Renowned BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Nightingale, the trailblazing first female DJ for the station, has passed following a brief illness. She died at home surrounded by family early this morning, Variety reports. She was 83.
Annie Nightingale joined BBC’s Radio 1 in 1970, making history as its first female DJ and holding the position as its longest-serving host. Renowned for championing emerging and underground music, she also garnered praise for her unwavering support of women in a predominantly male industry. She remained on the air until late last year and continued her influence as a co-host on the influential BBC TV show, “The Old Grey Whistle Test.”
DJ Trevor Nelson, who started broadcasting in the 1980s and still hosts on BBC Radio 1Xtra, paid tribute to Nightingale on X (formerly Twitter). ‘Dear Annie, you were more than just a trailblazer for women on radio. You made me feel like music broadcasting is for life. Rave in peace,’ he wrote.
The BBC’s Annie Nightingale Bridged Generations of Music Fans
Born in Middlesex in 1940, Nightingale embarked on her career in television and news. She ultimately achieved the esteemed position of host on the popular 1960s TV music show, “That’s for Me.” In 1970, she joined Radio 1, with the invaluable support from Derek Taylor, the long-standing press officer for the Beatles. Soon after, she secured a regular afternoon slot. Her rise coincided with the flourishing era of British radio. It was inspired by the legendary pirate radio stations that emerged during the mid-1960s.
In 2002, Nightingale was honored with an MBE for her remarkable contributions to radio broadcasting. Then, in 2010, she achieved a Guinness World Record for being the longest-serving female broadcaster. The prestigious award was presented to her during a ceremony graced by the presence of Liam Gallagher, one of her favorite performers.
Over the years, Nightingale exuded style, capturing attention in photographs alongside renowned figures like Kate Moss. This was during a celebration to commemorate her 40th anniversary at Radio 1. Another confidant of hers was Paul McCartney. The Beatles alum called her live on air to give a statement after John Lennon’s assassination in 1980.
She is survived by two children, Alex and Lucy, whom she had with her first husband, Gordon Thomas. She later married actor Tony ‘Binky’ Baker, but the couple eventually divorced.