Art Labo, a revered mainstay of Los Angeles radio who delighted local fans and mainstream listeners with "oldies but goodies" for more than half a century, has died. He is 97 years old.
In a post on his official Twitter account, Labo died of pneumonia on October 7 at his home in Palm Springs.
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Born Art Egnoon on August 7, 1925, in Salt Lake City, Labeau served in the Navy during World War II and arrived in Los Angeles in 1955, just as rock 'n' roll was taking off. In the mid-'40s, along with DJing in San Francisco and Palm Springs, his first Los Angeles radio stations were KXLA-AM (later KRLA) and KPOP, with baritone Labo playing live midnight shows until 4 a.m. At a local drive-thru restaurant – took orders and became familiar with night owls. Later, he hosts an after-school KPOP show and teenagers gather at the intersection of Sunset and Cahuenga.
Labo then began a series of dance concerts that drew crowds in El Monte, east of Los Angeles, and the biggest names on the tour were Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles. It was during the live broadcast that Labo realized that most of the requests from the public were about old recordings. He regularly performed songs by white, Hispanic, and black artists, and the event was a cross-cultural splash in Los Angeles. Ten years later, he'd move it to the oldies-but-goodies Art Labo, a Sunset Strip club that was formerly Ciro's and later the Comedy Store.
Not only did he popularize the concept of rolling claps of the past—often "on demand" —he also produced many artists' oldies and goodies LPs that sold very well nationally . The first release on his Original Sounds label in 1957 collected the biggest hits of the previous two years, such as "Earth Angel", "In the Still of the Night" and "Closed in the Jungle". The album spent 183 weeks on the Billboard 200 chart, roughly 3.5 years, and peaked at number one on the Billboard 200. 12. More than a dozen issues followed, usually in a year. 3-5 people in circle top twenty.
The concept of nostalgia exploded into the pop culture mainstream in 1961 when Los Angeles band Little Caesar and the Romans scored a national top ten hit with "The Oldies But Goodies (Remind You).
Hollywood label Original Sound Lab also made original recordings. His first two releases, "Tin Beat" by percussionist Sandy Nelson and "Bongo Rock" by Preston Epps, became national pop hits in 1959.
Meanwhile, Labo continues to play the old game. By 1970, he had moved the format to KPPC-FM and there was a wave of national nostalgia for the 1950s and early '60s, thanks to the success of Rick Nelson's Garden Party and the bright future of American graffiti George Lucas. In January 1974, the film " Good Days " premiered.
When Los Angeles radio station KRTH-FM went old school in 1972, Labo was an athlete and mentor.
Labeau returned to KRLA in 1975 and spent the rest of the decade there. He was a renaissance man at the station, serving as program director, sales consultant and other roles. In 1979, he became its senior vice president.
He worked at KFI for a few years before starting his third stint at KRLA in 1985, which lasted nearly a decade. In 1994, his popular Sunday Night Killer Oldies Show became a nationally syndicated hit.
Laboe remains an LA institution, and his latest show is produced over the course of a week and airs on October 9. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Labo is on permanent display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
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