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00:00:00 - Les Paul

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Partial Transcript: --close to you, um, and I have to state that it's February 9th, nineteen ninety ni--

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett discusses audio engineering innovator Les Paul, and Sherman Fairchild, for whom Plunkett worked.

Keywords: Fairchild, Sherman; Paul, Les; Paul, Les, Jr.; Paul, Lester "Rusty"; Plunkett, Donald

Subjects: Fairchild, Sherman M., 1896-1971; History of science and technology; Music; Paul, Les, 1943-; Paul, Les.; Paul, Russell K., 1952-; Record labels.; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History

00:02:37 - Background and early career

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Partial Transcript: Let me, let me just start with, with talking about you and--

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett discusses Peter Hammar, a historian at the Ampex Electric Corporation. He then talks about his early interest in phonographs and graphophones. He also talks about his first job as a messenger boy at National Broadcasting Company (NBC). He also talks about attending the RCA Institute.

Keywords: Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.); Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS); Columbia Records, Inc.; Graham, Ed "Buddy"; Gramophones; Gramophones, cylinder; Graphophones; Grundy, Al; Hammar, Peter; Institute of Audio Research; Laico, Frank; Messenger boys; National Broadcasting Company (NBC); Phonographs; Phonographs, Victor; Plunkett, Donald; RCA Institutes; RCA Records; Radio broadcasting; Radio engineers; Recorders, magnetic; Recording, magnetic; Scott, Howard; Victrolas; Walter Sear; Warren, John

Subjects: Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.); Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc.; Columbia Graphophone Company (U.S.); Columbia Records, Inc.; Cylinder recordings.; History of science and technology; Music; National Broadcasting Company; Phonograph.; RCA Institutes; RCA Records; Radio broadcasting.; Radio engineers; Record labels.; Scott, Howard; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History; Victor Commercial Company; Victrola (Sound recording label); Warren, John

GPS: Brooklyn (New York, N.Y)
Map Coordinates: 40.692778, -73.990278
00:11:37 - Transition from a studio system to independent contracting / Kenneth Hamann

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Partial Transcript: And that's what I'm still trying to sort out is how influential film recording was on audio, you know, music studio recording.

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett discusses the transition from the studio system to independent contracting within the recording business, and talks about the power of unions such as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). He also has a sidebar discussion regarding fellow audio engineer Kenneth Hamann.

Keywords: Ampex Electric Corporation; Bloom, Bobby; Capitol Records; Cleveland (Ohio); Consoles (mixing); Decca Records; Detroit (Mich.); Faders; Film recording; Finance; Freelance audio engineers; Freelancing; Hamann, Kenneth Richard; Hanson, John; Independent contractors; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); Money; Multi-tracking; National Association of Broadcast Engineers and Technicians (NABET); National Broadcasting Company (NBC); Neumann; Plunkett, Donald; RCA Records; Radio transcription; Recorders, multi-track; Recorders, tape; Recorders, tape (models): Ampex 200; Recorders, tape (models): Ampex 300; Recorders, tape (models): Ampex suitcase recorder; Recorders, tape (models): Fairchild; Recording; Recording lathes, Neumann; Recording studios; Recording, remote; Sliders; Timmer, Steve; Ulcers; Unions

Subjects: Ampex Corporation; Audio equipment industry; Capitol Records, Inc.; Cleveland (Ohio); Decca Records (Firm); Detroit (Mich.); History of science and technology; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Music; National Association of Broadcast Engineers and Technicians (U.S.); National Broadcasting Company; Neumann; RCA Records; Record labels.; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History

GPS: New York (N.Y.)
Map Coordinates: 40.7128, -74.0059
00:22:19 - National Broadcasting Company (NBC) radio recording division

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Partial Transcript: Well you worked--now, after--let's, lets go back to your experience.

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett discusses his career at the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) Radio Recording Division, which was the largest recording facility in the United States. He talks about the reticence of radio stations to play recorded music and the radio program 'The Make Believe Ballroom.'

