Wolfman Jack was one of the best-known (and wilder) radio voices of my youth. Born Robert Smith in 1938, he gained fame in the 60s via broadcasts on high-powered Mexican radio stations sitting near the US border. Eventually he supplied syndicated shows to stations worldwide–I certainly happened across those occasionally in the mid 70s. One of the more notable moments of his career was his appearance in American Graffiti. He died of a heart attack in 1995.
There’s a subgenre in rock of hit songs featuring Wolfman Jack–perhaps this was spawned in part by Graffiti? Two such tunes were AT40 hits in 76. “Hit the Road, Jack” by the Stampeders (see–I told you this one would get mentioned again), where “Cornelius,” supposedly one of the band members, tries to hit WJ up for a place to crash; and “Did Your Boogie (With Your Baby)” by Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids, in which he’s more a narrator, helping you flash back to those teenage romances of yesteryear. The most successful song of this type made its splash two years earlier. It was both tribute/homage to WJ and comeback/last hurrah for the Guess Who (man, did they do some excellent stuff in 69-70, or what?). The ol’ Wolfman was given fairly free rein to run loose with his schtick. It’s #13 this week, heading toward a peak of #6.
Yesterday, jb at The Hits Just Keep On Comin’, one of my favorite music blogs, was kind enough to provide a link to my humble abode here. If you’re visiting from there, welcome! I hope you’ll find a few things to enjoy and want to return occasionally. Many thanks, jb!
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