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Archive for the ‘Retailer’ Category

Died On This Date (October 28, 2010) John Olsson / Founder Of Olsson’s Books & Records

Posted by themusicsover on October 28, 2010

John Olsson
DOB Unknown – October 28, 2010

Photo By James A. Parcell (The Washington Post)

John Olsson was a longtime music retailer who started his career at Washington DC’s Discount Records in 1958.  In 1972, he left to open his own store which, after he expanded into books, was called Olsson’s Books & Records.  With nine stores at its peak, the eventual chain claimed nine stores and over 200 employees.  It was easily the DC area’s most popular music and book retail destination.  In 2008, Olsson closed the chain due to economic factors beyond his control.  On October 28, 2010, John Olsson passed away.  Cause of death was not immediately released.



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Died On This Date (August 10, 1993) Oystein Aarseth aka Euronymous / Norwegian Black Metal Musician

Posted by themusicsover on August 10, 2010

Euronymous (Born Oystein Aarseth)
March 22, 1968 – August 10, 1993

euronymous_05Oystein Aarseth, known to fans as Euronymous, was the founding guitarist of Norwegian black metal band, Mayhem.  Formed in 1983, the band went on to become one of the most influential Norwegian bands of the scene.   The band was as controversial as it was popular, due in part, to their violent stage show along with the suicide of lead singer, Dead (Per Yngve Ohlin), and murder of Aarseth.  It was rumored that Aarseth ate part of Ohlin’s brain upon discovering his lifeless body.  He publicly denied that claim.   During his career, Aarseth also opened his own record shop and mail order business as well ran his own label, Deathlike Silence Productions.  On August 10, 1993, Oystein Aarseth died as a result of numerous stab wounds sustained during a violent confrontation with fellow musician Varg Vikernes.  Although he claimed the 23 knife wounds was self-defense, Vikernes was convicted of murder and sent to prison.  He was released on parole in May of 2009.

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De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas - Mayhem

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Died On This Date (July 6, 2008) Ann Spencer Gates / Boston Disc Jockey; Matador Records

Posted by themusicsover on July 6, 2010

Ann Spencer Gates
March 25, 1959 – July 6, 2008

spencerAnn Spencer Gates was a Boston area disc jockey and later, publicist for Matador Records.  Moving from Buffalo to Boston for college in the late  ’70s, Gates soon had a radio program on MIT’s hip WMBR radio station.  She, along with friend Lisa “Sheena” Bucholz hosted “The Mystery Girls” where they were one of the first to champion such local bands as Lemonheads and Mission Of Burma.  By the late ’80s, Gates was living in New York City where she went to work for Matador Records as a publicist, working with such acts as Liz Phair, Pavement, Cat Power and Bettie Serveert.  Ann Spencer Gates died on July 6, 2008 after a long struggle with breast cancer.

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Died On This Date (May 5, 2004) Coxsone Dodd / Legendary Reggae Producer

Posted by themusicsover on May 5, 2010

Clement “Coxsone” Dodd
January 26, 1932 – May 5, 2004

coxsoneCoxsone Dodd was the pioneering Jamaican DJ and producer that many credit for early development of reggae and ska.  Dodd’s career in music began at an early age when he would spin records at this parents’ store.   He grew that into a popular sound system business, employing the likes of Lee “Scratch” Perry an U-Roy to run the sound systems.  Having spent some time in the United States, Dodd featured early American R&B records, first introducing many Jamaicans to the music.   Realizing that he couldn’t keep up with the local demand for new music with imports from the States, Dodd decided to start his own record label and shortly thereafter, open his Studio One recording studio.  Over the next two decades, Dodd would produce and release some of reggae’s greatest songs and albums from such artists as Bob Marley, Burning Spear, Sugar Minott, Ras Michael and Horace Andy.  To many, he was to reggae what Berry Gordy was to R&B, and his “studio one sound” would become the blueprint for ska and rocksteady.  Dodd died of a heart attack at the age of 74.

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Died On This Date (April 30, 2010) Gil Ellman / Big Band Musician & Instrument Retailer

Posted by themusicsover on April 30, 2010

Gil Ellman
August 28, 1925 – April 30, 2010

Gil Ellman was a big band musician and longtime Chicago area musical instrument  merchant.  Ellman began his life of music as a youngster when he learned to play the saxophone, clarinet and flute.  His skills developed so well, that when he hit high school, he became its concert master.  Shortly after graduating, and at just 18 years of age, Ellman opened his own shop where he repaired radios and such.  He later became an instrument tech, working with the likes of Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey when they came through Chicago.  Ellman played in the Coast Guard Band during WWII and continued to play in local groups well beyond that.  Over the years, he shared the stage with such legends as Patti Page, Milton Berle and Ronald Reagan.  In 1958, he opened Ellman’s Music Store  which remained an area institution up until the time of his passing.  Gil Ellman was 84 when he died in his home on April 30, 2010.

On May 7, 2007, Ellman was interviewed as part of the National Association of Music Merchants’ Oral History program.  Click here to view a 2 minute segment from his interview.

Thanks to NAMM Historian, Dan Del Fiorentino for the assist.



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