Keywords: Acoustic Curves; Audio devices; Block, Martin; Cake and Load; Chicago (Ill.); Los Angeles (Calif.); Make Believe Ballroom (Radio program); Music; Music program services; NBC Thesaurus; National Broadcasting Company (NBC); National Broadcasting Company Thesaurus; New York (N.Y.); Plunkett, Donald; Radio broadcasting; Radio stations; Radio stations, independent; Radio transcription; Radios; Recording; Recording lathes; Recording lathes, Scully; Records, kinds of: lacquer; Records, kinds of: wax; San Francisco (Calif.)

Subjects: Audio equipment industry; Block, Martin, 1903-1967; Chicago (Ill.); History of science and technology; Lathes; Los Angeles (Calif.); Make-believe ballroom (Radio program); Music; National Broadcasting Company; National Broadcasting Company. Radio-Recording Division; New York (N.Y.); Radio.; Record labels.; Recording, radio; San Francisco (Calif.); Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History

GPS: New York (N.Y.)
Map Coordinates: 40.7128, -74.0059
00:27:42 - Mary Howard

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Partial Transcript: I did, uh, some independent recording and I had an alliance with, uh, one of the few women engineers in the business in those days.

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett discuss Mary Shipman Howard, one of the few women in the recording industry. He describes her as a musician who knew how to work with both musicians and recording equipment.

Keywords: Brenner, Seth; Connecticut; Fierro, Arthur (Artist); Hartford (Conn.); Hermann, Bernhard (Artist); Howard, Mary; Howard, Peter; Musicians; New York (N.Y.); Oberlin College; Plunkett, Donald; Recording lathes, portable; Recording, remote; Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, the; Shipman family; Time Magazine; Toscanini, Arturo (Artist); Women

Subjects: Connecticut; Hartford (Conn.); Hermann, Bernhard; History of science and technology; Howard, Peter; Music; New York (N.Y.); Oberlin College; Record labels.; Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound; Shipman family; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History; Toscanini, Arturo, 1867-1957.; Women engineers; Women in engineering.

GPS: New York (N.Y.)
Map Coordinates: 40.7128, -74.0059
00:33:17 - Controversy over the development of selective synchronization (sel-sync)

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Partial Transcript: Yeah, what the musicians--

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett discusses the controversy over the first developer of selective synchronization (sel-sync), in which both audio engineer Ross Snyder and Les Paul claim to have created it.

Keywords: Fairchild, Sherman; Multi-tracking; Paul, Les; Plunkett, Donald; Recorders, multi-track; Recording; Recording, multi-track; Sarser, David; Sel-Sync (selective synchronization); Snyder, Ross

Subjects: Audio equipment industry; Fairchild, Sherman M., 1896-1971; History of science and technology; Music; Paul, Les.; Record labels.; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History

00:36:06 - Creation of the Society of Professional Audio Recording Services (SPARS)

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Partial Transcript: What I was thinking of doing was ending my study the year that SPARS was born.

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett discusses the creation of the Society of Professional Audio Recording Services (SPARS). He also talks about music producers Chris Stone and Gary Kellgren of The Record Plant.

Keywords: Hendrix, Jimi (Artist); Kellgren, Gary; Mix Magazine; Philadelphia (Pa.); Plunkett, Donald; Record Plant; Record Plant, the; Revlon, Inc.; Society of Professional Audio Recording Services (SPARS); Stone, Chris

Subjects: Hendrix, Jimi.; History of science and technology; Music; Philadelphia (Pa.); Record labels.; Revlon, inc.; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History; Stone, Chris, 1935-

00:39:07 - Harvey Radio Laboratories

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Partial Transcript: Um, well, so, you were trying to remember what you did after NBC.

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett discusses his career after National Broadcasting Company, (NBC), which consisted of working for Emory Cook at MGM Records and Fairchild Recording, as well as Harvey Radio Laboratories.

Keywords: Audio equipment industry; Columbia Records, Inc.; Consoles (mixing); Cook, Emory; Fairchild, Sherman; Gotham Audio; Ham radios; Harvey Radio Laboratories; Harvey, Clifford; Harvey, Paul; Installment buying; Leasing; MGM Records; Marketing; Neumann; Plunkett, Donald; Recording; Research and development; Sampson, Harvey; Stone, Chris; Technology; Telefunken

Subjects: Audio equipment industry; Columbia Records, Inc.; Cook, Emory, 1913-2002; Fairchild, Sherman M., 1896-1971; Harvey, Clifford A.; Harvey, Paul, 1918-2009; History of science and technology; MGM Records; Music; Neumann; Record labels.; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History; Stone, Chris, 1935-; Telefunken G.m.b.H.; Telefunken Microelectronic G.m.b.H.

