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Pop impresario and television host Don Kirshner has died at age 76. RIP.

Born in the Bronx, Mr. Kirshner entered the music business in the mid-1950s, writing commercial jingles with Bobby Darin, whom he had met in a Washington Heights candy shop as Robert Cassotto. When Mr. Darin went on to fame as a singer in 1958 with “Splish Splash,” Mr. Kirshner assumed a powerful role behind the scenes with his publishing company Aldon, which he founded with Al Nevins.

Those of a certain age will remember Kirshner almost as well for the memorable impression Paul Shaffer used to do of him on Saturday Night.

“But when he went on-camera, he slowed right down. I guess he was nervous. He froze a little bit, but he still spoke from the heart. I found it very humorous, and I never forgot it. When the show ‘Year at the Top’ didn’t get picked up, I got my gig at 'SNL' back. I’d left 'SNL' and moved to California to do the show, but when I came back, I brought that impression back with me and started doing it.

“On one show we needed a way to set up a certain musical number, a rock number -- Garrett Morris did Tina Turner -- and I said I could do it as Don Kirshner. So that’s how it came about.


I really wish that I'd been around to walk those Brill Building halls back then. Thankfully, I was old enough to grow up watching "Don Kirsher's Rock Concert" where I was exposed to everyone from Abba to the Ramones. Thank you Don Kirshner for helping to bring us so much enduring music that will outlive us all. Here are some of the songs I will be playing in Don Kirshner's honor today. Please feel free to add you own.
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