Dan Ingram: The Passing of a Legend

Dan Ingram

The voice of legendary disc jokey Dan Ingram was forever stilled on June 24, 2018. Yet his legacy will continue to live on not only through his heirs, but through the many airchecks and videos that survive from his glory days during the 1960s, ’70s and early ’80s at powerhouse station 77 WABC AM, and his dozen-year stint at WCBS-FM from the 1991 to 2003 (as well as other “guest” appearances before retiring permanently from the airwaves in 2007).

What can one say about someone like Dan Ingram? Words are the tool of a writer’s trade, yet words fail me when trying to describe the man known variously as the Thinking Man’s Deejay, the Greatest Top Forty Deejay of All Time, and the Deejay’s Deejay (just to name a few of the honors bestowed upon him). Big Dan, as he was also known, was so many things to so many people—a husband and father, a friend and colleague, a public figure whose work was very well known even to people who were unaware of the name and face behind the voice. It’s not an exaggeration to say he was idolized. He worked at several different radio stations during his storied career, but to millions of people who grew up in the New York/New Jersey metro area during the ’60s and ’70s, he will forever be remembered for his radio show on WABC-AM, which he would often refer to as “the Ingram Mess,” “the Ingram Flingram,” or “the Ingram Travesty.”

Daniel Trombley Ingram was born on September 7, 1934 in Oceanside, New York, to musician parents. He began broadcast work while in his late teens and was heard on several radio stations, including WIL in St. Louis, Missouri, before landing what would arguably be his best-known gig: Afternoons* on New York’s WABC, where he remained until the station switched to a “talk” format on May 10, 1982. Twenty-one years is a long time to be doing anything, and for the entirety of his tenure at the 50,000-watt station—which at night could be heard in at least 38 of the 50 U.S. states—Big Dan managed to make every day, every show, fresh and new by combining routine elements such as the “Ingramisms” he would become known for (like “Kemosabe,” his affectionate salutation for fans, friends and listeners; and “jeg elsker deg” — Norwegian for “I love you”—a phrase with which he frequently ended his shows) with totally unplanned, unrehearsed jokes, wisecracks, and one-liners. His ability to “talk up” the intro to a song, his words perfectly timed to end just as the vocals of the song began, was awe-inspiring.

Dan’s passing at the age of 83 shouldn’t have come as a shock. After all, he was getting on in years and by many accounts had been suffering from ill health for a long time. Yet it was a shock, as it often is whenever someone larger than life, who seems to just keep going and going and going like the Energizer Bunny regardless of any health issues, departs our planet. After all, Dan outlived many of his WABC contemporaries, including Ron Lundy (his best friend and another former WIL alum), Chuck Leonard, Charlie Greer, Bob Lewis, George Michael, and Herb Oscar Anderson (who left us in 2017) just to name a few. But in a very real sense, the passing of Big Dan Ingram was, not to overuse the phrase, the end of an era. Paraphrasing something that Allan Sniffen, proprietor of the excellent Musicradio WABC tribute site and Rewound Radio, said during his live-and-now-archived tribute to Mr. Ingram on June 26, it wasn’t as if there was any chance Dan would be returning to radio even on a part-time basis. That ship had sailed a long time ago. Yet just knowing he was still here among the living, that he was still breathing the same air as us, was comforting. That this is no longer the case is little short of devastating.

Just as there will never be another phenomenon like The Beatles in our lifetime, so there will never be another Dan Ingram. May he rest in peace.

*except for a brief period doing the morning-drive show


Keep scrolling for more content, including relevant tweets, Facebook posts, audio/video of select airchecks and commercials (one of Big Dan’s best-known “side gigs” was that of a voice-over artist), and additional online writeups.


See also:

Dan Ingram page on Wikipedia

WABC Musicradio 77 Tribute Site and Rewound Radio (Allan Sniffen)


For a great read, check out Chris Ingram’s book about his father, Hey Kemosabe: The Days (And Nights) of a Radio Idyll. (Click on the image below to go to the Amazon product page.)

 


Tweets:

On the Web:

Dan Ingram, Irreverent Disc Jockey, is Dead at 83 (New York Times)

Famed Radio DJ Dan Ingram Dead at 83 After Choking on Piece of Steak Amid Parkinson’s Battle (People)

Powerhouse Disc Jockey Dan Ingram Dies at 83 (NPR)

Dan Ingram Dead … Voice of New York Radio (Newsday)

Commercials and Airchecks:

Dan Ingram on WABC-AM, June 12, 1964 (from this page on the fantastic WABC Musicradio 77 tribute site, a destination highly recommended for its wealth of airchecks, photos, and reminiscences)

The following is a perfect example of Dan Ingram’s ability to think on his feet: A portion of his broadcast from the afternoon of November 9, 1965, when unbeknownst to him a major blackout was about to hit most of Northeast America; and the start of his show the next day (November 10)

A typical ending to Dan Ingram’s show, featuring his closing theme, an edit from Billy May’s “Tri Fi Drums”

Dan Ingram on WABC-AM, July 4, 1968 – from the Audiomack uploads of Mark Yurko (who’s shared a bunch of gems on his page from WABC among other stations!)

The last cigarette commercial Dan Ingram ever did

Dan in the flesh! A couple of miscellaneous videos

Facebook Tributes:

Daniel Trombley Ingram
September 7, 1934 – June 24, 2018

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Michael Nesmith Rushed to Hospital, Monkees Tour Canceled

Michael Nesmith, the guitarist for The Monkees, was rushed to the hospital before he took the stage in Pennsylvania Thursday afternoon.

Sources told TMZ Nesmith collapsed during a soundcheck at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, Pennsylvania. The 75-year-old was conscious, but was rushed to the hospital.

