MUSIC legend Elvis Costello has paid tribute to "dear friend" Janice Long following the Liverpool-born DJ's death on Christmas Day.

The radio DJ, who became a trailblazer as the first woman to have her own daily show on Radio 1 and the first regular female presenter on Top Of The Pops, died at home aged 66 following a short illness, her agent said.

During her 40-year career, she helped launch the careers of future stars including Amy Winehouse, Adele and The Smiths, and led coverage of major music events such as Live Aid.

Writing on his Facebook page, Costello, who grew up in Birkenhead, said: "It was with a shudder of sadness that I woke on St. Stephen’s Day to news of the passing of the broadcaster, Janice Long.

"Janice and I were approximately the same age and although our friendship was more episodic than constant, I was always gratefully aware that she had a genuine curiosity about the music she played, listening to every tape or, more recently, music file that was sent to her by upcoming musicians, getting out to see young bands and singers play live and frequently airing the gems and surprises of less celebrated voices, along with the more routine work of any long-term broadcaster.

"Over the last 45 revolutions of our lives, the voices that have stood out and stood up for music have often been at odds with a tendency to quip or froth at the quickening pace without any apparent strength of conviction, let alone a pause for thought.

"Nevertheless - despite what might be suggested by a song I wrote a very long time ago - I keep my favourite broadcasters in my heart and memory and while Janice might have named some different personalities, I’m glad to say that there are such advocates out there to this very day, although we are now poorer by one of their number."

Long was passionate about music and championed many artists long before they achieved chart success, including the band Primal Scream and singer Amy Winehouse, to whom she gave her first radio session.

Other artists to have been given early breaks by the broadcaster include Adele, The Smiths, The Coral and Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

Born in Liverpool, her brother was fellow presenter Keith Chegwin, who died in 2017.

Long worked as cabin crew and in telesales before starting her broadcasting career as a station assistant at BBC Radio Merseyside in 1979. She joined Radio 1 as a presenter in 1983.

During her career she was a judge for the Mercury Music Prize and a patron of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, founded by Sir Paul McCartney.

Costello added: "Whatever time and fashion have brought, she has been a pal and a dear friend of the music and I will miss her.

"My condolences go to her many friends and most especially to her husband, Paul, Fred and Blue."