Tony Blackburn - Medley


He's a national treasure.

What puzzles me about Tony Blackburn is how he sounded like Tony Blackburn from the beginning. Whilst there were few 'British -sounding' pop music radio presenter influences, he instinctively created a sound of his own which was to influence others right through to the mid '80s: the smile in the voice, the energy, the 'feelgood'.

Tony careered through the ranks at Radio Caroline and on to the more tightly-formated pirate Radio London; the station which was to be the template for the new BBC pop station, Radio 1, when it launched in 1967. Tony was a natural choice, aged 24, to be the first host of Radio 1 breakfast, then moving to mid mornings and onto afternoons. These were the days of Radio 1 on AM-only; yet the station powered ahead.

A reluctant shift to weekends and onto the ill-fitting Junior Choice paved the way for Tony diversifying. He has appeared just about everywhere: from soul and sex BBC Radio London to Real Radio; from Capital Gold to Jazz FM .

He's a pro, and seems as happy to be on a UK station or a smaller local. One gets the feeling, though, that he particularly enjoys coming home to 'Pick of the Pops each Saturday; and I am sure he smiles secretly at the sense of justice that he claimed his Radio 2 slot at last - and that the audiences speak for themselves.

On-air he still sounds 24; and the secret of his on-air longevity has been his long-term strategy of only taking himself as seriously as do others; and still having views on the challenges and opportunities of the contemporary radio industry. His TV appearance on 'I'm a Celebrity' helped to consolidate his place in the Nation's heart.

There will only ever be one Tony Blackburn, and, given the number of stations around now, no single person in British music radio will ever again command his audiences.

Jan 28, 2012, 06:08 PM
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