John Dixon, better known as Johnny D (http://azmusicdude.com) is a music archivist whose passion is preserving the music of Arizona record labels is starting a tribute scholarship fund to Audio Recorders of Arizona founders, Floyd and Mary Ramsey. John, along with Fervor Records executives David Hilker and Jeff Freundlich presented the inaugural annual check to Phoenix Conservatory of Music (PCM) on May 06, 2018 at the PCM College Preparatory Program’s Annual Scholarship Celebration Concert. “It’s all about keeping the music alive and supporting those who are teaching our youth to create and appreciate their own musical creations. All across the country, funds for musical education have been cut, and here in Arizona we are lucky to have an organization like PCM to provide in-house teaching, mentoring, and quality outreach programs in schools across the valley. By creating this scholarship fund, I want to insure that PCM continues their important mission in our community and that The Ramsey’s are recognized for their important contributions to Arizona’s musical history.”, says Dixon.
Floyd Ramsey was the unsung hero and unassuming man behind the scenes who dramatically impacted the emerging sound of pop music starting in the mid 1950’s. Floyd and Mary Ramsey’s empire included the legendary recording studio Audio Recorders of Arizona, record labels Liberty Bell, REV, MCI, and Ramco Records, as well as several publishing entities.
Ramsey’s innovative ideas, recording techniques, and keen eye for talent helped catapult singer Sanford Clark to the top of the Billboard Charts in 1956, then took rock and roll icon Duane Eddy into the mainstream conscious in 1958. Eddy’s distinctive “Twang Heard Round the World” gave rise to the 1960’s surf movement.
Ramsey had a remarkable ability to spot and nurture talent on all sides of the business including recording engineer Jack Miller (The Rolling Stones, Henry Mancini, The Monkees, Herman and the Hermits, The Animals), musician/songwriter/producer Connie Conway (Sanford Clark), songwriter/producer/artist Lee Hazlewood (Duane Eddy, Nancy Sinatra, Dean Martin).
John Dixon is now the owner of this incredible catalog of music, which is licensed to hit TV shows, films and advertisements. The annual donation is funded through the licensing fees generated from this catalog. Examples of shows using the music include Legends of Tomorrow (The CW), NCIS LA (CBS), Lucifer (FOX). Fervor Records will continue this annual donation after John’s demise to salute the incredible contribution that the Ramsey’s made to music and to perpetuate their legacies.
Dixon says, “I first met Floyd and Mary when I made a recording at Audio Recorders in 1966. Being a big Arizona music fan, I was thrilled to archive the tapes in Floyd’s garage years later when I really got serious about archiving the history of music here. Floyd and his father Clay started Ramsey’s Recorders in the late 40’s, and with wife Mary at his side built their recording business into a multi million dollar operation. I was honored and humbled when The Ramsey’s sold me their audio masters and publishing in 2006 that my partners at Fervor Records have successfully licensed to films, cable, advertising and television, heard around the world.”
David Hilker, CEO of Fervor Records states that “It is truly an honor to perpetuate the legacies of Floyd and Mary Ramsey. They were trailblazing music entrepreneurs who continue to inspire all of us at Fervor Records. There is no better way to honor Floyd and Mary than to provide ongoing opportunities to future generations of musicians.” And COO, Jeff Freundlich says that “Fervor Records is proud to play a role in the betterment of aspiring musicians through education. Phoenix Conservatory of Music is doing incredible work in our local community.”
The Phoenix Conservatory of Music, a 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award Recipient, has this annual concert in celebration of student achievement and effort. “This event, for us, every year is about celebrating the success of the students who have put so much time and effort into their craft development. They get to share those results in a concert that celebrates contemporary music and community. We celebrate our seniors and their successes in graduation and college placement, announce college admission and scholarship awards, and announce our annual recipients of two full scholarships to Berklee College of Music’s Five Week Summer Performance Program. It is a wonderful event, and we are so grateful to be sharing this event with John Dixon, Fervor Records and honoring the legacy of Floyd and Mary Ramsey have given to the Arizona Music Scene, the music industry and because of this beautiful tribute, the future of Arizona musicians.” Says Regina Nixon, Executive Director of Phoenix Conservatory of Music.
PCM is creating a rallying point for our community, to say that they care that these young people are getting the training and care that they need in a supportive and safe environment. The students are getting opportunities to enhance their education with opportunities and experiences that would otherwise not always be available to them, they have a safe place that creates opportunities for risky innovation, collaboration, and social interaction. This in turn creates a stronger, healthier community and the outcomes are fantastic. To date, PCM’s College Prep Program’s students boast a 95% graduation rate, 71% attend college and they have earned over $1M+ in scholarship offers.