“If you’re interested in 80s music and the people who made it, you won’t find anyone who knows more than Richard Blade. He’s the Dick Clark of the 80s. God, he knows more about MY music than I do! Richard’s taste shaped the American music scene and his passion fueled ours listening to him. I applaud him for his heart, wit, humor and class through it all.”
“Without Richard the 1980s British Invasion of chart music into the heartland of America would never have happened.. He was solely responsible for introducing Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Wham and Depeche Mode along with so many other UK bands to an unsuspecting American public before it became a firestorm! Richard was at the heart Spandau Ballet’s chart success in the Sates and on several trips away with the band notably Australia became a lifelong friend… His enthusiasm and love of music is so catching.. Thank you my old mate for everything you did – now get me a signed copy of the book!”
Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet
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I Signed a Contract with Myself
My room in Basel was just that, a room. It was cramped and had a bed that had seen plenty of use. As the incoming DJ you learned to shake out the sheets before you lay down just in case they hadn’t been washed well enough to get rid of any creepy crawlies that the previous DJ might have left behind.
The room was directly above the club and had probably been a former office. My clues to that origin were two empty file cabinets that were jammed in the corner because it was probably easier to just leave them there than lug them down the stairs. Those metal cabinets were the only decoration in the entire room. No pictures of the town square or the river or cats playing cards, just four blank walls to comfort you during your stay.
Several of the DJs, obviously rife with boredom, had written on the walls in ballpoint pen. Some of the words were warnings, ‘Stay away from Susie, she has the clap’ or ‘Buy your beer in Germany. It’s cheaper.’ But one caught my eye. It said ‘Radio. You can sing along with it, but you can never be on it’.
I would find myself going back to that sad graffiti day after day. I could feel the despair of the person who had written it flowing through those words.
Like most of the club DJs I wanted to get on the radio but again and again had found it to be a ‘closed shop’. But I was not giving up – ever! Whoever had scribbled this on the wall was obviously resigned to failure. The more I stared at this hopeless phrase the more I could feel the determination building within me. There had to be a way to break in, there had to be.
On my last day at Happy Night I knew I could not leave without replying to that haunting negativity. I would not let it win. Nine words to answer it kept ringing through my head and on that final morning I scrawled them out on the wall right below the phrase. The next DJ following me would now read,‘Radio. You can sing along with it, but you can never be on it. Then one day you can sing along with me’. I stopped and added two more words – ‘Dick Sheppard’.
That was the moment I signed a contract with myself.