"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

All You Need is Love

If you grew up in New York and are of a certain age the name Pete Fornatale means rock n roll. When I think of the legendary radio disk jockeys of my childhood–Scott Muni, the unbearably sexy Carol Miller–Fornatale’s name is always at the top of the list.

I was sad to hear the news that Pete died today of a sudden illness. He was 66. I am sad for a number of reasons but mostly because Pete’s son is a dear friend.

My love goes out to the Fornatale family. The old man will be missed more than somewhat.

Categories:  1: Featured  Arts and Culture  Obituaries

Share: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email %PRINT_TEXT


1 Yankee Mama   ~  Apr 26, 2012 9:14 pm

How sad. He was the deejay of my youth too. 102.7. I listened to him everyday. He really put thought into his shows. His voice was light compared to Muni.

You forgot Allison Steele, the Nightbird. Remember that voice?

2 Matt Blankman   ~  Apr 26, 2012 9:46 pm

Lovely post, Alex. Thanks. It's very, very sad, but the memories are fantastic. It's worth noting that Pete Sr. was a huge baseball fan.

3 TheGreenMan   ~  Apr 26, 2012 9:50 pm

Wow...that hits hard. Harder than I expected.

4 Boatzilla   ~  Apr 26, 2012 11:07 pm

Strange...his name is not ringing a bell with me, but I know the others. Loved Carol Miller and Allison Steele.

I'll have to find some old broadcasts and see if his voice brings back some memories.

5 Boatzilla   ~  Apr 26, 2012 11:11 pm

Got it now. Heard the voice. Yes, I was a fan. Sad news indeed.

6 thelarmis   ~  Apr 27, 2012 12:21 am

oh no. sad : (

7 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Apr 27, 2012 8:11 am

RIP, loved Pete. So many memories; the living history of R&R and the social turmoil of the sixties is fading to be replaced with scholarly research and theory.

Whose going to remember the not so famous but great musicians and bands when the first hand experience of them is gone?

I guess the same can be said about big bands of the 40's and jazz from the 50's.

8 Alex Belth   ~  Apr 27, 2012 9:30 am

He was an institution.

9 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Apr 27, 2012 11:00 am

Everybody has his or her own personal "old New York," and everyone's eventually slips away -- whether it's my parents' New York of fedoras and vestigial horse-drawn deliveries, or a later version.

Pete Fornatale and his contemporaries were certainly part of mine. His voice is in a mental file that also includes Mayor Koch, Thurm and Reggie, Son of Sam, and polyester T-shirts with felt iron-on letters... the logic-free mish-mash of what a kid remembers. The smell of sun-baked red brick and dogshit on my grandparents' block in the Bronx.

I came to age a little later than Pete's heyday, but when I was a teenager there was still plenty of rock up and down the dial -- WNEW, WPLJ, KISS, and for a time WAPP. (Both dials, even -- WNBC, WABC.) I'd be lying if I were to claim a specific connection to Pete, but there's no question he was a thread in the fabric of that era.

Sounds like there was more to him than I'd known. Always sad to lose a good guy.

10 Matt Blankman   ~  Apr 27, 2012 12:39 pm

Similar to Alex, Pete's oldest son is a very close friend. In fact, we've been tight since about the 5th grade, so this one really hurts. A mutual friend of mine and Pete the younger's posted this about his dad on facebook yesterday, and I wanted to share it here. I hope he won't mind.
"I am deeply saddened by the loss of Pete Fornatale. I consider myself fortunate to have known him in three different aspects of my life: Growing up in Port Washington, I knew him as my friend's father, a kind man who never talked down to his children's friends. Later, I got to know him professionally, where I worked with musicians who all wanted to be on his radio show. And lastly, I was a fan, Pete introduced me to music I would have never listened to otherwise. I will miss him."

11 Alex Belth   ~  Apr 27, 2012 1:28 pm

10) Thanks for that, Matt. I never knew the old man but I know his son. And in this case if the father was anything like the son, I know he was a great dude. I am sorry for your loss, too. Love to you and to Pete and his family.

feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email
"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver