My 80s Playlist: Vassos Alexander on Bruce Springsteen, how he met Chris Evans and his most memorable radio moment

Virgin Radio

13 Dec 2023, 15:01

Steve Denyer and Vassos Alexander on Virgin Radio

Credit: Virgin Radio

Virgin Radio’s own Vassos Alexander stopped by Virgin Radio 80s Plus to chat all things era-defining bangers on My 80s Playlist. 

The radio presenter has previously worked on BBC Sport, Channel 4 and BT Sport before landing on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch right here on Virgin Radio. 

An avid runner too, Vassos is behind three running books, and has completed an eye-watering number of marathons and ultra marathons. 

While on Virgin Radio 80s Plus, our Vassos talked to host Steve Denyer about his favourite 80s tunes for My 80s Playlists, with the likes of R.E.M, Mick Jagger and David Bowie and Primal Scream, all while giving a look behind the curtain at his life, childhood and career. 

Watch Vassos’ My 80s Playlist below: 

The first track on Vassos’ list was Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark, and as a child, the song brought comfort to the host during a rather tumultuous time.  

“Bruce Springsteen's Dancing in the Dark was the first song I ever learned the words to,” he explained. “All other songs and pretty much all other people learn lyrics to songs by just playing the songs. But for some reason, I had it in my head that I had to learn the lyrics to a song and Dancing in the Dark was my favourite song at the time.”

It turns out around the same time, Vassos’ mother had left him and his family, so learning the 1984 classic became a personal “treat.”

He continued: “We had nothing really to do with either of our parents and my brother and I, we fought a lot.  This song, this particular song, Dancing in the Dark, takes me back there, but to the good bits of it.”

Elsewhere, Vassos also elaborated on his close friendship with our Breakfast host Chris, with the duo originally meeting at the Ryder Cup in 2010. 

Discussing the first moment they met, the presenter shared: “Chris was hosting a sort of welcome show and I was one of the roving reporters. A couple of years later, we sort of saw each other at various golf events. He would sort of parachute in and do The Open and do The Masters. It was great to have him on board.”

It turns out Chris is a big reason Vassos is still making radio in the UK, because in a different timeline, he would be living it up in France if it wasn’t for Evans and his big radio plans. 

Explaining how fate intervened, Vassos said: “We were going to move to France, my wife’s family had a little villa in the south of France. We were going to just say, ‘Why don't we move there? We'll find something to do and let's build a new life for ourselves.’ But instead of saying that, [BBC Sport editor] Graeme Reid-Davies said, 'Here’s something Vassos, Chris Evans wonders if you'd like to join him on his Radio 2 shows.’”

Since that moment in 2011, Chris and Vassos have shared countless broadcasting highlights, and when asked about his most memorable moments on air, the author admitted among major sporting events was presenting the morning after the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022. 

He recalled: “I remember Chris saying, ‘Well, okay, how are we going to approach this?’ We're not going to do mourning voices, we'll continue with our normal morning voices. It's just one of those Breakfast shows that I remember.

“There’s been a few. The Olympics when we're broadcasting from Olympic Park, that was so epic, the Olympic Games in our home city. But the recent one here at Virgin Radio, that was a tough one to get right.”

You can listen to Virgin Radio 80 Plus HERE. You can also listen on DAB+ in London and Central Scotland and on smart speakers across the UK, as well as via the Virgin Radio UK app.