A CHAT WITH: Dave Cannon

By Mal Butler Nov 24, 2023

The Island’s best-known DJ, Dave Cannon of Solent City Sound, is celebrating his 55th year in the business, and admits: “Having a hobby which turned into a career is the most wonderful thing.”

Dave, from Ryde, first started playing records over the tannoy during school lunch breaks, and has done venues from hotels to hospitals.

The first record he bought was ‘Diana’, by Paul Anka, and he said: “I started out working at the Ryde Pier Pavilion which hosted many famous acts in the 1960s, including The Tremeloes, Chris Farlowe and the Spencer Davis Group. The pavilion held 1,200 people and even ran special trams to get people back in the evening.”

He then moved on to The Castle, The Ryde Pavilion – where the Rolling Stones performed – the famous La Babalu, now a McDonald’s, and the Ryde Paddle Steamer.

His career was given a boost by his friend, Derek Hockley, who worked at the Highdown rocket test site, and who later moved to Australia. He added: “Derek built an early mobile disco which was very popular and, when he moved to Australia, he sold me the whole lot, including the van, for £100!”

Over the years, he has played more hotels and still says: “It’s always been about the music for me; I’ve been very lucky to have entertained so many people.”