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Dr. Demento

Dr. Demento is the stage name of Barret Hansen, who has made a successful career as a radio disc jockey specializing in novelty songs. He created the persona in 1970 while working at Los Angeles station KPPC-FM. His weekly show went into syndication in 1974 and is still on the air in 2003. He has also released many compilations of music featured on his show.

To some people, he is best known as the man who brought rock parodist Weird Al Yankovic to national attention.

Hansen was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1941, son of an amateur pianist, and claims to have started his vast record collection as early as age 12, when he found "that a local thrift store had thousands of old 78 RPM records for sale at 5 cents each." He attended Reed College, where he wrote a thesis on Wagnerian opera. He has developed a particular interest in the roots of rock 'n' roll in R&B and country music, and has written about it in many magazine articles, liner notes and two chapters on early R&B for The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll.