This past week has certainly been filled with its share of losses in the entertainment industry: Michael jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, and Billy Mays.
I don't want these posts to become a regular obituary, but I hope you'll indulge me in another tribute to someone who passed away 14 years ago this week, but who was very important in the radio and music industry.
Wolfman Jack died July 1, 1995 of a heart attack at the young age of 57. He was well-known as a radio personality (sorry, I don't like the term DJ) in the 1960's and 70's, and even appeared on television in the 70's.
Born in Brooklyn Jan. 21, 1938, Wolfman, whose real name was Robert Weston Smith, based his character and handle in part on the style of blues legend Howling Wolf. His howl, growly voice, and charismatic personality endeared him to millions around the country and even abroad. He worked at numerous radio stations, including the powerhouse XERF-AM in Ciudad Acuna Coahuila, Mexico, across the river from Del Rio, Texas, from 1958 to 1966. He was also an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church, and was even officially known as "Reverend Jack".
He's been referred to in several songs, including the Guess Who's "Clap For The Wolfman", "Wolfman Jack" by Todd Rundgren, and "Ramble On Rose" by the Grateful Dead. A year after his death, he was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.
Shortly after returning home from a promotional tour for his autobiography, Wolfman reportedly collapsed and died in his wife's arms after giving her a glad-to-be-home hug. But his legend will never be forgotten, especially by those of us who grew up listening to that howl.
Enjoy the music.