CHICAGO — Pervis Spann, ‘the BLUES man,’ has died from complications due to Alzheimer’s. He was 89.
The Chicago radio legend is credited as the person who helped put some of the biggest artists on the map, with many remembering him as a music powerhouse.
Spann was so much more than just a disc jockey to former Alderman and WVON Talk Show Host Dorothy Tillman.
“I was very proud of Pervis Spann. He wasn’t just some DJ. I don’t like when folks say that because he was more than that. When we came here with Dr. King, he was there. He was there for Dr. King, Harold Washington. He’s been there for the community and for other people,” Tillman said.
Spann helped build the radio station WVON-AM. Tillman said she had known the music legend since the 1960s, adding that he was a visionary and his legacy would live on throughout his influence in music, the community, and the world.
“The Jackson 5 would not have existed had it not have been for Pervis Spann, at the Regal, right next door,” Tillman said. “Most of those artists, he broke that music. When those boys came, ‘hey, let them on the stage.’ He was more than just an announcer. He could have been an announcer, but he was more than that. He could have just spun records, but he was more than that. He made a lot of artists, Marshall and the Chi-Lites, Aretha Franklin, Koko Taylor, BB King.”
WGN audio engineer Bill Crane worked with Spann from 1966 to 1978 and said those who knew him would not forget his life and wisdom.
“Not only well lived, he was a teacher. In fact, his daughter followed in his tracks with WVON now, but of course, it’s a different format and different time, but he carried it right through the family.”