His feet have left our ground and he’s at last reached the stars. Radio icon Casey Kasem died Sunday after a battle with Lewy body dementia.
As host of the “American Top 40” franchise, Kasem’s resonant voice beckoned millions of radio listeners from coast to coast each Sunday to find out the No. 1 song in the country.
Just weeks from the 44th anniversary of the first “AT40” show on July 4, 1970, in which “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)” by Three Dog Night was named as the first top tune, it’s fitting to remember the radio legend by lending your ears.
The "AT40" site has a memorial page looking back on "The King of Countdowns," and iHeartRadio has a 24-hour channel that solely features classic Kasem "AT40s." Who could forget Kasem's minor meltdown over uptempo songs triggered by a dog death? And here is Kasem, his voice slightly bristly, announcing his final top 40 song — “Second Chance” by Shinedown.
Ryan Seacrest, a torch-bearer who took over hosting of "AT40" in 2004, said in a statement: “It’s a sad day for the broadcasting community and for radio listeners around the world. When I was a kid, I would listen to Casey Kasem’s AT40 show every weekend, and dream about someday becoming a radio DJ. So when decades later I took over his AT40 countdown show, it was a surreal moment. Casey had a distinctive friendly on-air voice, and he was just as affable and nice if you had the privilege to be in his company. He’ll be greatly missed by all of us.”
For more on Kasem's indelible imprint, read The Times' obituary.