Sunday, October 04, 2015

The Clash: Janie Jones

 Last week, when I chose Rooftop Singing by New World, I quoted a site that said:
The pop group New World were tried at the Old Bailey for trying to fix the outcome of the show on which they appeared.
It seems there was rather more to it than that.

In 2012, as news of Jimmy Savile's crimes gripped the nation, Andrew O'Hagan published an extraordinary article on the BBC and child abuse in the London Review of Books.

At one point he said:
Until now, no one thought to examine Children’s Hour and the world around it, much less the payola scandal involving radio DJs in the first flush of Savile’s fame. Janie Jones, a singer, appeared at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court in 1973 on 26 charges, which included controlling prostitutes and offering them as bribes ‘to BBC men as inducement to play records’. 
The men in the case were often referred to as Mr Z or Mr Y, or ‘unnamed broadcasters’. The court heard how Mr Y, ‘a television producer’, might have made a 14-year-old girl pregnant and could therefore be blackmailed. Mr X later answered questions about a cheque for £100 he gave to one of the girls but said he didn’t know she was a prostitute. ‘I thought she was much too young to be involved in anything like that,’ he said in court. 
Others remanded on bail included Jack Dabbs, a former producer of the radio programme Worldwide Family Favourites, Len Tucker, a theatrical agent, and several record promoters. 
At the time of the trial arrest warrants were out for members of the New World pop group who had won TV’s Opportunity Knocks ten times. 
The big trial that followed is now forgotten. According to the Times, ‘a shop assistant, aged 18, referred to as Miss G, said at the Central Criminal Court yesterday that Miss Jones said she could get work in modelling and television commercials, but she must play her cards right.’ ‘Playing her cards’ meant going to bed with producers and showbusiness people.
O'Hagan seems to be right when he says this trial has been forgotten. It is surprisingly hard to find out about it or how New World fitted into the more serious charges. My impression is that the band members were not tried and acquitted if they were tried.

To know for sure, you would have to read the memoirs of New World's lead singer John (Fuzzy) Lee

The Needle has published the report of the BBC investigation that took place after the affair. It is so redacted as to be comic.

But there is one undoubted outcome of the affair.

The first track on The Clash's first LP was about Janie Jones and mentioned payola. And it's a lot better than New World.

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