A Guide to Musical Pioneers You’ve Never Heard Of

Last week, we were saddened to read that Brian Rust, the father of the modern discography, had died. Well, not initially — first, we had to find out who Brian Rust was. It’s typical: the stars get the headlines, but the technical pioneers that change things for real tend to stay in the back room. Here are ten such folks — some living, some not — who’ve helped make the world a more musical, and better, place.

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Brian Rust

“Mr. Rust embarked in the 1940s on a rigorous, deeply personal project that continued long afterward as he haunted archives and hunted down artists to reconstitute long-vanished recording sessions on paper,” explained the New York Times obit upon the 88-year-old discographer’s passing. That’s no small matter–our store of musical knowledge would be depleted if he hadn’t begun the hunt. Every crate-digger, historian, and critic in history thanks him.