In which I find legendary (and long-lost) local DJ Joey Edwards

Joey Edwards in Beatle tie

Joey Edwards, undated photo, Beatle tie. Perfect! (Photo courtesy of Joey Edwards)

People, I am just bursting with pride and excitement about the news I have to share with you tonight. I am so proud and excited, in fact, that I can hardly believe it is even true.

But it is! People, get ready: I have found Joey Edwards!

Now, if you don’t know who Joey Edwards is, I suppose you won’t be quite as excited as I am. But if you do remember Joey Edwards, the brilliant, wacky and hilarious evening disc jockey on radio station CJBQ (“Belleville and TrentTONNNNN!,” as the station’s jingle went) back in the early 1970s – when I was a kid growing up here at the Manse, when CJBQ was the only station we got (or at least the only one we listened to), and when all the world was young – perhaps you’ll share my delight at having made contact with him and found out what he’s doing, and how well he’s doing, all these years later. On the other side of the world, as it happens. What a story!

But first, the background, so that everybody’s up to speed. As I mentioned, Joey Edwards used to hold down the fort for the evening shift at CJBQ. In addition to playing great music – those were the days when you could actually hear performers like Joni Mitchell singing smart songs like Help Me and Free Man in Paris on AM radio, as I wrote about here (in the post that would eventually lead to me tracking down Joey) – he brought his repertoire of foreign accents and goofy voices, an extremely quick wit, and just a general sense that life was good and a whole lot of fun, to the show. We looked forward to listening to him every weeknight, and appreciated his signature moments: how he always said, “Thanks, Mum” in a Liverpudlian Beatles accent at the end of the show; how he always used the end of The Beatles’ The End (Yes, you know it: “And in the end, the love you take/Is equal to the love you make”) to sign off; and how he was forever sharing the deep and eternal maxim that “A wet bird never flies at night.” Whatever that means.

Anyway. Since a large part of this blog is me regaling you with things I remember from my midcentury youth in Queensborough, hoping those things might in turn bring you some happy memories of that same golden era, Joey Edwards fits right in. Particularly since Joey was, while a star on the radio station down in Belleville, a native of Madoc, which was “town” for us Manse residents (my dad and mum and three siblings) back then, and still is for us Manse residents (my husband, Raymond, and me) today. He was a local boy made good.

I’m sure I was not the only listener sorely distressed in about 1974 or ’75 when Joey suddenly disappeared from the CJBQ airwaves – never to be heard from again. Until, that is, Meanwhile at the Manse found him, about 40 years later. In Beijing, of all places!

Here’s what happened: As I mentioned, back in February 2013 I wrote that post about how once upon a time (my teenage years) there were actually intelligent songs on AM radio. (Along with a lot of ABBA. And don’t you dare say a word against ABBA.) In it I made mention of CJBQ, though not Joey Edwards specifically. But that post garnered quite a lot of comments over time, and through those comments and my responses, people’s memories of Joey Edwards started to be recorded. (You can follow the trail of those comments here.) Some people wrote in saying they’d love to know what ever happened to him and where he is now; and some of those were people who had actually worked with him.

Anyway, long story short: somehow or other Joey came across those comments. One of the absolute highlights in my two years and eight months (and a few days) of writing Meanwhile, at the Manse came one dark early morning a couple of weeks ago when I was groggily making coffee in preparation for another workday: I happened to look at my phone, where notifications of reader comments show up. And there were (my heart still beats a little faster when I remember it) – a couple of comments from Joey Edwards!!!!!

You can be sure that woke me up in a hurry. There I was, standing in the very kitchen where all those years ago I used to listen to his show on CJBQ; and suddenly there he was (or at least, there his comments were). It was kind of magical.

