‘Golden ear’ music guru dies at 76

2011-01-19 07:31

Legendary US music producer Don Kirshner, once described as “The Man with the Golden Ear” for his ability to detect and promote a hit record, has died. He was 76.

Stars nurtured by Kirshner include Neil Diamond, Bobby Darin, Neil Sedaka and song-writing husband and wife Carole King and Gerry Goffin, whose hits included Will You Love Me Tomorrow and The Loco-Motion.

“Donny worked for many years promoting my songs... He was a great friend, a pioneer and a father figure for many of us young songwriters. He will be missed,” Sedaka said in a statement cited by industry paper Billboard.

Kirshner entered the music industry in the 1950s writing commercial jingles, but developed into a talent-spotter and all around guru who notably launched The Monkees in the 1960s, long before the advent of the modern manufactured band.

His 1970s TV show Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert showcased acts including the Rolling Stones, Kiss, Abba, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, Peter Frampton and the Eagles.

He was given the “Golden Ear” epithet in 1966 by Time magazine, which said that even by then he had published 400 hit records. Kirshner went on to produce and promote hundreds more over the decades.

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