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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

In Memoriam: Casey Kasem

Written by Jon Williams

The legendary disc jockey passed away over the weekend at the age of 82. Most remember him as the longtime host of the American Top 40 radio program that counted down the most popular pop and rock radio hits each week. Kasem co-created the show in 1970 and hosted it through 1988, then returned in 1998 and remained as host until passing those duties on to Ryan Seacrest, who continues in that role today. In addition to the best and most popular songs, the show became known for music trivia and stories behind the songs, and, perhaps most of all, the “Long-Distance Dedication” that allowed listeners to request and dedicate a song to a far-away loved one.

However, it’s not just die-hard music fans that are familiar with Kasem’s golden voice. Cartoon watchers, primarily of the 1970s and ‘80s but spanning clear into the 2000s, have no doubt heard it as well. His most well-known role, of course, was as the title canine’s beloved sidekick Shaggy on the various incarnations of Scooby-Doo throughout the years. He first voiced the role in 1969 and held onto it for 40 years, finally retiring in 2009 after Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword. Over the years, he voiced a number of other characters in many popular animated shows. He provided the voice of Robin, the Boy Wonder, first in The Batman/Superman Hour, and later on the Super Friends series. He also played the Autobot Cliffjumper and provided a number of other voices in the original Transformers animated series. And these are just the shows in which he had recurring roles—there were plenty of cameos and one-offs as well.

You can SmartBrowse Casey Kasem on our website for plenty more, including a number of compilation CDs curated by this musical icon. In the meantime, his signature sign-off seems particularly appropriate: “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.”

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