So for those who are wondering: our Joey Edwards is now a very successful entertainment personality in China! He lives in Beijing, is married to Nancy (who comes from the city of Wuhan), and Nancy is the crackerjack manager of his business. Here is a lovely photo Joey sent me of the two of them on a visit to Nancy’s home city:

Joey Edwards and wife Nancy

Joey Edwards and his wife, Nancy, on a visit to her home city, Wuhan, China. (Photo courtesy of Joey Edwards)

Joey and I have had a couple of great back-and-forths thanks to the wonder of email. (Which nobody could even have imagined back in the days when he was telling us over the airwaves that a wet bird never flies at night.) Here are some excerpts (Joey gave me permission to share) that I know his fans will appreciate:

I truly am honored that you were my “fan.” Without my Belleville fans’ support, The Joey Edwards Show would not have survived. My show was a very different animal for CJBQ listeners and made the management very nervous. They fought me at every turn. Peter Thompson hired me, initially, another very dear friend, and later, Milt Johnston was my boss when Peter left for big-time radio in Toronto. Without Milt’s undying support of my show, I wouldn’t have been in Belleville long. He was a good man. After about a year on-air, my crazed efforts tripled the listenership – a record for CJBQ and one that was never repeated. After that happened, management “mysteriously” backed off and let Joey do his “thing.” I was making the station money and the big chiefs weren’t going to challenge that …

It was great to be at CJBQ since my home town (Madoc) was only 20 minutes away [Note from Katherine: I think Joey’s been away too long! He underestimates the distance between Madoc and Belleville] and all my family and old school chums and teachers could hear me. My father was a proud man and never patted me and my twin brother on the back but Mum said he was always boasting to his old friends in Madoc that that was HIS son on CJBQ. I was happy that I could do that for him. You may have noted that I always said (in my Beatle voice), “Thanks, Mum” at the end of every show. She always listened for it.

After Belleville, my radio career was a monstrous rollercoaster ride. Over the next 35 years I worked at stations all over Canada, the USA and overseas (New Zealand, British Virgin Islands, Europe) …

I always wanted to see China so I casually checked the Internet for English-speaking radio stations in China and found China Radio International in Beijing, the biggest English-speaking radio station in China. To my incredible surprise, they hired me! … [Later] I started dabbling in English voice recording at that time and – BINGO! – a new career for me was born! With my trained radio voice and all the cartoon voices plus my singing abilities, I very quickly became a highly requested voice in Beijing and all across China. I have my own home studio now and work for countless outside studios. I confess that I miss being on-air but the music that is being played on radio now just doesn’t work for me. Beyonce, Snoop Dogg, Justin Bieber?! Give me a break! Some radio stations in Canada & the USA occasionally ask me to do novelty songs for them regarding events in the news.

Joey Edwards on the job

Joey Edwards in audio-editor mode at his home studio. (Photo courtesy of Joey Edwards)

One thing that Joey does a lot of now is stuff for kids – educational projects and so on. He sent me some examples, and I’m going to share one that samples the “chants” (“non-singing songs, sorta rap for kids,” Joey calls it). They are utterly charming: nursery rhymes that we all remember from our childhood done in Joey’s apparently endless collection of voices. Enjoy:

 

And now, the conclusion and the best of all – at least for me. Here’s how Joey signed off on that long and newsy email:

Katherine … Thank for your fanship and, most importantly, your friendship. You made me feel like a truly blessed man.

Please keep in touch.

BIG hugs from Joe(y)

And here is the little tiny ditty he wrote and recorded just for me! People, the DJ hero of my early teen years did a song for me! How lucky can a person get?

 

“Joey Edwards was a lucky man,” he sings. Well, I think I speak for all of Joey’s listeners when I say that we think we were the lucky ones: to have had such a great friend and entertainer guiding us through the music of the day and enlivening our evenings over the airwaves back here in Hastings County in a time now long gone. With Joey, there was never a dull moment.

And what’s not to like about the fact that Joey is still going strong, doing fun stuff and being very successful, way off in Beijing? Really, it’s just a thrill when stories turn out not just well, but supremely well. And this is one of them.

Final word: Joey warmly invites fans and friends to contact him. His email address is madocman48@gmail.com.

Tell him I sent you. And remember: A wet bird never flies at night.

46 thoughts on “In which I find legendary (and long-lost) local DJ Joey Edwards

  1. Well if no one else is going to acknowledge this Joey Edwards news I will. Wow. Maybe you had to be there. It must be weird to be emailing with an icon.

