Legendary radio DJ Artwork Laboe useless at 97

Legendary radio DJ Artwork Laboe useless at 97

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Artwork Laboe, the pioneering radio DJ credited with serving to finish segregation in Southern California, has died. He was 97.

Laboe died Friday evening after catching pneumonia, stated Joanna Morones, a spokesperson for Laboe’s manufacturing firm, Dart Leisure.

His remaining present was produced final week and broadcast Sunday evening.

Laboe is credited with serving to finish segregation in Southern California by organizing reside DJ exhibits at drive-in eateries that attracted white, Black and Latino listeners who danced to rock-n-roll — and shocked an older era nonetheless listening to Frank Sinatra and Large Band music.

The DJ can also be credited with coining the phrase “oldies, however goodies.” In 1957, he began Authentic Sound Report, Inc. and in 1958, launched the compilation album “Oldies However Goodies: Vol. 1,” which stayed on the Billboard’s Prime 100 chart for 183 weeks.

He later developed a robust following amongst Mexican People for internet hosting the syndicated “The Artwork Laboe Connection Present.” His baritone voice invited listeners to name in dedications and request a ’50s-era rock-n-roll love ballad or a rhythm and blues tune from Alicia Keys.

His radio exhibits gave the households of incarcerated family members, particularly, a platform to talk to their kin by dedicating songs and sending heartfelt messages and updates. California and Arizona inmates would ship in their very own dedications and ask Laboe for updates from household.

It’s a task Laboe stated he felt honored to play.

Artwork Laboe obtained a robust following among the many black and Latino communities in California.
Picture by JC Olivera/WireImage

“I don’t choose,” Laboe stated in a 2018 interview with The Related Press at his Palm Springs studio. “I like folks.”

He typically instructed a narrative a few lady who got here by the studio so her toddler may inform her father, who was serving time for a violent crime, “Daddy, I like you.”

“It was the primary time he had heard his child’s voice,” Laboe stated. “And this powerful, hard-nosed man burst into tears.”

Anthony Macias, a College of California, Riverside ethnic research professor, stated the music Laboe performed went with the dedications, enhancing the messages. For instance, songs like Little Anthony & the Imperials’ “I’m on the Outdoors (Trying In)” and Struggle’s “Don’t Let No One Get You Down” spoke of perseverance and a need to be accepted.

Born Arthur Egnoian in Salt Lake Metropolis to an Armenian-American household, Laboe grew up through the Nice Melancholy in a Mormon family run by a single mother. His sister despatched him his first radio when he was 8 years outdated. The voices and tales that got here from it enveloped him.

“And I haven’t let go since,” Laboe stated.

He moved to California, attended Stanford College and served within the U.S. Navy throughout World Struggle II. Finally, he landed a job as a radio announcer at KSAN in San Francisco and adopted the title Artwork Laboe after a boss instructed he take the final title of a secretary to sound extra American.

He later returned to the Southern California space, however a radio station proprietor instructed the aspiring announcer he ought to work on turning into a “radio persona” as a substitute. As a DJ for KXLA in Los Angeles, Laboe purchased station time and hosted reside in a single day music exhibits from drive-ins the place he would meet underground rockabilly and R&B musicians. “I bought my very own built-in analysis,” Laboe stated.

He quickly grew to become one of many first DJs to play R&B and rock-n-roll in California. Teen listeners quickly recognized Laboe’s voice with the fledgling rock-n-roll scene. By 1956, Laboe had a day present and have become town’s high radio program. Automobiles jammed Sundown Boulevard the place Laboe broadcast his present, and advertisers jumped to get a bit of the motion.

When Elvis Presley got here to Hollywood, Laboe was one of many few to get an interview with the brand new rockabilly star.

The scene that Laboe helped domesticate in California grew to become of the nation’s most numerous. Locations such because the El Monte’s American Legion Stadium performed a lot of the music Laboe aired on his radio present, giving delivery to a brand new youth subculture.

Art Laboe, a disc jockey for more than 50 years, hosts his 2009 Art Laboe Valentine's Super Love Jam concert at the Jobing.com arena in Glendale, AZ Feb. 13, 2009. Laboe, 84, has a loyal fan base, which consists heavily of Latinos, who request melodramatic love songs no often heard on the radio
Artwork Laboe is credited with coining the phrase “oldies, however goodies.”
Picture by Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Instances by way of Getty Photos

Laboe maintained a robust following all through the years and remodeled right into a promoter of getting older rock-n-roll acts who by no means pale from Mexican-American followers of oldies. A everlasting show of Laboe’s contributions resides in The Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame Museum in Cleveland.

In 2015, iHeartMedia’s KHHT-FM dropped Laboe’s syndicated oldies present after the station abruptly switched to a hip-hop format sparking offended protests in Los Angeles. “With out Artwork Laboe, I’m So Lonely I May Cry,” wrote essayist Adam Vine. Later that 12 months, Laboe returned to the Los Angeles airwaves on one other station.

Lalo Alcaraz, a syndicated cartoonist and tv author who grew up listening to Laboe in San Diego, stated the DJ maintained a robust following amongst Mexican People for generations as a result of he all the time performed Latino, white and Black artists collectively on his exhibits. Laboe additionally didn’t seem to guage listeners who requested for dedications for family members in jail, Alcaraz stated.

“Right here is somebody who gave a voice to probably the most humble of us all via music,” Alcaraz stated. “He introduced us collectively. That’s why we sought him out.”

Alex Nogales, president and CEO of the Los Angeles-based Nationwide Hispanic Media Coalition, stated generations of Latino followers attended Laboe-sponsored live shows to listen to the likes of Smokey Robinson, The Spinners or Sunny & The Sunliners.

“I see these actually powerful trying guys within the crowd. I imply, they give the impression of being scary,” Nogales stated. “Then Artwork comes out they usually simply soften. They love him.”

Former Related Press reporter Russell Contreras contributed biographical materials to this report.

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