Over the years the name Lee Rand has become synonymous with Lincoln, Maine, radio and broadcasting. In the early and mid-1980s, Lee Rand was general manager of radio station WLKN AM/FM in Lincoln. During this time, he hosted his own radio show, "Solid Gold", featuring music of the 1950s and 60s. Solid Gold was the #1 rated weekend radio show in northern Maine during that time period, and the station showing up for the first time ever in the Bangor (ME) Spring Arbitron ratings in 1982. Lee was the subject of three major articles in the Bangor Daily News during his radio career. He also produced radio shows for MPBN featuring recording artists from the State of Maine. His in-depth, detailed six-hour "Dick Curless Story" set a new high for Maine broadcast standards. Lee surpassed that with another six-hour radio show, featuring Maine rock and roll bands from the 1960s highlighted by the original music and interviews with band members from such groups as the Mainiacs, Jester Holiday, Barracudas, Triumphs and others. Lee made radio fun to listen to again.
Lee circa the mid-1970s
Lee in the early 80's at Pilot's Grill in Bangor
"Mr. Lee" walking in the snow in Maine early in 2012.
Lee left a successful radio career in 1987 to work with his wife Connie. Lee briefly reprised his role as "Mr. Solid Gold" in 1995 on WHMX-FM. On May 7, 1995, Lee's first radio show in over 8 years began with the song "Welcome Back", by John Sebastian. Within a few weeks, the show was close to reaching its former popularity. Unfortunately, the radio station being in bankruptcy, the station and Solid Gold only remained on the air until July 23, 1995. No one knew at the time that would be Lee's last live radio show, and ironically, he ended his radio career with the monologue, "This Is Not Goodbye - Just Goodnight", followed by "The End", by the Beatles, off the Abbey Road album.
Although "Maine's Oldest Living Teenager" has had several good offers to do his "real" oldies show on various eastern Maine radio stations over the years since leaving broadcasting, he probably won't be doing it again.
UPDATE: 1/22/11-" After giving the offer to revive my "Solid Gold Show" on radio station WSYY careful consideration, I have decided not to accept their offer to return to the airwaves. I have also decided to close the door, as it where, on any future endeavors to bring me and my show back. I will not entertain any future offers to broadcast again. I have enough great memories to last a lifetime - why would I want more? I have had the pleasure of having a number one rated radio show, and I have been lucky enough to be able to share the music I love so much with thousands of listeners in eastern and northern Maine on the radio and at my live shows. But the radio business, and live DJ business has changed as have the demographics. I've done it, and I've been there, so I will never 'do it again' over the radio waves. But let me tell you, it was great, and I want to thank each and every one of you who listened in and still write or call - you, along with the music, will always be a part of my life. I enjoyed every minute of it!"
Lee is currently sales manager for Rand Advertising LLC, which among other things maintains www.WelcomeToLincolnMaine.com. As a professional photographer, he has seen several of his photographs published worldwide,and has won a number of photographic awards. He makes his home in Lincoln with his wife Connie and their cats, Marley and Ebenezer Scrooge, along with thousands of 45s, albums, cassettes, CDs, mp3s . . . .
In the fall of 1962, Lee attended his first rock 'n roll show at the old Bangor City Hall with David Sleeper from Brewer. That Saturday afternoon, he also attended the "teen tv show" hosted by Bangor tv & radio personality, Jim Winters. The featured artist for both events was Bobby "Boris" Pickett. The three things Lee remembers are that Bobby Pickett was a heck of a nice guy, he lip-synced the song on TV, and he sang Boney Maronie at his live show. Bobby was backed up by the Triumphs, and Lee thinks he remembers Bobby doing Monster Mash two or three times during the show. Although it's long lost, he did get Bobby's autograph that day, but more importantly Lee decided that there had to be a place for him somewhere in the world of rock 'n roll.
