The Hit

The Dover Souls didn't have a record contract but they finally had their demo recording, Misty Monday Mornings, which they sent out to every record company in the British Isles. As 1964 turned into 1965 the lads continued to tour and perform as much as possible but it seemed that they were getting almost as many rejections from record companies as they were bookings. They did send a demo of the song to Brian Epstein. Epstein was on tour with The Beatles at the time but the demo came to the attention of his assistant at NEMS (North End Music Stores), Alastair Taylor, who liked the song very much.

During the mid 1960's access to BBC radio by musicians was very difficult and it was the only "official" commercial outlet for bands in Britain. Because of the BBC's restrictive policies, offshore radio stations owned by the International Broadcasting Company began to cater to the young fan who was looking for more musical choices. These "pirate radio" stations played an American style music mix and were extremely popular. One of these pirate radio stations was Radio Caroline which broadcast into England from a ship anchored off Felixstowe, Suffolk England. Alastair Taylor was friendly with Tony Blackburn, one of the disc jockeys who worked at the station,  and sent him the demo of Misty Monday Mornings. Blackburn loved the song and immediately put it in the station's rotation.

Misty Monday Mornings became an overnight sensation. Other pirate radio stations, such as Wonderful Radio London and Radio Luxembourg, picked up the song and added it to their play list. Within a week the popularity of the band skyrocketed. The question about the Dover Souls went from "Who?" to "Who are these blokes?" Blackburn would later say in an interview, "I don't recall ever getting more tele requests for a song than Misty Monday Mornings".

The word was spreading through England. But because the band had no formal representation, producers couldn't find them. The lads were basically unaware of the commotion surrounding their record. At the time, the group was in Ireland playing a series of gigs at local pubs and at the Dublin  Fairgrounds Annual Horse Show. Tony Meehan at Decca got in touch with Alastair Taylor who in turn put Tony in touch with Ian's Mom. When Meehan finally reached the lads with the news they were astonished but ecstatic. They agreed to return to London after the Horse Show and sign a contract. The band signed a contract with Decca Records On March 5, 1965 and entered the studio to record their first album.

Due to the popularity of Misty Monday Mornings the band had achieved a certain notoriety. The trip from their hotel to the studio was lined with screaming girls. The lads hsd to make a mad dash from their cabs to the studio doors if they were interested in staying fully clothed. The boys were enjoying their new found popularity and Meehan made sure a few of the girls were allowed backdoor access to the studio. (Click on video to the left - note: you'll need Internet Explorer 5.0 or better to view the clip)

As the sessions went on the producers and engineers from Decca became aware of what they referred to as "a shortfall of talent" in the boys. Sure, Misty Monday Mornings was a big hit, but the rest of their material wasn't very good. Meehan recalls speaking to Dick Rowe during the sessions, "It was my opinion that, if not for the success of the one song, we never would have signed these fellows". Rowe agreed and told Meehan to, "get what he could out of them" and the record company would make as much money off the lads as possible with a publicity tour.

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