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Wink Martindale addresses the crowd at the Ron Jacobs memorial.
(That's Kevin Gershan in the baseball cap sitting to his right.)
by Rollye James
Rollye: “Claude Hall’s health is improving! I wanted to start on a happy note, because once
again, it’s been a week filled with sad news. Claude will weigh in a few times further down
the column and I’m grateful for his contributions. On to the news I’d rather not have to
write… The first email I got was from Neil Ross. It was followed quickly by one from
Kevin Gershan, and then the flood began: Brent Seltzer died. Brain tumor at 68.
“Brent was truly one of radio’s good guys— on and off the air. He was a dedicated and
creative newsman dating back to the late ‘60s when he had the daunting task of making news
content relatable to album rock listeners (at a time when regularly scheduled news was an
FCC license component, regardless of format). Brent was more than a reporter and anchor—
he was a story teller, making news relatable to any audience. After such legendary AOR
outlets as San Diego’s KGB and Los Angeles’ Mighty Met, KMET, he somehow would up
working with me at LA’s KPOL in the latter ’70s. I’m sure he was hired for KPOL’s FM
counterpart, KZLA, which was attempting to take a run at KNX-FM, but he was saddled with
also doing news for KPOL, and I was grateful for it.”
Brent Seltzer with his wife and business partner, Meg McDonald
Photo courtesy of Talkers.com
Rollye: “Talkers.com founder Michael Harrison was close to Brent since the two first
worked together in the early ’70s. Last fall when Brent had surgery, Harrison wrote of his
ordeal. The hope was for a full recovery but that was not meant to be. Click here
story in the November 30, 2015 column. Last week, Michael had the sad task of writing in
memoriam. Here’s a link
for the April 19th column. (Note the link to an interview with Brent
from 2014, or click here
.) Brent was able to reinvent himself repeatedly. For instance, few
knew he was an early adopter of computer technology. You can read about that and more on
“Brent’s passing is in addition to the shocking news of the death of Prince, and the lesser
covered loss of Lonnie Mack
. Lonnie’s guitar work was the envy of guitarists world wide. A
group as diverse as Stevie Ray Vaughn, Bootsy Collins, Duane Allman, Jeff Beck and Ted
Nugent, consider him a major influence and one of the true guitar greats. Casual fans know
him for his instrumental hit, Memphis from 1963, but that barely scratches the surface of his
talent. Hearing of his passing reminded me that he recorded several vocals over the years,
including Rings before Cymarron— there’s a great story behind that song which some slow
news week I’ll share. Meanwhile, here’s a couple more shots from the Ron Jacobs
Boss Jock Steve Clark shares his memories.
Magic Broadcasting’s Don McCoy had some great stories too.
Gary Strobl (archivist for Henry Diltz, who provided the Ron Jacobs Memorial photographs):
“I am sorry about my tardiness but I have been multi-tasking here at the Diltz studio while
Henry has been on the road doing slide shows with Pattie Boyd. I am also trying to finish our
manuscript on the original phenomenon of The Monkees. The publishers in England are
patiently waiting for the all of the words to be sent. Let us keep the light of Ron's brilliance
Rollye: “Absolutely no need to apologize Gary. My thanks to you for allowing me to share
the shots. It’s tough to lose old friends, especially the kindred spirits”…
Claude Hall: “I miss the old days and I miss my friends, most of them gone now, and I
especially miss Lee Baby Simms. He enjoyed life more than the ordinary human being, I
thought. Enjoyed a light about him like a halo even if the halo was warped here and there and
blinking now and then in retirement. His emails were wild and zany and topics ranged from
his tomatoes out back to the weather, which I suspect was a little bit crazier around his hilltop
than anywhere else in San Francisco.
“Be aware, however, that I’ve always been impressed with the extraordinary intellect of the
even the typical disc jockey. To me, he or she was more intelligent, more knowledgeable, they
all walked in brightness and a fire of creative spirit. This was especially so with Murray the
K, Gary Owens, Don Imus, Bill Randle, Robert W. Morgan, Charlie Tuna and others that
I knew going back to Eddie Hill of WSM, Nashville.
