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Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:31 pm
by AndyP
Charlie was a guiding light for me through the fog of so much music; through him I discovered (and still am) many wonderful sounds of the world. I valued highly his thoughts and opinions in articles, reviews and especially through his many memorable radio broadcasts, where he made me feel like a friend sharing his passion for music. He has left a huge void in the world of broadcasting.
God bless you Charlie and heartfelt condolences to your family.


Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:32 pm
by peterdl
Very sad news indeed. Charlie introduced me to World music with his Undercurrents show. Sent him a tune once that I heard on French radio and of course he was able to identify it and played it again for me (Tabou Combo - 8th Sacrement). One of my first LPs I ever bought was King Sunny Ade's Juju Music, thanks to Charlie, and I still have it. Latterly enjoyed his shows at WOMAD. My love of music is all the richer due to Charlie and I'll miss his voice and music on the radio and at WOMAD. My thoughts are with his family.
Thank you Charlie. Rest In Peace.


Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:38 pm
by djiversen
Every Saturday night I listened to Charlie Gillett from Vermont and loved his voice, music selections, and the sounds that filled my apartment. As others are saying, this is a great loss. Donna

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:40 pm
by kevin
Still in a state of shock but it's been nice reading all the comments posted in this thread. It just shows time after time what a great man Charlie was.

I'm happy to see a lot of first time posters adding their thoughts and emotions, I hope they stay around and participate. I think Charlie would have loved that.

I've been listening to Charlie since the early to mid 80's and the only thing that ever annoyed me about any of his radio shows was my constant inability to get through to answer the weekly quiz question.

There's been a few mentions of which song represents Charlie best (is there a list in the making?), for me it would unquestionably be Promised Land by Johnnie Allan. So I'll just stick it on again and play it loud (but not so loud so as to annoy the neighbours) and remember Charlie "A True Gent" Gillett.


Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:45 pm
by pat.stroudley
I've been listening to Charlie's broadcasts since Honky Tonk in the 70s, enjoyed reading Charlie's book, Sound of the City, which greatly added to and enthused about the music of the 50s-60s, and in later years Charlie's LP/CD compilations explored new and productive ground. I just can't believe that all this is now in the past. Just desperately sad. I only met Charlie once, at a gig for Honky Tonk listeners back in the 70s - like everyone else has said, his greeting was as if I'd known him all my life. Which in a sense, we all did.
I feel like I've lost a family member, just unredeemingly sad. Trying to be positive, Charlie - thanks for all the great music, and for all the enjoyment you brought.

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:50 pm
by maggie
Oh what very sad and dreadful news about Charlie. He had such a unique presence on the airwaves. I remember the first track I ever heard him play , Titi Robin - Blue Indigo, back in the 1990’s, and since then I have always listened to his shows. It was like coming home. He had a warmth and respect towards his guests that made for beautiful radio. Thank you Charlie, you brought us the sounds of the world, but what we will all really miss is the sound of your lovely voice introducing them.
My heartfelt condolences to Charlie’s family and friends.

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:53 pm
by JudyT
Charlie - the sunshine in Berlin doesn't help lift our mood today.
Thank you for everything.

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:54 pm
by Jarlath

This from the Telegraph

Charlie Gillett: tributes pour in for DJ

Friends, musicians and broadcasters today saluted the pioneering DJ and passionate world music champion Charlie Gillett, who has died after a long illness.

Published: 12:59PM GMT 18 Mar 2010

Gillett, who was 68 and was credited with discovering Dire Straits, had a lengthy radio career with a devoted following recruited during his stints on BBC London - and its predecessors - plus Radio 3, the World Service and Capital.

The presenter, who also managed Ian Dury for a spell and was respected for an authoritative book on the history of rock'n'roll, was described today as ''an inspiration to everybody who loved music''.

The broadcaster died in a London hospital yesterday. He suffered a heart attack last week after contracting a disease of the autoimmune system.

Gillett, who was born in Morecambe, Lancs, stepped down from his regular slot on Radio 3's World on 3 for health reasons two months ago.

He is credited with discovering Dire Straits in 1976 after playing Sultans of Swing from the band's demo tape on his influential BBC Radio London show Honky Tonk.

Gillett also championed world music stars like Youssou N'Dour, Salif Keita and the young singer of Portuguese fado music, Mariza.

During the past decade he entertained millions of listeners through his World Service programme, Charlie Gillett's World of Music.

World Service director Peter Horrocks said: ''His broadcasts brought together music and radio fans from far-flung corners of the globe. He was a very special broadcaster and he will be sorely missed.''

Gillett presented Honky Tonk between 1972 and 1978.

He then moved to Capital Radio with his show Undercurrents which also featured world music. He was sacked in 1983, but brought back by public demand and stayed until 1990.

Gillett wrote an acclaimed history of rock'n'roll, The Sound of the City, in the 1970s which had been based on the thesis he wrote for his masters at New York's Columbia University.

Roger Wright, controller of Radio 3, said: ''News of Charlie's death is terribly sad. To his audiences he was 'Mr World Music' and the community of listeners is left richer for his tireless support of an extraordinary range of artists.

Chris Difford of the band Squeeze also paid tribute today. He said: ''Charlie Gillett was a good friend, a big fan of Squeeze and a wonderful sweet man - not many of them left in the world. So sad to lose him.''

Friend and colleague Robert Elms, a presenter for BBC London 94.9, said: ''Charlie was an inspiration to everybody who loved music, and a lovely bloke with it.

''His enthusiasm was boundless and his knowledge profound, but he only ever used that wealth of knowledge to excite and inspire. Nobody I have ever met had more songs in their heart than Charlie.''

Radio 2's Bob Harris said: ''He was a genuine inspiration - a true music lover and a really good guy. Very few have been blessed with his knowledge, talent and feel for what was right. It's really difficult to find words.''

Close pal Mark Lamarr said: ''When I first met him it was like meeting the rock 'n' roll equivalent of Dickens or Shakespeare.''

Gillett is survived by wife Buffy and children Suzy, Jody and Ivan.

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:57 pm
by andy jones
It's difficult to put into words the sadness that I feel, particularly when I know that my sadness, however true, is dwarfed by the sadness felt by others near and far, who knew the man in so many more ways than me. And then that sadness is magnified by what I feel for them, having lost someone who still had so much life in his soul.

And then the sadness is mixed with joy and happiness at having known somebody so special, and so precious, having shared in the music he introduced us all to, the intimate relationship we all had with him when we heard him on the radio, then the excitement of meeting him, and knowing he knew us too.

I started a film-club with Charlie's daughter Suzy about 10 years ago. Inspired by the weekly Sunday afternoon sessions hosted by Rita and Max in a Clapham pub, we set about organising screenings of films to complement the music. I remember our very first event, Suzy was seriously ill, and Charlie, though obviously worried about her, was there as proxy helper - setting out chairs and tables, then sitting by the door and guarding the cash box. As we grew out of the pub, and started hosting screenings at the Ritzy, Charlie would give us a plug on his show, and give tickets out as competition prizes. He'd often be there too, but never free tickets for him - he'd always buy his at the box office and help swell our share of the takings.

There was always a warm welcome at Liston Road, a stop for a chat when we bumped into him and Buffy in Grafton Square, at a festival, or a gig. Still always a hug and a smile even after Suzy had moved on to different things. And having Charlie's support meant so much, gave the whole ScreenStation gang confidence when we started making our own films, knowing that if he said he liked it, he really meant it, and it would help to bring other people to know about what we were doing. And for every kind word for us, there were thousands more for others - musicians, film-makers, writers, all nourished and encouraged by him.

I'll miss him dearly. Not like his family and friends of course, but in a way he made us all feel like family. And I hope that the tears which come now are replaced by smiles and warmth when in future I hear tunes he introduced me to, and see friends i know we shared.

I'm sure they will be. And I hope we all take a little bit of the goodness we received from Charlie, and carry it with us everywhere we go.

hearts, ears and spirits open. onwards and upwards...

