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|Born||October 14, 1937|
|Died||November 17, 2022 (aged 85)|
|Occupation(s)||Record producer, author|
|Website||Main Mansfield: The Internet Home of Ken Mansfield|
Ken Mansfield (October 14, 1937 – November 17, 2022) was an American record producer who was the manager of Apple Records in the United States. He was also a high-ranking executive for several record labels, as well as a songwriter, author of seven books and a Grammy and Dove Award-winning album producer.
From the 1960s, Mansfield was associated with an array of notable performers including The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Waylon Jennings, James Taylor, Roy Orbison, Don Ho, the Imperials, Tompall Glaser, Harry Nilsson, Glen Campbell, Buck Owens, Lou Rawls, Andy Williams, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Eric Burdon, Badfinger, Jackie Lomax, The Four Freshmen, Judy Garland, Dolly Parton, David Cassidy, Nick Gilder, Claudine Longet, and Jessi Colter. In the 1970s, he helped popularize the Outlaw movement in country music by producing Waylon Jennings' number one album, Are You Ready for the Country as well as the crossover number-one hit "I’m Not Lisa" by Jessi Colter. In 1990 he entered the Gospel Music arena and produced the legendary Imperials' Big God album and in 1991 produced Homecoming, the Gaither Vocal Band's Grammy and Dove Award-winning album. Then in 2000, the former record executive-turned-producer embarked on a literary career with The Beatles, The Bible and Bodega Bay (Broadman & Holman). His follow-up, The White Book - The Beatles, the Bands, the Biz: An Insider's Look at an Era (Thomas Nelson), was released in 2007. Mansfield's third book, Between Wyomings, (Thomas Nelson), was released on June 9, 2009. His fourth book, Stumbling On Open Ground (January 15, 2013), is also a Thomas Nelson Publication. Book number five, Rock and a Heart Place (May 1, 2015), is a Broadstreet Publishing Group, LLC publication. Mansfield penned his sixth book, the novel, "Philco" (May 29, 2018), by Post Hill Press and his seventh book, "The Roof: The Beatles' Final Concert" (November 13, 2018), also by Post Hill Press.
Mansfield was born in Pennsylvania on October 14, 1937, the son of a sawmill worker and housewife. He grew up in Idaho, in a remote area in the northern panhandle of the state, known as the “Banana Belt” because of the comparatively moderate weather. Soon after graduating from high school, he joined the Navy to leave his small town roots behind.
Upon his discharge from active duty, Mansfield enrolled at the University of Idaho eventually transferring to San Diego State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing. His first job was doing computerized cost, budget, and program analysis for the Saturn and Surveyor space programs in San Diego. At the same time, Mansfield sang with a folk group called The Town Criers and opened a nightclub in San Diego's suburb of La Mesa. The popular club, called The Land of Oden, was La Mesa’s former City Hall. He also managed the band The Deep Six.
Through his music contacts, Mansfield learned of a job opening at Capitol Records in Los Angeles. Armed with his marketing degree and a borrowed suit, he was interviewed and then hired in January 1965 as the company's District Promotion Manager West Coast, making him one of the youngest executives with the firm.
Mansfield was promoted quickly and was one of the first young American executives the Beatles worked with since their ascension to stratospheric stardom. Up until then, everyone they met in the executive world outside their isolated and insulated realm was a Lord of EMI (the parent company that owned Capitol Records), a corporate chairman or a high-ranking executive. Mansfield's age made him more accessible to the Beatles, who soon invited him to become a member of their inner sanctum.
In addition to the Beatles, while at Capitol, he was also responsible for overseeing the recording careers of the Beach Boys, Glen Campbell, The Band, Bobbie Gentry, Lou Rawls, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, The Steve Miller Band, Bob Seger, and the Quicksilver Messenger Service.
