The Door To Yesterday Vol 3, No 13




THe Door To Yesterday Platter Chatter & Turntable Spins.




Make Your DJ Show. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. May 2019.

 Decades before popular music began being available via impersonal digital streaming platforms, 

audiences tuned into radio stations and listened to disc jockeys as they introduced and 

back announced the popular records of the day.. 

The history of DJ’s goes back to the 1930’s when shellac discs were played on phonograph machines. 

As years went by, records were often described on air as platters, the term that actually refers to the spinning surfaces 

on to which discs are placed.

Radio DJ’s were their own special breed and, particularly on pop and rock ‘n’ roll stations in the 50’s and 60’s, 

they developed their own personalities. They generated their own individual fast-talking rhythmic patter and rhyming slang 

and sometimes, they’d create alter egos as in the case of east-coast DJ ‘Jocko’ Henderson who invented a so-called rocket ship 

from which he supposedly broadcast his programs. 

Many of the jocks broadcast using hip pseudonyms such as in New Orleans where Vernon Winslow called himself ‘Doctor Daddy-O’.    



Alan Freed. DJ. THE DOOR TO YESTERDAY. Alan Warner. 20199

 Most famous of all DJ’s from the early rock ‘n’ roll days was Alan Freed, a white guy who championed black music in the 1950’s  out of 

 Station WJW in Cleveland, Ohio. He called himself Moondog, promoted rock ‘n’ roll concerts and was at one time, the most successful DJ 

in America but he ran afoul of the law because his pay to play policy resulted in payola becoming a national scandal in the late 50’s and early 60’s.

 Here’s a YouTube link to part of an Alan Freed radio show in ’55.  

(The tune he used as his theme on this broadcast was BIG HEAVY by Cozy Eggleston & His Combo).  

Another much-loved disc jockey from yesteryear was Martin Block who hosted his long-running ‘Make Believe Ballroom’  from 

WNEW in New York. A whole host of recording stars began their careers as radio DJs, among them B.B. King, The Big Bopper, 

Lee Hazlewood, Terry Knight,  Johnny Otis, Sly Stewart aka Sly Stone of Sly & The Family Stone. Rufus Thomas, Ike Turner, 

Kim Weston and even comedian Soupy Sales

 In addition, a slew of Country artists also served time behind radio mikes 

including  Bill Anderson, Tennessee Ernie Ford,  Tom T. Hall, Waylon Jennings, Buck Owens and Willie Nelson.

Radio DJ’s have been depicted in motion pictures, primarily by Clint Eastwood in “Play Misty For Me” in 1971 and by 

Robin Williamsin “Good Morning Vietnam” in ’87. On TV, DJ characters were portrayed in such shows as 

“Parks And Recreation” (Aziz Ansari’scharacter tried out as a DJ) and in “Turn Up Charlie” in which Idris Elba 

(who was a DJ himself on a London station before becoming an actor) actually playing a not very successful disc jockey! 

On British TV, Steve Coogan developed the character of an inept DJ 

and local radio personality called Alan Partridge.

Although there are of course contemporary Radio DJ’s in real life including such celebrities as 

Bob Dylan, Little Steven, Ryan Seacresta nd Howard Stern, the present-day term DJ usually refers to folks who play records 

for live audiences in clubs and stadiums and  at music festivals, creating lengthy non-stop programs of music on

 dual turntables or dual decks.  Just as Dr. Dre started out as a club DJ,a zillion other guys in today’s hip-hop and R&B world 

also began their careers in similar fashion.

DJ’s  On  Record 

The following is a list of just a few of the vintage American RAdio DJ’s who were featured on commerical records: 

Dick Biondi THe Pizza Song. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Wanerr 2019.

 Dick Clark cut a single called THE DAY THE CHILDREN DIED (Freeman) on Liberty in ’69. He had earlier also put his name on

 “Dance With Dick Clark”: a Don Costa-produced LP featuring 

The Keymen on ABC-Paramount in ’58.

  Dick was of course also a major radio & TV personality and producer; he hosted the enormously influential “American Bandstand” TV show out of Philadelphia and had a financial interest in Swan Records as well as owning the publishing company appropriately named SeaLark.

Tom Clay linked a medley of WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW

 IS LOVE (Bacharach/David) and ABRAHAM, MARTIN AND JOHN (Holler) with news clips and dialog on a charted single on Mowest in ’71.

