By 1967 when
Swinging Radio England launched, off the British Coast, several
UK pirates were already well established; the leader was
undoubtedly Radio London, whilst number two was Radio Caroline.
The latter which was run on a tight budget never purchased
customised American jingles, but instead used home-grown groups
& singers, pieces cut from current songs, together with cuts
stolen from American jingle demos, and generic jingles such as
those made by SESAC (e.g. This is the swingingest station in
town) and NAB (e.g. Lively Companion). Radio London, on the
other hand had bought the most successful top 40 package to date
from PAMS of Dallas, namely series #18 'Sonosational' released
in 1961, (with a few series #17 'New Frontier' a couple from
#26d 'The Beatles' and one from #16 'The Sound of the City').
Quite a large initial package, but not enough for Big L! Their
jingle repertoire was enhanced by innumerable clever edits from
PAMS demo reels of series #15, #16, #22, #23, #25, #26, #27,
#28, and #29, (later Big L bought #31 as a top up)
Against this background, Radio England chose PAMS' series #27
'The Jet Set' as it's launch package. This was arguably PAMS'
second most successful package ever, rivaling series #18 in the
number of stations using it around the world. Based on a 'jet
set' image, of flying to exotic locations, driving fast sports
cars or riding on speed boats, all the sound effects were in
there, together with a robust all-male vocal line, contrasting
with a fast paced, brassy music track mixed with Glenni
Rutherford singing operatic scat.
Although Big L had used all the cuts from the demo, the WABC
demo version sounds very tame, against Radio England's version.
Compare 'Where the action is', 'Positive charge', 'Golden
Classic' or 'Let's Look into the Future Time' to hear what I
mean. The male singers on SRE's version are louder, more
excited, even raunchier as they sing 'Swi-i-i-i-i-ng Radio
US Stations had a
tradition of using a superlative connected with a station name,
High Flying WING, Wonderful WIL, Yours Truly WHB, Colourful KQV,
are some examples. The pirates continued with this idea; Big L's
"Wonderful Radio London" logo melody taken from the already
established "Wonderful WQAM", whereas Radio England had new
melody created for the ID "Swinging Radio England". 'Swinging'
being the US view of all things English, as in Roger Miller's
"England swings like a pendulum do" [sic]
like Radio London was also keen to enhance their on-air jingle
selection, one of their jocks, Ron O'Quinn who had worked on
Miami's WFUN had dubs of that station's entire jingle library.
Better still, WFUN's catchphrase 'Fun Radio' and 'The Fun Spot'
was perfect for editing, so we had an eclectic mix from PAMS #14
#16 & #22 with jingles like 'It's Blast off time on Funny Radio,
we're going into orbit" or "Fun Radio, would like to ask you, do
you remember, do you remember?" or "Less Talk More Music, Less
Talk More Music, The Fun Spot". There were also packages from
Futursonic & CRC, giving us "Weather Prediction", "The Station
that keeps you Informed" and acapellas like "F-U-N Weekend",
"The Boss Jocks, Bop-Bop, Play More Music Now!", "Boss Radio!"
etc. Indeed the station's news format was a direct copy of the
WFUN style. An overblown mix of big orchestrations, OTT stingers
and a countdown throughout the weather, demanded a fast paced -
almost hysterical, news presentation that would try the most
professional of DJs!
But back to Radio Caroline for a moment! Tight for money (as
always!) and a pirate in every sense, they couldn't believe
their luck when Radio England began on-air testing. Perhaps
because they were so thrilled with their brand new package, SRE
made the serious mistake of playing out all their jingles in the
clear between records and announcements. The transmission
quality was above average with a wide bandwidth allowing
Caroline to record almost hi-fi copies of absolutely everything,
then edit them into existing material, et voilá! a free new
package for Caroline "Fun Radio! It's agreed. Yes indeed, number
By the time SRE
was on air for real, many listeners thought they stole their
stuff from Caroline instead of the other way round. This left
poor old SRE to go back a buy a new package. Perhaps PAMS #29
"Radio au Go-Go" would have made a good follow-up, but with less
money to spend now, they went to cheap n cheerful Spot
Productions buying 'Thatman' - Batman to you and me, but Thatman
on the lyric sheet to cleverly avoid royalties due to the
writers of the famous TV theme tune. Listen again sometime, can
you hear them sing Batman or Thatman?
Swinging Radio England DJ Larry Dean, had worked on WPTR in
Albany, a station that also had the Thatman package, so perhaps
he made the choice of SRE jingles? Either way, this was an
opportunity to get some free jingles for the DJs on the station
so the original WPTR DJ's names were kept & the SRE Jocks
renamed accordingly, perhaps it was Larry who suggested the jock
That Radio England was ultimately unsuccessful is of course
history, certainly the US style clashed with mainstream British
culture, in a way Radio London had managed to avoid. But the
jingles were classic Americana, and certainly fuelled my
interest in US Radio, helping me to understand, by comparison
with Radio London, how jingles can be re-sung, re-lyriced (is
that a word?), and the concept of variable melody line ID logos
added, over pre-recorded music beds, as perfected by PAMS of
Dallas. I spent many a happy hour, finger poised above the
record button, taping every jingle from every station, and
sharing with friends, but oh! it was irritating when a jock
spoke over them! Mind you the music was decent too....
By my late teens,
I had discovered that I was not the only one captured by these
tiny pieces of genius. Somehow I found collectors & traders in
the USA and it dawned upon me, the scale of the jingle
operation. In addition to expanding my trading pals, I began
writing to all the jingle companies, and since they were all
keen to break into the emerging British market, I was deluged
with giant jiffy bags of demos, Pepper, TM, Heller, Drake and
good old PAMS. I had never heard such excellent audio quality
before, and in addition to regular demos, Jonathan Wolfert who
was then working at PAMS probably realised that I was never
going to buy anything, but that I was simply an avid fan not
unlike himself, and kindly sent me loads of unusual packages
too. Jiffy bags the size of pillows!
50 years later I am still a fan of jingles, and it has never
been easier to collect and store jingle packages, the internet
making contact with like minded guys a doddle. My collection has
passed 50,000 packages, which represents a large slice of the
whole world's radio jingles, which would fill several rooms, yet
fits into a hard drive the size of a pack of cards. Massive as
my collection is, it pales into insignificance compared to some
of the American collectors, especially those in the actual
business. You know who you are! The magnitude of my archive
actually makes it hard to chose what to include in this sampler,
but generally each item is outstanding is some way or another,
and for the sharp eared experts, I have included a few 'trick'
cuts with sneaky editing, to challenge your jingle knowledge, I
have also included numerous cuts that I heard on the classic
vintage samplers, as a nod to those who cleverly fuelled my
interest in collecting as far back as the late 60's.
I have produced
this 50th anniversary sampler as a salute to everyone that I
have had the pleasure to trade with. The final track mentions
many of you by name as you will hear. But I must give special
thanks to Ken R Deutsch, producer and collector par excellence
who I had the pleasure to assist in his own jingle operation.
Whether or not you feature in that final track, thank you to
everyone, past and present, for your generosity over the years,
this sampler is dedicated to you all.
Zip file of All Norman
Barrington's 50th Anniversary Jingle Sampler Tracks
Full-Sized CD Cover Graphic
©2017 Ken Deutsch