Bob Lind


Inducted: November 8, 2013


Bob Lind


While not a Colorado native, Robert Neale Lind called the state home. Lind was born November 25, 1944 in Baltimore Maryland. He attended high school in Aurora, Colorado where he formed his first band: The Moonlighters. After graduating, he enrolled at Western State College in Gunnison, where he focused on playing guitar to the exclusion of academics. During this time, Lind led a rock cover band known as Bob Lind & The Misfits. He dropped out of college and moved to Denver, where he became immersed in the folk music scene and took coffeehouses such as The Exodus, The Green Spider and The Analyst by storm.

Late one night, Lind wrote a song with vivid imagery and an extended, metaphoric narrative—“Elusive Butterfly.” Al Chapman, owner of The Analyst, had made a tape of Lind which included “Elusive Butterfly” and suggested he show it to some record labels. In early 1965, the singer-songwriter moved to California where he pitched his new song to World Pacific Records, winning a contract. His first session with noted arranger Jack Nitzsche yielded the single “Cheryl’s Goin’ Home,” which serves as the A-side for “Elusive Butterfly.” It had been out for about a month during the Christmas season when a disc jockey at a Florida radio station flipped the disc over to the B-side. Listeners flipped, too.



With “Elusive Butterfly,” Lind helped define the folk-rock ferment; his groundbreaking combination of emotionally literate lyrics with lush yet tasteful orchestration peaked at No. 5 in March 1966. Shortly after, Lind released his debut album, Don’t Be Concerned, which featured the follow-up to “Elusive Butterfly” called “Remember the Pain” backed with “Truly Julie’s Blues.” Lind teamed up again with Nitzsche as producer for his second album, Photographs of Feeling. Around this time, the Verve Folkways record label put out The Elusive Bob Lind, a collection of demos and tapes dubbed with new accompaniment never actually intended to be released, all without input from Lind himself.



Follow-up singles charted on Denver’s KIMN Radio but barely cracked the national charts. After moving to New Mexico in 1971, he recorded and released his third album Since There Were Circles. This mix of country, folk and rock expressed Lind’s talent, but his new label at the time, Capitol Records, didn’t promote the release enough, resulting in low record sales. Lind put his music career aside, moved to Florida and became a novelist and screenwriter. 

Over the years, more than 200 artists recorded his songs. In 2004, he resumed performing worldwide. His 2012 album, Finding You Again, has been hailed by some critics as his best work ever with its Baroque accents and arrangements collaborating with Jamie Hoover of the Spongetones. 2016 saw the release of Lind’s darker lyrical album, Magellan was Wrong, followed up with 2022’s Something Worse Than Loneliness.

Today, Lind continues to make music and hails his own latest release, Something Worse Than Loneliness, as his best album yet. Lind was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame with the induction class of 2013.

“In 2004, he resumed performing worldwide, and his 2012 album, Finding You Again, has been hailed by some critics as his best work ever.”

Bob Lind Discography

2012 – Finding You Again

2016 – Magellan Was Wrong

1993 – You Might Have Heard My Footsteps

1966 – Photographs of Feeling

2007 – Elusive Butterfly

1994 – The Ultimate Collection

2006 – Live at the Luna Star Cafe

1966 – Don’t Be Concerned

1971 – Since There Were Circles

1966 – The Elusive Bob Lind

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Chris Daniels

Inducted: November 8, 2013

Chris Daniels

A Minnesota teen inspired by folk music and acoustic blues, Chris Daniels settled in Colorado in 1971. He joined Magic Music, one of the first acoustic jam bands, and the act performed at the second and third Telluride Bluegrass Festivals in 1975 and 1976, held its own in local clubs and was often booked at Boulder’s Good Earth with the funky Freddi-Henchi Band.


“I started in folk with Magic Music. Lee Aronsohn, co-creator of Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, made an award-winning 2018 documentary about that hippie band and the Boulder music heyday of the 1970s. It’s called 40 Years in the Making: The Magic Music Movie. That traveling circus and touring with Russell Smith of the Amazing Rhythm Aces led me to start my own band, Chris Daniels & the Kings. We’ve toured Europe 21 times, made 15 albums, two with Freddi Gowdy, and been nominated for a Grammy. So you could say folk music gave me the ride of my life.”

After leaving the area to earn a B.A. in music and journalism at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and Berklee College of Music in Boston, Daniels returned to found Spoons, an influential Boulder rock band.

