BRUCE LERRO—I really didn’t know about rhythm and blues in the early sixties because I never strayed from the New York rock and roll radio dials like WABC, WMCA and WINS. However, one disc jockey on WINS was determined to introduce us white rock and rollers to some rhythm and blues, whether we liked it or not. On the radio, Murray the K always gave an extra nudge to Marvin Gaye’s Hitch Hike or Pride and Joy. He would play The Marvelettes and especially King Solomon Burke, even when they were barely in the top 25. It was like Murray’s “up yours” to the standardized playlist.
What really took this to a higher level for me was that Murray also hosted shows at the Brooklyn Fox Theatre. The acts he had included Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Temptations, The Isley Brothers and Mary Wells, mixed with some white acts like Dion and the Belmonts, or Roy Orbison. Murray’s shows really drew Blacks and whites into the shows. I didn’t have anyone to go with because my friends were mostly Italian and Irish and still into the fading Doo-Wop stuff. So, I took the train from Jamaica, Queens to Brooklyn, bought a ticket and went in.