Ralph S. Peer by Gloria Trevi
This beautiful write-up by Latin superstar and peermusic composer, Gloria Trevi, appeared in the 2017 Grammy program. We thank her for her incredibly kind words on our company founder and wish her a wonderful Happy Birthday today! And, of course, special thanks to the Recording Academy for their Trustees Award recognition of Ralph S. Peer.
Ralph S. Peer
By Gloria Trevi
Ralph S. Peer’s legacy created a global music family that today has homes in 28 different countries. When I first learned that Peer had travelled to Mexico City in 1928 and met composer Agustín Lara and began publishing his works, inspired by poetic lyrics such as “Arráncame la vida con el último beso de amor” (“Rip my life from me with the last kiss of love”), I decided to join peermusic. I said to myself, “Who could better house my catalog than a company built by a man who uniquely saw the magic and force behind our Latin music?”
An extraordinary song needs an extraordinary team, and that is exactly what Ralph S. Peer created. With peermusic, he built a fortress for songwriters, where our songs would be nurtured, felt, understood, and protected. “Bésame Mucho” and “Granada,” two signature Latin classics published by peermusic that would garner audiences worldwide, are just two clear examples of how Peer expanded and nurtured the international footprint of Latin music.
Throughout his career, he relentlessly proved his hunger and passion for other forms of music with his willingness to travel the world to find it. Peer served as executive producer for Mamie Smith’s “Crazy Blues,” which has been cited as the first blues record issued by a record label. He recorded James P. Johnson’s “Carolina Shout,” considered one of jazz’s first solo piano recordings. And Peer released Fiddlin’ John Carson’s “The Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane,” the first country record. He was also the producer for the 1927 Bristol Sessions, considered by Johnny Cash as the “single most important event in the history of country music,” which introduced Jimmie Rodgers and the Original Carter Family.
His vision to see Latin, blues, country, jazz as well as classical music not just as genres, but as whole industries, was unprecedented, as was his commitment to protect each song as a precious jewel. Along the way, Peer sought out and worked with many other artists who would go on to release timeless recordings, including Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Little Richard, Hoagy Carmichael, Pérez Prado, and Buddy Holly.
A true pioneer, Ralph S. Peer understood the song and the songwriter unlike anyone else. Today, I am a singer/songwriter with the privilege of working with a team blessed by the vision of this extraordinary man. He always knew that music broke all barriers. In today’s world, it is beautiful to know that what music unites, cannot be taken apart. Thank you, Ralph.
With a career spanning more than 30 years, Mexican singer/songwriter and peermusic catalog artist Gloria Trevi released her latest studio album, El Amor, in 2015. She was among the headliners for The Latin Recording Academy’s Latin GRAMMY Acoustic Sessions in 2016.
For more information on Ralph S. Peer, go to www.ralphspeer.com.
The Roots of Popular Music: The Ralph S. Peer Story — A new, 3-CD 50-song box set highlighting the career of Ralph S. Peer that spanned decades of music discovery in country, jazz, blues, Latin, R&B, and rock ’n’ roll, will be released September 15, 2017 on Sony Music Latin.