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MICKEY EICHNER,
1939-2021

Mickey Eichner, a respected  A&R exec whose career spanned do-wop in the 1950s to rock and R&B superstars of the 1970s and ‘80s, died 5/26 at his home in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., just weeks after being diagnosed with cancer. He was 82.  

Eichner spent much of his career at Columbia Records. Clive Davis hired him in 1972 to help develop the label’s Black music artists as director of independent productions.

In 1980, he became head of the entire A&R operation at Columbia after a six-year stint as VP of East Coast A&R. During his time there, much of it spent working closely with Bruce Lundvall and Al Teller, Columbia developed a powerhouse roster that included Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Journey, Aerosmith, and Earth, Wind and Fire, among others.

He executive produced multiple albums by The Manhattans, an act he signed, as well as multiple comedy albums—including Eddie Murphy’s hit records—and the Broadway cast album of Annie. Eichner was a key force in getting Columbia Records to bring Def Jam into its fold, the label’s first entry into hip-hop.

He left Columbia Records in late 1990 and formed his own management, consultant and production/music publishing company, The Eichner Entertainment Co. Teller hired him as East Coast Head of MCA Records in the mid-‘90s after which Eichner returned to his own company.

A native of Brooklyn, he got his start in music business in the mailroom at Jubilee/Josie Records. He attended Miami University but was more interested in promoting records and spending his time in studios. In 1957, he become a local promotion man for the label with a roster that included The Cadillacs, The Happenings and Bobby Freeman, eventually moving up to Executive Vice President. Among the acts he brought to Jubilee/Josie were The Meters, Emmylou Harris and James Taylor’s early band, The Flying Machine.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Shirley, sons Mark and Randy, and four grandchildren.

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