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VEB Funkmechanik Neustadt-Glewe Saalburg 5380 C. Built in East Germany, 1964.

A typical quality radio from the early 1960s. Stations marked on the dial included the offshore pirates, Radio Veronica & Radio Noordzee.

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Pirate Radio in the 1960s

Listen now! 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.

Listen now! 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 very successful 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 and

Listen now! 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 featured here 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 Marley.

Listen now! 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 - "The Harder 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 (2001) on 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 and

Listen now! 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 is:

Other Radio Gems Pages

Radio Eireann The national radio of Ireland. A short history and some famous broadcasts from years gone by.

Radio Normandy Colour pictures, early history and a 9 minute broadcast from the late 1930s.

Neville Chamberlain A short biography of the British Prime Minister and a recording of his famous broadcast in 1939, declaring war on Germany.


Click for larger image 99 high quality jingles from the halycon days of Offshore Radio; Radio Caroline, London, England, Britain & City on one CD or cassette.

Contents of Album

Available from

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 radio. 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 Photo Gallery, History of Radio Caroline, Net Broadcast. "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 Group Netherlands.
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): Click to hear Caroline on WinampWinamp
Click to hear Caroline on RealPlayerRealPlayer
Audiotools 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.

5" bowl Leyden Woodcraft

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!

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