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  David Simmons  


Dav taking part in a Radio 1 Diy at Brands Hatch 1973.

" I came 5th in my first Brands Hatch Radio 1 race [in I guess 72], 2nd in the next one [couldn't catch Noel Edmonds, he'd trained seriously as he lived near by] and got over-confident in the third one, crashed and came next to last."

David Simmons grew up in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. He studied Law at London University and later, Human Sciences at Oxford. 


He was first heard in the UK on the pirate easy-listening station 390 where he produced and appeared in commercials. After the pirates closed, David had a stint in West Africa, then moved to Switzerland as a radio reporter and producer based in Bern.  While abroad he read about the BBC's plans for a local station in London, applied, and got a job of producer-presenter at the new BBC Radio London, starting there in mid-1970 on the same day as Robbie Vincent.



In January 1972 Dave took over the Saturday afternoon R&B show on Radio 1 from Mike Raven. David said in a 1974 interview that it was his varied training in Local Radio that helped him acquire the Radio 1 slot. He got interested in R&B as a schoolboy  he was at school with Procul Harums Gary Brooker, and Robin Trower lived a few doors away -  and played that and blues while on the air in Switzerland. His Radio 1 show featured more soul and less blues than Mike  a 70/30 split.


A unique feature of the show was a phone call to a different black music station in the US every week. The DJ in Washington DC, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles or wherever would run down his current Top 10 and David would play the records in from London. He later went across America visiting the stations, and staying with the djs, like Mad Bob McKee in Atlanta, Georgia.


"This was music before its time" recalls David. "I'd play Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Billy Preston, Aretha Franklin, the odd salsa record I'd bring from New York " but it was regarded by the BBC as a "specialist" show. Black music was not massively popular in the UK in the early 70s " and the middle classes had never even heard of it. Given the choice, the public went for Slade or the Bay City Rollers." 


The Radio 1 show was in addition to his local radio work: in August 1972, David launched the first daily telephone talk show in the UK: Call In weekdays lunchtime on BBC Radio London.


He went on to present Soul 77 on BBC Radio London, as well as writing and presenting BBC Radio 4's Science Now, and making documentaries on Bob Marley, and the African roots of American music.


Fluent in French, Spanish and German, David moved in the 80s into management, and spent 20 years as an executive with the US-owned Worldwide Television News [WTN], and its successor, Associated Press Television News.


But he has kept his hand in with radio, principally on the British forces network, BFBS, presenting Rockabilly Country from 1981-83; and since then, a weekly 50's and 60's soul and rock"n"roll programme Rockola, which is now BFBSs longest-running show


David currently (2004) lives with his family in north London.




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Audio c BBC


Saturday Show 13.10.73 with BB "Bird Brain" Davis segment


Comments (11)

5/5 (1)
1 2 > Last
George Hughes (Liverpool) says...
Always will remember eating my tea and hearing Me and Baby brother -War for the first time . Thanks
4th October 2017 12:18pm
Roy Litchfiels (Walsall) says...
Used to ride home from work with David on my bike radio. Introduced me to Ann Peebles. Great show
30th August 2017 7:42pm
Jester Groove (Harrow) says...
A disciple of his Thursday evening shows on Radio London.. The breaking news of Donny Hathaway's death (RIP) will stay with me forever. Loved the Latin interlude(s) and his show introduced me to Quasar's Funk N Roll ( Dancin' In The Funkshine ) Do any of you remember the Soul Top 100 that Dave instigated and listeners had to write in/vote for ..#100 being The Floaters Float On and #1 being Marvin's What's Going On ..fill in the ... Read More
14th January 2017 8:32pm
Paul Marks (Orpington) says...

Thankyou very Much. yes it has been sluding me for the past 40 years or So.
Very Grateful for the information
6th July 2016 1:42am
Dave williams (Port Talbot) says...
I have great memories of daves radio 1 Saturday show. As far as I remember he used "Put it were you want it" by the
Crusaders, then changed to "Big Chief"
By Professor Longhair until the show was axed sotime early 75

Hope this mas help
12th June 2016 11:25pm
Les Dale (Runcorn) says...
I don't recall the theme unless you are referring to the track he used as bed music with congas, cowbells & other percussion. (That's one I would like info on myself!!)Snippets I do recall are that he used the middle section of "Those Lonely Lonely Nights" by Dr John as a blues link & "Samba de Sausalito" by Santana as bed music. The intro to Roy Head's "Treat Her Right" was used as an R'n'B link while the jingle "Meanwhile, back in ... Read More
25th April 2016 11:16pm
Paul Marks (Orpington) says...
Hi I have been after for a long time the theme to the David Simmons Saturday Soul Show. I have heard clips of the piece on TV. It has been eluding me ever since the programme was on air so about 40 years.
I would be grateful if someone could please assist me with the Title/Artist

25th March 2016 11:35pm
Has anyone got tapes of the DAVE SIMMONS show from the early 70s. Please get in touch as I would like copies of anything you have of this show, thanks
21st January 2016 11:56pm
Adam Kijowski (Richmond) says...
I so remember The evening show which was probably on Thursday evening called Soul 77/78.
I also remember fixing my scooter to a soul show on Saturday afternoons in about 1972
6th October 2015 4:10pm
tim rance (london) says...
David Simmons had a phone in on Radio London in the 70s which I used to listen to as a school boy and he played a jazz track in the intro (featuring a piano, drums, bass) on every show. Does anyone know what the tune/artist was? I remember really liking it, perhaps even more than the phone-in. I wrote into him and he sent it to me in very bad quality on a cassette which I lost many years ago but I'd love to rediscover it.
26th June 2015 10:35am
1 2 > Last
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