Annie Nightingale, currently the longest serving DJ on BBC Radio 1, marks six decades of broadcasting this year with a special “Masterpieces” compilation album from the Ministry Of Sound and a two part documentary on BBC Radio 2.
Annie was the first female DJ to join BBC Radio 1 in 1970, at a time when broadcasting was not welcoming of female voices.
Annie became famous for her introductory “Hi” and Sunday evening request show which followed a simple formula of if you play good tracks, people will request good tracks.
After dance music, in Annie’s words “grabbed her by the throat”, Annie went under a reinvention in the mid-1990s presenting what was then “The Chill Out Zone” from 4am on Radio 1.
The show attracted a regular audience of a network of DJs from Danny Rampling and The Chemical Brothers calling in as they travelled across the country between venues.
Annie currently presents a breaks show on BBC Radio 1 from 1am on Wednesday mornings.
When Annie published her autobiography “Wicked Speed” in 1999, Irvine Welsh paid tribute to Annie referring to the era of when “flatulent sounds of loud, boring, thick and egotistical men strafed the airwaves, Annie’s cool, funky tones always stood out”.Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Annie Nightingale at home in Brighton, 1965
Producing a compilation album is often a fraught affair with record company politics and horse trading coming to the fore. However, that doesn’t seem to be in evidence from the tracklisting (printed below) of the three CD Masterpiece album, attracting tracks from The Rolling Stones (a first appearance on a various artist compilation), The Who and The Prodigy. Masterpiece is released on Friday 17 July.
BBC Radio 2 also pays tribute to Annie in a two part documentary series “On Air With Annie Nightingale” airing at 10pm on Wednesday 15 and 22 July. Here’s a synopsis of the two episodes from the BBC:
In this new two-part series, Annie Nightingale reflects on six decades of her broadcasting career, sharing with listeners her memories of meeting some of the biggest stars in pop music including Paul McCartney, Keith Moon, David Bowie and The Police, as well as introducing clips of her favourite interviews from TV and radio. Annie will also play her top songs and take listeners on a musical journey from The Beatles and Ibiza, to The Who and London Grammar. An unmissable show for all music fans.
In this opening episode, Annie looks back at her move from print to broadcasting, and how she became the first female DJ at BBC Radio 1. She kicks things off and reflects back to 1965 when she was working as a music journalist before getting her own national TV Show, That’s For Me, where she championed the likes of The Who, The Yardbirds and Georgie Fame. The show was her introduction to the Ad Lib club and swinging sixties London.
From being a local reporter in Brighton, writing about music and being a fan, 1965 was the year Annie felt she had something to contribute. The sister show of That’s For Me, Ready Steady Go!, allowed her to choose the artists, some of whom were making their very first TV appearances. Stand-out performances include The Who, with the first pop video for I Can’t Explain, and The Yardbirds, which launched the careers of some of Britain’s most famous rock guitarists such as Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. Other bands on the series included The Moody Blues and Georgie Fame.
In this episode Annie looks back at making the move from print to broadcasting, and how she overcame a sexist BBC to become the first female DJ. It also features an exclusive interview from Annie’s personal archive which has never been broadcast before – with T-Rex’s Marc Bolan.
It’s 1965 and music journo Annie gets her own national TV show – ITV’s That’s For Me. She champions The Who, The Yardbirds and Georgie Fame and the show is her intro to The Ad Lib club and Swinging London. 1965 was the kick off point, and then followed three zenith years of Super Sixties Britain – 1965-67. For Annie, from being a local reporter in Brighton, writing about music and being a fan, 1965 was the year she felt she had something to contribute. That’s For Me, sister show to Ready Steady Go!, allowed Annie to choose the artists, some of whom were making their very first television appearances: The Who, with the first ever pop video for I Can’t Explain, and The Yardbirds which launched the careers of Britain’s most famous rock guitarists Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. Other bands on the series included The Moody Blues with Go Now, and Georgie Fame with Yeh Yeh.
Masterpiece – Annie Nightingale – Disc 1
1. Miss You – The Rolling Stones
2. Maybe I’m Amazed – Paul McCartney
3. Baba O’Riley – The Who
4. Word Up! – Cameo
5. Too Many Fish in the Sea – The Marvelettes
6. Duel – Propaganda
7. Jackie – Scott Walker
8. Get Higher (Get Dubber Mix) – Moonforce
9. Summer in the City – The Lovin’ Spoonful
10. Footsteps Following Me – Frances Nero
11. Temptation – Heaven 17
12. Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good) – Rozalla
13. All I Really Want to Do – The Byrds
14. Hey Now (Tensnake Remix) – London Grammar
Masterpiece – Annie Nightingale – Disc 2
1. Don’t Fight It (Scat Mix) – Primal Scream
2. Vicious – Lou Reed
3. Transmission – Joy Division
4. Rapture – Blondie
5. Radio Babylon – Meat Beat Manifesto
6. Rendez-vu – Basement Jaxx
7. Tubular Bells – Plutonic
8. Get Ur Freak On – Missy Elliott
9. Steppin’ Out – Joe Jackson
10. Bulletproof (Zinc Remix) – La Roux
11. Rez – Underworld
12. A Forest – The Cure
13. Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick – Ian Dury and The Blockheads
Masterpiece – Annie Nightingale – Disc 3
1. Out of Space – The Prodigy
2. Galvanise – The Chemical Brothers
3. Pass Out – Tinie Tempah
4. Bonkers (Feat. Armand Van Helden) – Dizzee Rascal
5. I Need Air (Feat. Angela Hunte) (Digital Soundboy Remix) – Magnetic Man
6. Blow the Roof – Flux Pavilion
7. Blinded By the Light – The Streets
8. Stay Awake – Example
9. I Just Can’t Deny – Keys N Krates
10. Kids (Soulwax Remix) – MGMT
11. Fireman – Troyboi
12. Go (Woodtick Mix) – Moby
13. On the Regular – Shamir
14. Harvey Nicks (Feat. Sway) – The Mitchell Brothers