Walter Yetnikoff dead: Influential former head of CBS Records dies aged 87

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Walter Yetnikoff, the person who helped to launch the profession of Michael Jackson and was thought-about as “a good friend” by Bruce Springsteen, has handed away on the age of 87

Former head of CBS data Walter Yetnikoff has handed away on the age of 87.

Yetnikoff presided over many large releases by superstars together with Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones throughout his time with the label earlier than he fell from grace.

In line with the New York Instances, Yetnikoff’s spouse confirmed he died on Sunday and most cancers was the reason for dying.

He would have turned 88 on Wednesday.

He was born in Brooklyn and described his childhood as being “troublesome”.

Whereas at school, he switched his research from engineering to pre-law and joined the agency Rosenman & Colin after graduating.

Different figures on the agency included Clive Davis, who would additionally go on to have an enormous affect on the music enterprise.

Yetnikoff got here into energy throughout the 1970s simply as fashionable music was taking off. He’s mentioned to have prided himself on taking a hard-charging, take-no-prisoners, booze-for-breakfast type.

Producer Phil Ramone, president of CBS Data, Walter Yetnikoff and Billy Joel in 1977



In 2004, in his memoir, Howling on the Moon: The Odyssey of a Monstrous Music Mogul in an age of Extra, Yetnikoff claimed he labored this method to create “a ferocious character that the trade would respect”.

In 1990, three years after Sony purchased CBS due to Yetnikoff’s advice, the corporate sacked him due to his offensive methods.

Followers and well-known names within the music trade took to social media to ship their condolences following his dying.

Michael Jackson’s property tweeted on the singer’s Twitter web page: “RIP Walter Yetnikoff, a titan within the music enterprise. Michael’s good friend, confidante and unwavering supporter, Walter used his leverage as head of CBS Data to assist Michael smash MTV’s shade barrier by forcing the community to play the long-lasting “Billie Jean” quick movie.

“Walter took the groundbreaking step of giving Michael possession of his masters, unparalleled within the enterprise on the time. Walter knew the one method to unleash a particular expertise like Michael onto the world was to belief the artist to comply with his personal instincts.

“As Michael put it, “he’s inspired me to be my very own man and to do the issues that needed to be achieved the best way I needed to do them.” Everybody‘s ideas and prayers exit to Walter’s family members.”

Bruce Springsteen labelled Walter Yetnikoff his good friend


Getty Pictures for The Rainforest Fund)

Billy Joel additionally advised the LA Instances : “Walter was a road fighter. A person who didn’t shrink back from confrontation with different energy gamers when it got here to defending his artist’s pursuits.

“I liked him as an expensive good friend and a mentor, in a enterprise the place actual friendships don’t exist.”

And Bruce Springsteen additionally labelled Yetnikoff his “good friend” and mentioned: “A wild man in the old-fashioned music enterprise custom, yup. However when the chips had been down and the data had been getting made and also you had been getting paid, he was there 100%.

“I liked Walter as a result of he revered and shepherded my artwork via an typically hostile and unfriendly music enterprise. I thought-about him my good friend.”

Yetnikoff is survived by Lynda, his second spouse, and sons Michael and Daniel.

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