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I took over youth club disco from the nuns & that was it I loved it; Hero marks 40 years as top radio DJ.

Byline: MAUREEN COLEMAN

JOHNNY Hero has revealed his first gig saw him replace a group of nuns on the decks.

The U105 host, celebrating 40 years as a DJ this year, was 16 when he took over from the sisters who had been playing tunes at his youth club disco in West Belfast.

And that regular slot prompted him to pursue a career in radio and join a number of bands.

Johnny, who hosts U105's Drivetime show, said: "I was a real nerd about music when I was a kid. I had to be the first one to listen to the charts and buy the new records.

"I was going along to the youth club in Twinbrook and it was nuns who were doing the disco.

"The chapel had bought the record decks and wouldn't let anyone else near them except the nuns. They'd go out every so often to buy a few singles from the Top 10 but didn't really know what to get, so it could've been anything from The Wurzels to The Wombles.

RECORDS

"I spoke to the youth club leaders and said, 'Come on guys, seriously?' No disrespect to the nuns, they were brilliant, but I made a few suggestions and the youth club leaders came back and said they'd give me money to buy records and I could take over from the nuns. That was it. And I loved it."

Johnny then landed a radio gig in Monaghan along with his sister Linda, who was given a separate show.

He was also playing in Belfast's nightclubs and starting to make a name for himself in the industry.

While DJing in the Greek islands, Johnny was contacted by Downtown Radio who offered him a show.

Around the same time, he was also running a club night at the Limelight where up-and-coming local acts got to showcase their material.

Johnny said: "We were promoting bands like Ash, Divine Comedy and Therapy? before they got big.

"We would play demo tapes for people to dance to. I remember Ash coming down with their first demo. Never mind the radio, they wanted to get it played at the Limelight."

Johnny stayed with Downtown for 20 years and performed in several groups including The Ex-Producers and GlamSlam - both of which he is still involved with today. He was also part IN on the of Ten Past Seven with the late Bap Kennedy and a reggae band called High Rise.

Now with U105 since 2010, Johnny considers himself fortunate to have worked as a DJ and broadcaster for so long.

He said: "Over the years I've got to meet many of my heroes, people like Meatloaf, Suzi Quatro and Slade, as well as Sir Alex dead JOHNNY BELFAST Ferguson. I also got to play in a football match with George Best. None of these things would've happened if I hadn't been doing this job so I count myself dead lucky."

To mark his 40th anniversary, Johnny has organised three special gigs at the Europa Hotel next week featuring bands he still plays with or admires. GlamSlam lucky hit the stage on Wednesday, featuring Live And Dangerous as support. Jam Pact play on Thursday while The Magic of Michael Jackson and The Erasure will perform the following night.

Tickets are available at ticketsource.co.uk or from Irish Tour Tickets on 9031 0101.

irish@mgn.co.uk

I've got to meet my heroes and played with Best. I'm dead lucky JOHNNY HERO BELFAST YESTERDAY

CAPTION(S):

HAIR-RAISING With GlamSlam

IN FAST LANE Hero on the right track

here's johnny U105 host Johnny Hero is still a hit on the airwaves
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 22, 2017
Words:608
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