Radio DJ Artwork Laboe, who interviewed Elvis for radio within the Fifties earlier than he helped make Black music and Latino youths lifelong pals, has died.
He was 97.
Laboe, who hosted a present on Los Angeles radio station KDAY, died Friday of pneumonia, based on an announcement on his Fb web page. Meruelo Media, the corporate that owns KDAY, confirmed his demise.
The ultimate present from Laboe, who’s credited with coining the phrase “oldies however goodies,” was broadcast Sunday.
He marked 79 years on the air, “the longest persevering with interval of broadcast service” of any U.S. DJ, in September, based on his web site.
“Artwork Laboe’s legacy will endure as his crew will proceed to provide his present nightly request and dedication syndicated radio present, ‘The Artwork Laboe Connection,'” the publish mentioned.
The present is aired on stations all through the Southwest.
Laboe, who lived in Palm Springs, was identified to modern audiences for retaining the flame alive for Latinos raised on the ultra-romantic crooner and dance group tunes of the Fifties and ’60s.
The Laboe-curated sound of the Chicano Southwest, together with R&B, rock ‘n’ roll and soul oldies, grew to become a soundtrack for cruising lowriders and basic automobiles, and Laboe delivered it like a postal employee — rain or shine.
In 1981, the Los Angeles Metropolis Council declared July 17 Artwork Laboe Day. He later acquired a star on the Hollywood Stroll of Fame.
Laboe was born Arthur Egnoian in Salt Lake Metropolis to an Armenian American household. He moved to California to attend Stanford College earlier than he served within the Navy throughout World Warfare II.
Laboe began his radio profession in San Francisco, the place he modified his identify to sound extra American. However it was in Los Angeles the place he discovered a method that labored: taking part in Black and white R&B music and rock collectively for the town.
His first Los Angeles station was KPOP, and he ultimately performed information on KRLA.
Laboe additionally labored behind the scenes to advertise live shows and produce information on his personal label, Authentic Sound.
Lengthy earlier than “Now That is What I Name Music!” Laboe put hits from disparate artists on one LP file, and the merchandise bought properly. His label later discovered success, in 1959, with the hits “Bongo Rock” by Preston Epps and “Teen Beat” by Sandy Nelson.
“Bongo Rock” was remade by the Unbelievable Bongo Band, which made its personal historical past with an analogous monitor in 1973, “Apache,” believed by many to be the origin tune of hip-hop.
Laboe is alleged to have landed the primary radio interview with Elvis Presley throughout his first journey to Hollywood. His first broadcasts got here from Scrivner’s Drive-In theater in Hollywood.
Laboe’s reliance on cohorts of sound as a substitute of race led to a refined revolution: It helped to desegregate venues that featured rock and its sonic brethren.
Within the mid-Fifties, Laboe was the highest daytime radio DJ in Los Angeles.
In current many years, Laboe was famous for permitting inmates’ relations to ship in dedications meant to be heard by their incarcerated family members.
One of many anecdotes in regards to the dedications he advised centered on a girl who went to the studio to permit her toddler to inform her incarcerated father, “Daddy, I really like you.”
“It was the primary time he had heard his child’s voice,” Laboe advised The Related Press in 2019. “And this robust, hard-nosed man burst into tears.”
Otto Padron, the CEO of Meruelo Media, referred to as Laboe “a colossal presence in LA and an irreplaceable a part of the 93.5 KDAY household.”
“His passing leaves an enormous gap locally, and his legacy of connecting to generations of Angelinos on heartfelt dedications and connections to the soul of LA, which can’t be changed,” Padron mentioned in an announcement.