In 1967 when the Beatles decided to form their own corporation, they turned to Mansfield to run their record division and named him the U.S. Manager of Apple Records beginning in 1968. Mansfield joined his four new bosses setting up the worldwide launch of Apple Records and the U.S. management of subsequent projects such as The Beatles (aka The White Album), Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road, Let It Be and Hey Jude. In addition to the Beatles, Mansfield looked after the careers of Apple artists such as James Taylor, Mary Hopkin, Badfinger and Jackie Lomax.
At the time of the Apple debut, everyone agreed that the Beatles first single on the new label had to be a smash. The group was stymied on whether to release “Hey Jude” or “Revolution” as Apple's first single. “Hey Jude,” which clocked in at an unprecedented 7:11, was the obvious choice. However, it was still the era of the less than three-minute record and Top 40 stations gained listeners by playing the most hits in an hour. Mansfield came up with the solution by bringing an advance copy of the two songs from the UK to America and playing them to a few trusted radio station managers, who were unanimous in their decision that “Hey Jude” was the hit. They were right. When the song was released in September 1968, it topped the Billboard charts for nine weeks and became the Beatles' best selling single of all time.
In his position as an Apple executive and personal liaison for the Beatles between the UK and US, Mansfield was among a handful of eyewitnesses to join The Beatles as they performed their legendary last-ever gig on the rooftop of their London headquarters on January 30, 1969, which was captured in the Academy Award-winning documentary, Let It Be. Mansfield is easy to recognize as he was the only one on the roof that day wearing a white coat.
When the Apple empire began to crumble, Mansfield turned down an offer by businessman Allen Klein to stay despite the promise of his salary being tripled. Mansfield saw the writing on the wall and moved over to MGM Records as its vice president in charge of marketing and artist relations. Two years later he was hired by Andy Williams to be the president of his CBS record company, Barnaby Records in 1971 - an artist roster that over the years boasted Ray Stevens, Jimmy Buffett, the Everly Brothers, Paul Anka, Lenny Welch, and Claudine Longet.
Mansfield's tenure with Barnaby lasted two years (1971–73) chiefly because he wanted to take the label heavy into the emerging contemporary country market, which evolved into the exciting “Outlaw” movement. Williams saw things differently and Mansfield resigned over the dispute.
When Mansfield left CBS/Barnaby Records in 1973, he finally fulfilled his longtime career goal of becoming a full-time record producer. He set up Hometown Productions Inc. and went on to produce the acts that he wanted to bring to Barnaby Records – Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter, Tompall Glaser and other cutting-edge and Outlaw country artists.
Mansfield's five-year producer tenure with the Outlaws started in 1973 with the hit single "We Had It All" from the classic Waylon Jennings album, Honky Tonk Heroes. Mansfield went on to produce approximately 70 songs for the Outlaws, including Jennings' No. 1 top-selling album Are You Ready for the Country and No. 1 single "Amanda" from his "Rambling Man" album, “A Couple More Years” with Waylon and Willie, as well as Jessi Colter's No. 1 crossover single, “I’m Not Lisa” and No. 1 albums "I'm Jessi Colter" and "Diamond in the Rough." A series of Top Ten albums and singles produced by Mansfield with both artists found a place on the charts and playlists in country and pop categories. The personal relationship between Jennings and Mansfield grew so close that one time the singer asked Mansfield if it would be OK to list him as next of kin on his emergency medical records.
Mansfield also produced The Flying Burrito Brothers, David Cassidy, Don Ho, Nick Gilder, Sam Neely, Byron Berline and Sundance, as well as David Geffen’s boy band OXO before closing down his Hollywood enterprise Hometown Productions Inc. and making his way to Nashville in the 1980s.
While the 1980s were a decade of prosperity for most Americans, they were not for Mansfield. Facing insurmountable debt, he was financially and spiritually broken when he arrived in Nashville in 1984.
After a born-again experience in the late 1980s, Mansfield rebounded in his personal and professional life. He produced the legendary Imperials and the Gaither Vocal Band's 1991 album, Homecoming. The Grammy Award-winning album featured a who's who of gospel artists including the Gaither Family, The Speer Family, Jake Hess, Hovie Lister, Howard and Vestal Goodman, George Younce, Glen Payne, James Blackwood, Eva Mae LeFevre, Buck Rambo, J.D. Sumner, The Stamps and Rudy and Larry Gatlin of The Gatlin Brothers. In addition, this classic recording received a Dove Award that same year.
