9 June 1947 |
Felixstowe, Suffolk, England
|Occupation||English Radio Broadcaster and DJ|
Robbie Vincent (born 9 June 1947) is an English radio broadcaster and DJ whose catch phrase for many years was "If it moves, Funk it"
He started life as a journalist although Robbie Vincent's broadcasting career began as one of the pioneers on BBC Radio London in early 1974 during the miners' strike and Three-day week hosting a new style of phone-in show called Late Night London playing "devils advocate" with the telephone callers. People would call in to the station with their problems or comments. The programme was broadcast late in the evening in the London area and was probably one of the first radio 'phone-ins' in the UK.
Later hosting a BBC Radio London soul show on Saturday lunchtimes playing artistes such as Evelyn 'Champagne' King & Crown Heights Affair. His 1980 signature song was "Get it" by The Dramatics. Robbie would invite guest DJs, such as Chris Hill, Tom Holland, DJ Froggy, Sean French etc. to play their favourite three records that came in 'hot off the press' that week. The shows were considered essential listening to the Capital's soul music fans. He would also be a DJ at the infamous 'Caister Soul Weekender' events (the first event was called '1st National Soul Weekender' in April 1979) in the late 1970s/early 1980s with the original DJ line up alongside Chris Hill, Greg edwards (DJ) (presenter of Soul Spectrum on Saturday evening on London's Capital Radio), Chris Brown, Jeff Young, Tom Holland and DJ Froggy. He also presented a 'soul and disco' show on BBC Radio 1 briefly in 1977 between 5.30 and 6.30 pm on Saturday evenings.
In the early 1980s, he was credited with launching the career of US jazz funk combo, Maze with Frankie Beverly, in the UK, and was one of the few radio presenters in the UK to have interviewed Marvin Gaye.
BBC Radio London Saturday Show
Robbie Vincent's Saturday Show broadcast in the early eighties on Radio London had a cult following. Many fans made pirate tape (c90) cassette recordings of the shows week after week, which was on air from 11:30 am to 2 pm. The show included promos, new releases and anthems that filled dance-floors from Flicks in Dartford to The Goldmine in Canvey Island. For many, Robbie's radio show was the first place for that essential listening – resulting in jazz-funk and soul DJs / fans rushing to specialist shops for a copy of that all important hot 12" single or album. Robbie would play a selection of UK and US Imports, thus strengthening the sales and reach of the sales both in London and further afield.
The show's cult listening was such that many fans would travel to locations where even the weakest signal of BBC Radio London could be received – these locations included High Wycombe, Marlow, Luton, Dunstable and even just east of Guildford.
The Saturday show in 1983 started to include a Fusion Jazz 40 (which often would mirror the Fusion Few Chart in Blues and Soul magazine). Several import 12" singles and albums would not have been officially released in the UK without Robbie Vincent's support. Some of these included Maze (feat. Frankie Beverly), Brass Construction, Tania Maria, Earl Klugh, and Alfie Silas. The first official playing of Lionel Richie's All Night Long was by Robbie Vincent on his Saturday Show in Autumn 1983 as a promo, well ahead of the Richie's album Can't Slow Down.
Occasionally, the Saturday Show standard format would be held over for Robbie's popular "All Winners Show" where the fans would choose the tracks to be played. On 12 October 1982, one such All Winners Show unearthed a long lost jazz funk band called Prince Charles and the City Beat Band and within weeks, their song 'In The Streets' was re-released in the UK. The band went on to have a renewed career in the next few years and UK hits. On the same show, The Trammps 'Soul Bones' was played resulting in a scurry to find deleted copies of this forgotten soul classic. On the same show, a composite of Merry Clayton's 'When The World Turns Blue', John Klemmer's 'Adventures in Paradise' and Teena Marie's 'Portuguese Love' was a sequence which has remained as a memorable highlight. Other notable successes down to Robbie Vincent's work include Gilberto Gil and Sadao Watanabe. Robbie was also first to play Teena Marie's comeback recording in 1983 called 'Fix It' following her signing from Motown Records to Epic.
Careers previously restricted to the US and Latin America were given prime exposure on Robbie Vincent's Saturday Show notably, Phyllis Hyman, Angela Bofill and Brenda Russell. Established artists looking for new directions also received some focus including, Herbie Hancock (Robbie refused to play 'RockIt' but did play 'Autodrive'; Fatback Band (Robbie played their International smash 'The Girl Is Fine (So Fine)' and gave exclusive UK exposure to Fatback's spin-off act C-Brand in 1983. For the UK scene, Robbie supported Second Image, I-Level, and early 12" Singles from Loose Ends. It was a very exciting time for music – much of it underground and unique to Caister all-weekenders and all-dayers.
In spring 1983, Robbie Vincent played a 7" Single by unknown funk band Mtume – the song 'Juicy Fruit' became a massive UK hit being released as an extended 12" single largely as a result of Robbie's pushing.
It should not be underestimated the contribution to the UK Jazz Funk and Soul scene made by Robbie Vincent between 1979 – 1989, but in particular in the early 1980s. With Greg Edwards, Jeff Young, and other DJs, Robbie Vincent was part of both a soul revival as well as a massive move for commercial acceptance of Jazz-Funk. In addition, the mainstream Jazz movement, so often missed in the story, received an incredible boost thanks to unknown and new artists being given a media platform.
BBC Radio 1 Sunday Evening Soul show
Robbie moved to BBC Radio 1 in 1983 to present the very popular Sunday evening 'Soul shows' between 9 and 11 pm which were also carried on FM as well as the 275/285 metres medium wave transmitters. He presented these until 1989, playing Jazz-Funk with artistes like Rick James, The Fatback Band, Brass Construction, Funkadelic, The Crusaders, Ronnie Laws and Eddie Henderson. He would often present the shows with a romantic slant using phrases towards records such as 'this one has a government meltability warning', 'carefully selected so that only the best reach the turntable' and 'open the fridge door and make sure it's packed with ice' with additional jingles such as 'jazz, jazz, jazz, jazz, jazz' (recorded by Adrian Edmondson), 'make it saxy' or 'Robbie Vincent play that jazz!!' and 'Hear the Robbie Vincent Show, that's where the Soul sounds best!'. .
During the 1980s Robbie Vincent was also seen on British TV screens when he co-hosted BBC TV's 'Hospital Watch' and 'Go for It'.
London Broadcasting (LBC) and Kiss FM
In 1981, Robbie became manager of UK Soul Funk band, Second Image, securing record deals with Polydor and then in 1984, MCA Records. He acted as their sole personal manager until the band split in 1986. In 1989 he moved to work for LBC (London Broadcasting) radio. His night-time phone-in show was one of the highest rated programmes on the station. In 1995 Robbie Vincent was voted Independent radio personality of the year at the annual Variety Club awards.
Vincent spent most of 2003 travelling and during late December and early January 2004 presented five daytime shows on 94.9 BBC Radio London.
In 2006 he has occasionally been a guest presenter on Tony Monson's 10 am to 1 pm weekday show on Solar Radio in the UK. He has carried out joint presentations of the show on several occasions where he brought in all the music.
Vincent returned to the airwaves on 12 October 2008 and presented a three-hour show called 'Sunday Morning Soul' on Sundays for the relaunched Jazz FM service on DAB, Sky, Freesat and the Internet.
On 29 November 2013 Robbie Vincent announced his decision to leave Jazz FM and was denied a final farewell show on the station following his announcement.
- Robbie Vincent returns to BBC London 94.9FM November 2003
- Robbie Vincent biography from Radio Rewind