Rob Grayson

Host - Morning Edition

My heroes have always been disc jockeys. I especially admired the ones who could take the canvas of the fourteen-second intro of a teeny-bopper song and paint a masterpiece.  From my youth, I strove to emulate them.  I had the good fortune to walk in some of their footsteps, albeit a respectful pace behind. 

The Mississippi Delta in the 70's was a great place to begin a career in radio.  My first after-school job was doing the afternoon shift at an easy-listening FM in my hometown of Greenville at age 14. 

George Klein brought me to Memphis, and WHBQ, in 1976.  Most of the ensuing time has been spent in the general Memphis radio community, and producing and engineering at Wilkerson Sound Studios. 

I landed on the WKNO doorstep in 2001, and am tickled that they continue to let me show up here every morning. 

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The Memphis Sound
7:22 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Four Fabs Honor One Rockin' Cat

Worlds collided in 1965 when the Beatles, on tour in the states, had a meeting with Elvis Presley in LA. But other than memories and conflicting stories about what did and didn’t occur…

John Lennon: “We all plugged in what was ever around and we all played and sang.”

George Harrison: “I never jammed with Elvis at all.”

Paul McCartney: “No.”

…no tangible record of the event exists; no pictures, no film, no tape. The moment which held so much potential was logged as a disappointment in the journals of both camps.

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The Memphis Sound
7:25 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Travis Wammack Turns A Nashville Cat Into A Fraidy Cat

The story, as I understand it, can be summed up in these two parables, noted by Chris Davis in the Memphis Flyer in 2006. At the peak of their popularity in 1964, British duo Peter And Gordon played a gig in Chicago. At the time, they held the top spot nationwide with their song “A World Without Love.” Travis Wammack, who grew up in Memphis, was a young guitarist in the touring band, and also had a single on the charts. Before the concert, Wammack took a call from legendary WLS DJ Art Roberts. Art wanted to make sure that Travis would play his song, called “Scratchy,” that night.

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The Memphis Sound
8:37 am
Tue April 24, 2012

The Battle Of The Bands And The War Of '64

In 1964, British invaders did, with guitars, drums and hair, what their 1812 predecessors with bayonets, guns and war ships couldn't. They laid siege to the hearts and minds of the colonists, and took charge of a great part of commerce. And this time they didn't have to burn down the White House.

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Mid-South Features
7:35 am
Tue April 17, 2012

20-75 And Other Label Fables

If you’re one of those who has to find organization in the midst of chaos, you could divide the history of Hi Records into roughly three parts, defined by three artists. The first would be marked by the instrumental hits, primarily recorded by either the Bill Black Combo or Ace Cannon. The third, and most commercially successful period, was the run of hits by Al Green in the early 70’s. But in between, the man who bridged those dissimilar chapters would step out from behind the board to the other side of the glass, and be the star on his share of hits from the 60’s.

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The Memphis Sound
6:14 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Memphis Blasts British Beat Bullies

In 1964, as the nation’s record charts were awash with British product ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, the Memphis recording scene was hanging in there. When you look at the Billboard chart from April 4, 1964, The Beatles had the top five songs in the US. The following week, the 11th, 14 of the 100 spots were taken up with Beatle songs released on five different labels. But a closer look at that chart brings up some old familiar names.

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