The new millennium brought additional creative rewards to Mansfield, who penned The Beatles, The Bible and Bodega Bay in 2000. Published by Broadman & Holman, the work had three printings and was the only book ever approved by the Beatles (Yoko Ono on John Lennon's behalf) outside their own Anthology. That literary endeavor was followed by The White Book, The Beatles, the Bands, the Biz: An Insiders Look at an Era (Thomas Nelson) in 2007.
The White Book has been endorsed by many Apple/Beatles related people including The Rolling Stones' Andrew Loog Oldham, Peter Asher, Alan Parsons, Robin Leach, BeatlesandBeyond Radio show presenter Pete Dicks (who worked on the promotional video for the book) and former Apple President Jack Oliver.
Mansfield's third book, Between Wyomings, published by Thomas Nelson, was released on June 9, 2009.
Stumbling on Open Ground, his fourth, most heavily endorsed and insightful book is also a Thomas Nelson Publishing release (January 15, 2013), and reaches a whole new audience for Ken’s innovative writing approach.
Mansfield published his fifth book, Rock and a Heart Place, on May 1, 2015. Rock and a Heart Place has been called “a classic reminder that regardless what messes our family or friends might encounter, the Creator is greater; nobody is beyond hope, and there is no need to give up on anyone!” (Ken Abraham, New York Times bestselling author) and is a must-read for rock aficionados.
In 2018, Mansfield published two books with Post Hill Press, the novel, "Philco" on May 29, 2018, and "The Roof: The Beatles' Final Concert" on November 13, 2018.
Ken Mansfield died on November 17, 2022, at the age of 85. 
Waylon Arnold Jennings was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. He pioneered the Outlaw Movement in country music.
Outlaw country is a subgenre of American country music created by a small group of iconoclastic artists active in the 1970s and early 1980s, known collectively as the outlaw movement, who fought for and won their creative freedom outside of the Nashville establishment that dictated the sound of most country music of the era. Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, and David Allan Coe were among the movement's most commercially successful members.
Mirriam Johnson, known professionally as Jessi Colter, is an American country singer who is best known for her collaborations with her husband, country musician Waylon Jennings, and for her 1975 country-pop crossover hit "I'm Not Lisa".
Waylon Albright "Shooter" Jennings is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and record producer. He is the only son of country singers Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter. In a career spanning over two decades, Shooter Jennings has explored a variety of genres as part of his eclectic sound, including southern rock, country, hard rock, blues rock, electronica and rock and roll.
Cedartown, Georgia is an album by American country music artist Waylon Jennings, released in 1971 on RCA Nashville.
Ladies Love Outlaws is an album by American country music artist Waylon Jennings, released on RCA Nashville in 1972. Together with Jennings' previous album Good Hearted Woman, it marks his transition toward his Outlaw Country image and style. "Ladies Love Outlaws" coined the use of the term "Outlaw" to refer to the country music subgenre, which was developing at the time of its release.
Lonesome, On'ry and Mean is an album by American country music artist Waylon Jennings, released on RCA Victor in 1973. It was, after Good Hearted Woman and Ladies Love Outlaws, the third in a series of albums which were to establish Jennings as one of the most prominent representatives of the Outlaw country movement. Photographer Mick Rock shot the album's cover.
This Time is an album by American country music artist Waylon Jennings, released on RCA Victor in 1974, at the peak of the outlaw country movement. It was produced by Jennings and Willie Nelson.
Wanted! The Outlaws is a compilation album by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser, released by RCA Records in 1976. The album consists of previously released material with four new songs. Released to capitalize on the new outlaw country movement, Wanted! The Outlaws earned its place in music history by becoming the first country album to be platinum-certified, reaching sales of one million.
