21 Facts About Barry Hansen


Barry Hansen created the Demento persona in 1970 while working at Pasadena, California, station KPPC-FM.

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Barry Hansen's weekly show went into syndication in 1974 and was syndicated by the Westwood One Radio Network from 1978 to 1992.

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Barry Hansen has a degree in ethnomusicology and has written magazine articles and liner notes on recording artists outside of the novelty genre.

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Barry Hansen is credited with introducing new generations of listeners to artists of the early and middle 20th century whom they might not have otherwise discovered, such as Harry McClintock, Spike Jones, Jimmy Durante, Benny Bell, Rusty Warren, Yogi Yorgesson, Nervous Norvus, Allan Sherman, Ray Stevens, Candy Candido, Stan Freberg, and Tom Lehrer.

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Barry Hansen helped bring "Weird Al" Yankovic to national attention.

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Barry Hansen was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the son of an amateur pianist.

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Barry Hansen wrote his senior thesis on Alban Berg's opera Wozzeck and Claude Debussy's opera Pelleas et Melisande.

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Barry Hansen graduated in 1963, and later studied at UCLA, from which he earned a master's degree in folklore and ethnomusicology.

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Barry Hansen was responsible for preparing many of the "Warner Brothers Loss Leaders" compilation albums of rock music issued by Warner Bros.

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Barry Hansen left the radio network in 1990 during a business downturn.

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Between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s, Barry Hansen continued to do live broadcasts on KMET and other Los Angeles area stations, in addition to his weekly taped syndicated show.

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For most of the syndicated show's history, Barry Hansen produced 52 original weekly shows every year; repeat broadcasts were rare.

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In 2000, Barry Hansen formed Talonian Productions to syndicate the show himself.

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The new format, along with the ability to play records that previously would have been censored on the radio, has allowed Barry Hansen to delve more deeply into his collection than was possible on the syndicated radio show.

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Barry Hansen was interviewed in the 2005 documentary film about outsider musician Wild Man Fischer, titled Derailroaded: Inside The Mind Of Wild Man Fischer.

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Barry Hansen describes himself as "an armchair railfan", sometimes sampling his extensive collection of railroad-related songs on his show.

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In 1976, Barry Hansen spoke at Yankovic's school where Yankovic gave a self-recorded tape of comedy songs and parodies to Barry Hansen.

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Positive listener response encouraged Yankovic to record more parodies; Barry Hansen then funded Yankovic's first EP, Another One Rides the Bus, which eventually led to a record deal and pop chart success in the 1980s and beyond.

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Barry Hansen has appeared in a number of Weird Al's music videos as well as in Weird Al's movie UHF.

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Barry Hansen revived interest in the double entendre songs of 1940s Borscht Belt comedian Benny Bell, especially Bell's signature tune, "Shaving Cream".

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Barry Hansen introduced a new generation to the manic big-band parodies of Spike Jones, the musical black humor of Tom Lehrer, and the many novelty records recorded by satirist Stan Freberg in the 1950s.

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