Monday, May 19, 2014

Murray Saul Gets Down

North East Ohioans of a certain age lost a Cleveland radio icon today.

Murray Saul began his years at WMMS 100.7 FM ("The Home of the Buzzard.") in the station's sales department. Before long he became their Director of News and Public Affairs. He was the face and voice of seriousness at the 1970's album rock station.

On Sunday mornings, he would spend several hours (after "Breakfast with The Beatles,") hosting interviews and discussions with local and state politicians and movers and shakers, all with the gravitas that that came with the job.

But on Friday afternoons, just before 6:00 PM, Murray drank some of Dr. Jeckyl's potion and transformed into a different Murray Saul.

As the strains of Springsteen's "Born to Run" faded, Murray would take the mic and begin to growl. And over the next five minutes that growl would grow into a rabid, ferocious rant about school, work, teachers, bosses and all those things that made the previous week a grind.

As his howl reached a crescendo that would make Wolfman Jack say, "Hey Man, cool it a bit..."

As he would froth to a point where we could almost feel the spit come through the radio speakers...

He would launch into his trademark catch phrase...
"We gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, Gotta, GOTTA..................

......... GET DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Cue station I.D.

Follow with "Friday on My Mind" and "Cleveland Rocks...."

And with that, the weekend had been officially rung in.

For so many of us, it was a Friday night tradition. 

One Friday night, sometime around 1980, the "ring in" didn't happen. No Bruce Springsteen, no Ian Hunter. And no Murray. Just the usual Friday night station I.D. ("WMMS. Where the weekend never ends.")

"Why?" was never confirmed. Rumor had it that Murray was feeling that, after so many years, it had run it's course.

But, the faithful were not having it. The station's switchboard was deluged with calls.

"How are we supposed to start our weekend without Murray ringing it in?"

AT 6:00 PM  the following Saturday night, a momentarily contrite Murray took the mic (on his day off,) and made things right. He never missed another Friday until WMMS shifted to a Top 40 format in the mid '80s.

Murray Saul got down one last time, today. He was 84.

You can listen to an example of one of his early rants, here.

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