The family of Pervis Spann, along with his radio family at WVON and its parent company, Midway Broadcasting Corporation, have announced a series of public events to celebrate the life of this legendary Chicagoan. Pervis Spann, The Blues Man, passed away on March 14, 2022 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. He was 89.
Memorials Celebrating the Life of Pervis Spann, The Blues Man will take place in Chicago, beginning with a public viewing on Tuesday, March 22nd, from 4-7pm, at the Leak & Sons Funeral Home, 78th and Cottage Grove. The formal services will take place the next day, Wednesday, March 23rd, at The Apostolic Church God, 63rd and Dorchester – Wake, from 10-11:45, and the Funeral Service begins at noon. A private [family only] burial will take place immediately after the service.
All memorial events [except for the internment] are open to the public. However, the Family of Pervis Spann will require all attendees be fully vaccinated and masked.
The Funeral Service for Pervis Spann will air live on VONtv [accessed on ROKU, Apple TV+ Amazon Fire and at von.tv. You can listen liven on WVON Radio,1690AM or on the iHeart app. Media – broadcast and print – is invited to live stream the Funeral Service, but arrangements must be made in advance. [To confirm, contact Hermene Hartman at 312 882-7501
Among the dignitaries expected to pay tribute to Pervis Spann during the funeral service will be Rev. Jesse Jackson [President, Rainbow/PUSH] and the Rev. Al Sharpton [The National Action Network]. The eulogy will be delivered by Rev. Otis Moss, [Trinity United Church of Christ], with Father Michael Pfleger [St. Sabina] delivering the opening prayer.
Melody Spann Cooper, Spann’s eldest daughter [Chair and CEO of Midway Broadcasting] has received letters of condolence from Former U.S. President, Barack Obama and his wife, Former First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as Governor JB Pritzker [IL] and Mayor Lori Lightfoot [Chicago, IL].
The Legacy: Pervis Spann, The Blues Man…..
Pervis Julian Spann was an African American entrepreneur, promoter and radio personality, who is credited with naming Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul and giving BB King the moniker, The King of the Blues. According to leaders from the civil rights and social justice communities, Pervis Spann used his radio stations like a megaphone to showcase musicians and galvanize the African American community.
Spann lived the promise of America. Born in Itta Bena, MS, in 1932, Spann picked cotton as a child before moving to the Midwest. While in his late 20s, he gained popularity as a disk jockey and was the second on-air personality hired by The Chess Brothers after they bought WVON Radio – The Voice of the Negro – in 1963. From then on, Pervis Spann became The Blues Man, hosting overnights on WVON Radio for 40+ years, promoting concerts at the Regal Theater [which he eventually would purchase], and giving civil rights leaders an opportunity to discuss social justice concerns.
In addition to WVON, Spann owned stations in TN, FL, and GA. Spann’s daughter, Melody Spann Cooper, who joined the business as a teenager in 1980 has continued her father’s legacy and continues to operate WVON Radio – Chicago’s only Black Radio Talk Station. Midway Broadcasting’s other properties include WRLL Radio, Chicago, and VONtv, the company’s Digital Streaming network.