Ragtime pianist’s estate for sale

Thousands of items from the estate of legendary ragtime pianist Johnny Maddox will go on sale to the public this week.

The two-day estate sale featuring more than 10,000 pieces and will take place Nov. 16 and 17 at the Gallatin native’s 814 Hartsville Pike home from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. each day.

“He had fabulous collections in this house,” Parker Estate Services owner Larry Parker said about the items available to purchase. “The neat thing about this place is the history behind it. You’re not looking at anything (that is a) reproduction. He was a collector that paid attention to what he collected.”

Among the items featured in the sale include antique furniture, glassware, china, lamps, rugs, kitchenware and antique collectibles. There will also be hundreds of oil paintings, prints and lithographs as well as magazines, journals, newspapers and posters from the 1800s to the early 1900s.

Maddox’s collection of nearly 14,000 vinyl 78 records will also be available if it is not purchased beforehand. His 66,600 pieces of vintage sheet music, which was considered to be one of the largest private collections in the United States, has already been sold. 

“Anyone can walk through here, buy and take home a piece of history,” Parker said about the items included in the sale. “Johnny is history from the standpoint of who he is and what he has done.”

Born in Gallatin in 1927, Maddox developed an interest in ragtime music at a young age from his great-aunt who was also an accomplished piano player. He began performing publicly by the age of five and later began to play with an orchestra and provided piano accompaniment for the students at the Boyers School of Dancing.

In 1950, Maddox became the first artist for Dot Records, a local production company started by his friend and music business entrepreneur Randy Wood out of his famous record store, Randy’s Record Shop in Gallatin. His first single, “Crazy Bone Rag” with “St. Louis Tickle” on the B-side of the record, sold 22,000 copies in five weeks.

Maddox would go on to have more records on jukeboxes across the country than anyone else at that time, which led him to be named the No. 1 jukebox artist by the Music Operators of America in 1954.

“Maddox, who had reintroduced the ragtime style at a point when it was a virtually dead idiom, found himself a household name, in-demand live attraction and frequent guest on the numerous network television variety shows of the day,” Johnny Whiteside wrote in the Los Angeles Times in 2010. “His role in establishing Wood’s Dot Records was also significant, enabling Wood to introduce another local Tennessee lad, Pat Boone, to the American public.”

The 91-year-old recorded nearly 50 full-length albums and had nine certified gold singles with sales topping more than 11 million records during his career. He was also one of the first performers to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.

Maddox’s last local public performance since his retirement in 1992 was at the First Presbyterian Church in Gallatin in 2012.

Marjorie Lloyd contributed to this report.

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