At the urging of Winters (who Lee always cites as a major influence and inspiration), Lee did his first live DJ show during the school year 1962-63 at Fifth Street Junior High School in Bangor. He shared the stage with the Jesters. In 1964, having moved to Old Town, Lee formed and recorded with several rock bands, including Lee and the Levitations, the Roadrunners, and the Good and the Bad, to name a few. Lee played drums, and actually wrote one song (which everybody seems to have forgotten). Lee continued to perform in rock 'n roll bands with his last being in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1969. The last time Lee performed in public in a band was at the K of C Hall in Old Town in the spring of 1970. In the mid-1970s, while becoming increasingly known for his popular "live" record hops, Lee programmed the music for WABI's (Bangor, Maine) oldies format at the request of then program director George Hale. Informed at the time (not by George btw) that he would never be a successful radio DJ because his voice sounded too much like he was from Maine (!), Lee nevertheless proved that to be on par with telling the Beatles in 1962 that four-man rock groups were on the way out! At this time, Lee had also been working for the past few years as a DJ at WMEB-FM in Orono. He was soon recruited by WLKN-FM in Lincoln and Solid Gold debuted on August 7, 1978. As mentioned earlier, Lee went on to numerous achievements in his radio career, as radio personality, sales manager and station general manager. Few in eastern and northern Maine enjoyed the popularity that Lee did, with his oldies show and with those who listened to it faithfully every Sunday. It probably can be said quite sincerely that "Mr. Lee" is truly a broadcasting legend. Whether it was Brenda Lee, Ronnie Dove, Johnny Rivers or Freddy Fender . . . when they came to town, Lee was their MC - at their request.
As far as Lee's record hops were concerned, he did them all over eastern and northern Maine, from the Oyster Bar in Ellsworth, the Anchorage in Old Town to the Chalet in Lincoln. Fashioned after shows by the late Bangor DJ Jim Winters, Lee's show was an exciting time! Many shows were broadcast live over the radio, such as those from the Heritage in Millinocket. Lee could always be counted on to draw a crowd - he was the first entertainer to ever sell out the K of C Hall in Lincoln, and he did that several times! Lee has truly earned the title of Lincoln, Maine's only living legend!
Lee with superstar Brenda Lee in 1983
In 1984 Lee broadcast his "Solid Gold" show for several months at WMLI (WGUY) in Bangor, Maine. In August of that year, Lee was asked to MC for Johnny Rivers at The Bangor Maine State Fair during Johnny's "Secret Agent Man" US Tour. Johnny did two shows, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. After 21 years(!) Lee has found a brief video clip of Johnny Rivers performing during his evening show. The segment was shot by one of the local television stations. Enjoy!!
Above, Lee backstage with 60s legend Johnny Rivers. Insert: Lee MC-ing Johnny's Bangor Fair Concert in 1984. Below is Lee introducing Johnny Rivers at the evening show.
Here's a copy of a recent postcard Lee received from one of his many friends in the music business!!
ONLY KNOWN PICTURE OF LEE & HIS BAND ON STAGE FOUND!!
Circa 1967, American Legion Hall, Orono, Maine (Lee on drums)
l-r: Bob Boutin, Jim Robichaud, Lee, & Ron Cunningham
"I do have to say, when I could get you on the radio playing music, yours was one of the better shows I have ever listened to. Your presentation and explanations were great! I think it was equal to or even better than the old WTOS." Jim,
"... you were the best DJ they (WLKN) had and the show was a good one, not just the music, but you shared facts about the groups and songs that were not always known!"- C.J., Lincoln, ME
"Lee, took a look at your Web page - GREAT job!" Roger McGuinn of the Byrds
"Most people think the defining musical and/or sociological moment of the 60s was Woodstock (1969). It wasn't.
It was the Monterey International Pop Festival (June 1967). We all thought it would last forever!
It didn't . . . and maybe that's a good thing."
This page is dedicated to the late Jim Winters. Jim befriended Lee and his bands all those years ago and was the inspiration for the style of record hops that Lee would emulate many years later.
Jim passed away on January 3, 1992 at the age of 61. He will always be remembered for his kindness to a 13-year-old kid who loved rock 'n roll. "Thanks Jim."
You can write to Lee at P.O. Box 505, Lincoln, ME 04457-0505.
COPYRIGHT 2011 - SOLID GOLD PRODUCTIONS
Jim Winters caricature by Mae Martel.
Used with Permission.