For Billy , his family and friends .. we wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for people like Billy.
and this for all who called Billy their friend
From The New York Times :
Billy Miller, a rock ’n’ roll archivist and collector whose record label, Norton, gave new life to forgotten rockabilly artists and garage bands of yesteryear, died on Sunday at his home in Brooklyn. He was 62.
The cause was complications of multiple myeloma, kidney failure and diabetes, his wife and business partner, Miriam Linna, said.
Mr. Miller and Ms. Linna met in 1977 at a record fair in New York. She was an original member of the punk-rockabilly group the Cramps and the editor of a fanzine for the rock band the Flamin’ Groovies. He was a fanatic collector.
“He was selling, I was buying,” Ms. Linna said in a telephone interview on Monday. “I was looking for ‘You Must Be a Witch’ by the Lollipop Shoppe,” a 1960s Las Vegas garage band. Mr. Miller had the record and invited Ms. Linna to drop by his apartment to pick it up. A marriage of true minds quickly followed.
The couple began publishing Kicks, a magazine devoted to overlooked rock ’n’ rollers, in 1979. They founded Norton, in 1986, as a way to broadcast their shared passion for artists like Hasil Adkins, a rockabilly singer who played multiple instruments simultaneously; the guitarist Link Wray, known for his raw reverb sound; and Esquerita, a blues screamer and pianist who decisively influenced Little Richard.
The label, named after Ed Norton, the character played by Art Carney on the television series “The Honeymooners,” soon became what The Village Voice, earlier this year, called “the definitive provider of rockabilly reissues from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.”
The label earned a following for its rediscoveries and for imaginative anthologies like “The Raging Teens,” a series devoted to New England rockabilly artists. It attracted not only fans in search of the unusual but professional musicians with a keen interest in rock history, among them Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and Elton John.
William Henry Miller Jr. was born on Jan. 1, 1954, in Jamaica, Queens, and grew up in Carle Place, on Long Island. His father was a naval draftsman at Gibbs & Cox, an engineering and design firm in Manhattan. His mother, the former Christalo Mikedes, was a homemaker.
Billy Miller became hooked on Top 40 radio before his teens and began collecting records soon after, developing an intense interest in West Coast surf music and garage bands.
He studied photography and art at the C W. Post Campus of Long Island University, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1976. After graduating, he went to work as a draftsman at Gibbs & Cox.
Before founding Norton, Mr. Miller and Ms. Linna performed with the rockabilly group the Zantees and later with the garage band the A-Bones. He sang; she played drums. But they channeled most of their energy into ferreting out forgotten acts and labels and amassing the detailed historical information that informed Norton’s scholarly liner notes.
Norton’s first release was “Out to Hunch,” by Mr. Adkins. In 1989, Mr. Miller left Gibbs & Cox and Ms. Linna quit her job at the Strand bookstore in Manhattan to concentrate on the record label.
“We weren’t looking to get into the record business,” Mr. Miller told The Associated Press in 2002. “We’re first and foremost fans.”
Norton breathed new life into the dormant careers of artists like James Timothy Shaw, who, under the name the Mighty Hannibal, recorded the R&B song “Jerkin’ the Dog” in 1959. After the label released the anthology “Hannibalism!” in 2001, Mr. Shaw began performing again.
The Alarm Clocks, a teenage garage band from Parma, Ohio, reunited after Norton issued “Yeah!” in 2000, featuring both sides of their 1966 single, “Yeah” and “No Reason to Complain,” along with unreleased recordings.
Norton’s compilation discs shed light on lively recording scenes outside New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Its series of releases focusing on the Pacific Northwest, for example, sparked renewed interest in the Wailers, one of the earliest garage bands, and the Sonics, often credited as the first grunge band.
The label also records current artists, like the Canadian rockabilly performer Bloodshot Bill and the blues rockers Daddy Long Legs.
In 2009, Mr. Miller and Ms. Linna founded Kicks Books, which has published pulp fiction titles like “Pulling a Train” by Harlan Ellison and the science-fiction poetry of the jazz musician Sun Ra. Earlier this year they opened a tiny store, the Norton Record Shop, in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn.
With the rock writer and musician Michael Hurtt, Mr. Miller was finishing a history of Fortune Records, a family-owned Detroit label founded in the 1940s. It is scheduled to be published next year by Kicks Books.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Miller is survived by his mother and a sister, Marie DeTommaso.
Although the label feasted on arcane artists, Mr. Miller saw nothing peculiar about his tastes.
“Some people accuse us of being into nostalgia and being narrow-minded because we don’t listen to the ‘latest’ music,” he told the authors of the guidebook “Incredibly Strange Music” (1993). “But it’s not nostalgia — I wish I’d heard all these obscure records when I was a little kid.”
Correction: November 16, 2016
An obituary on Tuesday about the rock ’n’ roll archivist Billy Miller misspelled the surname of his sister, who survives him. She is Marie DeTommaso, not DeTomasso.