Seymour Stein passed away: Record manager who signed Madonna has died of cancer

Seymour Stein, the brash, far-sighted and highly successful founder of Sire Records who helped launch the careers of Madonna, Talking Heads and many others, passed away on Sunday at the age of 80.

Stein, who helped found the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation and was himself inducted into the Rock Hall in 2005, died of cancer, according to a statement from his family in Los Angeles.

His daughter, Mandy Stein, confirmed the news in a statement to The Hollywood Reporteras she reflected on growing up “surrounded by music.”

“I didn’t have the most conventional upbringing, but I wouldn’t change my life or my relationship with my father for the world, and he was a loving and caring grandfather who loved every moment with his three granddaughters,” she said. .

Mandy continued, “He gave me the ultimate soundtrack, as well as his crazy sense of humor. I am beyond grateful for every minute our family spent with him, and that the music he brought into the world positively impacted the lives of so many people.”

In 2015, he insisted that at the age of nine he “knew” he “wanted to be in the music business.”

A legend: Seymour Stein, the brash, far-sighted and hugely successful founder of Sire Records who helped launch the careers of Madonna, Talking Heads and many others, passed away on Sunday at age 80 (see above with Madonna in 1996)

“I was only 16 and working at Billboard after school,” he recalled in an interview with THR. “I think of my education in part as my early years at Billboard.”

Born in 1942, Stein was a New York City native and spent his teens working summers at Cincinnati-based King Records, James Brown’s label, and in his mid-20s co-founded Sire Productions, which would soon become Sire Records.

Seymour was said to have been obsessed with the Billboard charts since childhood and was known for his deep knowledge and appreciation of music.

During his career, he proved himself an astute judge of talent during the New Wave era of the 1970s, a term he helped popularize by signing record deals with Talking Heads, the Ramones and the Pretenders.

“Seymour’s taste in music is always a few years ahead of everyone else’s,” Talking Heads manager Gary Kurfirst told the Rock Hall around the time of Stein’s induction.

His most lucrative discovery came in the early 1980s, when he heard the demo tape of a little-known singer-dancer from the downtown New York club scene, Madonna.

“I loved Madonna’s voice, I loved the feel and I loved the name Madonna. I liked it all and played it again,” he wrote in his memoir Siren Song, published in 2018, the same year he retired. Stein was hospitalized with a heart infection when he first heard of Madonna, but was so eager to meet that he had her taken to his room.

“She was all dolled up in cheap punkish gear, the kind of club kid who looked absurdly out of place in a cardiac ward,” he wrote. “She didn’t even want to hear me explain how much I loved her demo. “What you need to do now,” she said, “is sign me a record deal.”

Legendary career: Stein, who helped found the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation and was himself inducted into the Rock Hall in 2005, died of cancer in Los Angeles, according to a statement from his family;  seen in 2017

Legendary career: Stein, who helped found the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation and was himself inducted into the Rock Hall in 2005, died of cancer in Los Angeles, according to a statement from his family; seen in 2017

Sire artists also included Ice T, the Smiths, Depeche Mode, the Replacements and Echo and the Bunnymen, along with the more established Lou Reed and Brian Wilson, who recorded with Sire later in their careers.

Stein was briefly married to record promoter and real estate manager Linda Adler, with whom he had two children: filmmaker Mandy Stein and Samantha Lee Jacobs, who died of brain cancer in 2013. Sidney Stein and his wife divorced in the 1970s and years later came out as gay.

“I am beyond grateful for every minute our family spent with him, and that the music he brought to the world has positively impacted the lives of so many people,” Mandy Stein said in a statement on Sunday.

In 2012, he was the first recipient of Billboard’s Icon Award and four years later won the Richmond Hitmaker Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony.

He also earned the Recording Academy’s Trustees Award in 2018.

Stein was briefly married to record promoter and real estate manager Linda Adler, with whom he had two children: filmmaker Mandy Stein and Samantha Lee Jacobs, who died of brain cancer in 2013.  Sidney Stein and his wife divorced in the 1970s and years later came out as gay

Stein was briefly married to record promoter and real estate manager Linda Adler, with whom he had two children: filmmaker Mandy Stein and Samantha Lee Jacobs, who died of brain cancer in 2013. Sidney Stein and his wife divorced in the 1970s and years later came out as gay