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.