The Request Show Returns
For One Night Only!
The Return of The Annie Nightingale Request Show.
Radio 1 celebrates a landmark year in its history next month. As part of the celebrations it is bringing back one of its most famous shows... and we need you to be part of it.
Back In the day, Radio 1 itself was a teenage boy. Fifteen years old, stroppy, strapping and confident. And two flagship programmes, the Breakfast Show and the Top Forty defined its youthful exuberance.
The Top Forty was broadcast then, and I’m talking about 1982 here, between four and seven p.m. on a Sunday. No downloads then or i-pods, or anything digital. That revolution was just around the next corner.
The Top Forty had, and still has, a huge audience with everyone wanting to know what’s No 1 in the charts
What no-one had thought about then, was…what do you play after the Top Forty?
There’s that big Radio 1 audience still buzzing off hearing what’s Number One, and many still, sadly, with homework to do. Sunday night is not traditionally a ‘Havin’ It’ night. But no one wants to go to bed that early, either.
"Look Annie", said the Radio 1 management then, "why don’t you just play some tunes for a couple of hours after the charts on Sunday nights? Do it as a request show. Just as a three month filler…..then we’ll decide what to do with that slot on a more permanent basis"
“Alllll-ri-gh-t", I said. A row of lightbulbs as long as those strung along Brighton Palace Pier pinging ‘on’ above my head. Here was a chance for a real interactive show, where we put the show together, YOU and ME. Ever since my early days as a radio DJ and a TV presenter I had been pinned against walls in every conceivable public place with that famous line: ‘Why don’t you play….. on your show?”
Play good music and you’ll get good requests was the wise observation of my first mentor at Radio 1, the late great Teddy Warwick. Was he ever right?!
From week one the requests came in by the sack load. People would send them on all kinds of elaborate missives, painted on a housebrick (sent through the post!), a paper prayer mat, the rubber end of a shower attachment …. anything to get attention. Pretty soon, and really not intentionally The Request Show had become cool. It had become what you do on Sunday night…listen to Annie after the charts, and try your best to get your name mentioned and your record played.
For me, getting so much mail, so many hilarious, poignant, witty, daring communications was like Christmas every week. I read every single one and i loved doing that.
You never knew what was coming next. Some people sent long lists of tunes, every one a winner (yeah, that as well!) that could have made up a whole show from one person’s selection. Sometimes a list would be a collection of some of my favourite tunes, but then in among them would be one track I’d never heard of.
Nine times out of ten that proved to be a wicked new discovery…so I was learning all the time too. I loved my Sunday nights, I loved all the communications, the jokes, the competition between people at different schools or among friends, or at Uni to get their name on Radio 1; the people who would write to me almost every week, life time friends, pre-empting both Myspace and Facebook.
After the first three months, the Radio 1 people said…"Oh, that was good, carry on for another three months." And then it was extended for another three months, then another. And so it went on... For TWELVE years!
And they say a lot can happen in a week. The request show was the one constant in my own life, which went through a lot of upheavals during those years.
Different music came and went too, the most exciting for me being the huge advent of acid house. From playing The Smiths, The Cure and Joy Division… now it was Altern8, The Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, Blue Monday the 12 inch, techno,, hardcore, hip hop, rave, some new treasured white label from Boys Own, heady heady times... This Mortal Coil, Song To the Siren… that kind of stuff.
The show became, by Radio 1 standards, quite weird and quirky. I was in constant fear, that having found a unique broadcasting twist, the show would get taken off. We weren’t mainstream, we didn’t play much chart stuff , but somehow I had connected with a generation.
It was only afterwards that I met people who told me how much they show had meant to them, how much music they had discovered by listening to the request show Among them author Irvine Welsh, author of ‘Trainspotting’ and also members of Radiohead.
It had become a cult listen, and it was the listeners who suggested the music. It was exam revision music. People would write in and say: If I fail it will be down to you for playing such great music and distracting me from my homework”., But by the same token, if the listeners did well in their exams, I would say, well, its down to ME for inspiring you!
There were only two ever guests on the show in its entire run, to assist me in reading out requests. Both the most notorious artistes of their respective generations. One was JohnnyLydon/ Rotten of the Sex Pistols and the other was Shaun Ryder of the Happy Mondays.
I started every show by just saying "Hi". No-one quite knew when this would happen. Before the first tune, half way through….a minute after it started…. Every week it was different.
That’s the back story… now this is where you come in.
There is going to be a one-off reprise of the Request Show to celebrate Radio 1’s big birthday, on Sunday September 30th.
This is YOUR opportunity to get YOUR favourite tune played and your name checked, on one of Radio 1’s most prestigious shows ever.
But there’s a bit more to it than that. I want you to request a tune for me to play….and tell me WHY. Not just something sloppy like…’this always reminds me and my girlfriend of our first date’….more like: “I love this tune because it’s a blinder and when I asked the dj at a club I went to in Corfu to play it he made me wait till the very end of the night, and then played the wrong version”.
I will pick the records for the show based on the stories you provide along with your suggestion. Unfortunately I will not be able to play every request that you send... that show would have to go on for weeks and weeks and we only have 2 hours. But, let me thank you in advance for taking the time to contribute!
We’’ll have a great time, up to date new tunes, like , hint hint, Make My Day by Eeeyore and Chopstick, modern classics…
September 30th, 7- 9 p.m. We’ll have a very special date. BE THERE. On Radio 1. Right after the charts.
Love Annie xx