Minkin Music: Kid Leo is back on the air

by mimivanderhaven.com on 08/18/2010 - 10:11 am

Category: Arts & Entertainment

by Jay Minkin


Bruce Springsteen’s epic storytelling banter during the song “Growng Up,” from the 1978 bootlegged tapes of the Cleveland Agora show, will forever be part of Lawrence J. Travagliante’s folklore. A true Cleveland radio legend, Lawrence, famously known as “Kid Leo,” began his DJ career in 1974 and became one of the most influential persons to shape the industry. Thousands of Northeast Ohio listeners became his students of rock n’ roll. Kid Leo was behind the mic and spinning records at WMMS weekday afternoons, until 1989 when he left to be VP of Artist Development for Columbia Records in New York City.


Besides The Beatles appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show, or The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” blasting on my sister’s car AM radio, it was Kid Leo who shaped my early musical addiction.


His weekly album picks led me to purchase both Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” and the Allman Brothers’ “Brothers and Sisters” without knowing much about either group. He closed out the week by playing Springsteen’s “Born To Run” at 6 p.m. on Friday as the unofficial start to the weekend.


Some of you may still be upholding that tradition.


But it’s not time for him to punch out and wash up. Kid Leo is back on the airways from 4-7 p.m. on “Little Steven’s Underground Garage,” on Sirius/XM satellite radio. Although his voice has aged, the delivery and hook from the man who coined his radio name from young boxers is still there. His longtime friendship with Steve Van Zandt, the Springsteen E Street Band guitarist who created the “Little Steven” channel, goes back to the “Miami Steve” days.


Also serving as the program director, Kid Leo’s format centers on the British Invasion of 1964 and adds everything that influenced it (Sam Cooke, Buddy Holly, Little Richard) to the many great rock n’ roll artists who can trace their roots to that era (Tom Petty, Elvis Costello). Throw all the girl, surf, rockabilly, punk, and new wave groups into the mix and you have the makings of mandatory listening for any up-and- coming student of rock ‘n roll.