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Gravesend DJ celebrates 40 years on the decks

PUBLISHED: 06:00 09 October 2013

Pictures of DJ Stan Lee King

Pictures of DJ Stan Lee King

Archant

It was 40 years ago that Slade, Wizzard and Donny Osmond were jostling at the top of the pop charts.

Stan’s most requested song from each of the last five decades:

1960s Jackie Wilson - Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher

1970s Candi Staton - Young Hearts Run Free

1980s KC and the Sunshine Band - Give It Up

1990s Robin S - Show Me Love

2000s The Killers - Mr Brightside

1973 was the year of the Watergate scandal in America, Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon and the first mobile phone call ever made. But it was also the year that a Gravesend DJ would begin his music legacy.

Stan Lee King has been through vinyl, tapes, CDs and MP3s during his 40-year career – one that he will celebrate with an anniversary disco at The Woodville on Saturday evening.

He explains that becoming a DJ was almost inevitable as it was the family business.

“My dad started his disco doing weddings on an old reel to reel player in 1966,” he said. “I began helping him in 1970, he showed me the tricks of the trade and from 1973 I was on my own.”

During his four decades on the decks, 57-year-old Stan, of Gravesend, has seen the rise and fall of disco, the arrival of the New Romantics and the influx of boybands in the 1990s.

For Stan, the 1980s was a constant tour of the UK – supporting the likes of Radio 1 DJs Mike Read and Steve Wright at gigs, as well as soap actors from EastEnders and Neighbours.

He said: “We had some fantastic times but I’m 57 now so I don’t miss it too much. Life on the road is not a married man’s life, we would travel through the night after finishing sets at 2am in Bournemouth to get up north.

“All the DJs used to be on Top of the Pops back then, so people wanted to put a name to a face. That doesn’t happen so much now.

“These days I pick and choose what gigs I want to do, but I still enjoy it.”

His full-time days came to an end in 1989 when, after making posters for the Radio 1 tours, he decided to buy an out of business printers and open Ebbsfleet Screen Printers in Northfleet.

Gigs are still a common occurance, despite the day job, though much has changed during the past 40 years. His first ever gig was at the All Saints Church Hall in Perry Street, Gravesend – a block of flats today.

Weddings are the bread and butter for any travelling DJ, and father-of-two Stan says he’s been to more weddings than he’s had “hot dinners”.

“Up until last year I probably worked most weekends for 40 years,” he says. “I think I worked it out that I have done over 500 wedding receptions.”

Despite advances in technology over recent years, Stan reveals he only upgraded his 18-year-old sound system this year.

He added: “My first lot of gear was stolen in 1985, there was actually a story in The Reporter. I bought a JBL sound system, and it only got sold about seven months ago. It still gets used once a month but I’ve gone a bit more compact.”

His anniversary show at The Woodville is a 70s and 80s night with disco costumes welcome. Doors open at 8pm and the music continues until 1am. Tickets cost £9, visit woodville.co.uk.

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