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Archive for the ‘Promoter’ Category

Died On This Date (January 29, 2011) Sterling Belcher / Bluegrass Festival Founder

Posted by themusicsover on January 29, 2011

Sterling Belcher
June 14, 1939 – January 29, 2011

Sterling Belcher was a music promoter who founded the Festival of The Pines in Rocky Point, Virginia in 1981.  A tireless lover of bluegrass music, Belcher brought such acts as Ralph Stanley, Alison Krauss, Jimmy Martin and Rhonda Vincent to the sleepy surroundings of Tripple Creek Music Campground throughout the years.  He regularly received recognition for his commitment to bluegrass music from local, regional and national music associations.  Sterling Belcher was 71 when he passed away on January 29, 2011.

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Died On This Date (September 24, 2010) Dick Griffey / Founder Of SOLAR Records

Posted by themusicsover on September 24, 2010

Dick Griffey
November 16, 1938 – September 24, 2010

Dick Griffey is best remembered as the founder of influential R&B label, SOLAR (Sound Of Los Angeles Records).  Formed in 1977, the label was one of the most successful R&B labels outside of Motown.  Griffey launched his music career during the ’60s when he became part owner of a Los Angeles nightclub, Guys and Dolls which played host to shows by the likes of Ike & Tina Turner and Isaac Hayes.  He soon went on to work as a talent scout for the influential TV dance program, Soul Train.  That lead to a partnership with show creator, Don Cornelius with Soul Train Records.  For some reason, the label folded within two years, so Griffey built SOLAR from its ashes.  The label was one of the most influential urban labels during the late ’70s and ’80s thanks in part to Griffey’s ability to find talent that were much more than the majority of one-dimensional disco and dance acts of the era.  The label roster included the Whispers, Klymaxx, Midnight Starr, Lakeside, and the Deele.  The latter featured a young Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Antonio “L.A.” Reid.   Griffey was also a successful concert promoter for a time, setting up tours for the likes of Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Michael Jackson, and Aretha Franklin.  During the ’90s, Griffey had a part in the birth of Death Row Records, the label founded by Suge Knight and Dr. Dre.  On September 24, 2010, Dick Griffey passed away while recuperating from heart surgery.  He was 72.

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Died On This Date (August 2, 2009) Howie Goodman / Veteran Record Promoter

Posted by themusicsover on August 2, 2010

Howie Goodman
November 5, 1949 – August 2, 2009

Born in New York, Howie Goodman grew up to become a passionate record promoter.  While in college in Memphis during the early ’70s, Goodman began working at two area clubs.  That lead to his work as an independent record promoter, working records throughout Memphis and some of the country’s biggest markets.  He soon opened his own promo company, Good Choice Promotion.  Howie Goodman died of cancer at the age of 59.

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On This Date (April 1, 2008) Sam Gesser / Canadian Concert Producer

Posted by themusicsover on April 1, 2010

Sam Gesser
January 7, 1930 – April 1, 2008

Sam Gessar at right; Photo by John W. MacDonald

Sam Gesser was a Canadian concert promoter who brought the likes of Joan Baez, Pete Seeger and Janis Joplin to Montreal in the ‘60s. With a career that spanned over 50 years, Gesser started as radio and television writer, later joining the Folkways label as their Canadian representative. While with Folkways, he produced over 100 albums. He switched to concert promotion in the ‘60s and produced shows and tours by Harry Belafonte, Van Cliburn, Peter, Paul & Mary, Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger and many more.  Gessar died of cancer on April 2, 2008 at the age of 78.

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

Posted by themusicsover 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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