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Charles K. Wolfe

revised by John W. Rumble

[Stephen Henry ]

(b Washington, DC, Feb 12, 1911; d Nashville, TN April 22, 1968). American record company executive. After working part-time for RCA Victor while attending Rutgers University, Sholes joined the company full-time in 1935. He apprenticed under Frank Walker and other pioneering producers. In 1945, Sholes took control of artist-and-repertory functions for RCA Victor’s country and rhythm-and-blues departments, based in New York. During his career, he signed or developed country artists including Chet Atkins, Eddy Arnold, the Browns, Pee Wee King, Hank Snow, and Jim Reeves while also recording jazz greats such as Jelly Roll Morton, Earl Hines, and Dizzy Gillespie. Bringing the enormously successful Elvis Presley to the label helped Sholes convince his superiors to lease a Nashville studio on 17th Avenue South on a long-term basis, beginning in November 1957; in 1964 RCA Victor leased a larger studio next door, further enlarging the city’s Music Row district. In addition, Sholes made Chet Atkins, his production assistant since ...

Article

Stephanie Conn

[Issa ]

(b Toronto, ON, Oct 12, 1955). Canadian singer, songwriter, composer, and producer. Growing up in Toronto, Siberry took piano and French horn lessons, and taught herself guitar. While studying microbiology at the University of Guelph, Ontario (BSc 1980), she began to waitress and perform at local cafes. In 1981, Siberry released her self-titled debut album; this was followed by No Borders Here (1984), distributed in the United States by A&M. Siberry is respected as a gifted singer and songwriter. She has cited Van Morrison and Miles Davis as influences, but also draws on gospel, new-wave, and classical styles. Her third album, The Speckless Sky (1985) reached gold-record status in Canada and confirmed her reputation as a major recording artist. Warner records released her fourth album, The Walking (1987), which earned critical if not popular success with its longer, more complex compositions. Siberry launched her own record label, Sheeba, in ...

Article

John W. Rumble

(b Waskom, TX, Dec 16, 1931; d Nashville, TN, Oct 7, 2009). American recording executive and record label owner. He worked as a sales and promotion representative for Mercury/Starday Records and, later, Mercury, then became head of that label’s Nashville office in 1961. There he recorded and promoted artists including George Jones, Roger Miller, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Faron Young. Before long, Singleton was running the label’s artist-and-repertory department, dividing his time between New York and Nashville; his work embraced country, pop, and R&B singers. To avoid Nashville’s then-segregated hotels, Singleton invited Quincy Jones and other African American producers, artists, and musicians to stay at his home. Soon after arriving in Nashville, Singleton brought in Shreveport, Louisiana, guitarist Jerry Kennedy as his principal assistant at Mercury and sister label Smash Records. With their combined commercial instincts and Kennedy’s musical skills, they gained hits with Leroy Van Dyke’s crossover smash “Just walk on by” (...

Article

Jonas Westover

(b Brooklyn, NY, 1942). American record executive. Stein landed a job at Billboard magazine when he was only 13 and subsequently helped develop the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He learned the business of running a label while working at King Records in Cincinnati under Syd Nathan. In 1966...

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

John L. Clark

The term “stock arrangement” was used commonly to describe a wide variety of published orchestrations sold by publishing houses from the first years of the 20th century through the 1950s. While these arrangements were issued for many different ensembles of varying size and musical style (including theater orchestras, military bands, and small combinations such as saxophone quartets), the term today typically refers to those made for dance bands during the period.

In the 1910s the most common instrumentation for stock arrangements of commercial music was two trumpets, trombone, horns in F, clarinet, flute, oboe, bassoon, string quartet, piano, banjo/guitar, bass/tuba, and drums. With the explosion in popularity of saxophones and the first jazz recordings, this basic instrumentation grew to include alto, tenor, and C-melody saxophones by 1920. Typically, these orchestrations were homophonic featuring little counterpoint or variation, with instruments being organized by register rather than family.

