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THE LONG RUN:
AN IRVING AZOFF TIMELINE
Mega-Manager Has Been in the Thick
of It for More Than Four Decades
1967-68: Begins booking acts at University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, but drops out to set himself up as a booking agent for REO Speedwagon and the late Dan Fogelberg.

1971: Moves to L.A., begins working for Jerry Heller’s Heller-Fischel booking agency, bringing with him REO Speedwagon, Fogelberg and Joe Walsh as clients.

1972: Joins David Geffen and Elliot Roberts at Geffen Roberts, where he begins managing the Eagles, among other acts.

1974: Azoff creates Front Line Management, takes over as sole manager of the Eagles, along with Steely Dan, Boz Scaggs and Jimmy Buffett.

1975: Establishes the Epic-distributed Full Moon label, with Fogelberg as its main act.

1975: Meets Larry Solters while both are attending rabbinical school and recruits him for Front Line.

1976: Eagles win Grammy for Record of Year for “Hotel California.”


August, 1977: The Eagles have sold 18 million albums in 18 months.

1978: Produces the movie FM, about the radio industry, along with a Grammy-winning soundtrack that features many of his artists, including Steely Dan, Eagles, Buffett, Fogelberg and Walsh.

1980: Produces hit movie and soundtrack for John Travolta-starring Urban Cowboy. Eagles go on hiatus for 14 years, until Hell Freezer Over. Front Line expands, signs Stevie Nicks, Go-Go’s and Styx, among others, for management.

1981: Executive-produces star-studded soundtrack to animated feature Heavy Metal, featuring cohorts like Sammy Hagar doing the title track, Donald Fagen, Don Felder and Nicks, as well as Devo, Cheap Trick and Black Sabbath.

1982: Produces hit movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High from a book (and screenplay) by Cameron Crowe.

1983: Sid Sheinberg brings in Azoff to take over as President of MCA Records Group. Azoff reportedly sells them his companies for $30 million. Azoff, in turn, hires Zach Horowitz for business affairs, Myron Roth to oversee the day-to-day operations of the label (later upped to President), Jheryl Busby to oversee Urban, Solters as artist development head and Steve Meyer as promotion topper, with Richard Palmese coming aboard six months later. MCA announces a deal to distribute the legendary Motown label.

1985: MCA acquires storied Chicago-based blues label Chess Records, with a roster that includes John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry and Etta James.

1986: Azoff signs Boston to MCA after group is sued by CBS in a breach-of-contract suit for not delivering a new album. The new album, The Third Stage, goes on to sell 4 million copies.

1988: Under Azoff’s watch, MCA acquires Motown in a deal with partners Boston Ventures for $61 million with longtime exec Busby named President/COO. Proto-teenpop star Tiffany lands the label’s highest-charting record, one of the Top 10 albums of the year. Roth exits and Palmese is boosted to EVP/GM. Azoff tells HITS: "It was important to promote Richard because he’s the only one left around here whose name ends in a vowel, and we needed a new target for the L.A. Times."

July, 1989: Shortly after Fine Young CannibalsThe Raw and the Cooked, Bobby Brown’s Don’t Be Cruel and Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever grab the top three places on the album charts, Azoff resigns from MCA Records to form WB-distributed Giant Records, replaced by his hand-picked choice, ex-Columbia Records President Al Teller, who retains EVP/GM Palmese as his #2.

1991: Azoff brings his Giant into the fold of WB (who saw it as a replacement for the outgoing Geffen label, which had moved to Universal), scoring hits with Color Me Badd and Disturbed, while also releasing records by Steely Dan, Deep Purple, Oingo Boingo, Kenny Rogers, Air Supply, Pat McGee Band, Owsley and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Their best-selling album was the New Jack City soundtrack, which sold 16 million copies in the U.S. under urban head Cassandra Mills.

1993: Giant switches distribution outside U.S. to BMG from WEA, releases band’s award-winning country tribute album, Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles.

1994: Eagles reunite to record Hell Freezes Over, go on tour.

1999: Azoff serves as a producer on Hurricane, the story of boxer Ruben “Hurricane” Carter, with Denzel Washington earning an Oscar nomination in the title role.

2000: Azoff signs Christina Aguilera and Seal as management clients. Eagles Greatest Hits is saluted as biggest-selling record of all time with sales for more than 25 million units U.S. Currently at 29 million units at the close of the decade.

March 2001: Steely Dan wins Grammy Album of the Year for the Giant Records release, Two Against Nature.

2002: In tandem with Henley, Azoff co-founds the Recording Artists’ Coalition, an organization to monitor musicians’ rights to fight the seven-year statute that binds artists to their labels, among other agendas.

January 2005: Onetime partners Azoff and Howard Kaufman are together again in Front Line, now a media company involved in management, online ventures and ticketing. The pair join forces after Thomas H. Lee Partners Scott Sperling and Bain Capital, two of the principles in Edgar Bronfman Jr.’s acquisition of Warner Music Group, fund a $200 million+ investment in the management company headed by Azoff, who then acquires Kaufman’s HK.

Oct. 2006: Eagles announce an exclusive distribution deal with Wal-Mart for their next album.

2007: Pollstar names Azoff Personal Manager of the Year.

Nov. 2007: Eagles debut at #1 on the album chart with 714k albums sold at Wal-Mart and online for their album, Long Road Out of Eden.

March 2008: Azoff and Andy Gould negotiate an exclusive Best Buy deal for Guns N’ Roses’ upcoming Chinese Democracy album, their first new studio release in more than 16 years.

May 2008: Front Line expands to more than 200 acts and a management team that grows to include Paul Geary, Jared Paul, Damien Smith, Alejandro Asensi, John Baruck, Tom Consolo, Dan Field, Mark Adelman, Dana Dufine, Jordan Feldstein, Brian Doyle, Rob Kos, Craig Fruin, Trudy Green, Sheryl Louis, Bobby Collin, Jason Morey, Jim Morey, Scott Siman, Clarence Spalding, Dan Dalton, Peter Asher, Ron Gillyard, Marion Kraft, Simon Renshaw, Steve Feinberg, Joel Hoffner, Susan Markheim, Ken Levitan, Jack Rovner, Pete Galli and Blaze James, among others.

July 2008: Advertising Age names Azoff Marketer of the Year.

Oct. 2008: Ticketmaster acquires Front Line, along with Warner Music Group’s $123 million minority share, and names Irving head of a combined Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc.

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