00:45:00 - RCA Records

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Partial Transcript: Huh. So, RCA studio was on 24th Street?

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett discusses the location of the major studios in New York (N.Y.), such as RCA Records, Columbia Records, and CBS Records.

Keywords: Acoustic curtains; American Record Company; Anaheim (Calif.); Avakian, George; CBS Records; Caruso, Enrico (Artist); Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS); Columbia Records, Inc.; Los Angeles (Calif.); Microphones (models): GME TX3340; National Academy of Science, Space, and Technology; National Academy of Sciences; National Broadcasting Company (NBC); RCA Records; Recording studios; Savory, William; The State University of New York; United States. Marine Corps; Vanderbilt family

Subjects: American Record Company; Anaheim (Calif.); Audio equipment industry; Avakian, George; Caruso, Enrico, 1873-1921.; History of science and technology; Los Angeles (Calif.); Music; National Academy of Science, Space, and Technology (U.S.); National Broadcasting Company; New York (N.Y.); RCA Records; Record labels.; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History; State University of New York.; United States. Marine Corps.; Vanderbilt family.

GPS: New York (N.Y.)
Map Coordinates: 40.7128, -74.0059
00:50:58 - Microphones

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Partial Transcript: But I think your--you have an interesting point that, uh, this "Berlin Wall," if I want to call it that, did s--really impede progress.

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett discusses the prohibition against using other record companies' technical innovations. He also talks about the use of microphones in the recording industry.

Keywords: Bruck, Jerry; EMI (Electrical and Musical Industries); Grundy, Al; Horn, Trevor; Microphones, Schoeps; Plunkett, Donald; Postern Recording; Thorne, Mike

Subjects: Audio equipment industry; Electric and Musical Industries Limited; Electric and Musical Industries Limited. Record Division; History of science and technology; Microphone; Music; Record labels.; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History; Thorne, Mike, 1948-

00:53:09 - Years at Capitol Records

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Partial Transcript: I worked for Ian, too--

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett discusses his time at Capitol Records working for Janis Ian in the mid-1950s. He talks about mixing and managing the studio in New York (N.Y.), as well as the location of the recording studios. Plunkett talks about Harry Smith, a person in the transcription business and Harry McCune of Harry McCune Sound Service.

Keywords: Ampex Electric Corporation; Audio Engineering Society; Capitol Records; Columbia Records, Inc.; Control men; Decca Records; Eaves Costume Company; Harry McCune Sound Service; Ian, Janis; Management; McCune Audio; McCune Audio/Visual/Lighting; McCune, Harry; Mixing; Museum of the Moving Image; Muzak; National Broadcasting Company (NBC); New York (N.Y.); Plunkett, Donald; Queens (New York, N.Y.); Recorders, FFR; Recordists; Records, kinds of: long-playing (LP); San Francisco (Calif.); Schmitt, Al; Smith, Harry; Sound reinforcement; Transistors; Ulcer; World War II

Subjects: Ampex Corporation; Audio Engineering Society; Audio equipment industry; Capitol Records, Inc; Decca Records (Firm); Eaves Costume Company; History of science and technology; Ian, Janis; Music; Muzak (Firm); National Broadcasting Company; New York (N.Y.); Queens (New York, N.Y.); Record labels.; San Francisco (Calif.); Schmitt, Allen; Smith, Harry; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History; World war II

GPS: New York (N.Y.)
Map Coordinates: 40.7128, -74.0059
00:59:05 - Audio Engineering Society (AES)

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Partial Transcript: So, the, the--as I understand it, the Audio Engineering Soci, Society emerges as a separate, um, group from the IRE, or was it the I triple E?

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett discusses the founding of the Audio Engineering Society (AES), which originally began with the Sapphire Club, a group of audio engineers that met to discuss audio engineering technology and talk about where to get materials during World War II.

