NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — Jim Bessman, a music journalist and critic who spent more than two decades at Billboard, as well as other music trades such as Cashbox, died on Tuesday. He was 68.
According to Variety, Bessman died in New York City on Tuesday after suffering an aneurysm. Bessman also struggled with other health issues, including cancer, and heart failure and was hospitalized with COVID-19 in December.
Bessman’s passing was also reported by publicist, label exec, and long-time friend Bob Merlis, who, in a post on social media, said: “The great Jim Bessman departed this mortal coil earlier today. To say he will be missed is an understatement of the highest magnitude. He inhabited a universe where artistic brilliance, political integrity and physical achievement were celebrated in the most profound and articulate way conceivable. We celebrate him now and let every day be a reminder that the Bessman Bash continues in our hearts. He knew he was loved even though he couldn’t admit it.”
A native of Wisconsin, Bessman dropped out of high school to pursue a career in music journalism and after relocating to New York, he was hired by Cashbox, and later, Billboard, where he covered music publishing and penned a regular songwriting column.
He later launched a career as a freelancer for numerous music publications while also covering music and political news along with cultural commentary on his personal blogs CenterlineNews.com. and JimBessman.com.
Bessman was known for his advocacy of independent artists and played key role in the careers of artists such as Lisa Loeb, and the Ramones.
As well, during the heyday of physical product, Bessman wrote liner notes for more than 80 CDs as well as two books, “Ramones: An American Band” and “John Mellencamp: The Concert at Walter Reed.”
After news of his passing broke, numerous friends and colleagues expressed grief at his passing via social media.
“This is a gut punch. Going to miss you Jim. Such a wonderful guy. A true fan of polka music especially Eddie Blazonczyk. Enjoyed our last visit a few years ago in NYC while taping for Pops docu. You will be missed,” Steve Popovich.
“So many memories over the years. Could always count on Jim to support a client when we came to New York. Remember a Fan Fair and him wearing a Bob Merlis pin. Hard to imagine him not being here anymore,” added music publicist Alison Auerbach.