We are very sad to report that Aretha Franklin lost her battle with pancreatic cancer and passed away peacefully in a Detroit hospice on Thursday morning, August 16, aged 76 years. 


“In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart,” her publicist Gwendoline Quinn said in a statement. “We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.”

She was the most lionized and lauded female R&B vocalist of her era. Winner of 18 Grammy Awards, and a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement honoree in 1994, she became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. She was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors.

Aretha Louise Franklin was born at 406 Lucy Avenue, in Memphis, Tennessee, to Barbara and Clarence LaVaughn "C. L." Franklin. Her father was an itinerant preacher originally from Shelby, Mississippi, while her mother was an accomplished piano player and vocalist. Alongside Aretha, her parents had three other children, including Erma and Carolyn, and both C. L. and Barbara also had children from outside their marriage. The family relocated to Buffalo, New York, when Aretha was two. Before her fifth birthday, C. L. Franklin permanently relocated the family to Detroit, Michigan where he took over the pastorship of New Bethel Baptist Church. Aretha's parents had a troubled marriage and in 1948, the couple separated, with Barbara relocating back to Buffalo with her son, Vaughn, from a previous relationship.

Aretha's early recordings were 'live' in church, which Detroit entrepreneur Joe Von Battle placed with Chess Records, and she was signed to Columbia by John Hammond in 1960. Her records there made an impact but little chart action, and in 1966 she was signed to Atlantic by Jerry Wexler, with a resultant history of smash hit singles and albums. 1980 brought a move to Arista , and further chart hits plus a full diary of live performances. She was diagnosed with a tumour in 2010, but resumed performing after surgery. Her health deteriorated in 2017 and she ceased any public activities. 

The voice and music of Aretha Franklin has served as an influence on countless artists across five decades, and she truly deserved the accolade as Queen of Soul. 



We are delighted to announce that SOLAR RADIO has been invited to provide the entertainment for part of the FLOWER POWER LONDON MINI FESTIVAL, this to be held on Saturday September 1st at STUDIO 338, 338 Boord Street, Greenwich, London SE10 0PF from 2.00pm until late. As well as the Terrace, where Hippie DJs will play 60s and 70s music, and Room 2, with a session of House music, the GARDEN area will showcase 1960s/70s SOUL & FUNK, presented by SOLAR RADIO DJs  DOCTOR SOUL, COLIN HUGHES, CLIVE R and TONY MONSON. We are able to make available to SOLAR RADIO listeners SPECIAL OFFER tickets priced at £10.00 plus £1.30 booking fee. We have been asked to advise you that STUDIO 338 operates a club scan policy, and ALL ATTENDEES are required to bring PHOTO ID for entry. Tickets are available HERE


Tickets for the Solar Radio Soul Cruises on the River Thames for our events in August and September are all sold out, but some are still available for the OCTOBER SOUL CRUISE, on Sunday October 28

This will be aboard the m.v. GOLDEN JUBILEE, sailing from Temple Pier on the Victoria Embankment, leaving at 2.00pm and returning at 7.00pm, with two decks of music from Solar Radio DJs, and food available to purchase. Click on the HERE  to buy your tickets now, price just £20.00 each. (Note- tickets are sold on a firm sale basis, and no refund will usually be offered in case of unwanted tickets)


Solar Radio Presents: Soul On The Tyne - ALL TICKETS NOW SOLD for Bank Holiday Sunday August 26th 

From 5 - 8pm onboard The Fortuna- Sailing from East Quayside Pontoon, Newcastle Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3DX

All the following Hotels are close to the Quayside and within walking distance to the departure point for the boat and Tiger Hornsby for the after party - so make a weekend of it!

Travelodge Newcastle Central, Travelodge Newcastle Quayside, Premier Inn Newcastle Quayside, Copthorne Hotel Newcastle, Waterside Hotel Newcastle, Roomzzz Newcastle City, The Vermont Aparthotel  Jurys Inn Newcastle City Centre, Hilton Newcastle Gateshead

With Soul, Funk & Jazz from Solar Dj's Andrea Robertson & Tony Monson plus Guest Dj Wayne C McDonald - Plus an after party 'Reviving the spirit of the iconic Julie's nightclub' from 8.30pm - 2am at :   Tiger Hornsby 8-10 Close, Quayside, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 3RE .  Please note that tickets for Solar Radio events are NOT sent out by mail, but are held for collection at the event on the day.

Tickets £14 inclusive - 

5 Day Fund Raising Himalayan Trek in memory of Dave Gregory

Sue Rivera is doing 5 Day Trek in the Himalayas in October to raise funds for Joseph Weldmar Hospice, Dorset in memory of our friend and colleague Dave Gregory.

Please support by donating HERE


All tickets are now SOLD for the late summer soiree aboard the Princess Caroline, cruising the Solent waters.  This will be on Sunday September 9th  from 1pm – 6pm with Solar DJs Tony Mac, Mike Gee and Tony Monson. We will be sailing from the Town Quay Marina, Town Quay,  Southampton, Hampshire, SO14 2AQ. Click Here for the Shop.


Tickets are now ALL SOLD for the  AUGUST SOUL CRUISE, on Sunday August 19, and SEPTEMBER LATE SUMMER,  on Sunday September 23, both  2.00pm to 7.00pm . 
Two floors of Soul, Funk & Jazz from Solar Dj’s aboard m.v. Golden Jubilee. Sailing from Temple Pier, Victoria Embankment, London WC2R 2PN. Food available to purchase. 


With the ever-increasing number of people tuning to Solar Radio, we are happy to welcome new customers to our events including the ever-popular Soul Cruises, and it may be timely to advise new folk (and remind valued 'regulars'!) of our ticketing procedures. TICKETS ARE SOLD ON A 'FIRM SALE' BASIS. There is no automatic refund for cancellations unless we have published a 'Buy Back' message - any returns will be offered to any Waiting List customers for re-sale. We do not send out tickets for our river events, either by post or as e-tickets, but we do hold all tickets for collection on the day, just before the event. After the initial acknowledgement, the buyer will  later be sent another email, advising of collection time and boarding information. We hope this helps!


SOLAR RADIO now has a dedicated SKILL app on the ECHO DOT device to enable easy access.

Listening to Solar Radio on an Amazon Dot or Echo and Google Home device:

AMAZON DOT / ECHO:  If you have an Amazon Dot or Echo (or any other Amazon smart speaker device) you can listen to Solar Radio by enabling the Solar Radio Alexa Skill.  All you have to do is say “Alexa, Launch Solar Radio”.   You may need to repeat the sentence a couple of times before it responds but once enabled you can simply say  “Alexa, Play Solar Radio” to play the station.  You can also enable the Skill via the Amazon store HERE.

GOOGLE HOME:  For Google Home simply say “Okay Google, Play Solar Radio”.   You may need to add  “… on TuneIn”  at the end if it fails to respond

THAMES SOUL CRUISES – Remaining dates for 2018

Here are dates for the THAMES SOUL CRUISES for which tickets have yet to go on sale:

  • Sunday October 28th   2pm to 7pm - GOLDEN JUBILEE                                                                             
  • Sunday December 16th   1pm to 6pm  - DIXIE QUEEN


A reminder that the dedicated SOLAR RADIO app for Android devices is available NOW to download and install FOR FREE from the Google Play Store, featuring choice of 64k or 128k streams, schedule information, contact and social media links, available at  Also available from the Apple Store, is an UPGRADE to the SOLAR RADIO app for i-PHONE.


Best Soul Radio Station 2016

Solar Radio DJ Gathering…

Beer & Banter - Check out the Video:


dab-logo-Solar Radio can be heard on DAB in Birmingham, Brighton, in the London area, with the boundary of the North and South Circular Roads, Manchester,  and Norwich, all part of the Small Scale DAB trial as promoted by OfCom. If you are new to DAB radio receivers, it is worth noting that the most complete range of available stations will be found by doing a full scan near to a window and in the highest available location in your property.

SOUL CITIZEN – Autobiography of Clive ‘R’

SCbookOur Sunday morning 'In Orbit' man, CLIVE R, has written his autobiography - entitled SOUL CITIZEN- relating his memories and experiences over his fifty years as a soul fan, record-collector, music journalist, club and concert-goer, oh, and soul radio DJ! 

Following the excellent response to his set on the April Soul Cruise, Clive is now making the book available direct to Solar Radio listeners. Purchase the book HERE


There are several ways to access SOLAR RADIO on the move, via your Android, IPhone, Tablet or similar device and DAB, the latter to Birmingham, Brighton, London, Manchester & Norwich.

From the Android Play Store, free downloads are available of apps for either Radioplayer UK, TuneIn Radio or Nobex Radio, which you can install on your device in seconds and a quick search will soon reveal SOLAR RADIO, which can then be saved as a 'favourite' or can be 'followed'.

The Nobex Radio app is also suitable for use on an I-Phone, while the dedicated SOLAR RADIO app is also available from the Apple Store.

Your device can usually be linked to a car audio system via Bluetooth for in-car entertainment. Please ensure you have an adequate data package with your provider.

SOLAR RADIO is part new Ofcom initiative of experimental Small-Scale DAB radio for London, within the area bounded by the North and South circular roads and for the city of Norwich.

Please re-scan your DAB receiver.

Solar Radio - Your Classic & 21st Century Soul Station