Real Don Steele
I have long been fascinated with 1960s radio, especially the SoCal powerhouse KHJ, which featured (among others) the mighty Real Don Steele.
Oddly enough, I knew of Steele’s work as a thespian, in movies like ‘Rock and Roll High School’ and ‘Death Race 2000’ before I had any inkling of his status as one of the most popular and successful DJs in history.
Steele was born and raised in SoCal and worked in radio all over the region before helping to launch 93/KHJ in 1965.
Steele wasone of the all time great motormouth DJs, taking the slick, Top 40 AM style and adding a tremendous amount of dramatic/comedic flair.
Among his most famous hooks was his cry of ‘Tina Delgado is alive, alive!’ which he used to punctuate his patter (yet never explained).
It became so popular that he found his way into a recording studio in 1966 to make his one and only 45, ‘Tina Delgado Is Alive!’.
The tune is a raging bit of Sunset Strip fuzz-au-go-go madness with combo organ, guitar and naturally, Real Don Steele screaming on top of it all.
It’s a fantastic relic of the time, and surprisingly hard to find (I suspect it made no sense to anyone that wasn’t in the 93/KHJ listening area.
I dig it a lot, and I hope you do too.
See you next week, and Happy New Year!
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