Art Laboe Discography

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Arthur Egnoian

August 7, 1925 (age 95)
OccupationRadio personality
Years active1940s–present

Art Laboe is responsible for many “firsts” in the radio and record business. Art was the first Disc Jockey to play Rock and Roll on the West Coast airwaves, one of the first DJs to play both black and white artists and the first DJ to have an “Elvis Hour,” the entire hour devoted to Elvis Presley. Art Laboe Presents. Dedicated to You 9 / V VARIOUS ARTISTS. Dedicated to You 8 / V VARIOUS ARTISTS. 13 Best Doo Wop Love S VARIOUS ARTISTS. Art Laboe's Memories O Various Artists. Dedicated to You 2 Art Laboe Presents.

Art Laboe (born Arthur Egnoian on August 7, 1925)[1] is an American disc jockey, songwriter, record producer, and radio station owner, generally credited with coining the term 'Oldies But Goodies'.

Early life and education[edit]

Laboe was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and moved to Los Angeles during his high school years. He graduated from Washington High School at age 16. Following graduation, he served in the United States Navy and was stationed at Naval Station Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay.[1] He went on to attend Los Angeles City College, San Mateo Junior College and Stanford University, studying radio engineering.[citation needed]


Laboe made his radio debut in 1943, during World War II, on KSAN in San Francisco, while stationed at Treasure Island. The war had deprived the station of technicians, and he had a radiotelephone license. He pioneered the request-and-dedication concept at KSAN, taking phone calls from listeners on-air while playing big band and jazz records late nights.[1] At first Laboe would go on every 15 minutes to announce what segments were coming up next, but after realizing a gap between the last segment ending at 11:00 p.m. and the station's signoff time at 12:00 a.m., he decided to use that hour to play music in the swing and jazz genres. What was unique about the way he conducted his show was the calls he would take from listeners while on air. He would repeat to the listeners what the person on the phone was saying because technology had yet to catch up with Laboe's ambitions.

Laboe stepped away from his work as a DJ and served his country transmitting Morse Code, sending messages to ships travelling in the South Pacific.

When he returned to Southern California and began working at KCMJ in Palm Springs, he was the only broadcaster in town, and would often meet with his fans at bars after signing off. He later returned to Los Angeles and began his time at KPOP. While working at KPOP, Laboe got the idea to take his show on the road and broadcast live from the local Scrivner's Drive-In, on Cahuenga and Sunset.[2] Teenagers would come to the drive-in and hang out, and give live on-air dedications for songs. Laboe began to make a list of the most frequently requested songs. People would often call in who had just gone through a breakup and would ask him to play love songs to help win back their significant others. As the popularity grew, Laboe found a promoter and a ballroom east of Los Angeles, and through that the El Monte dance hall was formed.

With the live radio show going, he had the audience and the lists of requests. He began to turn that concept into an album titled Oldies But Goodies, a term he trademarked.[3]

Later he moved to KXLA (subsequently KRLA), where he stayed for many years.[4][5]

Laboe is currently heard on two syndicated radio shows, both of which are broadcast across the American Southwest. The Art Laboe Connection and Art Laboe Sunday Special, as of 2018, could be heard in 14 different radio markets including Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Phoenix.[6]

In January 2006, Laboe debuted another syndicated request and dedication radio show, The Art Laboe Connection. The show began on weeknights on KDES-FM in Palm Springs and KOKO-FM in Fresno. It soon expanded to KHHT (Hot 92.3) in Los Angeles (until its 2015 format flip), KAJM (Mega 104.3) in Phoenix, and stations in Bakersfield and Santa Maria.[citation needed]

Social impact to Los Angeles[edit]

As Laboe's on-air popularity started to grow, so did his ability to draw crowds of all ages. While hosting a local radio show, he approached the owner of Scrivner's Drive-In about buying advertising airtime on his show. In return, Laboe agreed to announce that he would meet his listeners at the drive-in after the radio show if they were in the area.[7] The success of the post-show meetup led Laboe to host his radio show live from Scrivner's Drive-In on the corner of Sunset and Cahuenga in Los Angeles.[7] The audience who attended the live broadcast was mostly white teenagers.[8] The growing popularity of the live broadcast, coupled with growing police harassment of the teenagers who attended the shows, led Laboe to look for a location to host dances.[7][9]

