(b nr West Monroe, LA, Aug 8, 1921; d Nashville, TN, Feb 24, 1991). American country-music singer, guitarist, songwriter, and publisher. He performed as a guitarist on radio station KMLB (Monroe, LA) before 1950, when he joined the “Louisiana hayride ” on KWKH (Shreveport, LA). Recording contracts with the local Pacemaker label (c1950), Four-Star, and Decca (1951) allowed him to resign his part-time job as a clerk at Sears, Roebuck and concentrate on music. After his initial hit, “Wondering” (1952), he gained national attention with “Back Street Affair” (1952), one of the first country songs to deal forthrightly with adultery. An equally important landmark was “There stands the glass” (1953), a classic drinking song and the first country hit to use the pedal steel guitar, played by Bud Isaacs. It became the favorite backup instrument in country music for the next two decades, and Pierce was the first of many country singers whose slurs, octave jumps, and use of dynamics complemented its sound. During his peak years (...
Charles K. Wolfe
[Ragsdale, Harold Ray ]
(b Clarkdale, GA, Jan 24, 1939). American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, arranger, music publisher, television star, and entrepreneur. Harold Ragsdale began his musical career with a high school band that played R&B songs by the Coasters, Drifters, and other R&B groups. In 1955 the family moved to Atlanta, where publisher Bill Lowery signed him as a songwriter and secured his first recording contract with Capitol Records; Capitol’s Head of A&R, Ken Nelson changed Ragsdale’s name to Ray Stevens. After attending Georgia State University, where he studied music, Stevens had his first success with his recording of “Jeremiah Peabody’s Poly Unsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green and Purple Pills” (Mercury, 1961). In 1962 he moved to Nashville, supplementing his own recording career with work as a session musician, arranger, and background vocalist. He garnered a number-one pop hit and his first Grammy with his recording of “Everything is beautiful” (Barnaby, ...
(b Brunswick, MO, Feb 7, 1882; d New York, NY, March 9, 1961). American clarinetist, bandleader, composer, and music publisher. His first professional engagement (c1897–8) was with a “pickaninny” band led by Nathaniel Clark Smith. In 1902 he was assistant leader of P.G. Lowery’s band with Forepaugh and Sells Circus and later that year joined Mahara’s Minstrels band under the leadership of W.C. Handy. In 1903 he formed his own band in Minneapolis, where he made the first recordings by an African American band. Sweatman moved to Chicago in 1908, where he led trios at the Grand and Monogram theaters. In 1911 he made his first vaudeville appearance, and in late 1916 made the first records recognizable as jazz performances. In 1918 Sweatman’s band was signed to an exclusive recording contract with Columbia, their records rivalling those by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. He continued to work through the 1920s and early 1930s in vaudeville, and in ...
Samuel F. Pogue
revised by Frank Dobbins
(fl Lyons, 1550–84). French music printer, bookseller, composer and instrumentalist. In 1551 he prepared the third in a series of four books of music for guitar printed in Paris by Robert Granjon and Michel Fezandat (RISM 1551²²). In the dedication Gorlier wrote apologetically of the four-course guitar and his reasons for composing for an inferior instrument, saying that he wanted to show that it was as capable as larger instruments of reproducing music in two or three parts. Besides being an ‘excellent joueur’ on the guitar, as cited on the title-page, he evidently played the spinet; in a pamphlet (now lost) concerning Loys Bourgeois’ Droict chemin de musique (1550) Bourgeois called him ‘trougnon d’épinette’ (‘garbage of the spinet’) and complained that he had not been educated in classical languages and mathematics like the singer-composers in Lyons, Layolle Roussel and Jambe de Fer.
Gorlier was granted a privilege for printing music on ...
revised by Bianca Maria Antolini
(b Florence, Oct 12, 1817; d Florence, Jan 17, 1883). Italian music publisher and double bass player. He played the double bass at the Teatro della Pergola, Florence (1849–53), and in 1844 opened his publishing firm under the name G.G. Guidi, Stabilimento Calcografico Musicale. He both founded the Società del Quartetto di Firenze and published the music performed at its concerts and competitions in the society’s journal, Boccherini (1862–82); he was also the publisher of the winning compositions at the Duea di S Clemente competition. His catalogue included a number of chamber works and overtures by Beethoven, Mozart and Mendelssohn, and compositions by contemporary musicians, including Bottesini and Francesco Anichini. He published many full scores of operas, including Rossini’s Guillaume Tell and Il barbiere di Siviglia, Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots and Robert le diable, and Peri’s Euridice (1863), transcribed directly from the 17th-century edition. The catalogue also contained operas by Morlacchi and Mancinelli, polyphonic music, including madrigals by Tromboncino and Arcadelt (...
