This is another in our series of favorite stories, and it comes from our partnership with Salon.com. When Michael Humphrey was growing up, he would sometimes hear his father telling strangers a story about how the Beatles stole the composition for “Lady Madonna” from him. Eventually, he looked into his father’s story himself.
Some of our favorite stories over the years have come from listeners. This is one of them. Jim Sadwith had written the script for his high school play based on J.D. Salinger’s classic “The Catcher and the Rye” when he decided to look for the reclusive author and get permission for the play.
Matthew Stoneman moved to Los Angeles with dreams of rock 'n' roll stardom. Instead he became a thief, and landed in prison. To pass the time, he got a guitar and learned more than a hundred classic songs, in Spanish, from the Mexican inmates. When he got out he became an unlikely troubadour. Also: the origins of the Heisman Trophy.
Wally Boot was 18 when he started working for the Steinway piano company. More than 50 years later, he’s still there. His hands are the last to touch the pianos before they’re shipped to the grandest concert halls in the world.