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Harvey Bruce RIP

HARVEY “BRUCE” GRUFFERMAN, who was known in the business as Harvey Bruce, passed away in Las Vegas from a heart attack on March 29, three days before what would have been his 67th birthday. The L.A. native began his career in the late 1960s at ABC/Dunhill Records under its infamous president, Jay Lasker, who had a great fondness for Harvey’s musical acumen, firing and rehiring him several times in the ensuing years, purportedly for constantly smoking pot in his office.  Harvey discovered and signing Emitt Rhodes and assisted in the A&R functions of numerous other artists on the roster. He was part of a now-legendary A&R department that was home to staff producers Bill Szymczyck (the James Gang, B.B. King and later the Eagles), Steve Barri (the Grass Roots; Tommy Roe; Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods; Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds), Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter (the Four Tops, Dusty Springfield), Gary Katz (Steely Dan) and Bob Monaco (Rufus and Chaka Khan). Harvey later rejoined Lasker at Ariola-America Records as an A&R exec, signing Mary MacGregor, whose 1977 hit single “Torn Between Two Lovers” became the label’s best-selling record ever. In 1979, he went to 20th Century Fox Records, where he signed Stephanie Mills and co-produced (with Harvey Cooper) her first gold album, Whatcha Gonna Do...With My Lovin?  Not a slave to fashion, and a mite overweight, Harvey was fondly referred to by his friends as “a marshmallow surrounded by porcupine needles.” He will be missed, and the prevailing wisdom sets the morning line at 8-5 that he gets into heaven, but if there is no heaven, Harvey’s a shoo-in for the alternative. (7/3a)

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