In the early 1980s, he toured with former Amazing Rhythm Aces frontman Russell Smith and founded the notorious After Hours Jams at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

In May 1984, Daniels formed a rhythm and blues horn band as a “one-night party” at the Blue Note in Boulder. After building a following on the Colorado circuit, Chris Daniels & the Kings hit the road and established loyal regional audiences in such places as Nashville, Minneapolis, New York and even the Netherlands.

In large radio markets, they made a dent on the new “adult album alternative” format. Forty years after inception, Chris Daniels & the Kings have produced a dozen albums, toured Europe twenty times and remained a top local concert draw.

Daniels also played a hefty role in shaping the Colorado music scene. He spent five years as executive director of the Swallow Hill Music Association, during which the roots, folk and acoustic music school and concert organization won both the Governor’s Award and the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. He began teaching at Arapahoe Community College in 2002 and became an assistant professor for music business at the University of Colorado Denver in 2007, winning the 2011 award for Excellence in Teaching from its College of Arts & Media. His 2012 release, Better Days, marked a return to his folk roots and found its way onto the national Americana radio chart.


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Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Inducted: January 9, 2015

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Coming out of the fluid California scene of the late 1960s, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band hit upon a unique Americana style. The combination of Jeff Hanna and Jimmy Ibbotson’s acoustic guitars and brother-like harmonies with John McEuen’s string wizardry, Jimmie Fadden’s utilitarian prowess and Les Thompson’s mandolin created the sound, and at shows at Denver’s Marvelous Marv’s nightclub in early 1970, the band played to enthusiastic crowds.


In 1971, the band left Los Angeles to relocate in the Colorado mountains, with the members settling into their respective wooded communities.

Success arrived with their fifth album, Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy; Hanna’s take on Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles” made the Top 10 pop charts. The new Colorado residents went to see traditional country-music icons Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson perform at Tulagi in Boulder.

The two musicians consented to take part in recording a selection of traditional country numbers, with the band allowing the spotlight to fall on the old masters who had greatly influenced them. The resulting album, Will the Circle Be Unbroken—an unprecedented, groundbreaking three-LP set, recorded two-track live, with no mixing or overdubs—elicited appreciation from both rock and country listeners. It even earned a gold album, the first for Scruggs, Watson, Maybelle Carter, Jimmy Martin, Roy Acuff and others.

Circle was ultimately inducted into the Library of Congress as “one of America’s most important recordings.”

In 1977, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band became the first American group selected by the Soviet government to tour the USSR. The band spent a month in Russia, Armenia, Georgia and Latvia playing to sold-out audiences, with an estimated 145 million people tuning in to the group’s one-hour performance on Moscow television. The following years saw members come and go. Bob Carpenter, based in Aspen with the band Starwood, became an invaluable addition on keyboards and vocals. The back-to-back hits “Make a Little Magic” and “An American Dream” with Linda Ronstadt were released under the name the Dirt Band.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was recast as a country act, eventually scoring 17 consecutive Top 10 country songs.

“Colorado Christmas,” recorded in 1983, has remained a radio staple around the holidays. In 1986, a 20-year anniversary concert at McNichols Arena in Denver was a sell-out, with guests such as Ricky Skaggs, Emmylou Harris, Doc Watson, John Prine and others. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band continues to record and tour, and Hanna, Fadden, Carpenter and McEuen celebrated “50 Years of Dirt” in 2016.

Steve Martin

Steve Martin learned the banjo with help from high school friend John McEuen, and the instrument became a staple of the young comic’s standup career. Martin performed at Tulagi in Boulder and Ebbets Field in Denver, then discovered the charms of Aspen and rented a home there. By 1978, the Colorado transplant had earned the level of commercial success reserved for rock stars. The second side of his comedy album A Wild and Crazy Guy was recorded at Red Rocks Amphitheatre; it reached No. 2 on Billboard’s Pop Albums chart, was certified double platinum and won a Grammy Award.

A Wild and Crazy Guy contained the novelty single “King Tut,” performed by Martin and the Toot Uncommons — actually Jeff Hanna and other members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band camp. Produced by William McEuen at his Aspen Recording Society studio, “King Tut” sold over a million copies.


“Colorado Christmas,” recorded in 1983, has remained a radio staple around the holidays.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Discography

2016 – Circlin’ Back

1974 – Stars and Stripes Forever

1969 – Alive!

