About Sounds of the 60s Live with Tony Blackburn
Antony Kenneth Blackburn is an English disc jockey. He first achieved fame broadcasting on the pirate stations Radio Caroline and Radio London in the 1960s, before joining the BBC. He was the first disc jockey to broadcast on BBC Radio 1 at its launch at the end of September 1967, and has had several stints working for the corporation. He has also worked for Capital Gold and Classic Gold Digital, and currently BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio London, BBC Radio Berkshire, and KMFM West Kent and has had a singing career, the latter of which he often reminds his listeners.
Blackburn was born in Guildford, Surrey, but in 1946 his family moved to Bournemouth, then in Hampshire, where his youngest sister, Jacqueline, was born. His sister was born suffering from polio and has been unable to walk since birth. Blackburn's mother, Pauline Cubitt , was a nurse, and his father, Kenneth Fleming Blackburn, was a GP. He was educated at Castle Court School in Parkstone, Poole, Dorset. He gained entry to Millfield School in Somerset on a sports scholarship and captained the school's cricket team.
He left before taking any examinations, but gained O-levels, following private tuition, and enrolled for an HND course in Business Studies at Bournemouth Technical College.
After beginning his career as a singer, Blackburn then worked as a DJ for the offshore pirate radio stations Radio Caroline and Radio London , before joining the BBC in 1967, initially broadcasting on the Light Programme.
After a simulcast with Radio 2 hosted by Paul Hollingdale, Blackburn was the first DJ to be heard on BBC Radio 1 when it officially launched on at 7am on 30 September 1967, with his first words on the new station being "And good morning everyone! Welcome to the exciting new sound of Radio 1".The Move's "Flowers in the Rain" was the first complete record he played. Blackburn recalled in 2014: "My job was to entertain and tell corny jokes, not have opinions or talk politics. If I wanted to wish the Queen a happy birthday, I had to get clearance from above." Throughout his Radio 1 career Blackburn was often accompanied by a jingle with the barking of the dog "Arnold" which he had previously used at Radio Caroline.
At first he was associated mainly with mainstream pop, but he later championed soul music. It was largely due to him that "I'm Still Waiting" by Diana Ross, which was initially just an album track, was released as a single in the UK in 1971 and reached number one. He was a regular host of Top of the Pops for a decade until 1979 and he appeared with fellow DJ's Noel Edmonds and Kenny Everett on the 500th anniversary show where he performed the spoken part of "Won't Somebody Dance With Me" and then danced with singer Lynsey de Paul. In 1968, he fronted his own show, Time For Blackburn, produced by Southern Television for the ITV network. "The Radio 1 DJs were a massive attraction. We were mobbed everywhere we went", Blackburn told Simon Hattenstone, referring to personal appearances. "It was all a bit mad, but great fun", he told Judith Woods in 2014. We "were built up to be stars in our own right, and as a result we were as famous as the artists we played."
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