Clay Cole appeared in the rock movie TWIST AROUND THE CLOCK and recorded its title song (Kaye/Springer/Cole) on Imperial in 1961.

King Coleman was the lead vocal on

 (Do The) MASHED POTATOES Part 1 (Rozier) by Nat Kendrick & The Swans on Dade in 1960; Kendrick was the drummer but the track was really an unauthorized James Brown session with James playing piano.

Al ‘Jazzbo’ Collins recorded spoken word singles for various labels, 

most notably Brunswick who issued a best-selling double-sided 78 in 1953 of LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD 


THE THREE LITTLE PIGS: two nursery rhymes adapted in 

hipster style by comedian/musician Steve Allen.  

Lucky Cordell recorded various singles including 

THIS IS THE WOMAN I LOVE (Pegue/Lee) on Cotillion in ’69. 

Frankie Crocker rapped on CONFESSION OF LOVE (Taylor) for which he was credited as Frankie ‘Love Man’ Crocker on Turbo in ’69.  

Frankie was also a host on TV.

Rick Dees wrote and recorded a #1 1961 novelty hit called 


The Dixie Drifter aka Enoch Gregory of WWRL New York 

recorded a spoken-word tribute to Dinah Washington, Nat King Cole and Sam Cooke titled SOUL HEAVEN (Vann) on Roulette in ’65.

Dr. Jive aka Tommy Smalls provided the dialog throughout 

PSYCHO (McPhatter/Oliver) by Bobby Hendricks on Sue in ’60.

Les Garland was the DJ voice on WE BUILT THIS CITY (Taupin/Page/Lambert/Wolf) by Starship on RCA in ’85.

E. Rodney Jones cut various singles on Tuff including 

R&B TIME (Jones) in ‘65.  

Boogaloo y’all!

Casey Kasem narrated a single in ‘64 on Warner Bros. 

using the Lennon/McCartney melody AND I LOVE HER;

 it was called LETTER FROM ELAINA.

Brian Lord impersonated President Kennedy on a Frank Zappa

written and co-produced single THE BIG SURFER on Capitol in ’63.

Wink Martindale enjoyed a Top Ten hit on Dot in 1959 with T. Texas Tyler’s narrative DECK OF CARDS.  

Wink was also a successful TV game show host.

Phil McLean charted on Versatile in 1961 with a parody of BIG BAD JOHN called SMALL SAD SAM.

Murray Kaufman aka Murray The K was billed as ‘The Lone Twister’ 

on a single of the Pomus/Shuman song THE LONE TWISTER on 

Atlantic in 1961. He also co-wrote Bobby Darin’s 1958 breathrough 


The Green Door. he Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019

 Jim Lowe topped the charts in 1956 with 

THE GREEN DOOR (Davie/Moore) on Dot Records.

Dick Pike spoke the narration on THREE STARS (Dee) by Ruby Wright on King in ’59


Barney Pip cut a cover of Ian Whitcomb’s 

YOU TURN ME ON on Smash in ’67.

Jack Spector cut a break-in novelty record as Vik Venus Alias Your Main Moon Man called MOONFLIGHT (Siegel) on Buddah in 1969.

Wolfman Jack famously appeared both in the film 

American Graffiti” and on its soundtrack album on MCA in ’73; 

he also turned up on CLAP FOR THE WOLFMAN (Cummings/Wallace/Winter) by The Guess Who

 on RCA in ’74 and also surfaced on CHRISTMAS TEARS WILL FALL (Stonebridge/McGuinness) by Rudi & The Rialtos 

on the UK Gull label in ’76.

Over the years, other resourceful DJ’s 

took on different roles in the music industry.  

For instance, Al Bell and Joe Smith

became major record company executives, Jimmy Bishop 

founded Arctic Records, 

Jerry Blavat aka ‘The Geator With The Heater’ was a partner in the oldies label Lost Nite, Vivian Carter co-founded Vee-Jay Records, 

Nick Cenci co-founded Co & Ce Records, Tom Donahue and 

Bob Mitchell founded Autumn Records,  Quin Ivy founded the 

Quinvy and South Camp record labels, Art Laboe founded 

Original Sound Records, Larry McKinley co-founded 

New Orleans labels Minit and Instant, Gene Norman 

founded GNP Crescendo Records, Tom Shannon 

and Phil Todaro founded Shan-Todd Records and LaBaron Taylor co-founded Revilot Records and Solid Hit.