“My grandmother and grandfather missed their old friends. I once drove them out to Lohn,
Texas, to a funeral and sat in the car while they paid tribute to some friend or some distant
relative. They were, in essence, “counting coup,” much as I do now. I went to the funeral
services of L. David Moorhead at the Catholic Church just down the street. He didn’t. His
body was already at some crematorium. I thought that was funny. Just like Moorhead. His
daughter – they’d been estranged for years – was there with her two cute little girls. Because
they hadn’t talked, David never knew he was the grandfather of two cute little girls … the
kind of kids that will rip your heart out. Poor David. Tricia cried. Closure. David’s other
children – legitimate and illegitimate – were not there. Representing radio? Me and Barbara,
Mikel Hunter, and an engineer named Brown that I did not know. I miss L. David
Moorhead. I don’t know how many real friends he had in radio. Quite a few, I’m sure. But
for many years he was the best friend that I had. I could always depend on Moorhead and
George Wilson. I’ve written about Moorhead, the real Moorhead good and bad, in the
collection of short stories called ‘Radio Wars
’, Amazon.com/Kindle Books, and I’m now
working on a quasi-fictional mystery involving George Wilson called ‘George and Me’.
“George Wilson was a good friend. Jack G. Thayer, too. The entire Bobby Vee family. My
wife Barbara would come home from visiting Karen Vee, prepare dinner for me, then get on
the phone with Karen; they were like sisters.
“In many ways, I was in an unusual position with Billboard … a trade journalist who wrote
about his friends. Of course, the position contributed to most of the friends. For which I was
aware and for which I was grateful. Very grateful. Jack G. Thayer was literally a member of
the family. So were others, of course, including Joey Reynolds, Jay Blackburn and Bruce
“I’m venturing into dangerous waters here, because without question I’ll leave out some
names. And there’s always the danger of mentioning someone and them responding, ‘Who
are you?’ But, without question … big time … I miss Lee Baby Simms.
“I can’t remember exactly how we reestablished contact. I was writing a sporadic diatribe,
usually a rant about something I didn’t particularly appreciate, and mailing it out to 40, maybe
more, old friends. ‘Dead Veggies’ was a five-parter about conglomerate radio. Then Larry
Shannon, who was doing a blog he called Radio Daily News, started emailing the diatribe out
to his list of people. So, my sporadic diatribe became a weekly column in Radio Daily News.
Jack Roberts started a weekly blog called Hollywood Hills and he also began sending out my
diatribe. After Larry died, the column appeared only in Hollywood Hills. Then Jack died
because of cancer and I continued emailing my column to a dab more than 800 names that I’d
accumulated. I persuaded Rollye James, a veteran radio personality, to launch the weekly Vox
Jox. And here we are: virtually out at the end of a long list of disc jockeys and most of them
good friends, including the Magnificent Montague, once a radio personality god in Los
Angeles who continued in the ARB long, long after he was no longer on the air.
“And of them all, I probably miss Lee Baby Simms the most. Yes, I ranted when Moorhead
died … that he would leave me stranded out here alone. I no longer had that vast storehouse
of radio knowledge on which to lean. And then George Wilson let cancer, which he’d battled
for years, finally get the best of him. And he was gone and I had leaned on him, too, for
“Lee Baby Simms was always inviting me to drop by for dinner. Bob Weisbuch, currently
still working on a book called “Hitbound” about Lee, took him up on it and dined on perhaps
one or two of those tomatoes from the backyard patch. I wanted to. I intended to. George
Wilson and wife Jackie had been there once and intended to go again.
“Have I mentioned that Lee Baby Simms and I both worshipped George Wilson? We
realized that, truly, George was among the last of the radio gods. Only Chuck Blore was still
around in the great hierarchy of radio other than George. You had Todd Storz and Gordon
McLendon, truly the godfathers of Top 40 along with Bill Stewart, who’d worked for both.
Then Chuck Blore and right there on Blore’s heels was George Wilson. Probably Ron
Jacobs follows George … more because of ‘The History of Rock and Roll’ documentary than
the programming of KHJ.
“Among disc jockeys, especially in the Top 40 realm, I have a personal tendency to place Lee
Baby Simms in the top ten. Yes, I’ve listened many times to Murray the K and even sat in
one day with William B. Williams, who was not Top 40, but could have been. I’ve also heart
Dan Ingram and interview this phenomenal personality and he was Top 40 big time. At one
time, Dan was the most-copied Top 40 radio personality on radio. Period. Disc jockeys
would fly into New York City just to listen to him. And, personally, I loved Jimmy Rabbitt
and the battle that I raged with L. David Moorhead to keep Rabbitt on the air at KMET-FM
I’ve written about long ago. Moorhead spent several hundred dollars in phone bills and
finally fired Rabbitt from Australia when we were down there attending a 2SM Kevin
Donahue media shindig. Yes, I lost my ‘battle’.
“I yet have radio shows on this laptop hosted by Rabbitt and also by Lee. I don’t listen to
them often. They are more in the realm of treasures one has and holds dear to the heart.
These came from various swapmeets that my son John attended in Los Angeles; he bought
them for me. Lee Baby Simms, a collector’s items. Very valuable to some people. Very
valuable to me.
“I was aware of Lee Baby Simms going back to the lawsuit in San Antonio against Lee Baby
Simms and Woody Roberts to keep them off the air. I didn’t know him personally, however,
until long after we were both retired and exchanging emails. From then on, he was a constant
joy to me.
“I feel honored to have known Lee Baby Simms. I’m glad he came along. Yeah, I guess I
miss him more than anyone I know or ever knew. God bless you, Lee Baby Simms.”
Pat O’Day: “Well there Claude old friend. Yes, we have to repair our old bodies from time to
time. Me? I grew a huge brain tumor that was removed three years ago and now feel perfect,
as will you!
“What a great time of life we’ve enjoyed. The thing that should make you feel even better is,
you took full advantage of radio and music as it intertwined to change everything. You made a
name for yourself that was coupled with accuracy, warmth, knowledge, and friendliness. Hey
Pal, those are great accomplishments. So, your old buddy Pat in Seattle is so pleased that
your back on your feet and just wanted to tell you how neat you are! Warmest Regards Claude.
“P.S. I now live on San Juan Island. (75 miles north of Seattle) Still busy selling real estate
and am involved with Seattle’s great addiction hospital, Schick Shadel. We cure alcohol and
drugs in just ten days with a medical treatment.”
Elliot Field: “CH/RJ, Good wishes for continued good health & good information. I'm
happily in the middle of teen update. Somehow 60 & 70 year olds want to be in touch as they
were with Ch. 98 "since 15." They are proud professionals now some retired, some not, but all
in touch with an LA mystique we mutually enjoyed. Nice.”
Claude Hall: “Bob Levinson is an old radio buddy. Did PR for Bill Gavin years ago and
wrote a speech for George Wilson, head of Bartell, that George said was one of the best talks
he ever gave or heard. Will, Bob has a new bestseller out. It's "The Stardom Affair.
will be at Skylight Books in Los Angeles at 7:30 p.m. May 10. Refreshments will be served.
Drop by and buy a copy. His other mysteries, yes, have featured showbiz, including the
Rollye: “It took a while for me to find the link to Bob's book on Amazon. He's Robert S.
Levinson as an author. It was good to hear from Bob in last week’s Vox Jox. I believe he’s
the same Bob Levinson I knew in 1983 when I sat on the board of directors for the Beach
Music organization John X. Aragona headed. Bob produced the Annual Beach Music
Awards in Myrtle Beach that year, and the taping was epic. Started in the early evening and at
close to 3 AM it was still going on. Less hearty souls left, some less than serious fans
complained, but I was thrilled to hear it all.”