Keywords: American Broadcasting Company (ABC); Audio Engineering Society (AES); Audio Magazine; Audio devices; Bartering; Brooklyn Technical High School; Columbia Records, Inc.; Decca Records; Discs, Pyral; France; Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE); Lauda, Charles; LeBel, C. J.; Liebler, Vincent; Ludell, Larry; McMahon, Michael; National Broadcasting Company (NBC); Pickering, Norman; Plunkett, Donald; Pyral; RCA Records; Rackey, Chester; Radio Magazine; Recording discs; Recording studios; Records, kinds of: lacquer; Sapphire Club; Sapphire Group; Sherry, Frank; Stewart, G. E.; Stewart, George; Stuart, George; Stylus; Technology; Tennant, Steve; The Making of a Profession (Book); Trading; World War II

Subjects: American Broadcasting Company.; Audio Engineering Society; Audio equipment industry; Broadcasting Company; Brooklyn Technical High School (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.); Columbia Records, Inc.; Decca Records (Firm); France.; Institute of Radio Engineers; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; National Pickering, Norman C.; RCA Records; Radio Magazines, inc.; Record labels.; Sherry, Frank; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History; Stewart, George; Stylus; World War II

01:09:37 - Job titles

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Partial Transcript: You know, just for a moment-----(??) you were talking about job titles.

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett discusses the role the Cold War played in determining the job title for the emerging field of audio engineering.

Keywords: Capitol Records, Inc.; Cold War; Columbia Records, Inc.; Contracts; Control engineers; Film business; Labor unions; Liebler, Vincent; Mixing; Motion picture business; New York (N.Y.); Plunkett, Donald; Recording business; Recording studios; Russia; Science; Soviet Union; Studio engineers; Titles; Unions; World War II

Subjects: Capitol Records, Inc; Cold War.; Columbia Records, Inc.; History of science and technology; Music; New York (N.Y.); Record labels.; Russia; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History; Soviet Union; World war II

GPS: New York (N.Y.)
Map Coordinates: 40.7128, -74.0059
01:12:15 - Unions

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Partial Transcript: What were the union, um--were, were people still in the IBEW let's say, in, into the fifties, as these independent--

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett discusses the location of Decca Records in New York (N.Y.) and the unionization of sound engineers.

Keywords: Albam, Manny; Broadcast Music, Inc.; Capitol Records; Decca Records; Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); Kapp Brothers; Kapp, Dave; Kapp, Jack; Morgenstern, Dan; Music Corporation of America; Plunkett, Donald; Profits; Unions

Subjects: Albam, Manny; Capitol Records, Inc.; Decca Records (Firm); History of science and technology; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Morgenstern, Dan; Music; Music Corporation of America; Record labels.; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History

GPS: New York (N.Y.)
Map Coordinates: 40.7128, -74.0059
01:15:10 - Future of the recording industry

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Partial Transcript: Well, tell me, after Columbia then, you know, do you want to tell me anymore about your years at--

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett discusses working at Harvey Radio as vice-president for five years. He then talks about C.J. LeBel and Sherman Fairchild. He talks about Ampex Electric Corporation and the use of drugs in the recording business. He then talks about the future of the recording industry in light of developments with the Internet.

Keywords: Ampex Electric Corporation; Audio Engineering Society (AES); Audio Instrument Company; Audiophiles; Cleveland (Ohio); Cornell University; Directors; Drugs; Fairchild, Sherman; Harvey Radio Laboratories; Harvey, Clifford; Harvey, Paul; International Business Machines (IBM); Internet; LeBel, C. J.; Mosaic Records; Paris (France); Plunkett, Donald; Pontiac; Recording business; Recording studios, personal; Sales; Sampson, Harvey; Station wagons; Sun Studios; Tuners, Radio Craftsman; Vice president; Wall Street Journal

Subjects: Ampex Corporation; Audio Engineering Society; Audio equipment industry; Cleveland (Ohio); Cornell University.; Fairchild, Sherman M., 1896-1971; Harvey, Clifford A.; Harvey, Paul, 1918-2009; History of science and technology; International Business Machines Corporation.; Internet.; Mosaic Records; Music; Paris (France); Pontiac automobile.; Record labels.; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History; Sun Records

GPS: Cleveland (Ohio)
Map Coordinates: 41.482222, -81.669722
01:23:18 - Amplifiers / Ray Hall

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Partial Transcript: Do you remember the amplifiers that David Sarser made?

