Sunday, October 03, 2010

R.I.P. Richard Griffey (Solar Records)

Photo: LA Times (taken in 1973)
"Richard Griffey, the founder of the Los Angeles-based R&B record label Solar (Sound Of Los Angeles Records), died at the age of 71 of complications from quadruple-bypass heart surgery that he underwent last year (read more about Griffey’s life in The LA Times' obituary).

"From 1977 when Griffey founded the label, which stands for Sounds of Los Angeles Records, through its peak in the 1980s, the label quickly earned its moniker, “the Motown of the '80s,” for its stable of artists.

"Acts like the Whispers, Shalamar (featuring Jody Watley and Howard Hewett), Klymaxx, Midnight Star and the Deele (featuring Antonio "L.A." Reid and Babyface Edmonds) all have Griffey’s imprint on them. His hits are inescapable, with classics including “Fantastic Voyage,” “And the Beat Goes On,” “Rock Steady” and “Tender Lover.” The string of success led to Griffey being pegged "the most promising new black music executive," which The Times reported in 1980.

The R&B, funk and soul jams his acts crafted laid the foundation for the early-1990s G-funk West Coast flavor of Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Warren G, among others. Edmonds said it was all part of Griffey’s genius." LA Time Pop and Hiss blog

Griffey got his start in the music business as a nightclub owner and promoter. He became the talent co-ordinator on the tv show Soul Train, working with host and producer Don Cornelius. His last ten years were spent mostly in Africa, where he went to promote music but stayed because he "was touched by the poverty and felt that he could make a difference," his daughter said.

1 comment:

Simon said...

The man released some tunes. I've got a wonderful 8 album Solar box set which is like gold.