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Inventor of Leslie speaker dies

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Anonymous
September 8, 2004 4:33:20 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Donald Leslie, 93; His Namesake Speaker Influenced Music
By Myrna Oliver, Times Staff Writer


Donald James Leslie, inventor and manufacturer of the Leslie speaker,
which helped popularize the Hammond organ and contributed to the
development of electronic music, has died. He was 93.


Leslie died of natural causes Thursday at his home in Altadena.


A fan of church and theater pipe organs, Leslie became enamored with
the compact electric Hammond organ shortly after it was introduced in
1935. He first heard the instrument — engineer Laurens Hammond's
low-cost alternative to the pipe organ — in the Barker Brothers
Furniture Store in downtown Los Angeles, where he serviced Capehart
radios.


The small electric organ, Leslie thought, sounded much like a theater
or church pipe organ in the vast furniture showroom. But once he got
it home he was disappointed with its sound in confined spaces. He
started experimenting with devices to make the instrument sound like
labyrinthine pipe organs.


Leslie had taught himself mechanics and electronics in a series of
jobs, including work for the Naval Research Laboratories in
Washington, D.C., during World War II. When he came up with his
hand-built Leslie speaker, he offered it to Hammond, hoping for a job,
but was rejected.


So Leslie founded Electro Music in Pasadena to manufacture his
speaker, which became a popular sound-refining amplifier for Hammond
organs and those made by Wurlitzer, Conn, Thomas, Baldwin, Kimball,
Yamaha and others. The Leslie also proved useful for portable
keyboards, synthesizers and other electronic instruments, contributing
improved sounds to jazz, rock, blues, gospel and pop music.


The Leslie helped adapt electric organs for homes and musicians' small
studios, expanding the market well beyond churches and large
auditoriums.


Through the 1940s, the name for Leslie's invention — two rotating
horns enhancing both treble and bass registers — varied considerably,
from Hollywood speaker to Crawford speaker (for organist Jesse
Crawford) to Leslie Vibraphone, among others. But most customers
referred to it as the Leslie, and by 1949 Leslie speaker had become
the universally accepted name.


Leslie acquired 48 patents for the speaker and other musical
inventions.


In 1965, he sold Electro Music to CBS, which made it a part of CBS
Musical Instruments. By the 1980s, Hammond had finally bought the
speaker Leslie offered the organ-maker four decades earlier, and the
Leslie is now built by Hammond-Suzuki USA.


Hammond recognized Leslie's symbiotic enhancement of its product in
1978 with an award for "his outstanding contribution and dedication in
making the Hammond-Leslie sound responsible for creating the organ
industry."


In 2003, Leslie, along with the late Laurens Hammond, and Leo Fender,
founder of Fender Guitars, were among the original inductees into the
American Music Conference Hall of Fame.


Born in Danville, Ill., Leslie grew up in Glendale and lived his adult
life in Pasadena and Altadena.


He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Carolyn; a daughter, Jeanine;
two sons, Scott and James; a sister, Mary Elizabeth Grime; and six
grandchildren.


The family has invited friends to a celebration of Leslie's life at
4:30 p.m. Saturday at the family home in Altadena. They have asked
that memorial contributions be made to the American Diabetes Assn.,
P.O. Box 1132, Fairfax, VA 22038-1132.
Anonymous
September 8, 2004 7:52:35 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

playon wrote:
> Donald James Leslie, inventor and manufacturer of the Leslie speaker,
> which helped popularize the Hammond organ and contributed to the
> development of electronic music, has died. He was 93.



That is sad news. Music would sound much different had it not been for
his invention.

I wonder, do they bury him in a rotating casket? <g>
Anonymous
September 9, 2004 1:02:57 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

>playon wrote:
>> Donald James Leslie, inventor and manufacturer of the Leslie speaker,
>> which helped popularize the Hammond organ and contributed to the
>> development of electronic music, has died. He was 93.
>
>
>
>That is sad news. Music would sound much different had it not been for
>his invention.
>
>I wonder, do they bury him in a rotating casket? <g>
>
>

I'm overwhelmed by your sensitivity.

Wayne
Related resources
Anonymous
September 9, 2004 1:02:58 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Wayne wrote:

>>I wonder, do they bury him in a rotating casket? <g>
>>
>>
>
> I'm overwhelmed by your sensitivity.


Lighten up, the guy was 93. He lived a long, full, musical life. We
should all be so lucky.
Anonymous
September 9, 2004 1:51:46 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

playon wrote:

> Donald James Leslie, inventor and manufacturer of the Leslie speaker,
> which helped popularize the Hammond organ and contributed to the
> development of electronic music, has died. He was 93.


Love that sound.

"Live would be ecstacy,
You and me and Leslie."
Anonymous
September 9, 2004 2:31:36 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Funny...!

--
Steven Sena
XS Sound Recording
www.xssound.com

"Pete Dimsman" <pd@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:2q99ojFs86guU1@uni-berlin.de...
>
> playon wrote:
>> Donald James Leslie, inventor and manufacturer of the Leslie speaker,
>> which helped popularize the Hammond organ and contributed to the
>> development of electronic music, has died. He was 93.
>
>
>
> That is sad news. Music would sound much different had it not been for his
> invention.
>
> I wonder, do they bury him in a rotating casket? <g>
>
Anonymous
September 9, 2004 6:29:20 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Wed, 08 Sep 2004 21:51:46 -0400, Don Cooper
<dcooper2880o0o0@comcast.net> wrote:

>"Live would be ecstacy,
>You and me and Leslie."

