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Darlene Graves and Michael Graves

[William J. ]

(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 1956 formed the Bill Gaither Trio with his brother Danny and his sister Mary Ann. He started his own publishing company in 1959. He continued to perform and compose while a teacher at Alexandria High School and in 1961 formed the Gaither Music Company to publish his works. After their marriage in 1962, Gaither and his wife wrote their first major song, “He touched me,” which was a significant hit by 1963. He re-formed the Bill Gaither Trio with Gloria and Danny, and in ...

Article

James R. Hines, Barbara Turchin and Nicholas Michael Butler

(b Hesse-Kassel, Germany, c1786; d New York, NY, July 30, 1829). American theater manager, pianist, organist, composer, and music publisher of German birth. He moved to the United States at the end of the 18th century and was probably related to the musician George Gilfert who was in New York as early at 1789. In his first New York advertisement in 1800, he was described as a musician “lately from Europe.” The New York directory of 1805 lists him as a music teacher in that city, but in 1806 he migrated to Charleston, South Carolina, with a number of other theater musicians. He presented his first concert there on 3 March 1807 and quickly became a favorite member of the local music scene. In December 1809 he became the organist of St. John’s Lutheran Church, and in December 1810 he opened a music store in partnership with a fellow German musician, Philip Muck, under the name C. Gilfert and Company. This institution chiefly sold imported instruments, accessories, and music, but in early ...

Article

Nadia Turbide

(b Cleveland, OH, Aug 13, 1907; d New York, NY, March 13, 2002). American soprano, music publisher, and concert manager. She studied singing with Ruth Thayer Burnham while attending Abbot Academy, Andover, and later at Wellesley College (BA 1929). After two years as an actress at the Cleveland Playhouse, she sang in Gabriel Pierné’s La croisade des enfants with the Cleveland Orchestra (1932). She was then coached by Eva Gauthier in New York and made her debut there in 1934 at Town Hall in the North American premiere of Handel’s solo cantata La Lucrezia. Three years later she sang Butterfly and Tosca with the Royal Flemish Opera in Antwerp. After meeting Sibelius in Finland, she returned to the United States and introduced a number of his songs in concert (1938). During World War II Johnson escorted a convoy of refugees from Paris to Spain and as a result of the ordeal lost her voice. She joined the staff of ...

Article

Travis D. Stimeling

[Charles Stacy ]

(b Knoxville, TN, June 21, 1921; d Nashville, TN, March 7, 2012). American country music journalist, publisher, and promoter. Charlie Lamb reshaped the Nashville music industry’s business practices during the 1950s and 60s and promoted Nashville as an international music center. Lamb began his career in Knoxville, where, among other jobs, he booked artists to perform on radio station WROL and reported for the Knoxville Journal. After moving to Nashville in 1951, he joined Cash Box as a columnist and ad salesman and later formed the Charlie Lamb Agency to promote several top recording artists. Lamb was a founding member of the Country Music Disc Jockey Association and organized an annual DJ convention that brought thousands of disc jockeys to Nashville. In August 1956, Lamb founded Country Music Reporter (renamed Music Reporter in 1957), a trade paper that covered the Nashville music industry and offered expanded chart coverage for country singles and albums. Selling ...

Article

William McClellan

revised by Daniel Goldmark

(b Pelham, NY, Dec 12, 1910; d New York, NY, Nov 18, 1996). American music publisher and administrator. The son of Tin Pan Alley innovator Leo Feist, he studied at Yale University (BA 1932) and completed graduate work at Columbia University (1933–4). During his early career he held executive positions with Leo Feist, Inc. (1932–5) and Century Music Publishing Co.–Mercury Music Corp. (1936–56). He served as president of Associated Music Publishers (1956–64), and in 1965 took up an appointment with the National Music Publishers Association (a trade association of popular music publishers), of which he became president in 1976. From 1963 to 1979 he attended to the affairs of the National Music Council, holding several board positions. He was also involved with the Music Publishers Association of the United States (president 1952–4), the National Academy of Popular Music, and the Copyright Society of the USA. Through articles, papers, and speeches, Feist promoted effective copyright protection for music and furthered many other causes of the music trades....

Article

Roben Jones

[John Henderson ]

(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 1954), he worked nights and weekends at the Eagle’s Nest club. After working briefly for Fernwood Records, he was hired by Sun Records, where he recorded Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, among others. He wrote hits for several of Sun’s artists, including Johnny Cash’s singles “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” and “Guess things happen that way” (both Sun, 1958).

Clement left Sun in 1960 to became a staff producer for RCA in Nashville. In 1963 he moved to Texas, started a publishing company, and produced Dickey Lee’s hit “Patches” (Smash, 1963). After returning to Nashville in 1965, he discovered and produced Charlie Pride and wrote songs for a variety of country artists, including Pride (“Just between you and me,” RCA Victor, ...

Article

David Sanjek

[James Rae ]

(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 Grand Ole Opry). He completed his college degree by mail and worked his way up the corporate ladder, becoming the manager of concessions at the Opry during World War II. In 1951 Denny was promoted to manager of the Opry, an appointment that granted him to programming privileges and thus put him in the position to make or break performers’ careers. Additionally, he headed the ...

Article

Don Cusic

[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, ...

Article

Ian Brookes

(b New York, NY, Jan 16, 1884; d Palm Springs, CA, April 21, 1985). American Impresario, music publisher, band manager, record producer, songwriter, and singer. He was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants who settled in New York. There, as a teenager, he worked as a song plugger and singer before establishing a music publishing business in 1919 with his brother Jack. With its emphasis on the work of black musicians, Mills Music became an important locus for jazz and dance band music. A shrewd business operator with a sharp eye for talent, Mills extended his business interests in the 1920s. He became manager of the Duke Ellington Orchestra (1926–39) and promoted several other African American bandleaders including Cab Calloway, Benny Carter, Fletcher Henderson, Jimmie Lunceford, and Don Redman. He also organized a series of recording sessions under his own nominal leadership, Irving Mills and His Hotsy Totsy Gang (...

Article

Niall O’Loughlin

(Adam )

(b ?Ritzfeld bei Weinsberg, Germany, c1772/3; d London, England, March 27, 1850). Maker of wind instruments, music seller, and publisher. He was in London by 1795 and was naturalized by Act of Parliament in 1804; that same year he was granted the freedom of the Musicians’ Company. He worked at 76 Bishopsgate from about 1804 to 1822. Through a partnership with the successors to George Astor the firm became known as Gerock, Astor & Co. (1822–6), operating at 79 Cornhill. Robert Wolf, described as an employee in 1828, married Gerock’s daughter Sabrina Susannah in 1831. The firm was known as Gerock & Wolf during 1831–2, but reverted to the name C. Gerock & Co. from 1832 to 1837, when Gerock retired. The firm of Robert Wolf & Co. operated at 79 Cornhill after 1837, principally selling pianos.

In a trial for theft of flutes by his employee Samuel Porter in ...