One spring day, bored with secretarial life, Sylvan read a horoscope that advised her to ‘follow every golden opportunity’ that month. As you could only do in those magically innocent and exciting days of no qualifications whatsoever, she applied for jobs at Annabelle’s night club as a disc jockey, and Moyses Stephens as a florist.
She also sent off a demo disc of her singing and playing her guitar, to the Radio Luxembourg Talent Search, and, to everyone’s surprise, got to the top 6 in the London finals. Dana having taken top place. Cyril Stapleton encouraged her to take voice coaching lessons with tutor Freddie Winrose in Denmark Street with a view to a recording contract when she had had more experience.
Three weeks later, having been discovered and plucked from obscurity from Tin Pan Alley’s Gioconda Coffee bar, she had written and recorded her first record We Don’t Belong and appearances followed that summer on ITV in such shows as Thank Your Lucky Stars and Granada’s Scene at 6.30.
She also spent a weekend marooned on the famous Mi Amigo: Radio Caroline’s pioneer pirate ship with Tony Blackburn, Roger Gale (now an MP) & Dave Lee Travis. Source: sylvanmason.com
Excerpt from Pop Went The Pirates by Keith Skues
The next girl ever to stay on Radio Caroline South was a young Yorkshire-born singer named Sylvan Whittingham. Sylvan, came out for the day on 19 September 1965 with the intention of promoting her record We Don’t Belong, and saying hello to the disc jockeys. But she became stormbound as high winds sprang up and the tender which took her out from Harwich was forced to return to land urgently, just as Sylvan was appearing on the radio.
She spent the weekend of 18-20 September 1965 on board with the captain, crew and broadcasting personnel. As far a I know she is the only singer to have stayed over on board in those early days. Sylvan was the daughter of Jack Whittingham who wrote the screen play of the James Bond film Thunderball.
She said later
‘It was very rough when I set out but after lunch, when I should have gone back, it grew worse and the tender was rising up and down beside Caroline. I knew I would be sick, so I locked myself in the lavatory and just refused to leave. The tender hooted at me for half-an-hour but eventually left without me.” As there was no tender on the Sunday, Sylvan had to wait until the Monday, and a quiet sea, before returning to Harwich.’ Source: sylvanmason.com:
Banned by the BBC
Recorded in 1965 with the backing of a full 70-piece orchestra and airplayed constantly by Radio Caroline throughout the autumn of 1965, We Don’t Belong seemed destined for huge sales until the BBC intervened.
Someone at Auntie (as the overly interfering BBC was often dubbed) had listened carefully to the lyrics of the song and had correctly understood them to tell the tale of misunderstood young lovers signing a suicide pact.
Despite the massive chart success of Twinkle’s Terry ‘death disc’ the previous year someone somewhere decided the story of a planned double suicide, however sweetly sung, was taking things a little to far and the single was banned.
Later on of course being banned by the BBC was a tried, trusted and sure-fire route to securing hundreds of column inches and huge sales but sadly for Sylvan, this was 1965. The all-powerful BBC doorway to greater exposure was quietly closed on We Don’t Belong and the single disappeared.
It’s unsurprising then that this single marked both the beginning and the end of Sylvan’s solo recordings but every cloud has a silver lining and its minor success launched a new career for her as a lyricist with her songwriter husband Barry Mason.
Amongst many other hit songs she penned the lyrics for Tom Jones’ Delilah and Petula Clark’s Kiss Me Goodbye.
We’ve loved I’ve Arrived ever since we first heard it. We also love researching the artists and songs we release to provide a more rounded appreciation of the sounds we deliver. We’re sad to say that on this occasion we can’t offer very much.
Jewel Akens first recorded I’ve Arrived in 1965 for the ERA label. It was released as the B side to You Don’t Need A Crown. Steve Flanagan’s version came two years later in 1967 on the same label but once again it was only judged good enough to be a B side.
The Era label ran from 1955 until 1970 and its back catalogue carries one or two other choice releases that have become very sought after.
Steve Flanagan: Creative Source.
For Steve Flanagan the best we can do at this time is provide a whole bunch of questions. Is he the same Steve Flanagan who sang with Creative Source and is credited on various sites as having been a part-time actor ?
Creative Source were formed in 1973 by Ron Townson looking to emulate the considerable success of other male / female groups like The Fifth Dimension and The Friends Of Distinction.
One source states that after Creative Source disbanded Steve Flanagan ‘relocated to the Netherlands,’ a popular destination for many jazz and soul artists throughout the 70s and 80s.
A Steve Flanagan also appears duetting with Yvonne Keeley and releasing records as a solo artist for Legion Records in the late 70s. After that the trail goes cold. Are these Steve Flanagans all the same Steve Flanagan or are our wires crossed ?
Spoke Records had ten test pressings done for this release and we have one remaining.
We’ll happily post it free of charge anywhere in the world to anyone who can furnish us with more solid information about Steve Flanagan or better still, details of where we could contact him.
There’s a Steve Flanagan thread open and waiting for responses over on the forum of our sister site Forumusic.