LEGENDARY DJ Pete Cross is hanging up his microphone after 49 years on the turntables.
He’s decided to call it a day as he nears his 70th birthday, with around 7,000 shows under his belt in a career that saw him mix with scores of the most famous names in music.
After working as a teenager in WH Smith in Portsmouth, Pete began his DJ career in earnest in 1967 at the celebrated Tricorn Club in Portsmouth city centre .
‘They’d been running cabaret acts but weren’t getting the crowds,’ said Pete. ‘I started playing middle-of-the-road songs to 20 people in between acts.
‘Then they decided to start a disco, and the audiences shot up.
‘Pretty soon we were locking the doors at 7.30pm with 500 inside. We did all sorts of stupid things, showing our immaturity really, but people just loved it.’
They decided to start a disco - and the audiences shot upPete Cross
Pete made regular appearances at Nero’s and the Mecca ballroom, before moving back to the Tricorn in 1975 and working alongside some of the biggest names of the day who appeared there including Slade, Mud, Sweet, Status Quo, and T Rex.
Pete’s DJ years have seen him appear at venues far and wide, from the famous Lakeside Club in Camberley to The Royal Yacht Britannia.
‘I used to play records alone on the deck while they dined below at whatever ball it was,’ said Pete.
‘People on passing ferries would take pictures and I’d wave – I’m sure many of them thought I was a royal!’
Pete has also enjoyed a long radio career.
He appeared for five years on BBC Radio Solent, presenting the Cabaretland feature each week plus Saturday’s Juke Box Jury shows and fronting his own live programmes from the Southsea Show.
Nowadays Pete, who runs an entertainments agency from his Waterlooville home, can be heard on the Havant-based community station Angel Radio (101.1FM) at 8pm on Mondays and on his Sixties show at 9am on Saturdays.
As he prepares for his last show, at a wedding reception in Fareham on Saturday, he says: ‘I’ve had a great time.’
PETE’S ALL-TIME FAVOURITES
‘It has to be Tony Blackburn, one of the many stars I was lucky enough to work with. I just loved his stupid jokes.’
‘Without a doubt it was Mud. Lovely fellas. I remember them playing the Mecca and telling me to hang around so that we could all have a drink afterwards. ‘
‘I was appearing alongside a comedy group called Hobson’s Choice but the lead singer was taken ill and I was asked to fill in - singing like Tommy Cooper and having absolutely hilarious time.’
Young Hearts Run Free (Candi Staton)
THE TOP TEN THIS WEEK IN 1967
1. San Francisco (be sure to wear some flowers in your hair): Scott McKenzie
2. I’ll Never Fall in Love Again: Tom Jones
3. The Last Waltz: Englebert Humperdinck
4. The House That Jack Built: The Alan Price Set
5. Even the Bad Times are Good: The Tremeloes
6. All You Need is Love: The Beatles
7. Just Loving You: Anita Harris
8. I was Made to Love Her: Stevie Wonder
9. Death of a Clown: Dave Davies
10. We Love You: The Rolling Stones