1967 – The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

1968 – Rare Junk

2009 – Speed of Life

1975 – Dream

1987 – Hold On

2017 – Fishin’ In the Dark

1989 – Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Volume Two)

1980 – Golf From Dirt

2004 – Welcome to Woody Creek

1992 – Not Fade Away

1984 – Plain Dirt Fashion

1994 – Acoustic

2002 – Will The Circle Be Unbroken Volume III

2003 – Unbroken Live!

1991 – Live Two Five

1967 – Richocet

1988 – Workin’ Band

Make a Little Magic

1971 – All The Good Times

1970 – Uncle Charlie and His Dog Teddy

1985 – Partners, Brothers and Friends

1972 – Will the Circle Be Unbroken

1982 – Let’s Go

Nashville 1974

1990 – The Rest Of the Dream

1998 – Bang Bang Bang

1997 – The Christmas Album

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Inducted: January 9, 2015


Rusty Young got his musical start in Böenzee Cryque, a Denver-based band that recorded for Uni Records. The double-sided 45 “Still in Love With You Baby” backed with “Sky Gone Gray” went to No. 1 on the hit list of KIMN, Denver’s dominant Top 40 station, in April 1967. On the West Coast, Richie Furay had formed Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills and Neil Young.


His song “Kind Woman” made the Springfield perhaps the first rock band to experiment with a country sound. Furay called his friend from Colorado, Rusty Young, to play pedal steel guitar on the session.

In 1968, with Springfield in disarray, Furay and guitarist Jim Messina quickly set about assembling a band of their own. They recruited Young, who called in two buddies from Colorado—drummer George Grantham, also from Böenzee Cryque, and bassist Randy Meisner, who came from a rival band, the Poor. Poco’s Pickin’ Up the Pieces album debuted in 1969, blending sweet country harmonies with a driving rock beat. Then Meisner left and later co-founded the Eagles, and Messina slipped into the band’s bass slot until Timothy B. Schmit signed. After Messina split to form a duo with Kenny Loggins, former Illinois Steam Press guitarist Paul Cotton stepped in. Poco made its reputation as an exciting live act, playing hopeful, optimistic music. The 1971 live album, Deliverin’, was its biggest seller of the era.

In 1971, the bandmembers moved to Colorado.

While walking down a road to his house near Nederland, Furay wrote one of Poco’s most distinctive compositions—1973’s “A Good Feeling to Know,” with the lyrics “Colorado mountains I can see your distant sky.” Frustrated when the crowd-pleasing track failed to generate the expected commercial success, Furay departed the band.

Poco plugged on, recording such classics as Schmit’s “Keep On Tryin’,” Young’s “Rose of Cimarron” and Cotton’s “Indian Summer.” When Meisner left the Eagles, Schmit quit Poco to take his place; Grantham left to live and work in Nashville. With Legend, Poco’s 12th studio album, Young and Cotton cracked the top of the charts. Young wrote and sang on the surprise hit “Crazy Love.” Cotton’s “Heart of the Night” was a second Top 20 hit. Young orchestrated a Poco reunion of the five original members in 1989; Legacy contained the Top 20 hit “Call It Love” and earned a gold record. The team of Young and Cotton carried on until 2010. Young, the Colorado native, has remained the only member who has performed at every Poco gig and played on every Poco recording since the band’s inception.


While walking down a road to his house near Nederland, Furay wrote one of Poco’s most distinctive compositions—1973’s “A Good Feeling to Know,” with the lyrics “Colorado mountains I can see your distant sky.”

Poco Discography

2005 – Bareback at Big Sky

2019 – Live Wollman Memorial Skating Rink 1975

2010 – Live From Columbia Studios

1971 – Deliverin’

2011 – Setlist – The Very Best of Poco Live

2019 – Amsterdamed

1976 – Live

2004 – Keeping the Legend Alive

2004 – The Last Roundup

2014 – Crazy Love

2006 – The Wildwood Sessions

1974 – Seven

1970 – Poco

2013 – All Fired Up

1971 – From The Inside

1984 – Inamorata

1974 – Cantamos

1969 – Pickin’ Up the Pieces

1972 – A Good Feelin’ to Know

1976 – Rose of Cimarron

1989 – Legacy

1982 – Ghost Town

1978 – Legend

2002 – Running Horse

1981 – Blue and Gray

1977 – Indian Summer

1980 – Under the Gun

1975 – Head Over Heels

1982 – Cowboys & Englishmen

1973 – Crazy Eyes

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Inducted: January 9, 2015


Singer-songwriter Rick Roberts and guitarist Jock Bartley founded Firefall in the summer of 1974. Roberts had served as a spark for the Flying Burrito Brothers from 1970 to 1972, after Gram Parsons left the band.


