Along with Dan Hornsby‘s Columbia Records, there were many other memorabilia donated by his grand-daughter Nikki Hornsby such as posters from the 30s from Nikki’s inherited collection. Some of the artifacts include records from family friend Jimmy Van Heusen & Frank Sinatra in 78s. Also donated were rare Bessie Smith and many Harry James Columbia Recordings along with outtakes from Bing Crosby and more.
With the grand opening of the exhibit 360 Sounds: The Columbia Records Story at the GRAMMY Museum this last November, Dan Hornsby and his lifetime work in the music recording business was honored at that time among other great artists of this era and mentioned in the masterpiece book of the same name “360 Sounds: The Columbia Records Story” written by Written by Pulitzer Prize and Grammy-nominated author and historian, Sean Wilentz.
Dan Hornsby, born Isaac Daniel Hornsby in Atlanta, Georgia on February 1rst,1900 – May 18th, 1951 was an American singer, musician, music writer, producer, and arranger. He enjoyed playing trumpet and singing with various dance bands in Atlanta in the 1920s. Hornsby formed his basic group Dan Hornsby Quartet: Perry Bechtel (banjo, guitar, and baritone), Taylor Flanagan (piano and high tenor), Sterlin Melvin (guitar and bass guitar) and Dan Hornsby (lead singer and arranger).
The Atlanta Baking Company asked Hornsby to do a show on WSM Radio in Atlanta. The group name changed to Bamby Baker Boys and Hornsby became the first commercial performer of the WSB radio station, which started airing in 1922. His pleasant disposition and sense of humor earned him the nickname “Cheerful Dan”.
Hornsby’s performance on the radio was noticed by Columbia Records – the oldest record company. His main role was a sort of talent scout, but he had many roles at Columbia Records during the 1920s and early 1930s, including production of his own recordings like “On Mobile Bay” and “I Want A Girl” or with Young Brothers Tennessee Band: “Are you from Dixie” and “Bill Bailey, won’t you please come home”, “Oh! Susanna“, “Little Brown Jug“, and other classic American songs. For example, Hornsby was the first recorded voice of the “Arkansas Traveler” and was the producer of the first recording of “You Are My Sunshine” and “Take me out to the Ballgame!
Nikki Hornsby who has no children to pass on these inherited treasures from her parents & Grandparents and her own thousands of original songs is very grateful that these works have found a home in the respected GRAMMY Museum! A good place to start to share her Grandfather’s work with the world!
- 360 Sounds: The Columbia Records Story (gsgcreativemusic.wordpress.com)
- A Day at the GRAMMY Museum with Nikki Hornsby and CJP-NH Records Staff (gsgcreativemusic.wordpress.com)