attempt to include as much new material as possible in the final playlist, 44 singles were squeezed into the Fab 'Forty', 18 of them, new entries. Two singles tied for #1, but there was still a #2! As Alan Field points out: "In the final two charts we see a return of the double placing of unrelated records – for the first time since TW's last chart on 29th January 1967." Not surprisingly, Tommy Vance's one-and-only Fab Forty presentation on Big L overran into Mark Roman's show by 22 mins.

In addition to all those new entries, the climbers, the Disc of the Week, the Radio London Exclusives and the 'Farewell Dedication to the Postmaster General', there were four singles in the Ballad Box plus three in the Soul Set. That's 73 records on the final playlist, with both the A- and B-sides being aired for three of them! Brian Long believes there were even more singles played during the last days of Big L than those listed here (see notes, page 2)

Because there is so much to say about the final Fab Forty, the chart has been split into three pages.
Page One contains the chart itself, chart notes and happenings aboard the
Galaxy and ashore.
Page Two has the climber lists and the
original Final Fab list, as typed in the Curzon Street office, plus notes about other singles aired, but not officially on the list.
Page Three, the Ballad Box and Soul Set

The last chart contains many group names and tracks appropriate to the sad situation of Radio London closing down.

Heroes And Villains was at joint #1, and nobody harboured any doubts that the offshore stations were the heroes and Wilson and his Government, with their 'Thinkin' Ain't For Me' attitude, were the villains.

Listeners felt There Must Be A Way. We clung to Our Plastic Dream. If the stations could have survived On Love, we would have saved them. That's The Way Love Is.

When Radio London was forced to announce, "There I Go", The World We Knew was shattered. Since the end of 1964, we'd enjoyed A Little Bit Of Shangri-La. Now the Good Times of Foolin' Around to The Sound Of The Summer was a simple pleasure that was being stolen from us Forever. Suddenly Things were no longer Happy. The sand was running out for Big L. We needed a Time Seller.

On August 14th at The Burning Of The Midnight Lamp, A Bad Night began for John Peel when he invited us for the last time, "Come And Play With Me In The Garden".

During Their Final Hour, the tributes held personal Reflections, and hopes that Some Other Someday we'd see Things Get Better. Deejays past and present told us, "Thanks, for Your Unchanging Love".

Then Radio London was gone.

Those leaving the ship reflected that Even the Bad Times Were Good and thought, "I Want To Go Back There Again". A thousand fans at Liverpool Street station screamed, "We Love You!"

The Windows Of The World were filled with the sad, Small Faces of Pattern People, who wore black armbands and were crying. We were left to Wonder Who could possibly replace the Warm Sounds of Big L.

For those who swore to Radio London," I'll Stay By Your Side", it's been a long, Lonesome Road.

When we listen to those old recordings, we hear Big Lil whisper to us, "Baby I Love You. Don't You Miss Me A Little Bit Baby?" We reply, "Yes. Even after thirty-five years".

© Mary Payne, 2002

Definitely heroes! The Beach Boys share the final Big L #1 with the Tremeloes

Photo (left) from 'Teenbeat Annual' and (right) from 'Beat Instrumental'


