Alan Leslie Freeman, disc jockey: born Melbourne, Victoria 6 July 1927; MBE 1998. With his familiar welcome of “Greetings, pop pickers” and triumphant, brassy theme tune, Alan “Fluff” Freeman was an institution in British radio. He spent more than 40 years in broadcasting, but his enthusiasm never waned. Freeman’s unbreakably sunny personality, gift for intimacy with his listeners, as well as an ear for a good tune, all established him as one of the UK’s leading disc jockeys.
The nickname Fluff, earned by a favourite jumper he wore until it was covered in fluff balls and made him look like a sheep, came with him to London in 1957.
In the annals of pop disc jockeys, few made a more distinctive impact than Alan Freeman. His flamboyant and eccentric presenting style, crashing together different musical genres amid a barrage of catchphrases such as the celebrated “not ‘arf!” or the perennial “greetings, pop pickers”, was scarcely to all tastes, but once heard it was rarely forgotten.
Despite the growth of more verbose, style-conscious DJs, “Fluff” Freeman’s popular success had more to do with a smart delivery and basic elocution than any ultra-hip image. Working closely with his producers, Freeman always ensured the message got across, without holding up the music.
His manager Tim Blackmore, said: “Alan cared passionately for music of all kinds but retained total bewilderment that so much success and affection should come his way. His was the creation of the chart countdown, the stunning combination of rock and classical music, and minimalism in the art of the DJ. We won’t see his like again.”