KRLA Los Angeles Was Rock and Roll Radio Powerhouse 50s-60s

KRLA Los Angeles Was Rock and Roll Radio Powerhouse 50s-60s – Top DJs

Last Sat night was a treat with  Ride Radio (Seattle) and/or Top Shelf Oldies playing the Top 50 from L.A. Powerhouse KRLA… One of the best surveys ever from this week in 1962 (Oct 26) as below…Fine guest DJ sitting in for the great Johnny G ….just heard #18 and #17  Torture by Kris Jensen and Leah by Roy Orbison. Don’t miss this Memory Flogger on future Saturnight nights, featurly various local, hometown surveys from the Golden Era… sounds you haven’t heard in years will bring back great memories. For now, we’ll highlight some of the show’s survey hits and other multi-media from that great LA station some of you probably grew up with.  Let us know what you think and we’ll try to bring you some more ‘Hometown Countdowns ‘ surveys from various city and highlight some of the songs ini the future… After we hear the #50 hit, we’ll have  a visit with original KRLA DJ , legendary Huggie Boy….

Music notes bouncing up and down


Let’s start things off with highlights from the above survey, counting backwards starting with #50 and the great Paul Anka and Esso Besso,  a little bossa nova thing from Paul Anka

 #50 from the KRLA Top 50 week of Oct 22, 1962
Picking out some  of the other highlights before we get to the Top Five…

Checking in at #47 it’s   by Carla Thomas – her answer song to  to Sam Cooke’s original ‘Bring It On Home to Me’


 #47  CARLA THOMAS ‘I’ll Bring It On Home To You’


We’ll Get Back to the survey in a minute, but let’s say hello to the top DJs of the Golden Era


Old moving animated radio speaker glowing



KRLA, PASADENA NOV 6-13, 1960  – Remember any of these DJs. We do -3 would go on to big TV gigs – Wink Martindale as a recording artist, DJ and game show host; Bob Eubanks as a rock and roll promoter (Beatles and others), DJ and game show host; Jim O’Neill as host of Shindig and other things, and Kasey Kasem would come soon to KRLA shortly after this survey. See additional survey and DJs below



As promised, one of LA’s premier DJs, Huggy Boy, who was still announcing up to a few years ago. He has since passed. Others were Hunter Hancock, who also lived long and then there’s Art ‘Mr Oldies But Goodies’ Laboe, who is STILL announcing after all these years… to the mainly large chicano market that LOVES oldies in L.A. KRLA and KFWB were THE stations during the era. We’ll get into the DJs another time…  Hugg was a fixture at KRLA not only in the late 50s and early 60s but years later when KRLA lived on as an ‘oldies’ station. Hugg passed in 2012.

“Huggy Boy” (Dick Hugg) in this rare news story (that we did in 1998) spends time talking about old rock & roll radio, the early days of L.A. rock and a surp…

Classic LA sounds they still love on LA’s Art Laboe show, Mary Wells’ Two Lovers. Wells was Queen of Chicano oldies until she passed prematurely  You’d hear Mary often on Huggy Boy’s show. He probably even interviewed her a time or two

Art Laboe is probably the last remaining active oldies DJ from the era, broadcasting Sunday nights KQIE . He’s a young 90 now and been around since the inception of R and R, helped promote the LA doowop sounds of the Penguins, Larks, Shields and many more on his Oldies But Goodies albums (he also coined the term) Interesting how so many of the LA disc jockies have lasted, at least until recently. Wolfman Jack was another who spend a long time on LA stations including KRLA…

Your Sunday nights are not going to be the same! Legendary Radio DJ Art Laboe is back on Q1047 every Sunday from 6:00pm to midnight! Playing all…

and then there’s THE ONE AND ONLY WOLFMAN JACK who came to KRLA. Here’s a classic aircheck of his

Back to the KRLA survey from the week of Oct 26, 1962….
#40 JIMMY DEAN Little Black Book

The surveys back then had a lot of variety- all genres really including novelty, which you might classify this one by Jimmy Dean, Little Black Book that comes in at #40 this week in 1962

From “Portrait of Jimmy Dean”. Written by Jimmy Dean.
And now, let’s hear an ‘extra’ or ‘bubbling under’  the week of Oct 26, 1962….

