|Record Industry Veteran Bill Spitalsky Dead At 73
Posted: July 17, 2006
BOCA RATON, FL (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) -- Record industry veteran Bill Spitalsky died on July 13 at the age of 73 in Boca Raton, FL after a long illness.
Spitalsky started his music business career at Atlantic Records in the mid 1950s. After a stint in the army working at the Armed Forces radio station in Europe, he returned to the U.S. and quickly made his mark as one of the
industry’s top promotion men working with Bobby Darin, the Drifters, Ray Charles, and Motown Records artists, including Marvin Gaye and the Supremes.
One of his clients was MGM records, for which he did promotional work for label honcho Julie Rifkind. In partnership with Julie and his brother Roy Rifkind, they formed Guardian Productions, an artist management company that had a roster including Flip Wilson, Eddie Fisher, Little Eva, the Shirelles, and the Cookies.
By the late 1960s, the threesome decided to form a record label, Spring Records (Sp for Spitalsky, ri for Rifkind), which was to become one of the most important soul labels of the 1970s. With Julie Rifkin as president, Roy Rifkind as president of Guardian Productions, and Spitalasky heading promotion, the label was first distributed through Polydor and signed James Brown, Millie Jackson, Isaac Hayes and Joe Simon.
Over the years Spring, with its subsidiaries Posse and Event, became a defining urban label with numerous hits including Joe Simon ("Drowning In The Sea Of Love"), Millie Jackson ("If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don’t Wanna Be Right)") and "Hurt So Good" ), Jocelyn Brown ("Too Through"), Garland Green ("I Can See Him Making Love To You") and "Act I (Tom The Peeper)" and the Fatback Band ("King Tim III (Personality Crisis)" ) often cited as the first rap record ever and the first pop charting hip hop record. A young Russell Simmons signed Jimmy Spicer to Spring with an early rap record "Dollar Bill Y’all."
A longtime member of the Friar’s Club, he was born September 25, 1932 in Cleveland, OH. The dapperly dressed, fine dining loving Spitalsky faced ten years of illness with tremendous humor and dignity. He is survived by his nieces Barbara Roessler and Randi Weiss, cousins Larry Glazer, Toby Eisenberg, Sandra Rick and Alice Niedelman, dear friends Jack Kamil, Julie Rifkind, Roy Rifkind, Janet Oseroff, and his caregiver of ten years Jackie Daley.