Friday, November 7, 2014


Can you say "Don Steele" without preceding it with "the real"? No, you can't. Not if you were around Southern California in the sixties or seventies. The Real Don Steele was an AM radio dynamo on several stations, notably in Los Angeles where he was the king of KHJ, boss radio at it's bossest. He had bit parts in movies (ala Death Race 2000), and had his own TV show. One thing I like about him is that he had a catch phrase that he said on the air, and was sometimes on the music surveys when he was the featured boss jock. "Tina Delgado Is Alive!" No one knew what it meant. After his death in 1997, his wife Shaune said she didn't even know who Tina Delgado was. "He never told me and I never asked,. I felt if I had asked him that when we were dating, we never would have gotten married." Alas, in July, on the Tina Delgado Is Alive, Alive Facebook page (?), some spoiler named Grady Nailey posted "Tina Delgado was a real person. I played guitar for her. check rolling stone concert in san jose, may, 1965.. her real name was Mahialani Lee." [sic, all over the place] Nevertheless, Steele name-checked an ultra obscure singer for years. And he took his own personal in-joke to his grave. Hell yeah to that.

Check the two radio shows below, hosted by Rock 'n' Soul Ichiban, both roughly an hour long. One is from his time in Portland in 1964, and the other undated show is from his real heyday, at Los Angeles' KHJ, judging from the songs and the ads, about 1966 or '67. You should play them in your car and pretend you're driving something cool. And dig on the Steele's own slab (sort of), a fuzz drenched instrumental called "Tina Delgado Is Alive",  He basically just shouts "Tina Delgado Is Alive" at the beginning, but there craft in this instrumental. Halfway through it, there's a pause, and you're waiting for him to yelp in again. He doesn't, You find yourself saying "Tina Delgado is alive"to yourself just to fill in the blank, and then it kicks in again. Very effective. The outro just adds to the craziness.

The Real Don Steele - Tina Delgado Is Alive (streaming) at YouTube
The Real Don Steele - On the air, KISN, Portland. 1964 mp3 at Rock 'n' Soul Ichiban
The Real Don Steele - On the air, KHJ Los Angeles, mid-60s mp3 at Rock 'n' Soul Ichiban

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info.