He settled on the El Monte Legion Stadium as the location for shows. Since it was outside the city limits of Los Angeles, Laboe could circumnavigate the city ordinance that ordered the approval of the Los Angeles Board of Education to grant approval to any dance that targeted teenagers.[10][11][12]

It wasn't until Laboe started hosting his dance shows at the El Monte Legion Stadium that his shows started to diversify, drawing in teenagers from the local El Monte area to Beverly Hills.[8][9] While the atmosphere inside the stadium was becoming more tolerant of interracial dancing and dating, the city of Los Angeles as a whole did not share the same feelings. An attendee of Laboe's shows at the stadium recalled that during this point in time interracial dating was unacceptable in her neighborhood.[11]

In a city divided by topography, neighborhoods, and class, Laboe united the teenagers of the greater Los Angeles area, regardless of race or class, in one location.[13] He did not discriminate when listeners called to request a song live on-air; he was one of the first to allow people of different races to make a request.[10]


  1. ^ abcLarsen, Peter (2020-02-12). 'Radio legend Art Laboe, the original oldie but goodie, is still on-air after nearly 80 years'. The Press-Enterprise. Riverside, California: Southern California News Group. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  2. ^
  3. ^'Archived copy'. Archived from the original on 2015-12-14. Retrieved 2016-01-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^'Art Laboe'. Radio Hall Of Fame. Retrieved 25 January 2019.[better source needed]
  5. ^Earl, Bill (1991). Dream-House: The history of a major West Coast radio station and Southern California's 50 years of 'Radio Eleven-Ten'!(PDF). Desert Rose.
  6. ^'Art laboe connection'. 2018-10-13. Archived from the original on 2018-10-13. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  7. ^ abcBradley, R. (2015). Calling Art. The Virginia Quarterly Review, 91(3), 156-162,8.
  8. ^ abUrban Melody Television & Production (2013-01-31), Art Laboe - Urban Melody TV, retrieved 2018-11-14
  9. ^ abJohnson, Gaye Theresa. Spaces of Conflict, Sounds of Solidarity: Music, Race, and Spatial Entitlement in Los Angeles. 1st ed., University of California Press, 2013. JSTOR,
  10. ^ abMacías, Anthony. “Bringing Music to the People: Race, Urban Culture, and Municipal Politics in Postwar Los Angeles.” American Quarterly, vol. 56, no. 3, 2004, pp. 693–717. JSTOR, JSTOR,
  11. ^ abGarcia, Matt. “Memories of El Monte: Dance Halls and Youth Culture in Greater Los Angeles, 1950–1974.” A World of Its Own: Race, Labor, and Citrus in the Making of GreaterLos Angeles, 1900-1970, University of North Carolina Press, 2001, pp. 189–214. JSTOR,
  12. ^Garcia, Matt. “The ‘Chicano’ Dance Hall: Remapping Public Space in Post-World War II Greater Los Angeles.” Counterpoints, vol. 96, 1999, pp. 317–341. JSTOR, JSTOR,
  13. ^Radio Personality Art Laboe, 2014-10-29, retrieved 2018-11-14

External links[edit]

  • Interview for NAMM Oral History Program (2014)
  • Art Laboe archive, Music Connection Magazine (2018)
Retrieved from ''
Also known asMichael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band
Years active1972–74
LabelsPride Records
Polydor/PolyGram Records
WebsiteMr Bongo Records
Past membersMichael Viner

Art Laboe Oldies Discography

The Incredible Bongo Band, also known as Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band, was a project started in 1972 by Michael Viner, a record artist manager and executive at MGM Records. Viner was called on to supplement the soundtrack to the B-film The Thing With Two Heads. The band's output consisted of upbeat, funky, instrumental music. Many tracks were covers of popular songs of the day characterized by the prominence of bongo drums, conga drums, rock drums and brass.

Bongo Rock was featured in Robert Dimery's book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[1]


The band released two albums, 1973's Bongo Rock, and 1974's Return of the Incredible Bongo Band. The instrumental 'Bongo Rock', co-written by Art Laboe and Preston Epps and released by Epps as a Top 40 hit in 1959, was covered by the Incredible Bongo Band (shown as 'Bongo Rock '73' on the album), and became a minor US hit for them in 1973, and a substantial hit in Canada (#20).

