The godfather of DJs, Tony Hargan, remembered with the BBC Radio Tees show

Middlesbough-born Tony Hargan filled dance floors in the north of England for years, playing timeless classics – especially dance and northern soul.

He was the first DJ hired by club icon John McCoy at his Kirklevington Country Club and has hosted stars such as Rod Stewart, Elton John, Long John Baldry, Stevie Winwood and many more.

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But making music wasn’t just his passion – he inspired future generations.

Working at Alan Fearnley’s legendary record shop on Linthorpe Road in Middlesbrough, he passed on this love of music to others with his passion and encyclopedic knowledge.

To mark the six-year anniversary of his death, his friend and BBC Radio Tees presenter, Hartlepool-born Paul “Goffy” Gough, paid a two-hour radio tribute to the DJ.

The program contained many listener memories of Tony’s performances with certain favorite tunes for BBC Radio Tees listeners and also included many memories of the lively club scene of the time – Mandy’s in Middlesbrough, Bennett’s in South Bank, Harvey’s at Stockton, The Red Lion, Redcar The Kirk and many DJ gigs for the Hartlepool Northern Soul group.

The Northern Echo: Middlesbough-born Tony HarganMiddlesbough-born Tony Hargan (Image: BBC RADIO TEES)

It also featured Tony’s own local club memories of his favorite songs from a previous show with DJ John Foster shortly before Tony’s death in 2017.

During his long career, Tony appeared on all local radio stations as a guest soul DJ.

Goffy was able to track down Tony’s old friend, soul legend Geno Washington, to chat about their friendship that blossomed from their shared love of soul music.

Geno, who was the subject of the 1980 smash hit Dexys Midnight Runners of the same name, said he and Tony met at the Red Lion in Redcar in the summer of 1964 and their mutual respect blossomed from there.

Goffy said: “Geno told me that Tony was one of the best he had worked with over the decades and that he thrived on having a packed dance floor full of heart-loving customers at the memorable clubs where he worked. “

The Northern Echo: BBC Radio Tees presenter Goffy with soul legend Geno WashingtonBBC Radio Tees presenter Goffy with soul legend Geno Washington (Image: BBC RADIO TEES)

“Tony was truly the king of soul and dance music in our area. I remember the excitement of my early mobile disco days, getting off the train at the Boro on a Saturday afternoon and taking a long walk along Linthorpe Road to hear Tony play us the latest songs from America.

“Many DJs from around the region met weekly and he played the latest American imports that were filling dance floors across the US.

“To this day, the tunes that Tony first highlighted back then will fill venues across the area this weekend.

“Phyllis Hyman’s ‘You know how to love me’, Atlantic Starr’s ‘Circles’, Players Association’s ‘Turn the music up’ and Steve Arrington’s ‘Feel so real’ are just a few of the hundreds of tracks Tony represents in Alan’s store They Sound still so fresh.

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“It was a must to ask listeners about their favorites that Tony introduced to them in the area – and the songs that still hold dear to them.”

And the response to the Tony Hargan musical special has been “fantastic”, according to Goffy, who said: “Make no mistake, Tony Hargan’s life was truly inspiring and so much of his work, passion and efforts will shine brightly for many .” Years are coming.

“His knowledge of all forms of music was truly outstanding and he was key to reviving many of the Northern Soul evenings that have become so popular in recent years, giving many clubs new life at such a difficult time for them to stay in Teesside alive.

He was always the star attraction at the annual Whitby Soul Weekenders and the hugely successful Nothern Soul events at Borough Hall in Hartlepool – it was one of Tony’s favorite dance floors to fill.” The godfather of DJs, Tony Hargan, remembered with the BBC Radio Tees show

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