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Legends to be feted at Pittsburgh Rock 'N Roll awards

| Thursday, March 16, 2017, 11:45 a.m.
Submitted
Tommy James & the Shondells
Submitted
Jimmy Ross and the Jaggerz, which includes band members Dennis McAbee (left), Benny Faiella, Paul Martella, Ross, Chris Patarini and Hermie Granati.

The fourth class of the Pittsburgh Rock ‘N Roll Legends Awards includes a hit band from the 1960s, a Dormont DJ, a Beaver County producer and one of the local groups he produced.

The winners were selected by fan votes, cast between Feb. 8 and 20, and the Legends Academy of Voters.

Modern Era Legend: Tommy James and the Shondells were formed in Michigan, but it was on Pittsburgh radio that they became famous when a local dance producer and DJ in 1965 sparked interest in their first his “Hanky Panky.” They would go on to earn 23 gold singles and sell more than 100 million records. Pittsburghers Eddie Gray and Mike Vale co-wrote the band's rock classic “Crystal Blue Persuasion.”

Music Industry Professional Legend: In the 1960s, Jerry Reed built a small recording studio in his basement in Beaver. He recorded local groups including the Jaggerz and the Shad Three with Hermie and Rickie Granati and Keith Galantine on his own record label — Jeree. By the 1980s, Reed had huge success with releases from Donnie Iris, Iron City Houserockers, Kenny Blake, Nathan Davis and Billy Price.

Legacy Legend: The Beaver County band The Jaggerz hit the big time in 1970 with “The Rapper,” written by Donnie Iris. It was a No. 1 single on Cash Box and No. 2 on Billboard. The Jaggerz released a new CD, “The Walk” in 2014.

Music Broadcaster Legend: Dormont's Chuck Brinkman was on local radio from 1960s to the 1980s on KQV, WTAE and WFFM/WMYG, and he introduced the Beatles at their only Pittsburgh stop in 1964 at the Civic Arena. Brinkman is still on the air and part owner of rock oldies station KGVL-FM in Greenville, Texas.

The fourth annual awards celebration, which benefits the Cancer Caring Center, will be on April 27 at Jergels Rhythm Grille in Warrendale. Tickets are $75 or $200. Details: pittsburghrocklegends.com

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