Tuesday, January 18, 2011
RIP Don Kirshner
By BEN SISARIO
Don Kirshner, who guided the course of Brill Building and bubblegum pop in the 1950s and ’60s as a music publisher and promoter, and later served as an Ed Sullivan for 1970s artists like Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, Kiss and the Ramones with his weekly program “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert” on television, died on Monday in Boca Raton, Fla. He was 76. The cause was heart failure.
Born in the Bronx, Mr. Kirshner entered the music business in the mid-1950s, writing commercial jingles with Bobby Darin, whom he had met in a Washington Heights candy shop as Robert Cassotto. When Mr. Darin went on to fame as a singer in 1958 with “Splish Splash,” Mr. Kirshner assumed a powerful role behind the scenes with his publishing company Aldon, which he founded with Al Nevins.
Aldon published songs by many of the classic songwriters of the Brill Building era, like Neil Sedaka and the teams of Carole King and Gerry Coffin (“Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “The Loco-Motion”) and Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” written with Phil Spector). As a producer and impresario, Mr. Kirshner was also responsible for putting together the songs for two manufactured pop groups on television: the Monkees and the Archies. Mr. Nevins died in 1965.
From 1973 to 1981 Mr. Kirshner was the producer and host of “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert” on ABC, a live show that opened with a performance by the Rolling Stones and had appearances by Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers, David Bowie and many others.
He is survived by his wife, Sheila; his children Ricky and Daryn; and five grandchildren.
KIRSHNER, Don (Donald Kirshner)
Born: 4/17/1934, Bronx, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 1/17/2011, Boca Raton, Florida, U.S.A.
Don Kirshner's westerns - producer, screenwriter, composer, consultant:
Scalplock (TV) - 1966 [music consultant]
The Kowboys (TV) - 1970 [producer, screenwriter, composer]