By the early 1920s, dance bands had become the principal vehicle for popular music in America. Recordings by Art Hickman, Paul Whiteman, and Fletcher Henderson followed the trend towards larger groups subdivided into definite sections of brass and woodwinds. While orchestrations for theater orchestra were still produced using the larger instrumentation, the “Modern Dance Orchestra” had reduced it to two trumpets, trombone, three saxophones (two altos and a tenor, with each doubling on clarinets, other saxophones, and sometimes flute and oboe). Arrangers such as Arthur Lange, Elmer Schoebel, and Mel Stitzel became well known in the industry for the antiphonal treatment of the sections and incorporation of jazz elements. While many stocks were used by bands on recordings, some (such as those in the Melrose Syncopation Series) were adaptations of popular recordings by jazz musicians such as King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton....

Article

Denise M. M. Dalphond

A music distribution, artist, and label management company independently owned and operated by Mike Banks in Detroit, Michigan. The history of Submerge began with the establishment of the techno group Underground Resistance (UR) in 1989 by Mike Banks, Robert Hood, and Jeff Mills. UR was founded upon a philosophy of sonic revolution—using music to resist and surmount social inequality and oppression. Submerge was later founded in 1992 by Mike Banks and Christa Weatherspoon. After a brief period of closure, Submerge reopened its doors in 2002 in a newly renovated four-story building at 3000 E. Grand Boulevard in Detroit. This building holds a record store known as Somewhere In Detroit; its ground level offers a regularly updated display of Detroit techno memorabilia, including significant vinyl releases, analog drum machines used by seminal Detroit techno musicians, print publications featuring local musicians, and other items that document the history of UR, Submerge, and Detroit techno. Also housed at Submerge is a record-cutting lathe that originally belonged to Ron Murphy of National Sound Corporation and was used for decades by Murphy to master a vast quantity of electronic music produced by Detroit musicians. Mike Banks and producer/DJ Todd Osborn have restored the lathe and it is now being used again to master Detroit vinyl releases....

Article

Mark Berresford

(Coleman )

(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 ...

Article

Ronald W. Rodman

A term for all music that is broadcast on television. It has functioned in several different ways, reflecting the array of genres and modes of broadcasting. In American television, music has been heard as entertainment through the performances of songs and instrumental works by classical, jazz, country, pop, rock, and other performers, in other words, music presented as music. It has also been heard as ‘production music’, to underscore dramatic programmes, enhance mood and narrative structure and meaning (similar to music’s function in films), and as a way to mark transitions within a television programme and between programmes. Music has functioned in these ways in both programmes and in commercials. During the early years of television, these modes of television music were discrete, but from the 1980s the distinctions in the form that music takes have been blurred.

The functions of television music listed above may be generalized in three categories, using terminology for narrative agency. First, it can be ‘extradiegetic’ – used to navigate and transition through the many programmes and advertisements of a broadcasting schedule, often called the ‘flow’ of television: from programme to station break and vice versa, and between station breaks, public service announcements, programme promotions, and commercials. Second, television music can be ‘intradiegetic’, used as background or mood music within narrative programmes, such as situation comedies, dramas, and documentaries. Intradiegetic music is usually ‘acousmatic’, meaning the source of the music is not seen on the screen. Finally, television music can be ‘diegetic’, that is, music whose source appears on screen and is heard as part of the action or the mise-en-scène of a programme. Diegetic music is often performed by musicians shown on the screen in genres such as musical variety shows, late-night talk shows, and music videos, but may also be featured in a narrative programme....

Article

Mark Clague and Dan Archdeacon

Growing out of the Detroit Artists Workshop (founded 1964), Trans-Love Energies (TLE, formally, Trans-Love Energies Unlimited, Inc.) was an anti-establishment commune founded in Detroit in February 1967. Its mission was to “produce, promote, manage, and otherwise represent musical and other artists, in recordings, concerts, tours, media, and related fields of culture and entertainment, including films, books, posters, light and sound environments—all on a cooperative, non-profit basis, for the purpose of educating and informing the general public in terms of contemporary art forms and cultural patterns.”

An umbrella corporation, TLE included a production company, a light show and poster company, the Artists’ Workshop Press (distributor and publisher of underground newspapers, including the Warren-Forest Sun), and many side enterprises that helped fund commune operations. Inspired by rock music’s potential to catalyze social change, TLE managed musical acts including the Up, Iggy and the Stooges, and most notably the MC5. The activist leader John Sinclair (...