Midnight Sun was a jazz standard l, a tune adapted as a pop tune by the 5 Whispers, an instrumental ‘extra’ reminiscent of Santo and Johnny you would have probably heard on KRLA also in 1962

Instrumental. Record released in 1962.
Music notes bouncing up and down
NOW, LET’S HEAR SOME OF THE GREAT JINGLES, INTROS and OUTROS you heard/ are hearing on KRLA thru time travel
 Old moving animated radio speaker glowing

KRLA jingles, DJ intros and sign-offs from the Golden Era of ‘the 11110 Men’ Note the DJ names like then fast-talking Bob Eubanks and and Wink Martindale,another game show host who actually had a hit record (know it?), . KRLA was a true powerhouse, competing heavily against KFWB and later KHJ. Now they’re all memories… The call letters amy still be there but that’s about it… but they live on here!

This clip contains several jingles, DJ intros, and DJ sign-offs from AM Radio station KRLA in Pasadena (Los Angeles) California. The intros and sign-offs…

Moving animated gramophone with notes

From 1961 -one KRLA DJ was especially big on the East Coast, one Dick Biondi, who amazingly , is still on air today on WLS FM Chicago… learning a lot tonight on the Local Countdown show, which airs each week at this time on RIDE or 7-10 pm… Currently Elvis’ Return To Sender #6


BACK TO THE KRLA SURVEY for the week of Oct. 26, 1962

KRLA 10-26-15 tOP 50


Do to time and media constraints, we’re going to jump to the TOP FIVE songs on KRLA the week of Oct.26, 1962…


#5 Bustin Surfboards – Tornadoes

The surf craze is hot and heavy, especially in LA and Currently playing at #5 Bustin Surfboard by the Tornados

Mellow Surf Instrumental Used in the movie Pulp Fiction

#4  CHUBBY CHECKER ‘Popeye’ 

And at #4 a personal favorite, Popeye, from Chubby Checker

Two dances in one from Mr. Ernest Evans. Great value!

#3 THE TIJUANA BRASS – The Lonely Bull

The hometown countdown continues with the new sound of Mexico from Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass with the Lonely Bull at #3


 #2 CRYSTALS – He’s A Rebel

48 down and two to go…Well, you probably already know since we put up the survey (should have kept it a secret)… at #2 it’s Phil Spector‘s Crystals and a song written by Gene Pitney, ‘He’s A Rebel’

Before we hear the #1 hit of the week of Oct. 26, 1962 let’s hear from one more legendary Los Angeles DJ, HUNTER HANCOCK as we go ‘Huntin’with Hunter,’ as his show was called

Hunter Hancock goes back before rock and roll when he broadcast rhythm and blues in Los angeles… and broadcast un until a few years ago. He was perhaps the highest regarded of them all and had a real energetic soung… and helped get rock and roll into the mainstream playing and promoting the LA groups like the Olympics, Penguins and others…

I grandi dj d’America.

#1 FOUR SEASONS – Big Girls Don’t Cry

Drum Roll please…#1 with those boys from Jersey who are on a roll with the Four Season’s second no.1 in a row , ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry, following Sherry, which has dropped down but remains on this survey… Thanks for joining in on this classic KRLA survey on the Hometown Countdown Show… Until next week…It’s the Bopper signing off …Ending up with live performance of the song

We’ll leave you with this survey from KRLA  from 55  years ago next week…  Thanks for listening and viewing .We’ll do it again, perhaps Saturday night simulcast with TOP SHELF OLDIES!

