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January 16, 2012 05:00 PM

Bill Janklow The Deejay

sioux falls, sd


Former Governor Bill Janklow will be remembered not only as a dominant figure in South Dakota politics, but also a man who gave a lot of his personal time to special causes.

One of his favorites was the Make-A-Wish Foundation, spinning one record at a time. 

Janklow loved politics, but he was also devoted to deejaying. 

"I'd rather be doing this, period.  I love it; I never left the 50s.  It was called fast cars and you know my problem with that routine.  It was called Be-Bop-A-Lula.  It was called duck tail haircuts and Levis," Janklow said.

Janklow, who graduated from the class of 1957, often would set aside his political life to spin records to help raise money for several local charities, like the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

South Dakota Rock N Roll Hall of Famer Myron Lee of Myron Lee and the Caddies attended a few of Janklow's 50s bashes and remembers the records weren't the only hits. 

"When they would go out and do all those deejay things, they would bill it as 'BJ the DJ,'" Lee said.  "People would come up and women would come up and hug him and people would all want to shake Bill's hand.  They just loved it."

The music Janklow played was from his own record collection, hundreds upon hundreds of 45's.

A year ago, Janklow contributed a story for the back cover of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame program using only song titles. 

"'"I'm a Believer."  Rather than "Singing the Blues" or getting "All Shook Up," I'm getting my "Blue Suede Shoes" and joining every Sheila, Sherry and Peggy Sue,'" Lee said.

Lee says Janklow had a special place in his heart for helping terminally ill children, but he also had a passion for his past. 

"I think if he wouldn't have done all the other things he did in life, he probably would have liked to have had a rock n roll show on the radio for a radio program," Lee said.

Janklow would deejay half dozen fundraisers a year. His favorite song according to one of his close friends was "Rock N Roll Is Here to Stay" by Bill Hailey and the Comets.
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