Article

Susan Fast

(Wister )

(b Clarksdale, MI, Nov 5, 1931; d San Marcos, CA, Dec 12, 2007). American songwriter, guitarist, pianist, bandleader, talent scout, and record producer. He began playing piano as a boy in Clarksdale, forming the Kings of Rhythm while still in school. His musical education consisted of listening to music and playing with blues musicians such as B.B. King. Turner is often credited with writing and recording the first rock and roll record (according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), “Rocket 88,” although the track was released under the name of Jackie Brenston (a member of Turner’s band who sang and played sax on the record). Recorded in 1951 at Sam Phillips’s Sun Studios in Memphis, this uptempo R&B song provided a template for the rock and roll emerging later in the decade. The modified 12-bar blues form, boogie woogie bass line, percussive piano, guitar distortion, and rowdy sax solo became standard features of songs by Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others....

Article

Mark Gardner

Record company and label. The company was established in New York in 1958 as a subsidiary of the film company of the same name. It quickly assembled a remarkably comprehensive catalogue that contained a wide variety of mainstream and modern jazz. Among its most notable recordings were the excellent album Money Jungle by Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach, and the only recording made jointly by John Coltrane and Cecil Taylor. In addition the company released albums by Art Blakey, Roy Ayers, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Bill Potts, Art Farmer, Curtis Fuller, Thad Jones, Mose Allison, Ruby Braff, Gerry Mulligan, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Betty Carter, Dave Lambert, Rex Stewart, Oliver Nelson, Benny Golson, Herb Pomeroy, Booker Little, Milt Jackson, Howard McGhee, Bud Freeman, Teddy Charles, Kenny Dorham, Zoot Sims, and Billy Strayhorn. This extensive repertory was produced by Tom Wilson, Jack Lewis, Alan Douglas, and George Wein. Around ...

Article

Andrew Flory

(Ronzoni )

(b New York, NY, April 20, 1951; d Edison, NJ, July 1, 2005). American rhythm-and-blues and pop singer, songwriter, and record producer. He was one of the most instantly recognizable African American male vocalists of the 1980s, often performing in a virtuosic style that was at once melismatic, improvisational, and precise. He began his career as a behind-the-scenes songwriter and vocalist, singing on commercial jingles, writing and collaborating on songs for other recording artists, and performing live and recorded background vocals. As backing vocalist he appeared widely, including on David Bowie’s “Young Americans” (1975), Chic’s C’est Chic (1978), Sister Sledge’s We Are Family (1979), and Roberta Flack’s Roberta Flack Featuring Donny Hathaway (1980). Vandross signed to Atlantic’s Cotillion label in the mid-1970s and released two unsuccessful albums with a self-titled group call Luther. He also worked as a vocalist with the disco-oriented band Change on several singles released during the early 1980s....

Article

Jonas Westover

[Mattern, David ]

(b Lancaster, PA, Aug 24, 1949). American dj, remixer, and producer. He began his career in music as a producer in the mid-1980s after a period working in the fashion industry. Immersed in the night life in New York, he was fascinated by the work of DJs and decided to try his hand, and he eventually secured a place at Club Bassline. Working alongside Shep Pettibone, he landed numerous high-profile opportunities to remix the music of such pop stars as Madonna and Janet Jackson. Vasquez then co-established his own club, the Sound Factory, which brought him wider exposure and more offers to remix music from major labels. The club closed in 1995, and Vasquez went to other venues, the most notable being the Twilo, where he spun records in a custom-designed booth. Throughout the 1990s he released several albums of remixes, including The Future Sound of New York...

Article

Jonas Westover

(bc 1965). American record executive. She graduated from high school at 15 and the following year worked as a roadie for Johnnie Thunders and the Ramones. She moved in 1974 to New York City, where she worked as a sound designer for Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, including On The Waterfront...

