The Final BIG L FAB 40 6th August 1967

Radio London – Field’s Final Fab Forty – 6th August 1967

On 14th August 1967 all the Offshore Radio Pirates closed down except for the 2 Radio Carolines. As a build up to remembering that sad day here is Offshore Radio London known as BIG L’s last Fab 40.

The “Fab 40” (i.e. “Fabulous Forty”) was a weekly playlist of popular records used by the British “pirate” radio station “Wonderful” Radio London (also known as “Big L”) which broadcast off the Essex coast from 1964 to 1967.

“Fab” (short for “fabulous”) was a very fashionable adjective in the mid-1960s, associated with the Beatles, who were known as the “Fab Four”, and much used by such trend-setters as Cathy McGowan, who presented the weekly rock music show Ready Steady Go! on independent television.

Unlike the charts published in the Melody Maker, New Musical Express and other music papers (or, for that matter, used by the BBC or the rival pirate station Radio Caroline), the Fab 40 was not based on sales of records. Thus, although it mostly contained what was current and popular, it was often ahead of movements in the authentic charts and was subject to more dramatic fluctuations. Whereas, in the sales charts of the 1960s, many records would climb in stages and then drop gradually, a record might suddenly emerge near the top of the Fab 40 one week and disappear from it the next. Equally, there was often room for records to scale the higher echelons of the Fab 40 without entering the sales charts at all (for example, the Settlers’ Nowhere Man in March 1966). As a result, a number of records that are well remembered from the mid-1960s were not, in fact, particularly successful in commercial terms.

Fab 40 show

The Fab 40 was unveiled each week during a three-hour programme at lunchtime on Sunday (11 am to 2 pm), which, through such programmes as Family Favourites and Beyond Our Ken, the BBC had established as a prime time for radio listening. The show, which followed the Colgate-Palmolive Request Hour, was presented by the station’s disc jockeys on a rotational basis. This format largely mirrored that of the BBC’s Pick of the Pops, which Alan Freeman had presented each Sunday on the Light Programme since 1961.

The final Fab 40 show was introduced by Tommy Vance on 6 August 1967, the number one record that week being the Beach Boys’ Heroes and Villains, which entered the chart in the top position (whereas, in terms of sales, it entered the British top 20 a month later and reached no higher than number eight). Radio London closed on 14 August 1967 following enactment of the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act that, in effect, outlawed such stations. In August 2007 the final “Fab 40” was re-presented by former Radio London disc jockey Dave Cash as part of a celebration on BBC Radio Essex to mark the fortieth anniversary of the pirates’ demise.

When the BBC opened its own “pop” station Radio One in September 1967, its sales-based top 30 chart was known informally for a time as the “Fun 30”, no doubt in imitation of London’s “Fab 40”.

The Final Big L Fab 40

Presented by To

Radio London – Field’s Final Fab Forty – 6th August 1967

mmy Vance

This        Last                                       

Week      Week                                     

1              –                              Heroes And Villains                                                            Beach Boys

1              40                           Even The Bad Times Are Good                                       Tremeloes

2              28                           The Day I Met Marie                                                          Cliff Richard

3              18                           Long-Legged Girl (With The Short Dress On)              Elvis Presley

4              35                           The House That Jack Built                                                 Alan Price Set

5              –                              A Girl Like You                                                                  Young Rascals

6              17                           Excerpt From A Teenage Opera                                       Keith West

7              21                           Love Years Coming                                                            Strawberry Children

8              33                           Time Seller                                                                            Spencer Davis Group

9              13                           Sticks And Stones                                                               Warm Sounds

10           –                              Itchycoo Park                                                                       Small Faces

11           –                              Reflections                                                                            Diana Ross & the Supremes

12           –                              Your Unchanging Love                                                      Marvin Gaye

13           –                              Everybody Needs Love                                                      Gladys Knight & the Pips

14           –                              That’s The Way Love Is                                                     Isley Brothers

15           –                              Don’t You Miss Me A Little Bit Baby                            Jimmy Ruffin

16           –                              The Idol                                                                                 Fortunes

17           –                              Lonesome Road                                                                  Wonder Who

18           –                              Hole In My Shoe                                                                 Traffic

19           –                              Thinkin’ Ain’t For Me                                                         Paul Jones

20           –                              Baby I Love You                                                                 Aretha Franklin

21           2                              Death Of A Clown                                                              Dave Davies

22           1                              I’ll Never Fall In Love Again                                            Tom Jones

23           6                              Pleasant Valley Sunday                                                     Monkees

24           3                              I Was Made To Love Her                                                  Stevie Wonder

25           9                              A Bad Night                                                                          Cat Stevens

26           4                              Gin House                                                                             Amen Corner

27           31                           Craise Finton Kirk                                                               Johnnie Young

28           14                           My Mammy                                                                         Happenings

29           –                              I Want To Go Back There Again      Truly Smith / New Formula / Bill Kenwright & the Runaways

30           25                           Back To Memphis / I Do Really Love You                    Chuck Berry

30           –                              The Windows Of The World                                             Dionne Warwick

31           –                              Omaha / Hey Grandma                                                      Moby Grape

32           37                           Some Other Someday                                                        West Coast Consortium

33           20                           Things Get Better                                                                 Eddie Floyd

34           27                           King Of The World                                                             Quik

35           –                              Climb Ev’ry Mountain                                                       Madeline Bell

36           29                           Don’t Let The Rain Fall Down On Me                            Critters

37           34                           Come And Play With Me In The Garden                       John’s Children

38           19                           Suddenly Things                                                                  Ivy League

39           39                           For Brandy                                                                           Dave Justin

40           –                              Thank The Lord For The Night Time                              Neil Diamondor