  2. Thank you, I have been searching for information on Joey Edwards for years, he was my mentor when I started my radio career at CHNR in Simcoe, where he was doing afternoon drive, he took me under his wing and taught me how to be the best announcer I could be. I lost any information I had on Joey years ago when my computer crashed and have been searching ever since. So thank you once again.

    • Well thank you, Greg, for writing in! I’m so pleased to know that I was able to give you some information about a long-lost friend and mentor. I bet you had some laugh-filled times working with Joey!

  3. absolutely amazing. He was in Sudbury on CHNO for awhile, then as I recall, was going to the USA to some radio station at Notre Dame in Indiana. I’ve often thought about him and what a zany guy he was. Nice to catch up on something from so long ago.

    • Hello, Henry! I’m so tickled to hear from another Joey Edwards fan from back in the day. And I’m thrilled that Meanwhile, at the Manse was able to bring you an update on his whereabouts and activities!

  4. Katherine, I have been wondering for almost as long as you just what happened to Joey Edwards and now I know! He was essentially my hero during the short time he was on CHNO in Sudbury where I grew up; and his assortment of voices, noises, songs and great sayings have stuck with me over the nearly forty years since I first heard him. I loved how the temperature in Fahrenheit became “Fahrenweight”, the Long Ranger weather forecast, the CHNO 30th Anniversary song, “Tall People” – an answer to Randy Newman’s “Short People” – it’s all still rattling around in my head. I had a cameo once doing something silly on a call-in portion of his show and was so nervous I flubbed the gag I was going to do, but it didn’t matter. I believe I had to be peeled off the ceiling that night. I think I was about nine years old. Much later, he was part of the impetus for me taking a broadcasting course at Canadore College in North Bay, and he probably got me started on doing voices as well. Hats off to you, Joey – though I rarely wear one. Thanks for posting the results of your quest, Katherine!

    • Darren, how wonderful to hear from you! I can’t tell you how delighted I am to have been able to help you find out where the great Joey Edwards is hanging his hat, and producing entertaining audio, in 2015. I’m interested that your list of the kooky things Joey did at CHNO is quite different from my list of the kooky things he did at good old CJBQ, Belleville and TREN-TONNNN! Clearly he had a long list of kooky things to try in his idea kit. I can only imagine how excited you must have been to be on his show – if that had happened to me, I would have thought I’d died and gone to heaven, and that I was now pretty much the biggest celebrity in the world. (After Joey, of course.) So cool that you went on to do radio (and voices) as well, inspired by Joey! Any chance I could find you on my AM or FM dial?

      • The story of how I DIDN’T end up in radio is a case study in unfortunate timing and would waste bandwidth that could be put to far better use sharing cat videos and photos of your lunch. However, I will say that this post has made me rethink some things as I approach 50 at breakneck speed. I remember how I felt in the late 70s, kind of a social outcast, with no idea of how I fit into the world – until I heard Joey’s show and all the wackiness that it contained. I used to record just the spoken parts of his show and edit out the music on a portable cassette machine and listen – and learn. MAD magazine and Joey Edwards were probably the two biggest influences in my life and remain so to this day. Just want him to know that he has had a very positive effect on the world and I’m glad to hear he’s still at it forty years later!

      • Darren, it’s so great to hear from people who loved Joey’s show (and antics) as much as I did. I know he’s been thrilled to hear from people who remember those shows, so you shouldn’t hesitate to email him – it’s madocman48@gmail.com. Tell him I sent you!

  5. WOW – This iis great news. I have been trying to track down Joey for “literally years. Worked with Joey at the Newmarket reading station back in the early ’90″s. A fabulous talent. So glad to know he’s doing well in Beijing and happily married too. Missed your wit Joey!

    • So great to hear from you, Nancy, and I’m so pleased that I was able to give you an update on our favourite DJ. I will try to make sure he sees this comment, and maybe you’ll hear from him!

    • Katherine – I really must thank you for finding where Joey ended up after all these years. I have contacted the Great Joey Edwards and have had several fantastic communications between him and me. Absolutely terrific!! Thanks again. Nancy

      • Nancy, it is absolutely my pleasure. One of the greatest results of writing Meanwhile, at the Manse has been tracking down Joey and helping put his longtime fans in touch with him. Cheers!

