On the crest of a pop tidal wave
Bob Barry began working as a DJ in early 1963 at what was then Milwaukee's Top 40 powerhouse, WOKY 92-AM. He had a great voice, Dick Clark looks, loved pop music, and hadn't forgotten what it was like to be a teenager.
Barry was in the right place at the right time when The Beatles came to town near the end of summer in 1964. He MCed the concert and visited the band twice at the Coach House lnn, once to facilitate their news conference on Friday night prior to their show and again on Saturday afternoon for a photo shoot before they left for Chicago.
"Ringo made a lot of wisecracks, but Paul was the most talkative," said Barry. "Overall they were very intelligent, very hip and seemed older than their early 20s, which was about my age at the time." The group's witty, English humor made an impression. "We hadn't heard anything like that before."
Purloined recorderThe tape deck he used for the news conference and interviews disappeared after he parked it in the hallway during the photo shoot. "WOKY put out a major alert," he remembered, "and soon we got a call from the School Sisters of St. Francis on Layton Boulevard. Someone left the machine in the chapel."
Barry continued working for WOKY until 1976, left for a three-year stay at WEMP, then returned to the station. He also worked at WISN and WZTR before retiring in 1992. He still does commercials and MCs charity events.
How were The Beatles live? "I was sitting right next to the stage and when the screams subsided momentarily, the music would cut through for 10 or 15 seconds and they sounded great! But being able to hear the group immediately reinvigorated the screamers and they'd drown them out again."
Bob Barry 2009.
Courtesy of Bob Barry.