‘ Bring Back Those Memories of El Monte’ Recalls Los Angeles’ Doowop Era



 Memories of El Monte

– Zappa, Penquins Classic

Nostalgic Tribute to Los

Angeles’  ‘Happy Days’ Doowop



Though the song ‘Memories of El Monte‘ came out in 1963,   after the doo-wop era,  it was a perfect  song collaboration of a young Frank Zappa and the Penguins ( of ‘ Earth Angel’ fame) .   Probably due to its late arrival, the song never was a hit on the charts but it’s become an ‘under-the-radar’ classic, especially for those who grew up during the era and remember ‘those wonderful dances in El Monte .’  What makes the song extra special are the   ‘drop in’  songs and mentions of  the popular, largely  Los Angeles- based groups  The Shields, the Five Satins, the Heartbeats, the Medallions and Tony Allen and of course, the Penguins so popular at the El Monte dances.  Famed Los Angeles DJs like Hunter Hancock, Art Laboe (who produced the song-see album cover above- and very much still with us) and Johnny Otis were instrumental in bringing about this music and live performances not only at El Monte,  where, notably, young folks of all races easily mixed.  Frank Zappa wonderfully chronicled these special times and memories , Cleve Duncan and the Penguins sang about them and the aforementioned DJs recounted them in concert and over the airwaves.  Laboe tells below how the Legion Stadium concerts came about, below.


Many years later -in the 1980s and 1990s, Brian Bierne of KRTH DID bring back memories of El Monte but at Los Angeles’ fabled Greek Theater with ‘Legends in Concert  ‘  for one night every year, in October. Though we never saw the original El Monte Legion Stadium,  we could imagine what it was like as nostalgia flowed at the Greek with long-forgotten artists such as TONY ALLEN, GENE CHANDLER, JIMMY JONES to name a few and many more mostly long forgotten one-hit wonders -many of whom hadn’t performed in decades – were brought back for one special night, once a year in October, until that suddenly stopped. (Will have an article on that to come. Bierne continues to host mostly oldies tribute concerts, but nothing like the aforementioned.)


MEMORIES OF EL MONTE  written by FRANK ZAPPA and performed by CLEVE DUNCAN and the PENGUINS  (1963)

I’m all alone.
Feeling so blue.
Thinking about you
And the love we once knew.
And each time I do,
It brings back those memories
Of El Monte.

Remember the dance.
I held you so tight.
The Satins were singing
In the still of the night.
You gave me your heart
And your love undying.
Now I’m alone…
I’m sitting here crying.


If only they had
Those dances again,
I’d know where to find you,
And all my old friends.
The Shields would sing…
“You cheated. You lied…”
And the Heartbeats…
“You’re a thousand miles away…”
And the Medaillons with “The Letter” and…
“Sweet words of his mortality…”
Marvin and Johnny with…
“Cherry Pie…”
And then, Tony Allen with…
“Night owl…”
And I, Cleve Duncan, along with the Penguins,
will sing…
“Earth angel
Earth Angel
Will you be mine?”
At El Monte.


If I could go back
To those days of the past,
I’d show you a love…
A love that would last.
Oh, I remember
Those wonderful dances
In El Monte.
In El Monte.
“Earth angel
Earth Angel
Will you be mine?”
At El Monte

