THE COOL GENT: THE NINE LIVES OF RADIO LEGEND HERB KENT > By Herb Kent and David Smallwood

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Famed Chicago disc jockey Herb Kent was a pioneer on the airwaves personally and professionally. He started as a 16-year-old in 1944, and by the ‘50s was among the first prominent black disc jockeys to emerge in the Windy City.

Label: LAWRENCE HILL
[Rating: 4 STARS]


Famed Chicago disc jockey Herb Kent was a pioneer on the airwaves personally and professionally. He started as a 16-year-old in 1944, and by the ‘50s was among the first prominent black disc jockeys to emerge in the Windy City. Kent popularized a style of personality programming that blended hip jargon, musical knowledge and community activism. His skill and prowess behind the microphone enabled him to excel in any format at both predominantly white and black stations. The informative, extremely candid new book The Cool Gent: The Nine Lives of Radio Legend Herb Kent, written with journalist David Smallwood, is a compelling tale of triumph, downfall and redemption. Kent describes his career ascent, love of music (particularly r&b and soul), and immersion into a lifestyle of non-stop celebration, substance abuse and sexual conquests where he finally hit bottom, yet survived numerous close calls (hence his book’s nickname). Now a successful weekend programmer on Chicago’s WVAZ (V103) and member of the Radio Hall of Fame, Herb Kent’s chronicle will delight and enthrall any music and/or broadcasting fan.

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  1. to Herb kent your book is fanstatic the life u lived,the people u met.also i had a lot of fun and laughs.I want too come too chitown too just meet you. take care and be well sincerley jude rock NYC

  2. HA MAN I LOVED YOUR RADIO SHOW GRAM IF YOU DIDN’T LISTEN TO HERB KENT EVERY NIGHT YOU WERE NOBODY. YOU HAD THE SOUND BOTH IN THE MUSIC YOU PLAYED AND YOUR MEAN OUT STANDING VOICE THAT ALL OF US TRY TO SOUND LIKE MAN YOU WERE AND STILL ARE THE MAN OF THE HOUR. TELL ME WHO SANG YOUR CLOSING SONG (FATHER OPEN OUR EYES) WAS IT JAMES CLEVELAND OR SOMEONE ELSE AND WHERE CAN I FIND IT. DIDN’T YOU HAVE A SINGING GROUP CALLED HERB KENT AND THE COOL GENTS AND A SONG THAT WAS SO HOT I USED TO PLAY IT ALL THE TIME. I AM 66YEARS OLD AND I LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT YOUR SHOW WHEN I THINK OF COOL I MEAN REAL COOL I THINK OF HERB KENT THE SUPER COOL GENT COOL COULD NOT BE COOL WITHOUT THE NAME HERB BEHIND IT LATER COOL BE GOOD GOD BLESS
    ELMER LUKE CLEMONS II A LONG TIME LISTENER

  3. Dear Herb Kent, I have been a loyal listener of yours as long as I can remember and it seems as though I know you personally when I’ve never seen you in person; the only time I have actually seen you is on Steppin’ at Club 7, speaking on that when will you be airing another steppin show on Fridays, I couldn’t wait for that night to come so I could practice my steppin although Im still in the beginning stages of it but oh would I love to be one of those professionals to show off my moves. Are there any classes in Chi that are held on Fridays or Saturdays for females and if there are could you send me some info, I feel so left out. I leave here in Michigan City, IN and we don’t have places around here where we can go to enjoy ourselves like the people of Chicago does. Continue on groovin like you do on Saturday mornings and on Sundays. On Sat. Aug 29th will you be airing nothing but Michael Jackson’s songs being it will be his birthday? If not could you please play a couple for me “Everybody”, and “Enjoyself”. Thank you so much. Now if you can’t don’t worry I won’t get mad, to me you’re like a grandfather that I wished I had. Love you, Landa and may God bless you

  4. Hello Herbbie Baby;

    This is Star the person who called last sunday to request Jeannie Reynolds – The Fruit Song & Phebie Snow – No Regrets! Just want to ask a quick question about a song I really love. Who made Teach Me How To Love? Some of the lyrics go like this.

    I try to hide from myself
    Theres something about sharing (blank – blank – blank)
    Amazing Amazing Love you can’t learn in a classroom, you can’t find love in a test tube. Come on and teach me how to love

    Herbbie baby that’s not all of the lyrics but just trying to give you an idea. Please Herbbie Baby inform me on this group!
    I am not sure if its The Moments, Dramatics, or Stylistics but I really need to know. I truely love this song as much as I love you. Hope to be hearing from you real soon HB.

    Once again Happy New Years, Congradulations on all of your success and may it tripple fold in 2010. Your the best Herbbie Baby! Love Yeah and I hope to talk & hear from you real soon.

  5. Herb, I have been trying to think of the song with lyrics, “you’ve got the best of my love”, not by The Emotions, but by a male in the early eighties or late seventies. Can you help??? I never miss your show.

    Louve you so much!!!

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