Bob Sherwood with an open letter to Scott Shannon: “Congratulations Scott for the public
thanks quite properly accorded you by Robert Lamm when Chicago was finally inaugurated
into the once prestigious Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. There were numbers of us who, for
years, howled against the wind at their inexcusable exclusion to no avail. But it was you, one
of the most talented and longest-lasting R ‘n R jocks in broadcast history, speaking from the
three New York City radio stations that have dominated the market for more than three
decades that kept the flame alive. In spite, I know, of a lot of push-back.
“Without your continuing passionate efforts I’m sure the band would still be on the
outside….a jazz or Pop orchestra. It just proves that the idiots who dominated the balloting
and voting obviously never heard them on the radio, listened to their records nor saw them
live. To hear Terry Kath’s searing, flesh-tearing guitar was to live Rock ‘n Roll.
Had he not tragically died in the early ‘70s Terry’d be spoken of in the same breath as Duane
Allman, Clapton, David Gilmour, Santana, Mark Knopfler and Hendrix. All of whom
could make the guitar talk, cry, scream and shake your emotions to the core. And Danny
Seraphine is the greatest, hardest-driving rock percussionist who ever lived. Full stop.
“The incompetents at The Hall of Fame will live in infamy for keeping out Chicago…. and
Linda Ronstadt for nearly as long. Linda Ronstadt who was the biggest-selling, most
important and influential female rock vocalist for almost all of the 70s and 80s and discovered
and used what became the core of The Eagles as her studio and touring band. No…she wasn’t
Rock ‘n Roll ! But, by golly Abba was ! Let’s see---Elvis, Jerry Lee, Little Richard, Chuck
Berry and Abba. That works. Speaking for fans of Chicago everywhere…..Thank you !
And congratulations again !”
Rollye: “The names not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame tells you everything you need to
know about the leadership of that organization. To name just one: Neil Sedaka. How is that
even possible? Here’s another: Pat Boone. He’s denigrated today for his wimpy versions of
great R&B, but without his covers, millions of white teens across America wouldn’t have been
exposed to the likes of Little Richard, Fats Domino and many more. For that alone he
should be inducted. Dot Records’ Randy Wood, who also owned Randy’s Record Mart that
sponsored John R. and others on WLAC playing some of the best R&B music ever heard,
knew exactly how to get that music to the general public. The conduit was a squeaky clean,
all-American, good looking’ guy. The watered down sound that resulted is somewhat
laughable today— but in the mid to latter ‘50s, Pat Boone was part and parcel of rock & roll.
Unless the goal is to rewrite history, it’s impossible to be true to the era without including him.
“But back to Bob Sherwood and his quest to determine if “our” Danny Davis was his Danny
Davis. Sounds like I got all the background right, but maybe drew the wrong conclusion.
Seems like Bob’s Danny Davis may well have been the Nashville Brass band leader”…
Morris I. Diamond: “Hello All.....needless to say, I for one am thrilled and delighted to know
that Claude is on the road to recovery. He couldn't get a better care-taker than Barbara.
“To Bob Sherwood - you are correct, there was another Danny Davis who was a band leader,
trumpet player, vocalist and producer, best known as Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass.
He recorded for Mike Curb's Curb Records. He passed away in Nashville at the age of 83.
The Danny Davis that we all knew well did work for a bunch of labels through his career. I
go back with him to both of our early days when I was a record promoter in NYC and then
again when we moved to LA. I used to invite him to our card games where he got a kick out
of playing cards along with Telly Savalas and a few other film personanlities. But he did
have a bunch of gigs with various record companies through the years. At one time I
kiddingly told him that the only place he wasn't fired from was Cape Canaveral. I'm sorry he
is not well now but knowing him as I do, he'll be back on his feet again in due time.
“Rollye, in your book section, can you add a book that I wrote a couple of years ago: THE
beginning as Band Boy with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 1940...I joined the band a month
after they hired Frank Sinatra and the rest is all in the book. Many many photos. Thanks.”
