Moses Lucky Cordell was born July 28, 1928 in Mississippi. His mother died when Lucky was three, and his family moved to Chicago. Cordell graduated from Dunbar High School in 1946. He went on to a long career in Chicago Radio, initially as a disc jockey (known as the “Baron of Bounce”) and by 1970, he became General Manager at the storied WVON. He also produced records by local artists such as Heaven and Earth, as well as a lesser-known soul group called New Image (1977).
He even released a number of spoken-word records under his own name, which all dealt with themes of love, upliftment, spirituality, and building positive character. The songs had titles like “Happiness”, “You Made a Man out of Me”, “Good Morning Lord”, “A Great Day”, and “This is the Woman I Love” (1969). “This is the Woman I Love” was written and produced by fellow radio disc jockey Richard Pegue. Initially released on Pegue’s Nickel label, the record was picked up for national distribution by Cotillion Records.
Lucky Cordell’s two daughters were also recording artists, releasing two very good records under the name “Pat & Pam” in the early 1970s (click here for more on that).
Cordell was socially engaged and politically minded. He left full-time radio in the 1980s to pursue work with the Chicago Urban League and Operation PUSH.
Cordell died tragically on July 7th of this year at the age of 86 from injuries sustained in a fire at his South Shore home.
According to sources close to the family, he put himself in harm’s way attempting to save his daughter, Pat, who became trapped. The fire began in her bedroom, according to her sister Pamela. The fire was reportedly started by smoking materials.
Under Lucky Cordell’s leadership, WVON became “one of the biggest radio stations in Chicago”, as well as “one of the most influential R&B stations in the country”, according to chicagoradioandmedia.com. Here’s a recording of Lucky Cordell in rare form: