Eric Siday was a violinist and composer, and a leader in the field of mass marketing using music. Born near London, England, on November 1, 1905, Eric Siday at age fourteen began studies at the Royal Academy of Music by day, and by night soon was working as fiddler for local silent movies. Learning the jazz style, he formed his own string group, rising successfully through the freelance recording field to the point of having his own show on BBC radio. It was there that he met Austen "Ginger" Croom Johnson.
In 1939 Siday moved to New York City where he initially worked as violinist and arranger for Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians. In 1943, Siday also began arranging for Paul Lavalle's Cities Service Band of America and other recording bands of the period. At about this time, Johnson, having successfully pioneered the business of writing musical advertisements such as the innovative Pepsi-Cola jingle, entered a joint venture with Siday. By the mid 1950s their production of the first promotion and identification jingle packages-still based on acoustic performance by live ensembles was, in Siday's later words, a "break-through" in the American radio music industry.
Siday was perhaps the first to incorporate multiple recording techniques and the novelty of electronic sound into the field of commercial broadcasting. After the demise of Johnson, Siday's further development of the "logo in sound" led to the preparation of comprehensive identification packages tailored to the needs of any given station. The Siday "Identitones," first aired on WFBR, Baltimore, were immediately hailed by Time magazine (November 4, 1966, p. 68) and custom-ordered by other stations.
Concurrently, Siday was producing "trademarks in sound" for the products of major corporations. His Maxwell House Perking Coffee Pot theme, an instant and longrunning success, was among the earliest of hundreds of such memorable musical spots for nearly every type of product and service. It appears that during many of these years, Mrs. Edith Siday was involved in the keeping of business records and correspondence, sometimes under the name Edith Hall.
Eric Siday died in New York City on March 25, 1976. For more than a decade, his identification packages continued to be broadcast. In 1998 the Eric and Edith Siday Charitable Foundation generously donated the materials in this collection to The New York Public Library.
Source of acquisitionGift, Eric and Edith Siday Foundation, 1996
Using the collection
New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center
40 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023-7498