Rollye: “It is my pleasure, Morris. Looks like a real treasure trove of memories. Speaking
of memories, Don Graham filled in a few blanks in “our” Danny Davis’ career:”…
Don Graham: “In addition to last week’s VoxJox update on “our” Danny Davis, and with the
help of Morris Diamond and Charlie Barrett, per your request, we send along the following
photo from Morris. Danny grew up in South Philly… He became a feature on Local
TV/Dance Shows, telling stories, etc… At an early age he got summer jobs as a
“porch-entertainer” at Grossinger’s in the Catskills, while big names played the main room..
Eddie Fisher was one of them and he and Fisher became close friends… Then started
booking acts into the Latin Casino/Cherry Hill… On to nat’l promo with Hill & Range, Big
Top Records… then on to Colpix Records.. next cam Phil Spector & Philles Records…
Became nat’l promo working for Lester Sill & Screen Gems on Sunset… next it was nat’l for
Motown, then Casablanca… prior to retirement he formed a local delivery service entitled
“Music Express”…this is probably more than you want to know.”
Danny Davis these days (2nd from right)
Rollye: “But how did he look back in the day? Ron Brandon provides a picture from one of
the RMR Conventions in Atlanta in the '70s:”
Ken Dowe (to Claude): “Your dad must have been some kind of a man. Shooting down
electrical lines connected to the house while a flood is washing it away. That's great! Sounds
like a movie scene— Something my own dad might have done. Mine was tossing me a .22
rifle before dawn when I was 5 or 6 and we needed to shoot some squirrels for supper. As the
sun would rise, he'd leave me beside a tree grown tall and mighty from the antediluvian soil
of past Mississippi River floods. "Be quiet, and shoot when you see one. But, don't leave this
area. I'll be back this afternoon."
“My family was a one of sharecroppers, self starting high achievers, and blue collared hard
scrabble folk. All shrewd, resourceful, and as tough as the hide of a cracking bull whip. My
paternal grandfather could neither read nor sign his name, but he listened to the news on his
Admiral Bakelite radio, was a political power, and one of the most sagacious fellows I have
ever known. I would not have traded him, or the rest of my wild and wooly family, for the
“I’ll bet you are as grateful as I for a gift I am certain you must have enjoyed during your
years away from Texas in New York. You and I could always walk the canyons of NYC, or
those that line the Texas border alongside Old Mexico, and be perfectly at home in either
venue. Know how many can do that? Not a lot, friend Claude.
“Sitting in board rooms off Madison Avenue, it always amused me that the fellow with whom
the negotiators were discussing business was no Ivy Leaguer, merely W.D. Dowe's boy from
behind the Cotton Curtain. But— I could also ride and shoot like a cowboy. Not they...
Advantage, always the Cowboy. Of course, I was forever afraid someone would look behind
the curtain and find out it was only W.D.'s ...little boy! Haha.
“Did you ever think how unique it is to be one of the good old boys, like you and me? Able to
instantly engage an alternate and entirely different personality? As Glen Campbell liked to
say, "That's kinda cool!"
"I can still hear the soft southern winds in the live oak trees,
And the Williams boys they still mean a lot to me, Hank and Tennessee.
I guess we're all gonna be what we're gonna be,
So what do you do with good ol' boys like me?" (Lyrics, Bob McDill)
“I’d have liked your dad. He reared a good friend of mine, Claude Hall. "He still means a
lot to me..." You stay well!”
: “Like father like son, we’ll close with a link
from Claude’s son, Andrew Hall
first article for the Good Men Project, seemingly about basketball, but really about Claude.
Claude, you did good raising that one!
“And just as I was about to upload the column I learned Billy Paul died
. At first I didn't
believe it as his death was recently an internet hoax, but sadly, this time it's real. Paul, known
mostly for his biggest hit from 1972, Me and Mrs. Jones, was 81.”