That's the way my little sister Leslie used to hear
the second line.

Chris Hornbeck
Anonymous
September 9, 2004 6:29:21 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Chris Hornbeck wrote:

> >"Live would be ecstacy,
> >You and me and Leslie."
>
> That's the way my little sister Leslie used to hear
> the second line.


Sometimes, I still do.

: )
Anonymous
September 9, 2004 7:25:45 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Tommorow never knows.
elaterium@aol.com (Mark Steven Brooks/Elaterium Music)
Anonymous
September 9, 2004 8:00:46 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Thank you, Donald Leslie, for what you gave us all.

Scott Fraser
Anonymous
September 9, 2004 8:28:00 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Pete Dimsman <pd@nospam.com> wrote in message news:<2q99ojFs86guU1@uni-berlin.de>...
> playon wrote:
> > Donald James Leslie, inventor and manufacturer of the Leslie speaker,
> > which helped popularize the Hammond organ and contributed to the
> > development of electronic music, has died. He was 93.
>
>
>
> That is sad news. Music would sound much different had it not been for
> his invention.
>
> I wonder, do they bury him in a rotating casket? <g>
_______That'll be fine, Pete!

Your recent post regarding 9/11 and the FBI was spot on, so try to act
the same here.

BTW the FBI KNEW about those guys, the clue is they CHOSE not to act.
And the rest is history.

-CC
Anonymous
September 9, 2004 10:17:34 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I can just see the funeral services... The casket will be mounted on a motor,
and rotate continuously...
September 9, 2004 1:51:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <77a787ce.0409090328.743a0d9@posting.google.com>,
ckozicki@snet.net says...
> Pete Dimsman <pd@nospam.com> wrote in message news:<2q99ojFs86guU1@uni-berlin.de>...
> > playon wrote:
> > > Donald James Leslie, inventor and manufacturer of the Leslie speaker,
> > > which helped popularize the Hammond organ and contributed to the
> > > development of electronic music, has died. He was 93.
> >
> >
> >
> > That is sad news. Music would sound much different had it not been for
> > his invention.
> >
> > I wonder, do they bury him in a rotating casket? <g>
> _______That'll be fine, Pete!
>
> Your recent post regarding 9/11 and the FBI was spot on, so try to act
> the same here.
>
> BTW the FBI KNEW about those guys, the clue is they CHOSE not to act.
> And the rest is history.
>
True. That's why CBS bought the Leslie patents instead.
How crass.
The man did make a wonderful-sounding effect. It's hard, when
you set down to use one, not to just set there and space out on
the sound swirling around you.
---Michael (of APP)...
Anonymous
September 9, 2004 6:01:50 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"ChrisCoaster" <ckozicki@snet.net> wrote in message
news:77a787ce.0409090328.743a0d9@posting.google.com...

>
> Your recent post regarding 9/11 and the FBI was spot on, so try to act
> the same here.
>
> BTW the FBI KNEW about those guys, the clue is they CHOSE not to act.
> And the rest is history.
>
The FBI knew about Don Leslie and chose not to act? Good for them, then. The
world would be a worse place without that sound. (What the hell are you
talking about, by the way?)
Anonymous
September 9, 2004 6:01:51 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> The FBI knew about Don Leslie and chose not to act? Good for them,
> then. The world would be a worse place without that sound. (What the
> hell are you talking about, by the way?)

He probably thinks Leslie had plans for putting the WTC buildings on huge
hydraulic motors and rotating them.
Anonymous
September 9, 2004 6:01:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

William Sommerwerck <williams@nwlink.com> wrote:
>> The FBI knew about Don Leslie and chose not to act? Good for them,
>> then. The world would be a worse place without that sound. (What the
>> hell are you talking about, by the way?)
>
>He probably thinks Leslie had plans for putting the WTC buildings on huge
>hydraulic motors and rotating them.

You can ask chakaal what it sounded like the last time I tried to play
a B-3 last year to get levels set. I assure you that the Patriot Act
almost certainly prohibits the sort of sounds I made.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
September 10, 2004 11:35:53 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Dave Martin" <dmainc@earthlink.net> wrote in message news:<inZ%c.13877$Vl5.1608@newsread2.news.atl.earthlink.net>...
> "ChrisCoaster" <ckozicki@snet.net> wrote in message
> news:77a787ce.0409090328.743a0d9@posting.google.com...
(What the hell are you
> talking about, by the way?)
__________________
I was just exchanging ideas with Pete about his comments regarding
Leslie, while also complimenting him on his post about FBI and 9/11.

Specifically, the FBI, airport screeners, et al, CHOSE to look the
other way when those hijackers set off every metal detector on their
way to commit jihad.

-CC
Anonymous
September 14, 2004 3:43:45 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

ChrisCoaster wrote:

> Think about it. The right-wing was dying in America until the likes
> of Lewinksy and 9/11. There's a word here, I can't seem to think of
> that describes it - couday? Coupe de ville? If only I hadaway to
> figger out the damn thing.


I saw it coming a little before that. I think they were really pissed
that Clinton won a second term. The 1994 Congressional Elections brought
in "The Contract With America". What's funny is that I never heard about
the contract before they were sworn in. Who signed it? No me.

Then the work began. And Limbaugh's popularity grew.

Even today, if you look at the Democrats' Senate page, they talk about
the desire to get to 51 seats.

The Republicans' page talks about Hillary!
!