Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Daddy-O Daylie

Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie had long career and one minor black radio first. He was the first African-American hosting a regularly scheduled radio show on a Chicago network owned and operated radio station. It has a couple qualifiers, but it counts. His radio career ran for almost 40 years, that requires no qualification. In Chicago his name is mentioned right alongside Jack L. Cooper, Al Benson and Sam Evans. Daddy-O first got on air at WMAQ in 1956. He was doing a late-night slot airing jazz and jive talk. More here. As Dempsey Travis once said, Daylie "was to rhyme what Michael Jordan was to basketball or what Redd Foxx was to comedy."

He was a Chicago transplant,born in Covington, Tennessee. He moved to Chicago in 1938 to live with an older brother. the kid had talent, he could rhyme, play piano, and play some basketball. He was even a Harlem Globetrotter.  Daylie ended up being "discovered" by a WMAQ legend, Dave Garroway, a newsman and big jazz fan. Garroway met Daylie tending bar at the El Grotto Supper Club in the Pershing Hotel in 1947. (One source says it was the Du Sable Hotel) Garroway told him that he should move his rhyming behind the microphone. By 1948 he had a show on WAIT-AM. By 1955 he was on WGN. More here.

It wasn't long before he started booking shows and doing a little A&R. He got the Ramsey Lewis trio their big break with Argo Records in 1956. He also discovered Nina Simone, and Gloria Lynne. He was a huge proponent of bebop. In 1958 Cannonball Adderly penned an ode to Daylie  "One for Daddy-O". That was probably his peak. He went back to WAIT-AM and while there picked a fight with MGM in 1955 over the movie Black Board Jungle. The name Daddy-O is used in the movie, and Daylie had trademarked it in 1948. MGM used the name in a derogatory way and he sued them for Libel asking for $700,000. It didn't go anywhere.

In the 1960s he was on 950 WAAF-AM doing mornings 9:00 AM to noon. In 1967 they changed calls to WGRT. He was cancelled in 1971, then reinstated shortly thereafter. Chicago missed him. They trimmed him back from 2 hours to 30 minutes. They said he talked too much. It was the only jazz morning show left in Chicago. It was old school, and Daylie was old school. In the early 1980s he moved to WJPC-AM which w2s owned by the publisher of Ebony Magazine. They aired a lot of R&B and gospel. Daylie held onto that until about 1986. He died in 2003 at the age of 82.

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