72 EVERGREEN Autumn Discovering what became of personalities from the past Steve Race Hubert Gregg Benny Green Alan Dell Malcolm Laycock & David Jacobs Barry Kinder asked about several former BBC music broadcasters. Steve Race Steve Race (1921-2009), was one of our finest who embraced every form of the genre with enthusiasm. A composer and raconteur, his informative but gentle approach put everyone at ease. He was the perfect chairman of My Music (see Evergreen, Winter 2009), amalgamating earnestness with amusement, and enjoyed telling the story when he mistakenly awarded second prize in a young composer competition to a girl who cheated by submitting an obscure piece by Mozart! His autobiography Musician at Large is an excellent read. Hubert Gregg (1914-2004) was a writer, singer and actor who composed the popular song “Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner” (see Evergreen, Spring 2001). Among his nostalgic BBC radio programmes were A Square Deal and, latterly, Thanks for the Memory. Benny Green (1927-1998, see below), was a proud Londoner and a jazz saxophonist whose easy manner endeared him to an army of fans. His expert knowledge of jazz and popular song composers was a feature of his Sunday afternoon programme which ran for many years right up until his death. Also a cricketing guru, he wrote several Wisden Anthologies.
2017 EVERGREEN 73 Alan Dell (1924-1995, see above), was South African and a walking encyclopedia on music from the Twenties, Thirties and Forties, hosting The Dance Band Days on Radio 2 from 1969 almost until his death. He was also involved with Radio Luxembourg and the early days of pirate radio broadcasting. David Jacobs Malcolm Laycock (1938-2009, see above), succeeded Alan Dell on Radio 2 with Sunday Night at Ten in which he mixed dance bands with his love of big bands. A former deputy head teacher who set up a music studio for disaffected pupils in South London, his untimely death signalled the end for British dance band music on BBC radio, a crushing blow for the many who grew up with it. David Jacobs (1926-2013), was a highly versatile broadcaster who took key roles in programmes as different as Any Questions?, Top of the Pops, Journey into Space (see Evergreen, Autumn 1994), Melodies for You and Juke Box Jury. Latterly, he presented the late night David Jacobs Collection, which he modestly described as “easy listening”. HENRY HARDCASTLE If you would like to know what became of a famous person of yesteryear then write to us at the address below and we’ll see what we can find out: “Whatever Happened to...?”, Evergreen, The Lypiatts, Lansdown Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 2JA firstname.lastname@example.org
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