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40 Glorious Years: Radio 1

Added on 30th September 2007

By Helen

Yes folks, BBC Radio 1 is now officially 40 years old. Wow, that's pretty old, isn't it? So here's a quick lowdown on the whys, whens, wheres, whos and whatevers, cunningly purloined from Wikipedia and the BBC archives.

  • Radio One rose from the shameful ashes of pirate radio stations (yaaarr) like the legendary Radio Caroline. Reports vary, but some say they saw PM Harold Wilson skulking around at the time of the metaphorical fire with some matches, before running away tittering.
  • The first words broadcast on the station were "And, good morning everyone. Welcome to the exciting new sound of Radio 1" - and not "And, good morning everyone. Prepare to rock your cocks off" as often cited.
  • Tim "Big Dawg" Westwood, presenter of the Radio 1 Rap Show, is actually a 50-year-old white guy from Lowestoft. No really. His Dad was Bishop of Peterborough. And those "explosion" noises he makes are done by blowing into the microphone. I know, silly, isn't it?
  • R1's best ever DJ was John Peel (whose name means "Almighty God" in music circles) - but did you know that his favourite band of all time was The Wedding Present? You probably didn't know that, because they never make it into any Peel celebrations etc. This is mostly due to them being crap.
  • Live music sessions are held in BBC studios in Maida Vale, one of the posher areas of London. You can tell they're owned by the Beeb, because the corridors are like a rat maze and the studios themselves are reminiscent of a rather grim rock club in dire need of a bit of a clean.
  • Radio 1 didn't get a permanent stereo FM radio frequency until 1988. Until then it had to share with Radio 2 - this tradition has carried on, with R2 being the place where R1 DJs go to die.
  • Radio Two is currently more popular than Radio One, but this is quite obviously because old people listen to the radio more.

Radio 1 has released a really amazing album of covers to celebrate all those years of kicking posterior. Forty modern artists cover forty years of hits. Wonder as Keane cover Queen. Marvel as The Streets cover Elton John. Throw up a little bit in your mouth as McFly cover The Jam.

Buy Radio 1: Established 1967


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