I've always said that DJs should be heard and not seen, but after compiling this batch of singles recorded by DJs, I'll have to update that aphorism to: DJs shouldn't be seen or heard, unless they're on the radio being DJs. (I promise not to keep this in mind next year during the WFMU marathon finale.)
With few exceptions, most DJs who tried to parlay their radio fame into chart success ended up creating 45 rpm embarrassments. Of course, radio is full of DJs who went on to successful recording careers - Sly Stone, Terry Knight, and country DJ/singers like Zeke Manners and Rosalie Allen, to name but a few.
But those are the exceptions. Here are the rules (all links are MP3s):
The Real Don Steele - Cecil, The Unwanted Frenchfry
LA's Real Done Steele tells the story of a lovable spud named Cecil who dreams of becoming a delicious frenchfry. When he finally does, he laments that the rest of his fry buddies are bought by a customer, and Cecil is left alone. (Thanks Pseu and Fusco! From 365 Days 2004)
Dandy Dan Daniel - Where Were You?
One of the original WMCA Good Guys, Daniel co-wrote this moving tribute to the great 1965 East Coast Blackout. (Thanks Spazz!)
Dick Whittinghill - Apology at Bedtime
The regrets of a lousy Dad. After singing with the Tommy Dorsey Big Band, Whittinghill did a show on LA's KMPC (owned by Gene Autry) for thirty years. He would often read maudlin monologues on the air to great acclaim, so he put out an entire album of such material entitled The Square. (Thanks Irwin!)
Harry Harrison - May You Always
I don't think this was actually released as a single. Dave the Spazz taped it off the air from the old CBS-FM, when it's airing was an annual ritual.
Rick Dees - Disco Duck
The biggest and most horrible DJ hit of all time, rivaled only by Byron Macgregor's Americans, which doesn't count since Macgregor was a news anchorman, not a DJ. Dees is still on the air in Los Angeles and has never disavowed this song.
Rosko - Jo | Where Are You Mama?
New York's Rosko was one of the original freeform DJs, first on WOR and then on WNEW, where both he and Scott Muni held down the fort. Both Muni and Rosko include the word "womb" in their DJ songs. Coincidence? Jo is from Rosko's 1987 LP Private Moments, while the bizarre Where Are You Mama was released as a single. Where did you get those buns?
Scott Muni - Letter to an Unborn Child
The 28th Fifth Beatle recorded this on an RCA single that seems to date to around 1965. Little is known about this lugubrious slab of wax, but hopefully the comments section to this post will change that.
Wink Martindale - Deck of Cards
In 1959, while a DJ in LA, Martindale re-recorded T. Texas Tyler's recitation Deck of Cards and scored a number 7 hit single with it, with sales propelled by a performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Tex Ritter and Phil Harris had both had their way with the song prior to Martindale.
Lonesome Long John Roller - Flagpole Rock
Commemorating a wonderfully moronic 1958 stunt in which KHAT radio personality Roller spent a world's record 211 days and 23 hours sitting in a Ford Fairlane perched on a flagpole at the old Read
Mullen Ford car dealership on Van Buren Street in downtown Phoenix. Features Al Casey on guitar. (Thanks Spazz)
Lynn Tolliver - I Need A Freak
Originally release on Heat/Montage in 1983, a nasty electro-funk hit written, produced, and performed by former mailman Lynn Tolliver (aka David Payton), DJ and Program Director at urban WZAK, Cleveland. Released under the artist name Sexual Harrassment, It went on to go gold and was sampled by Black Eyed Peas on their huge and horrible hit, "My Humps." (Thanks Monica and Mike!)
Murray the K - The Lone Twister
This is actually good, which makes you wonder why it's included here at all. It was recorded under the name The Lone Twister and can be found on the Wavy Gravy Vol. 1 compilation.