Bob Feder on new Ron Smith book

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Posted by Randy on May 21, 2011 at 13:51:45:

Chicago radio veteran’s new book replays oldies history day by day

May 18th, 2011 @ 12:00 am | Timeout Chicago

You may think today is just another ordinary day. But to Ron Smith, there are no ordinary days.

Ask him about May 18 and he’ll tell you that on this date in music history:

•Albert Hammond (It Never Rains in Southern California) is born in 1942; Perry Como (Catch a Falling Star) is born in 1912; “Big” Joe Turner (Shake, Rattle and Roll) is born in 1911; Kai Winding (More) is born in 1922.
•Diana Ross leaves Motown Records and signs a $20 million contract with RCA (the most lucrative ever at the time) in 1981.
•“John Fogerty Day” is declared in Los Angeles to honor the Creedence Clearwater Revival founder in 2010.
•Jackie DeShannon makes her network TV debut on CBS’ Jackie Gleason Show in 1963.•The Barry Manilow Ultimate Manilow special airs on CBS in 2002.
•A musical version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, written by Dennis DeYoung of Styx, opens in Chicago in 2008.
•The Buddy Holly Story movie premieres in Dallas, Texas, in 1978.
•I Was Made to Love Her by Stevie Wonder is released in 1967; The Animals’ House of the Rising Sun is released in 1964; The Hollies’ Bus Stop is released in 1966.

In fact, Smith can give you a list at least that long for every day of the year. And he’s just compiled them all in a new book titled Eight Days a Week: Births, Deaths and Events Each Day in Oldies History. Released by Heights Publishing and available on, it’s a fascinating compendium of rock ‘n’ roll facts, figures and ephemera.

A 40-year veteran of oldies radio, Smith is best known for his long runs as music director of WJMK-FM (104.3) and Real Oldies 1690. It was there that the daily calendar of notable events he provided for air talent morphed into the format’s premier website

In his foreword to the book, Radio Hall of Famer Dick Biondi calls Smith “one of the most knowledgeable people in the United States when it comes to the music of the ’50s, ‘60s and ’70s,” and says he considered Smith’s calendar a “true ratings builder” for the air staff at WJMK.

Eight Days a Week actually is an outgrowth of material Smith has been compiling since his college radio days at WONC-FM in Naperville. He still remembers the day in 1975 – May 8 to be exact — when he discovered that it was Rick Nelson’s birthday and spotlighted the singer’s biggest hits on his show. “It was so well received that I began to collect more such dates,” he recalled. “To this day, I can remember the enjoyment I felt celebrating the birthdays of Fats Domino, Johnny Cash and Mitch Ryder on the same day.”

Smith’s previous reference books include three volumes of Chicago Top 40 Charts from the ’60s, ’70s and ‘80s, based on the WLS Silver Dollar Survey.

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