that’s what i did. I passed my exams and was singing and playing guitar in her band dancing in his pavilion in Bournemouth while studying for them. That’s the beginning.
When I was a kid, I loved DJing. We had speakers hooked up to a record player in the house, and I used to make radio shows for my mom and dad. She wanted to be a singer when she grew up. While she loved the radio and her DJs like Alan Freeman during her school days, she had no idea of becoming a disc jockey at all. It was really hard to break into the radio, TV, etc.
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Then, in 1964, while in a dance band, I saw a documentary on ITV about pirate radio. And I thought DJing might be a good way to get into the music business. So if I sent a tape introducing the record to Radio Caroline, would you come to the audition?
On July 25, 1964, on Radio Caroline, I walked into the studio. I left Bournemouth, went to a pirate ship, and he spent the next three years most of his time in the North Sea. I loved it, and 58 years later, I still do, and I still love it.
When I joined Caroline, just three weeks after launch, we were in territorial waters. So we flew under the Panamanian flag. That, of course, meant that no British authority could come out on board and we could do whatever we wanted. Then, about two years later, another American-owned vessel, Radio London, called the Big L, came along. That’s someone I really loved. Kenny Everett was on board. I finally left Caroline and went there.
They were all about American commercial radio and have been the foundation of my career ever since. It was a great radio station. It was the best radio station ever in the country.
The government was making pirate ship activity very difficult, resulting in new crimes, not allowing pirate ships to be fed with food, and making it illegal to work on pirate ships. I met an agent named Harold Davison, the largest agent in the country. He treated people like Frank Sinatra and all the big names in America and told me the BBC was about to launch a popular music service. could make you the top disc jockey in the country. So I thought about it… for about two seconds. Harold and I got along like a burning house. He really became like my second father. And it was a really happy time to participate in Radio 1.
had a younger sister [Jackie] Unfortunately I was handicapped. she couldn’t walk. She has polio and she was in a wheelchair all the time, but she was fine and sweet. I always knew I had a lot, she didn’t have as much as I did, but she lived in a nice place and had a lot of her friends.
Having a sister with a disability has always affected my outlook on life. I have no patience for people who constantly moan about their lives. It was really hard on my sister, but she never moaned again. I cannot comprehend all these wars and all the problems we have. People are really lucky just to be healthy.
My sister passed away in March of last year. [in 2021] Blame it on Covid. I couldn’t see her when she died. We couldn’t go to her funeral. So I can understand people’s anger at the government throwing a party through Covid. it was wrong. Completely wrong. I couldn’t say goodbye to her sister properly. The last time I saw her was on a video call, with an oxygen mask on her face. It was terrible. It was miserable. I couldn’t be there for her and like many people in the same situation as me, seeing people partying pissed me off. I played by the rules.
when first asked i am famous… [in 2002] My wife and mother tried to persuade me. They said they don’t think I’m good at it. I said, uh, these opportunities come once in a lifetime. I don’t want to watch this TV show and think, oh, I could have been a part of it. I have never been to Australia and was particularly interested in going. It turned out to be the most amazing experience. And of course, when she came back with the win, her wife said, oh, I knew you would do well.
I am a very peace loving person. The world we live in right now is probably the saddest time I’ve ever known. I’m so glad I grew up in the 60’s. It was great.
I was very lucky. I have had a wonderful life. I am very happily married and really enjoying my life. But it’s sad how the world looks like now. What upset me so much recently was an 87-year-old man who was stabbed to death in the street. How can people do that? It never would have happened in my early years. what’s wrong with society?
i am not religious We would probably be better off without it. My philosophy is to be happy without worrying about what happens when you die. I don’t feel like I have to go to church and worship someone I can’t see.
On the one hand, I do not preach that. If people want to have a religion and it makes them happy, I think it’s great. But I just want to ask God. If God is an all-loving God, why didn’t he come down and help him in the slightest?
I don’t quite understand it. My sister has been disabled all her life. I have often asked people in church, why doesn’t God come down now and help in any way? No one will tell you the answer.
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If I could come back to life, even for just a moment, it would be the day I opened Radio 1 [he presented the very first show on the station, at 7am on September 30, 1967]I don’t get nervous when I’m on air. I enjoyed every moment of it. I love studios, I love broadcasts. And that moment when we opened Radio 1 was very special. Someone told me it was the beginning of a career, not on any other radio station. I realized its history and felt like magic.
Tony Blackburn will appear on BBC Radio 2, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds from Radio 2 Live in Leeds on Saturday 17th September and Sunday 18th September.
interview: Jane Graham
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