It has been reported that Mike Allen passed away last night after a long battle with Alzheimers. For those of you that don't know, before Tim Westwood ever uttered a word on UK radio, Mike Allen was one of the pioneers of getting hip-hop played on UK radio (commercial or otherwise) and probably inspired a generation of people to listen or pick up a mic. His legendary show on Capital Radio (back when that station had a soul) was required listening; most of the shows still exist as his legion of fans taped the show every week. And one of those presenters with such a smooth delivery, he could make the weather sound interesting. And it wan't just a case of a DJ being mandated to present a show who only had a passing interest in the subject matter; he chose every track he played and his choices were based on his love of the music. And he was well known to the big America acts of the day, acts that went on to be household names; Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Ice T, Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaata were just some of the acts that mike-checked him in his show's jingles.
For those of us who remember the hip-hop landscape in the UK in the mid-late 1980's, Mike Allen's Captital Rap Show (and later, National Fresh) was the only way to hear real hip hop here in the UK; its fair to say that Allen and Morgan Khan (Streetsounds music) were responsible for a lot of us getting into the music.
He really was the John Peel of Hip-Hop.
Jingles all the way:
Interview with Public Enemy in 1987:
Run DMC giving props to The Boss:
The weekly Frontline chart, this one is from 26th April 1986:
And lastly, a sample from a show in 1985. Thanks to Mike Allen's many fans, a lot of his shows still exist: