Wednesday, March 04, 2009

"The Best Music Of Our Lives!"

Chitown has been hit hard lately by losing some of it's icons. Yesterday, we lost Richard Pegue at age 64.
Richard Pegue was a Chicago radio legend, spinning soul and R & B at WVON and other stations from the 60s on into the 00s. He also wrote dozens of commercial jingles, including some classics for Moo & Oink. Richard also spun the hits and dusties at night clubs and Stepper sets all over the southside.

Pegue was the son of a beautician and a Chicago Park District police officer killed in the line of duty in 1946. He met his destiny when his grandmother gave him a reel-to-reel tape recorder for his 11th birthday. He became completely smitten with radio and the rest is history. Truly, Richard was a music, especially Dusties, historian. For all you Baby Boomer Southsiders, here's some names to remember. Richard worked at Del Farm grocery store, the Taste Entertainment Danceclub and at Metropolitan Records on Cottage Grove. I hung out at the main Met on 58th Street where you could take your 45's into a booth and spin them before you buy them. Those were the days. The Met also had the best and largest selection of records for collectors in any genre and their staff like Richard were so knowledgable you could hum a few bars and they'd know the song.
Try that at Best Buy.

Richard was a born DJ. By his teens he was hosting dances at churches all over the south side.
"I discovered I had a gift--I don't know what else to call it--for hearing the music in my head and heart. It's hard to explain, but it's like the metronome was building in my head. I had good timing. I had a fairly fine-tuned sense of rhythm. I could find that rhythm. I could hear how records meshed together. I had a feeling for that critical break between songs, when one fades out and the other fades in and you have to know in your heart which one will mesh perfectly with the other."

Pague got his formal broadcasting training at Columbia College and by age 25 he was Music Director at WVON radio.
Richard Pegue was also one of the famous WVON Good Guys. On April 1, 1963, WVON hit the airwaves in Chicago with a group of handpicked personalities: Franklin McCarthy, E. Rodney Jones, Herb Kent, Wesley South, and Pervis Spann. They became known as "The Good Guys," and Ric Ricardo, Bill "Butterball" Crane, Ed Cook, Joe Cobb, Roy Wood, Ed Maloney, Bill "Doc" Lee, Don Cornelius, Richard Pegue, Isabel Joseph Johnson, Cecil Hale, and McKee Fitzhugh eventually joined the roster. Under the direction of the station's general manager, Lucky Cordell, and its "Ambassador of Good Will," Bernadine C. Washington, The Good Guys held Black Chicago captive for more than a decade and ranked consistently in the top 5 of the "most listened to" stations in the market.

Richard Pague's show was called The Best Music of Our Lives. And it was. He and his voice will be truly missed.

A WVON Good Guys reunion a few years ago at the Chicago Cultural Center was packed to the overflow room to see the Good Guys including: Dr. Cecil Hale, Lucky Cordell The Baron of Bounce, Herb Kent The Cool Gent, Richard Pegue The Best music of Our Lives and Pervis Spann The Blues Man.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Richard was also part owner of a wonderful skin cream called Sumojae! What happened to this product?