Read more: The Monkees Guitarist Michael Nesmith Rushed to Hospital, Tour Canceled

UPDATE (23 June 2018)—Michael Nesmith did not collapse at a soundcheck as previously reported by the website TMZ. See links below for the latest reports.

Further reading:

The Monkees Cancel Remaining Tour Dates Due to Michael Nesmith Illness (Billboard)

The Monkees’ Michael Nesmith Suffers ‘Minor Health Issue’ Forcing the Iconic Band to Cancel Its Last 4 Tour Dates (People)

Brian Wilson to Have Back Surgery, Postpone May Concerts

Sending healing thoughts and good vibrations to Brian Wilson, who is preparing to go under the knife to relieve ongoing back pain. Unfortunately, the forthcoming surgery means that Brian has to postpone his concerts for the month of May.

Let’s all keep Brian in our thoughts and prayers, and remain optimistic that he is back on stage very soon!

Janelle Monae Talks Enlisting Brian Wilson for New Album – Rolling Stone

Janelle Monáe recruited stars from the worlds of indie (Grimes) and hip-hop (Pharrell) to contribute to her new album Dirty Computer. But the very first collaborator that appears on the LP is none other than Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.

“Do you know how much of an honor it is to have him on [the title track]?” she tells Rolling Stone. “I am such a Beach Boys fan.”

Read more: Janelle Monae Talks Enlisting Brian Wilson for New Album – Rolling Stone

“Dirty Computer” by Janelle Monae on YouTube:

Interview with Eddie Brigati of The Rascals – StageBuddy.com

From StageBuddy.com:

We spoke to legendary musician Eddie Brigati, of The Rascals, about what his rock songs mean now he’s in a “balladeer” era, his thoughts on the music industry and his shows at The Cutting Room where he performs beloved songs from his catalogue and Broadway showtunes.

Read here: Interview with Eddie Brigati of The Rascals – StageBuddy.com

The 13th Annual Andy Kim Christmas Show

Andy Kim 2015 crop

The 13th annual Andy Kim Christmas Show will take place at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Toronto, ON (Canada), on 6 December 2017. Begun in 2005 by the singer-songwriter (“Rock Me Gently,” “Sugar, Sugar”) for whom it is named, the Andy Kim Christmas Show has become an annual Toronto tradition, with proceeds benefiting various charitable organizations. Several years ago, Kim began adding a second holiday show in his birth city of Montreal, QC; this year’s event will be held at the Corona Theatre on 16 December 2017.

Proceeds from the Toronto show to benefit The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Gifts of Light program.

Proceeds from the Montreal show to benefit Starlight Children’s Foundation.

To make a donation to either of these organizations, click on the link(s) above.

See also:

Andy Kim Facebook page

Edit 11/18/17—Andy Kim on The Morning Show, AM640, 15 November 2017 (audio only)

Edit 11/25/17—Andy Kim on The Stafford Show, 24 November 2017 (audio only)

Edit 11/25/17—Andy Kim discusses lineup for annual charity show on CP24 (video)

Highlights from a few past Andy Kim Christmas Shows

2008:

2009:

2010:

2011:

2013:

2014:

Herb Oscar Anderson: Farewell to the Morning Mayor of NYC

Sad news for fans of 1960s New York radio—the legendary Herb Oscar Anderson has passed away, according to a post by his son, actor John James, on Herb’s Facebook page. HOA, as he was known to all of his friends and listeners, was 88 years old.

Herb Oscar Anderson was born on May 30, 1928 in South Beloit, Illinois. His mother (both of HOA’s parents were Swedish) spoke very little English, and when his father passed away, young Herb was sent to the Odd Fellows Orphan’s Home in Lincoln, IL. He eventually relocated to Wisconsin, and found his calling during his teen years while reporting on high-school sports. HOA wrote for the Jamesville (WI) Daily Gazette, whose parent company also owned radio station WCLO. He applied for work at the station once it dawned on him that it took the on-air personality some two minutes and change to read copy that he, Herb, had taken four hours to compile (and which would end up in the circular file at the end of its extremely brief lifespan). Deciding that devoting two minutes to a topic was better than four hours, HOA promptly switched careers and never looked back.

After working at various radio stations including WROK (Rockford, IL), WBBO (Orlando, Florida), and WBBM (Chicago, IL),  Herb was hired at WABC in New York. He hosted a show on the ABC network and sang live with a band, but eventually left the station. Almost immediately, Herb was snatched up by WMCA, also in New York, where he remained until 1960 when he returned to WABC just in time for its switch to a Top-40 format. Herb left WABC in 1968.

Herb resided on a farm in Hoosick Falls, New York, where he stayed during the warm-weather months; in the winter, Herb and his wife, Terry, lived in the Vero Beach area of Florida. During the last several years of his life, HOA hosted a weekly one-hour show called “Conversations” on radio station WOSN-FM, and kept in touch with friends and fans via his page on Facebook. In 2013, the late Tom Pierce shot a video of Herb as the latter was recording a segment for one of his shows; every couple of months or so, HOA would re-share the video to his own Timeline so that it would remain on top for all to see—and hear.

Herb Oscar Anderson passed away on Sunday, January 29, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Terry, two sons, and a daughter.

***

In addition to his informal title of Morning Mayor of New York, Herb was also known as the Singing Disc Jockey. His longtime theme song was this Lawrence Welk-influenced ditty, “Hello Again” (audio only):

Herb also famously re-imagined Bert Kaempfert’s buoyant “That Happy Feeling” with original lyrics (audio only):

Edit (1 February 2017)—Herb Oscar Anderson tribute video by Art Vuolo:

Additional sources for this writeup:

Profile of Herb Oscar Anderson by Scott Benjamin (on musicradio77.com)

Audio interview with Herb Oscar Anderson by Ronnie Allen (on jerseygirlssing.com)