One of Teesside's best-loved and legendary DJs dubbed 'The Godfather of DJs' has been remembered six years on from his death. 

For years, Middlesbough-born Tony Hargan packed dancefloors across the north of England playing timeless classics - especially dance and Northern Soul.

He was the first DJ employed by club icon John McCoy at his Kirklevington Country Club and played host to star names like Rod Stewart, Elton John, Long John Baldry, Stevie Winwood and many more.

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But it wasn't just playing music that was his passion - he inspired future generations.

Through his work at Alan Fearnley’s iconic record shop on Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough, his passion and encyclopaedic knowledge passed on that love of music to others.

To mark the six year anniversary of his passing, a two-hour radio tribute was paid to the DJ by his friend and BBC Radio Tees presenter and Hartlepool born, Paul ‘Goffy’ Gough.

The programme featured many listener memories of Tony playing particular favourites for BBC Radio Tees listeners and also included many memories of the vibrant club scene from the period – Mandys in Middlesbrough, Bennett’s in South Bank, Harvey’s at Stockton, The Red Lion, Redcar The Kirk, and many DJ appearances for the Hartlepool Northern Soul group.

The Northern Echo: Middlesbough-born Tony HarganMiddlesbough-born Tony Hargan (Image: BBC RADIO TEES)

It also included Tony’s own local club memories of his favourite tunes from a previous broadcast with DJ John Foster just before Tony’s death in 2017. 

Tony appeared on all of the local radio stations as a guest Soul DJ throughout his long career.

Goffy was able to track down Tony’s old friend soul legend Geno Washington to chat about their friendship that blossomed through their mutual love of soul music. 

Geno, who was the subject of the Dexys Midnight Runners 1980 huge hit of the same name, said that he and Tony met at the Red Lion in Redcar in the summer of 1964 and their mutual respect blossomed from there.

Goffy said: “Geno told me that Tony was one of the best that he had worked with through the decades and how he lived for having a full dancefloor of soul-loving customers in the memorable clubs in which he worked.

The Northern Echo: BBC Radio Tees presenter Goffy with soul legend Geno WashingtonBBC Radio Tees presenter Goffy with soul legend Geno Washington (Image: BBC RADIO TEES)

“Tony really was the king of soul and dance music around our area. I remember the excitement of my early mobile disco days, and getting off a train in the Boro and making that long walk along Linthorpe Road on a Saturday afternoon to hear Tony play us the newest tunes from America.

“Many DJs from around the region would make it a weekly meet and he’d play the latest American imports that were packing the dance floors over in the States.

“To this day, the tunes that Tony first highlighted back then will still be filling the floors across the area this weekend.

"Phyllis Hyman’s ‘You know how to love me’, Atlantic Starr’s ’Circles’, Players Association’s ‘Turn the music up’ and Steve Arrington’s ‘Feel so real’ are just a few of the hundreds of tracks championed by Tony in Alan’s store and they still sound so fresh.

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"It was a must to ask listeners for their favourites that Tony introduced them to across the area -  and the songs they still hold close to their hearts.”

And the reaction to the musical Tony Hargan special has been 'fantastic," according to Goffy, who said: “Make no mistake, the life of Tony Hargan was truly inspirational and so much of his work, passion and efforts will shine brightly for many years to come.

“His knowledge of all forms of music was truly outstanding and he was the key to the revival of many Northern Soul nights which have become so popular in recent years and given many social clubs new life in such a difficult period for them as they fight to stay alive across Teesside.

He was always the star attraction at the annual Whitby Soul Weekenders and the hugely successful Nothern Soul events at the Borough Hall in Hartlepool – it was one of Tony’s favourite dance floors to fill."