Leather and Lace is a duet album by Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, released on RCA Records in 1981.
Never Could Toe the Mark is an album by American country music artist Waylon Jennings, released on RCA Victor in 1984.
Ol' Waylon is an album by American country music artist Waylon Jennings, released on RCA Victor in 1977. It eventually became one of Jennings' highest-selling albums, due in no small part to the phenomenal success of the chart-topping "Luckenbach, Texas ." It was also the singer's fourth solo album in a row to reach the top of the country charts, remaining there for thirteen weeks and becoming country music's first platinum album by any single solo artist.
It's Only Rock & Roll is an album by Waylon Jennings, released on RCA Victor in 1983.
"I'm Not Lisa" is a country song written and recorded by American country artist Jessi Colter. It was released as a single on January 16, 1975, by Capitol Records. "I'm Not Lisa" would become Colter's first major hit as a solo artist.
Never Say Die: Live is a live album by Waylon & The Waymore Blues Band, released on Sony Records through the Lucky Dog imprint in 2000. Jennings' third live album – after Waylon Live (1976) – and his last record of original material to be released during his lifetime, it was recorded at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium on January 5 and 6, 2000. At that time, Jennings was battling both emphysema and severe diabetes that had forced him to give up the sort of long tours he had always done. The album is credited to "Waylon & The Waymore Blues Band", referring to the singer's backing band, actually a mix of many of his original road band, the Waylors, and additional musicians. The album features a host of guests, including Waylon's wife Jessi Colter and three artists then on Sony: Montgomery Gentry, John Anderson and Travis Tritt. The songs themselves are a mix of original Jennings hits, tracks from his more recent albums and compositions he had never covered. Like 1998's Closing in on the Fire, Never Say Die: Live reached #71 on the country charts. The original 2000 release did not by any means constitute the complete concert, which ran an hour and forty minutes and was recorded by Sony in video. On July 24, 2007, Legacy Recordings, the Sony BMG reissue specialists, released the complete concert including all twenty-two tracks on two CDs and on DVD as well.
Jessi is the third studio album released by American country music artist Jessi Colter. It was her second release for Capitol Records and was produced by Ken Mansfield and husband, Waylon Jennings. It was recorded September–October 1975 at Woodland Sound Studios in Nashville and released in January 1976, becoming one of two albums issued by Colter in 1976.
The Waylors, later Waymore's Outlaws, is a country music band, best known as the backing and recording band of country music singer Waylon Jennings. Jennings formed the band in 1961, consisting of Jerry Gropp on the guitar and Richie Albright on the drums after moving to Phoenix, Arizona. The band earned a local fan base during its appearances on the night club JD's.
The discography of American country singer Jessi Colter consists of eleven studio albums, three compilation albums, twenty six singles, fourteen other appearances, and one other charted song. After marrying guitarist Duane Eddy in 1961, Colter recorded two singles and toured with Eddy until divorcing in 1968. The following year, she met country artist Waylon Jennings who helped her secure a recording contract with RCA Victor. Her debut studio album entitled A Country Star Is Born was released in 1970. The pair would collaborate on a cover of Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds during this time. Colter signed with Capitol Records in 1975 and released her debut single off the label "I'm Not Lisa". The song became her commercial breakthrough, reaching the number one position on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and crossing over to the Billboard Hot 100 where it reached the top five. That same year, Colter's second studio album I'm Jessi Colter was issued, which also produce the Top five country hit, "What's Happened to Blue Eyes." In 1976, Colter released two more studio albums: Jessi and Diamond in the Rough.
Diamond in the Rough is the fourth studio album released by American country artist Jessi Colter. It was the second album issued by Colter in 1976; the previous was Jessi, released earlier in the year. Diamond in the Rough was issued under Capitol Records and was produced by Ken Mansfield.
"What's Happened to Blue Eyes" is a country music song recorded by American country artist Jessi Colter. The song was released as her second single under Capitol Records August 4, 1975, peaking as a Top 10 hit on the Billboard Country Chart and a minor hit on the Pop chart.