Backbeat: Donovan, Eric Burdon & Peter Asher's Day @ Phoenix's Music Instrument Museum
Backbeat: Donovan, Eric Burdon & Peter Asher's Day @ Phoenix's Music Instrument Museum

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Music Biz @ The Music Instrument Museum: Back row from left: Sue Peterson, MIM consultant and former head of Target's music buying team (and former chairman of the National Assn. of Recording Merchandisers); Eric Burdon, Donovan, Linda Leitch (Donovan's wife), Tony Berg, Astrella Celeste (Donovan's daughter), Gardner Cole and Chris Bell, MIM VP of external relations. Font row from left: Jason Rothberg, MIM consultant; Bill DeWalt, MIM President; and Keith Putney, principal in Keith Putney Productions and Peter Asher's manager.

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Hurdy Gurdy Man Vs. The Animal: Donovan, left and Eric Burdon show they feel at home amidst the guitar exhibit.

The Music Instrument Museum already put itself on the map in Phoenix when it opened in 2010, but now it is trying to reach out to the music industry, to let record labels and artists know about how it is preserving the legacy of music cultures from around the world. Recently, some well known musicians like Eric Burdon, Donovan and Peter Asher stopped by to check out the museum's progress and saw on display about 5,000 instruments from more than 200 countries.

Besides the 1960s icons, producer Tony Berg, who has worked with such acts as Aimee Mann, X and Bruce Hornsby; and songwriter Gardner Cole, who has written songs for Madonna, Vonda Shepard and Amy Grant among others also were along for the tour, and the latter took the occasion to donate some of his instruments to the museum.

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The museum, founded by Robert J. Ulrich, former CEO and chairman emeritus of Target Corp., takes in 190,000-square-feet and includes two floors of galleries, as well as a music theater and store. It hosts instruments played by such artist as John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana.

On Oct. 10, Burdon, Donovan and the others got a behind-the-scenes tour, where they learned about how MIM's Conservation Lab is working to restore a harpsichord from the 1600s; got to examine an early Rickenbacker lap steel guitar in the museum's registration department; and tested the acoustics of the MIM Music Theater.

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Peter Asher, producer, manager and one half of Peter & Gordon, checks out the exhibit for R. Carlos Nakai, the renowned performer of the Native American flute.

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Tony Berg admires the museum's exhibit of instruments from China.