All of us here at OPC wish a very happy birthday to Casey Kasem, who is 76 years old. His birthday was yesterday, actually, but he probably doesn't read this blog, so the lateness doesn't matter very much.
Kemal Amin Kasem was born in Detroit, where he got started in radio, but he made his name as a DJ in Los Angeles throughout much of the 1960s. He launched American Top Forty, his signature show, in 1970, and remained there till 1988, when, if memory serves, he was replaced by Shadoe Stevens. Someone recently had the bright idea to repackage those old AT40s to oldies stations, and they are now heard around the world on great radio stations like WBBG, Youngstown, Ohio; WHHN, Bay City, Michigan; KXKL, Denver; and 2ZM, Wellington, New Zealand. Now, on with the birthday tribute.
Casey was hired to be the narrator on Soap, but left after the first episode, because he didn't approve of the racy content. He's a liberal, though, going so far as to back Nader in 2000, although that was probably more of a Lebanese thing. He's also a vegan.
For a while there in the 1980s, Casey also did a TV show called America's Top Ten. Here he is with his "exclusive" interview with Kiss upon the release of their dreadful Music From the Elder, or rather, here's Casey talking about Kiss from the studio in L.A. while the guys in Kiss answer some questions a producer has shot at them somewhere else in the world. Note that Gene says they all wrote their new single, "World Without Heroes," without mentioning that Lou Reed also collaborated on the song. Maybe Lou had it in his contract that the band members could never say his name in public in the context of the band. Note too that this song never made it anywhere near the Top Ten, belying the title of the show: