Wink Martindale, Saturday Morning Dance Party on 56 WHBQ Memphis | 1956
This is the tale of three legends. A performer, a future game-show host, and a legendary Top 40 radio station. Put it all together and you have Wink Martindale interviewing Elvis Presley on WHBQ radio in Memphis.
Too many of our younger listeners, this aircheck will likely have little meaning. Wink Martindale hasn’t done a new game show in years (although he is still a DJ – on the Music of your Life network), and WHBQ has been Sports 56 for many years.
But there was a time when all three were the very best in their trade. Number one in every respect. It is the time of this aircheck that the three entities began down that long road to stardom – and legendary fame.
On this aircheck you will hear a very young Elvis, a young Martindale… and a WHBQ JUST beginning it’s top 40 broadcasts. In fact, former WHBQ program director (and one of your webmaster’s personal friends) Jack Parnell told me that this aircheck was likely from a few months before the station actually went Top 40. At that time, this would have long pre-dated the Drake era at WHBQ. This recording is perfect for Elvis fans! You’ll hear Elvis perform songs that are so rare, I’m not sure they get airplay anywhere today. Notice his style in 1956- Elvis is very much a COUNTRY act, in fact, was at this time in his career still a member of the Grand Ole Opry (650 WSM Nashville). This is a very unique aircheck and one that deservedly belongs in our online radio museum.
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This aircheck comes to us by way of Contributor Jack Parnell. Jack says it was given to him by Wink Martindale, which would make sense since Parnell and Martindale were co-workers.
Many thanks to both gentlemen for their generosity!
Posted on the occasion of the anniversary of the passing of the King of Rock n Roll!