Legendary Chicago DJ Dick Biondi passes at 90

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Legendary Chicago DJ Dick Biondi passes at 90

Postby radiofan » Sat Jul 01, 2023 8:27 pm

Dick Biondi, Chicago’s definitive voice of Top 40 radio, dies at 90
Influential in advancing the careers of Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis, among many others, Biondi was the first disc jockey to play the Beatles on American radio
By Robert Feder | Special to the Sun-Times Jul 1, 2023, 8:03pm PDT


Dick Biondi, a broadcasting dynamo whose 67-year career spanned the history of rock ’n’ roll in America and defined Top 40 radio for a generation, never lost his youthful enthusiasm for the music, his buoyant delivery on the air or his boundless affection for his fans.

The golden oldie disc jockey known as “The Wild I-Tralian” died June 26, according to an announcement by his family. He was 90.

Biondi, who claimed to have been fired from 25 radio stations over his lifetime, never wanted to retire and rarely took vacations. Until he was sidelined with health issues in April 2017, he had been a fixture at classic hits WLS 94.7-FM since 2006.

At his peak as nighttime personality on Top 40 powerhouse WLS 890-AM from 1960 to 1963, Biondi commanded an unheard-of 60 percent share of all listeners, attracting millions of adoring teens in 38 states and Canada. During that time, he was twice voted the No. 1 disc jockey in America by Billboard magazine.

Influential in advancing the careers of Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis, among many others, Biondi was the first disc jockey to play the Beatles on American radio, debuting “Please Please Me” in February 1963. He emceed the Beatles and Rolling Stones in concert.

“Dick Biondi helped introduce rock ’n’ roll to a generation of kids, including me,” C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb said in his induction of Biondi to the Radio Hall of Fame in 1998. “He was loud, fast talking, full of platter chatter and crazy stunts,” said Lamb, who grew up listening to him in Lafayette, Indiana.

The late radio consultant Mike “Hot Hits” Joseph once called Biondi the single best DJ in rock radio history. “He sounds and sounded like a rock jock should,” Joseph said.

What was the secret to his longevity in the business? “I have never lost the drive and the desire,” Biondi told me. “Radio is the greatest way of communicating in the world. Nobody, nobody can get more intimate than your voice getting into somebody’s head.”

Born September 13, 1932, in Endicott, New York, Richard Orlando Biondi made his radio debut at age 8. It happened courtesy of Bob Morgan, an announcer at WMBO in Auburn, New York, where Biondi’s grandparents lived. “I was standing outside his studio watching him, and he called me in and told me to read a commercial for Brotan’s, a women’s clothing store in Auburn,” Biondi said. From that moment on, he was hooked.

Read the full story here: https://chicago.suntimes.com/obituaries ... isc-jockey
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
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