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Roxanne R. Reed

(b Anguilla, MS, March 21, 1919; d Hazel Crest, IL, 15 June, 1995). American gospel director, singer, composer, and publisher. Anderson established a career forming and training gospel groups in Chicago. His formative years were spent as one of the original Roberta Martin Singers, one of the premiere gospel groups of the 1930s and 1940s. He left briefly, between ...

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Maristella Feustle

(b Pekin, Tazewell County, IL, ?March 9, 1870; d Washington, DC, March 7, 1949). American publisher, real estate developer, and politician. Born into poverty, he began working as a child in a San Francisco vacuum cleaner brush factory, and soon began picking up odd jobs at local theaters. By 15, he was assistant treasurer at the Alcazar Theater, and he had become wealthy by 18. After traveling abroad, he settled in Chicago, and was in charge of the Midway Plaisance during the ...

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John Edward Hasse

(b Chicago, March 23, 1881; d Los Angeles, Aug 17, 1955). American popular pianist, teacher and editor. He studied the piano as a youth and in 1903 opened a teaching studio in Chicago with the advertisement ‘Ragtime Taught in Ten Lessons’. He simplified African-American ragtime piano playing to three essential melodic-rhythmic patterns or ‘movements’, and these became the basis for his teaching method and for a series of instruction books he brought out from ...

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Roben Jones

(b Whitehaven, TN, April 8, 1931). American singer-songwriter, producer, publisher, and entrepreneur. He began playing bluegrass while in the military and after his discharge in 1952, played at radio stations in Wheeling, West Virginia, and Boston. While enrolled in Memphis State University (from ...

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Harry B. Soria Jr.

(b Honolulu, HI, Oct 1, 1879; d Honolulu, HI, Jan 23, 1933). Composer, arranger, publisher, pianist, and bandleader, active in Hawaii. Cunha’s compositions early in the 20th century spearheaded the development of the hapa haole song, featuring predominantly English lyrics with some references to Hawaii and the Hawaiian language, earning him the title of “Father of Hapa Haole Songs.” His innovation is credited with making Hawaii’s music accessible to a much wider audience, which rapidly grew to global proportions over the next few decades....

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William J. Schafer

(b Leavenworth, KS, April 12, 1878; d Los Angeles, CA, Jan 23, 1943). American songwriter and music publisher. He had popular success early in his career with the two-step “Margery” (1898), the song “You tell me your dream” (1899), and “Hiawatha” (...

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David Sanjek

(b Buffalo Valley, TN, Feb 28, 1911; d Nashville, TN, Aug 27, 1963). American country music agent, publisher, and Grand Ole Opry manager. One of the most influential and powerful figures in the country music business, Jim Denny followed the path of the classic American success story. He left his home in Buffalo Valley, Tennessee, at age 16 with purportedly no more than 40 cents in his pocket. He moved to Nashville and joined the mailroom staff at WSM radio (home of the ...

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Horace Clarence Boyer

(b Fayette, MS, Sept 10, 1899; d Chicago, IL, Aug 26, 1963). American gospel pianist, composer, and publisher. He sang in local choirs before settling in Chicago in 1927. There he joined the Ebenezer Baptist Church and became co-director of its junior choir with Thomas A. Dorsey. With Dorsey he organized in ...

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Darlene Graves and Michael Graves

(b Alexandria, IN, March 28, 1936). American gospel songwriter, performer, producer, and publisher. He grew up on a small farm in Indiana and graduated from Anderson College with a major in English and a minor in music. He went on to receive a master’s degree in guidance and counseling and met his future wife and song-producing partner, Gloria Sickal, while both were teaching high school. Gaither started singing gospel music as a child and in ...

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Maristella Feustle

(b Odessa, Ukraine, Aug 31, 1886; d Beverly Hills, CA, July 12, 1970). American Lyricist and publisher of Ukrainian birth. He arrived in the United States with his family in 1887 and was raised in Philadelphia. At the age of 14 he moved to New York, where he appeared in nightclubs, vaudeville, and burlesque acts; he also toured with the boxer John L. Sullivan. Lauded by peers as the “Dean of Tin Pan Alley,” Gilbert wrote more than 250 songs, including the theme for the movie ...