“I’m Casey Kasem, and this is American Top 40.”
Back in the dinosaur age, when kids listened to radios (instead of iPods), I was a kid who listened to the radio as she fell asleep. It had a sleep timer. Remember those?
On Sunday nights, the local KWAD radio station played American Top 40 with Casey Kasem.
This was 1979 when disco was still big. “My Sharona,” anyone?
One Sunday, KWAD did a call-in contest. The prize? The Top 40.
I vaguely remember dialing frantically (ha! dialing!), but I’m not sure I was frantic to win or frantic to avoid getting caught. As I recall, the Top 40 played until 10, which would have been after my bedtime.
In any case, I won.
So I walked down to KWAD’s radio station the next day to pick up my prize, and they handed me a pile of albums.
Shocking, I know. In an age when everything now is digital, it’s hard to imagine American Top 40 recorded the show on albums and shipped the albums to radio stations.
But they did. I got four albums. Forty hit songs. With Casey Kasem’s voice woven between.
As I recall, sisters played a big role in that week’s hits. Pointer Sisters? Sisters Sledge? I can’t remember.
In any case, it was a totally bitchin’ “Boogie Wonderland.”
KWAD’s Top 40 giveaway lasted about three weeks because I think this was actually illegal to, ahem, giveaway music this way.
Every time I heard Casey Kasem in the years that followed, I thought of this amazing cache of disco that I won. Including today. When I heard 82-year-old Casey Kasem had died.
Rest in peace, Casey Kasem. This is my long-distance dedication to you.