Pioneering British DJ Annie Nightingale dies at 83

Pioneering British DJ Annie Nightingale dies at 83

Annie Nightingale, who became the first female disc jockey on BBC Radio 1 in 1970 and remained a popular figure there until her final show late last year, died at her home in London on January 11. She was 83 years old.

His family announced the death in a statement but did not give a cause.

Annie Mac, a longtime BBC radio DJ, said, “This is the woman who changed the face and sound of British TV and radio broadcasting forever.” wrote on Instagram following Ms Nightingale’s death.

Ms. Nightingale became famous in the music world in the 1960s as a columnist for British newspapers. And she was a familiar face to stars such as the Beatles, whom she interviewed at the Brighton Hippodrome in 1964.

The Beatles historian said, “Because Derek Taylor liked her, she was welcomed into Apple.” mark louisson the Beatles’ press officer and the company they founded in 1968 said in an email.

In 1967, he applied to become a DJ on BBC Radio 1, a pop music outlet that had recently been launched in response to the rise of popular offshore pirate stations.

But she found herself up against the station’s gender-discriminatory hiring policy. They were told that its all-male DJ lineup represented “husband substitutes” for the listening housewives, and that a woman’s voice would lack the authority of a man.

“It came as a huge shock,” Ms Nightingale told The Independent in 2015. “I was almost happy. What do you mean, ‘no women’? Why not?”

But in October 1969, the BBC offered him an on-air trial. Before her first appearance, she told The Manchester Evening News, “I’m sure a lot of girls would make wonderful DJs if given the chance.”

She was hired the following year to host a weekday record review program, “What’s New”, and two years later she became the host of an evening progressive-rock show, “Sounds of the 70s”. Later in the decade, she became the host of a Sunday afternoon request show and a music interview program. He hosted several other shows in the last year.

“From day one, I picked the records I wanted to play and stuck to it ever since,” she said in her autobiography, “Hey Hi Hello: Five Decades of Pop Culture from Britain’s First Female DJ.” (2020). “I preferred evenings where I didn’t have to be introduced to playlist tunes I didn’t like. “That would have been like lying to me.”

Anne Avril Nightingale was born on 1 April 1940 in the Osterley district of London. His father, Basil, worked in the family wallpaper business. His mother, Celia, was a foot doctor. As a girl, Anne listened to children’s programs on her father’s radio and liked that it could be heard even in distant cities.

He said in an interview in 2018, “I still think that when you’re broadcasting, you don’t know where it’s going and it could reach outer space somewhere, and I’m still completely convinced by that.” I love.”

After graduating from Lady Eleanor Holles’ School, she studied journalism at Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster) in London. Soon afterwards he began his journalism career, first as a reporter for The Brighton & Hove Gazette and then at The Argus in Brighton, where he wrote a music column called Spin with Me. He later wrote a music column for The Daily Sketch, a national tabloid.

In 1964, he collaborated with pop group The Hollies on a book, “How to Run a Beat Group”.

He gained some fame on television BBC’s “Juke Box Jury,” where she was part of a guest panel that reviewed new record releases, and in 1965 as host of a record request program, “That’s for Me” on ITV, and the Rediffusion Network’s quiz show, “Sing a Song of Sixpence”. Work done. ,

But she was best known for her time at BBC Radio 1, which began with some difficult moments due to her inexperience – like the time there was eight seconds of dead airtime when she accidentally hit “off” while a record was playing. “The switch was pressed.

He told The Western Daily Press of Bristol in 1979, “What I found difficult in those early days was the technical difficulty.” “Every time I made a mistake I thought they’d all say, ‘Oh yes, female driver!'”

She was the only female DJ on BBC Radio 1 – “the token woman,” she said – for 12 years. In 2010, when she was more than halfway through her 41st year there, Guinness World Records cited her as having the longest career ever as a female DJ (that record was held by Peruvian broadcasters Maruja Venegas Salinas and is crossed twice by Mary McCoy). , a DJ in Texas.)

Lucy Robinson, a professor at the university, said, “It was only by the 1990s and the ‘girlification’ of Radio 1 with the likes of Sarah Cox, Jo Whitey and Zoe Ball that Nightingale’s exceptionality became her longevity and influence rather than just her gender. ” of Sussex, and Dr Jeanine Baker, who was then at Macquarie University. Wrote on BBC website,

Ms. Nightingale’s success extended beyond radio. In 1978, he was named host of the BBC’s live music television show “The Old Gray Whistle Test,” where he focused on New Wave music.

After John Lennon was murdered on December 8, 1980, Ms. Nightingale and members of the “Whistle Test” staff were trying to gather people to talk about him. During the program, a producer came into the studio and said to Ms. Nightingale, “Paul’s on the phone and he wants to talk to you.”

“I didn’t know who he meant,” she recalled on the podcast.i am eggpodIn 2018. It was Paul McCartney.

“He wanted to say thank you on behalf of Linda and myself and Yoko and George and Ringo,” he said. “And that’s really what I got.” She added: “I came back in front of the camera and it’s live and I thought right, okay, you’re the messenger. And he said, ‘You know how it was.’

Ms. Nightingale’s survivors include a son, Alex, and a daughter, Lucy, whose name was partly inspired by the Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. Her marriages to Gordon Thomas, a writer, and Binky Baker, an actor, ended in divorce.

Throughout her career, Ms. Nightingale has championed new music – from progressive rock to acid house to grime.

When he was interviewed in 2020 he described his intrinsic connection with new music The popular BBC Radio 4 program “Desert Island Discs.”

“It’s a thrill, it’s absolutely exciting,” she said. “I actually get a physical feeling. When I hear something that becomes very successful, my legs start shaking.”

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