Don Kirshner, the veteran music mogul who shepherded songs from a monstrously talented stable of young writers to the top of the pop charts in the 1960s, launched the career of the Monkees and then became a familiar face to millions of rock fans as impresario of his late-night music TV series in the 1970s, died Monday of heart failure in Boca Raton, Fla., where he had lived for the last decade, a family spokeswoman said Tuesday. He was 76.
"Don Kirshner's Rock Concert" brought the biggest names in rock and pop music to television in live performances instead of the lip-synced sessions that often characterized rock music on television, Los Angeles Times reports.
Kirshner, who was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2007, died Monday (Jan. 17) from heart failure in Boca Raton, Fla., at the age of 76, leaving a legacy of music that includes the likes of Neil Diamond, Bobby Darin, Carole King, Neil Sedaka, the Monkees, the Archies and Kansas.
Kansas drummer and manager Phil Ehart said that his band "owes its 38-year career to Don Kirshner, who signed us to his label in 1973. We were six bumpkins for Topeka that wore jeans, t shirts, overalls and cowboy boots, and our music was complicated with all kinds of time signature changes. But he saw and heard something in us that no one else realized, and we as a band are very grateful that he did. Thank you, Don. We will miss you," Billboard reports.