1967 TO 1970
RADIO ONE OFF!
I wonder what would have happened if a woman had gone with the Apollo astronauts, in 1969, to the Moon? Being that the Moon is connected with the female menstrual cycle. Could a woman go to the moon? By the end of the next decade the question was would anyone go back to the Moon? A great apathy was to descend on space exploration; the costs of it were proving too much. The risk was also great. Sceptics thought that sending people to the moon was sending them to their deaths. But the US government wasn’t interested in spacemen’s lives, just showing how wonderful the USA was to the world or more likely the USSR. At the same time Hippies protesting over the Vietnam War were shattering the American dream. They were too much to handle, even for Captain Kirk! And their hair!
In Britain the radio waves were full of pirates at the start of 1967. They were soon to BBC employers or shut up, precisely what they didn’t want to be. The BBC had a monopoly on what music was heard. It was for this reason that Ronan O’ Rahilly had set up Radio Caroline in 1964. Musician and singer Georgie Fame had employed him as an agent, but Ronan had hit a brick wall trying to get Fame’s music on the airwaves. Like the internet users many years later, Pirate Radio didn’t pay for the music, unlike the BBC and the Musicians Union didn’t like that. So Tony Benn who had the power to stop the pirate stations, ever in support of Union power, did so. The pirates did end paying as they fought to stay on air, mostly in vain. Consultants were brought in to update the BBC image and the radio stations changed their names to - 2, 3 and 4, instead of Light, Third and Home. Lord Hill forced the BBC to set up Radio 1 and told them if they didn’t he would force pop on Radio 4. So the BBC employed the pirate DJs. Most were sacked within 6 months and replaced by BBC DJs such as Murray, Freeman, Young and Hamilton and of course BBC stalwart Terry Wogan.
Meanwhile teenagers’ rights were being interfered more directly at government level and they didn’t even no about it, never-mind protest. Well not directly. The 1967 Licensing Act closedown clubs for teenagers like the famous MoJo. Instead new adult type clubs opened, like
in my hometown Sheffield, the (2,000 seated) Fiesta, these became known as the Cabaret Circuit. These benefited the careers of many pop stars such as Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdink, and a Sheffield singer called Tony Christie. Many like Tom and Engelbert had the huge number ones Delilah, The Last Waltz after clubs like these sprang into action all over the country. In Scotland the trend was the other way and clubs were folding due to the gangs and legal problems. Glasgow and Edinburgh were worst affected, some thirty Friday dances go to the wall, even civic halls sank without a trace by 1968. It didn’t stop a band setting up that would later see teenage girls wearing Tartan all over the country. However at that time they were called Saxon! Cabaret records were of course all played to death on Radio 1, which was really another radio 2, with the exception of John Peel. Tony Blackburn became the first on and played The Move’s Flowers in the Rain, a well known dig at the Labour Government, less well known is the record jumped all over the place! Despite bands like the Move getting some airplay Radio 1 wasn’t aimed at teenagers. Ed Stewart an ex pirate was giving the job of entertaining children and the show he was on was formerly on the light programme. He must have been sick to death of playing comedian Terry Scott’s My Brother and Three wheels on my wagon. Neither of which entered the chart, but probably sold sufficient to make it, just on his airplay.
Also in 1967, two factors put an end to the baby boom that would fuel unemployment during the late seventies and eighties, making the Government look bad, because of it. Nevertheless the politicians at the time were not keen on either. Ironically they made the unemployment go away and thus made the Government look good, taking the credit, by politicians saying it was there policy. Nor did they give them credit. The first was David Steel’s Abortion Act. This legalised and thus increased the use for women who did not want a baby. It’s generally thought by the population to be used mostly by girls under 16 and aged 16 to 20. This however is untrue and those women over 20 are more likely to have an abortion than under 16s. Still at around 30 per 1000 females, at the highest, it would only limit the population growth marginally. The major effect had to be the contraceptive pill. Without doubt this killed off the baby boom. Two doctors in the USA Gregory Pincus and John Rock had began clinical tests there in 1954, yet the pill arrived too late to stop the baby boom. By 1970 most GPs were prescribing the pill.
Something also returned to Britain that year the Gibb Brothers.
Kids in love with teachersAs the extended school leaving age took its effect, the public turned a blind eye to bad behaviour and portrayals of this bad school life were not welcome by the British public. Lulu found out this, when because of her size she was cast in the film To Sir With Love. The film made mega bucks in the States and everywhere except where it was set. The reason for this was because of the racial connection of a young white girl and Sidney Poitier playing a black teacher. Lulu practical played herself apart from her name! However what shock the world and
especially the USA was mixed race teaching. Race issues such as this were not of interest to the major British public. The only real British race issue was the idea of ethnics taking low skilled jobs from workers or jumping council house waiting lists. This in the case of black teachers doesn’t apply. The title song sung by Lulu, wasn't released, which shows how unpopular the film was in Britain. The idea that bad schools foster bad behaviour comes out in the British comedy classic films about Saint Trinian’s school. Run by bad & bent head-teacher who takes money from stupid - rich (generally) – parents, with the education ministers trying to close them down, without success. The girls all spoilt rotten and the cliché more money than sense. Up against this, the public didn’t want to see working class brats.
Upper Class twitsThe public however loved middle and upper class brats. In 1969 Oxford and Cambridge students had produced a TV show which typifies students even down to the title, though it bears no resemblance to the programme itself. No rock\pop music theme music, just a brass band with a raspberry blown at the end. YES it’s Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the result of practical jokes of student life, in a male dominated college. Many sketches could have been lifted from revues at college. Cleese and Co often dressed in women’s clothes, due to lack of female contact at these places. The show itself had only one bit part actress. However if you didn’t like Monty Python and found it annoying there was an American version of University students entertainment that was worse. Arizona University, found something that could annoy most people except young kids “Bubble Gum Pop”.
Created by two men that became known as Super K, they got session musicians to put out singles with titles such as Yummy Yummy I’ve got Love in my Tummy and Simple Simon Says. Band names were just as weird, like Ohio Express and 1910 Fruitgum Company. Thus they filled chart books with acts having one hit only. Super-K had little time for the band members and shuffled them around, always complaining about making B-sides, which could feature the A-side going backwards or some other gimmick.