Legends & Legacies View More

Howlin' at the Moon with Wolfman Jack

Published: 7/1/2012

Back in the days before CDs and MP3s and internet streaming, we all listened to the radio. We couldn't download a hot new song on demand, so we waited for our favorite DJ to play it on our favorite station. DJs had power over what we heard, and they kept us listening with a great music mix and hip patter between songs. It was a time when DJs were stars – and one of the brightest was Wolfman Jack.

Wolfman Jack in 1979 (Wikimedia Commons/Orange County Archives)

Wolfman Jack in 1979 (Wikimedia Commons/Orange County Archives)





Wolfman Jack's gravelly voice and rapid-fire lingo made him instantly recognizable to hometown listeners and to kids all over the country who listened to his syndicated show. He was the first rock 'n' roll DJ to go into syndication, sending tapes of his show to radio stations across the U.S.








As Wolfman Jack became known to the national audience, he moved beyond radio, taking roles on TV and in movies. His memorable cameo as himself in American Graffiti played with the difference between his real personality and his on-air persona.








He also brought his signature style to commercials – from Clearasil to Honda motorcycles to Hardee's.








Seventeen years after Wolfman Jack's death, the music world has moved on – radio no longer reigns supreme and world-famous DJs are few and far between. But the Wolfman's shtick remains timeless.








Written by Linnea Crowther



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