"The Music You Thought You'd Never Hear Again."

That was the name of George Landry's longtime night show on Montgomery's WCOV radio. It also described Landry's mission of preserving the music of the big band era.

Landry, a historian of big band music and of Montgomery radio, died on Friday at age 93.

You could take a nostalgic trip back to the 1930s and 1940s by tuning in to old school AM station, WCOV, and listening to Landry and his music of yesteryear – and his knowledge of that music and the musicians.

Landry and his show were both so popular that WCOV radio switched from a middle-of-the-road format to all big band music in the early 1980s. Very few markets had a radio station that made that bold move. No other markets had a George Landry.

Guy Lombardo

The Glenn Miller Orchestra

Benny Goodman

Tommy Dorsey

Lionel Hampton

Duke Ellington

Count Basie

Louis Armstrong

Gene Krupa

Cab Calloway

Les Brown

Dizzy Gillespie

Wynton Marsalis

Artie Shaw

Harry James

If reading this list of big band-era artists brought back thoughts of the 1930s, imagine hearing their music and their stories on the George Landry Show.

In the 1970s and 1980s, a shrinking number of the stars of the big band era were still alive. George Landry interviewed them on the air. It was the interviews they thought they'd never have again.

In his retirement years, Landry continued to preserve the history of early music and radio by helping organize meetings of the old radio guys. In fact, the Montgomery region gatherings extended beyond radio guys to include TV and newspaper personalities.

Landry was active in the "Media Lunch Bashes," "Montgomery Radio Alumni Group" and "The Old Radio Guys Breakfasts," mostly at eating places in Montgomery that have good senior discounts. The gatherings were and remain an all-star cast of the River Region media of yesteryear. The voices still sound familiar: Bill J. Moody, Rad Dodson, Greg Perdue, Terry Barber, George Howell, Tom B. Jones, Charlie Grider, Dianne Brennan and other Brennans, Robert Munday, Clay Redden and Jeff Blake. Names you thought you'd never hear again.

George Landry was also a music maker himself, a piano player to compete with Thelonious Monk. There's a name you thought you'd never hear again.

Landry and his wife Elaine were married November 14, 1954, an amazing 70 years ago.

Services for George Landry are on Thursday at Leak Memory Chapel, 945 Lincoln Road, Montgomery. Visitation is at 1 p.m. Celebration of Life is 2 p.m.

A chapter closes in Alabama radio and the big band era.

George Landry on his 93rd birthday. Alabama News
George Landry on his 93rd birthday. Photo: Kathy Landry Medaris

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].

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