COSDON, JOHN THOMAS, a Louisville rock n' roll pioneer known to his fans as "Cosmo," passed away on September 6 after a long illness. He was 72.
Tom was survived by daughter, Jennifer "Rebecca" North of Sellersburg, IN; son, Benjamin Todd Rao (Rhonda), and the light of his life, grandchildren, Madison Kristen Rao (15) and Charles Allen Rao (13) of Kansas City, MO.
But he also is survived by many who danced to his music from 1959, when he first began singing with the Sultans, until he became too sick too perform a year ago. He had several regional hit songs, including "It'll Be Easy," "Smalltown Gossip," and "Just Words." Besides the Sultans, he also sang with The Counts, the Shufflin' Granddads, and Soul, Inc.
Besides the music world, Tom loved thoroughbred racing. At various times in his career, he was an owner, trainer, jockeys' agent and bloodstock agent. He saddled Rae Jet in the 1969 Kentucky Derby.
When he wasn't singing or working at the track, Tom was a businessman who owned the Crescent Café, Rib Station, Cosmo's, The Headrest, Red Dog Saloon and Cosmo's Wiggery. A consummate showman who knew how to work a room, Cosmo specialized in soul and rhythm-and-blues. He performed throughout the area at such venues as Gypsy Village at Fontaine Ferry Park, the Colonial Gardens, and Joyland Casino in Lexington. He also appeared on the same concert bill with such artists as Fats Domino, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison and Chuck Berry.
Although he was most at home on the backstretch at Churchill Downs or working a show on stage, Cosmo had friends in high places. Former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson proclaimed September 7, 2007, to be J.T. "Cosmo" Cosdon day in the city. Mayor Abramson also presented Tom with a Recognition award for Invaluable Contribution and Meritorious Service within the music profession. The state House of Representatives presented Tom with honor and recognition for 46 years of outstanding showmanship.
A kind and generous man behind his gruff exterior, Tom loved to entertain in every way possible. For more than 30 years, he hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas parties. Tom loved being surrounded by his friends and family, anything for a good old fashioned "get together".
Please join us in Honoring Tom's life as we host a celebration of life at the VFW Post 1170 in Middletown (107 Evergreen Road) on Sunday, September 15, 2013, from 3-7 p.m.
Published in The Courier-Journal on Sept. 10, 2013