PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (CelebrityAccess) Russ Regan, 89, music industry veteran who worked with acts like Elton John, Neil Diamond, Olivia Newton John and Smokeyu Robinson, died in his home in Palm Springs, Calif., May 27.
Regan, as a recording industry exec, saw No. 1 hits in four successive decades, according to Variety, and is recognized with bringing the song “That’s Life” to Frank Sinatra’s attention. He worked at Motown, Uni Records, 20th Century Records and Polgygram records from the 1960s to 90s.
He began as part of the record promotion team for Motown, working on songs like “Please Mr. Postman” by the Marvelettes and music by much of Motown’s famous roster, from Stevie Wonder to the Temptations to Marvin Gaye.
Several major artists provided tributes to Variety.
Neil Diamond: “Russ Regan was there for me from the beginning at Uni Records and he knew a hit record when he heard it;.’Sweet Caroline’, ‘Cracklin’ Rosie’, ‘I Am.. I Said’ and ‘Holly Holy’ are just a few of the hits Russ released during my time there. Russ was always on the artist’s side and would come into the studio while I was recording and his face would light up when he knew he heard a hit song. He made me and a new guy that he signed after me, Elton John worldwide superstars. … Russ was a great guy all around. This is a sad loss for the music industry and the end of an era. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
Olivia Newton-John: “He encouraged me to move to America, which began my career. He was a very good man!”
Bernie Taupin: “He was larger than life; a big-hearted maverick, whose belief in us was a key component to our success in America.”
Regan is also credited with working on the soundtracks for movies like “The Karate Kid” and “This is Spinal Tap” as well as songs from films like “Flashdance” and “Chariots of Fire.”