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Archive for the ‘Publishing’ Category

RIP, Don Kirshner (January 17, 2011) Influential Producer, Publisher & Television Host

Posted by on January 17, 2011

Don Kirshner
April 17, 1934 -January 17, 2011

Don Kirshner was a music publisher, producer, songwriter-manager, and television host who rightfully earned the nickname, The Man With The Golden Ear.  His music career began during the ’50s when he and his partner, Al Nevins, launched Aldon Music, a publishing company that included such future superstar talent as Neil Diamond, Bobby Darin, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, and Neil Sedaka.   Kirshner also owned three successful record labels during the early part of his career.  In the early ’60s, the creators of a new NBC television program enlisted Kirshner to provide songs for that show.  The influential sit-com followed the fictional adventures of an up-and-coming band as it bounced from one loony situation to another while performing catchy pop songs along the way.  The show was called The Monkees, and Kirshner brought songs like “I’m A Believer,” “Last Train To Clarksville,” and several others that would become hits that help define the era.  He later helped create an animated version of that same concept with The Archies. Then in 1973, Kirshner became a television star in his own right with the launch of Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert.  The late night show offered full live performances of songs by current rock stars, making it unique in a time where lip syncing on television was the norm.  For many rock music fans in a pre-MTV, pre-youtube era, it was THE only way to enjoy your favorite bands live.  Along with being executive producer, Kirshner introduced each act in a monotone manner that was later popularly parodied by Paul Shaffer on Saturday Night Live. The show’s premiere episode included the Rolling Stones and and the series continued at that pace hosting the likes of Alice Cooper, the Allman Brothers Band, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, Rush, the Eagles, the Ramones, KISS, and Kansas.  It quickly became serious competition for other late night programs like The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.  The show ran until 1981.  Don Kirshner was 76 when he died of heart failure on January 17, 2011.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number1Albums for the help

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Died On This Date (August 26, 2009) Ellie Greenwich / Wrote Many Hits In The ’60s

Posted by on August 26, 2010

Ellie Greenwich
October 23, 1940 – August 26, 2009

ellieEllie Greenwich was a prolific songwriter, writing or co-writing some of the most enduring pop songs of the ’60s and ’70s.  Either on her own or with such songwriting partners as her one-time husband, Jeff Barry, Greenwich penned such gems as “Be My Baby” (The Ronettes), “Then He Kissed Me” (The Crystals), “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” (Darlene Love), “Hanky Panky” (Tommy James & The Shondells), “River Deep, Mountain High” (Ike & Tina Turner), and “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” (Manfred Mann).  In later years, Greenwich co-formed Tallyrand Music to publish her recent discovery, Neil Diamond.  Ellie Greenwich died of a heart attack on August 26, 2009.  She was 68 years old.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number1Albums

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RIP, Francis Dreyfus (June 24, 2010) French Record Producer & Publisher

Posted by on June 24, 2010

Francis Dreyfus
1940 – June 24, 2010

Francis Dreyfus was a successful French music producer, publisher and label head for many years.  As a publisher, he signed the likes of Cat Stevens, David Bowie, and Pink Floyd to his Francis Dreyfus Music.  He mostly specialized on electronic and jazz music on his labels, Disques Dreyfus, Disques Motors, and Dreyfus Jazz.  His most notable discovery was electronic pioneer, Jean-Michel Jarre.  Dreyfus published his first recordings and released his groundbreaking Oxygene on his label.   Other notable artists he signed over the years included jazz greats, Marcus Miller and Alan Stivell.  He was also a one-time president of SPPF, a French rights society.  His was the father of popular French actress, Julie Dreyfus. Francis Dreyfus was 69 when he passed away on June 24, 2010.

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Died On This Date (June 4, 1973) Murry Wilson

Posted by on June 4, 2010

Murry Wilson
July 2, 1917 – June 4, 1973

murryMurry Wilson was a songwriter, musician, record producer, and most importantly, the father of Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.  Wilson began as a songwriter during the ’50s, having a couple of his songs covered but never gaining much success.  All the while, he was teaching his own sons how to write, sing and play music.   The brothers eventually added cousin Mike Love and schoolmate, Al Jardine to become the Beach Boys.  The Beach Boys would soon become one of the most popular bands in rock history by almost single-handedly definining a musical genre.  While managing the boys’ career, Murry was known to be a fierce negotiator, and was reportedly just as ruthless at home.  He and his sons had a tough relationship that may have actually fueled their creativity and drive.  Murry Wilson died following a heart attack at the age of 55.