He contributed several compositions to the repertoire—the best-known being “Colorado”—before launching his own career as a solo artist. Bartley had started as a student of jazz guitar great Johnny Smith, a Colorado Springs resident.

With a few band stints around the Denver/Boulder area under his belt, Bartley took over the lead guitar post of Tommy Bolin in Zephyr in 1971. The following year, he switched over to Parsons’s band, the Fallen Angels (which also featured Emmylou Harris), and met Roberts, whose touring schedule with the Burritos often overlapped with that of Parsons. Mark Andes, the founding bassist of the bands Spirit and Jo Jo Gunne, joined with Bartley and Roberts, who began an informal series of jam sessions at his home in Boulder. Roberts thought of a fourth participant he’d met in Washington, D. C.—singer-songwriter Larry Burnett. At Chris Hillman’s suggestion, they added drummer Michael Clarke, an original member of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers.

The break came when Roberts, Bartley and Andes toured as Hillman’s backup band. Hillman fell ill during a date at the Other End in New York, and the club owner accepted a proposal to bring Burnett and Clarke into town. Firefall finished out the engagement, and Atlantic Records was sold on the band.

By January 1976, the group had completed recording a debut album with producer Jim Mason, who blended Firefall’s acoustic guitars, mellow pop melodies and vocal harmonies.

A sixth member, David Muse, joined the ranks on keyboards, synthesizers, flute, tenor sax and harmonica.

Firefall reached platinum status, and the singles ”You Are the Woman,” “Livin’ Ain’t Livin’” and “Cinderella” together sold in excess of a million copies. The group notched more hits—”Just Remember I Love You” and “Strange Way”—and two more best-selling albums, Luna Sea and Elan, in the late 1970s. That heady time culminated in an opening slot for Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours tour in 1977, including a hometown Folsom Field gig before 61,500 Coloradans. Lineup changes followed, and the band ran out of chart momentum.


Bartley continues to tour with the Firefall name. The song “You Are the Woman” has been played on American radio more than 6 million times.

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Inducted: January 9, 2015




The brainchild of Stephen Stills, Manassas was a genre-bending amalgamation of a band that produced two albums. In the impactful 18 months that the band played together, they left a mark on music history in Colorado and the world over.

After splitting ways with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Stills retreated to the mountains near Gold Hill in Boulder County, Colorado. The morning after receiving the news of the death of his friend, Jimi Hendrix, Stills posed for the cover photo of his first solo album on September 20, 1970 with Gold Hill’s magnificence surrounding him. Stills wrote songs for his second solo album that winter in Colorado. Settling in, he named his publishing company Gold Hill Music, Inc.

Four years earlier, singer Chris Hillman had helped Stephen Stills and Buffalo Springfield land a gig at the famous Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles. The two ran into each other again one night at Tulagi, a Boulder nightspot, when Hillman’s band, The Flying Burrito Brothers, was playing Stills suggested Hillman, guitarist Al Perkins and fiddler Byron Berline leave the band and join him in Miami to jam. The three of them agreed, and Stills booked Criteria Studios to begin his next project.

The group played together for days on end, winding from country to bluegrass, rock to folk. Excited by how well the sessions went, Stills invited everyone to form a more permanent group. Only Berline declined, though he later made guest appearances on stage with acoustic double bassist Roger Bush.

Stills visualized a group that would bring together rock, folk, Latin, country and blues. He retained several members of his touring band—Dallas Taylor on drums, bass player Calvin “Fuzzy” Samuels, keyboardist Paul Harris and percussionist Joe Lala. When the Stills-Burrito amalgam all congregated in the studio, something clicked. With his dream band established and first album recorded, they only needed a name and a photo for the album cover. Since Stills was a Civil War fanatic, and he could afford to do so, he flew everyone to Washington, D.C. and found a train station in Manassas, Virginia where the Confederates had defeated the Union in the Battle of Bull Run—the first major battle of the Civil War. The photo the band chose showed them all standing on the station platform with “MANASSAS” written on a sign above them; the band had found their name.

The 1972 debut double LP Manassas, featuring the singles “It Doesn’t Matter” and “Rock & Roll Crazies,” peaked at No. 4 on the charts. By the time the tour made it back from Europe, the album had gone gold. On stage, Manassas gained fame for their nearly three-hour shows that started with an opening rock set followed by Stills playing solo acoustic, Hillman and Perkins playing bluegrass. Finally, the band returned to country, more rock, and an acoustic finish. 

