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by Jimmy Young
Jimmy Young (1921 to 2016) was an English singer and radio personality. Leslie Ronald Young was born in Cinderford, Gloucestershire, England, on September 21st 1921. The son of a baker and a dressmaker, he attended East Dean Grammar School, but left for South Wales to work as an electrician after his parents divorced in 1939. He later joined the RAF, staying until 1949 and becoming a physical training instructor. Soon after discharge, he signed to the new 'Polygon Records', joining recording artists such as Petula Clark and Louis Prima. Young's most popular song while on that label was "Too Young" in 1951 (a big sheet music seller at the time, and a cover version of the Nat King Cole original), and there were also two duets with Petula Clark that year - "Mariandl" and "Broken Heart". In 1952, he signed with 'Decca', enjoying Top 10 successes with "Eternally" (featured here), "Chain Gang" and "More" (thus exceeding the performance of Perry Como's original recording of the latter in the UK Singles chart listings). His most successful year as a recording artist was 1955, when "Unchained Melody" (from the film "Unchained") and "The Man from Laramie" (from that film) were both No. 1 hits. However, with a shift in the popular music scene towards 'rock and roll', Young decided to seek fresh fields, and joined 'Radio Luxembourg' as an increasingly new form of 'wireless' presenter emerged - the "disc jockey". He joined the BBC as one of the first in a stable of DJs to feature on the fledgling 'BBC Radio 1', presenting the weekday mid-morning show from 1967 to 1973. After then moving to 'Radio 2', he presented "The JY Prog", which developed a populist approach to current affairs, and he interviewed every British prime minister from 1964 to 2010 at least once. He also broadcast from around the world from time to time during internationally-themed news events, including several 'live' shows from Moscow in Russia. Young's theme music was "Town Talk" by 'Ken Woodman & His Piccadilly Brass', and "BFN" ("Bye for now") was a much-used 'sign-off' phrase closing his shows. Sadly though, his "retirement" from BBC broadcasting at the end of 2002 was said to have been "enforced", and it was later revealed that he had been offered the opportunity to present a weekend current affairs programme instead, but turned it down. (He once wrote a newspaper column attacking his former employers for instances of "brutality", and making clear that it had not been his idea to leave. He continued to write a weekly column for the Sunday Express newspaper until he retired from all roles in November 2014.) Young did return to 'Radio 2' in 2011 - a special one-hour programme in celebration of his 90th birthday - and in 2012 guested on the 2nd series of "Icons of the '50s", a weekly show on the channel hosted by Desmond Carrington. He received an OBE in 1979 and a CBE in 1993, being finally knighted for services to broadcasting in 2002. Sir Jimmy Young died at his home in England on November 7th 2016, aged 95. He is survived by his third wife Alicia.
Posted: 24th November 2016
Hundreds of very talented musicians pass away each year, some without much recognition at all. On "Rest In Peace", I aim to give them a fitting 'send-off', with a decent Tribute. I hope you will join me in marking their passing.....
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