May 9, 1944
Oldham, Lancashire, England
|Occupation||Radio DJ, programme manager, businessman, writer|
Tony Prince (born Thomas Whitehead; 9 May 1944) is a British radio disc jockey and businessman. He broadcast on Radio Caroline and Radio Luxembourg in the 1960s and 1970s, later becoming a programme director and then businessman, responsible for establishing the remix label DMC.
Born in Oldham, Lancashire, the only son of a scrap metal worker, he attended Oldham Art School and worked as a jockey, TV salesman and toolmaker before becoming lead singer in a local band, The Jasons, in 1959. In 1962, he started as a club DJ, introducing the Beatles onstage on the night that they first reached number one on the British charts. He was expelled from the Musicians' Union in 1964 for playing records in dancehalls rather than employing live musicians, and then moved to Bristol to work for Top Rank. He presented an early ITV pop music programme, Discs-a-Gogo.
In 1965, after meeting DJ Tony Blackburn and auditioning, he joined the pirate radio station Radio Caroline North on a ship in the Irish Sea, developing his personality as "your royal ruler". After the 1967 Marine Offences Act banned pirate radio, he joined Radio Luxembourg. He became president of the International Elvis Presley Fan Club, interviewed Presley in 1972 and 1973, and played Presley songs non-stop following the singer's death in 1977. He continued to present programmes after becoming programme director at Radio Luxembourg in 1977. He was programme director until 1984, changing the station's format to play predominantly disco and soul music.
Around 1981, he began playing DJ mixes of dance records and started the successful and influential Disco Mix Club Show. On returning to Britain, he launched DMC as a record subscription club in 1983. He also launched the club culture magazine Mixmag, later sold to EMAP. Prince continued to run the company, now known as DMC International, until 2006. In 2002, Prince established World DJ Day, set up to raise funds for Nordoff-Robbins music therapy.
His later projects have included Wedding TV, which he co-founded. The channel (available on Sky Digital) won the "Best Specialist Channel" award at the annual Broadcast Digital Channel Awards in 2008. In 2016, he published a double autobiography co-written with Czech music fan Jan Šesták, The Royal Ruler & the Railway DJ.
- "Offshore disc-jockeys of the 60s, N-P". www.offshoreradio.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-06-04.
- Janice Barker, "The DJ that rocked", Oldham Chronicle, 20 April 2009. Retrieved 4 June 2017
- "Boat Rocker: the Tony Prince story", DMC World, 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2017
- Jason Barnard, "Tony Prince – The Royal Ruler", The Strange Brew, 2017. Retrieved 4 June 2017
- Tony Prince, "The afternoon Mae West dazzled us with her wit over carrot cake and tea", The Guardian, 4 December 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2017
- David Smyth, "Hedonists are all heart", The Telegraph, 1 March 2002. Retrieved 4 June 2017
- Rosalyn Roden, "DJ legend pens autobiography", Oldham Chronicle, 30 November 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2017
- Jan Raycroft, "Tony Prince on Elvis, the risks people took to listen and ending up in Bray", Berkshire Life and Buckinghamshire Life, 13 March 2017. Retrieved 4 June 2017