In August 1966 The Beatles embarked on their final concert tour of America. Following the furore over John Lennon's “more popular than Jesus” comment there was considerable
concern and interest in how the group would be received. NEMS, the Beatles' management company, arranged for a number of British journalists to accompany the tour and, from the offshore stations, Caroline's
Jerry Leighton, Swinging Radio England's Ron O'Quinn and Radio London's Kenny Everett were invited.
It was not possible for Kenny to send live reports direct to the ship because the Post Office had cut off ship-to-shore communication with all the pirate vessels, so he had to phone a number on land. Radio
London news chief Paul Kaye would come ashore to take the call, record the conversation with Kenny, then head back to the ship where the recording was edited and music added to
compile a 30 minute programme. Sponsored by Bassett's Jelly Babies, supposedly The Beatles' favourite sweets, the shows went out each evening at 7.30pm for the duration of the tour.
This is part of one of the programmes, a copy of the studio master. Radio London suffered from night-time interference so the telephone conversation would have been difficult to hear on air. But on this
recording you can make out every word. Hosted by Senior DJ Tony Windsor the clip includes Kenny telling Paul Kaye about the trans-Atlantic flight and the first concert of the
tour. Part of it was recorded at that first gig at the International Amphitheatre Chicago on 12th August 1966.
Part of an edition of a Bassett's Jelly Babies Show as Kenny Everett reports on the Beatles tour of America from August 1966. Recording courtesy of Hans Stieper (duration 3 minutes 30 seconds)
Many thanks to Hans Stieper for providing this rare studio recording. It is a copy of a tape obtained by a couple of German fans who visited the Radio London ship in 1968. The vessel was then
sitting in Hamburg harbour following the end of its broadcasting career. Their story, pictures of the ship and more copies of studio recordings are over the page.
There is an interview with Kenny in which he discusses this trip to America on the Radio London website.
He describes the day he was asked to go on the tour as “the greatest day of my life”.