(CelebrityAccess) – Music industry vet Don Grierson has passed away.
Born in England and best known for receiving the Golden Apple Award from The Beatles and signing Celine Dion to her first US recording contract, Grierson got his start in the music business at the age of 18, working as a local radio DJ in Australia.
After spending four years with the station, Grierson decided to branch out into the U.S., and in no time found himself doing promotions for various labels, including Capitol, Apple, Chess/Checker/Cadet and MGM Records.
It was as West Coast Promotion Manager for Capitol Records, that Grierson had the opportunity to work on the promotion of the Beatles’ releases in the United States. Grierson was instrumental in the promotion of all of the Beatles’ albums and singles from 1966 to 1969 and helped contribute to the band’s success.
In 1968, in recognition of his efforts, Grierson received the only Golden Apple Award ever presented by Apple Records.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Grierson held a number of executive posts including as A&R Coordinator, West Coast, for RCA Records, Manager, International Promotion and A&R, for Capitol Records, Vice President, Head of A&R for Capitol’s EMI America Records, Vice President, Head of A&R, for Capitol Records, and as Senior Vice President, Head of A&R, for Epic Records.
It was during his tenure with Epic that Grierson helped to secure Celine Dion’s first American recording contract. Though Columbia had already passed on Dion at the time, Grierson believed in her potential and offered to release her on Epic Records. Her single, “Where Does My Heart Beat Now” reached #4 in January 1991.
During his more than 50 year career in the music business, Grierson worked with a diverse range of artists including Michael Johnson, Kim Carnes, Sheena Easton, Kate Bush, Cliff Richard, J. Gells Band, Dottie West, Kenny Rogers, Heart , Joe Cocker, Freddie Jackson, Melba Moore, Melissa Morgan, Steve Vai, Megadeth, W.A.S.P., and George Clinton. Grierson also assisted in the careers of artists such as Tina Turner, Bob Seger, Anne Murray, The Motels, Duran Duran, The Power Station, Crowded House, Poison, The Smithereens, Gloria Estefan, Cyndi Lauper, The Jacksons, Living Colour, Indigo Girls, Allman Brothers Band, Alice Cooper, Social Distortion, Firehouse and countless others.
During the 90s, Grierson co-founded Drive Entertainment. The company re-packaged, re-mastered and created liner notes for more than 140 albums by artists such as Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Coleman Hawkins, and Charlie Parker.
More recently Grierson served as a music consultant for a wide range of up-and-coming artists, managers and small labels. He also co-authored the book “It All Begins with the Music: Developing Successful Artists and Careers for the New Music Business,” and served as an instructor at the Musicians Institute’s College of Contemporary Music in Los Angeles, California.
His death was confirmed by friends via Facebook earlier this week.