Little known to the world outside of radio anoraksia (enthusiasm) is the millionaire’s son and wealthy playboy and hustler of the 1960s, Irishman Ronan O’Rahilly.
But, to those who loved the 1960s (and beyond) world of offshore radio, especially Radio Caroline, he is a living legend.
Living and hailing taxis to take him up and down the Kings Road, he was part of the Chelsea smart set, which in the 1960s was a far cry from today’s Arabic and Middle Eastern set, and was where the English (and Irish) children of the rich went to experience the fashion, art, music and the drugs of the day.
Despite his hatred of the United Kingdom, especially the authorities, and passionate love of Ireland and fellow Irish or Irish-Americans, he lived in London for many years of his life. From here he flirted with the music business, mainly unsuccessfully, but by a stroke of luck managed to out-manoeuvre somebody starting one of the first offshore radio stations, and managed to be ‘the first’ with ‘Radio Caroline’.
Named after the fictional target girl who would buy and read ‘Queen’ magazine, and with huge financial backing from ‘Queen’ magazine’s publisher, Radio Caroline was launched as a money making venture.
Naturally, it failed to make as much as the magazine, but nevertheless launched the name ‘Radio Caroline’ which survives to this day as a frail little old lady who once shocked and excited the country with her Lara Croft pre-menopausal adventures and daring. Think of Angelina Jolie, but now aged 85, and you get my drift about how it won’t take away what she once was.
After the 1960s, Ronan would keep popping up as the hustler-in-chief behind Radio Caroline as it kept popping up in different incarnations.
Consequently, to lovers of Radio Caroline, Ronan was the ultimate hero, almost a deity.
Very sadly, Ronan, as I mentioned over a year ago here, is not well. He has dementia.
It is in this respect that I was recently contacted by the Friends of Ronan, asking to pass on the information that there is now a charitable appeal to help Ronan, and to ask if you will give generously. All is explained here.