Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On legendary radio DJ Hollywood Frankie Crocker

When I think of why I have “good ears,” it’s not only because of my parents (who played “everything” at home) but also Frankie Crocker who I owe a huge debt of gratitude to.
Frankie played all genres of music from R&B to jazz to Latin Jazz to disco to funk on down. Everything. If it was good he played it. And he told you just THAT. And that was the era when Top 40 radio was king, where you’d hear the same songs over and over again. But Frankie didn’t care- he played what HE liked. As a teenager it was a real musical education and later I “graduated” to pure jazz stations and such, but Frankie was just awesome. And my own radio programming- where I’ll play everything down to hip-hop in Spanish- is due to absorbing that philosophy, as well as learning from my radio mentor at WBAI-FM 99.5 NYC, the also late, great Fred Geobold.
I loved listening to Frankie. And I mean LISTENING. Not like today where I’m so busy that music is generally in the background while I’m on the computer. LISTENING to the great stuff he played like Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band (thank you Frankie for turning me on to my all-time favorite group!) as well as listening to the wisdom he instilled. The guy talked on all subjects- it wasn’t the typical patter between hits that you heard elsewhere. He spoke on relationships and about LIFE. And living it to the fullest.
The guy was also, as Morris Day would say, COOL. I’m talking c-o-o-l, COOL. He was “Hollywood” Frankie Crocker and he dressed the part. And he was wise as well. In a very real way, although I rarely saw his face, he was a hero to me.
Ironically, Frankie’s theme song, Moody’s Mood For Love, was also my Mom’s all-time fave so there was even a stronger connection.
If I’m off by a word or two forgive me, because it’s been decades now, but I remember him always signing off with…

I hope you live to be a 100.
And me 100 minus a day.
So I never know.
That nice people like you have passed away.

And I’m so sorry that you have passed away. RIP, Frankie. You were truly great.

Evan Ginzburg

No comments:

Post a Comment