(b Paris, March 9, 1753; d Paris, April 15, 1832). French violinist and music publisher. As a boy he studied with Pierre Gaviniès; at the age of 17 he made his début in a concerto in which he showed great promise, according to the Mercure de France of 1 April 1770. A performance 11 years later elicited only mild enthusiasm, and the soloist’s ‘noticeable shyness’ was commented on (Mercure de France, April 1781). His later musical activity was for the most part confined to teaching and to participation in the orchestras of various societies (including the Concert Spirituel, the Concert d’Emulation, the Société Académique des Enfants d’Appollon, the Concert Olympique and, in 1810, the imperial chapel), although in these he sometimes performed as leader, and occasionally as soloist.
The music publishing house that Imbault founded operated during its first year in connection with the already established firm of Jean-Georges Sieber (their first joint announcement, in the ...
(b Sézanne en Brie, Oct 20, 1697; d Paris, Oct 20, 1774). French music publisher and violinist, younger brother of Jean-Pantaléon Le Clerc. The brothers have often been confused owing to the similarity of their activities and the infrequent use of Jean-Pantaléon’s first name. Charles-Nicolas Le Clerc’s name appears for the first time in the list of violinists of the Académie Royale de Musique in 1729 and in that of the 24 Violons du Roi in 1732. He held the former post until 22 May 1750 and the latter until 1761. His talents as a violinist were frequently mentioned during that period in accounts of concerts published in the Mercure de France.
Le Clerc began publishing music in 1736 and remained in the business until his death; the first privileges registered in his name date from 9 March 1736 and 17 November 1738; his first catalogue (1738...
(b ?Sézanne en Brie, before 1697; d after 1759). French publisher and violinist, the elder brother of Charles-Nicolas Le Clerc. He lived at the ‘Croix d’Or’, rue du Roule, Paris, from 1728 to 1758. Having entered the 24 Violons du Roi on 17 July 1720, he remained a member until 1760. A periodical advertisement dated October 1728 announced the start of his career as a music commission agent. Up to 1753 his name was often associated with that of Boivin, both on the title-pages of works and in music advertisements. There seems to have been a tacit agreement between the two dealers; they shared the Parisian music market and the same works are listed in their respective catalogues. Their trade was supplied by the composers themselves, mainly by those having had their works engraved at their own expense. They also represented French and foreign publishers such as Ballard, Charles-Nicolas Le Clerc and Michel-Charles Le Cène....
Samuel F. Pogue
revised by Frank Dobbins
(b Montreuil-sur-Mer, c1520; d Paris, 1598). French music printer, lutenist and composer. He was born into a wealthy merchant family from northern France. As a young man he entered successively the service of two members of the aristocracy close to the French throne, Claude de Clermont and Jacques II, Baron de Semblançay and Viscount of Tours. In March 1546 he became acquainted with the editor Jean de Brouilly in Paris, bought some properties from him in St Denis and married his daughter Denise (d before 1570). He moved to Brouilly’s house at the sign of Ste Geneviève (later the sign of Mount Parnassus) in the rue St Jean-de-Beauvais – an address which was to become famous as the home of one of the greatest of the French music printing establishments.
On 14 August 1551 Le Roy and his cousin Robert Ballard obtained a privilege from Henri II to print and sell all kinds of music books. Their first publication appeared at the end of the same month. On ...
(b ?Dublin; d Dublin, Feb 21, 1776). Irish publisher, music seller and violinist. He was one of the most prominent and active musicians in Dublin during the 1750s and 60s. In 1745 he was admitted to the City Music, of which he was appointed bandmaster in 1752 at a salary of £40, increased to £60 in 1753. During this period he was appearing regularly as principal violinist at the summer open-air concerts at Marlborough Green between 1750 and 1756 and as conductor of the annual performance of Handel’s Messiah at the Great Musick Hall in Fishamble Street. In July 1751 he became violinist and musical director in the syndicate which leased Crow Street Musick Hall for the six years before it was taken over, rebuilt and opened as a theatre.
Samuel Lee was founder of the music shop and publishing firm which carried out business at Little Green, off Bolton Street (...