After touring, Hillman left for several weeks to record a reunion album with the Byrds, his pre-Burritos band. Manassas completed their second album; Down the Road peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard charts. The single “Isn’t It About Time” reached No. 56. After the album’s release, the band went dormant. Stills’ wedding to French singer Veronique Sanson pulled him away. Meanwhile, manager David Geffen offered Hillman a spot in another supergroup alongside Richie Furay and J.D. Souther to form the creatively named Souther-Hillman-Furay Band. Hillman agreed, taking Harris and Lala with him; the band did not work out, and the trio returned to Manassas a year later. During this hiatus, Taylor and Samuels left Manassas.

When Stills finally reassembled Manassas, he hired Colorado legend and fellow Hall of Fame inductee, bassist Kenny Passarelli of Joe Walsh’s Colorado-based band Barnstorm and drummer John Barbata of Jefferson Airplane to fill the hole left in the group. Following the last shows of its late fall 1973 tour, however, Manassas announced its breakup. Yet, their legacy lives on in Colorado’s music history.



Manassas Discography

1972 – Manassas

1973 – Down The Road

2009 – Pieces

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Billy Murray

Inducted: April 16, 2016

Billy Murray




Born May 25, 1877 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, William Thomas Murray and his family moved to Denver five years later, where he spent most of his early years expressing an interest in show business. Following a stint as part of a “rube” song-and-dance act with neighborhood pals, Murray’s parents allowed him to join Harry Leavitt’s High Rollers troupe as an actor at age 16.

He spent the next decade honing his skills in a succession of minstrel shows and small-time vaudeville venues. Murray joined the Al G. Field Minstrels around the turn of the century, and it was there the title performer gave Murray the nickname “Billy,” since it sounded more like a comedian’s name.

Murray found his way to New York, where he would achieve success in the rapidly emerging field of phonography. His first recordings were made in 1897 with partner Matt Keefe. In 1903, he secured an engagement with Thomas Edison’s National Phonograph Company, and his solo recordings, released and marketed nationwide, became immediate hits. Murray did not have an exclusive contract with Edison, freelancing his voice to several major recording companies including Columbia and Victor. Often, he recorded the same songs for each label. Murray’s ability to sing loudly, in full voice, was suited for making precise, vibrant records during the acoustic era of sound process, which employed recording horns rather than the electronic microphone. He was soon dubbed “the Denver Nightingale.”

Murray emerged as a huge solo recording star, introducing the public to the music of George M. Cohan (“You’re a Grand Old Flag”) and a host of familiar tunes: “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “Meet Me in St. Louis,” “Over There,” “Casey Jones,” “Pretty Baby” and “That Old Gang of Mine.” In 1909, Murray signed exclusive ten-year recording contracts with both Victor for albums and Edison for cylinders. The labels had him record a wide range of styles, including material from Broadway musicals, sentimental ballads, comic fare, vaudeville sketches, “ethnic” and topical pieces. He served as guest lead vocalist for The Haydn Quartet, known for its spirited interpretations of ragtime and novelty numbers; the biggest being “By the Light of the Silvery Moon.” Murray also led his own group, The American Quartet and recorded duets with popular female artists of the day.

In spite of his breakthrough success as a recording artist, Murray did not garner as much fame as other singers of the time, due mostly to his preference of the recording studio over the stage. His name did not become affiliated with the music, as it did with other performances such as Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra in the 1920s. By this time, cylinders were in decline, and Murray signed another contract with Victor for recording albums and remained with the label until 1927. Murray remained a prolific artist throughout the ‘20s. 

When the industry transitioned to electronic recording, he adjusted to a softer, crooning delivery for jazz and band-oriented dance numbers. During the 1930s, he recorded spoken dialogue for children’s stories and film cartoons including the now famous Betty Boop show. 

Murray introduced the public to the music of George M. Cohan (“You’re a Grand Old Flag”) and a host of other familiar tunes. All the while, he became the most successful recording artist of the early acoustic era into the 1920s. 

He enjoyed retirement for 10 years until his 1954 passing. Colorado Music Hall of Fame inducted Billy Murray in the 2016 “20th Century Pioneers induction class.


Murray emerged as a huge solo recording star, introducing the public to the music of George M. Cohan (“You’re a Grand Old Flag”) and a host of other familiar tunes.

