Friday, September 25, 2009

Art Laboe is still alive

In 1981, the city of Los Angeles declared that July 17th would be "Art Laboe Day." That day Art received his star on Hollywood Boulevard. Sadly nobody under the age of 60 had any idea who the hell he was.Art Laboe is the main that coined the term "Oldies But Goodies." The phrase is used on Oldies stations cost to coast but Art was the originator. Art put together the first Top-40 comps. There were already best-of compilations, but he was the first to gather hits by multiple artists. His were called "Oldies But Goodies™" and the idea was so novel that the releases stayed on Billboard's Top 100 LP's chart for years. He owned Original Sounds and Starla records. He began as a DJ. He was on KSAN, KPOP and KDAY.

"The Art Laboe Show" was on 1020 KPOP-AM in Los Angeles. He'd come there fresh from KCOP-AM. From 1955 to 1960 1220 was known as K-Pop. Prior to that it was KFVD. More here. Despite the fact that the station was a daytimer until 1976, Art Laboe had the the #1 radio program in the Los Angeles area in 1956. (This was pre-Arbitron so that is a Hooperrating) More here.

K-Pop was primed for rock n' roll. Before the new called debuted the station was already playing rhythm & Blues. DJ Hunter Hancock was on the air in that era. The Standard Broadcasting Company bought 1020 AM from Frank Burke and took the station Top-40 rock, pop and all. But in 1960 Standard sold it to Storer broadcasting who changed the calls to KGBS who went Easy Listening. So sad.

Though KPOP was dead, Art Lived on. He's been putting out records, playing record hops and already emceed shows on KTLA-TV (for Prez Prado for example.) He founded Original Sounds in 1951. He put out records by all kinds of artists rhythm & Blues, country and even that Bongo Rock 45 by Preston Epps. Art wasn't #1 anymore but he kept busy. In 1974 his "Oldies but Goodies" comps were selling like mad. In 1972 he opened his own club, The Art Laboe Club... they focused on oldies. He started doing a show on KRTH our of the second floor. IN 1960 he started Now records and putting out soul 45s.

...And let there be no doubt, he's still alive and still on air. More here.