Music - TREND MAG originally published at Music - TREND MAG

“I grew up surrounded by music. I didn’t have the most conventional upbringing, but I wouldn’t change my life and my relationship with my dad for anything, and he was a loving and caring grandfather who took pleasure in every moment with his three granddaughters. He gave me the ultimate soundtrack, as well as his wicked sense of humor. I am beyond grateful for every minute our family spent with him, and that the music he brought to the world impacted so many people’s lives in a positive way.” – Mandy Stein, daughter of Seymour Stein

NEW YORK, April 2, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Seymour Stein, the co-founder of Sire Records, passed away this morning, April 2nd, in Los Angeles at the age of 80, following a battle with cancer. He was a pioneering figure in the music industry, whose unique ability to anticipate musical trends and discover and nurture revolutionary artists left an indelible mark on the contemporary cultural landscape.

In 1955, when Seymour was just 13 years old, he was granted access to the Billboard archives, where he painstakingly wrote down two decades of charts, while developing his encyclopedic memory of songs. Following his high school graduation, Stein became a full-time member of the Billboard staff. In 1961, he moved to Cincinnati, where he worked for King Records, getting his first experience on the label side of the business. Stein returned to New York two years later to work with George Goldner, who had joined forces with legendary songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller to form Red Bird Records, headquartered in the Brill Building.

In 1966, Stein co-founded Sire Productions with producer Richard Gottehrer, and Sire Records was officially launched the following year. Stein had been a devotee of the English music scene since the 1950s, and in its early days Sire released albums by British acts like Climax Blues Band, Renaissance, and Barclay James Harvest, as well as Holland’s Focus. Stein also forged an association with British producer Mike Vernon’s Blue Horizon Records, home to Peter Green’s original Fleetwood Mac and Chicken Shack, featuring Christine McVie.

Stein first saw the Ramones in 1975, and as he said, “It was like sticking my hand in a live electric light socket.” The band’s first album was released by Sire in 1976, and it remains one of the seminal recordings in rock and roll history. That same year, Sire struck a distribution pact with Warner Bros. Records, and in 1980, Warner Music Group fully acquired the label.

Stein put New Wave music – a term he coined – on the mainstream map with the likes of Talking Heads and the Pretenders. And in a moment that has become a permanent part of music industry lore, Stein signed a young artist named Madonna while he was in the hospital. At the same time, Sire released classic pop singles like M’s “Pop Muzik,” Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love,” and Modern English’s “I Melt with You.” 

Over the years, Sire’s roster has included cutting-edge artists such as the Ramones, Talking Heads, The Pretenders, Madonna, Tom Tom Club, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, Erasure, The Cult, The Undertones, Madness, The Replacements, Ice-T, k.d. lang, Seal, Everything But The Girl, Aztec Camera, Dinosaur Jr., Wilco, My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream, Aphex Twin, Spacehog, Regina Spektor, Tegan & Sara, and many more.

In 2005, Stein was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an organization which he co-founded in 1983, and in 2016, he was honored by the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2017, Sire Records celebrated its 50th anniversary. In 2018, he released his autobiography, “Siren Song: My Life in Music”.

He is survived by his daughter, Mandy, his sister, Ann Wiederkehr, and three grandchildren.

Donations can be made in Seymour Stein’s name to MUSICARES:

Bob Merlis:
[email protected]

SOURCE Warner Music Group Corp.

Originally published at
Some images courtesy of


Music - TREND MAG originally published at Music - TREND MAG


April 9, 2023