Vaughn Meader

In light of the inauguration of President Joe Biden, Rock and Roll Revisited celebrates the brief prime of comedian Vaughn Meader. In October of 1962, Meader brought the words of Bob Booker and Earl Doud to life on The First Family LP, satirizing President John F. Kennedy. Vaughn Meader’s dead on impersonation became the fastest selling album in history up to that date and won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 1963. (Full Album)

Among the topics lampooned were Kennedy’s experiences as captain of the PT-109; the family’s athletic prowess; the iconic rocking chairs the president used to ease his back pain; and life in The White House. 1.2 million copies of The First Family were sold in its first two weeks of its release, and ultimately sold 7.5 million units.

Meader leveraged his impersonation and the album’s popularity to secure appearances on The Ed Sullivan show and became a phenomenon on television and at nightclubs. His career ground to an abrupt halt after Kennedy’s assassination. Two follow-up LPs, Have Some Nuts and If The Shoe Fits, failed to resonate with audiences and Meader ultimately returned to his home state of Maine, playing bluegrass and country music, under the name “Abbott Meader and the Honky-Tonk Angels.”

Vaughn Meader died on October 29, 2004 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at the age of 68.

Today in History:

1966: George Harrison marries Patti Boyd. Paul McCartney is best man. Patti leaves Harrison for Eric Clapton in the mid-70s. He wrote ‘Layla’ about her.
1978: The soundtrack album ‘Saturday Night Fever’ started a 24 week run at No.1 on the US album charts, it went on to sell over 30 million copies world wide, making it the best selling soundtrack album of all time.
1983: The Allman Brothers Band bassist Lamar Williams died of lung cancer age 34. Doctors link his death to exposure to Agent Orange in Vietman.
1984: Nine years after suffering a massive heart attack while performing, singer Jackie Wilson dies at the age of 49.
2002: Singer Peggy Lee dies at 81.

Today’s Birthdays:

1924: Telly Savalas d.1994
1924: Benny Hill d.1992
1938: Wolfman Jack. d.1995
1940: Jack Nicklaus, golfer
1941: Richie Havens. d.2013
1942: Edwin Starr d.2003
1942: Mac Davis d.2020
1950: Billy Ocean

Vaughn Meader on the Ed Sullivan Show, October 7, 1962.

Thanks for listening!

Scott Westerman
Host and Producer – Rock and Roll Revisited
Author: Motor City Music – Keener 13 and the Soundtrack of Detroit