Roger Christian (songwriter)

Roger Christian (July 3, 1934 – July 11, 1991) was an American radio personality and lyricist, who co-wrote several songs for The Beach Boys, mostly about cars, including "Ballad of Ole' Betsy", "Car Crazy Cutie", "Cherry, Cherry Coupe", "Don’t Worry Baby", "In the Parkin' Lot", "Little Deuce Coupe", "No-Go Showboat", "Shut Down", and "Spirit of America", all of them penned with Brian Wilson.

BiographyEdit

Christian was born in Buffalo, New York, United States. Roger Christian began his radio career in Rochester, New York at WSAY and later worked in Buffalo under the name Mike Melody.[1] While working as a lifeguard, Christian got his break in radio after saving a radio executive's wife from drowning in a New York lake in the mid-1950s. In 1959, he moved to California, where he initially worked for a radio station in San Bernardino, KFXM-590AM. [2]

Christian worked as a radio personality in Los Angeles in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. He was one of the original "Boss Jocks" when 93/KHJ debuted in 1965. He worked for other radio stations in Los Angeles, including KRLA (AM), KFWB (AM), KBLA,[3] KGBS (AM-FM), KDAY, KRTH-FM, and KIQQ-FM.

Having raced cars until 1955, Christian had a keen interest in hot rods and became known as the "Poet of the Strip".[4] Murry Wilson, father of three of the Beach Boys as well as their manager, heard Christian one night explaining the group's hit song 409 to a listener on the air. Realising Christian knew a lot about cars, Murry met Christian and later sent his son Brian Wilson to meet him. Looking at some of Christian's poems about cars, the pair collaborated on "Shut Down" and later "Don't Worry Baby".

He also co-wrote many songs recorded by Jan and Dean, including "Dead Man's Curve", "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena", "Drag City", "Honolulu Lulu", "The New Girl In School", "Ride The Wild Surf", and "You Really Know How to Hurt a Guy" with Christian writing new lyrics for "Catch a Wave" that became "Sidewalk Surfin'" involving skateboarding.

Christian, along with Gary Usher, collaborated on several songs that were either featured in or specifically written for the films Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party, Bikini Beach, Ride the Wild Surf, Beach Blanket Bingo, Ski Party, Beach Ball, and Catalina Caper - including three songs for Dick Dale. Christian also made several appearances in some of these films.

He was one of the writer/narrators on the 1964 Capitol Records documentary LP, The Beatles' Story.

DeathEdit

Christian suffered from periodic depression.[citation needed] He was the only original KHJ "Boss Jock" not to appear at the 25th reunion on May 9, 1990. He died July 11, 1991, of complications of kidney and liver failure, eight days after his 57th birthday, in Tarzana, California, said his ex-wife, Joanne Christian of Canoga Park.[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "~Los Angeles Radio People, Where Are They Now?". Laradio.com.
  2. ^ a b "Roger Christian; Disc Jockey, Songwriter". Los Angeles Times. July 18, 1991.
  3. ^ "KBLA Returns to DJ Format; Automation Out", Billboard. December 25, 1965, p. 40. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  4. ^ Murphy, James B. Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961–1963, McFarland, May 29, 2015, p. 261.

External linksEdit