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Died On This Date (May 15, 2008) Al Gallico / Successful Music Publisher

Posted by on May 15, 2010

Al Gallico
1920 – May 15, 2008

Al Gallico (Center)

Al Gallico, center

Al Gallico was an immensely  successful music publisher who owned the copyrights on such classics as “Stand By Your Man,” “House Of The Rising Sun,” “Ring Of Fire,” ” “The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA,” and “Time Of The Season.”  Over a career that stretched some 70 years, Gallico worked with such talent as the Zombies, Billy Sherrill, Joe Stampley, and Donna Fargo, whom he discovered.  He began his career in his late teens, working first as an errand boy for a publishing house, and later a song plugger for Leed’s Music.  Gallico died of cardiac arrest and pulmonary disease at the age of 88.

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Died On This Date (March 28, 1958) W.C. Handy / Father Of The Blues

Posted by on March 28, 2010

William Christopher Handy
November 16, 1873 – March 28, 1958

wc-handyW.C. Handy was born in Florence, Alabama in a log cabin that was built by his grandfather.  By the time he was a teenager he was playing both trumpet and clarinet in a band. He would become a teacher by trade and was soon writing songs that would become blues standards.  His “St. Louis Blues” as recorded by Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong is considered one of the finest songs of the era.  Along with his autobiography, Handy wrote five books on the subject of music, blues and African American life in the early 20th century.  In 1943, Handy was blinded as a result of a fall from a subway platform.  He passes away  at the age of 84 fom pneumonia.  An estimated 25,000 people attended his funeral while an additional 125,000 gathered in nearby streets to pay their respects.

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Died On This Date (March 10, 2009) Ralph Mercado (March 10, 2009) Called “The Berry Gordy of Salsa”

Posted by on March 10, 2010

Ralph Mercado
September 29, 1941 – March 10, 2009

ralphRalph Mercado was a successful Latin music impresario who had his hands in many facets of the entertainment industry.  He started out promoting Latin jazz shows in clubs throughout Manhattan, but it was just a matter of time before he was putting on Salsa shows at the Hollywood Bowl and Madison Square Garden.  During the early ’70s, Mercado opened his own management company where he represented the likes of Celia Cruz and Tito Puente.  In 1987, he started his own label, RMM Records, the home to over 100 Latin artists.  He sold the label to Universal Music in 2001.  The success he achieved and the Salsa music dynasty he built lead to his being called “the Berry Gordy of Salsa.”  On March 10, 2009, Ralph Mercado died of cancer at the age of 67.

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Died On This Date (February 6, 2010) Richard Delvy / Drummed In Surf Rock Band The Challengers

Posted by on February 6, 2010

Richard Delvy (Born Richard Delvecchio)
April 20, 1942 – February 6, 2010

Richard Delvy is best remembered as the founder and drummer for pioneering surf rock band, the Challengers.  Prior to that band, Delvy played in the Belairs, a popular southern California surf band whose “Mr. Moto” was later covered by Dick Dale and the Ventures.  In early 1963, the Challengers released their debut album, Surfbeat, and almost overnight, the Southern California beach culture became a craze across the U.S.   That release, along with the Beach Boys’ “Surfing Sufari” and the release of Dale’s Surfer’s Choice – all within a few months of each other – are considered the flash point of surf rock.  In later years, Delvy worked as a producer, owned his own publishing company, and worked at such labels as MGM and Bell.  He was 67 when he passed away on February 6, 2010 following a long illness.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at number1albums

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Died On This Date (February 1, 1986) Dick James / Established The Beatles’ Publishing Company

Posted by on February 1, 2010

Dick James (Born Reginald Vapnick)
December 12, 1920 – February 1, 1986

George Martin, Dick James, Brian Epstein

L-R: George Martin, Dick James, Brian Epstein

Dick James was a London-born aspiring singer and musician who eventually owned his own record label and publishing company.  Partnering with John Lennon and Paul McCartney in 1963,  James formed Northern Songs to publish Lennon and McCartney’s music.  George Harrison and Ringo Starr were signed on for a shot period as well.  Gerry & the Pacemakers and Billy J. Kramer were also published by Northern Songs during the ’60s.  In 1968, James sold the publishing company without offering the Beatles a chance to purchase their own catalog.  This apparently drove a deep wedge between James and the group since they never again owned the rights to their own songs.  During the ’70s, James established DJM Records, where he released the first recordings of Elton John and Bernie Taupin.  Dick James was 65 when he died of a heart attack on February 1, 1986.

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Died On This Date (January 17, 1998) Cliffie Stone

Posted by on January 17, 2010

Cliffie Stone (Born Clifford Snyder)
March 1, 1917 – January 17, 1998

Cliffie Stone was a country singer, musician and songwriter as well as a producer and A&R man for Capitol Records during the label’s early years.  As a bassist, he played in big bands that became popular throughout Southern California thanks to appearances on local radio shows.  In 1946, he was hired by Capitol where he signed Tennessee Ernie Ford and Hank Thompson, among others.  He released a handful of his own albums during the 1950s.  During the ’60s, Stone found more success with his own publishing company, Central Songs.  On January 17, 1998, Cliffie Stone died of a heart attack at the age of 81.

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