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Bill Barber


Editor’s note: In February of 2012 I  talked to Lloyd Miller on the phone. He played drums on Bob Reinhardt’s first record “Baby Why Did You Have to Go” / “Your Kind of Love” from April of 1958 by Bob and the Rockbillies. He told me that this song was put together in Bob Tucker’s garage in the 1300 block of Thomas S.E. A disc jockey called Bill Barber had a radio show from 3:30 to 4:30 in the afternoon at that time called Bill’s Barber Shop (?)/ Barber Pole(?) and was playing some rock and roll on his show. Bill came over to hear the band play and liked this song. He invited them to play it on his radio show, and set up a recording session for them in Lansing. He also got them a gig at an Alan Freed show at the Civic Auditorium.

 This information comes from Dick Wolf, who also played for Bob Reinhardt as a bassist. “Bill Barber, a local DJ, had a radio show on WOOD radio called the “Barber Pole”, and he was our manager. He arranged a TV show we did for several months called “Sock Hop”. It aired on Saturday Mornings and was fashioned after Dick Clark’s Band Stand. We had a guest singer or band in each week and we also played each week.”

Below is Bill Barber’s obituary which outlines the details of his career:

W.M. Bataille aka “Bill Barber”

January 14, 1999

W.M. Bataille, also known as Bill Barber, a longtime announcer on radio and for the Illinois Lottery, died Nov. 21 at St. Francis Hospital of Evanston following complications from cancer. He was 76. Mr. Bataille had used the name Bill Barber since he began working in the radio business following college, said his wife, Maryon Bataille. Born in New Jersey, Mr. Bataille joined the Navy and served as a rear-seat gunner as a naval flier during World War II, his wife said. After being discharged, he attended college, graduating from Northwestern University and receiving a law degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, she said. Soon after graduation, Mr. Bataille began using the moniker Bill Barber in the radio field, working as a disc jockey and announcer reading commercials with stations in Michigan, Vermont and Massachusetts. In 1951, he joined WJR-Radio in Detroit. “That really started his career,” Maryon Bataille said. Mr. Bataille later moved to Chicago and worked for WGN-AM and, from the late 1980s until February, as a voice-over announcer with several of the Illinois Lottery’s television game shows. “He had this deep, resonating voice, yet he was diminutive,” said Tom Rivera, local producer of the lottery shows. “He was a wonderful man.” Besides his wife, Mr. Bataille is survived by three sons, Kim, Kurt and Kriss; five brothers, John, Edwin, Robert, Richard and Thomas; three sisters, Alice Hagetter, Marilyn Parette and Nancy DeFrance; and four grandchildren. Services were held in New Jersey.

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