  6. That is SO COOL! Growing up in Tweed we listened to Joey Edwards doing our homework in the evening… His stories were always great – ask him if he remembers the one that ended with “tag – you’re it!”.. Thx again for the memories!

    • Hi Iain! I sure know what you mean about fond memories of doing one’s homework in our little neck of the woods while listening to Joey’s hilarious stories and impresssions and the great music of the era. I have sent him a message asking about the “tag – you’re it” story; you’ve aroused my curiosity on that one. Will keep you posted!

      • Thx! OBTW – only hint I will give on the story is it was a “horror” tale 🙂 Iain

      • And what a great treat that was! A thousand thanks! Will definitely be looking forward to hearing from you on your NEXT assignment 😉 havea great week! Iain PS – where did you go to school back then?

      • Thanks Katherine – I attended Tweed Public School until ’74 then to Belleville for high school, so no, not at CHSS… wasn’t sure if you would have attended Tweed or Madoc for your public school ☺
        Thanks again for the blogs & strolls down memory lane – have a wonderful week in God’s country!! LOL!

        Iain Morton, CHRL
        Human Resources Manager
        905-602-6102 x276
        Furlani’s Food Corporation
        1730 Aimco Blvd, Mississauga, L4W 1V1
        http://www.furlanis.com
        [cid:image001.png@01D13726.B4A3E5A0]

      • Thanks, Iain! If you’re back in God’s country visiting your Uncle Evan anytime soon, let us know! Always good to share memories of those golden 1960s/’70s years here in central Hastings County.

  7. OMG!!! Thank you Katherine for sharing this information about Joey and his email address no less! Yes, I can remember my childhood growing up in Belleville too on Dufferin Avenue near the tennis courts at the corner of Dufferin and Queen with my ear glued to CJBQ every night while I did my homework. Let’s just say that I got an ‘A’ all those years on account of listening to Joey, I’m sure! Such wonderful memories. And I wonder if he remembered my little childhood girlfriend and I calling him probably ever half-hour asking if he would play “Puppy Love” by Donny Osmond or “One bad apple” by the Jackson Five☺ And who forget the New Year’s Day countdown? We listened to both Joey and the “Great White Hunter” aka Greg Hunter on CKWS on the nights that it would come in crystal clear in Belleville, as Kingston of course was an hour’s drive away. Greg I think is still in the Quinte area doing radio. I’ll have to forward your posting to the radio broadcasting staff up at Loyalist College, some of whom I’m sure grew up listening to Joey as well. Forty years ago you say, give or take a couple. Why, it seems like only yesterday, doesn’t it? I think Einstein or somebody like that got it right: time starts to slow down the older one gets. Let’s hope it never stops. Nor will the memories ever stop. Keep on doing what you do best, whether it’s in Beijing or Belleville, both start with the letter ‘B’. Your legions of fans and the lives you touched along the way have never forgotten. Sincere regards, Cindy from Belleville, Ontario, Canada p.s. And thank you Katherine too for bringing us all just a little bit closer to our childhood today

    • Cindy, thank you so much for stopping by Meanwhile, at the Manse and sharing your memories of Joey Edwards and the days of great radio and great music in Belleville and Kingston. Puppy Love by Donny Osmond – oh my gracious, does that take me back! I was tickled at your thought of sharing this with the radio broadcasting folks at Loyalist College, because they are my colleagues! I teach in journalism at Loyalist, just downstairs and down the hall from the radio program. I just loved your parting thought; I think it helps us all when we can get just a little bit closer to our childhood. Hey, maybe we need to get Joey back to Belleville for a reunion with his fans!

  8. So cool to find this! Same memories….have thought of Joey Edwards 8 billion times over the years and wondered this and wondered that…except my memories were from his time in Sudbury. Favourite memory: him playing Chic’s Le Freak about 8 times in a row because he was getting tired of the requests (or pretended to be tired of the requests!) If you’re still reading Joey, thanks so much for the memories. They are literally inseparable from who I was as a pre-teen in the latter 70’s, and who I am now, music being so much a part of my soul. I’m sure there are literally thousands of others who could write the same thing. I’m so glad you feel blessed!

