Kemal Amin “Casey” Kasem (April 27, 1932 – June 15, 2014) was an American radio personality and voice actor, best known for hosting American Top 40 and as the first actor to voice the character of Shaggy in the Scooby-Doo franchise.
During his career Kasem cultivated a wholesome image, but in the late eighties tapes circulated of Kasem cursing while flubbing station I.D.’s and dealing with what he thought were poor decisions on the part of his staff. One of the most famous clips involves Kasem voicing his displeasure at having to read a “long distance dedication” to a recently deceased pet (“Snuggles”) right after an up-tempo number by The Pointer Sisters; another was the decision to individually list all the members of Irish band U2, with Kasem asserting that the names did not bear any significance for the average listener. These tapes were later used by Negativland as the basis for their 1991 EP U2 (a topic which deserves an entire dedicated thread of its own).
While the tapes clashed with Kasem’s squeaky-clean public persona, to me the recordings both humanize him and show that he took his job very seriously – while he put it in rather coarse terms, Kasem knew that it would be unseemly to give a dedication to a deceased loved one right after an upbeat song. And he also quite sensibly knew that the average American was not interested in knowing that the song they had just heard was played by Bonobos , Thedge, Larry Mullen Sr.’s Son, and Adam Clay 2000 Pounds.
Have a great night thread, Avocado. Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars!