December 01, 1975 12:00 PM

Hey baby, he’s what’s happening—again! Murray the K is back—with a new rug on top—and cutting one below. The first and greatest of the hysterical disc jockeys back in the ’60s (on New York’s WINS), Murray is riding the crest of the contact dancing revival. He has opened a new disco on Manhattan’s Upper East Side called The Hustle, after a current dance fad. “I believe we’re into a dancing era for awhile,” says Murray (the “K” is for Kaufman). He not only emcees the hustle demonstrations, but acts the old smoothie by spinning patrons around the jam-packed floor. “People have decided their favorite performers are really themselves.”

The spirit of the hustle—based on the samba, cha-cha and mambo—is a continent away from Murray’s original deejay gig. He won national renown as the Fifth Beatle, greeting the four British singers on their historic U.S. touchdown even before Ed Sullivan got to them. Murray traveled with the Beatles; appeared in their film Help!, and roomed with John Lennon in London, where he negotiated to bring over other English rock acts. And it was on Murray’s New York radio show that Paul McCartney officially denied reports of his death; Lennon explained his divorce from Cynthia; and Ringo loved to chime in, “Murray, you’re what’s happening, baby.”

The years since for Murray have been “a long dry spell.” Now 49, he admits his attempt at public service in Washington—serving with OEO and the President’s Council on Drug Abuse—fizzled, as did his marriage to “Jackie the K” (who lives in Virginia). He also went bankrupt: “From having half a million dollars, I went to owing over $200,000. It was a terrible period—adjusting from all the hysteria.”

Murray claims he has “grown up” with his audience. “I’d never come on with all that frantic stuff now. It reflected the culture then, but it would turn kids off today.” “Disco” music is valid, he believes, but only as a prelude (much as the “twist” was to the Beatles) to the next big rock phenomenon. What or who will it be? “Someone totally unexpected—superstars always are,” says Kaufman sagely. “If I knew, believe me, I’d be making a couple hundred million right now.”

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