"Blasts From the Past" (1962)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Wed Mar 30 14:46:32 UTC 2005

On Wed, 30 Mar 2005 05:41:16 EST, Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:

>I remember "blast from the past" from Wolfman Jack in the film AMERICAN
>GRAFFITI. It's at least from 1962. "Blast from the past" is not in the OED.
>Display Ad 9 -- No Title
>Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963). Chicago, Ill.: Jan 19, 1962. p. 10 (1
>meet JIM LOUNSBURY in person
>Bring the gang...and have the fun of meeting Jim Lounsbury in person in
>The Fair's record section, second floor. He'll be autographing copies of
>his great new album, "Blasts from The Past" ($3.98)--all songs that have
>sold a million copies or more!
>(SEARS ad--ed.)

Let's not give a Chicago DJ credit for a New York invention!  "Blast from
the past" is generally attributed to 1010-WINS DJ Murray Kaufman, aka
"Murray the K", or the station's assistant program director Rick Sklar:

As the overnight host of the  "Swingin' Soiree," which began in mid-1958,
Murray Kaufman built a large following that readily tuned in earlier every
day after Murray assumed  Alan Freed's primetime slot when the payola
scandals of 1959 caused Freed's sudden fall from grace.  Kaufman was the
creative genius who invented both the "blast from the past" and "submarine
race watching."
At WINS Rick also met and worked with another legendary disc jockey;
Murray "the K" Kaufman. In fact, it was Rick Sklar who was responsible for
Murray Kaufman picking up the name "Murray the K". And, it was also Rick
who coined the phrase "a blast from the past" as a way to introduce oldies
on Murray’s WINS show.

There's a clip on <http://www.reelradio.com/mk/> of Murray the K saying,
"This is Murray the K on the Swingin' Soiree with a blast <sound effect>
from the past..."  Don't know what year that's from, but there was a 1961
album of oldies called "Murray the K's Blasts From the Past":

--Ben Zimmer

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