George Taylor Morris, 62
George Morris Dies; Former Host on Satellite Radio Classic Rock Channel
Monday, August 3, 2009
George Taylor Morris, 62, formerly the daily morning host on XM Satellite Radio's "Deep Tracks" classic rock channel and the primary host of the company's interview program, "XM Artist Confidential," died Aug. 1 of throat cancer at his home in Reston.
Mr. Morris, also known as GTM, had been a disc jockey and radio personality at stations on Long Island and in Boston, New York and elsewhere when he joined Washington-based XM Satellite Radio in 2001. As host of "XM Artist Confidential," Mr. Morris did original interviews and hosted exclusive live performances with such artists as Sting, Tony Bennett, Ludacris, Willie Nelson, Amy Grant, Odetta and Pink. In 2005, he interviewed Beatles icon Paul McCartney before a live studio audience at XM's Performance Theater in the District. The theater is three blocks from the site of the Washington Coliseum, where the Beatles played their first live U.S. show in 1964.
As the midday disc jockey at WZLX-FM in Boston in 1997, Mr. Morris got caught up in an Internet music phenomenon that purported to find a strange and mystical synchronicity between "The Wizard of Oz," the 1939 film, and Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon," the 1973 rock album. Someone brought him a printout of a page from the Pink Floyd Web site listing more than 80 coincidences between the album and the movie when they are played simultaneously. "Brain Damage," for example, plays as the Scarecrow sings "If I Only Had a Brain"; "Eclipse" ends with a heartbeat as Dorothy tries to hear a heartbeat in the Tin Man, and so on.
Mr. Morris went home and played the two. "The first four or five minutes were kind of interesting, but then, just before Dorothy goes into the house and the tornado comes, it becomes an amazing series of cosmic coincidences," he told the Los Angeles Times in 2000.
He mentioned the musical oddity on the air and sent classic rockers into a frenzy. The New York Times, the "Today" show, "Good Morning America" and radio stations from around the world called Mr. Morris for details. As the Los Angeles Times reported, "Pink Floyd fans camped out on his front lawn, ringing his doorbell at all hours of the day and night with variations on the question: 'Dude, is it true?' "
Mr. Morris was born in King City, Calif., where he began his radio career while a high school sophomore. After graduating from high school in 1965, he took programming and disc jockey positions in Lake Tahoe and Santa Barbara, Calif., before becoming news director at WHLI in Hempstead, N.Y., on Long Island. He became a well-known radio personality at several other Long Island stations before joining WEDJ, a top-40 station in the New York metropolitan radio market.
In 1979, he was hired as a news anchor at The Source, the NBC young adult radio network, where he did original reporting during the Iran hostage crisis and the 1980 presidential elections. In 1981, he became entertainment director for The Source.
He also wrote, produced and hosted "Reelin' in the Years," a weekly syndicated album rock show that was a mix of music, interviews, commentary, vintage commercials and film and TV clips. The show aired from 1984 to 1999.
Mr. Morris's marriage to Donna Morris ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife of 20 years, Gail Markens Morris of Reston; a son from the second marriage, Evan Markens Morris, also of Reston; and two brothers and a sister.