Letters from Chris Gero  -  WINTER 2010

chris gero headshotAt Yamaha, we are proud to say that we make products that help artists create music and earn a living. As we enter our half-century anniversary of doing business in America, I am reminded of some of the amazing artists who have played Yamaha products over the years and the impact they have left on the world.

When Yamaha opened its doors for business in the United States in 1960, the label “made in Japan” was not associated with the level of quality that it is today. From humble beginnings sprung a technological revolution that changed the way we hear and make music.
In the late ‘60s, Yamaha acoustic guitars quickly became an industry mainstay. James Taylor, John Denver, and many other artists helped establish the Yamaha brand; John Lennon, Bob Marley, Brian May, Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Carlos Santana, Bob Seger, Paul Simon, and Bruce Springsteen have helped maintain it.

In the ’70s, Stevie Wonder used the GX1 keyboard to create his masterpiece “Songs in the Key of Life.” Jeff Lynne wrote and recorded “Out of the Blue” using a C7 and Michael McDonald wrote and recorded “What a Fool Believes” on a CP-70 and CS-80. In 1978, Yamaha introduced the NS-10M monitor speaker, which continues to be the benchmark in the recording, film and TV industry even though the product was discontinued years ago.

At a time when synth-driven pop music reined supreme, the DX-7 became an instrument that actually defined the era. Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” Toto’s “Africa,” Chicago’s “Hard Habit to Break” and Luther Vandross’ “Here and Now” are just a small fraction of the countless songs that were recorded with this groundbreaking instrument in the ‘80s.

Yamaha pioneered digital mixing consoles beginning in the late ‘60s and revolutionized the entire music industry with the release of the 02R in the mid-’90s. The C7 grand piano has long been established as the recording industry standard throughout the world, and it has become the number one piano choice of contemporary and jazz artists, including Elton John, Paul McCartney, Alicia Keys and Norah Jones.

The Recording Custom drum kit, the BB series bass, the Z trumpet, the Motif and the PM1D are a few more examples of the thousands of innovative products Yamaha has created – and countless artists have brought to life.

Yamaha has been there through every major artist related event in the past 50 years: Woodstock, Live Aid, Live 8, Live Earth, Concert for Diana, America: A Tribute to Heroes, Jazz Fest, Bonnaroo, and American Idol, to name a few. Since 1960, Yamaha has enjoyed a unique relationship with artists and music makers from all walks of life in the entertainment epicenter of the world: the United States. We are honored to have been a substantial part of music’s history, and we look forward to what the next 50 years will bring.

Kindest Regards,
Chris Gero

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