THE WRECK OF THE ‘ANTOINETTE’
“The Wreck Of The Antoinette” was recorded at BBC House on Tuesday 10 September 1967, even before it was officially released as a single later that same week. But it was first broadcast only one month later, on 21 October, on the Jimmy Young Show, after the single version had been played by Keith Skues on Saturday Club for its Special 10th Anniversary Edition of October 5th.
The BBC take was included in their Transcription Disc #203, released on 18 October, and again in the “Top Of The Pops” Disc #208, from 22 November 1968.
This is one of their fastest tracks, and a real pleasure to sing along to! “… The ocean pounds in fury on a man who fights against it all alone …”
All the reviews at the time mentioned it being the tale of the wreck of a small single-handed ketch taking the clipper route to Sydney and sinking while crossing Cape Horn.
Francis Chichester in his yacht, Gipsy Moth IV, made maritime history in 1966-67 when he completed the first solo circumnavigation in a small vessel, sailing from Plymouth to Sydney and back via Cape Horn in just 274 days. In July 1968, Alec Rose received a hero’s welcome as he reached Portsmouth after his 354-day round-the-world trip, alone on the blue ketch ‘My Lively Lady’ (his wife’s name was actually Dorothy – not Antoinette).
Derek Johnson in the NME added: I like it better than [their latest hit] “Last Night In Soho.” Which I agree with, because as wonderful as it is, you can’t sing along to “Last Night in Soho”.
Producer Steve Rowland and the group had tried to create a Beach Boys type track, but it didn’t quite work out. “The Wreck Of The Antoinette” has nothing to do either with the ‘Surfing’ Beach Boys, or with the ‘Pet Sounds’ Brian Wilson. But 1967/68 Beach Boys hits like “Wild Honey” sound closer to this Dave Dee & Co. adventurous death song.