David Salidor With Clay Cole

I had just finished watching the movie Pirate Radio (2009) with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy and the wonderful Rhys Ifans, wherein I marveled at all the terrific music in the movie; from several Rolling Stones tracks to The Turtles’ “Eleanor.” Watching that movie and hearing all that terrific music, yet again strengthened my resolve and made me feel positively joyous. Again, the power of music cannot be denied. Then, I get some bad news, from my friend Tom Cuddy; That the legendary TV and radio personality Clay Cole had passed away. Earlier this year Tom gave me his wonderful memoir Sh Boom! (The Explosion of Rock ‘n Roll - 1953-1968) (Morgan James Books); detailing Cole’s magnificent rise to fame in the early 60’s, where he wrote, produced, and was the on-screen talent in several different shows. It’s probably one of the best three music books I've read this year; however, meeting and getting to know Cole was truly an experience in itself. I can safely say that he was everything depicted in the book and more; tremendously gracious and so knowledgeable about all things music. He was literally a child prodigy who prepared shows in his family’s basement for his family and friends; that kind of reminded me of myself, when in my youth I made Top Ten record charts for an imaginary radio station … go figure! What was interesting when I read the book, and still resonates now, is how often Cole’s accomplishments were highlighted, but he never got his proper due. In one memorable incident from the book: Cole’s show was rewarded by a powerful civil rights group, but he didn't receive the award himself; the very people who he fought without ever having these very acts presented on his show, did. And, to top it off, they didn't even acknowledge him in their speech! Stuff like still happens today, and still hurts each and every time. All I can say is that it was an honor to have met him and spend an afternoon with him. It was, in hindsight, one of the best moments ever for me. I just opened a delighted Xmas card from him this week, so my thoughts go out to his friends and family. Along with my friend Bill Murray, it’s been a tough year. RIP Bill and Clay.