J. Gordon Holt

In 1962, J. Gordon Holt started a magazine based on the simple, beautiful idea that the quality of an audio component should be measured, first and foremost, by how it sounds. That magazine, of course, was Stereophile.

Though I never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Holt, I have heard some brilliant and incredible stories, stories of martinis and cigars and Hunter S. Thompson and more, stories that have led me to admire and fear the man, as if he wasn't a man at all, but a sort of inextinguishable blaze. I don't know what I would have said or done had I had that opportunity to meet him. I probably would have folded into myself, quietly, hoping not to be seen, hoping not to upset the air between us. A few years ago, I did exchange two or three e-mails with Mr. Holt, but those e-mails are long lost, archived in forgotten data files, or not archived at all. I can't even remember what those e-mails were about. They held no more than a couple dozen words.

It's funny to think that there is an end to this life, that we will someday die, that our friends and family members will someday die, that our homes and histories will change without us, too. What are we living for then? To create? To feel? To experience? To love? To collect objects? To be remembered? If a loudspeaker or an amplifier should be judged by how it sounds, how should a life be judged? What should we do and how should we do it? Silly questions, I know.

I would like to be remembered. But as what?

J. Gordon Holt founded Stereophile. He will be remembered. He was a writer and a listener. And, so, he wrote about sound. Isn't that interesting? He wrote about sound! We have created a section here devoted to his writing. I will move slowly and carefully through these pieces, hoping to learn something, hoping to learn more about the man. I have to believe that he was at least something like his writing: Fiercely opinionated, passionate, lyrical, and stunningly sharp.

Ven's picture

It's really sad when such people disappear from the rest of us.