Artwork Laboe, a revered Los Angeles radio mainstay for greater than half a century who delighted native followers and a syndicated viewers by enjoying these “oldies however goodies,” has died. He was 97.
A post on his official Twitter account stated Laboe died October 7 of pneumonia at his house in Palm Springs.
Born Artwork Egnoian on August 7, 1925, in Salt Lake Metropolis, Laboe served within the Navy throughout World Battle II and arrived on the L.A. airwaves in 1955 as rock ‘n’ roll was taking maintain. Having labored as a DJ because the mid-’40s, together with stints in San Francisco and Palm Springs, his first L.A. station houses have been KXLA-AM (later KRLA) and KPOP, and the baritone Laboe did stay distant reveals from midnight until 4 a.m. at an area drive-in restaurant — taking requests and changing into common with the night-owl crowd. He later moved the KPOP present to after-school hours, and youngsters crowded the intersection of Sundown and Cahuenga.
Laboe then launched a collection of dance concert events in El Monte, east of Los Angeles, which drew massive crowds — and a number of the period’s greatest touring acts together with Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles. It was throughout these stay occasions that Laboe realized many of the viewers requests have been for older information. He commonly spun tunes by white, Latino and Black artists, and the occasions have been a cross-cultural smash within the melting pot of Los Angeles. He would transfer them a decade later to Artwork Laboe’s Oldies however Goodies, his Sundown Strip membership that had been Ciro’s and later would turn into the Comedy Retailer.
Not solely did he popularize the idea of spinning platters from yesteryear — so usually “by request” — he additionally curated a run of various-artists Oldies however Goodies LPs that offered very effectively nationwide. The 1957 first version on his Unique Sounds label compiled a number of massive hits from the earlier two years together with “Earth Angel,” “Within the Nonetheless of the Evening” and “Stranded within the Jungle.” The album spent an attention-grabbing 183 weeks, some 3½ years, on the Billboard 200 chart, peaking at No. 12. Greater than a dozen numbered editions adopted, usually one a 12 months. Vols. 3-5 additionally made the High 20.
The nostalgic idea was cemented additional within the popular culture zeitgeist when L.A. group Little Caesar and the Romans’ hit the nationwide High 10 with “These Oldies however Goodies (Remind Me of You)” in 1961.
Laboe’s Hollywood-based Unique Sound label additionally made authentic recordings. Two of its earliest releases, the percussion-driven instrumentals “Teen Beat” by Sandy Nelson and “Bongo Rock” by Preston Epps, have been nationwide pop hits in 1959.
All of the whereas, Laboe continued to play the oldies. By 1970, he had moved his format to KPPC-FM, and — fueled by the success of Rick Nelson’s “Backyard Occasion” and George Lucas’ future-star-laden movie American Graffiti — the wave of nostalgia for the Fifties and early ’60s grew to become a nationwide pattern. Comfortable Days would premiere in January 1974.
When L.A. outlet KRTH-FM switched to an all-oldies format in 1972, Laboe was an on-air jock and a advisor.
Laboe moved again to KRLA in 1975, the place he would spend the remainder of the last decade. He was one thing of a Renaissance Man on the station, doing a present whereas serving as program director, gross sales advisor and in different capacities. By 1979, he was its senior VP.
He labored at KFI for a few years earlier than starting a 3rd stint at KRLA in 1985 that might final almost a decade. In 1994, his common Sunday Evening Killer Oldies Present went into profitable nationwide syndication.
Laboe remained an L.A. establishment, and his ultimate present was produced in the course of the week and broadcast October 9. He has a star on the Hollywood Stroll of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame in Cleveland maintains a everlasting Laboe show.