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Photo from The Pied Piper of Cleveland October 10, 1955
WERE disc jockeys at the microphone: Bill Randle and Tommy Edwards.

 Behind them (left to right) guitarist Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley in sports jacket & Bill Black holding bass Bill Randle was also the disc jockey who introduced Elvis on national television on The Dorsey Brothers "Stage Show"

Bill Randle and Elvis Presley 1955
Bill Randle with Elvis on Stage

Time Magazine once called Bill Randle the No. 1 disc jockey in America. At the height of his popularity in the 1950s, "The Pied Piper of Cleveland" commanded 54 percent share of the listening audience. He used that power to turn Elvis into a star


Bill Randle (1924-2004) was an important figure in the emerging popularity of Elvis Presley in the mid-1950s. He was an influential Cleveland disc jockey and the first outside of the South to write about Elvis in a newspaper in 1955. Together with his fellow disc jockey Tommy Edwards, they helped promote Elvis in a series of live appearances at the "Hillbilly Jamboree" and on WERE radio in Cleveland during 1955.

Randle was also the producer of the first commercial film made of Elvis performing in a concert. It was for a Universal documentary to be titled, The Pied Piper of Cleveland: A Day in the Life of Famous Disc Jockey

The filming took place at Brooklyn High School and at St. Michaels Hall in Cleveland, Ohio. The other performers included: Pat Boone (
"Ain't That A Shame") Bill Haley & His Comets ("Rock Around the Clock") The Four Lads ("Moments to Remember") and Patricia Wright ("Man in a Raincoat") This documentary was never finished and released. According to an article in People Magazine, 11 January 1993, the existing footage was sold to a European company for $1.9 million. It remains a mystery why this very rare footage has not yet been released

July 10, 2004 Bill Randle, one of the most influential, star-making disc jockeys of the 1950s and 1960s and a Cleveland radio voice since 1949, died Friday. He was 81. He was pivotal in bringing Elvis Presley to the ears of America and helped launch and expand the careers of dozens of other stars, including Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin, Rosemary Clooney, Johnnie Ray and Fats Domino. "He helped shape popular music in America," said Bob Conrad, president of WCLV and WRMR, where Randle was the host of "The Big Show" on Sunday afternoons. "He knew more people in the entertainment business than anyone I've ever known." At the height of his popularity on WERE in the mid-1950s, Randle commanded a 54 percent share of the listening audience. Top jocks of today, such as Howard Stern, are No. 1 with a 12 percent share.

Bill Randle Biography: William McKinley Randle Jr. was born in Detroit on March 14, 1923. His father worked for Dodge Motors, but when jobs dried up during the Depression, the family sold eggs and bagels door to door. "Billy was an entrepreneur from the day he was born," said his sister Ruth Edwards. "He opened his own record store when he was 14. He loved jazz. He ran jazz clubs like the Club Sudan. He brought Stan Kenton and Dizzy Gillespie home for big family dinners. He could accomplish more in a day than anyone I know." Randle's deep voice brought him early radio work with small parts on such Detroit-based shows as "The Green Hornet" and "Hermit's Cave." Spinning records and promoting Jazz shows in Detroit led to other freelance gigs in Chicago, Cleveland and Akron. He met Annalee Africa at a Sarah Vaughan show he was promoting in Detroit. They were married in 1948.

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