Billy Murray Discography

Give My Regards to Broadway

1905 – Under the Anheuser Bush

1909 – Oh, You Kid

1920 – You’d Be Surprised

1915 – Gasoline Gus

1904 – Teasing

1905 – Everybody Works but Father

1908 – In My Merry Oldsmobile

1903 – Up In a Cocoanut Tree

He Goes to Church on Sunday

1906 – Sweet Anastasia Brady

1915 – Goodbye Girls, I’m Through

1905 – Yankee Doodle Boy

1910 – She Sells Sea Shells

1913 – On the Old Fall River Line

1906 – You Look Awful Good to Father

1919 – The Worst Is Yet to Come

1923 – Barney Google

Good-Bye Sis

1920 Oh! By Jingo

1906 – Cheyenne

1904 – Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis

1926 – I Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight

1909 – Shine On Harvest Moon

1906 – Not Because You’re Hair is Curly

1922 – In My Heart, On My Mind

1916 – Pretty Baby

2002 – Anthology The Denver Nightingale

1924 – You May Be Fast but Your Mamma’s Gonna Slow You Down

1919 – Can You Tame Wild Women

1906 – The Grand Old Rag (Flag)

1920 – Rose of Washington Square

1906 – College Life

1914 – He’d Have to Get Under

1906 – It Takes the Irish to Beat the Dutch

1908 – It Looks Like a Big Night tonight

1916 – Hello, Hawaii, How Are You

1919 – The Alcoholic Blues

1924 – Charley, My Boy

1906 – I’m Afraid to Come Home in the Dark

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Elizabeth Spencer

Inducted: April 16, 2016

Elizabeth Spencer








The youngest of four children, Elizabeth Spencer was born Elizabeth Dickerson on April 12, 1871; her father died eight months later. In 1874, her mother remarried to Colonel William Gilpin, who had served as the first governor of the Territory of Colorado in 1861. The family moved to Denver. Spencer received vocal training and learned to sing, recite stories and poetry and play piano and violin. She graduated from St. Mary’s Academy in Englewood, Colorado and, after an extensive European tour, married Otis Spencer, an attorney. A recognized society woman, Spencer sang in churches, concerts, clubs, parties and amateur theatricals.

She got her big break in 1905, performing a successful solo act at the local Orpheum Theater, her professional debut in a major vaudeville house. Her second engagement, a one-act sketch, displayed her acting abilities and the experience led to roles in Broadway road companies. By 1910 she was residing in New York City and making her first recordings. Signing an exclusive contract with inventor and businessman Thomas Edison’s company, Spencer’s “dramatic soprano” was heard on numerous studio recordings, participating in solos, duets, trios, quartets and choruses. One of these groups was known as the Homestead Trio which consisted of Spencer and two other female vocalists, Amy Ellerman and Betsy Lane Shepherd.


Having made only phonograph cylinders, Edison decided to add a disc format to his product line in order to compete with such rivals as the thriving Victor Talking Machine Company. The majority of Spencer’s best work was on the Diamond Disc, which reproduced the quality of her singing with greater accuracy. Edison regarded Spencer as his “favorite soprano,” and chose her to give public Tone Test demonstrations, during which she would sing at the same level with the phonograph, the lights would dim, and audience members had to guess when she stopped singing and the phonograph took over.

The Edison studio cash books document Spencer in approximately 661 sessions by the time her commitment expired in 1916, more than any other vocalist. The next year, Spencer signed an exclusive contract with Victor as a member of the Victor Light Opera Company, also known as the Trinity Choir, whose members were constantly changing but included Elsie Baker, Marguerite Dunlap and Harry Macdonough just to name a few. 

Artists who recorded under Victor received no label credit for their work. After Victor, Spencer recorded with the Metropolitan Quartet, but, by 1921, she was back at Edison but with her session schedule slowing considerably. Diamond Discs were more expensive than, and incompatible with, other brands of records, ultimately failing in the marketplace; Edison closed the record division a day before the 1929 stock market crash. Spencer died in 1930, ten days after her 59th birthday.