Michael Viner would make use of MGM recording facilities in down-time, recruiting whichever studio musicians were on-hand. This apparently included many well-known blow-ins, all uncredited. Important contributions were made by Jim Gordon on drums and King Errisson on bongos. Ringo Starr is rumored to have played on some tracks, specifically 'Kiburi'.[2] The 'down-time' sessions carried on for some time, until upper management finally quelled the vanity project.

Other musicians involved in the sessions, per the movie Sample This, include:

  • Mike Melvoin - keyboards
  • Joe Sample - piano
  • Robbie King - organ
  • Mike Deasy - guitar
  • Dean Parks - guitar
  • David T. Walker - guitar
  • Bobbye Hall - percussion
  • Ed Greene - drums
  • Kat Hendrikse - drums
  • Wilton Felder - bass
  • Jerry Scheff - bass
  • Steve Douglas - saxophone, arranger

Musicians mentioned elsewhere [3] include:

  • Glen Campbell, guitar
  • John Lennon, mixing
  • Don Coster, arranging
  • Harry Nilsson, arranging
  • Hal Blaine, drums
  • Michael Viner, bass, bongos
  • Perry Botkin Jr., bongos
  • Michael Omartian, keyboard

This was never an actual band. Once the product had been finally released, a fake band was assembled and photographed. Those photos were seen on some album artwork, and in publicity.

The first Incredible Bongo Band album included a cover of 'Apache', an instrumental tune written by Jerry Lordan and originally made popular in the UK by The Shadows, and in the United States and Canada by Jørgen Ingmann. They recorded the song at Can-Base Studios in Vancouver to take advantage of Canadian content laws, which had helped promote their previous hit, 'Bongo Rock.'[4] The group's version of 'Apache' (produced by Perry Botkin Jr.) was not a hit upon release, and languished in relative obscurity until the late 1970s, when it was adopted by early hip-hop artists, including pioneering deejay Kool Herc, for the uncommonly long percussion break in the middle of the song. Subsequently, many of the Incredible Bongo Band's other releases were sampled by hip-hop producers, and the 'Apache' break also remains a staple of many producers in drum and bass. The song received popular attention again in 2001 when it was featured in an ad for an Acura SUV. In 2008, music critic Will Hermes did an article on 'Apache' and the Incredible Bongo Band for the New York Times[5] and had an entire documentary devoted to it called 'Sample this'.

As well, the band's cover of 'Let There Be Drums,' which was made famous by Sandy Nelson and also performed by the Ventures, was used as the theme song for the long-running television show Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling during the 1980s. It made #66 in Canada in December 1973.

'Last Bongo in Belgium' has been sampled in the songs 'Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun' performed by the Beastie Boys, 'Angel' performed by Massive Attack and 'Song of Life' performed by Leftfield.

'Let There Be Drums' was used in Ken Burns' Baseball: The 10th Inning, the follow-up to Burns' '94 PBS documentary.

'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida' was used as the main loop in two different songs by Nas: 'Thief's Theme' and 'Hip Hop Is Dead'.

The 2013 documentary Sample This, directed by Dan Forrer and narrated by Gene Simmons, recounts the story of the Incredible Bongo Band and its recording of 'Apache'.[6][7]

'Bongolia' was used in Edgar Wright's 2017 film Baby Driver.


A cover group was formed by musician Shawn Lee, with the parallel name 'Shawn Lee's Incredible Tabla Band'. They released a cover album with Ubiquity Records in 2011. The album was entitled Tabla Rock, based on the album Bongo Rock. On Tabla Rock, Lee covered the entire Bongo Band debut album, as well as two tracks from their second album. Lee's album covers the music on tabla instead of bongo, presenting it in an Indian-funk style.[8][9]


Bongo Rock[edit]

Cover art for the 1973 album Bongo Rock

Released 1973.

  1. 'Let There Be Drums'
  2. 'Apache'
  3. 'Bongolia'
  4. 'Last Bongo in Belgium'
  5. 'Dueling Bongos'
  6. 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida'
  7. 'Raunchy '73'
  8. 'Bongo Rock '73'

The Return of the Incredible Bongo Band[edit]

Cover art for the 1974 album The Return of the Incredible Bongo Band

Released 1974.

