Library - In Memoriam

Remembering oral history interviewees who have passed away.

William Kraft has dedicated his life as a composer to the world of percussion. With noted works and workshops, William has become an important part of the educational element of the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC). In fact, several of his notable pieces were introduced during PASIC over the years. He grew up in San Diego and joined the United States Air Force for three years in the later part of World War II.

Syl Johnson recorded a string of popular blues and R&B songs in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, which have been inspirational for generations of musicians.  Soul, funk and Hip-Hop artists have cited Syl and his style of playing as influences including Jay Z.  Over the years he perfor

DJ Imperial JayCee first played records in the parks back in 1974. The world of Disco had created a career for DJ Kool Herc, a hero in JayCee's Bronx neighborhood, which inspired him to take out records in the local park to entertain people. In 1977, he officially joined Herc's crew of DJs just as the world of Hip Hop was being formed. Learn more.

Jimmy Johnson helped define the Chicago Blues of the 1960s and 70s with a series of live performances and recordings. Some of his best known songs were captured at Bob Koester's Delmark Records. Jimmy wrote several songs recorded by other artists and toured the world performing w

Hargus “Pig” Robbins became a member of the Nashville studio group of musicians known as the A Team. As a gifted piano player, Pig gained the attention of producers such as Owen Bradley and Chet Atkins who repeatedly used him to back singers and performers for countless hit recordings. While interviewing Pig it was clear that it might be easier to list the recording artists he did NOT work with either on stage or in the studio.

Mark Thomas was a noted flute player who toured the world and recorded several albums during his long career.  As a product endorser, Mark appeared in several printed ads over the years as he was hired by several flute makers as a product engineer to help improve and in some case

Don Wilson was a founding member of the instrumental rock band, The Ventures! He formed the band with his friend Bob Bogle. Shortly after their first hit, “Walk Don’t Run,” Nokie Edwards, who was also interviewed for the NAMM Oral History program, joined the band.

Dallas Frazier was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame for writing such hits as "There Goes My Everything" and "Elvira." "There Goes My Everything" has been recorded dozens of times by artists such as Jack Greene, who had the first number one hit with the song an

Fred Parris grew up close to the Apollo Theater in New York where he was able to see many of the top acts in music.

Marilyn Bergman grew up very close to her future husband in Brooklyn, New York.  This may provide some insight into their magical partnership both as a couple and as one of the most celebrated songwriting teams of all time.  Together they wrote lyrics to classic songs that have w