Last
This
Presented by Tommy Vance
Week
Week
1
Heroes And Villains Beach Boys
40
1
Even The Bad Times Are Good Tremeloes
28
2
The Day I Met Marie Cliff Richard
18
3
Long-Legged Girl (With The Short Dress On) Elvis Presley
35
4
The House That Jack Built Alan Price Set
5
A Girl Like You Young Rascals
17
6
Excerpt From A Teenage Opera Keith West
21
7
Love Years Coming Strawberry Children
33
8
Time Seller Spencer Davis Group
13
9
Sticks And Stones Warm Sounds
10
Itchycoo Park Small Faces
11
Reflections Diana Ross & the Supremes
12
Your Unchanging Love Marvin Gaye
13
Everybody Needs Love Gladys Knight & the Pips
14
That's The Way Love Is Isley Brothers
15
Don't You Miss Me A Little Bit Baby Jimmy Ruffin
16
The Idol Fortunes
17
Lonesome Road Wonder Who
18
Hole In My Shoe Traffic
19
Thinkin' Ain't For Me Paul Jones
20
Baby I Love You Aretha Franklin
2
21
Death Of A Clown Dave Davies
1
22
I'll Never Fall In Love Again Tom Jones
6
23
Pleasant Valley Sunday Monkees
3
24
I Was Made To Love Her Stevie Wonder
9
25
A Bad Night Cat Stevens
4
26
Gin House Blues Amen Corner
31
27
Craise Finton Kirk Johnnie Young
14
28
My Mammy Happenings
29
I Want To Go Back There Again Truly Smith / New Formula / Bill Kenwright & the Runaways
25
30
Back To Memphis / I Do Really Love You Chuck Berry
30
The Windows Of The World Dionne Warwick
31
Omaha / Hey Grandma Moby Grape
37
32
Some Other Someday West Coast Consortium
20
33
Things Get Better Eddie Floyd
27
34
King Of The World Quik
35
Climb Ev'ry Mountain Madeline Bell
29
36
Don't Let The Rain Fall Down On Me Critters
34
37
Come And Play With Me In The Garden John's Children
19
38
Suddenly Things Ivy League
39
39
For Brandy Dave Justin
40
Thank The Lord For The Night Time Neil Diamond

29
I Want To Go Back There Again Bill Kenwright and the Runaways Columbia DB 8239

In last week's (July 30th, '67) chart notes, I said of I Want To Go Back There Again, "Quite how the Big L DJs coped with two recordings of the same song being Chuck Blair's designated climber, is unclear..."

This week, Alan has noted not merely two, but three versions of the song entering the final Radio London chart simultaneously at #29. Truly Smith and New Formula now had competition from Bill Kenwright and the Runaways.

Searches for information on the band proved fruitless, other than to impart the information that this was the first of five singles they released between '67 and '69. Then, at the suggestion of Andy Thompson, I contacted music historian, Spencer Leigh. Spencer confirmed that the group's leader is Bill Kenwright KBE, the actor, theatrical impresario and owner of Everton Football Club and speculated as to whether the single might have been a spin-off of Bill's Coronation Street role as Gordon Clegg. Thanks to Alan Milewczyk, we have been able to establish that Bill did not join the cast of Coronation Street till 1968.

Andy Thompson added, "I only wish I could hear some of these records on the Fab Forties – I'm only 32 so I missed out first time around". Thanks to Oldies Project, Andy got his wish!

Bill Kenwright and the Runaways' version of I Want To Go Back There Again has the unfortunate distinction of an Internet listing as 'one of the worst fifty British-released records to have been played on the Northern Soul circuit'.


Aboard the Galaxy (and elsewhere on the North Sea) between August 6th and 14th:

August 7th
Ian Damon
presented his final show on Big L, on the six-till-nine slot.

8th
John Peel
's Perfumed Garden was extended to 03.00. The 'Head Gardener' filled in some of the extra time by reading out a poem written in Latin. A new song, titled The Perfumed Garden Blues, or John Peel's Lament, specially composed and performed by Geoffrey Prowse, makes its debut.

10th
Peelie picked the witching hour to read an extract from A A Milnes' children's classic, 'Winnie-The-Pooh'.

11th
With last week's 'Big L Exclusive', Heroes and Villains, rocketing straight into the Fab at joint #1, Keith Skues returned to the Galaxy accompanied by the Beach Boys' Bruce Johnson. Bruce was interviewed by Stewpot, and even did a few live reads of commercials. (It probably never occurred to anyone that this could be construed as a celebrity endorsing a product!) The highlights of Bruce's visit were repeated during the following day's programmes.

10th
John Peel took a day's shore leave, leaving Pete Drummond to stand in as 'Head Gardener'.

13th/14th
Peelie returned on the tender with Cardboard Shoes, Programme Director, Alan Keen and an ITN news crew. Alan brought with him recorded tributes to the station, which were to be played throughout the programmes on August 14th, or edited into a pre-recorded programme, Their Final Hour.

The final party of visitors was brought by the Viking Saga to sail round the Galaxy.

