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
7:35 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Lady Luck Has The Final Say

One of the few false starts in the meteoric rise of Elvis Presley’s early entertainment career was an ill-fated run in Las Vegas in 1956. Elvis, Scotty Moore, Bill Black and D.J. Fontana spent two weeks trying to light a fire under a stodgy bunch of middle-aged gamesters. Even this fortnight drubbing displayed a silver lining, as an enthusiastic throng mobbed a special Saturday teenage matinee performance. This pointed to the demographic which would make up the sold-out shows when Presley returned in earnest to become the hottest ticket in town from 1969 through the end of his career.

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The Memphis Sound
7:35 am
Tue March 27, 2012

It Just Dawned On Me That Evening...

Many Memphis teenagers greeted the dawn on Sunday, February 4, 1964, with their future sights set on being athletes, astronauts, or accountants. The event they shared that evening would move these goals to the back burner as things switched over to plan “B.” For most, this new obsession would last a couple of weeks; for others, a couple of years; but for a few, it would never end. The sea-change quantum-shift of paradigms began with one television appearance, the debut of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, and would be fueled locally by adjustments made to another TV show.

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The Memphis Sound
7:35 am
Tue March 20, 2012

Kissin' Cousins And Swinging Sixties Singles

The Patty Duke Show premiered on TV in September of 1963, in which the actress played the dual role of twin-like “identical” cousins. At the same time, Elvis Presley was working on Kissin’ Cousins, a movie with a similar plot twist. In order to keep a lid on expenses, Colonel Tom Parker ordered the soundtrack work to be recorded in Nashville this time, instead of Hollywood. The title track to the film would be Presley’s next single, making it to number 12 in early ‘64, as Elvis waded ankle-deep into the rising tide of what would be known as the British Invasion.

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The Memphis Sound
7:35 am
Tue March 13, 2012

Fun In Acapulco Via Rio

Col. Tom Parker didn’t want Elvis Presley to leave the country. Parker cited security nightmares and instability abroad. Folks who have researched it also figure the Colonel originally came to the states illegally under dark circumstances, cemented his place here by enlisting in the armed services under a fake name, and might have had trouble getting back in should he leave the US. Whatever the back story, this turn of events turned the movie Fun In Acapulco into, more or less, watching someone else on film having fun in Acapulco while Elvis himself had fun on the Paramount back lot. At this point in time, Presley’s movie soundtrack albums were outselling his regular studio albums, and this soundtrack did yield a top 10 single,  “Bossa Nova Baby.”

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The Memphis Sound
7:04 am
Tue March 6, 2012

Tom Dowd Lets The Dogs Out

Have you ever had a song running through your head and it just wouldn’t go away? Rufus Thomas had that problem, exacerbated by the fact that the song was one he needed to record, and the studio at Stax, where he recorded, was out of order. When he finally did get around to moving the song out of his mind and over to a record, the resulting single would be his biggest, but would also send his career to the dogs.

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