PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Artwork Laboe, the pioneering DJ credited with serving to finish segregation in Southern California, has died. He was 97.
Laboe died Friday night time after catching pneumonia, stated Joanna Morones, a spokesperson for Laboe’s manufacturing firm, Dart Leisure.
Laboe’s final present was produced final week and broadcast Sunday night time.
Laboe is credited with serving to finish segregation in Southern California by organizing dwell DJ exhibits at drive-in eateries that attracted whites, Blacks and Latinos who danced to rock-n-roll and shocked an older technology nonetheless listening to Frank Sinatra and Large Band music.
Laboe can also be credited with coining the “oldies, however goodies” phrase. In 1957, he began Unique Sound File, 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 Nineteen Fifties-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, specifically, a platform to talk to their family members 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 is a function Laboe stated he felt honored to play.
“I do not choose,” Laboe stated in a 2018 interview with The Related Press at his Palm Springs studio. “I like folks.”
He usually informed a narrative a couple of lady who got here by the studio so her toddler might inform her father, who was serving time for a violent crime, “Daddy, I really 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 am on the Exterior (Wanting In)” and Battle’s “Do not Let No One Get You Down” spoke of perseverance and want to be accepted.
Born Arthur Egnoian in Salt Lake Metropolis to an Armenian-American household, Laboe grew up through the Nice Despair 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 have not let go since,” Laboe stated.
He moved to California, attended Stanford College and served within the U.S. Navy throughout World Battle II. Ultimately, 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.
When the USA entered World Battle II, Laboe served within the Navy. He later returned to Southern California space, however a radio station proprietor informed the aspiring radio announcer he ought to work on turning into a “radio character” as an alternative. As a DJ for KXLA in Los Angeles, Laboe purchased station time and hosted dwell in a single day music exhibits from drive-ins the place he’d meet underground rockabilly and R&B musicians. “I received my very own built-in analysis,” Laboe stated.
He was one of many first DJs to play rock-n-roll in California
Laboe quickly turned 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 chunk 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 turned 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 beginning to a brand new youth subculture.
Laboe maintained a robust following all through the years and remodeled right into a promoter of growing old rock-n-roll acts who by no means light 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 (92.3) 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 am So Lonely I Might Cry,” wrote essayist Adam Vine. Later that yr, Laboe returned to the Los Angeles airwaves on one other station.
Lalo Alcaraz, a syndicated cartoonist and tv author who grew up listening to Artwork Laboe in San Diego, stated the DJ maintained a robust following amongst Mexican People for generations as a result of he at all times performed Latino, white and Black artists collectively on his exhibits. Laboe additionally did not seem to evaluate his 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 by music,” Alcaraz stated. “He introduced us collectively. That is 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 wanting guys within the crowd. I imply, they appear scary,” Nogales stated. “Then Artwork comes out they usually simply soften. They love him.”