Frankie Crocker — “Chief Rocker” — was dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World!!!
Revered as the man who changed the rules for African-Americans as both disc jockeys and musicians, Frankie started down the road to fame and nationwide reverence in his native Buffalo. He was studying pre-law at the University at Buffalo in the 1960s when he was bitten by the radio bug. Frankie joined WUFO 1080AM as news director. It wasn’t long before he began spinning records on the station and never turned back.
As a jock at WMCA in New York City in 1969 and then as programmer of WBLS-FM in the 1970s, Frankie began playing album cuts and extended mixes from Urban artists, helping to pave the way for the more diverse sound heard today. The Chief Rocker’s resume is that of a true broadcast pioneer: He helped bust stereotypes by bringing the urban sound to New Yorkers.
According to his Wikipedia page, Crocker would end his daily broadcast by lighting a candle and inviting his female listeners to enjoy a candlelight bath with him. He signed off the air each night to the tune “Moody’s Mood For Love” by vocalese crooner King Pleasure. Crocker coined the phrase “urban contemporary” in the 1970s, a label for the eclectic mix of songs that he played.
When the Big Apple’s Studio 54 was at the height of its popularity, Crocker is said to have arrived through the front entrance on a white stallion.
Crocker was the master of ceremonies of shows at the Apollo Theater in Harlem and was one of the first VJs on VH-1, the cable music video channel. In addition, he hosted the TV series Solid Gold and NBC’s Friday Night Videos. As an actor, Crocker appeared in five films, including Cleopatra Jones, Five on the Black Hand Side, and Darktown Strutters.
Crocker died in 2000 at the age of 62.