Casey Kasem: The Voice of Rock and Roll

When “Private Eyes,” by Hall & Oates, came out, it sounded very modern to me; it was a little more badass, with its mild aggression and its threat of surveillance, than what I normally listened to, and it felt like a phenomenon. The week it seemed to take over everyone’s consciousness, I tuned in to “American Top Forty” on my parents’ stereo in the living room, anxiously waiting to see where it would rank. As Kasem made his way through the Top Ten, it wasn’t there and wasn’t there until it was—No. 1!—and I ran in circles around the room, singing and dancing and not believing my ears. Kasem’s show and his countdown made me feel like a part of it, as if my love of it had helped make it No. 1. His voice—its kindness and warmth—and his show, of the pop songs that Americans loved best, made democracy, capitalism, entertainment, and happiness come together, treating British punks and New York club kids and Philly soul acts and Detroit arena-rockers as equals, hitmakers, accessible to all.

via Casey Kasem: The Voice of Rock and Roll : The New Yorker.

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