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:46 pm
by David Flower
what a fantastic response from so many people. I can't think of anyone who would have had so many friends. As for so many others Charlie was crucial in shaping my listening, and his broadcasts back in the early '80s the single biggest influence on me getting involved with music. All our artists were played by Charlie in one place or another, and he was always supportive. I remember too that way he had of drifting off into closed eye reverie as his guests played live in the studio. And maybe the second or two he might take to come back to reality when they stopped, with that hushed 'wow, or 'wooh'! All while live on air.
Given all the comments of those who hadn't met him I feel very privileged to have known him and that he has always been around as a rock in our community. A few years ago I invited he and Buffy to my birthday party, in one of those boutique bowling alleys with a bar, and decks. Extremely cheekily I asked him if we would consider spinning some tunes. No problem! Half an hour on the decks at my own party! Though he turned out to be really keen to have a bowl (I think he was always keen on chasing any kind of ball) there was a mix-up (my 10 years old was organising turns) and I found out at the end of the evening that he hadn't got his turn/s. But true to form he smiled and just said no problem. He and Buffy were always kind to my Marina , asking after her and the kids.
Charlie has been one of the best reasons to be involved in our scene in the UK, and one main reason why it has by and large remained a decent place to be. Truly irreplaceable. If we were doing one of our lists ' Top Human on Scene', he would stroll it

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:12 pm
by Robin James
Tears all over the papers on my desk. The music still sounds great, but now the song has finished I just want to hear a few words from you, Charlie. You are as much a part of this song (and so many others) as the singer or the band because you introduced it to me. Thank you for bringing the music to London and the World and for what you brought to those of us who listened with you.
With sincere condolences to your family and friends on their terrible loss,

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:15 pm
by Ian A.
David Flower wrote:Charlie has been one of the best reasons to be involved in our scene in the UK, and one main reason why it has by and large remained a decent place to be. Truly irreplaceable. If we were doing one of our lists ' Top Human on Scene', he would stroll it

What David just said. I can only think of one or maybe two other people I've ever encountered in the "music business" over the last 40+ years about whom nobody ever, ever, has a bad word. I remember when a friend had an 18th birthday bash down in Crawley in the 80s and Dembo Konte & Kause Kuyateh went to play for her, so she invited Charlie & Buffy and they were pleased to trek down there.

I, earlier wrote:The World Service will be doing a 10 minute piece later today - I've just been asked to go in this afternoon and record it with Mark Coles.

Yikes, it turned out to be live. The Strand, re-broadcast at 22:32 this evening. Heartfelt phone-in contributions from Youssou N'Dour, Brian Eno and Rokia Traore, and a bit of the great man too. No idea if I made any sense. They're putting together a proper half-hour tribute this weekend.

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:15 pm
by Jarlath
This from the Times

From The Times March 18, 2010

Charlie Gillett: broadcaster and journalist

Charlie Gillett was a broadcaster, journalist and author who played a significant role in shaping the tastes of several generations of music fans.

After writing The Sound of the City, one of the first books to attempt a serious survey of the early history of rock’n’roll, he began his broadcasting career on BBC Radio London, presenting the weekly Honky Tonk show throughout most of the 1970s. The programme became hugely influential, popularising American roots music and unearthing British acts such as Dire Straits, Elvis Costello and Graham Parker, all of whom received their first exposure on his show before any of them had signed a recording contract. He also co-managed Ian Dury and discovered Lena Lovich.

In the 1980s he became enamoured with world music and, long before Andy Kershaw hit the airwaves, he played a pioneering role in spinning little-heard records from Africa, the Indian sub-continent and beyond on the radio. Turning his back on Anglo-American pop, he continued to champion world music for the rest of his professional life, earning the sobriquet “Mr World Music” and two Sony radio awards for his ground-breaking shows along the way.

A warm and generous man devoted to his family and with no interest in the trappings of success, he was deeply self-effacing and always insisted that he was an enthusiast for the music that he played and wrote about rather than an expert. His broadcasting style was unique and proudly lacking in slickness; his live radio shows seldom went by without him playing at least one song at the wrong speed or announcing the wrong track. Yet it was all part of his charm and only served to endear him further to his loyal listeners.

Born in 1942 in Yorkshire into a Methodist and strongly socialist and pacifist family, he grew up loving sport and later music, after he began hearing imported American rock’n’roll records in the mid-1950s. He read economics at Cambridge and despite getting only a third took a postgraduate course in the sociology of education at Columbia University, New York. There he wrote a thesis on black music in America and how it had been copied and appropriated by white singers such as Elvis Presley.

He returned to Britain in 1966 and spent the next four years teaching social studies and film making at Kingsway College, London. By night, he worked on turning his thesis into a book, fleshing it out to create a comprehensive history of postwar rhythm & blues and its metamorphosis into rock’n’roll. The book eventually appeared as The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll, in the US in 1970 and was published in Britain the following year. It has remained in print almost ever since, selling 250,000 copies.

By then Gillett had been writing a weekly column for Record Mirror since 1968 but it was the enthusiastic reviews that greeted The Sound of the City that really raised his profile. He appeared on television on a music panel show with Michael Parkinson, presented a series of television profiles of the likes of B.B. King and the Drifters and in 1972 was invited to be a presenter on BBC2’s music flagship show, The Old Grey Whistle Test. He turned it down, explaining many years later that he had never regretted doing so because: “I was going to have to be talking to people like Yes, and Emerson Lake & Palmer, and I really couldn’t imagine what I would say to them.”

He always claimed that nothing in his career had ever been planned and his breakthrough into radio came in typical fashion. When BBC Radio London started in 1972, he complained in his Record Mirror column that the music the station played was terrible and wondered why they ignored black American soul music.

The result was that the station invited him to be a one-off guest on Robbie Vincent’s show. Listener reaction was so favourable to the records he played that he was promptly given his own weekly programme.

Honky Tonk ran from 1972 until 1978 and despite broadcasting only to London and the South East, it made Gillett arguably Britain’s most influential radio disc jockey of the time, after John Peel. The show played mostly American music but towards the end of its life, Honky Tonk hit a rich vein when Gillett played a key role in bringing such British talent as Ian Dury (whom he managed), Elvis Costello, Graham Parker and Dire Straits to the public’s ears for the first time. Another discovery was Lena Lovich, whom he also managed and signed to Stiff Records.

A second book, Making Tracks, a history of Atlantic Records, appeared in 1974 and in the late 1970s Gillett himself turned record company mogul when he set up Oval Records with Gordon Nelki. The label’s first release was Another Saturday Night, a compilation of music from Louisiana that was instrumental in popularising Cajun music in Britain. He continued to run the label in sporadic fashion for another 30 years, scoring the occasional leftfield hit, the last of which was Would You? by Touch and Go which made No 3 in the British charts in 1998.

After the demise of Honky Tonk, Gillett transferred in 1980 to London’s leading commercial station, Capital Radio, hosting a show first called Undercurrents and then The Alchemists, on which he played a wide variety of records on independent labels. He was sacked in 1983 but swiftly brought back, thanks to audience demand, to launch a show called A Foreign Affair (later A World of Difference). It was on this programme that he began to explore world music, playing the likes of Youssou N’Dour, Salif Keita and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on British radio for the first time. He also helped to make Arrow’s soca classic Hot Hot Hot a major hit.

By the time he left Capital for good in 1990, Gillett was already established as “Mr World Music” and the following year he won a lifetime achievement award at the annual Sony radio awards. Yet he did not return to the airwaves until 1995, when he launched a two-hour Saturday night show on BBC Radio London’s successor station, GLR (later renamed again as BBC London). Over the next 12 years the programme became the main radio showcase for world music and won him another Sony award for Best Specialist Music Show in 2002. He eventually gave up the programme in 2006 because of ill health.

He also launched a 30-minute show, Charlie Gillett’s World of Music, on the BBC World Service in 1999 and in 2007 became one of a rotating panel of presenters on BBC Radio Three’s World on Three. A further bout of ill health forced him to give up both these commitments in early 2010. Soon afterwards he underwent triple bypass surgery on his heart.

From 2000 to 2009, he compiled an annual double CD of the most popular world music tracks from his radio shows. Additionally, in 2004 he launched the Sound of the World website, which he moderated with a genial and light touch and which swiftly became the central online clearing house for news and discussion about the world music scene.

He is survived by his wife, Buffy, and their three children.

Charlie Gillett, writer and broadcaster, was born on February 20, 1942. He died after a stroke on March 17, 2010, aged 68

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:17 pm
by Skeavo
Hard to put into words what I feel. Charlie’s been an influence on my listening (and buying!) habits since the Honky Tonk days so, what, 38 years? It seems trite these days but back then I felt so comfortable with his style I called up to say I had a spare copy of the (highly collectable) Legend ‘Red Boot’ album if anyone wanted it, in response to a song he played.

It was like phoning an old mate, even though I hadn’t met him and he didn’t know me at all. And as for winning a Bob Wills LP on the show….

I’ve still got it. Of course.


Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:27 pm
by Ian A.
DJ Ritu's World In London show this Saturday at 8pm - Charlie's old slot before he became too unwell to continue - will be a 2 hour tribute to our friend. ... ture.shtml