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Dewey Phillips - JPop.com
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Dewey Phillips

Dewey Phillips

Dewey Phillips


"Daddy-O" Dewey Phillips (May 13, 1926 - September 28, 1968) was one of rock 'n' roll's pioneering disk jockeys, along the lines of Cleveland's Alan Freed, before Alan Freed. Starting his radio career in 1949 on WHBQ-AM in Memphis, he was the city's leading radio personality for nine years and was the first to simulcast his "Red, Hot & Blue" show on radio and television. Phillips' on-air persona was a speed-crazed hillbilly, with a frantic delivery and entertaining sense of humor. Read more on Last.fm
"Daddy-O" Dewey Phillips (May 13, 1926 - September 28, 1968) was one of rock 'n' roll's pioneering disk jockeys, along the lines of Cleveland's Alan Freed, before Alan Freed. Starting his radio career in 1949 on WHBQ-AM in Memphis, he was the city's leading radio personality for nine years and was the first to simulcast his "Red, Hot & Blue" show on radio and television. Phillips' on-air persona was a speed-crazed hillbilly, with a frantic delivery and entertaining sense of humor. However, he also had a keen ear for music the listening public would enjoy, and he embraced both black and white music, which was abundant in post-World War II Memphis, a booming river city which attracted large numbers of rural blacks and whites (along with their musical traditions). He played a great deal of rhythm and blues, country music, boogie-woogie, and jazz as well as Sun Records artists.

In July 1954, he was the first DJ to broadcast the young Elvis Presley's debut record, "That's All Right/Blue Moon Of Kentucky" (Sun 209), and got Presley to reveal his race in an interview by asking which high school the 19-year-old singer attended (knowing that, because of segregation, his audience would readily know what race attended which schools). Although he was not related to fellow Memphis music entrepreneur Sam Phillips, the two men began the "It's the Phillips Records" label jointly in 1950 releasing "Boogie in the Park"/"Gotta Let You Go" by Joe Hill Louis in August of that year. Sam would go on to found Sun Records afterwards. Though Dewey Phillips was not involved in the payola scandals of the time (as was Freed), he was fired in late 1958 when the station adopted a Top 40 format, phasing out his freeform style. He spent the last decade of his life working at smaller radio stations, seldom lasting long at any. A heavy drinker and longtime drug user (mainly painkillers and amphetamines, which contrbuted to his manic on-air behavior), Phillips died of heart failure at age 42.

Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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