The news of Pete Fornatale's passing today affected me the same way when I heard Joe Strummer died. It was out of the blue, they both had so much more to give and were instrumental in my love of music.
Pete was a big part of my days growing up. I was a faithful listener of WNEW. I rode my bike in their Central Park Bike-A-Thons, got the calendar every year and of course faithfully listened to Pete Fornatale. I wrote to Pete on several occasions about the Beach Boys (this was in the 70's when it wasn't cool to like them) and he responded with hand written letters. I have a memory of one Easter, Pete playing the whole Pet Sounds album. His love and knowledge of the Beach Boys encouraged my love of their music.
Pete and I both went to Fordham. We both worked at WFUV. He of course was a pioneering rock dj during his college days in the 60's. I heard myself on the radio once and decided I would be much better as a producer.
I saw him at the World Financial Center with Rosanne Cash not that long ago celebrating the Bottom Line. He was vibrant and his usual musical powerhouse of knowledge. It's hard to think of radio without Pete. He was a New York institution. I was just listening to him three weeks ago and enjoying his show Mixed Bag.
Thanks Pete for sharing your love of music.