Rigdon Osmond "Rick" Dees III (born March 14, 1950 in Jacksonville, Florida) is Los Angeles, California-based radio disc jockey, host of the internationally-syndicated "Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 Countdown", and a musician, best known for his 1976 novelty hit "Disco Duck". He hosted the morning drive show on Birmingham's WSGN-AM from 1973 to 1974.
Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Dees was raised in Greensboro, North Carolina and graduated from Grimsley High School there while also working at WGBG-AM. He earned a bachelor's degree in radio, TV, and motion pictures from the University of North Carolina and also continued working at WXYC-FM in Chapel Hill before coming to Birmingham.
Dees' morning drive program at WSGN was the city's top-rated show in that time-slot, but was eclipsed by the upstart WERC-AM. Dees went on to WKIX-FM in Raleigh, North Carolina and WMPS-AM in Memphis, Tennessee. While there in 1976 he wrote and produced the novelty song "Disco Duck" with Donald Duck-inspired vocals by Ken Pruitt. The unexpected hit which sold six-million singles, won a People's Choice award, and made a cameo in John Badham's 1977 film "Saturday Night Fever". Dees eventually went on tour as "Rick Dees and The Cast of Idiots" to promote the song. Michael Chesney took Pruitt's place as vocalist for Disco Duck.
Dees' dual roles as Top-40 DJ and Top-40 musician introduced a conflict of interest. WMPS executives forbid him from playing the single and fired him when he complained about it on the air. Other stations in Memphis also blacklisted the single for fear of promoting their competitor. Meanwhile Dees' former rivals in Birmingham were required to play the hit on regular rotation. After a 45-day non-compete clause in his contract expired, Dees took a job with WHBQ-AM in Memphis.
WHBQ's owners, RKO General, offered him the morning slot at their Los Angeles station, 93KHJ-AM. He left in July 1981 when the station switched to a country format and helped build KIIS-FM into a powerhouse station, debuting his Weekly Top 40 countdown program in September 1983 when the station lost the rights to air American Top 40. Dees was named "Radio Personality of the Year" by Billboard magazine for ten consecutive years.
- 1976 – The Original Disco Duck
- 1983 – Hurt Me Baby, Make Me Write Bad Checks
- 1984 – Put It Where the Moon Don't Shine
- 1985 – I'm Not Crazy
- – Rick Dees' Greatest Hit (The White Album) (Macola Record Co., MRC 0971)
- 1996 – Spousal Arousal