Charlie Gillett – 1942 – 2010

Profoundly sad news about the passing of a friend to the music and for the lucky few a friend in person


I don’t write the kind of obituaries where people say, ‘he was a saint, no one had a bad word to say about him’ etc. But Charlie was different and I said it about him often enough while he was still with us.
Charlie took so many of us under his wings at different times and for different things. For me he was an inspiration that you could follow your love of music and maybe not make a career but perhaps make a life out of it at least. Charlie was a unique journalist with a perfect pair of ears. And yes, he was the antithesis of slick on the radio but he was always well informed, with an interesting perspective and a love of the music and that mattered. More than that it worked. Having seen him in the studio a couple of times I can also say that he produced a live performance from guests in a brilliant fashion.
He’d been ill, really ill and then he seemed to get over it and it was such a huge relief. But of course it never went away and in the last few weeks he had been waiting for a heart operation. Even then he was busily tweaking stuff on his label site and conducting a rebranding exercise with his business partner right up until the end. I really don’t think he thought he was going to go this soon and I don’t think many others did either. Seeing the news that he has died was an awful shock.
I’ll really miss Charlie. We had an angel for a while.

2 thoughts on “Charlie Gillett – 1942 – 2010

  1. That’s really sad news. As a regular listener to his World Service shows, you’d have never known he was ill. And like his WS predecessor John Peel, as Damian says it was all about the ‘love of the music’. Charlie Gillett was a true one-off great and he will be really missed by all at the FLY Global Music family.

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  2. We were lucky to know him! He was very dear and I’m so proud and lucky that he let me rifle through his records and hang in the studio at BBC London many times 🙂
    It was a piece I wrote some years back about Womad for Fly, praising CG’s DJ set at the Eden Sessions, that brought Charlie into our lives, I seem to recall.
    I was gobsmacked when I saw Charlie Gillett himself had commented very sweetly on the piece, and then a lovely phone conversation followed – he was very interested in Fly and in you, Damian, and the next thing I knew we both had a wonderful new ally and friend.
    His passion for music was infectious and so inspiring, he lived doing what he loved.
    My thoughts and love go out to his family and loved ones.

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