The Nashville Chapter of the Audio Engineering Society honors Johnny Rosen, Dick Hargett, George Ingram, Claude Hill, and Tom Sparkman with the AES Nashville Lifetime Achievement Award, created to recognize and celebrate the city’s pioneering recording engineers.
Held June 23, 2018, at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the event is led by Mike Porter, an AES vice president, and includes remarks from Barry Cardinael, AES Nashville’s chairman.
Noted for his achievements in on-location recording, Johnny Rosen speaks via video about his time working at Starday Sound Studios, building mobile recording trucks, and interacting with major artists such as Country Music Hall of Fame member Chet Atkins. Danny Wendell, a former director of operations for Opryland Productions, speaks about his friendship with Rosen and his marked ability to capture talent on tape.
The late Dick Hargett is remembered for his accomplishments in live sound, specifically mixing live music on WSM-TV, the Grand Ole Opry, and Ernest Tubb’s Midnite Jamboree. His wife, Faye, accepts on his behalf.
In a video interview, George Ingram—considered a pioneering figure in mastering engineering—traces the music-industry career path that led to his position as president and CEO at Nashville Record Productions. He sends a message to younger audio professionals, saying, “Never let a challenge go outside of your studio. . . . Just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it can’t be done.” His wife, Elaine Ingram, presents the award.
Claude Hill speaks about his time working with Tompall Glaser and Kenny Rogers at Glaser Sound Studios, and producer Kyle Lehning, whom Hill hired to work there, offers a video testimonial about how Hill helped him launch his career. Hill also details the creation of Harrison Systems, his connection to Sound Shop Studios, the launch of Audio Consultants, and the relocation of Muscle Shoals Sound studio in Sheffield, Alabama. Through Harrison Systems, Hill helped convert sound for broadcast television from mono to two-channel stereo, leading to the world’s first live stereo broadcast.
Lou Bradley, Jerry Kennedy, and Larry Rodgers provide video testimonials to salute the late Tom Sparkman, who worked with Columbia Records and Mercury Records as a studio engineer, and engineered the sound at Carnegie Hall for the first group of country music artists to play that venue. Sparkman’s wife and children accept the honor on his behalf.
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