Friday, May 13, 2011

John Carter: A Great Music Man

 Carter, as everyone seemed to call him, was one of those rare A&R guys whom really knew his stuff. Talk about putting in your hours.  He was about as well rounded in the music biz as one could be.

  • He was a musician
  • He wrote songs (Incense and Peppermints)
  • Worked as a promotion man for Atlantic Records in the 70’s in San Francisco
  • Was an A&R man, first at Capitol Records
  • Produced records, first being Sammy Hagar who he signed to Capitol
  • Signed Tina Turner and produced Private Dancer
  • Managed artists

I’m sure all of the above made him the perfect A&R guy.  He knew what songs to pick for the artist and he knew when a song needed help.

On co-writing songs with artists he produced, “I really harassed and harassed people to improve their songwriting over the course of a project...and maybe in the eleventh hour, I finally said, "That's it. I can't stand it anymore. Here's a lyric. What do you think?" So really, it was usually as a last resort—not a first choice.”  (Read more of this interview on Taxi’s website)

Carter passed away from cancer. I never had the pleasure of working with him, but people I know did, and loved him. 

For a personal account, read Bob Lefsetz column.

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