Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Bob Keane RIP

Thanks to for this:
Legendary producer Bob Keane, who owned the Del-Fi record label and launched the careers of Sam Cooke, Ritchie Valens and Bobby Fuller, died Saturday (November 28) at the age of 87. Born Robert Kuhn in Manhattan Beach, California in 1922, Bob was a big band clarinetist who headed his own band at the age of 17 and later led Artie Shaw's orchestra. In the '50s, he helped start Keen Records, where as head of artists and repertoire he lured Sam Cooke away from gospel music and produced "You Send Me." A falling out over the ownership of Keen caused Bob to form Del-Fi Records, where in 1958 he discovered teenager Ritchie Valens playing at a movie theatre in Pacoima, California. Bob soon became the youngster's producer and manager. With hits like "Come On, Let's Go", "Donna" and "La Bamba," the future looked bright for Ritchie until the infamous 1959 plane crash snuffed out his young life. Tragedy also struck Bob's biggest '60s artist-- Bobby Fuller, whose body was found inside his mother's car outside his apartment. Though the official cause of death was ruled a suicide, most believe Bobby was the victim of foul play. He left behind such hits as "I Fought The Law" and "Love's Made A Fool Of You" on Bob's Mustang label. Over the years, Bob produced or released hits by Johnny Crawford, Ron Holden and Little Caesar & the Romans. He released some of the earliest efforts of Frank Zappa (who also worked as a producer for him) and hired a young Barry White as an artist and producer, as well. Though he retired from the music industry for awhile in the late '60s, interest in Ritchie's death and the desire to promote his own son's musical careers led Bob to re-form Del-Fi in the '90s. Bob's autobiography, "The Oracle Of Del-Fi," was published in 2006. Here, rather belatedly, is his obituary in The Independent


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