R.I.P. Art Laboe: Those Oldies But Goodies Remind me of You

What I find fascinating, was that Art never changed his style or delivery, ever. He was as raw and pure as they come and he never felt the need to ‘get with the times.’ You wouldn’t ever hear Art trying to adopt the newest slang or even once trying to be someone he wasn’t. He endured nearly eight decades of change while consistently staying true to himself and his fans and that’s just one of the million reasons he was loved and adored so much by his fans.  -R Dub!

Radio Legend Art Laboe Passes at 97

Alexander Bofill, staff writer


Palms Springs, CA – Today we say goodnight to an American icon. Art Laboe has passed at age 97.

A pioneering disc jockey, Art Laboe began his broadcasting career in 1943 at KSAN in San Francisco. For decades, Art was at the heart of the West Coast music scene, and worked on such pioneering stations as KPOP and KRLA. He was one of the first to take live dedications, while on location, broadcasting from Scrivner’s Drive-In in Los Angeles.

Art was more than a DJ – he was 100% “family” to all of his listeners. He was like the favorite uncle, grandfather or Godfather you’d love to see every Sunday at the family dinner. It’s going to be tough not getting together with him every week. He was an institution. -R Dub!

R Dub! and staff present Art Laboe with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Art Laboe invented the phrase “Oldies but Goodies,” and was among the first to license material from several labels for successful “oldies” albums that would sell millions. As well as hosting the syndicated Art Laboe Connection, he worked as a concert promoter, helping bring many forgotten artists back into the spotlight.

What made Art so special was the fact he was able to entertain so many generations. Up until the end, he had loyal listeners in their 80s and 90s, and at the very same time, 13 and 14 year-old kids who wouldn’t miss a show. There aren’t many (if any) radio personalities that have been able to transcend and speak to so many generations simultaneously. And don’t bother trying to explain the phenomenon that is ‘Art Laboe’ to your friend or family member on the East Coast – they wouldn’t understand. But if you grew up in California or the Southwest, Art was synonymous with good times, amazing oldies, special dedications and those good night kisses over the airwaves. -R Dub

R Dub! and Art Laboe backstage at the 2019 Valentines Super Love Jam.

The City of Los Angeles declared July 17, 1981 to be “Art Laboe Day” when he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 2019, Magic 92.5 (San Diego) presented Art with a Lifetime Achievement Award in front of 10,000 of his fans at The Super Love Jam concert.

I’ll miss seeing Art at his concerts. He was the reason people came, but yet he always so graciously shared the stage with the other DJs from the radio station, from the morning talent down to the greenest of part-timers. He was always quick to share a joke with us, take photos with his fans, and offer up stories of Hollywood’s golden past. One of my best memories with Art was when we used to have lunch at Chateau Marmont on Sunset. Hollywood: that was his element. That was his world. I was so fortunate to have been invited into it. -R Dub!

Art Laboe and R Dub!, on stage in 2018.

R Dub!, friend of Art and host of Sunday Night Slow Jams said, “Art Laboe was nothing short of a living legend. Art was adored and revered by both his listeners and the radio community and has certainly been an inspiration for me and Sunday Night Slow Jams. While I am saddened by his passing, he sure led one incredible and long life. He even said it himself: ‘Every dream I’ve ever dreamed has come true 100 times…maybe a thousand times.’ And that makes me smile. We’ll always remember Art.”

R Dub! and Art Laboe at Art’s Sunset studios, 2007.
Letter from Art.

R Dub! adds: “I remember our lunches in Hollywood at Art’s favorite place: Chateau Marmont. We’d sit outside, under the California sun, talking about music, radio and life. I hung on every one of Art’s words; such amazing stories.”

Art Laboe making “Memories of El Monte;” El Monte Legion Stadium concert in the 1950s.

“I enjoyed and appreciated the time I spend with Art. The older I get, the more I’m fascinated by Art. Not just his career in radio, but the man behind the music. He has truly seen it all and I loved hearing all of his stories.”

R Dub! listens to the story of Art’s first radio job in 1943, backstage, at the 2019 Valentine’s Super Love Jam.
R Dub! and Art Laboe, 2016.

In 2019, R Dub! and his team surprised Art on stage with the dedication of all dedications. A two-minute video recapping Art’s life and accomplishments played over the arena’s big screens, with images of Art Laboe from the 40s til today, alongside greats like Jerry Lee Lewis, Dick Clark and Little Richard. The crowd’s eyes were fixated on the black and white images of Art from the past, as the audience looked on with astonishment and admiration. When the video ended, spotlights lit up a stage lined with the entire Magic 92.5 staff: air personalities from every day part–from the drive times to weekends and overnights–station mixers and even the hosts of every syndicated program that airs on the station, including Greg Mack from The Greg Mack Show and Rick Nuhn from Top Ten Now and Then.

Art was then ushered on stage and presented the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the music industry. 

All eyes on Art Laboe.

“It was important that everyone be there,” said R Dub! “I knew this would be a special and historic moment, for both Art and his listeners, and us, the staff. I didn’t want anybody to miss it.”

“It takes a special person who, for 75 years, can connect on such a personal level with his listeners,” said Kristi from Magic 92.5’s Jagger and Kristi morning show. “Art Laboe is the gold standard of what a radio personality should be, both on and off the air.”

Laboe’s other awards include a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and an induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2012.

“You’re an Oldie but a Goodie, Art.”

R Dub! and the team at Sunday Night Slow Jams would like to once again thank Art Laboe for his many decades of contributions to the music world. We’d especially like to offer condolences, not just to his family and friends, but to his listeners around the world, who were Art’s family. 

Art has always been an inspiration to so many other radio personalities. I modeled my show after his in many ways and I thank him for the inspiration and encouragement over the years. We rarely looked at each other as competitors – just a couple of guys who loved our listeners and loved connecting people through the magic of radio and a special dedication. I will do my best to keep Art’s memory and essence living on through my Sunday night broadcasts. I aspire to make him proud. -R Dub!

Goodnight sweetheart, well, it’s time to goGoodnight sweetheart, well, it’s time to goI hate to leave you, I really must sayOh, goodnight sweetheart, goodnight

About R Dub!

Host, producer and creator of Sunday Night Slow Jams, R Dub! started the show when he was just 16 years old, at a tiny AM radio station in the middle of the desert. Today, Sunday Night Slow Jams is heard on over 200 radio stations in 14 countries. When he's not Slow Jammin' stateside, R Dub! can probably be found on an airplane headed somewhere new: his goal is to see all 193 nations on earth, and he's already seen 175. Read R Dub!'s full story HERE.

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