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Chris Hill is one of the major influences in British music. The first star club DJ, for over 35 years he could and still does pull more people to his gigs than any of the supposed "names" of radio. Conceivably he invented the modern notion of clubbing. Without him there would be no "Weekenders".

The first to mix soul, jazz, R&B, Latin, to toast, to shout, to blend arcane, unknown, esoteric and wonderful tunes, stuff we would never have heard had it not being for him with the most obvious, so that even the most obvious became re-heard afresh, differently and with a new potential. Above everything else Hill has impeccable musical taste. What was obscure to us was blindingly brilliant to him. The diamonds in the rough had never been hidden to him, they twinkled in obscurity until he blasted them at us while we danced deliriously never knowing what these miraculous sounds were. He conveyed that enthusiasm every night through his manic showmanship. Simply, he's a star.

For many of us in the 70's and 80's and still today a trip to Essex and the Lacy Lady or The Goldmine was obligatory. A joyous pilgrimage. From these jaunts emerged some of the better bands of our time. Aftershows were spent listening to Hill speaking in torrents of words, excitably shouting stories, a show unto itself, telling you what you should listen to, what you heard, who to look out for, and where to get it. From north London or Brixton the coolest, hippest kids serious about music, dancing and fun, took mental notes that later put them in the charts.

It wasn't just soul, funk or jazz he loved. He adores songwriters, R&B, the blues, country, rock and pop. People with stuff to say and passion to say it. He was intimately involved with the bands of '76, signing my lot The Boomtown Rats after a long night in Cork after a sweaty, screamy gig and talking endlessly and brilliantly not about sales, markets, deals and clauses but about music. He signed Sinead O'Conner, The Waterboys, Incognito, Eddy Grant and on and on.

He's still doing it. Gigging to sellouts, making the cooler compilations, his Soul Weekenders, the pilgrimages to Essex to see and hear the legend and his music. A National Treasure. Go see, listen and learn.

Bob Geldof

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