Brian Who? — Brian Rust

Known as the father of modern discography, Brian Rust was born in London, England on March 19, 1922. He worked for the BBC record library until 1960 and also wrote for Melody Maker and Gramophone magazines and the Coventry Telegraph newspaper. His first discography book was published in 1961 and it established the standard session-based format which is the basis for the session reports in the BRIAN computer application. He has written liner notes and served as a radio host on Capital Radio in London. He has also played washboard in the traditional group, The Barnstormers Spasm Band. Rust established his own magazine Needle Time in the 1980s to address early jazz discography topics. In 1992, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC). Brian Rust died on Jan. 5, 2011 in Swanage, in southern England. Read the obit in the NY Times.

Quoting from the last line of the NY Times obit:

He is also survived by Brian, a discographic software program named for him. “Which is ironic,” Mr. Brooks said in an interview, “because he himself hated computers and never used them.”

This is "ironic" since the photo of Mr. Rust in this same obit features him sitting at a desk with a computer prominently situated behind him!

Brian Rust sitting at a desk


  • The American Dance Band Discography (1917-1942)
  • The American Record Label Book
  • Brian Rust's Guide to Discography
  • British Dance Bands On Record 1912-1939 (with Edward S. Walker)
  • British Dance Bands On Record 1911-1945 (with Sandy Forbes)
  • British Music Hall on Record
  • The Columbia Master Book (with Tim Brooks)
  • The Complete Entertainment Discography (with Allen G. Debus)
  • The Dance Bands
  • Discography of Historical Records on Cylinders and 78s
  • Gramophone Records of the First World War
  • The Guinness Book of Music Facts and Feats (with Robert and Celia Dearling)
  • The Guinness Book of Recorded Sound (with Robert and Celia Dearling)
  • The HMV Studio House Bands
  • Jazz and Ragtime Records (1897-1942)
  • Jazz Records (1894-1945)
  • King Joe Oliver (with Walter C. Allen)
  • London Musical Shows on Record (with Rex Bunnett)
  • My Kind of Jazz
  • Recorded Jazz: A Critical Guide (with Rex Harris)
  • The Victor Master Book
  • The Zonophone Studio House Bands