Seymour Stein

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Seymour Stein
Seymour Stein (2013).jpg
Stein in 2013
Born (1942-04-18) April 18, 1942 (age 76)
Brooklyn, New York
Occupation Entrepreneur
Music executive
Spouse(s) Linda S. Stein (divorced)
Children 2
Awards Member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Seymour Stein (born April 18, 1942) is an American entrepreneur and music executive. He co-founded Sire Records and was Vice President of Warner Bros. Records. [1] [2] With Sire, Stein signed bands that became central to the new wave era of the 1970s and 80s, including the Talking Heads, Ramones, and The Pretenders. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

Sire Records is an American record label that is owned by Warner Music Group and distributed by Warner Bros. Records.

Warner Bros. Records American record label

Warner Bros. Records Inc. is an American record label owned by Warner Music Group and headquartered in Burbank, California. It was founded in 1958 as the recorded music division of the American film studio Warner Bros., and was one of a group of labels owned and operated by larger parent corporations for much of its existence. The sequence of companies that controlled Warner Bros. and its allied labels evolved through a convoluted series of corporate mergers and acquisitions from the early 1960s to the early 2000s. Over this period, Warner Bros. Records grew from a struggling minor player in the music industry to one of the top record labels in the world.

Talking Heads American rock band

Talking Heads were an American rock band formed in 1975 in New York City and active until 1991. The band comprised David Byrne, Chris Frantz (drums), Tina Weymouth (bass), and Jerry Harrison. Described by the critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine as "one of the most critically acclaimed bands of the '80s," the group helped to pioneer new wave music by integrating elements of punk, art rock, funk, and world music with avant-garde sensibilities and an anxious, clean-cut image.

Contents

Music career

Stein was born in Brooklyn, New York. As a high school student, he interned in the summers of 1957 and 1958 at King Records in Cincinnati. He took on a clerk position for Billboard magazine in 1958 and starting in 1961 worked for two years for King Records. [3] .

King Records (United States) American record label, active 1943–68

King Records was an American leading independent record company and label founded in 1943 by Syd Nathan in Cincinnati, Ohio. The label owned several divisions, including Federal Records, which launched the career of James Brown, it operated until 1975, and now operates as a reissue label.

<i>Billboard</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Billboard is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style, and is also known for its music charts, including the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular songs and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows.

In 1966, Stein and record producer Richard Gottehrer founded Sire Productions, which led to the formation of Sire Records, the label under which he signed pioneer artists such as the Ramones and Talking Heads in 1975, the Pretenders in 1980 and Madonna in 1982. Other acts signed by Sire include The Replacements, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, Kerosene, The Cure, Ice-T, The Undertones and Echo & the Bunnymen. Stein did not fire Depeche Mode despite poor sales of their first three albums in the US; it was their fourth album that brought them American success.

Richard Gottehrer is an American songwriter, record producer and record label executive. In 1997, he founded The Orchard, an independent music and video distribution company.

The Pretenders English-American rock band

The Pretenders are an English-American rock band formed in Hereford, England, and Akron, Ohio, United States in March 1978. The original band consisted of initiator and main songwriter Chrissie Hynde, James Honeyman-Scott, Pete Farndon, and Martin Chambers. Following the drug-related deaths of Honeyman-Scott and Farndon, the band has experienced numerous subsequent personnel changes, with Hynde as the only consistent member, and Chambers returning after an absence of several years.

Madonna (entertainer) American singer-songwriter and actress

Madonna Louise Ciccone is an American singer-songwriter, actress and businesswoman. Referred to as the "Queen of Pop" since the 1980s, Madonna is known for pushing the boundaries of songwriting in mainstream popular music and for the imagery she uses onstage and in music videos. She has frequently reinvented her music and image while maintaining autonomy within the recording industry. Although having sparked controversy, her works have been praised by music critics. Madonna is often cited as an influence by other artists.

Such was Stein's influence in signing and promoting the new wave genre of music that he is sometimes credited with coming up with the name as an alternative to the term punk, which he found derogative. The term had previously been used to refer to the French New Wave film movement of the 1960s.

New wave is a genre of rock music popular in the late 1970s and the 1980s with ties to mid-1970s punk rock. New wave moved away from blues and rock and roll sounds to create rock music or pop music (later) that incorporated disco, mod, and electronic music. Initially new wave was similar to punk rock, before becoming a distinct genre. It subsequently engendered subgenres and fusions, including synth-pop.

New Wave is a French film movement which emerged in the 1950s and 1960s. It is a form of European art cinema, and is often referred to as one of the most influential movements in the history of cinema. New Wave filmmakers were linked by their self-conscious rejection of the traditional film conventions then dominating France, and by a spirit of iconoclasm. Common features of the New Wave included radical experimentation with editing, visual style, and narrative, as well as engagement with the social and political upheavals of the era.