Art Laboe and the

El Monte Legion Stadium

Art Laboe

If Ol’ H.H. was the father of R&B radio in Los Angeles…Art Laboe can be credited as the father of Rock N’ Roll radio in the City of Angels. In 1955 Art made his debut in Los Angeles as a deejay for radio station KXLA, although Hunter Hancock had been in Los Angeles playing rhythm and blues for some time, Laboe was the first to play Rock N’ Roll. In 1950 Laboe started doing his shows from Scrivner’s Drive-In Restaurant chain (then only numbering three). As the chain grew so did Art’s audience, his live dedication shows drew groups and car clubs from all corners of Los Angeles County. At the time most of the drive-ins could only support about thirty cars. Art needed more room so Scrivner’s built a huge drive-in on Imperial and Western that could accommodate 200 cars; the hill top restaurant may have been the first low rider Mecca in the county. Art claims his connection with the people of Los Angeles especially the Chicano community started during his time at Scrivner’s. Teens had a place where they could listen to “their” music and also a place to be heard, Laboe claims to have aired 25,000 dedications from the restaurant chain in five years. His popularity prompted concert promoter Hal Zieger and bandleader Johnny Otis to hire him to emcee their live shows. At his first show held at the Shrine Auditorium some time in 1957 Art received such a favorable response that he became a regular, hosting shows at the Orpheum, United Artist and paramount Theaters. During this period Art also started to emcee dances on the outskirts of Los Angeles’ city limits. Dances for teens held within the Los Angeles City limits required a permit from the school board and Art wanted his dances for all ages so he used dance halls in neighboring cities. Although dances were held in Anaheim, Long Beach and San Bernardino it was El Monte, which eventually became his headquarters. Laboe rotated his schedule weekly with El Monte Legions Stadium getting a show every other week. The best in rhythm and blues talent, both national and local were booked at his shows. According to Laboe “We always had our local groups the Penguins, the Carlos Brotheres, Jesse Belvin, the Turks, Bobby Day and Rosie and the Originals, then we would reach out to the groups from the East like Chuck Berry, Jackie Wilson and the Drifters it was all about good times.” The good times continued after the dances were over, car clubs would pack the street around the dance halls showing off their cars and trying their luck with the girls which came streaming out of the dance hall. Not only was El Monte Art Laboe’s weekend headquarters, it also became a magnet for Black, White, Chicano youth and aspiring rock n’ roll stars. Cannibal and the Headhunters, the Jaguars, the Premiers, The Carlos Brothers, the Salas Brothers, Ritchie Valens and Thee Midniters were just a few of the Chicano groups from Southern California’s barrios that performed at El Monte.


He’s survived Hunter Hancock, Huggy Boy and all the other LA DJs and has built a continued following in not only Los Angeles but the entire southwest, largely with the Mexican American population; many of grown up with Art  – not to mention their folks. He’s stayed up with the times, including later music but stays true to the origins, the fellas that were on his Oldies But Goodies albums, many for whom Laboe gave their start… Nice to see this kind of loyallty today in a world where radio personalities don’t last very long. But, more importantly, it’s wonderful to see someone like Laboe who has worked hard and still enjoying his work 6 days a week. Age is only a number but few can or have done what Art has done.  Check out his sunday night show.. Just search  ‘Sunday Night oldies or ‘Art’ and you’ll find him! We all know by now that it was Art who coined the term ‘Oldies But Goodies’ and still sells the iconic albums bearing the name – all 21(?) volumes

A fixture in radio for more than seven decades, Art Laboe started his radio career in 1943 at KSAN/San Francisco. In 1949, he began his lengthy association with Los Angeles radio, hosting an all-night record show from Scrivner’s Drive-In on KXLA (later KRLA).

After a stint at KFWB interviewing celebrities at Ciro’s Restaurant, Laboe returned to Scrivner’s in 1955 for a top-rated afternoon record show on KPOP. Here, he coined the phrase “Oldies But Goodies,” the inspiration for his series of top-selling compilation albums.

In 1972, Laboe joined KRTH/Los Angeles as it became the first full-time “oldies” station. Four years later, he returned to KRLA as a part-owner, on-air personality and program director. Between 1976 and 1981, Laboe led the station from 49th to first place in the ratings and was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

After working at KFI and KRLA during the 1980s, Laboe moved to KGGI in 1991 with Art Laboe’s Sunday Special at KGGI, which is syndicated throughout the western United States. Laboe also hosts The Art Laboe Connection, a nightly request show on KHHT that is heard nationwide on iHeart Radio.

Laboe is a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserve due to his work with the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.

Art Laboe was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2012.

 Keep on going for many more years, Art, the Legend.