May 4 • 4M

Live Archive: Feet Don't Fail Me Now on BBC Radio 2

Remembering the late great DJ Janice Long

Jake Morley
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The aural accompaniment to the newsletter of UK singer-songwriter Jake Morley: https://emails.jakemorley.com
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Legging it from a headline show at the 100 Club to play a live session for BBC Radio 2 a few streets away didn’t strike me as especially odd at the time. The first of many surely? Lol. I imagine I walked the short journey with that obnoxious swagger of youth we all had once.

My first national radio session. The legendary Janice Long. She was warm, kind and interested, somehow turning my clunky PR biog into natural conversation. What a pro. I’ve done lots of radio since, but there was something special about this one. It felt like we’d finally arrived somewhere.

Photos by Alex Genn-Bash.

My manic energy added about 7 bpm to every song we played. I yelped like a cat for some reason in the Feet Don’t Fail Me Now solo. I talked in ums and ers at 100 miles an hour. I may have had nothing at all to say but boy did I say it with enthusiasm.

Driving in the tour van a few days later, we got a tip off to tune into Jo Whiley’s show. Jo declared Feet Don’t Fail Me Now her live session of the week. We turned it up loud, sung it out and felt like the world lay at our feet.

That kind of validation tends to come and go over the years.

It’s tragic how bad we are at recognising the golden moments until they’re gone. Then again, who really wants to know when they’re at one of life’s peaks? That sounds like a miserable sort of superpower1.

Janice died on Christmas Day 2021. She’d been a regular host of Top of the Pops, the first woman to host a daily Radio 1 show, a key presenter at Live Aid, a top-level broadcaster of almost 40 years. Like John Peel, being a DJ seemed a natural extension of being a music fan. She couldn’t help herself. Many artists I know have a story to share about her coming to their tiny random gig, sending messages of support, playing the single that no one else would. She made a lot of us feel like we were actually alright at this.

I wonder how a young Janice Long would start out her career in 2022? Curate Spotify playlists? Become an Instagram influencer? YouTube famous? Maybe she’d start a Substack email newsletter sharing her favourite new music? Would there even be a role allowing her to fully realise her passion and talent? I have no idea, but will always be grateful for having played her show.

Listen to Feet Don’t Fail Me Now Live at BBC Radio 2 above, or download an MP3 here.

Share your thoughts in the comments, making as little mention as possible of how weird my voice used to get sometimes.

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Credits: Harry Mead (drums), John Parker (double bass), Kev Pollard (keys) and Alex Genn-Bash (photos).

Thanks to everyone who voted on artwork last week. A wide spectrum of opinion! We’ve done a final tweak and it’s all signed off. More on that soon…


UK TOUR DATES 2022:
Friday 23rd September - Totnes Barrel House. Tickets.
Friday 30th September - Coatbridge Georgian Hotel. Tickets.
Sunday 2nd October - North Yorkshire Old School House. Tickets.
Monday 3rd October - Leeds Oporto. Tickets coming soon.
Thursday 13th October - Suffolk Sprat Shed. Tickets.
Sunday 16th October - London Green Note. Tickets.
Friday 21st October - Brighton Folklore Rooms. Tickets.
Saturday 22nd October - Winchester Railway Inn. Tickets.
Wednesday 26th October - Manchester Rose & Monkey. Tickets.
Thursday 27th October - Nottingham Running Horse. Tickets.

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This reminds me of a character in The Hitchhikers’ Guide To the Galaxy. Immortal, he eventually gets bored of eternity and decides to dedicate the rest of his life to insulting every being in the universe at least once. He even carries a clipboard.