July 21, 1939 – January 15, 2015
Kim Fowley was an American producer, musician, singer, songwriter, manager, disc jockey, music publisher, and film maker who is perhaps best remembered for forming and managing the Runaways. And legend has it that he was the one who created the phenomenon of lighting one’s match/lighter at a concert. Born in Los Angeles, Fowley got into the music business during the ’60s, initially producing and publishing novelty hits like “Alley Oop” by the Hollywood Argyles (which was basically just Fowley with mostly anonymous studio musicians) and “Popsicles and Icicles” by the Murmaids. The list of artists he either produce or write/co-write songs reads like a who’s who of ’70s rock and pop. That list includes Gene Vincent, KISS, Warren Zevon, Cat Stevens, Helen Reddy, Alice Cooper, the Byrds, and Kris Kristofferson. In 1975, he met Joan Jett who was looking to put an all-girl band together. A couple of weeks later, he met Sandy West outside of The Rainbow Bar and Grill on Sunset Blvd. Fowley gave Jett’s phone number to West, and the Ruaways were born. In 2010, Fowley was portrayed by Michael Shannon in the film, The Runaways. During his final years, he could be heard sharing his vast knowledge of pop music and pop culture via his regular program on Little Steven’s Underground Garage on SiriusXM. Kim Fowley was 75 when he died of bladder cancer on January 15, 2015.
Thanks to Harold Lepidus at Bob Dylan Examiner for the assist.
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