From firstname.lastname@example.org@21:1/5 to All on Tue Dec 13 10:23:55 2016
Bob Krasnow, former chairman of Elektra Records, founder of Blue Thumb Records, veteran executive and co-founder of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, died last night (Dec. 11). He was born in 1935, though his exact age couldn't be confirmed as of press
Krasnow, former chairman of Elektra Records, is often hailed for bringing Elektra back to prominence after taking over as chairman in 1983. His first orders of business were far from easy: Firing over 200 employees and cutting the artist roster by nearly
90 percent, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. Starting nearly from scratch, he then built Elektra -- via acts like Metallica, Anita Baker, Motley Crue, 10,000 Maniacs, The Cure, The Pixies, The Sugarcubes (featuring Bjork) and others -- into a
powerhouse. He left the company in 1994. Considering his mainstream success, few people know what a role he played in the careers of artists like Ike and Tina Turner (at Loma Records in the 1960s),Captain Beefheart (at Buddah later in the 1960s), Buddy
Guy, Hugh Masakela and Tyrannosaurus Rex (at Blue Thumb, which he co-founded in 1968), and Funkadelic (which he signed during a stint at Warner Bros. in the early 1970s).
In a statement to Billboard, Charles Koppelman, who signed Chapman to his production company and brought her to Elektra in the mid 1980s: "The first time I played Tracey Chapman in demo form, [Krasnow] got it instantly, and that's the reason I signed her
In a personal note addressed to friends at the Warner Music Group penned by Bob Hurwitz, co-president of Nonesuch Records, he wrote that "Few people in the music business can be said to have made a profound impact on the destiny of a company. Fewer still
could be said to have an impact on two different companies. Bob Krasnow, who passed away last night, had a profound impact on four different record companies in his career."
He lists Blue Thumb Records, where Krasnow signed the Pointer Sisters, Dave Mason, Captain Beefheart and others; Warner Bros., where Krasnow served as the head of talent acquisition and "brought the company into the African-American marketplace for the
first time in its history"; and Elektra.
"There were two golden ages at Elektra: the first was the Jac Holzman years; the second was the Bob Krasnow years," Hurwitz writes, reeling off the label's many successful acts as well as Nonesuch, which Krasnow hired Hurwitz to run in 1984. "Nonesuch's
sustained existence would have been unimaginable without [Bob's] deep support and love of the music we were releasing."
As the note reaches its end, Hurwitz concludes: "We will all say more about Bob in the upcoming days, but a few things should be noted. First, he had a big personality, and it wasn't always the easiest personality. Second, he was a brilliant man, whose
range of interests was as wide as anyone I've known in a position like that. Third, in terms of skill-set, I never met anyone who combined a knowledge of A&R, promotion and marketing like he did. Without Bob, there would not be a Blue Thumb. Warners
would have been a different company. The experience of Elektra in the '80s and '90s would not have been possible. And Nonesuch....well, it might have stayed a small and interesting budget label. This is what Bob Krasnow did."
That bio omitted his interesting early work:
Krasnow's early career included working as a promotions man for James Brown and sales representative for Decca Records. In the early 1960s, Krasnow founded MK Records, which released the novelty record "Report To The Nation," a parody of the 1960
presidential campaign between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon.
He ran the King Records branch office in San Francisco from 1958 to 1964 before founding Loma Records, which he headed from 1964 to 1966. He became vice president of Kama Sutra Records in Los Angeles in 1966, where he founded the Buddah Records
subsidiary label. He discovered, signed and then produced the debut album Safe As Milk by Captain Beefheart.
He left Kama Sutra/Buddha in 1968 to create Beverly Hills-based Blue Thumb Records, with producers Don Graham and Tommy LiPuma. Among the acts Krasnow brought to Blue Thumb were Ike & Tina Turner, the Pointer Sisters, Dave Mason, Dan Hicks and His Hot
Licks, Marc Bolan, Arthur Lee, Captain Beefheart, Clifton Chenier, Albert King and John Mayall.
Krasnow served as president of Blue Thumb until 1974, when he became vice president/talent acquisition for Warner Bros. Records, a role he held until 1983 when he was elevated to chairman and CEO of Elektra/Asylum/Nonesuch Records (later known as Elektra