Jack Armstrong/John Larsh/The Big Gorilla signs off

Posted by Andy Durham on March 26, 2008 at 4:26 pm under Professional, Uncategorized | 3 Comments to Read

We have always crossed over into the Radio/TV world here at Web site so when I got the word from one our regular readers who is spending a few weeks at the Duke Univeristy Cancer Research Center, I decided to take a look at the News and Record site:www.news-record.com and see what they were saying about the death of Jack Armstrong/John Larsh/The Big Gorilla….
*****Look for the N&R take down below my GREENSBOROSports.com take. I need to give myself a little credit here. It seems like I have a very deep memory when it comes to these type of issues.***** Here’s my take:

Larsh used to work at 1320 WCOG radio here in Greensboro and his dad was a professor at the Univeristy of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. John Larsh briefly attended Guilford College. He spent several years at WMQX/Oldies 93, almost up until the time they made the switch to 93.1 The Wolf. I was listening around on the radio this afternoon to see if I could find any tribute shows and Alan Handleman at WZTK FM Talk 101.1 said he was going to do something later in his show.

I caught a show with Handleman and Jackson Armstrong back in December 2007 and that’s what Handleman was calling him, Jackson Armstrong. Jack Armstrong/John Larsh was telling a great story about when the Beatles came to Cleveland and he had to restore order within the outdoor crowd when a near-riot broke out. The 35,000 fans were ready to rush the stage and go berserk and the Beatles still wanted to go on stage and perform. Due to safety concerns the promoters would not allow the Beatles to begin their gig until the crowd settled down and that wasn’t going to happen any time soon, because this crowd was stoked and ready to explode when they rushed the stage.

Jack Armstrong told security that there was only one man who could calm down that crowd and that was the biggest name in all of radio, Jack Armstrong. Paul and Ringo said, “well do it then man”, and Jack Armstrong hit the stage from the mobile unit out back and he told all those Cleveland whites, blacks, browns, indians, cavaliers, and hooligans in general, to get a grip or the Cops were gonna let ‘er rip and then there would be no Beatles performance that day. The crowd listened to Jack Armstrong on the radio and they listened to him at that outdoor concert because Jack Armstrong was the only man in America who could settle down the assembled group of 35,000, so that the American teenagers could hear the Fab Four from Liverpool.(George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr:The Beatles)

There’s your Jack Armstrong story and here’s what Joe Killian is saying about the death of John Larsh at www.news-record.com:

HIGH POINT — Jack Armstrong, a legendary DJ honored by Guinness World Records and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, died Saturday at his home in High Point. He was 62.

Armstrong, born John C. Larsh, was a larger-than-life radio personality best known to Triad residents from his days at WMQX (93.1 FM) from 1997 to 2003, when the station was Oldies 93. But his rock DJ pedigree goes much deeper, spanning 47 years as a DJ that included emceeing gigs by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and receiving a number of gold records for hit songs he helped to break.

Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire of the “Brad and Britt in the Morning” show on WZTK (101.1 FM) said the industry has lost a giant who helped to define the rock ‘n’ roll era.

“He really exemplified that high-energy, frenetic style of ’60s radio,” Whitmire said. “He could go 90 miles an hour with his mouth and his brain, and he knew everything about rock music. If an alien came from outer space and you wanted to show them what a rock ‘n’ roll DJ looked like, you would bring them to Jack Armstrong.”

Krantz said he remembered listening to Armstrong on WIXY (1260 AM) in Cleveland as a boy.

“I was 10 years old, and he just made a huge impression on me,” Krantz said. “He seemed like the biggest star in the world to me then. The way some people feel when they hear the name ‘Johnny Carson,’ that’s how important Jack Armstrong was. He was just right up there with Wolfman Jack and all those great original jocks in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

One of Armstrong’s daughters, Devon Larsh Fischer, announced his death through a post on his MySpace page, where he communicated with fans and told stories of the glory days of rock radio.

“He loved being a DJ almost as much as he loved being a father, and that says a lot,” Fischer wrote. “He put his blood, sweat and tears into both and never gave up what he believed in.”

Here’s what Jack Armstrong’s daughter said about her dad, John Larsh, on his My Space page:

Extremely saddening news… I hoped I never had to write… Our extremely amazing Dad and your friend Jack Armstrong aka John C. Larsh passed away yesterday(Saturday) March 22, 2008 at his home in North Carolina. I wish there was a better way to get the word out but this seems to be the fastest means of communication that he favored. If you knew him at all, you would know that he wouldn’t want you to be sad for a moment. He would want you to remember all the good times, what he gave to radio and to the world. He would also want you to help fight to bring back the personality in radio if at all possible. He loved being a DJ almost as much as he loved being a father and that says A LOT. He put his blood, sweat and tears into both and never gave up what he believed in. He was honest, brave and could tell a joke like no other!! He was the best at everything he did and I know that he touched each and every one of us. I don’t know how he would sign off this letter, maybe it would be “Yoooooouuuuurrr LLLlleeeadaaa!” or just straight up “Jack it up” either which way he would have done it better than anyone. Please remember him in all that you do, pass on kindness, be true to yourself and to those you love. If you have any questions, please email me at JackArmstrong08@gmail.com Very sad, devon larsh fischer ….Jack’s middle daughter who loves him greatly – he was an exceptional person
.Jack was a radio annuncer (DJ) for over 47 years!

*****Jack Armstrong cause of death:FELL DOWN THE STEPS AT HIS HOME IN HIGH POINT.****


  • BJoe said,

    I knew of him in the 60′s when I was in a Band and even more when I had a retail business in the Carolina’s. There was a “cross-over” period where AM like WCOG, WTOB, WKIX, WAYS etc was still the money makers and FM Rock with the “UnJock” delivery were getting started. I met many DJ’s doing my commericals etc and heard hundreds of Jocks that in that period 71-74 or so that were inspired by Jack but could not compare with his style or energy. Thanks to people like Alan Handelman who help keep Radio alive by talking about it.

  • Terry said,

    Well said be all involved. Handleman, BJOE, Devon, News and Record, and this web blog.

    Jack Armstrong was the best.

  • Sue Ferguson said,

    I am 61 years old now, but still feel like the young & extremely shy 16 year old girl who had a major crush on John Larsh & had the good fortune to be his neighbor. Guess these days it would be called stalking, but the kids in the neighborhood & I loved him & followed his every move. (I was the only one who was old enough to drive.) We went to “his” concerts, listened to him on the radio & he was so kind & patient with us. We must have driven him nuts taking pictures & calling him all the time at the radio station. WCOG-Greensboro. He was a great DJ & he made life so much fun for all of us. When I got a new radio for graduation one year, our youngest member of the fan club (who was about 4 at the time) pointed to the radio & declared, “It’s a John Larsh”!!!