Among other DJ’s who became successful record producers were 

Ollie McLaughlin, Huey Meaux, John Richbourgand also 

Skipper Lee Frazier who produced the 1968 #1 R&B/Pop smash 

TIGHTEN UP (Bell/Butler) by Archie Bell & The Drells on Atlantic. 

Tommy ‘Snuff’ Garrett became a major west coast pop producer in the 1960’s with Liberty Records for whom he recorded a string of successful orchestral albums as The Fifty Guitars Of Tommy Garrett. He also founded his own record label, Viva. In addition, there was a DJ called Rodney Bingenheimer who befriended and championed a host of 

rock artists in the 70’s and opened his own “English Disco” 

nightclub in Hollywood

DJ Bob Crane went on to star in the 1960’s TV sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes” and let’s not forget Pat Sajak who was also a TV weatherman  and

eventually became the co-host of the long-running game show 

“Wheel Of Fortune”.

Certain Radio DJ’s turned into outstanding songwriters such as 

Joe Allison whose biggest hit was the Jim Reeves’ million-seller 

HE’LL HAVE TO GO and also Roger Christian who co-wrote 

successful 1960’s songs such as Jan & Dean favorites 




Turning overseas, among the various British DJ’s who made records… 

Tony Blackburn sang ballads including the Gerry Goffin & Carole King song SO MUCH LOVE which charted on UK MGM in ’68. 

Dave Dorrell & Chris Mackintosh were part of the team 

\who recorded as M/A/R/R/S which topped the UK charts in ’87 with PUMP UP THE VOLUME/ANITINA (The First Time I See She Dance) (Young/Kane/Colourbox) on 4AD. 

Kenny Everett. DJ. The Door To Yesterday. May 2019. Alan Warner. 2019

 Zany Kenny Everett logged up a Top Ten UK single with SNOT RAP on RCA in ’83 and had earlier 

charted along with Mike Vickers on CAPTAIN KREMMEN (RETRIBUTION) in ’77.

Chris Hill had two UK hits with break-in novelty singles on UK Philips namely

 RENTA SANTA in 1975 and BIONIC SANTA in ’76.

Jimmy Savile covered Ray Stevens’ AHAB THE ARAB on UK Decca in ’62.

Tim Simenon recorded as Bomb The Bass on BEAT DIS (Simenon/Pasquez)

 which reached UK #2 in ’88 on Mister-Ron.

Dave Lee Travis & Paul Burnett combined to record the UK Top 5 hit of 1976 titled

 CONVOY G.B. under the nameLaurie Lingo & The Dipsticks.

Of other enterprising British DJ’s, Bob Holness found fame as the host of the popular TV quiz show “Blockbusters”,

 Mike Raven acted in horror movies, Ian Levine became a record producer, Mark Lamarr hosted TV’s “Never Mind The Buzzcocks”,

 John Peel co-founded Dandelion Records and musician Stuart Colman was both a Radio DJ and record producer. Indeed, certain 

popular Radio DJ’s had prior show business experience including radio actor and announcer David Jacobs, singer and comedian 

Sam Costa and trumpeter/bandleader Jack Jackson. D.J. SONGS

DJ’s have often been referred to in memorable song lyrics ranging from the 1956 classic


 in which Chuck Berry sang 

I’m gonna write a little letter/Gonna mail it to my local DJ,/

It’s a rockin’ rhythm record I want my jockey to play” 

through to ‘So D.J. spin the sounds’, a line in Rod Temperton’s song BURN THIS DISCO OUT 

which Michael Jackson performed on his 1979 landmark album ‘Off The Wall”.



Aretha Franklin Mr. D.J. High Res. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019 May.

 MR. D.J. (5 For The D.J.) (Aretha Franklin) by Aretha Franklin

Arr: Gene Page/Pro: Jerry Wexler & Aretha Franklin (Atlantic: 1975)



by Anthony & The Sophomores

 (Mercury: 1963)

PLEASE MR D.J. (Merle Haggard) by Merle Haggard

Pro: Fuzzy Owen (Capitol: 1965)

THEY’RE PLAYIN’ OUR SONG (John Jarrard/Bob DiPiero/Mark D. Sanders)

 by Neal McCoy

Pro: Barry Beckett (Atlantic: 1995)


Another country favorite.

THOSE D.J. SHOWS (William Robinson) by The Supremes

Prod: Smokey Robinson (Motown: rec.1961, unissued until 1986) 

'I dig the records that they play'.

