Sad, sad times for any child of the ’70s: Don Kirshner is dead.

Kirshner, 76, died of heart failure Monday in Boca Raton, Fla.

Around here, Kirshner’s show, Rock Concert, aired weekly on WRC-4 after Saturday Night Live, and for a decade was appointment television for me and all my fellow Northern Virginia ne’erdowells. I delivered the Washington Post throughout my childhood, and only the lord and my Post distributor know how many Sunday papers arrived late on local doorsteps because I’d stayed up til 2:30 a.m. watching Rock Concert. (Alas, the 90-minute TV show died long before Kirshner.)

He introduced bands from every genre and talent level to me and the masses—nobody else in music programming had the guts to showcase the songstylings of both the Ramones AND Cheryl Ladd. For better or worse, I added Uriah Heep and Van Halen LPs to my collection after hearing ’em on Kirshner’s show.

The father of a friend of mine has hung out with Kirshner for a long time down in Florida, and, knowing of my affection for the guy, as a prank/treat he got Kirshner to call me out of the blue a couple years ago.

As soon as Kirshner got “Hello” out of his mouth, I started gushing about how important a figure he was to me and everybody I grew up with and how I hope he knows he’s a hero to a generation of suburban dirtballs.

I meant every word.