He was a Speed-Crazed Hillbilly, and He Played it First! SUN 209

28 Sep

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 Freed came along.[1

He started his radio career in 1949 on WHBQ/560 in Memphis, and 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 aired 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 bluescountry musicboogie-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).

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