Two Chicago television personalities (holding Tommy's newly released album Shepard's Flock) and Tommy Shepard - 1957.

(Photographs: School of Music © 2005
Arizona Board of Regents, The University of Arizona, Tucson)

About The Collection

The Tommy Shepard collection is a one-of-a-kind collection of approximately 8,000 photographs and negatives taken during Tommy's time performing at the peak of studio musician work in the United States.

Tommy was a gifted trombone player who worked for many of the top entertainers and bandleaders of the 1960’s. He was a regular recording artist for Capitol Records, Reprise, and Verve during this time. He was also part of the house band for The Hollywood Palace television show, The Joey Bishop Show (1967-1969 talk show), and worked in various Hollywood film orchestras. Tommy was also well known as a permanent member of the Nelson Riddle Orchestra.

The photographs taken by Mr. Shepard are a virtual who’s who of 1960’s Hollywood. They offer a unique behind-the-scenes look at the great entertainers of the period. Included are never before seen photographs of Frank Sinatra in the studio, over 2,000 photographs of rarely documented studio musicians, and a photographic diary from Tommy’s television work. Some of the entertainers include Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, The Rat Pack, Bobby Darin, and Nat ‘King’ Cole. Also present are many of the top actors and athletes of the 1960’s.

The most striking feature about these photographs is that Tommy was able to capture the entertainers when they were most relaxed. Vocalist Sue Raney, who appears in some of the photographs and has her collection here at the University of Arizona as well, said that “Tommy had this thing about him that made you want to hang out with him. When Tommy entered the room… the whole room lit up.”