Obituary: Windsor radio legend was ‘the girl with the golden ear’

Rosalie Trombley of Big 8 radio fame passed away at the age of 82.

Article content

Rosalie Trombley, a Windsor radio figure whose influence reverberated throughout the region and beyond, passed away at the age of 82.

Article content

Trombley, a pioneer in music radio broadcasting since the days when CKLW was known as The Big 8, died peacefully on November 23, according to her loved ones.

Trombley joined The Big 8 in 1968 as a switchboard operator, but was soon recognized for her talent for discovering hit songs.

“The Girl with the Golden Ear” would eventually rise to the position of music director at the station, and later became one of the organization’s top executives.

Through his programming options, Trombley is credited with driving the musical careers of The Guess Who, Bob Seger, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Gordon Lightfoot, Kiss, Alice Cooper, and many more.

Trombley’s picks for airplay made famous hits from tracks like The Guess Who’s These Eyes, Bachman Turner Overdrive’s Taking Care of Business, and Gordon Lightfoot’s If You Could Read My Mind.

Article content

Rosalie Trombley of The Big 8 in a stock image.
Rosalie Trombley of The Big 8 in a stock image. Photo from Star Archives /Windsor Star

Legend has it that Trombley’s personal advice to Elton John convinced him to release Bennie and the Jets as a single in 1974, after which it quickly became one of his best-known hits.

Such was Trombley’s importance to the creation of rock and pop music tastes that he received a special award for achievement at the 2016 Juno Awards.

During Canadian Music Week, radio pioneers receive the “Rosalie Award.”

Bob Seger’s song, Rosalie, from his 1973 album Back in ’72, is a tribute to Trombley.

“She’s quite a mediator, a smoother operator, you’ll never see her,” Seger wrote in lyrics. “He knows music. There is no music until you see it. She has the power, she has the tower, Rosalie. “

Trombley is survived by his three children and his grandson. A private service is held for close family and friends.

More to come.

Leave a Comment