Legendary Radio 1 DJ Annie Nightingale has tragically died.
Nightingale was the first female DJ on the station when she joined BBC Radio 1 in 1970.
She was a champion of underground music, offering many bands and artists their first-ever radio play.
Nightingale remained the only female DJ at the station for 12 years, when she was joined by Janice Long in 1983.
She also holds the record as BBC Radio 1’s longest-serving broadcaster and even held the Guinness World Record for the longest career as a female radio presenter.
She never left her job at Radio 1, working right up until January 9, 2024.
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Her most recent episode of Annie Nightingale Presents featured her ‘biggest bass bangers’, including songs by Deadmau5 and remixes of songs by AJ Tracey and Jorja Smith and US rapper Ice Spice.
“From day one, I chose the records I wanted to play, and stuck to it ever since,” she wrote in her 2020 memoir, ‘Hey Hi Hello: Five Decades of Pop Culture From Britain’s First Female DJ’.
“I wasn’t there for the ‘exposure’. I preferred the evenings, where I wouldn’t have to introduce playlist tunes I didn’t like. That would have been like lying to me.”
“Every week, in my job, is a new adventure. I enjoy it,” she said last July. “People don’t understand. Most people get bored with pop music when they’re a certain age. I go on being interested in where it’s going, the twists and turns.”
And today, it’s been announced by Nightingale’s family that the music legend has sadly passed away.
A statement reads: “Annie Nightingale MBE passed away yesterday at her home in London after a short illness.
“Annie was a pioneer, trailblazer and an inspiration to many. Her impulse to share that enthusiasm with audiences remained undimmed after six decades of broadcasting on BBC TV and radio globally.”
It continues: “Never underestimate the role model she became. Breaking down doors by refusing to bow down to s**ual prejudice and male fear gave encouragement to generations of young women who, like Annie, only wanted to tell you about an amazing tune they had just heard.”
The family concludes: “Watching Annie do this on television in the 1970s, most famously as a presenter on the BBC music show The Old Grey Whistle Test, or hearing her play the latest breakbeat techno on Radio One is testimony to someone who never stopped believing in the magic of rock ‘n’ roll. A celebration of her life will take place in the Spring at a Memorial Service.
“The family request privacy at this time. Alex, Lucy, Ollie and Will.”
At the time of writing, Nightingale’s cause of death has yet to be determined.
The legendary DJ leaves behind two children, Alex and Lucy, by her first husband, writer Gordon Thomas, whom she had divorced by 1970.