Rigdon Osmond “Rick” Dees III is an American comedic performer, entertainer, and radio personality, best known for his internationally syndicated radio show The Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 Countdown and for the novelty song “Disco Duck.” He is a People’s Choice Award recipient, a Grammy-nominated performing artist, and Broadcast Hall of Fame inductee. He wrote two songs that appear in the film Saturday Night Fever, plus performed the title song for the film Meatballs. Dees is also co-founder of the E.W. Scripps television network, FINE LIVING, and is the former host of the Rick Dees Morning Show at Movin’ 93-9 FM in Los Angeles.
Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Dees was raised in Greensboro, North Carolina. He graduated from Greensboro’s Grimsley High School, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor?s Degree in Radio, TV and Motion Pictures.
Dees began his radio career at WGBG, a Greensboro radio station, while still in high school. He worked in various radio stations throughout the southeastern United States, including WSGN in Birmingham, Alabama.
His introduction to the international entertainment arena began while working at WMPS-AM in Memphis, Tennessee, during the disco craze of the late 1970s when he wrote and recorded “Disco Duck”, the award-winning hit that sold more than six million copies. The song can be heard in the movie Saturday Night Fever in a brief scene in which a group of older people were learning to “move their feet to the disco beat”. While this platinum recording earned him a People’s Choice Award, and the BMI Award for record sales in one year, Dees was expressly forbidden from playing the song on the air by station management. He was later fired on-the-spot for talking about the song on the air one morning?the station manager claimed conflict of interest. After a short hiatus, he went on to WHBQ-AM, also in Memphis, where ratings quickly soared following his arrival.