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Peter "Pete" Tong (born July 30, 1960) is an Englishmarker DJ who works for BBC Radio 1. He is known worldwide by fans of electronic music for hosting programmes such as Essential Mix and Essential Selection on the radio service, which can be heard through Internet radio streams, for his record label FFRR Records, and for his own performances at nightclubs across the globe. Tong has also worked as a record producer and is known by the nickname of Lord of the Dance.

The phrase "It's all gone a bit Pete Tong", where the name is used as cockney rhyming slang for "wrong", was reputedly first coined by Mark Radcliffe. However, on his show of 28 November 2005, Mark Radcliffe credited his erstwhile sidekick Marc "Lard" Riley with inventing the term. It's All Gone Pete Tong is also the title of a 2004 film which portrays a DJ's experiences as he realizes he is becoming deaf. Tong appears briefly in the film as himself.

In 2008 he was involved with the founding of the International music summit in Ibizamarker.

Early years

Pete Tong was born in Hartley, Kentmarker in July 1960 and was educated at King's School, Rochestermarker, Kent.

Tong's original musical interest was in drumming, but he soon moved on to DJing. He played his first public gig at a friend's wedding aged 15. While at school he and a couple of mates earned some extra money by promoting a couple of local bands, booking halls for gigs etc. He also worked as part of the Kent "Soul Mafia" bringing soul weekenders to seaside towns like Caister-on-Seamarker and Prestatynmarker.

Initially after leaving school he set up a mobile disco based in a transit van, but he soon started his own club in Baker Street called Family Function. He also booked bands for an alternative night, the first of which was the then unknown Culture Club.

In 1979, he became a staff writer for Blues & Soul Magazine. After a year he was promoted to features editor, a position he would hold until 1983. He left Blues & Soul to join London Records as an A&R manager.

Through his connections in London Records Tong was exposed to the newly emerging house music sound from Chicagomarker. In 1986, Tong organised a compilation album, The House Sound of Chicago, Vol. 1, the first British release to gather and expose this genre.

Radio career

Tong's first appearance on radio was in the late 1970s on Radio Invicta 92.4fm, Europe's first soul station. He joined a rotation of nightclub djs including Steve Walsh, Chris Hill, Chris Brown and others to present monthly guest shows. Later he appeared on local radio station BBC Radio Medway in the 'Soul Mafia' and doing occasional mixes for Radio London. In 1981 he made his first appearance on Radio 1 hosting a 15 minute feature on Peter Powell's show, playing the new tracks and covering the latest gossip and news from the dance world.

When Invicta Radio started up in Kent in 1984, Tong joined them to host a regular soul show, where assisted by local Kent journalist Eddie Gordon of the Kent Messenger he built up a big county profile.Tong stayed at Invicta until 1987. He was then hired by Capital Radio in 1988 at the suggestion of DJ Jeff Young to present a weekly dance programme. DJ Jeff Young having initially been offered the slot by Capital went to BBC Radio 1 to broadcast a weekly Friday night show called The Big Beat.

In 1991 Tong returned to national radio after his manager Eddie Gordon talked the then departing DJ Jeff Young into suggesting him to BBC Radio 1 as the ideal replacement for the "hot" Friday night slot. Tong began his long stint as the host of the Essential Selection.

The Essential Selection was a BBC Radio 1 show that aired on Friday nights from 6-9pm between 1991 and 2006. From 29 September 2006 the show lost the name of Essential Selection and was referred to as simply "Pete Tong", and now airs 7-9pm. The programme showcases the latest dance & electronic music,and informs listeners what club nights are on around the United Kingdom at weekends. It is endorsed by Radio 1 as the official start to the weekend, and attracts one of the highest audiences for a dance radio show in the UK.


Tong is one of the world's most recognised DJs. He drew people from all over the world to the Pure Pacha nights held at the Pachamarker nightclub in Ibizamarker. Tong was Pure Pacha resident from 2003 to 2007.

In 2008 Tong left Pacha and signed up for Eden in Sant Antoni de Portmanymarker, to host his own night "Wonderland". 2008 Tong played at the central station "Deák Ferenc Square" of the Budapest Metro (Hungary) specially equipped for only one night. The audience (ca. 2000) was recruited with a free online registration.


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