Library - In Memoriam

Remembering oral history interviewees who have passed away.

Viola Smith Viola played drums in a number of big bands and small combos during her career in music. She joined Phil Spitalny's all-female orchestra as the drummer and later appeared in such films as 1945's "Here Come the Co-Eds" featuring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.

Spencer Davis hit it big with a string of rock songs during the heyday of the British Invasion of the 1960s. His band, The Spencer Davis Group, started with a school mate named Muff Winwood and Muff’s brother Steve.

Richie Jones Jr. began playing drums professionally when he was 12 years old for teen clubs and skating rinks. While gigging, he developed skills in production and worked for Morris Brothers Music in Jackson, Mississippi, which led to his interest in music retail.

Rocco Prestia grew up in Northern California where he began playing guitar as a teenager before joining the group Tower of Power just after the famous band was formed.

Rebecca Apodaca was the President of A & D Music Incorporated in Southern California. She played music as a child and gravitated to the electric bass.

WS Holland played drums behind Johnny Cash for over 40 years! The man put the beat to most of Johnny’s greatest recordings and his innovations in drumming inspired countless musicians around the world.

Roy Head was born a sharecropper's son in the tiny town of Three Rivers, Texas. Growing up listening to every style of music available on his small radio, Roy became heavily influenced by early Rhythm & Blues musicians.

Ira Sullivan was just three years old when he pulled his father’s trumpet out from behind the couch and began blowing into it. His father began teaching him how to play and by the time little Ira was five, he was playing in his grandmother’s church.

Jack Simpson worked for RCA for nearly 40 years beginning at the time when the electronics and recording company was a regular exhibitor at the NAMM Trade Shows.  Jack also became a jazz broadcaster in Florida, where he took to the airwaves in 1967.  His show and his reputation e

Hideo Nonaka was the chairman of Nonaka Boeki Company, a music instrument distributor located in Yokohama, Japan. His father began importing musical recordings in a business that was burned to the ground during World War II.

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