The Greatest Essential Mixes of Radio 1

The Essential Mix has been running for nearly a quarter of a century now, since Hosted by the legendary Pete Tong, the Essential Mix is a staple for clubbers, ravers, bass heads and music aficionados across the UK and the wider globe. Having featured some of dance music’s biggest DJs since then, including David Guetta, Avicii, Tiesto, Calvin Harris, Carl Cox, Frankie Knuckles and more, the Essential Mix is an icon of dance music culture the world over.

High Contrast, 2007

This mix had a huge influence on the second coming of Drum & Bass music in the late 2000s.  That era saw chart-topping success for the likes of Rudimental, DJ Fresh and Chase & Status amongst others. Featuring the Welshman High Contrasts’ storming remix of the then-emerging Adele’s Hometown Glory, the melodic basslines and spacy synth lines of this classic mix would help set the template for much of the next few years of popular music.

The mix featured many tracks from his label, Hospital Records, as well as many of his own tunes from that years album Tough Guy’s Don’t Dance, including the classic Nancy Sinatra-sampled Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. High Contrast’s second appearance on the show also won Essential Mix of the year in the popular vote.

Flying Lotus, 2008

L.A-based FlyLo, as his fans call him, is today a bonafide superstar having won Grammy awards, collaborated with Kendrick Lamar and produced much of the music for Cartoon Network’s popular left-field late-night programming slot Adult Swim. Back then though, he was simply an emerging DJ and producer with an extremely eclectic taste. Ranging from jazz orchestrations from Alice Coltrane to the spacey ambience of Bjork or the sultry hip-hop of Slum Village and J-Dilla, this Essential Mix reminded everyone that the Essential Mix was still not afraid to switch up the selection.

Then bleeding edge techno from Hudsdon Mohawke, to classy jazz numbers and soulful sampling and delicious cutting techniques – FlyLo’s only Essential Mix so far is one of the greatest two-hour musical journeys ever to grace the BBC radio studios.

Paul Oakenfold, 1994

Before this legendary DJ and producer took to the desk in Television Centre in 1994, dance mixes were almost exclusively made for raves and clubs. Oakenfold’s two-hour Goa Mix changed that in spectacular fashion. Influenced by the emerging trance scene on the Indian Ocean island of Goa, where backpackers and hedonistic European youths would head in their droves over the Winter, this mix broke boundaries in dance music representation on the BBC.

Featuring tracks by Goldie, St Etienne and Karl Biscuit, as well as selected cuts from iconic composer Vangelis’s haunting score for the hit movie Blade Runner, the Goa Mix is a masterclass in atmospheric and trippy techno and trance selections. It was voted the best Essential Mix of the show’s history by fans in the year 2000 and 15 years later it still stands up as one of the greatest electronic music performances of all time.


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