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Sir Jimmy Savile

Seminal British Disc Jockey Sir Jimmy Savile died today, two days before his 85th birthday.

Leeds born Savile claimed to be the first DJ to use two turntables, in 1947. Although this remains disputed, there’s no doubt that Savile was a pioneer when it came to playing records in dance halls, most notably in his home city and across the Pennines in Manchester. Authors Bill Brewster & Frank Broughton would more recently hail him as ‘the first Superstar DJ’ in their history of the disc jockey, ‘Last Night A DJ Saved My Life’.

He’s best remembered for hosting Top Of The Pops in the ’60s and ’70s (he presented the first ever TOTP, from Manchester on New Year’s Day 1964, when The Beatles ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ was at Number 1), making dreams come true via his popular TV show, Jim’ll Fix It, which ran from 1975–1994, and his ceaseless charity work.

The eccentric long platinum blonde haired, cigar smoking, tracksuited / shellsuited, blinged-up showman also, bizarrely, enjoyed a stint as a professional wrestler. As a radio presenter he was originally heard on Radio Luxembourg between 1958-1967, before switching to BBC Radio 1 in 1968, the year following its launch. His famous catchphrases included “Now then, now then”, “As it ‘appens” and “How’s about that, then?”.

Bill Brewster explains the reasons why he believes Jimmy Savile was the greatest DJ of all-time:
http://youtu.be/J7v5QVpb1vE

Savile talks about his early days as a DJ here, in an interview from 2004 with Frank Broughton:
http://www.djhistory.com/interviews/jimmy-savile

Sir Jimmy Savile Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Savile

*(added on 01.10.12) Rumours of Savile’s alleged abuse of under-age teenage girls have circulated for many years. A programme to be broadcast on ITV this Wednesday, ‘Exposure: The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile’ investigates these allegations, and today a number of newspapers carry related stories. The highly respected Pop commentator and broadcaster, Paul Gambaccini, said he had been waiting 30-years for the allegations to come out – read what he had to say here, in The Independent:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/paul-gambaccini-claims-sir-jimmy-savile-used-charity-work-to-prevent-sexual-abuse-of-schoolchildren-being-exposed-8191761.html

**(added on 20.11.12) With the Metropolitan Police describing Savile as ‘a predatory sex offender’, and Operation Yewtree, their investigation into his alleged sexual exploitation of hundreds of victims, which was launched last month, opening in excess of 400 lines of enquiry, he is no longer regarded the national hero he was lauded as being at the time of his death, but, instead, he is now reviled as the most notorious child abuser in British history. His infamy has obviously overshadowed his legacy to club culture, as an iconic British disc-jockey, and, in a new blog post, ‘Jimmy Savile – DJ Originator Or More Smoke And Mirrors?’, his cultural significance is re-assessed in light of these harrowing revelations:
http://blog.gregwilson.co.uk/2012/11/jimmy-savile-dj-originator-or-more-smoke-and-mirrors/

 

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10 Responses to Sir Jimmy Savile

  1. Chris October 30, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    The great book Last Night a DJ Saved My Life contains a good account of Jimmy’s days as a true trailblazer for the DJ, in an era when music in a nightclub meant listening to a live band. All DJs since then owe him a debt of gratitude for leading the way, however weird he was (and I suspect a lot of it was an act)

  2. 'G' October 30, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    R.I.P.

  3. Push October 30, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    Very sad about this news. When I was about 10, I was out in the car with my mum and dad, and we spotted Jimmy filling up his car at a petrol station. We pulled in so I could get his autograph. I remember him leaning on my shoulder as he scribbled his name on a piece of paper. He put a dollar sign for the S of Saville (which impressed me very much) and drew a little cartoon face of himself (complete with cigar) next to his name.

  4. John Lynn October 31, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    So sad, only heard the news on Sunday morning. My aunt ( Betty Bussey, – nee Pickering) was in the same class at Kirkstall School in Leeds as Jimmy – she always recounted to us as children with his exploits at school and after. I had the honour of meeting him once – in Leeds with my aunt – his first words were “Betty – you get more glam by the day” – whos the young man ( it was me ) that was 1972.

  5. Elaine Cusack November 2, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    Sir Jimmy was an early influence on me. I noted his connection to Stoke Mandeville Hospital when I was four. I didn’t realise he fundraised for the hopsital. I thought he was a doctor and was impressed by the way he held down two jobs: doctor and DJ! Sir Jim inspired me to declare “when I grow up I want to be a ballerina nurse!” I wanted to entertain as well as look after patients in hospital.

    Jim’ll Fix It was my favourite TV programme. I was forever writing in asking to meet bands and visit the Top of the Pops studio. Years later I was running my out of print bookselling business from home when I received an email from a South American TV production company keen to buy anything and everything related to Jim’ll Fix It. A date was set and two representatives visited my tiny Greenwich flat and hoovered up all my Jim’ll Fix It annuals plus a board game. Turned out they were planning their own version of the show. I wonder if their idea came to fruition? And who fronted the show?

  6. Anthony W Cross November 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

    Regular Guy, from the good old days of Rock n Roll when he spun the disc’s at the Plaza Dance Hall on Oxford St, followed by his sidekick DJ Mad Mike, (James Segdwick from Hulme)

  7. Ralph Randell November 2, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

    Nice one Greg …..Jimmy was a lovely charitable man…I ran alongside him in the first marathon in the north of England for the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust when I was a Dj at Legend in manchester in about 1981

    He was also a compere at the major wrestling Events at Belle Vue In manchester in the early 60s …Great man Great Fun …Great memories…..

  8. Mr Strutt November 8, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    One of the first DJs championing 45s on two turntables… a great spinner

    45central.co.uk

  9. Tony October 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    Jimmy Savile was indeed a trailblazer. He is recorded as the first – or at least one of the first DJs to use two decks simultaneously. It is sad that the scandals that have erupted will result in him being remembered as a notorious kiddy fiddler.

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