It was almost immediate, the friendship began. Bill Gavin’s fame as an important part of programming of the syndicated Lucky Lager Dance Time lead to his deciding to make the music research used on that popular radio programming of the late 1950’s available to radio stations across the nation. Up until then, Dick Clark’s “Bandstand” served as the most important source for knowing the hits to play on the radio. In the second year of “The Gavin Report”, I became a subscriber starting with a telephone call from Bill Gavin. His voice was that of an older uncle and I discovered within the first month or two the information he provided about what would become “hits” was very accurate. His San Francisco based “sheet” would arrive via mail once a week and it contained far more information on music than the “charts” printed each week in the trade journals, Cash Box, Billboard or Record World.
I looked forward to the conversations with Bill and or Janet that resulted in many years of friendship. His advice not only guided my career moves but even my personal life. “It will be the most important thing you could do in life”, he said urging me, a single parent, to adopt two young lads, David and Clifford, from the Lena Pope orphanage in Fort Worth. Guided by his wisdom, I would raise them to manhood and watch them get married. From time to time Bill visited our home “beaming” his approval of my family. He sent Christmas gifts to the boys each year.
And so it would be until a few months before his passing, he would telephone to explain how cancer had become a battle he would not win. In the weeks prior to his end, in a handwriting that I grew to recognize over the years, he wrote and sent me photo’s, one of him sitting quietly listening to the music that had become so important to his life.
Then in two telephone calls before his final Christmas and New Years, Bill telephoned to say goodbye. “We are going to the same place Johnny, just on different flights”, he said inviting me to “a gathering of family and close friends they will have at the Fairmont Hotel” in San Francisco. “No funeral will take place, just as I want it to be”.
Then on the cold January day of his passing, I made plans to travel to San Francisco to pay my respects to my friend Bill.
I would do so and travel on to Hawaii for a week of laying on the beach thinking about Bill Gavin. Its something I continue to do even today as I write my thoughts for JohnRook.com
A lot of Bill Gavin lives here.
Bill’s legacy will always be his publication.- A Remembrance from Bill’s office staff of the Gavin Report.
Bill was a man of impeccable credentials, unquestioned ethics and an obsession for ojectivity. Bill Gavin’s death comes as an extreme disappoimment ro any and all who he had the opportunity to know hi.In. As corny as it might sound, to know him is to love him. Bill Gavin was the patron saint of music radio. it was apparent to all who knew him that he was not in the business to get rich. If he and Janet and his staff could just make a decent wage, he and the Report could continue their contribution to the information process. Bill Gavin t0ok particular pride in helping mold the carccr ethics of young broadcaster. Wirh a fatherly and grandfatherly interest in such broadcasters, record people and his staff, Bill reveled in the opportunity to scorytell, moralize and implore. Bill Gavin was always sincerely humbled when chosen to receive awards and tributes. He was not in the business for the greed or the glory, but rather for the honor of being entrusted, through subscriptions and readership, with the responsibility of being a primary conduit or channel between good music and good radio. Bill Gavin lived a full life. He was a man who spent more than fifty years of his life with music. Bill Gavin takes with him the memories of a good life-a life filled which the enriching experiences of a loving family, caring friends and good music. Bill we will miss you more than you can ever know.