Jimmy Young (disc jockey)
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|Sir Jimmy Young
|Born||Leslie Ronald Young
21 September 1921
Cinderford, Gloucestershire, England
|Occupation||Singer, DJ, radio personality|
|Known for||"Unchained Melody", "The Man from Laramie"|
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Young was born in Cinderford, Gloucestershire. The son of a baker, he attended East Dean Grammar School. After his parents divorced in 1939, he left for South Wales to think about his future. While there, on 3 September 1939, he decided to join the Army at the large base opposite the house in which he was staying. Being a Sunday, he went in to be welcomed by the smell of warm breakfast, which he ate after declaring he wished to join. He was unaware, however, that such good food was only eaten on Sundays. When asked his age, he replied that he was 17, to which he was told to come back in three weeks at the age of 18. Young then left the barracks and walked down the road to the RAF base and asked to join. After declaring himself as 18, he stayed there until 1949 with the rank of sergeant PT Instructor.
Young was signed to the then new label Polygon Records in 1950, one of the label's few stars alongside another newcomer, Petula Clark. He released numerous records on the label, all conducted by Ron Goodwin, the biggest seller of which was "Too Young" (1951) a big sheet music seller in the days before the UK Singles Chart had begun. It was a cover of Nat King Cole's American recording. There were also two duets with Petula Clark that year, "Mariandl" and "Broken Heart".
In 1952 he signed a recording contract with Decca. Young enjoyed Top 10 successes with "Eternally", "Chain Gang" and "More" (with which he beat Perry Como's U.S. original 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 the film of the same name) were successive releases and both number one hits.
- "Too Young" – (1951)
- "Faith Can Move Mountains" – (1953) – UK Number 11
- "Eternally" – (1953, music by Charles Chaplin, words by Geoff Parsons) – UK Number 8
- "Unchained Melody" – (1955) – UK Number 1 (with Bob Sharples and His Music, Decca: F10502)
- "The Man from Laramie" – (1954) – UK Number 1 (with Bob Sharples and His Music, Decca: F10597)
- "Someone on Your Mind" – (1955) – UK Number 13
- "Chain Gang" – (1956) – UK Number 9
- "Wayward Wind" – (1956) – UK Number 27
- "Rich Man Poor Man" – (1956) – UK Number 25
- "More" – (1956) – UK Number 4
- "Round and Round" – (1957) – UK Number 30
- "Miss You" – (1963) – UK Number 15
- "Unchained Melody" (re-recording) – (1964) – UK Number 43
Disc jockey and radio presenter
After a spell with Radio Luxembourg, Young joined the BBC as one of the first disc jockeys on BBC Radio 1, presenting the weekday mid-morning show from 1967 to 1973. In 1973 he joined BBC Radio 2, where he presented a regular programme (which he referred to as 'The JY Prog'), until his retirement from broadcasting at the end of 2002.
He developed a popular approach to current affairs interviewing and was closely associated with Margaret Thatcher. He broadcast from around the world, including several live shows from Moscow, the first in 1977, and interviewed every British prime minister from 1964 to 2010. His theme music was "Town Talk" by Ken Woodman & His Piccadilly Brass. BFN ('Bye for now') was one of his catchphrases.
Although he was offered the opportunity to present a weekend current affairs programme, he turned it down. His radio slot was taken over by the former Newsnight presenter, Jeremy Vine. Shortly after leaving the BBC, Young wrote a newspaper column attacking his former employer for instances of "brutality", and making clear that it had not been his idea to leave.
Young returned to BBC Radio 2 in 2011 with a special one-hour programme in celebration of his 90th birthday. Sir Jimmy Young at 90, broadcast on 20 September 2011, heard him in conversation with his friend and former sparring partner Ken Bruce, looking back over his career. In March 2012 Young returned to presenting on BBC Radio 2 after over nine years when he joined Desmond Carrington on a weekly show entitled Icons of the 50s. Young received an OBE in 1979, a CBE in 1993, and, at the beginning of 2002, he was knighted for services to broadcasting.
Young continued to write a weekly column for the Sunday Express newspaper until he retired from this role in November 2014.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 615. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Allmusic com biography
- "In Depth | Newsmakers | Jimmy Young: Too old?". BBC News. 2 November 2001. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
- "Entertainment | Sir Jimmy vents anger in column". BBC News. 5 January 2003. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
- "Press Office – BBC Radio 2 welcomes back legendary broadcaster Sir Jimmy Young CBE". BBC. Retrieved 12 December 2012.