Annie Nightingale was first person to interview Paul McCartney after Lennon death

The Radio 1 DJ was friends with The Beatles

Annie Nightingale attends the Women of the Year Lunch and Awards 2010, at the Intercontinental Hotel, in London.   (Photo by Fiona Hanson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Annie Nightingale has died aged 83. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Late Radio 1 DJ Annie Nightingale was good friends with The Beatles and once revealed that she was the first person to interview Paul McCartney after the death of John Lennon.

The radio legend – who has died aged 83 after a short illness - was working on the music TV show The Old Grey Whistle Test when Lennon was shot and killed in 1980.

Opening up on I Am The Eggpod podcast in 2018, she shared how bosses lined up a special programme for that night to pay tribute to the singer – and that McCartney surprised her by phoning in during show.

People were 'too upset' to talk about Lennon

“It was frantic because we were trying to find people who would come in and talk about John and they just wouldn’t,” she said. “People were too upset, most people were too upset to talk about him.”

Paul McCartney performs during the Super Bowl XXXIX Halftime Show at Alltell Stadium in Jacksonville, FL on February 6, 2005. Photo By Lionel Hahn/ABACA.
Paul McCartney on stage. (Lionel Hahn/ABACA)

During the special show, Nightingale said they were trying “to reflect how people were feeling but at the same time be professional, be a broadcaster, be professional and don’t get emotional about it on air, wait until later”. Then in the middle of the programme a producer appeared in the studio and told Nightingale, who was close to the band, that someone was on the phone for her.

Nightingale said: “He said, ‘Paul’s on the phone and he wants to speak to you.' I had no idea who he meant. I thought, 'Why is he telling me about somebody on the phone in the middle of this really difficult programme?'... I said, ‘Paul who?’”

She went on: “He wanted to say thank you on behalf of Linda (his late wife Linda McCartney) and himself and Yoko (Ono) and George (Harrison) and Ringo (Starr).”

File photo dated 1/6/1963 of The Beatles pop group, left to right, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison. The Beatles made history this year by topping the UK singles chart a record 54 years since their previous number one with their track titled Now And Then.Issue date: Saturday December 23, 2023.
John Lennon was shot and killed in 1980. (PA Images/Alamy)

Nightingale said she saw herself as the “messenger” and that there was no time to think about it, so she just delivered the message.

“It was all live, and those things don’t hit you until a long time afterwards,” she said.

The radio star died this week, with a statement attributed to her family saying: "Annie Nightingale MBE passed away yesterday at her home in London after a short illness. Annie was a pioneer, trailblazer and an inspiration to many."

Read more: The Beatles

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