Article

Charles K. Wolfe and Travis D. Stimeling

(Wayne )

(b West Plains, MO, Aug 12, 1927; d Nashville, TN, Oct 27, 2007). American country music singer, songwriter, and record producer. As a boy, he learned country songs of the 1920s from his mother and occasionally pretended to host the Grand Ole Opry. A performance on a local radio show in 1950 led to regular appearances on KWTO, a powerful station in nearby Springfield, and this in turn led to a regular job on Red Foley’s national Ozark Jubilee television show. He signed a recording contract with RCA Victor in 1952 and had early success with “Company’s Comin’” and “Satisfied Mind.” Gospel songs such as “What would you do?” became part of his repertory, and their success encouraged his penchant for including recitation in songs. During the 1960s, thirty-one of Wagoner’s recordings reached the charts, and, by the end of the decade, he produced his own television show, ...

Article

Gareth Dylan Smith

(b Kalamazoo, MI, April 23, 1952). American drummer, producer, and composer. The drum major in his high school marching band, he majored in music for three semesters at Western Michigan University, and then joined a soul band from Fresno, California. After witnessing the Mahavishnu Orchestra in concert, he sought to learn from that band’s leader and guitarist, john McLaughlin. At 21 years of age, following lessons from McLaughlin, he played on Apocalypse as a member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, replacing Billy Cobham. Propelled by the advice of his (and McLaughlin’s) guru Sri Chinmoy (who gave him the name “Narada,” meaning “supreme musician”) to “compete with himself,” Walden has maintained a highly successful and versatile career as a drummer and a producer, known equally for his work in each of these roles. He also contributed as a composer, vocalist, and percussionist to the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s 1976 album Inner Worlds...

Article

Patrick Huber

(b Fly Summit, NY, Oct 24, 1889; d Little Neck, Queens, NY, Oct 15, 1963). American record producer and executive. He joined the Columbia Graphophone Company (later the Columbia Phonograph Company) in 1919 as secretary to the president of the firm and then learned the record manufacturing process. He left the company briefly to promote concerts for the Central Concert Company of Detroit, but returned in 1921 as Columbia’s A&R man in charge of the emerging race catalog and, shortly thereafter, also the hillbilly catalog. Like Ralph S. Peer, his counterpart at OKeh and later Victor, Walker was a pioneer of talent-scouting and field-recording expeditions in the American South; beginning in 1925, he arranged dozens of field-recording sessions, using portable recording equipment in southern cities including Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas, Memphis, and Johnson City, Tennessee. Walker supervised the recordings of many of Columbia’s blues and hillbilly stars of the 1920s, including Bessie Smith (whom he also managed), Clara Smith, Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers, Gid Tanner and His Skillet Lickers, and the Allen Brothers. Under Walker’s leadership, Columbia became the nation’s leading record label for blues and hillbilly music during the 1920s, and he eventually became a vice president of the company....

Article

(b Orlinda, TN, Feb 16, 1924). American music administrator. She was the guiding hand behind the Country music association (CMA) for its first three decades, contributing significantly to the genre’s tremendous growth in the 1960s and 1970s. Born in the Black Patch tobacco-producing region of north-central Tennessee, she went to Nashville during World War II to work in the Vultee Aircraft plant and attend college. She held a number of administrative and public relations positions before accepting a job at the newly formed CMA in 1958, although she was not particularly familiar with country music and often joked about her lack of musical inclination. Walker-Meador became the organization’s sole employee in 1959, when its executive director Harry Stone was released owing to lack of funds. She soon became the public face of the CMA, single-handedly administering a complex public relations campaign that included organizing the annual banquet that would become the televised CMA Awards, coordinating a national series of benefit concerts, producing a monthly newsletter (...

Article

Member of Lloyd-Webber family

(b London, March 22, 1948). Composer and producer, son of William Lloyd Webber.

He was educated at Westminster School and the RCM. From an early age he wrote incidental music for shows with his toy theatre; at Westminster he wrote music for school revues. In the April of 1965 he met the lyricist Tim(othy Miles Bindon) Rice with whom he wrote the unperformed musical The Likes of Us and some pop songs. Their first success came with the commission to write a choral work for Colet Court School; the resulting pop cantata, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, was gradually extended to a full-length show and has become a constant of both amateur and professional repertories. They released the concept album for Jesus Christ Superstar (1970), which became one of the bestselling albums of that time in both the UK and USA; it was then developed for stage and opened in New York (...