Was Jimmy Savile REALLY the world’s first DJ to use two turntables? Ears To The House did some digging into this boast – and found out the paedophile’s claim has a lot of holes in it…

Anyone growing up in Britain from the 1970s until recently will almost certainly have heard of Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile OBE – usually known simply as Jimmy Savile. He was a DJ for many years, hosted numerous TV shows for the BBC such as Jim’ll Fix It, and did a truly colossal amount of charitable work, raising tens of millions of pounds.

Savile was also a dangerous, highly predatory paedophile. After his death in 2011 of pneumonia, allegations started to be made that he was a serial abuser of children – and it’s believed that there could have been several hundred victims from as early as the 1950s.

He was almost outed by The Sun newspaper in 2008 – but his lawyers slapped the paper with a gagging order when they started asking questions about his association with Haut de la Garenne, a children’s home in Jersey linked to child abuse. Shockingly, he also once said in an interview that people who watched child pornography online “didn’t do anything wrong, but they are then demonised”.

In the dance music world, many appear to harbour the impression that Jimmy Savile was the first DJ to use two turntables – citing a story that Savile wrote himself in his 1974 autobiography. In it, he claims he did this at the Grand Records Ball, held at the Guardbridge Hotel in Leeds in 1947 – billed as ‘Jimmy Saville Introducing Juke Box Doubles’.

There was just one problem with this – he wasn’t the first. Not by a long shot – dual turntable setups were illustrated within the BBC’s own handbook as early as 1929, and The Gramophone magazine advertised them occasionally during the 1930s. Indeed, there are even examples of their use within cinema settings dating as far back as 1910 in France.

Savile might well have been the first to use this setup in spaces where people got together to dance – but he certainly wasn’t the first to do it. So why on earth does everyone think he did? The BBC broadcast a documentary on club culture in 1992, where Savile’s claims were broadcast – apparently unchallenged.

One person certainly seemed happy to continue keeping up the myth – none other than Jimmy Savile himself. In 2004, he gave an interview to Frank Broughton from DJ History – where he happily told the story, alongside a lot of details about how he started playing parties in 1943, right in the middle of World War 2.

Did he help popularise the format of DJs using two turntables and a microphone? Within his native Britain, almost certainly. Elsewhere, this seems unlikely. But the claim that he was the first to do so is an absolute fairytale…

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