Oral History -

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Willie Chambers and his brothers fell in love with gospel music while growing up singing in church. Even though they received some strong criticism, they expanded the places where church music was heard, including night clubs and bars in the late 1950s and early 1960s. With the support of Pete Seeger, the Chambers Brothers branched into folk music and later into rock and roll.

Hans-Peter Messner’s story begins in Trossingen. After he completed his studies in economics and law, he started working in sales and marketing at his uncle’s company, Hohner, which is known for their accordions and harmonicas. Here Hans-Peter gained experience with the Hohner line of electric pianos and digital sound systems.

Titus Tost studied computer programming in the mid-1980s in East Germany. He enrolled in a newly established study program called the Studio for Electronic Sound Generation (SEKD) in Dresden.

Terry Lowe is the founder of Timeless Communications Corp. (TCC) and the publisher of several important trade magazines including FRONT of HOUSE (FOH), Musical Merchandise Review (MMR) and Projection, Lights & Staging News (PLSN).

This video is of our annual NAMM Tribute, created in honor of our members and music industry friends who passed away in 2019 and early 2020. This Tribute was shown for the first time at the NAMM Show in Anaheim, California on January 16, 2020. All moving images within this video indicate those who have been interviewed as part of the NAMM Oral History program.

Michael O’Dorn still remembers the moment he met one of his musical heroes, Merle Travis. Mr. Travis flicked a thumb pick to young Michael, who soon developed an even greater appreciation for the man and his music. The two became friends and Michael worked long and hard to understand and later teach the many guitar techniques that made Mr. Travis so unique.

Jonathan "Sugarfoot" Moffett grew up in New Orleans and used the style he developed in clubs, starting at the age of 10, to create a unique place in music history. His first significant recording in 1979 of “Don’t Stop the Music” by Yardbrough & Peoples led him to an introduction of the Jackson family and a world tour.

Ellen White did not work in the music store her husband Jerry operated for many years and yet her supportive role helped that little retail business grow into the White House of Music chain consisting of six store locations. Both Jerry and Ellen were teaching when Jerry decided to join his cousin in the music business.

Jerry White and his brothers all played musical instruments growing up on their family farm in Wisconsin. Their father was a professional musician who played in popular dance bands. Jerry and his wife, Ellen, both became schoolteachers and Jerry continued to play on the side.

Diane Johnson, who was born in Brooklyn, was living on Madison Avenue when she landed a job at Music Merchandise Review (MMR). The magazine’s office was located just around the corner on Lexington Avenue so Diane could walk to work each day. She served as the Office Manager for MMR from 1979 until 1985.