Tony Blackburn publicity photo

Early publicity photo, from ‘Radio Caroline’, published by Landmark Press.

Tony joined Radio Caroline South in summer 1964 at the age of 21. He had no previous broadcasting experience and learned his craft on air.

click to hear audio Tony on a morning Top Deck show from Caroline South in 1964, featuring some of Managing Director Allan Crawford's cover versions of the hits (duration 1 minute 29 seconds)
Tony in the Caroline South studio

In the Caroline South studio.

click to hear audio Tony playing some oldies on the afternoon All Systems Go show from Caroline South in 1964 (duration 1 minute 41 seconds)

Although perfectly competent, Tony's early shows sound a bit flat compared to his later ones. It was when he discovered that the listeners responded well to his quick wit and corny jokes that things took off. They became an essential part of his on-air style.

Tony Blackburn

Photo from ‘Beatwave’ magazine.

click to hear audio Tony, with interruptions from Norman St.John, on Caroline South's Big Line Up, November 1965 (duration 1 minute 50 seconds)

Tony was on board when the Caroline South ship, the Mi Amigo, lost her anchor and drifted ashore in January 1966.

Tony in his life-jacket

Tony puts on his life-jacket.

All through his sixties broadcasting career, Tony was also making records. Despite being associated with Radio Caroline and, later, Radio London, these were often played on rival stations.

click to hear audio Paul Kaye introduces Don't Get Off That Train and Kenny Everett plays Green Light. Both clips are from Radio London (duration 38 seconds)

Mealtime on the mv.Galaxy

Mealtime on the Radio London ship. Photo from ‘Who's Who in Pop Radio’, published by New English Library.

In July 1966 Tony transferred to Radio London.

click to hear audio Tony presenting the 12-3pm show on Big L, 29th December 1966 (duration 3 minutes 3 seconds)

On the deck of the mv.Galaxy

On the deck of Radio London with colleagues Ed Stewart and Mark Roman. Is that engineer Dave Hawkins providing Mark's extra pair of hands? Photo courtesy of George Morris.

Tony left Radio London a few weeks before the legislation silenced it forever.

click to hear audio a short clip of Tony on his last ever programme on Big L, the Breakfast Show, 15th July 1967 (duration 17 seconds)

He did, however, record a message to be included in the final programme:

click to hear audio Tony says goodbye during the last show from Radio London, 14th August 1967 (duration 1 minute 19 seconds)

In the Radio London studio

In the Radio London studio. Photo courtesy of George Morris.

With many thanks to Dave Finn, Stuart Russell, EAP, RBL and Offshore Echo's for the recordings.
In July 2004 Tony celebrated forty years on the radio. Photos here.
See also the Spotlight on Don Allen,
Spotlight on Roger Day,
Spotlight on Kenny Everett
Spotlight on Johnnie Walker
and Spotlight on Tony Windsor.

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