Gary Davies looks back: ‘I wouldn’t go anywhere without a hairdryer and my curling tongs’
The Guardian: Born in 1957, TV, radio and club DJ Gary Davies started his career at Piccadilly Radio in Manchester, before moving to Radio 1 in 1982. That year, he also became a regular presenter on Top of the Pops. After a Radio 1 reshuffle in 1993, his broadcast career was put on hold. He set up publishing company Good Groove, and discovered the likes of Corinne Bailey Rae. In 2018, Davies returned to the air with his Radio 2 show Sounds of the 80s, which is live every Saturday night. The spin-off tour runs throughout 2024. This photo is me living my best life: I was a host on Top of the Pops and Radio 1 at the time. The era was all about big hair, big shoulder pads and baggy jackets. My agent didn’t want me to look “high street” when I first went on TV, so he got a friend to create outrageous custom-made outfits for me – ripped T-shirts, tattered tops. After a while, I put my own looks together, so this outfit was all my fault. As for the mullet? Mine was blow-dried. I wouldn’t go anywhere without a hairdryer and my curling tongs. When I was a kid, I’d watch Top of the Pops at home in Chorley in Manchester. I’d think: “Oh my God – all the girls are so sexy! It must be the coolest nightclub in town!” All I wanted was to be in the audience. I never imagined that years later I would end up hosting it. I have my cousins to thank for my passion for music. They were cooler than cool: while everybody else gave me socks and underwear for my birthdays, they bought me the Top 10 singles. They also ran the legendary Manchester nightclub Twisted Wheel, which put on the likes of Wilson Pickett, Junior Walker & the All Stars, Georgie Fame and Rod Stewart. When I was nine, they would sneak me in to watch these phenomenal performances and take me backstage. By the time I was a teenager, the music bug had gripped me. While I was at college, Twisted Wheel turned into the hottest discotheque, Placemate 7, and I ended up working on the door three nights a week.