Tom Clay

Tom Clay

Tom Clay (20 August 1929, New York, New York22 November 1995, Los Angeles, California) (born Thomas Clague) was an American radio personality and disc jockey.

In the 1950s he was popular in the Detroit area on WJBK-AM both as a DJ, and for his on-air comic characterizations; he became a local celebrity. In the mid 50's Tom moved to Cincinnati and was a smash hit. He was considered by many the best DJ in town and had a huge following on WSAI's night show. He used music and records to build a radio "image", and signed off with a signature "That's All".

He was caught up in the payola scandal of late 50s, and openly admitted to having accepted thousands of dollars for playing certain records. After being fired from WJBK, Clay worked at short-lived Detroit Top 40 station WQTE (now WRDT) only to be fired again when the station changed format to easy listening music in 1961. After moving to Los Angeles and becoming a popular personality on KRLA, Clay returned to the Detroit area and found work at CKLW in neighboring Windsor, Ontario, at the time one of the foremost Top 40 AM stations in North America.

According to the book "Rockin' Down the Dial", a history of Detroit Top 40 radio of the 1950s and 1960s by David Carson, Tom Clay became friendly with Marilyn Monroe during his time in Los Angeles working for KRLA. Clay's daughter, Kimberly, told Carson that her father never revealed much about his friendship with Monroe, but would only say that she seemed very lonely.

Riding the wave of early Beatlemania he again rose in popularity, met and interviewed The Beatles, but was once again the victim of his own avarice. This time, he was fired over a scheme in which he invited listeners to send in one dollar for membership in a "Beatles Booster Club", an essentially non-existent organization which had no benefits beyond a promised membership card or decal. According to fellow CKLW DJ Dave Shafer (also now deceased), Clay also promised each listener who sent in a dollar a personal item used by one of the Beatles; these "personal items" turned out to be disgusting items like cigarette butts and used tissues, and other listeners claimed to have received nothing. However, since over 80,000 fans responded, Clay was able to live comfortably for a time on the cash that appeared in his personal post office box, the equivalent of almost half a million dollars today. Dave Shafer told David Carson in "Rockin' Down the Dial" that Clay skipped town in the wake of the Beatles Booster fiasco, leading to Shafer's being briefly jailed on charges of international fraud. Clay eventually returned to work at other Detroit area radio stations, including WWWW-FM, and also worked at WCBS-FM in New York.To national audiences, Tom Clay is perhaps best remembered today for his single record on Motown's Mo-west label "What the World Needs Now Is Love/Abraham, Martin and John" (Mo-west MW5002F), a compilation of clips from the two popular records, interviews, and speeches of Jack and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King emphasizing tolerance and civil rights. Inexplicably, the record shot to number eight on the charts. A follow-up album had respectable sales, but another single, "Whatever Happened To Love" (Mo-west MW5007F), flopped, and Clay found himself on unemployment. Both songs were featured on the Mo-west album "What The World Needs Now" (MS 103-L - released August 1971).

Clay finished his career doing voiceover work. He died of stomach and lung cancer at age 66 in Los Angeles (Valley Village), California in 1995.



Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Clay Felker — Clay Schuette Felker Born October 2, 1925(1925 10 02) Webster Groves, Missouri, U.S. Died July 1, 2008(2008 07 01) (aged 82) New York, New York, U.S. Cause of death Throat cancer …   Wikipedia

  • Tom Mix — en 1925 Données clés Nom de naissance Thomas Hezikiah Mix …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Clay Buchholz — Boston Red Sox No. 11 Starting pitcher …   Wikipedia

  • Clay Aurand — Member of the Kansas House of Representatives from the 109th district Incumbent Assumed office 1995 Personal details Political party Republican Clay Aurand i …   Wikipedia

  • Clay T. Whitehead — Clay T. Tom Whitehead (November 13, 1938 – July 23, 2008) was a United States government official who served as director of the White House Office of Telecommunications Policy from 1970 to 1974, during the Nixon administration. He pioneered a… …   Wikipedia

  • Clay Aiken — during the Jukebox Tour in Merrillville, IN, August 23, 2005 Background information Birth name Clayton Holmes Grissom …   Wikipedia

  • Tom Foley — Thomas Stephen „Tom“ Foley (* 26. März 1929 in Spokane, Washington) ist ein US amerikanischer Politiker der Demokratischen Partei. Er war vom 3. Januar 1965 bis zum 3. Januar 1995 Abgeordneter im Repräsentantenhaus der Vereinigten Staaten für den …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Clay Walker (album) — Clay Walker Studio album by Clay Walker Released August 3, 1993 Recorded 1993; Nashv …   Wikipedia

  • Clay George — Origin Victoria, British Columbia, Canada Genres Alternative country Occupations singer/songwriter Years active 2002 – Present …   Wikipedia

  • Tom McLaury (OK Corral) — Tom McLaury (June 30, 1853 October 26, 1881) was a cowboy of the Old West, best known for being a member of the Cow boy faction that faced off against the Earp faction in Tombstone, Arizona, eventually leading to his involvement and death during… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.