Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Don DeVito: Producer and Esteemed Record Exec

Anyone that I've talked to about Don DeVito's passing said the same thing: "That's really sad. He was such a great guy. I liked him." That alone is a testament to his integrity in a business that might not always reward that attribute.

An encounter with Al Kooper led him to a short time on the road as a musician. When his band broke up, he was stuck in Arkansas and in a fortunate stroke of serendipity, he meets Johnny Cash there. Johnny later introduces him to Bob Dylan and Don produces Desire and Blood On The Tracks.

It's stunning that Don spent his entire working career at CBS/Columbia Records. Starting in 1967 in the sports dept, he is quickly transferred to CBS Records. His first job was as a local promotions guy and then moved to A&R. He was instrumental in producing The Concert for New York City, which occurred after 9/11. Don retired in 2007.

He is quoted in a lovely obit in Billboard as saying how he'd liked to be remembered: "For devotion to the music."

Rosanne Cash's tweet: Sad my old friend Don DeVito died. My dad intro'd him to Dylan, DeVito then produced Desire, profound influence on me.

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