  9. I cannot say thank you enough, dear Katherine, for making it possible for so many of my long-ago “fans” to get in touch with me! Without those wonderful listeners and their undying support, there would definitely not have been a Joey Edwards Show! I am indeed honoured to have had them all as devoted listeners.

    • Joe(y), when I get comments from your fans like MetaGirl67 and all the others, it absolutely makes my day. I am so pleased and proud to have been able to make those connections for the listeners who remember your radio shows and your jokes and antics and accents so fondly. And I am so tickled and honoured that you stay in touch!

  10. This guy was my hero when he was at CHNO in Sudbury! I listened to his show every night. Wilbur Wart his borderline obscene nightly guest, refusing to play disco in the era of disco. He once played Freak Out! by Chic five times in a row to stop incessant requests from coming in. I used to rip off his on-air bit for stand-up at school talent shows. Glad to know he did well for himself.

    • Oh wow, Rob! I am so glad I’ve been able to connect with another of Joey’s long-ago fans. It seems there are a lot of us out there, in various Ontario cities. I well remember Wilbur Wart from Joey’s days on CJBQ Belleville, though I think Wilbur was a little tamer in those earlier days than he may have been when you heard him in Sudbury. Either that or I was too young to get the double entendres…

      • I sent him an email to the address above and he replied right away! It was great to connect with him to tell him I still remember his show. He couldn’t have been nicer and sent me a few pics of how he looks now. Still has his beatles haircut. 🙂

      • Thanks again, sweet Katherine, for all your wonderfulness! BIG Xmas hugs from Joe(y)

  11. I was just thinking about Joey Edwards and so a quick search led to your story. I seem to recall him signing off sometimes with “walk stickly and carry a big soft”, as well

    • Hi Randy! I have to admit I don’t remember that particular signoff from Joey (“A wet bird never flies at night,” along with his Beatles-accented “Thanks, Mum,” are the ones that stick in my mind), but it sure sounds like the kind of delightfully goofy thing he’d say. I’m so glad that you found my post about him!

  12. Hi Katherine. Thanks for this. Sometime around the late seventies, maybe early eighties, I stumbled across The Joey Edwards Show on CHNO, Sudbury. Now my parents were not wanting me to listen to listen to the radio so like any good child, I took my portable radio outside and tuned in where they would never be the wiser. Of course the music took me to another world and it’s still part of my soul. But beyond that, Joey Edwards is the only DJ from my youth that still stands out. Three memories still run through my head to this day…his show started with a theme song “It’s Time For The Joey Edwards Show” set to the William Tell Overture, visits from Wilbur Wart and, I can’t say for sure it was part of his show but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t, the 8:47 song that played at… 8:47 pm of course! Fond memories from another time.

    • Hi Ralph! I’m always delighted when another person who was a fan of Joey Edwards’s great radio shows weighs in with memories. Thank you so much! Wilbur Wart, oh man… But I have to tell you that your reference to the 8:47 song is going straight over my head. Obviously the Joey Edwards show that I remember from Belleville was different (earlier) than the one you remember from Sudbury; no William Tell Overture intro for us, for one thing. (At least, if memory serves.) But I don’t have a clue as to what the 8:47 song is – I seek enlightenment!

      • Seeking enlightenment was what led me to your site. With all that can be found on the internet I was hoping against hope to find, like a lost treasure, the intro I remember and the 8:47 song which I believe was part of Mr. Edwards show. No luck on that front yet but I have discovered other fans of Joey Edwards creativity and hilarity which is well worth the search.

        As for the 8:47 song itself it simply went back and forth between two chords with the lyric eight forty seven sung twice for each…for example…

        Am Em
        Eight forty seven, eight forty seven, eight forty seven, eight forty seven

        I wish I had more to share with you but for now these songs live on in my memory.

      • Oh my lord, Ralph, now you have really got my curiosity aroused about this song. Is it within the realm of possibility that it was Joey being Joey, i.e. he was the musician/band doing it?

      • Edit…

        Am
        Eight forty seven, eight forty seven
        Em
        Eight forty seven, eight forty seven

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