LAST DANCE WPLJ — Our colleague, WOR’s Tom Cuddy, pulled off last night what was undeniably one of the most significant and yes, bittersweet, nights we can remember in quite some time. It was billed as Farewell To WPLJ (at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room) and just an amazing outpouring of people (past and present) showed; Bill and Jeannine Ayres; Matt Suchin; Tony Mascaro; AJ Hammer; Christine Ricci; Jimmy Fink; Diane Ferrito; Fast Jimi Roberts; Race Taylor; Joe Nolan; Bruce Goldberg; Linda Wenk; Jerry Lembo; PR-pasha David Salidor; Mitch Dolan; Bill Evans; and, of course, the station’s legendary Scott Shannon and Jim Kerr (now at Q1043).
I’ve known Scott, through Tom Cuddy, for years and the class and distinction that Shannon brings to his show and his career is just exemplary. Kerr, who hails from Detroit and has participated in some of the station’s zaniest commercials ever, anchors steadily whatever show he’s doing. His morning show –with Shelli Sonstein- on the Q is just terrific.
Cuddy (who was with WPLJ for 19 years) addressed the room with a series of throwbacks from WPLJ’s golden era, with a mash-up of terrific on-air moments. He then told the crowd that over the years, the station has entertained everyone from Paul McCartney and John Lennon to Rob Thomas, and though he didn’t mention it, I do well recall that as a teen, Debbie Gibson called in several times to the station’s Fast Jimi Roberts and won tickets. Years later, when she was a bona fide star being interviewed by Shannon on the station, it proved to be a hoot.
Cuddy also told a story about Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen hadn’t had a big record for a time and he and Shannon liked his new song called “The Rising,” and eventually played it. Bruce’s manager Jon Landau called them both and said when Bruce heard it on the radio (in his jeep no less) he was ecstatic. That led to an exclusive interview between the Boss and Shannon.
I have to say that I have had the pleasure if being with several artists when they heard their record on the radio the first time. Truth be told: there’s nothing like it. Some have almost driven off the road; most just pull off the road. It’s an exhilarating moment for sure.
WPLJ was sold to a Christian broadcasting company and officially ends May 31. Folks, the end of an era indeed. What a great night. Congrats Tom!
IDOL ADAM —Former American Idol contestant Adam Lambert brought the Queen classic “Bohemian Rhapsody” back to the show for its season finale in a duet with eliminated contestant Dimitrius Graham.
Graham had planned to perform the song during the competition, before being dropped just before the season’s Queen special, which was mentored by Lambert.
Like Graham, Lambert failed to win the season in which he competed, after having auditioned with his own version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” in 2009. He reached the final but lost out to Kris Allen after more than 100 million fan votes were cast. However, his career took an upturn as a result, with both hopefuls performing with Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor that night.
“Just meeting them for the first time, it was so surreal,” Lambert said on the recent ABC documentary The Show Must Go On: The Queen & Adam Lambert Story. “You’re preparing for the finale of a big show like that and the week of rehearsals is a whirlwind, and your head’s spinning.”
“It was quite odd, because they’re both really good singers, but there’s some kind of chemistry already between us and Adam, it was just instant,” May recalled. “So it was so easy just to play off Adam, and I think we sort of consciously made an effort so that we wouldn’t kind of favorite anyone. But there was that feeling with Adam, like, this kind of does work.”
Watch it here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmZVxSUBXRo
SHORT TAKES — Its official, John Doherty’s Black Barn restaurant will host a Welcome To NY party for Mary Wilson and author Mark Bego. Their next collaboration, Supreme Glamour, is out in September. Wilson is in NYC for a series of shows at The Carlyle Hotel. Doherty, who used to be the chef at the Waldorf Astoria hotel, has his new spot on Madison Square Park North that is just sensational. Details to follow … Zach Martin interviewed author Gregg Messel about his new book Dreams That Never Were – RFK remembered. Check it out here: https://soundcloud.com/bigfatamerican/dreams-that-never-were?fbclid=IwAR2Xsuvrs05g7mjOvO2_0Uf0VWERHAkohBOJSLvpFsjlDYNHHepKj14OrPA and Keith Girard’s Improper did a great interview with Messel as well. Check it out here: https://www.theimproper.com/art/3532/greg-messel-novel-rfk/?fbclid=IwAR327nIwj6II01e-Vd2e5zAoMchxXyfOfc8GKmMiQ5Clros7vnMzbQkRwjU … Speaking of author Bego, he checks out NKOTB’s Mix Tape Tour tonight in Phoenix. He’ll have some thoughts on it for us … Bill Evans, WABC’s weather-man of late, has a new gig. He’s running WLNG/92.1 FM in Sag Harbor, New York. Bill has seemingly been around NYC forever, but his wit and wisdom will be missed. For me, he’s the first weather-guy to have fully explained to me what bombogenesis is. Do you know? We’ll have an interview with him shortly … Quentin Tarantino’s 9th film, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood got as seven-minute-standing-O in Cannes yesterday. Early reports were positive, but several critics noted that this is his first film without mentor Harvey Weinstein’s input. Some felt that certain scenes went on too long. Interestingly, that was Weinstein’s talent: editing. It’ll be curious to see what happens. Showbiz 411’s Roger Friedman said that Sony -who is releasing the movie- took a big risk in showing a movie almost two months before its release. I’m a huge fan and cannot wait for this one …
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Diane Ferrito; Heather Moore; Debbie Gibson; Curtis Urbina; Bobby Shaw; Dave Peaslee; Julia Machover; Jane Blunkell; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Chloe and Cody; Barry Zelman; Robert Funaro; Dave Marken and CHIP.