NAMM’s Oral History Program Celebrates 3,000th Interview
The NAMM Oral History program celebrated a milestone this week: the release of the program’s 3,000th interview. Featuring 22-time Grammy winner and legendary jazz musician Chick Corea, the interview covered the people and musical instruments that helped to shape his career, as well as his continued passion for making music and in inspiring other musicians. In a short web clip published to NAMM.org, Corea reminisced about his introduction to the electronic keyboard, which came during his time playing with Miles Davis.
Since its inception in 2000, the NAMM Oral History Program has sought to preserve the rich history of the music products industry through first-person accounts from the entire breadth of the industry, including retailers, suppliers, sales representatives, publishers, instrument and product creators, innovators, founders and artists. NAMM’s Music Historian Dan Del Fiorentino manages the program and has overseen each interview including the very first that featured industry pioneer, Ted McCarty. McCarty served as the president of Gibson Guitars (1950-66) and while there, signed Les Paul, which eventually led to the creation of the Gibson SG electric guitar. Other notable interviews have included Henry Steinway, Les Paul, Sheila E, Henry Goldrich (Manny’s Music), BB King, Keith Emerson and Marilyn Bergman (songwriter).
After 16 years and 3,000 interviews, the incredible stories from industry luminaries are not lost on Del Fiorentino. “It’s a puzzle… where each person holds a piece to be included and when you fit the pieces together, the vibrancy of our industry comes into focus.”
In addition to filming and indexing interviews from the Oral History Program, the work of NAMM’s Resource Center department extends to historical preservation of photos, documentation, advertisements and other aspects of industry promotion for future generations of industry. The vast archives are referenced in support of research and are accessible to all NAMM members.
Notable Facts about the Oral History Program:
- The 500th interview featured the late Danny Rocks, past Vice President of Alfred Publishing
- The 1,000 interview featured Dennis Houlihan, past NAMM Chairman, President/CEO of Roland
- The 2,000 interview featured Tom Schmitt, past NAMM Chairman and CEO of Schmitt Music
- Oral History participants have come from 46 different countries and 49 U.S. states, and were born in the years between 1903 and 1988.
- The oldest living interviewee is Viola Smith, a drummer and product endorser at 103.
- With 3,000 interviews captured, a person born on every day of the year has been filmed with exception of one: October 15th.
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry. NAMM is comprised of approximately 10,300 members located in 104 countries and regions. NAMM events and members fund The NAMM Foundation's efforts to promote the pleasures and benefits of music, and advance active participation in music making across the lifespan. For more information about NAMM, please visit www.namm.org, call 800.767.NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.