A basement full of albums shows the man’s dedication to a life in music


Knoxville, Tenn. (WVLT) – A walk down the steps to the basement of Lee Zimmerman’s Maryville home is a true glimpse into the definition of obsessed.

Zimmerman has worked a few jobs in the music industry, as a promoter, and now a journalist.

“It’s a question of interpretation I think. I’m best described as a music journalist, and just an all-around music enthusiast and maybe also a music groupie,” Zimmerman said in his basement talking behind a drum set.

In his upstairs office, Zimmerman has gold and platinum albums showing his work promoting Jimmy Buffett and Bob Seger, among others.

“Music has always taken me in different directions,” Zimmerman said.

These days, Zimmerman writes articles for the Daily Times and other publications around the world, mostly focusing on, you guessed it, music.

The basement of his house is filled from floor to ceiling with albums from the Beatles to John Prine to the BeeGee.

“I want to be able to put out a CD, I want to show people that I have all the Gospel Beach albums, which I’m doing here,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman’s love of music began watching The Beatles’ second appearance on Ed Sullivan’s show in February 1964.

This unique show sparked a lifetime of love, appreciation and desire for music to learn more about the people behind the process and what drives them.

This full basement is now his own teenage dream, as he calls it.

An ode to feeling music through albums, something Zimmerman said is lost in today’s world of downloading singles to a phone or iPod.

“I just think if an album like Sgt. Peppers was just available on Spotify, you missed all the visuals that came with it, it was a package,” Zimmerman said.

The thousands of albums, CDs and vinyls amassed in its basement are listed in alphabetical order from A to Z.

Genres range from Rock n’ Roll to Country, R&B and Soul.

“When I find a band or an artist, I automatically want to collect all their old records, everything they’ve done so far,” Zimmerman said.

There is no end goal to his collection, or even a plan for his stock when he leaves this earth, he said he likes to live in the moment and appreciate the collection for what it’s worth. and what it means to him.

“But for me, there’s nothing like the physical,” Zimmerman said.

To hope that one day it would cling to something that some would call obsolete, only preserved the story for everyone to enjoy.

“I hope physical music is still a reality, it’s your calling card for a band where you dive in and read the liner notes, there’s so much more to it,” Zimmerman said.

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