Elizabeth Spencer Discography

1917 – The Star Spangled Banner

1917 – Wait Till the Cows Come Home

1917 – Where the Morning Glories Grow

1918 – Daddy Mine

1918 – I’m Going to Follow the Boys

1918 – If You Look in Her Eyes

1918 – Somewhere in France is the Lilly

1918 – Sweet Little Buttercup

1919 – You’re Still An Old Sweetheart of Mine

1920 – Let the Rest of the World Go By

1920 – Look For The Silver Lining

1921 – Carry Me Back to Old Virginny

1922 – Old Folks at Home

1923 – Carry Me Back to Old Virginny

1924 – Old Black Joe

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Paul Whiteman

Inducted: April 16, 2016

Paul Whiteman


Born in Denver on March 28, 1890, Paul Samuel Whiteman was raised by musician parents. His mother Efrida was an opera singer, and his father Wilberforce James served as director of music for Denver Public Schools. As a student at East High School, Whiteman was highly encouraged to learn an instrument and gravitated towards viola. Showing an innate talent for the instrument, Whiteman was quickly picked up by the Denver Symphony Orchestra in 1907 at the ripe age of 17. From there, he moved to the west coast and joined the San Francisco Symphony. 

In 1918, Whiteman enlisted in the U.S. Navy and led a 12-piece band known as the Mare Island Naval Training Camp Symphony Orchestra for the next year. After the war, he returned to San Francisco and formed Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra, serving as the house band for the city’s luxurious Fairmont Hotel. By 1920, the nine-piece ensemble relocated to New York City. There they played the Palais Royal for the next four years—the earliest dance band from the West to take the East Coast by storm. In 1924, Whiteman staged a concert blending symphonic music and jazz at Aeolian Hall, New York’s temple of classical music. For the event, Whiteman commissioned George Gershwin to write a new orchestral piece, though Gershwin only had five weeks to complete the project before the concert. Gershwin finished composing the now famous “Rhapsody in Blue” and handed it off to Ferde Grofé for arranging. The two made it work with eight days to spare. Gershwin himself played piano and introduced New York to “Rhapsody in Blue,” which quickly became Whiteman’s theme song.

Whiteman had the country’s largest and best paid dance orchestra, an imposing ensemble of up to 35 musicians with many firsts under their belts—the first to play arrangements; the first to use full brass and reed sections; the first to tour Europe. Sidemen included many greats and future bandleaders—Bix Beiderbecke, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Johnny Mercer and Jack Teagarden. In late 1926, Whiteman signed The Rhythm Boys to sing for his band; Bing Crosby’s prominence in the trio helped launch his career. Whiteman had 28 No. 1 records during the Roaring ’20s. His version of “Ol’ Man River” with Paul Robeson on vocals would later be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2006.

Whiteman owned a significant number of other big bands and jazz orchestras. In 1922, he controlled 28 bands on the east coast, which netted him over $1,000,000 that year (in 2022, this translates to almost $18,000,000. 

By 1928, Whiteman was on the air when live radio programming was on the rise. He and the band made The King of Jazz for Universal Pictures in 1930, one of the first feature-length movies filmed entirely in Technicolor. As the band became more of a show unit, the size decreased, but as late as 1938, Whiteman’s personnel roster included 27 musicians and a vocalist. Throughout the decades, Whiteman also published three books: Jazz, co-authored by Mary Margaret McBride (1926); How To Be A Bandleader, co-authored by Leslie Lieber (1941); and Records for the Millions (1948). Though the depression impacted the band, the orchestra remained popular into the 1940s before they finally dispersed later in the decade.

When disc jockeys took over radio, Whiteman worked as the musical director on the Blue Radio network, which later became the American Broadcasting Company, or ABC. Here, he continued to commission songs for the several radio programs he oversaw including the series Music Out of the Blue. Some of the names Whiteman commissioned include Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Duke Ellington, Igor Stravinsky, Richard Rogers and many, many more. He deejayed for the radio show The Paul Whiteman Club that broadcasted on weekday afternoons. 

After television burst onto the market, he made a number of special appearances and was Jackie Gleason’s summer replacement in 1955. Whiteman died in Doylestown, Pennsylvania in 1967 at the age of 77. Paul Whiteman was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in the
20th Century Pioneers induction class of 2016.


The Paul Whiteman Orchestra was the earliest dance band from the West to take the East Coast by storm.

Paul Whiteman Discography

16 Classic Performances

1932 – Willow Weep for Me

1921 – Make Believe

1934 – You’re The Top

1978 – A Paul Whiteman Concert

1920 – Wang Wang Blues

1920 – Whispering

1924 – Somebody Loves Me

The Complete Capitol Recordings

1928 – Ramona

1952 – An American in Paris

1954 – Rhapsody in Blue

1929 – Coquette

1939 – My Fantasy

1972 – Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra

1921 – My Mammy

1923 – You Remind Me of My Mother

1928 – Mississippi Mud

1922 – Wonderful One

1942 – Trav’lin Light

1923 – I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise

1921 – Say It With Music

1924 – Rhapsody in Blue

1998 – Greatest Hits

1921 – Second Hand Rose

1991 – King of Jazz

1954 – All Time Dance Party Vol 1

1921 – Cherie

1924 – When the One You Love Loves You

1959 – The night I played 666 Fifth Avenue

1922 – Three O’clock in the Morning

1926 – Birth of the Blues

1954 – Cavalcade of Dance

1930 – Body and Soul

1933 – As Thousands Cheer

1932 – Grand Canyon Suite

1954 – All Time Dance Party Vol 2

1959 – Cavalcade of Music

1928 – Ol’ Man River

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Glenn Miller

Inducted: April 16, 2016

Glenn Miller

Glenn Miller was born on March 1, 1904, in Clarinda, Iowa. His family was poor, moving steadily westward during his childhood, first to Nebraska, and then to Fort Morgan, Colorado. Miller studied music during high school, and soon after graduating in 1921, he took his first professional job in the Denver area, with Boyd Senter’s popular orchestra.


He then enrolled at the University of Colorado, where he spent his time outside of class playing in fellow student Holly Moyer’s band.

He left college in 1923 to devote his full attention to his career as a musician and arranger.

Joining Ben Pollack’s band, Miller went to Los Angeles, to Chicago, and eventually to New York in early 1928, where he married his college sweetheart, Helen Burger. After leaving Pollack, Miller joined Smith Ballew’s orchestra, then the newly formed Dorsey Brothers band.

He finally decided to launch his own band in January 1937. At the end of the year, he disbanded it, discouraged and in debt. With financial help, he tried again the following spring. This time he had the players he wanted to go with his gifts as an arranger, and he developed a clarinet-led reed section and created what came to be known as the “Miller sound.”

In 1938, Miller signed with Victor’s Bluebird label. “Little Brown Jug,” “In the Mood” and his signature “Moonlight Serenade” played from jukeboxes and on radios across the country.

By the fall of 1939, the Glenn Miller Orchestra was the nation’s hottest attraction.

“Tuxedo Junction” and “A String of Pearls” reached No. 1 on the top-sellers chart, and Miller was awarded the first-ever gold record in 1942 for selling more than one million copies of “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”

With the onset of World War II, Miller, at 37, was determined to take part in the war effort. Entering the Army in October 1942, he molded the nation’s most popular service band. That U.S. Air Force Band went to England in the summer of 1944, entertaining troops at 71 concerts in five months. On the afternoon of December 15, while flying from the south of England to newly liberated Paris to lead a concert to be broadcast on Christmas, the small plane carrying Major Glenn Miller disappeared over the English Channel, ending a brilliant and influential career in American popular music.


“Tuxedo Junction” and “A String of Pearls” reached No. 1 on the top-sellers chart, and Miller was awarded the first-ever gold record in 1942 for selling more than one million copies of “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”

Glenn Miller Discography

1941 – Jingle Bells

1940 – Pennsylvania Six-Five Thousand

1942 – Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree

1963 – On The Air

1940 – Fools Rush In

1950 – This is Glenn Miller

1940 – Faithful Forever

1940 – Faithful Forever

1944 – Up Swing

1940 – Star Dust

1939 – The Man With the Mandolin

1939 – My Prayer

1943 – That Old Black Magic

1965 – Shindig

The Complete Glenn Miller

1944 – An Album of Outstanding Arrangements

1942 – Moonlight Cocktail

1939 – Moonlight Serenade

1939 – Blue Orchids

1940 – A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square

1940 – The Woodpecker Song

1941 Elmer’s Tune

1939 – In The Mood

1940 – Careless

1941 – Chattanooga Choo Choo

1942 – A String of Pearls

1939 – Little Brown Jug

1971 – Original Recordings

1975 – Pure Gold

1954 – The Glenn Miller Story

1955 – The Nearness of You

1958 – The Great Glenn Miller

1973 – String of Pearls

1974 – A Legendary Performer

1942 – Kalamazoo

1938 – My Reverie

1942 – Serenade in Blue

1940 – Tuxedo Junction

1941 – I Dreamt I Dwelt in Harlem

1939 – The Lady’s In Love With You

1940 – Blueberry Hill

1939 – Sunrise Serenade

1939 – Over The Rainbow

1942 – The White Cliffs of Dover

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