[78-L] David Hall Obit

DAVID BURNHAM burnhamd at rogers.com
Mon Apr 16 23:30:44 PDT 2012

I was very sad to hear the news of David Hall's death.  

Let me briefly tell you my life's story.  When I was born in 1942 I believe that I probably latched on to the Gramophone faster than I latched on to my mother for nourishment.  I don't know where this love of music and records came from but my parents, particularly my father encouraged it and many an evening we spent together organizing his records, (only 78s of course).  Unfortunately, however, my parents both died in 1948 and I was brought up by my aunt and uncle, (my father's brother), who, although they were loving guardians, did not encourage my passion for records and, in fact, forbade me from touching any of the records in the house, (I was, after all only six years old and records were very expensive and fragile).  The only souvenir from my previous life was the 1941 edition of David Hall's "The Record Book".  I carried this book around all the time - read it many times from cover to cover - until eventually the covers and many of the outer
 pages had fallen off and it was a mess.  Many years later I found another copy of that book as well as a copy of the 1947 edition which I also read many times.  When as an adult I started collecting 78s on my own, I was constantly consulting the record book to see if Mr. Hall approved of my latest acquisitions.  Obviously I put David Hall on a pedestal and had always hoped that some day I would meet him.  About 10 years ago through someone on 78L, (I believe it may have been Michael Biel), I acquired David Hall's e-mail address.  I sent an e-mail which said something like, "I understand this e-mail address will put me in contact with David Hall."  He responded with, "How can I help you?"  I stared awestruck at those five words on the screen for a long time before I figured out how to begin.  I then sent a lot of questions pertaining to things from the books and regarding his impressions of modern recordings and which recordings of the 78 era he
 felt retained their legendary status along side modern recordings.  One thing you may find surprising is that I knew nothing about David Hall since his writings in 1947 - he was like a time capsule.  I never read Stereo Review or any other writings by him.  He patiently answered all of my questions and welcomed several follow up e-mails.  He said he felt strange in his mid eighties to be receiving accolades for the "sins of his youth", (he was not yet 30 when he wrote the first "Record Book").

Several contributors have said how much they've treasured their opportunity to meet David Hall and I envy them.  I always hoped he might show up at an ARSC convention but sadly he never did and I never did meet him.  I've talked to several who did meet him and, without exception, they've all spoken very warmly of him.  I knew the news which appeared in 78L yesterday was inevitable since he was in his mid-nineties but I was still sad to read it.  I can't think of anyone else who has played such a personal role in my life whom I've never met.

R.I.P. Mr. Hall!


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