Stein was the President of Sire Records and also Vice President of Warner Bros. Records until his announced retirement on July 18, 2018. [4] He had had a marketing and distribution deal from 1976 to 1994 and again from April 2003 until retirement. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 14, 2005, under the lifetime-achievement category. On June 9, 2016, Stein was honored with the Richmond Hitmaker Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

The Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) was founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer and music publisher/songwriter Abe Olman and publisher/executive Howie Richmond to honor those whose work represents and maintains the heritage and legacy of a spectrum of the most beloved songs from the world's popular music songbook. It not only celebrates these established songwriters, but is also involved on the development of new songwriting talent through workshops, showcases and scholarships. There are many programs designed to teach and discover new songwriters. Nile Rodgers serves as the organization's chairman.

Legacy

Stein is the subject of an eponymous song by the Scottish musical group Belle and Sebastian. He was the winner of a Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Dance Music Awards in 2010. Ice-T wrote about Stein in his autobiography, stating: "He's cut from that cloth of the old-time music executives like Clive Davis, but he's way more eccentric... Just a little more bizarre, a bit more avant-garde, more of an edgy cat." [5] He wrote that Stein would never edit Ice-T's musical output but would sometimes express concerns (e.g. he was against homophobia in rap). [5]

Belle and Sebastian Scottish band

Belle and Sebastian are a Scottish band formed in Glasgow in January 1996. Led by Stuart Murdoch, the band has released 9 albums to date. Much of their work had been released on Jeepster Records, but they are now signed to Rough Trade Records in the United Kingdom and Matador Records in the United States.

Ice-T American rapper, songwriter, actor, record executive, and record producer

Tracy Lauren Marrow, better known by his stage name Ice-T, is an American musician, rapper, songwriter, actor, record producer, record executive and author. He began his career as an underground rapper in the 1980s and was signed to Sire Records in 1987, when he released his debut album Rhyme Pays; the second hip-hop album to carry an explicit content sticker after Slick Rick's La Di Da Di. The following year, he founded the record label Rhyme $yndicate Records and released another album, Power, which went on to go Platinum. He also released several other albums that went Gold.

Personal life

Stein was formerly married to the late music promoter and real estate executive Linda Stein; together, the couple had two daughters before they divorced, on amicable terms, in the late 1970s. [6] Stein has never remarried. One of his children is filmmaker Mandy Stein. He revealed he was gay in 2017. [7] Stein published his autobiography, Siren Song: My Life in Music, in 2018. [8]

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<i>Rhyme Pays</i> debut album of Ice-T

Rhyme Pays is the debut studio album by American rapper Ice-T, released on July 28, 1987 by Sire Records. The album peaked at number 93 on the US Billboard 200 and number 23 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts, and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

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Linda S. Stein American talent agent

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Ramones discography

The Ramones were an American punk rock band from New York City. Their discography consists of fourteen studio albums, seven live albums, sixteen compilation albums, seventy-one singles, thirty-two music videos and ten films. The band formed in early 1974, and upon signing with Seymour Stein of Sire Records, the Ramones released their self-titled debut album on April 23, 1976. Despite the recording process only taking a week and being on a budget of $6,400, the album has since become their most accoladed and iconic release. 1977's Leave Home was the band's follow up album, released less than a year later, also through Sire. While it was the first album to chart in the United Kingdom,, it did not chart as well in the United States as Ramones, nor their third record, Rocket to Russia, which was released in late 1977. Road to Ruin was the band's fourth studio album and their first to feature a change in the band member line-up, with drummer Marky Ramone replacing Tommy Ramone.

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Ramones American punk rock band

The Ramones were an American punk rock band that formed in the New York City neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, in 1974. They are sometimes cited as the first true punk rock group. Despite achieving only limited commercial success, the band was influential in the United States and the United Kingdom.

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The Paley Brothers were an American power pop duo formed in 1976 by brothers Andy and Jonathan Paley. After releasing one studio album and EP, they disbanded in 1979. They are characterized by their more straightforward AM radio pop style which contrasted the ironic or aggressive attitudes projected by other power pop groups of the era.

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References

  1. Billboard Staff (5 August 2013). "CBGB Fest Announces Seymour Stein as Icon Award Winner, Van Toffler To Give Keynote (Exclusive)". Billboard . Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  2. Kessler, Dana (25 July 2013). "The Legendary Seymour Stein: Seymour Stein, Record Company Man Who Signed The Ramones and Madonna". Tablet . Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  3. Bronson, Fred (21 January 2012). "Seymour Stein: A Chronology". Billboard . Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  4. "Seymour Stein Is Leaving Warner Music and Sire Records, the Label He Launched 51 Years Ago". billboard.com.
  5. 1 2 Marrow, Tracy; Century, Douglas (2011). "Six in the Mornin'". Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption—from South Central to Hollywood. Random House. pp. 99–105. ISBN   978-0-345-52328-0.
  6. Lambert, Bruce (1 November 2007). "Real Estate Agent Found Slain in 5th Ave. Home". The New York Times . Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  7. Christman, Ed (June 13, 2018). "Seymour Stein On His New Autobiography & Why the Music Industry Should Pay More Tribute to Its Past". Billboard.
  8. Stace, Wesley (14 June 2018). "'Siren Song' Review: An Ear for What Was Next" via www.wsj.com.