Long before American Idol, long before the internet, and long before MTV, there was Casey Kasem’s American Top 40, in which the host would count down Billboard’s most popular songs.
And honestly who didn’t listen every single week for at least part of the show?
Kasem was such an indelible part of my Sunday morning experience, that I eventually took two jotting down the top 40 and keeping track of it week after week. For better or worse, I would soon become known as one of those guys who was a bottomless put of useless trivia and music stats, but it earned me my nickname, “the Soundmaster.” I can only imagine how many other people Casey’s AT40 inspired.
It was also a treasure trove for discovering great new music, usually down around #35 or so – songs that would only make it that far, or tunes that weren’t being played in my market.
To an entirely different segment of the population, Kasem was the voice of Shaggy on Scooby Doo, and numerous other cartoon voices. To say that he inadvertently became the voices of our generation would not be an understatement.
Much has been written about Mr. Kasem prior to his death on June 15, 2014, – ironically also Father’s Day – about the sad state of family affairs that clouded his final days. As the days and months pass, there will be no shortage of tacky TMZ reports and made-for-TV docudramas that will invariably follow, but this is not the time or place.
Instead, this is the day to remember what an iconic voice sounds like, and of course, to keep reaching for the stars.