The best and worst Radio 1 jingles of all time

Nick Grimshaw's breakfast show should "steer clear of sung jingles" and avoid "identities past and present" says the BBC. Surely there's nothing wrong with these...

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The best and worst Radio 1 jingles of all time
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Tom Cole

Radio 1’s agreeably corny breakfast show jingles are to be ditched once Nick Grimshaw takes over the slot in September, according to a new brief issued by the BBC.

In the station’s Opportunity to Bid document for the new show’s ‘imaging’ (its identifying theme tune and similar audio idents), Radio 1 implores any creative types thinking of making submissions to “please steer clear of sung jingles,” and, to banish all further traces of nostalgia from the airwaves, “variants of Breakfast themes and identities past and present.”

The news has naturally saddened jingle fans across the world, who’ve accused Radio 1 of being “too trendy for its own good” nowadays, especially seeing as the station’s been big on jingles since it was first launched in 1967.

From early snippets identifying the station as a “merry go round of musical fun” to Chris Moyles’s campy songs heralding the arrival of various “cheesy songs,” Radio 1’s jingles have ranged from the kitsch and fun to the frankly irritating.

And so, as we prepare to bid farewell to these bite-size bits of radio history, let’s have a listen again to some of the best – and worst – jingles from the station’s history:

Good Vibrations

Back in the late ‘60s, when the Beach Boys were riding high with their summery melodies and close-harmony singing, Radio 1 hired a group of singers to do an acapella pastiche of the group as one of the fledgling station’s idents, which makes for a surprisingly soothing listen:

Jimi Hendrix – Radio 1, You’re the One for Me

Also during the time of the station’s early days, when Jimi, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell were blasting out cuts for Radio 1’s Saturday Club, the group recorded this off-the-cuff and thoroughly psyched-out ident for the station. As you’d expect, it’s rather groovy:

Keep on Truckin’

This apparently popular seventies saying got the R1 jingle treatment during the decade with this insistant ident urging listeners to "keep on truckin’….with Radio 1":

Ooh, Gary Davies

Bursting with sauce and ‘80s Sade-style soul, this (presumably) knowing jingle for Davies’ show sounds like it’s either a piece of wish fulfilment or just plain silly. Either way, it’s one of the station’s many mirthful ‘80s idents:

R1 1996-1998:

What do you get if you take hit-and-miss humour, jungle beats, incongruous samples and put them all in a blender? Why, Radio 1’s mid-‘90s jingles, which, compiled together as in the video below, constitute nothing less than an all-out assault on the senses. Kudos to the station for including the line “You’ll go blind if you keep fiddling with your set…” in one of them, though:

Sikth – Radio 1 rock show

Now defunct Watford-based prog-metal band Sikth recorded this jazz-tinged headbanger of a jingle for Mary Ann Hobbs’s rock show in the early 2000s after the band cut a brace of live tracks for the show:

Guillemots – Greg James

As a thankyou to Greg James for making their single The Basket his record of the week, the eclectic indie band recorded this tongue-in-cheek and OTT jingle on which bass player Aristazabel Hawkes claims James is “the reason that I exist”:  

Chris Moyles – Autotune

A gently subversive little ditty from Moyles’s jingle-makers here, on which the music industry’s secret weapon is lampooned with aplomb along with Will Young and Lady Gaga:

By the by, if you're after more Radio 1 jingle fun after all that lot, have a look at this Jingle Machine on the Radio 1 website, which not only allows you to experience the thrill of using a virtual cart machine, but also houses even more terrific and terrible jingles.

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