Beloved New York DJ Dan Ingram passed away on Sunday at the age of 83.
Ingram was known as a trailblazer in the world of AM top 40 radio. He was known for his wit, his brevity and his distinctive voice. According to a report by The New York Times, he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2014. This was followed by several other neurological issues. Ingram's son, Christopher, told reporters that he was living with these issues when, on Sunday, he chocked on a piece of steak.
Ingram was commemorated on MusicRadio77, a website that preserves the legacy of the station WABC-AM, where Ingram did some of his most influential work. Ingram's son spoke to the site's founder, Allan Sniffen, assuring him that his father "did not suffer."
"I am so sad I cannot even express how I feel," Sniffen wrote. "Big Dan meant so much to me. He was my idol as a child and I revered him as an adult. To say he was the greatest Top 40 radio personality of all time only begins to describe him."
Ingram was on the airwaves at pivotal moments in music history. He helped spread the music of The Beatles and numerous other acts throughout the 1960s. He had a major hand in promoting Motown artists into the mainstream. Ingram was most beloved for his short, concise quips and jokes in between programming. These were called "talk-ups," and some of his best were remembered for years to come.
Ingram often introduced songs with a tweak to their song title. He delighted listeners by referring to Elton John's "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" as "Someone Shaved My Wife Tonight," and he called the Herb Alpert-led group Tijuana Brass "The Teeny Weeny Brass."
Once, as Rose and the Originals' "Angel Baby" began, he made it unequivocally clear how he felt about the song.
“And now, ladies and gentlemen, the worst record ever recorded, ‘Angel Baby,'" he said.
For Ingram, this was the entire duty of a radio DJ. He gave an interview with The Times in 1993.
“I like to have fun with my listeners,” he said. “I like them to use their minds. I like them to say, ‘I don’t believe he said that.’ But I don’t like to do sleaze.”
Many other prominent figures in the radio industry took to Twitter to mourn Ingram, including Don Imus, Dan Taylor and Peter King.
If the impact of the late Dan Ingram isn’t apparent from this @SteveBattaglio piece, maybe it will be from this screen cap of some of the music on my phone https://t.co/RnfGd0eJVT pic.twitter.com/CVkQyRUUWT— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) June 25, 2018
"Dan Ingram... as great a rock and roll disc jockey who ever 'talked up' a record," Imus wrote. "Monster voice, wit and intelligence. An honor to induct him into a radio hall of fame."
Dan Ingram ... as great a rock and roll disc jockey who ever “talked up” a record. Monster voice, wit and intelligence. An honor to induct him into a radio hall of fame. #ripdaningram— Imus in the Morning (@WhereMyImusAt) June 25, 2018
"So devastated. Lost a friend & mentor," tweeted Taylor. "Radio icon Dan Ingram passed away. If ya heard him @77WABCradio or @WCBSFM you’d know. Too young? Ya missed the best of the best. To my radio brethren, we lost a stellar communicator & they'll never be another like him."
So devastated. Lost a friend & mentor. Radio icon Dan Ingram passed away. If ya heard him @77WABCradio or @WCBSFM you’d know. Too young? Ya missed the best of the best. To my radio brethren, we lost a stellar communicator & they'll never be another like him. He was 83. #Radio pic.twitter.com/KbOv6TjNrd— Dan Taylor (@dantaylor) June 25, 2018
"Dan Ingram could say more in 10 seconds then most of us could say in a minute," added Peter King. "Many of us who worked in top 40 radio wanted to be him. We were so lucky to be able to hear him for 4 decades in NYC."
Dan Ingram could say more in 10 seconds then most of us could say in a minute. Many of us who worked in top 40 radio wanted to be him. We were so lucky to be able to hear him for 4 decades in NYC. https://t.co/cFBFunSDk4— Peter King (@PeterKingCBS) June 25, 2018