In 1949, Dewey Phillips (born May 13, 1926) started being the first and greatest rock and roll radio programmer. He played R &B, Blues, country, or anything that later people were calling rock and roll. A lot of fun chatter. He called everybody Good People. He knew good songs very fast. He played the good ones first.

When "Since I Met You Baby" by Ivory Joe Hunter was released, he made a double track type recording of it several seconds apart. It sounded great. He announced it on air as the first stereo radio. For young folks, there was a time with no FM radio.

He had the first radio-tv simucast music programs. Red, Hot & Blue and Pop Shop. He was in a big storage room warehouse looking place with a small flimsy desk and 45 rpm record players. Basketball players were in an out shooting hoops around him. He was a real Memphis State University sports fan. Anything might happen, and usually did.

He had a sidekick, Harry Fritsius. Harry wore a big overcoat and gorrilla mask. Harry never talked. Once he threw a bowling ball through Dewey's desk. Dewey immediately disappeared as he crashed in the floor. They had a stand up movie promo that looked like a beautiful actress. I think it was Mamie Van Doren in High School Confidential. Others say Jayne Mansfield in The Girl Can't Help It. Harry walked up behind it and was moving his hands in the front. The genteel and proper who wanted to do away with rock and roll called the program obscene and Dewey's show was immediately pulled from the TV.

Dewey has become known as JUST the first DJ to play an Elvis record. He was much more than JUST that. Everybody wanted Dewey to like their records. That was how they knew it was good.

A later DJ, Ron Jordan ended his programs saying "We still love you Daddyo Dewey whereever you are. Dewey was not controlled. He was fired in 1959 while he was still the #1 rated Memphis DJ. Radio went to Top 40. All format. Controlled. Not much good stuff or fun, anymore. Dewey added a lot to my music interests, even to today. I'll always love Daddyo, Dewey Phillips.

-J.D. Cooper

Related Links:
Cruisin' the '50s
Dewey Phillip: Red White & Blue
Reel Radio
Dewey & Elvis
Jim Dickinson Interview

Updated June 9, 2010

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