Legendary Southern California Radio DJ Art Laboe Passed Away

The radio legend Art Laboe passed away at 97

DJ Art Laboe passed away at his home in Palm Springs, California on Friday night, following a case of pneumonia, as confirmed by Joanna Morones, a spokesperson from Dart Entertainment, Laboe’s production company. During his eight-decade broadcasting career, the pioneering radio DJ gave poignant song dedications to generations of devoted listeners.

By planning live DJ events at drive-in restaurants that drew in white, Black, and Latino listeners, Laboe is credited with helping eliminate segregation in Southern California. The expression “oldies, but goodies” is also credited to Laboe. He founded Original Sound Record, Inc. in 1957, and in 1958 the compilation album “Oldies But Goodies: Vol. 1” was released. This album spent 183 weeks on the Billboard Top 100 chart.

After hosting the “The Art Laboe Connection Show,” California radio DJ Art Laboe later gained a sizable following among Mexican Americans. His baritone voice inspired fans to ring in with dedications and requests for rock ‘n’ roll love songs from the 1950s. His programs offered a platform for distant relationships to connect by dedicating music requests and relaying messages.

Before California radio DJ Art Laboe passed away, he said, “My favorite place to be is behind that microphone. I have one of the best jobs in the world, playing the music, interacting with our listeners, doing their dedications and connecting them with their loved ones.”

Through the years, Laboe kept up a sizable fan base and evolved into a promoter of older rock ‘n’ roll bands that never lost their appeal to Mexican-American oldies fans. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland has a permanent exhibit highlighting Laboe’s accomplishments.

Morones was with Laboe prior to returning to the radio station to complete the production of his next show. “I went to go see him and said my goodbyes because we knew it was inevitable,” said Morones. “I said, ‘Art Laboe, I’ve got to get back to the station to produce your radio show, I’ll see you in a little while.’”

Art Laboe passed away at 97.

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