No.15: Ray Clark in conversation with Keith Hampshire

Ray Clark has interviewed numerous people involved with Radio Caroline for his documentaries and his book, Radio Caroline: The True Story Of The Boat That Rocked (reviewed here).
One of them was Caroline South DJ Keith “Keefers” Hampshire.
This short chat took place around the time of Caroline's thirtieth anniversary in 1994.
We are grateful to Ray for sharing it.

Keith Hampshire

Keith in the Radio Caroline South studio. Photo courtesy of the man himself. More of his pics are here.

RAY CLARK: What are you doing now Keith? Can I ask?
KEITH HAMPSHIRE: Certainly. I mainly spend my time doing radio and television commercials, just voice-overs, the odd jingle - I sing - but mainly things like (soothing voice) “Dove is one quarter moisturising cream. It can give you softer smoother skin in seven days.”
RC: I heard a rumour you had some success in the pop charts too. Is that right?
KH: Yes. I took some songs that had been hits in England but had never been released in North America. I re-did them and released them on A&M Records, and had a fair amount of success. I got in the Top 40 in the United States with a song called Daytime Night-Time[1] which was a hit for, I think it was Simon Dupree & the Big Sound in 1967.
RC: A few years back.
KH: It was quite a while ago. And then I recorded Cat Stevens' The First Cut is the Deepest[2] and it went to no.1 in Canada, and did very well in Australia. Then I recorded Big Time Operator[3] - Zoot Money's Big Roll Band - and it went to, oh, number 4 or 5 in Canada, went to number one in South Africa.
RC: So world-wide pop star.
KH: Apparently - yes (laughs).
RC: So back to Caroline, Keith. How did you first join?
KH: Well I was working at a radio/TV station in Calgary, Alberta, in Canada back in the early sixties and had heard about the pirate ships - but hadn't heard that much about them - but decided it was time to spread my wings. I was living at home and decided it was time to branch out on my own so I sold everything I had and decided to come to England for an excursion, for a year or so. I came over. I listened to the pirates and applied at Radio Caroline, Radio England and Radio London. Radio Caroline liked the cut of my jib, or whatever. Tom Lodge was the Chief Disc-Jockey at the time and he had heard of the radio station I had worked at in Calgary, knew it was a good station, so basically hired me on the basis that I had worked on a fairly reputable station in Canada. That's how that happened.
RC: What was the response like, Keith, with mail because obviously this was very big-time, with a huge audience?
KH: Yes. I was fortunate in that my original time slot was 3-6 in the afternoon. We called it “Keefers' Commotion” and I got between 500 and 1000 fan letters a week I'd say. I had a segment on the show.... at first we used to do a Walker Brothers spotlight and, after a while, people started talking about The Monkees so we did a Monkees spotlight so that helped the mail situation somewhat. And then I started doing the Breakfast Show, the morning show, and we called that “Keefers' Uprising” - this was on Radio Caroline South - and we got a fair amount of mail from that too.
RC: Keith, I know it's an awful long time ago but can you think of anything particularly funny that has stuck in your memory from those days?
KH: Particularly funny, you say..... We had a reunion about five years ago, some of the lads from Caroline South, and we refreshed Mike Ahern's memory about the time we set his carpet slippers afloat. He loved his carpet slippers. He never took them off when he was on the ship and once he was taking a nap in the early twilight hours and we snuck into his room, took his carpet slippers. We dosed them with lighter fluid, set them on fire and let them float out to sea. And then we went and woke him up and said “my God, Mike, come and see this”. He was going “What? What? What?”, ran out of the cabin and up onto the deck to see his carpet slippers. It was like a trip to Valhalla for his carpet slippers! (laughs)

click to hear audio Keith Hampshire, sitting in for Dave Lee Travis, on the American Hot 100 Show on Caroline South, 2nd October 1966. Recording from the Golden Radio NL server shared by MartinJA on the Internet Radiocafé, now known as the Radiotrefpunt (radio meeting point) forum. Our thanks to him (duration 4 minutes 20 seconds)

Keith Hampshire

Keith Hampshire

Keith on the mv Mi Amigo. Photos courtesy of the man himself. More of his pics are here.



Keith's version of Daytime Night-Time on YouTube.


Keith's version of The First Cut is the Deepest on YouTube. He talks about recording the song in this BBC programme. (Thanks to Sebastian Melmoth for the tip.)


Keith's version of Big Time Operator on YouTube.

Back to Ray's chat with Nick Bailey
Ray talks to Peter Philips over the page.

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