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett discusses amplifier designer David Sarser, maker of 'The Musician's Amplifier.' He then talks about African- American audio engineer Ray Hall.

Keywords: African Americans; Amplifiers; Apprenticeships; Audio Engineering Society (AES); Convention; EMT plates; EMT reverb chambers; Echo (reverberation) chamber; Elektromesstecknik; European; Hall, Ray; Hamm, Russ; Morgenstern, Dan; Plunkett, Donald; RCA Records; Sarser, David; Sear, Walter; Stereophile Magazine; Transistors; Turner, Steve

Subjects: African American; Audio Engineering Society; Audio equipment industry; Hall, Ray; History of science and technology; Morgenstern, Dan; Music; RCA Records; Record labels.; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History; Turner, Steve

01:29:16 - Reverberation

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Partial Transcript: Um. Reverb. Reverb.

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett discusses the development and use of reverberation in audio recording.

Keywords: Audio Engineering Society (AES); Capitol Records; Cole, Nat "King" (Artist); Columbia Records, Inc.; Distortion; Echo (reverberation) chambers; Europe; Fairchild, Sherman; Fine, Bob; Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band (Artist); Groove dimensions; Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio (Song); Maxfield, J. P.; Microphones; National Broadcasting Company (NBC); Nature Boy (Song); Recording studios; Reverberation; Speakers; Volume; Washington (D.C.); Western Electric; World War II

Subjects: Audio Engineering Society; Audio equipment industry; Capitol Records, Inc.; Cole, Nat King, 1919-1965; Columbia Records, Inc.; DiMaggio, Joe, 1914-1999.; Fairchild, Sherman M., 1896-1971; Fine, Bob; Glenn Miller Army Air Force Orchestra; History of science and technology; Maxfield, J. P. (Joseph Pease), 1887-; Microphone; Music; National Broadcasting Company; Record labels.; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History; Washington (D.C.); Western Electric Company.; World war II

GPS: Washington (D.C.)
Map Coordinates: 38.904722, -77.016389
01:34:09 - Other engineers

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Partial Transcript: Um, yeah, so it goes from--

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett discusses audio engineers who were innovators in the recording business, such as Fred Plaut, Al Schmitt, and Fred Mashe. He talks about what led to them being particularly in demand in the business. Plunkett then discusses the Record Plant.

Keywords: A&R Recording; American Music Masters Series; Atlantic Records; Audio Engineering Society (AES); Avakian, George; Bluebird Magazine; Case Western Reserve University; Chicago (Illinois); Cleveland (Ohio); Clinton, Harry; Dowd, Tom; Driggs, Frank; Drugs; Fox, Ted; Guthrie, Woody; Hall, Ray; Johnson, Charles; Johnson, Robert; Kellgren, Gary; Layton, Fred; Management; Manhattan (New York, N.Y.); Mashe, Fred; Music producers; Musicians; Narcotics; Nashville (Tenn.); National Science Foundation; New York (N.Y.); O'Connell, Charles; Plaut, Fred; Plunkett, Donald; Putnam, Bill; RCA Records; RCA Victor; Ramone, Phil; Record Plant; Record Plant, the; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum; Santelli, Bob; Schmitt, Al; Shaw, Artie; Smith, Harry; Stoddard, Bill; Stone, Chris; Study in Blue (Album); Study in Brown (Album); The Other Side of the Record (Book)

Subjects: Audio Engineering Society; Avakian, George; Case Western Reserve University; Chicago (Ill.); Cleveland (Ohio); Clinton, Henry; Driggs, Frank; Fox, Ted; Guthrie, Woody, 1912-1967.; Hall, Ray; History of science and technology; Johnson, Robert, 1911-1938.; Manhattan (New York, N.Y.); Music; Nashville (Tenn.); New York (N.Y.); Plaut, Fred; Putnam, Bill; RCA Records; Ramone, Phil; Record labels.; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum; Schmitt, Al; Shaw, Artie, 1910-2004; Smith, Harry; Sound recording industry; Sound recording industry--History; Sound recordings; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Sound--Recording and reproducing--History; Stone, Chris, 1935-

GPS: New York (N.Y.)
Map Coordinates: 40.7128, -74.0059