Pete Tong receives a lifetime achievement award from Idris Elba
Pete Tong, a DJ and broadcaster, has received the Music Industry Trusts (MITS) Award for his extraordinary contributions to the music industry. As a DJ, recording artist, and tastemaker, Tong has played an important role in the evolution of dance music. Run DMC, Frankie Knuckles, Goldie, and Salt-n-Pepa were among the acts he signed as a record company executive.
At a magnificent ceremony in central London, he received his prize from Idris Elba. The broadcaster was honoured for his “tireless commitment to the music he loves,” according to the organisers.
Some of the biggest names in music were in attendance, including Duran Duran, DJ Spoony, and Nile Rodgers. New Order, Becky Hill, and Norman Jay MBE all gave special performances.
Tong, who was born in Dartford, Kent in 1960, spent his teenage years playing drums in a school band before becoming a mobile DJ who performed at weddings and birthday parties. In the 1980s, he began writing for the influential Blues & Soul magazine, which led to employment at Radio 1 and London Records.
He was introduced to the sounds of the emerging house scene in Chicago, which inspired him to produce The House Sound of Chicago, Vol. 1, a 1986 compilation CD that helped bring the sound to the United Kingdom.
When Radio 1 wanted to start a show on the dance culture, he was an obvious choice, and his Essential Selection show was crucial to the station’s rebranding in the 1990s.
Because the show is still on the air today, Tong is the network’s second-longest-serving DJ, after Annie Nightingale.
In the 1990s, he worked with New Order, bringing them to London Records when the Factory closed and pushed them to include current club music elements.
In the 2014 New Year Honours, he was awarded an MBE, making him only the second DJ to get the MITS award, following Alan “Fluff” Freeman, who hosted the Pick Of The Pops chart show for nearly 40 years. Other honorees include Andrew Lloyd Webber, Elton John, Kylie Minogue, Annie Lennox, and Michael Eavis, the founder of Glastonbury.