WHO STOLE THE D.J. (Willard Smith/Jeff Townes/Irving Szathmary) by

 DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

Pro: J. Townes (Jive: 1991) 

More recent contenders included DJ GOT US FALLIN’ IN LOVE 

by Usher Featuring Pitbull (LaFace: 2010),

 MR. D.J. by Missy Elliott (The Gold Mind: 1999), MUSIC by Madonna

 (Maverick: 2000) 

in which she sings 

Hey Mister D.J. put a record on”, 

and PLAY THAT SONG by Train (Columbia: 2016) 

which borrowed the melody of the 1939 classic song HEART AND SOUL. 



The Door To Yesterday 16 DJS. Alan Warner. May 7, 2019

 D.J. (David Bowie/Brian Eno/Carlos Alomar) by David Bowie

Pro: David Bowie & Tony Visconti (RCA: 1979) 

'I am a D.J., I am what I play' 

(David Bowie’s lyric to STARMAN also references a D.J.)

D.J. FOR A DAY (Tom T. Hall) by Jimmy ‘C’ Newman (Decca: 1963)

E.S.P (Dee-Lite) by Dee-Lite

Pro: Dee-Lite (Elektra: 1990) '

Won't you listen to what the DJ's spinnin’’

FUNKY D.J. (John Gourrier/Ronald Shaab) by Funky Chicken

Pro: John Fred & Ron Shaab (Stone: 1976)

HAVING A PARTY (Sam Cooke) by Sam Cooke

Orch Cond: Rene Hall/A Hugo & Luigi Prod. (RCA: 1962)

 ‘Played by the D.J. on the radio’

HEY, MR. D.J. (Ronnie Neuville/Kay Gee/Leon Ware/Zane Grey) by Zhané 

(Flavor Unit: 1993) 

Song featured a sample of LOOKING UP TO YOU (Leon Ware/Zane Grey) by Michael Wycoff.

HEY, MR. DJ (Keep Playin' This Song) (Timmy Allen/Larry Campbell/Jolyon Skinner) by Backstreet Boys

Pro: Timmy Allen & Larry Campbell (Jive: 1997)

LAST NIGHT A D.J. SAVED MY LIFE (Mike Cleveland) by Indeep

Pro: Mike Cleveland & Reggie Thompson (Sound Of New York: 1982) US #10 R&B in ’83, #2 Dance, UK #13

LET’S GROOVE (Part 1) (John Whitehead/Gene McFadden/Victor Carstarphen/Leon Huff) by Archie Bell & The Drells

Pro: Messrs. Whitehead, McFadden, Victor Carstarphen & Leon Huff (TSOP: 1975)

 Just tell the D.J. to play your favorite tune’

MR. D.J. (Van McCoy) by Van McCoy (Rock ‘n: 1961)

MR. D.J. (5 For The D.J.) (Aretha Franklin) by Aretha Franklin

Arr: Gene Page/Pro: Jerry Wexler & Aretha Franklin (Atlantic: 1975)

PLEASE MR. DISC JOCKEY (William Miller/Billy Smith) by The Sensations 

Featuring Yvonne Mills (Atco: 1956)

PLEASE MR D.J. (Merle Haggard) by Merle Haggard

Pro: Fuzzy Owen (Capitol: 1965)

THEY’RE PLAYIN’ OUR SONG (John Jarrard/Bob DiPiero/Mark D. Sanders) by Neal McCoy

Pro: Barry Beckett (Atlantic: 1995) 

Another country favorite.

THOSE D.J. SHOWS (William Robinson) by The Supremes

Prod: Smokey Robinson (Motown: rec.1961, 

unissued until 1986) 

'I dig the records that they play'.

WHO STOLE THE D.J. (Willard Smith/Jeff Townes/Irving Szathmary) by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

Pro: J. Townes (Jive: 1991) 

More recent contenders included 

DJ GOT US FALLIN’ IN LOVE by Usher Featuring Pitbull (LaFace: 2010), 

MR. D.J. by Missy Elliott (The Gold Mind: 1999), 

MUSIC by Madonna (Maverick: 2000) in which she sings

 “Hey Mister D.J., put a record on”, 

and PLAY THAT SONG by Train (Columbia: 2016) 

which borrowed the melody of the 1939 classic song 


Rock on.

Alan Warner

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