Library - In Memoriam

Remembering oral history interviewees who have passed away.

Robert Birmingham teamed with his brother to purchase Steinway & Sons from CBS Musical Instruments in the early 1980s.

Ed Cherney won a Grammy Award for his work as recording engineer for the 1989 Bonnie Raitt’s album “Nick of Time.” This was just one of his many projects as mixer and engineer. He has worked with the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Elton John, just to name a few.

William Reglein played a key role in the growth and development of the jj Babbitt Company since taking over its presidency from his father, Bud.

Richard Loberg worked for the Schmitt Music store for nearly his entire working career. The company was formed in 1896 in Minneapolis, largely as a piano store. Over the years the company expanded its musical products and services. Shortly after World War II, Richard joined the sales force, although getting musical products directly after the war was difficult, as many suppliers were gearing their operations back up. Soon after the products began coming back to the stores, Richard witnessed the boom of guitars and the store’s record department.

Vinnie Bell was a studio musician in New York who often was asked to create new and unique sounds. As a luthier, Vinnie built several innovative guitars including one tuned like a sitar. His efforts were recognized by the Danelectro Guitar Company who hired Vinnie to help design

Karl Hirano was an electronic engineer for Yamaha in Japan during the great MIDI boom of the early 1980s.

Bob Hale had a long and successful career as an engineer and was able to devote his retirement time to his passion for music as a docent at the NAMM Foundation’s Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, CA.

Joachim Schneider proudly continues in the family tradition of hand crafted instrument making. His great grandfather was a violin builder as was his grandfather. His grandfather and father also became guitar luthiers.

Jimmy Johnson was a co-founder of the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama along with fellow studio musicians Roger Hawkins, Barry Beckett and David Hood.

Donnie Fritts was born in Florence, Alabama, the right place at the right time to grow up to become a studio musician and songwriter.  Just a little way down the road from where Donnie grew up was the epicenter of the Muscle Shoals Sound –and Donnie was there, front and center! 

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