Two vast collections of records and music memorabilia will go up for bid in the “Legends of Radio” online auction put on by Backstage Auctions June 22-29.
The private holdings of radio icon and musicologist Norm N. Nite, who was instrumental in bringing the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame to his hometown of Cleveland and is also known as “Mr. Music,” are featured in this auction, along with those of Ohio broadcasting legend Todd Taylor.
In all, there’s more than 6,500 records and 10,000 singles in the sale, rare white-label promotional records, original interview recordings, and photos, posters, handbills, concert programs and other items. Many genres and eras are covered, including ’50s and ’60s pop and rock, doo-wop, garage rock, soul, R&B, disco, folk and vintage Motown.
A special preview will be held June 15. For more information on the auction, visit www.backstageauctions.com.
Among the highlights of Nite’s offerings is a autograph-packed copy of Nite’s famed book series, “Rock On!” Nite started writing what many consider the very first rock ‘n’ roll encyclopedia, in the ’60s, and it is now up to its seventh or eighth printing, according to Jacques van Gool, owner of Backstage Auctions.
“There are individual pieces that obviously will have a ‘wow’ factor,” says van Gool. “What I thought was amazing was that the very first printing of the book, Norm kept that particular copy, and since he has remained in both, to this very day, with the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and as a radio host, he used to bring this book with him anytime he would either interview a celebrity or be at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. So, at the end of the day, this book has about 180 or almost close to 200 autographs in it from I would say, the overwhelming part of it, from Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductees.”
Open the book, and you’ll find a signature from John Lennon. Flip the page, and there are signatures from Ringo Starr and George Martin. The next page has Dick Clark, who wrote the book’s introduction, together with Allen Klein and Keith Richards.
To van Gool, Nite is the “next-generation Alan Freed.” In fact, it was Nite who inducted Freed into the Rock Hall, becoming, in the process, the only nonmusician to ever induct anyone into the Hall.
Nite’s own radio career, which began in 1961, has taken him to stations such as WCBS-FM/New York, WHK-AM/Cleveland and WGAR-AM/Cleveland. He also served as writer, producer and narrator of the Rock and Roll — Evolution or Revolution album put out by Laurie Records in 1967. A year later, he produced the first Rock and Roll revival concert in Cleveland.
Today, Nite is an on-air personality for Sirius Satellite Radio, broadcasting live three days a week from the Alan Freed Studios inside the Rock Hall.
For Nite, who is also on the Rock Hall’s board of trustees, being in radio allowed him access to all kinds of entertainers.
“I grew up a fan of radio,” says Nite. “Having a chance to be able to listen to all these performers with their music back in the ’50s, and then, because of being on the air, you had a chance to meet these people and interview these people and become friends with these people, and that’s the biggest thrill for me.”
As for his collection, Nite feels it’s time to let go of it all, and there’s more to it than just records.
“With this collection, see, Norman Nite is the hub,” explains Nite. “The spokes that go out from the hub are many things. It’s not just vinyl. Yes, there’s a lot of interesting vinyl a