It was sad to hear the news today that legendary radio voice Casey Kasem passed away at age 82. Kasem was the voice of American Top 40 from the beginning with the first show aired on July 4th, 1970. He continued to be the voice of AT40 until his last show on July 4th, 2009.
When WBLU Salem started running AT40, I used to try and listen to the show every week. Kasem would count down the 40 biggest songs on the Billboard Hot 100 and I would always hear how songs were charting nationally compared to the two Top 40 stations in the Roanoke area (WBLU and WROV Roanoke). As a whole, WROV generally added songs earlier than TOP 40 powerhouse stations like WLS Chicago and WABC New York, so the AT40 countdown each week tended to be a little bit behind what the top ten songs were in Roanoke.
Here are the songs that Casey Kasem played on the first AT40 show on July 4th, 1970:
Below is an aircheck of Casey Kasem’s audio with his first American Top 40 broadcast on July 3rd, 1970.
As you can tell, Top 40 radio had a lot of variety during the summer of 1970. Thank you Casey Kasem for bringing the top songs to us every week on American Top 40. You will be missed!
What are your memories of Casey Kasem and American Top 40? Were you a regular listener of AT40 at some point in your life?
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