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Roburt

UK Pirate Radio Stns -- 1960's

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Many on here won't recall the UK music scene from 1964 to 1967, so to them the pirates will just mean kids atop city tower blocks playing soul stuff in the 70's & 80's (and not too much of that being NS) ... in that era those pirates did a whole lot to spread the word with regard to good new black music.

But back in the mid 60's (apart from Luxembourg & AFN), we had to rely on those DJ's out at sea to hear good soul music. In fact, stations like Radio London, Radio Caroline, Radio City & Radio 270 played some damn fine sounds. To illustrate my point, I'm posting up a couple of chart sheets from Radio London in 1967 ....

I had a copy of King George's UK RCA 45 from 67 till that soul hoover called Tall Pimple pried it out of my collection. He hadn't even been aware that it had escaped on 45 here in the UK until he saw my copy BUT the single did quite well here as a new release and gained much airplay on the pirate stns (even getting into the Top 20 of Radio London's Pop 45 chart) ...  one strange thing though, the popular side of the 45 is / was the US plug side, whereas here in the UK it was "Drive On James" that formed the A side of the single (though R London played both sides at first) ....

 

60sPirateRadioMont.jpg

KingGeorge45x.jpg

Edited by Roburt

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In 1967, Radio London even reflected the popularity of soul cuts with it's listeners. It did this by introducing a specialist play-list titled the SOUL SET. This selection changed weekly and included many of the best UK releases from that period ... 

I was lucky back then coz my elder brother was a ship's engineer. He sailed from Salford to either Argentina or the Gt Lakes in Nth America. I'd always ask him to dive into a Chicago / Detroit / Cleveland record shop & buy me a few obscure 45's out of their cut out bin ... he never did (as he had no idea which of the 45's were by soul singers) but he did fetch me a few albums ... one of these was Spyder Turners great MGM LP, with another being the Freddie Scott set 'Are You Lonely For Me Baby' which included this fine track ... 

RadioLondonSoulSetApril67.jpg

Edited by Roburt

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Roburt The 60s were my teenage years and I grew up in Clacton-on-Sea - so you can see we had all the pirate ships off our coast - and they were the sound track of our formative years. The only other Pirate Radio ship was Radio Caroline North which was set up some time later off the North West coast.

Apart from the ones you mentioned one or two others spring to mind. There was Radio Sutch which was set up by Screaming Lord Sutch and I think that became Radio City. But that one broadcast from an old wartime fort not a ship. Did that later become Radio Essex?

There was a Radio Atlanta.

Another fairly big name was Radio North Sea International.

My older brother had various fishing boats and although technically everything on the ships went via the Netherlands that wasn't always the case. I know he got called on to ferry people/supplies out to the ships but it was all done very hush hush as nobody wanted to fall foul of the law. 

I remember one General election we went to an election meeting with banners demanding that the government back off from jamming our radio stations. That got a bit embarrassing when we realised that one of the candidates was a teacher at our school. Luckily he managed to see the funny side of it. :)

I also went on a huge demo in London. I've still got photos from that. One of them has Ronan O'Rahilly on it who was the boss of Radio Caroline. I believe he is still alive but maybe not in good health.

In the last few years somebody set up a Pirate Radio museum in Clacton but it was fairly short-lived and I never managed to get there.

I'm quite certain I got my first love of soul/R&B music from the pirate ships. That then went to another level when I stumbled across a little club down a back street in Wolverhampton called the Catacombs. And so on and so forth . . . . . . . .

Just a few random thoughts off the top of my head. :)

 

 

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Radio 270 was anchored off Scarboro ... I seem to recall they used "Wade In The Water" as their theme tune ... 

 

Radio270B.jpg

Edited by Roburt

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Amazing. I don't think I ever heard of Radio 270 then or since.

But we were in our own little radio heaven down in Essex! :)

Have you any idea how far the signals from the various stations would have reached? It wasn't something that would have even entered our heads at the time.

 

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I lived in Donny (Sth Yorkshire) & we could pick up 270, Caroline Nth, Caroline Sth & Radio london all day, everyday. Radio City was a bit hit & miss.

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Beggin- Timebox

My copy has an ex-Radio Caroline DJ (Paul Rusling) signature scribbled on it- to let shipmates know who's copy it was. 

I guess it diminishes it's value...but a little piece of Pirate Radio history nontheless.

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If it wasn't for these guys risking their lives in all weathers, music and radio wouldn't be were it is today. Didn't know that former BBC newsreader Philip Hayton was a pirate DJ.

Pirate radio made a come back in the north sea in the mid 80's with Laser and Caroline.

I thought some of you would like to hear the original jingles that were used.

The London Sound with Wonderful BIGL.mp3

Good Morning (2).mp3

R England - Good Morning, The World Is Bright.mp3

1242247215_3680_FT71486_lazer_558_opener.mp3

Laser Close Down.mp3

Laser Hot Hits 576 Start up.mp3

pirateradiolondon_kenny.mp3

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Some photos from a "Free Radio Demo" in 1970. Ronan O'Rahilly the boss of Radio Caroline there with Simon Dee who was one of the first DJs on RC.

One of the placards says RNI which was Radio North Sea International. They managed to struggle on until the mid-70s I think.

We used to have a demo about anything and everything back then.

What's wrong with kids nowadays? LOL! :)

 

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And for me THE MOST ICONIC RECORD of the whole Pirate Radio era. Warm and Tender Love by Percy Sedge. Played every night at 11 pm for ages by Johnnie Walker.

Plus JW's take on the record.

Imagine hearing this every night - full of teenage angst - totally besotted with a pretty girl in your class at school . . . . . . . LOL! :)

It is just one example as Roburt says of the part the pirates played in the development of soul music in the UK.

 

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There is a great set of Radio London (Big L) charts and other info. here. Obviously mostly "pop" but soul/R&B tracks almost always did better than in the mainstream charts and all sorts of soul/R&B was played that you wouldn't hear elsewhere.

For many teenagers at the time who were within range of the pirates this was the soundtrack of their lives. :)

http://www.radiolondon.co.uk/rl/scrap60/fabforty/index.html

 

Edited by MBarrett

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The pirate stations in the 1964-67 period were fantastic for playing soul sometimes the output on soul was a good 25% of what 

 was being played at the time we had access to Radio Caroline north , Radio London, up here in the north west loud and clear great times listening to great music

ML

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I had a random thought come into my head of one of the pirates heavily promoting one of the Equals first LPs.

It was done as an advertising feature with 20 sec (approx) clips of several tracks.

OK not "rare soul" by any means but It all seemed so upbeat and exciting. A great time to be young. IMHO :)

(I found a mention of it here.)

 

 

 

eq.jpg

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BBC's Radio One always was a poor substitute (if you were a soul fan) ... too much UK music played (a policy of the BBC management) ... 

It started out broadcasting on MW ... 247 on the radio dial ... was that a co-incidence or was it taken from 24 hrs 7days .. 24/7 ... 247

 

Radio1RadioTimes.jpg

Radio1logo247.jpg

Edited by Roburt

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8 minutes ago, Roburt said:

BBC's Radio One always was a poor substitute (if you were a soul fan) ... too much UK music played (a policy of the BBC management) ... 

It started out broadcasting on MW ... 247 on the radio dial ... was that a co-incidence or was it taken from 24 hrs 7days .. 24/7 ... 247

 

Radio1RadioTimes.jpg

Radio1logo247.jpg

 

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Dave Simmons's soul show Saturday tea time ,took over from mike ravins blues show if my patchey memory serves me well ,how l got started lthink, anyone got any grainy old tapes they could post up ? 🎶🎶✌

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Yes Radio 1 was manufactured to prim and proper, even though some of the DJ,s used were ex pirate stations DJ,s you could see they were toeing the line and hadn't got to he same freedom as before it's like everything else once it goes mainstream it gets watered down its called life

ML

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24 minutes ago, Spain pete said:

Dave Simmons's soul show Saturday tea time ,took over from mike ravins blues show if my patchey memory serves me well ,how l got started lthink, anyone got any grainy old tapes they could post up ? 🎶🎶✌

I'm not sure about Dave Simmons but one of Mike Raven's later shows here - courtesy of Pete Smith.

https://www.mixcloud.com/mayfairmenthol/mike-raven-r-b-show-bbc-radio-one-1971/

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Cheers for that.  But  knew about that Pete smith recording, but its the dave Simmonds soul show. On  radio one with the link up with American radio stations that l'm after, around 1972 

9 hours ago, MBarrett said:

I'm not sure about Dave Simmons but one of Mike Raven's later shows here - courtesy of Pete Smith.

https://www.mixcloud.com/mayfairmenthol/mike-raven-r-b-show-bbc-radio-one-1971/

 

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10 hours ago, Roburt said:

BBC's Radio One always was a poor substitute (if you were a soul fan) ... too much UK music played (a policy of the BBC management) ... 

It started out broadcasting on MW ... 247 on the radio dial ... was that a co-incidence or was it taken from 24 hrs 7days .. 24/7 ... 247

That would have been a stretch of imagination for the programmers, or a distant ambition ... it was years before Radio 1 went 24 hours. I can remember the breakfast show starting at 7 (after an hour of Radio 2's breakfast show broadcast on the same frequency), with programming all the way through to 6pm, going back to Radio 2 until 11 when there was an hour of, whoop de doo, John Peel. That was weekdays. Weekends were even barer, with Ed Stewpot Stewart getting things going about 8:30 with Junior Choice, with programming all the way through to 6 or 7 and then that was it. This would have been late 70s. The first soul shows I'm old enough to remember were those of Al Matthews (largely forgotten). He had the Saturday late evening slot once that was opened up, and he also had a Friday evening show, "Discovatin'", 7-9 if memory serves (it was where I first heard Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers "Bustin' Loose"). Around the same time or earlier Alexis Korner did a blues and soul show on early Saturday evenings (after Alan Freeman, not arf).

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