He was called “Hizzoner,” characterized as the "quintessential New Yorker,” and after his death this morning at 88, saluted as an “irrepressible icon” by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Indeed, in the video for Ricky Skaggs’ 1985 country hit “Country Boy,” Koch, who was then mayor, turned up on Times Square as a New York City cabdriver.
“I was so honored to have Mayor Koch in my video,” says Skaggs. “I loved his character as a 'bagel eating cab driver.' He was perfect!”
The celebrated clip, which was nominated for a Country Music Association Video of the Year award and won the 1985 Best Country Video at the American Video Awards, revolved around Skaggs, playing the ironic role of a New York business executive, having to involve himself with his visiting Uncle Pen--a comparative country bumpkin played by the late bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe (“Uncle Pen” is the title of a classic Monroe song).
Koch memorably appeared about midway through, munching a bagel while leaning against his cab and reading the paper—and mouthing the words to “Country Boy”’s “I’m just a country boy, country boy at heart” chorus.
“His part was shot after I had left New York,” continues Skaggs. “I got to meet him a year or so later to personally thank him. He was very gracious to me and said he had a ball doing it and was so glad that the video was a hit!”
Concludes Skaggs: “My thoughts and prayers are with his family today."
[The Examiner attended the video shoot for Ricky Skaggs' "Country Boy."]
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