Seymour STEIN (United States)

Seymour STEIN

Structure: Warner Bros Records / Sire Records

Fonction: Vice-president / Co-founder

As the head of Sire Records, Seymour Stein is best known for signing Madonna. Yet the seasoned exec has worked with some of the most talented and notorious characters in the business, includingSyd Nathan, Phil Spector, and Leiber & Stoller. In addition, Stein has also proven himself to have a great ear for talent, signing such influential acts as the Ramones and Fleetwood Mac, among others.

Stein's start in the record business is as odd as the man himself. In the '50s, the young Brooklyn boy showed up at the Billboard offices with a strange request. Stein's hobby was the charts, and he asked permission to make a hand copy of every chart dating back to his birth year. Stein's diligence impressed the industry people who came into the Billboard offices, and by the age of 16, after working as a chart compiler for Billboard, the young boy was working for Syd Nathan at King Records in Cincinnati. The time spent with the notoriously shrewd Nathan was to serve Stein well as he formed his own label, Sire, in 1966 after working as an administrator for Leiber & Stoller's failed Red Bird label.

Stein is credited with having brought the British group Fleetwood Mac to America, as well as theClimax Blues Band and Focus. Always known for his great ability to see talent, Stein was one of the only major record heads to recognize the validity and significance of punk and new wave music, signing the Ramones, Talking Heads, and Richard Hell & the Voidoids. In the early '80s, Stein made the biggest signing of his career when, recovering from open-heart surgery in a hospital bed, he signed a young Madonna after hearing a rough demo version of "Everybody." Today, Stein remains one of the most offbeat and fastest-moving corporate execs in the Warner communications empire and is widely regarded as having the best ears in the business.
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