  1. 'Kiburi'
  2. 'When the Bed Breaks Down, I'll Meet You in the Spring'
  3. 'Sing, Sing, Sing'
  4. 'Pipeline'
  5. 'Wipe Out'
  6. 'Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley, Your Tie's Caught In Your Zipper'
  7. 'Slightly Reminiscent of Topsy, Parts One, Two And Three'
  8. 'Sharp Nine'
  9. '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction'
  10. 'Got The Sun in the Morning and the Daughter At Night'
  11. 'Ohkey Dokey'

Bongo Rock (2006 Compilation)[edit]

LP Release[edit]

A1. 'Apache'
A2. 'Let There Be Drums'
A3. 'Bongolia'
A4. 'Wipe Out'
B1. 'Dueling Bongos'
B2. 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida'
B3. 'Raunchy '73'
C1. 'Last Bongo in Belgium'
C2. 'Bongo Rock '73'
C3. 'Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley, Your Tie's Caught in Your Zipper'
C4. 'Sharp Nine'
D1. 'Kiburi'
D2. 'Sing, Sing, Sing'
D3. '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction'
D4. 'Ohkey Dokey'
D5. 'When the Bed Breaks Down, I'll Meet You in the Spring'

2001 Compilation CD Release[edit]

  1. 'Let There Be Drums'
  2. 'Bongolia'
  3. “Kiburi”
  4. 'Apache'
  5. 'Sing, Sing, Sing'
  6. 'Dueling Bongos'
  7. 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida'
  8. 'Raunchy '73'
  9. 'Bongo Rock '73'
  10. 'Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley, Your Tie's Caught in Your Zipper'
  11. 'Sharp Nine'
  12. 'Okey Dokey'
  13. 'Pipeline'
  14. 'When the Bed Breaks Down, I'll Meet You in the Spring'
  15. '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction'
  16. 'Wipe Out'
  17. 'Last Bongo in Belgium'
  18. 'Got the Sun in the Morning and the Daughter at Night'
  19. 'Slightly Reminiscent of Topsy'

2006 CD Release[edit]

  1. 'Apache'
  2. 'Let There Be Drums'
  3. 'Bongolia'
  4. 'Last Bongo in Belgium'
  5. 'Dueling Bongos'
  6. 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida'
  7. 'Raunchy '73'
  8. 'Bongo Rock '73'
  9. 'Kiburi'
  10. 'Sing, Sing, Sing'
  11. '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction'
  12. 'Wipe Out'
  13. 'When the Bed Breaks Down, I'll Meet You in the Spring'
  14. 'Pipeline'
  15. 'Ohkey Dokey'
  16. 'Sharp Nine'
  17. 'Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley, Your Tie's Caught in Your Zipper'
  18. 'Apache (Grandmaster Flash Remix)'
  19. 'Last Bongo in Belgium (Breakers Mix)'


  1. ^Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN978-0-7893-2074-2.
  2. ^Incredible Bongo Band, Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band: Bongo Rock, Produced by Michael Viner and Perry Botkin Jr., Mr. Bongo Records 2006 MRBCD043, liner notes
  3. ^Incredible Bongo Band, Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band: Bongo Rock, Produced by Michael Viner and Perry Botkin Jr., Mr. Bongo Records 2006 MRBCD043, liner notes
  4. ^'How Vancouver's Mushroom Studios Gave Birth To Apache, the 'national anthem of hip-hop''. Vancouver Sun. 25 March 2013.
  5. ^Hermes, Will (2006-10-29). 'All Rise for the National Anthem of Hip-Hop'. The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-12.
  6. ^Odie Henderson, Review of Sample This,, September 13, 2013.
  7. ^Francois Marchand, 'Breaking down Apache (with video): New film Sample This examines ‘national anthem of hip-hop’ recorded in Vancouver', Vancouver Sun, November 15, 2013.
  8. ^'Shawn Lee's Incredible Tabla Band - Tabla Rock'. Ubiquity Records. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
  9. ^'Covers by Shawn Lee's Incredible Tabla Band'. WhoSampled. Retrieved 2014-07-29.

Art Laboe Discography

External links[edit]

  • Review of Bongo Rock from Alan Ranta
  • Incredible Bongo Band at AllMusic
Retrieved from ''