Spider Harrison

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Although best known as the Indianapolis market's premier soul and funk DJ during the late 1960s and early 1970s, Spider Harrison also enjoyed a brief career making music of his own. Born and raised in…
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Although best known as the Indianapolis market's premier soul and funk DJ during the late 1960s and early 1970s, Spider Harrison also enjoyed a brief career making music of his own. Born and raised in Hempstead, New York, Harrison began promoting local concerts as a teen, later taking broadcasting courses at CW Post College and interning at station WWRL. In the pages of Broadcasting magazine Harrison spotted an advertisement announcing that African-American-owned Indianapolis FM station WTLC was hiring--he was soon hired and relocated to the Midwest in 1968, quickly becoming a champion of local music by regularly playing Indy-area funk outfits like the Highlighters and the Vanguards during his daily radio show. In the spring of 1969 Harrison was the first to regularly spin the Highlighters' cult classic "Poppin' Popcorn," and when the band's manager Jerry Herman formed his own label, Lulu Records, he approached the DJ to record a single of his own. Backed by the Highlighters themselves, Harrison recorded the self-penned "Beautiful Day" in early 1970--little more than a local curiosity in its original incarnation, the single has since become a sought-after favorite among rare groove collectors, and was later compiled on the Stones Throw label's seminal Funky 16 Corners collection. Harrison left WTLC for Nashville station WLAC in mid-1973, relocating to California to join the staff of Sugar Hill Records in 1980. He remained in the music business in various capacities for years to follow.