A typical quality radio from the early 1960s. Stations marked on the dial included the
offshore pirates, Radio Veronica & Radio Noordzee.
Most of the sound files on this page are in Real Audio
format. If you don't already have a Real Player, you can download a free copy
from www.real.com. The player is
also often available on the CD Roms supplied free with Internet monthlies.
Pirate Radio in the 1960s
Pirate Pot Porri (2 mins.)
Included in this archive are clips from Radios Caroline, Atlanta, England, London,
City, 270, 390 and Scotland. There are jingles, commercials and the voices of
Richard Harris, Johnny Walker, Kenny Everett, Edward Cole, Tommy Edwards,
Tony Windsor and Dave Cash.
007 (shanty town) - Desmond Dekker
(1966, 2 mins. 35 secs.)
Young people in Ireland in the early 1960s were an uncomplicated God fearing folk "content"
to listen to "showbands" reworking recent American chart successes or
performing country and western style ballads
and Irish tenors singing the "Mountains of Mourne." In 1964
this peaceful state of innocence was lost forever with the arrival of the siren sounds
emanating from mysterious ships on the high seas. In particular, the sounds of
Radio Caroline North, moored of the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea, were received
with ease by our valve (vacuum tube) powered Bush and Pye radio sets and the
increasingly popular transistorised sets.
The newly arrived West Indian
immigrants in England in the early 1960s had brought their love of ska music
with them providing
a new market for the booming record industry. By 1964 ska had mellowed into the sweeter sounding
blubeat and rocksteady rythyms. Until the arrival of the offshore pirate
broadcasters, the only music from the West Indies to be heard on the government
controlled airwaves in Great Britain was the occassional calypso from Trinidad.
The pirates changed all this and broadcast new releases from Jamaica every week.
Unfortunately many of these records have been lost forever.
There were however some
exponents of rocksteady who managed to cross the racial barrier and found a market
in the mainstream of the British popular record charts. In particular, Desmond Dekker
and the Aces had a big success with a song, the lyrics of which I still find
pleasingly incomprehensible - "007 (shanty town)". When I first heard this record on Radio
Caroline I was mesmerised by its happy syncopated rythym and rushed out to the record shop
to buy a copy.
It's now available on a CD from
I'm not a king - Delroy Wilson
(1966, 1 mins. 29 secs.)
Another of my favourites from this period was this classic rocksteady number by
Delroy Wilson. He was only about 17 or 18 years of age when he made this record.
I have never heard this record on "legitimate" radio in the British Isles.
This is a clip I recorded in the mid 1980s from City Radio, a land-based pirate radio
operating from East London. Recently I bought a CD compilation of his records,
"Cool Operator", in a street market in Catford.
Unfortunately the CD version of this song was a 1970s/80s "reggae" reworking
which bears no comparison to the original recording. Despite the brevity of the clip
and the occassional "swooshing" sounds caused by adjusting the aerial in an attempt
to get the best signal, I am sure you will agree it was worth the effort. Sadly, Delroy
died in 1995, aged only 48, but for me his youthful voice will always epitomise
the sweet sound of 1960s rocksteady.
In the late 1970s, on arriving in England to work, I experienced
a renaissance of my love of Jamaican music with the worldwide success of Bob
One Cup of Coffee - Bob Marley
(1962, 2 mins. 32 secs. - best heard on ISDN or DSL). In 1994, I was studying for my Masters degree in Bristol. One evening I was
watching a movie portraying a young West Indian's search for his roots in Jamaica -
they Come." As I dozed though the movie I was suddenly awakened to the lilting sound of
rocksteady, a sound which I had heard very infrequently since the 1960s. When the credits
rolled I discovered it was none
other than Bob Marley's "One
Cup of coffee", recorded in 1962. Of course, I had never heard this on British radio.
It predated the pirates and by the time the airwaves were "opened" to non-governmental
broadcasters in the early 1970s,
the only records they played were the current
(or old, in the case of the "Golden oldies" stations) top 40 pap, or whatever earned
the quickest advertising buck!
The next time I heard this song was earlier this year
the Internet. I am a lecturer in Java programming and I thought a song with a coffee
theme would be nice for my course web site. I remembered the Bob Marley record from my
sojourn in Bristol and
used a search engine to locate references to it. Not only did I find many references
to it, but also a site that streamed the record in RealAudio.
It's now available on a CD Box Set from
Don't Stay Out Late - The Dualers
They said to me "Phil, your living in the past!" Well sometimes I am, but I was
walking down Bromley High Street just the other day (searching for books on RS-232
ports and Java! What a geek!) when lo and behold, instead of the usual strains of
Andean pipe masters I heard a great rendition of Sam Cooke's "Chain Gang". At first
I thought it was a professional recording from a CD or radio station, But no, it
was just two young guys busking on the high street! Of course, I stopped to
listen this old classic, but to my surprise they followed on with a
ska number which I had not heard before - "Dont Stay Out Late".
I have not checked if their latest album is available from Amazon, but I will
put a link on this page if it is listed by this company. The web site for The Dualers
Other Radio Gems Pages
The national radio of Ireland. A short history and some famous broadcasts from years gone by.
Colour pictures, early history and a 9 minute broadcast from the late 1930s.
A short biography of the British Prime Minister and a recording of his famous broadcast
in 1939, declaring war on Germany.
99 high quality jingles from the halycon days of Offshore Radio;
Radio Caroline, London, England, Britain & City on one CD or cassette.
PAM jingles A selction of jingles
from the masters of the art in Heuston, Texas. Radio London and Radio England were the first British
stations to use sophisticated American jingles in the early 1960s.
Colour TV in 1969
Colour TV in 1969 - The Colour Television Receiver Film. In the sixties it was easier to tune a nuclear power station
than a colour TV. In this short film, Michael Aspel, then barely out of short trousers :-), but now in the antique business, is the narrator.
Pirate Radio Hall of Fame
"... has been set up to honour the stars, the broadcasters, from that golden era of music
This site is a tribute to the people who endured a daily battle with the elements
to provide a soundtrack to the swinging sixties ..."
"Caroline was conceived to break the UK radio monopoly and help young artists and
bands advance their careers. When I saw the sometimes brutal lengths that the
establishment and authorities were prepared to go to to silence Caroline, the
station evolved to become a struggle of the individual or group of individuals
against the system and this continues to be so. "
Ronan O'Rahilly - Founder of Radio Caroline
"Radio Caroline is one of Europe's most famous radiostations. Caroline started
broadcasting back in 1964 from the 'mv Fredericia' and has been thru many ups
and downs since then. However, Caroline has survived until now. Welcome to
Europe's first and only album station." In Dutch and English languages.
Radio Caroline's webcast schedule. High quality recordings
(only available with ISDN or ADSL). This service is provided by the Caroline Support
You can listen to the present day Radio Caroline now live on these players
(these links have been successfully tested on a PC, IE5 browser, only):
Record directly from your cassettes, LPs or CDs and create your own MP3 files. This
easy to use program is used by Radio Gems to compile its radio archives. Excellent
support is provided.
A beautiful 5 inch natural edge ewe bowl, kiln dried and constructed from local timber. For a limited period only, we will pay the costs to ship this item direct from Ireland to any destination in the world! Click here for details on how to order online now!