Got a message my book on DJ culture was overdue. Started in it quickly. They were a bit surprised there were hundreds of books about the Beatles and none on DJ culture. So am I. Great anecdotes on how DJ culture started, well written. Title, of course: Last Night A DJ Saved My Life.
The first DJ ever must have been Jimmy Saville. It was in 1943, that he hit upon the bright idea of playing records live, armed only with piles of 78s and a makeshift disco unit. The amplification system was constructed by a friend from salvaged parts of Marconi radios, a gramophone, a wing and a prayer. “It was to present hi-fi sets what the Wright Brothers’ first efforts were to Concorde,” wrote Saville in his autobiography. “I hurried to inspect this important discovery. A short demonstration was all I needed to realize its potential. I mean, music by Glenn Miller and Harry James in larger than life quality: it had to be worth something.”
Saville hired an upstairs function room as his venue, and entry was set at one shilling. The evening itself was not without technical difficulties. “Installing the equipment was fraught with great dangers,” he wrote. “It was in several pieces connected by wires. These covered the top of a grand piano, glowed red hot when switched on for longer than five minutes, and charred the top of that noble instrument for the rest of its days. By 9 PM we had taken eleven shillings, the machine had melted at several soldered points and died quietly, but not before giving a final electric shock to its inventor, causing him to weep openly.” The evening was salvaged by Saville’s mother, who performed songs on what was left of the grand piano. He was nevertheless convinced he had created an important new form of entertainment. “Disaster or not, there can be no doubt that the world’s first disco, as they have come to be called, took place in the top room of the Belle Vue Road branch of the Loyal Order of Ancient Shepherds.”
Later Saville was asked to present the very first season of the English Top Of The Pops, in the sixties.
Glad to share that information with you.