Radio London would not go off the air again until 3.00pm the next day. The final Perfumed Garden ran for five-and-a-half hours, from midnight. During the course of the show, Peelie included three versions of Dust My Broom, one by Elmore James, another by Howlin' Wolf and a third with a variation on the title, Dust My Blues by John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. The whole of side one of the Mothers of Invention's Absolutely Free album (seven tracks) was included – presumably to give Peelie a bit of a break. Tracks from the Sgt Pepper and Revolver albums also featured heavily and The Stones' We Love You and the Misunderstood's I Can Take You To The Sun both got double airings. The second airing of the Stones single was to close the show.

Also in the final Perfumed Garden was Tomorrow's My White Bicycle, co-written by Keith Hopkins (aka Keith West) who was currently in the Fab with ...Teenage Opera.

Chuck Blair followed John Peel at 5.30am, as a miserable day, in all respects, dawned. (The contents of the show, which included a dedication to the Knees Club, are covered elsewhere on the site.)

Pete Drummond incorporated more farewell messages in his morning show, and Alan Keen guested on the last Coffee Break.

Around noon, Tony Brandon and Mike Lennox arrived on the tender with Eddie Blackwell, Godfrey Morrow and Dennis Maitland from the Curzon Street Offices.

At 12.30, Ed Stewart announced the time of the train that the DJs would be catching to from Ipswich to London's Liverpool Street station. Listeners were encouraged to wear black ties or armbands as a sign of 'mourning'.

Their Final Hour, containing a wealth of farewell messages and tributes from icons of the music world and DJs past and present, was the last Big L programme ever. The last celebrity message to be heard was the one from Ringo Starr. The message gave the impression that either he was at a loss for words, or had not given much consideration beforehand, as to what he was going to say. Perhaps Ringo had been asked to record a tribute, rather than volunteering to do so.

Managing Director, Philip Birch made a closing announcement before the final farewell was spoken by Paul Kaye, whose voice had been the first to be heard on Radio London. The station played out with the 'Big Lil' Sonowaltz, and the transmitter was switched off by Russ Tollerfield.

The sad band of DJs went ashore aboard the Ocean Cock, with Paul Kaye trying to cheer them up by playing his guitar and leading them in singing rude songs. They were to be astonished by the heroes' welcome they received.

Aboard the Mi Amigo, the crew and DJs were tuned to Big L's closedown, and broadcast a minute's silence in tribute. The two Caroline stations soldiered on.

Further north, Radios Scotland and 270 were to close at midnight.

Ashore

7th
Ringo Starr recorded his farewell message at 17 Curzon Street.The recording is available on a 4-CD boxed set from Strawberry Records: The Beatles Mythology, Vol. 3, 1966-69. Unfortunately, it is listed as, "(recorded) Monday July 31st 1967 at Radio London's central office in Curzon Street, for broadcast on Saturday August 5th 1967." Brian Long, in his book The London Sound, lists the recording date as August 7th, and as we all know, the message was most definitely broadcast on August 14th. During the course of research, I have come across a few Beatle sites that had the date of Radio London's closedown wrongly listed. Perhaps for those who are unfamiliar with offshore radio history, the date has passed into legend as having been 'August 5th'.

11th
John Edward hosted a Big L farewell party at the Down Beat Club in Maldon.

14th
Kenny Everett was at Broadcasting House, where Radio London was relayed on the internal monitoring system.

Keith Skues and Ian Damon attempted to meet their former collegues at Liverpool Street, and were almost trampled underfoot by the mob.

All over the Radio London reception area, people were in tears.

Chris Payne and Alan Hardy were tuned-in at EMI in Hayes, Middlesex.

Mary Wingert had taken a day off work and was sitting crying, desperately hoping that if she left the radio tuned in to 266, Big L would come back.

When Radio One launched eight weeks later, on September 30th, Tony Blackburn included no less than six records in the station's first show which had been in the final Fab Forty: Even The Bad Times Are Good; The Day I Met Marie; Good Times; The House That Jack Built; Excerpt From A Teenage Opera and Reflections.

Visit Page Two for the Climber Lists

Go to Final Fab Page 2
Fab Forty Index
Go to Fab Forty Features Index
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