Passings: Jim Lowe (1927 - 2016)

by VVN Music

Jim Lowe, the singer-songwriter who also made a name for himself as a DJ in New York, died on Monday after a long illness at the age of 89.

Lowe actually started in radio after he got out of the service in World War II, first at his alma matter, the University of Missouri, followed by time in Springfield, Indianapolis and Chicago. Finally, in 1956, he moved to New York to work at WCBS as the host of their shows Jazz is Our Beat and Upbeat Saturday Night.

During his time coming up through radio, he also dabbled as a singer and songwriter. In 1953, he released a single of his song Gambler's Guitar which went on to become a number 6 hit on both the Pop and Country charts by Rusty Draper.

In 1955, he had his own first charting hits with Close the Door, which peaked at 27 on the Pop charts, and a cover of Chuck Berry's Maybellene which actually went to 13 on the R&B Singles.

The next year was his true breakout year when he took the song The Green Door to the top of the Pop chart and number 5 on the R&B singles. The song knocked Elvis Presley's Don't Be Cruel from the number 1 spot and stayed there for three weeks before being replaced by Presley and Love Me Tender.

Lowe charted four more times, all in 1957, including the number 15 hit Four Walls / Talkin' the Blues, the latter of which Lowe wrote. He would continue to record into the late-60's although none charted.

At the same time, Lowe continued his radio career and moved over to television on CBS, co-hosting Sing Along with a young Florence Henderson.

In 1959, he moved to WNBC, also working on national broadcasts for NBC Radio and on television with The Today Show. His final move came in 1964 when he took his show to WNEW where he stayed into the 90's when he retired.

Lowe was well known for his encyclopedic knowledge of the Great American Songbook and put it to use as a founding board member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He also regularly hosted the Lyrics and Lyricists Series at New York's 92nd Street Y.

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