A NEW book about the legendary pop-music station Radio Luxembourg is shining a light on the country, as well as it’s famous music station.
Nathan Morley’s book ‘The Radio Luxembourg Story’ takes readers on an epic journey through the history of the ‘Great 208’ – a station which entertained millions and helped shape European listening habits during the last century.
The book features a veritable who’s who of exclusive contributions from stars of the golden age of music and broadcasting, including Sir Cliff Richard, Vera Lynn, Pete Murray, Teddy Johnson, Gerry Marsden, Desmond Carrington, David Jacobs, David Gell, Ray Orchard, Alan Freeman, David Attenbrough, Don Wardell, Shaw Taylor, Arthur Brown, David Hamilton and many others.
In his remarks, Cliff Richard noted:
Radio Luxembourg was the station my friends and I listened to back in the 50s. Through Radio Luxembourg we were introduced to the wonders of Rock’n’Roll. Who would have guessed that by the age of 17, I would be joining my hero’s in the Charts and being asked by the 208 station to do a weekly 15 minute show with The Shadows! I’m so happy to have been a part of that musical scene.
Morley traces the origins of Luxembourg, celebrating the early pioneering spirit and unearthing long forgotten characters and programmes.
The book looks at the brutal war-years and the transformation of the channel into a Nazi propaganda station, then as a US psychological warfare channel.
The Nazis were convinced of the power of the spoken word and the seizure of Radio Luxembourg was something of a crowning moment for Goebbels, who had by now gained a stranglehold on radio stations in Holland, France, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway and Yugoslavia.
The book provides an insight into key events, personalities, programmes, internal problems and its magnificent successes.
The Cold War years are recalled by songstress Connie Francis, who became a popular entertainer on the channel, which was banned in the Eastern block and USSR, but attracted over 35 million listeners.
I always had a desire to reach people behind the iron curtain; the point of Luxembourg for me was that I could make people who were so suppressed happy. I was amazed the signal could reach to Tunisia and behind the iron curtain,” she recalled. I used to record the shows in the United States, some were taped in London and I clearly remember singing the closing song it’s Time to Say Goodnight in about ten different languages.
In one of his last interviews before his death and subsequent exposure as one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders, Jimmy Savile spoke to the author about his Radio Luxembourg career, the station that had made him a legend; as he cascaded to fame as a purveyor of pop, spouting nonsensical catchphrases and innuendo. Faced with a hostile BBC and the pop pirates, Radio Luxembourg managed to survive the 60s and 70s.
Other personal memories are shared by Noel Edmonds, Paul Burnett, Kid Jenson, Roger Day, Benny Brown, David Symonds, Colin Nichol, Timmy Mallett, Tony Blewitt, Alton Andrews and Emperor Rosko, who all give their take on the era, in addition to contributions from pop stars including David Soul and Dave Berry, and former Controllers Alan Keen and Ken Evans.