I was listening to Terry "Motormouth" Young ("I'm not talking fast, you're listening slow") on Sirius satellite radio's 60s on 6 last night and heard Hugh Masekela's "Grazin' in the Grass" for the first time in a long time. Terry made a big deal about the cowbell at the beginning, which is the reason I picked that song as my "theme song" when I was on KXLU radio at Loyola Marymount University back in the 70s.
I had to have a theme song because Tad Stones had one. Tad is an animator currently working on Fox TV's "Bob's Burgers," and before that he was at Disney helping to put together the "Disney Afternoon" package of cartoons (CLICK HERE to listen to the interview I did with Tad for my podcast, The Musical Innertube). But back at LMU, he was the morning DJ at KXLU. And he had the coolest theme song ever, "I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman" by Whistling Jack Smith. I needed a cool theme song just to keep up. For awhile I mixed and matched "Grazin'" with "Soulful Strut" by Young Holt Unlimited, but eventually I went to "Grazin'"full-time because of that great cowbell. I would turn on the mike as the song's intro played and say, "The sound of the cowbell means Rooney's on the radio again," and people would rush to their radios. Mostly to turn them off.
While listening to Terry go on about the cowbell last night, it occurred to me that I beat Christopher Walken and those guys at Saturday Night Live by about 20-some odd years with the "more cowbell" routine. So there's that.