BEDFORD, NY (CelebrityAccess) — Chip Rachlin, a veteran agent and talent buyer who worked with the likes of Bill Graham, The Rolling Stones, and MTV over the course of a career that spanned more than 50 years, has died. He was 72.
A cause of death was not provided, but an obituary said he died on January 25th after a short illness.
A New Jersey native, Rachlin began promoting shows while he was still in high school, bringing bands such as The Critters, The Roadrunners, and The Gremlins to his high school in Summit, New Jersey.
After graduation, he took a job serving as a talent buyer for colleges, working with a jazz musician named Stan Rubin. While working with Rubin, Rachlin met Bill Graham’s partner Herb Spar, who offered him a job as an agent at the Millard Agency.
“I asked Herb if I took the job, did it come with a staff pass? He said it did and I instantly took the job, never to sleep on Stan Rubin’s pull-out couch again,” Rachlin said in a biography on his website.
Rachlin spent 18 months at the Millard Agency and landed the Beach Boys as a client after seeing them perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1971. He would represent the iconic rock band for the better part of the next decade.
Rachlin also signed a young Billy Joel, serving as his agent for four years in the early 1970s.
After the Millard Agency closed, Rachlin and Spar moved to International Famous Agency and later ICM, following a merger with Creative Management Associates in 1975.
Rachlin spent eight years with ICM, helping to build out the agency’s concert division.
“My specific job was to find new talent and along with the team sign established artists. During those years I crisscrossed the country covering big shows, festivals and even clubs. The concert business was really beginning to mature, and the big players then became the core of what is now Live Nation. The Don Laws, Bill Graham, Jack Boyle, Larry Magid, Sepp Donahower, Arnie & Jerry in Chicago, were all hitting their stride,” Rachlin said in his biography.
In the 1980s, Rachlin landed a gig at MTV, securing talent for the rising music video network, working with the likes of Bob Pittman, Les Garland and John Sykes.
In 1991, Rachlin joined the team assembling the 25th anniversary of the Woodstock Festival and oversaw the sale of radio rights to the festival.
“In that capacity I sold the radio rights to MediaAmerica who snuck in “Internet streaming rights” in their deal. Nobody on our side even knew what that meant. We were on the radio for a week solid all over the country and maybe 100 hundred nerds with computers and modems saw the first herky jerky images of the headliners for Woodstock ‘94,” Rachlin said.
After Woodstock, Rachlin pivoted to brand consulting, working with companies such as Forbes, Grey Goose, and Mobil Oil.
More recently, Rachlin pivoted again and launched Rachlin Entertainment, serving as talent buyers for major resort and vacation brands such as Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas and Cunard Cruise Lines.
Rachlin produced shows (with David Leaf) such as “An All-Star Tribute To Brian Wilson” at Radio City Music Hall in March, 2001 that featured Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Elton John, David Crosby, Carly Simon, Vince Gill, Jimmy Webb, and Wilson Phillips, among others.
Following his passing, colleagues in the industry expressed their grief and respect.
“Chip was not only a pioneer in how the business operates today, but for over forty years, he remained somebody who I always wanted to hear from. He was an innovator. More importantly, on a one-to-one level, he displayed all the personal qualities that make this business great. He was not just passionate about the music and any artist he worked with but a great person. This one hurts very badly.” – Irving Azoff
#1 with Chip was the music. He was a classy guy. Chip had a great personality. He was the funniest guy. Well-liked by everybody. Chip really cared for the music.” – Ron Delsener
“Chip was kind, witty and smart. That’s a home run of a person. Chip and I became friendly in 1971 when he promoted the Beach Boys at Carnegie Hall, and I promoted Columbus, Ohio the day before. We were the true believers of the resurgence of the Beach Boys. We remained friends for fifty years. We were particularly close in the 70’s, one of my best friends, and remained close friends always. The one ‘plus’ of the pandemic for me was we both lived near each other and we had lunch basically every other Friday for the last few years. The last time I saw him I said we were so close in the 70’s and now we are so close in our 70’s. That’s a long, special friendship.” – Jimmy Koplik
“We lost a great agent today. In the mid-seventies, he had arguably one of the greatest list of clients ever assembled. He was a superb agent, gregarious personality, artists loved being around him, and he could “hang” with the best of them. It is sad to lose a friend who gave so much to our industry. Blessed to have known him.” – Rob Light
“Chip was one of my oldest and dearest friends. When we were in high school, he promoted the Young Rascals at our high school. He managed our band then, The 7 O ‘clock News. We opened the show. It was May 28, 1967. That was almost 56 years ago. We’ve been great friends ever since.” – Ed Micone
He is survived by his beloved wife, Wendy, his sons Josh and Alex (and their mother Gaynor), his older brother Larry and younger sister Janie, his nephew Eric, Wendy’s daughter Brittany, her husband Chris and baby grandchild Robert.