Library - In Memoriam

Remembering oral history interviewees who have passed away.

Henry Z. Steinway was quite articulate when speaking about the incredible history of the Steinway and Sons Piano Company. One could say that he lived all elements of being a Steinway as the former president of the Steinway Company. His love for music led to the creation of the board of the NAMM Foundation’s Museum of Making Music, for which Henry was the first president. His passion for music went beyond that of the company. As he once said, “You don’t have to play the piano, but do play an instrument.” His inspiration and example will be felt for many decades to come.

Don Murphy joined the NAMM Foundation’s Museum of Making Music volunteer team as a retiree in 2003 and soon became one of the museum’s most requested docents.

Buddy Harman was one of the most-heard drummers in recorded history. As a mainstay in the Nashville studios, Buddy laid the beat for classic American pop songs such as “Pretty Woman,” “Cathy’s Clown,” and a string of recordings with Elvis Presley including “Little Sister.” Buddy’s innovations as a player have been an influence on a generation of drummers especially those who follow the Nashville Sound. His dedication to musician’s rights made him a respected leader in Nashville, where his influence will be felt and heard for years to come.

This audio only interview was conducted by David Schwartz and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Jerry Wexler became a major contributor to the record business in the 1950s and 60s with his work as a producer at Atlantic Records.

William Callaway worked in his father’s music store as a child, sweeping up on weekends and working his way up to president of Thearle Music in San Diego. His father, Harry, was President of NAMM from 1951-1953. William recalled the pride his father had in being involved with the industry that he loved. William ran the store for his father and expanded the sheet music department as well as the rental program within the band instrument department. William developed MS just before his father’s passing in 1976.

Ernie Farmer had a long and successful career at Shawnee Press in Pennsylvania before he and his wife, music editor Marjorie, formed Wide World Music together in 1980. Ernie’s involvement in the music publishing industry began right after World War II when he was hired by Shawnee Press to oversee the company’s expansion. The company was the brainchild of famed choral director Fred Waring. Many of the early publications were based on Fred’s music and that made famous by his radio and TV programs.

This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Jo Stafford had a remarkable career as both a big band singer and as a solo recording artist after the swing era.

Gerald “Wig” Wiggins was a world renowned composer, arranger and jazz keyboardist. As an early pioneer in playing jazz on the Hammond B-3 organ, Wig had a strong interest in new and inventive sounds.

David Kutner was new to the music products industry when he was offered the job as President of Hammond Organs in the late 1960s. It was a time for change in the organ business as sales slipped from the decade before, resulting in the discontinuation of the famous B3 line by David’s predecessors. However, the greatest boom for the organ market was about to take place. Dave felt the time was right to launch a new product, which his wife named the “Hammond Piper.” It was a great success and one that gave the company new life.

Bo Diddley was the pioneering rhythm and blues performer who taught the industry one main point in the early days of the electric guitar era. With his square cigar box guitar, patented by Gretsch, Bo demonstrated that, if it’s electronic, it could be any shape and size.