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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Jack Armstrong, radio legend and Guinness record holder, has passed away

John C. Larsh, better known to countless fans during decades of radio work as Jack Armstrong, has passed away at 63.

Armstrong is probably most recently remembered around here for being a longtime DJ at WMQX Oldies 93. I used to listen to him every day: Armstrong was easily one of the liveliest radio personalities that I've ever found on the dial. But before that, the Chapel Hill born-and-bred Armstrong had also worked in the Boston, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and San Francisco markets. During his long career he got to hook up with Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Frank Zappa, and many other musical legends.

Armstrong's zest for life reflected in his radio work, especially after the Guinness World Records certified him as being the "world's fastest talking human". Armstrong also pulled off the rare feat of being a double-record holder when he broke the one for most revolutions on a roller-coaster: 750 on the Thunderbolt in Pittsburgh, riding it for 34 hours (my butt's sore just thinking about it...). And Armstrong's passion for radio would eventually lead to his being ensconced in the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame as part of the "This Is Dedicated To The Ones We Love... 100 Jocks From 1935" exhibit.

You can find out much more about Jack Armstrong at his official Myspace page, which is already becoming a shrine to his memory.

Thanks for the many good laughs and great tunes, Jack. We'll miss ya.

EDIT 8:42 a.m.: Want to hear just how fast Jack Armstrong's voice was? Here is his trademark sign-off in MP3 format (and thanks to WBFO for hosting it). Here's what Armstrong is saying, in case you need a guide...

"Don't get none on ya, do it twice, be nice. It's very nice to be important, but more important to be very nice. Let it all hang out, drag it in the sand, and make a deep rut. People who live in glass houses shouldn't... A bird in the hand makes it hard to blow your nose. One good turn takes most of the blankets. You can lead a horse to water, but don't push him in. Nothing smells any worse than a wet horse, or you can lead a horse to water, push him in and teach him the backstroke, then you've really got something. Wash your face in the morning, neck at night. Love is life, life is love. Light your own candle and the world will be a much brighter place. When you get to the end of your rope, tie a little knot, hang on and swing. Stay calm, try to adjust. You can't live with 'em or without 'em. Hoo hee, HEE HOO! Don't let your six gun get rusty. It's been a business doing pleasure with you, it's been real... and your LEEEEEEADAAAAAAAAH love you-ah!"


Anonymous said...

Jack had something very amazing - the kind of radio instinct that a lot of people like to think they have but truly lives a select few. Jack was one of kind.

I miss him as a radio talent. I miss him more as a friend.