Sadly, on Father’s Day this past Sunday, one of America’s most beloved DJs, Casey Kasem, passed away. He was 82.
At the height of his career, Kasem was among the best-known radio personalities in the country. His weekly four-hour show, “American Top 40,” defined middle-of-the-road radio taste in America at the time.
“Hello again, everybody,” he said to open most of his shows. “I’m Casey Kasem, and welcome to American Top 40. I’m all set to count down the 40 most popular songs in the U.S.A.”
Kasem’s “American Top 40,” which first aired in the summer of 1970, was a weekly four-hour feast of homey sentiment and American optimism that ran headlong into the prevailing spirit of rebellion in the music culture of the day.
Only five radio stations carried the debut of “American Top 40” on July 4, 1970. But within a year more than 100 did, and by the mid-1970s it had reached nearly 1,000 outlets “coast to coast,” as Kasem liked to say, making him one of the best-known DJs in the country.
“American Top 40” became a mainstay of American radio, offering a crowd-pleasing menu of hits seasoned with Kasem’s heartfelt readings of listeners’ song dedications, wholesome anecdotes about the lives of the pop stars, and an endless store of solid, if cringe-inducing, pieces of advice, like his touchstone signoff: “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”
Kasem’s relationship with “American Top 40” ended in 1988 because of a contract dispute with his syndication company. The next year, he started “Casey’s Top 40,” a competing radio program on another network, bringing most of his old audience there with him.
About 10 years later, after acquiring the rights to the name, he was again hosting a show with the title “American Top 40” (for a time he hosted both that and the competing “Casey’s Top 40”). He ended his three-decade run in 2004.
This week’s question
This week’s question is: In January of 2004, when Casey Kasem retired from the syndicated “American Top 40” show, he turned the reins over to a young celebrity who 10 years later still hosts the show today.
Is this current voice of “American Top 40” A) Randy Jackson, B) Ryan Seacrest, C) Simon Cowell, or D) Keith Urban?
If you’re caller number seven and have the correct answer, you’ll win a CD of your favorite artist or genre.
Last week’s question
Last week’s music trivia question asked if you could name the Los Angeles R&B-doo-wop group that had a No. 1 hit in 1959 with “Smoke gets in Your Eyes.”
This quintet was the No. 1 vocal group of the 1950s and unlike many of the doo-wop groups of the time that had one big hit and vanished, this four-male/one female group had 22 hits make it into the Top-40, seven songs land in the Top-10 and three others reach the top the charts — “The Great Pretender,” “My Prayer” and “Twilight Time.”
The choices were A) The Drifters, B) The Chiffons, C) The Angels, and D) The Platters.
The correct answer was the ever-popular Platters.
The R&B vocal group, the Drifters, featuring lead singer, Clyde McPhatter, was also popular during the late-1950s through the early-1960s, with such hits as “Under the Boardwalk,” “Up on the Roof” and “Save the Last Dance for Me.”
The Chiffons were a female black “girl group” from the Bronx, New York — best known for their 1963 chart-topper “He’s so Fine.”
The Angels were a female pop trio from Orange, N.J. — best known for their 1963 No. 1 hit “My Boyfriend’s Back.”
Congratulations to last week’s first-time music trivia winner, Yvette Hoffman, who with her husband, have been residents of Payson since 2001.
Yvette was born and raised in Douglas, Ariz., where she graduated from high school in 1993. She now works for the Gila County Courts in Payson. In her spare time, she enjoys caring for her dogs and cats and traveling.
Spanish music and ’80s rock are among Yvette’s favorite music. Her three favorite artists are Bon Jovi, Enrique Iglesias and Mana.
Some final notes
Quickly approaching, June 30 will be the last day to purchase early bird reduced-price season tickets for the 2014-2015 Tonto Community Concert Association series, which always features top-notch entertainment from all over the country. Season ticket brochures and ordering forms can be picked up at the Payson Public Library or the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce. The early bird season ticket price is again only $85 for all eight concerts. For more information, please call TCCA President Eloise Jones at (928) 478-4363. All concerts are at the Payson High School Auditorium.
The 2014-2015 concert series features:
• Four Celtic Voices, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 16: An authentic Irish folk ensemble of vocalists and instrumentalists.
• Good Company, 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 5: A trio performing the definitive hits of New York City, Nashville, Detroit and Los Angeles; vintage hits performed seamlessly alongside fresh, original music.
• Susan Egan, 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 19: A veteran of Broadway brings the songs of the Great White Way, along with insider anecdotes to the Rim Country.
• William Florian, Those Were the Days, 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 14: Former member of The New Christy Minstrels brings the folk songs of the 1960s and from favorites like John Denver to the community.
• Alex Depue with Miguel De Hoyos, 2:30 p.m., Jan. 18: Fiery violin and guitar duo will present classical, bluegrass and rock music.
• Piano Battle, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 3: Two German pianist duel and do duets for Rim Country concertgoers.
• Live from Nashville, 7 p.m., Friday, March 20: Matt Davenport Productions celebrates the songs that gave Music City its name, featuring song and dance and the vintage sounds of Hank Williams and Patsy Cline, along with some of the latest and greatest hits on country charts today.
• SAXsational, 7 p.m., Thursday April 30: Rob Verdi, a one-time member of Side Street Strutters, shares his rare and unusual instrument collection, along with five decades of songs and artists that have shaped the saxophone. The program will include accompaniment by either a local band or ensemble.
A subscription for the series, purchased after the June 30 early bird deadline, is $90 per person. Season ticket holders will be seated first. Out-of-town guests, accompanied by a season ticket holder, may purchase a ticket for $15. Single admission tickets are $35 and can be purchased at the door, if seating is available. Children & Youth, Grade 12 and under, will be admitted free when accompanied by a ticket holding adult. Parents with minor children need to request the proper number of tickets on their subscription form.
The TCCA also has a Contribution Plan: Booster, give a gift of $10 to $99 plus subscription; Patron, gift $100 to $249 plus subscription; Benefacto, gift $250 or more plus subscription
Lastly, this Saturday night’s free concert at Green Valley Park should be another good one, especially if you enjoy listening to the blues. The Blue Frog Group performs at 7 p.m. Lead vocalist, “Big Al” Schwartz, said, “Our five-piece band primarily plays the blues, with a rock edge and with a little country thrown in, too. We love to interact with the audience and get the whole place rockin’.”
Have a great Rim Country week!
DJ Craig – (928) 468-1482 – www.djcraiginpayson.com