Jack Spector

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Jack Spector (September 15, 1928 – March 8, 1994) was an American radio disc jockey, particularly known for his work in New York City during the 1960s "rock radio" era.[1]

Spector began his career in 1955 and in 1961 became one of the original WMCA Good Guys.[1] In late December 1963, WMCA, with Spector, earned the distinction of being the first New York City radio station to play the Beatles' Capitol Records' single, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (Outside New York, the single's broadcast debut is widely accepted to have occurred earlier at WWDC in Washington, D.C.). WMCA was keen on playing new product and breaking new hits, and consequently, Spector became associated with the radio station most credited with introducing Beatlemania - and the "British Invasion" musical movement - to New York City listeners.

In 1962, The Four Seasons released their first number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 "Sherry". While there were many suggestions for the name of the song, it was called "Sherry" after Spector's eldest daughter. The song reached #1 on September 15th, 1962, which was Spector's 34th birthday. [2]

In 1969, while continuing to work as a DJ in New York, Spector released a single on Buddah Records under the name, "Vik Venus, Alias: Your Main Moon Man". The single, "Moonflight", was a novelty "break-in" record in the style of Dickie Goodman. In it, a reporter asks the astronauts questions about a fictional "Achilles moon flight", with the responses taken from snippets of popular songs of the day. All response fragments used for this record were from previous hits on Buddah. The record peaked at #38 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

WMCA moved to a talk format September 21, 1970, one day after the final top-40 broadcast. Spector stayed on as host of a sports talk show. In about 1971 Spector moved to WHN, then a vocal-based easy listening station. He remained for a while after WHN became a country music station in 1973. In 1974, Spector left WHN to go to WCBS-FM where he hosted a 1955-1964 based Oldies show called "The Saturday Night Sock Hop" and another regular weekend shift. He was also a full-time swing host there, filling in for various airstaffers over the years. In 1983, Cousin Brucie began doing every third Saturday night of the month. Spector remained at WCBS-FM until the Spring of 1985.

In 1985, Spector was at WNBC as the original host of "Sports Night", eventually replaced by Dave Sims. He went then to WPIX-FM, which was playing an adult contemporary format. Upon their change to NAC and soon after to smooth jazz, he became one of the first on air personalities on CD 101.9. Spector also owned a retail optical store when he was not on the air (after his death, Howard Stern, who worked for WNBC, said Jack was one of the few fellow disc jockeys he liked, and who liked him).

Late in 1988, Spector left WQCD and joined the staff of WHLI at Hempstead, New York playing an Adult Standards format. That station began mixing in more rock and roll oldies by the early '90s. After a few Radio Greats Weekends at WCBS-FM, Jack Spector returned as a part-time swing announcer there in 1993 while working full-time at WHLI. On March 8, 1994, shortly after starting a recording of Louis Prima's "I'm In The Mood For Love", he suffered an apparent heart attack and collapsed to the floor. Following a long silence after the song had finished, radio station employees ran into the studio and found Spector on the floor. Attempts to revive him failed and he was pronounced dead at Winthrop University Hospital. He was 65.[1] He is buried at Beth Moses Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York.[3]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Lyons, Richard D. (March 10, 1994). "Jack Spector, 65, Disk Jockey for Over 3 Decades". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Sherry by the Four Seasons - Songfacts".
  3. ^ Jack Spector at Find a Grave

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