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MUSIC BIZ HISTORY: EDDIE, GEFFEN AND LENNON

In this latest excerpt from our recently published special issue, History of the Music Biz: The Mike Sigman Interviews, the great Eddie Rosenblatt recalls the early days and first extraordinary signings of Geffen Records, and a devastating loss.

“I’m set to start with David right after Labor Day (1980) and I take a week in Hawaii. The minute I walk into my hotel room in Hawaii, David calls and tells me he signed Elton John and Donna Summer. I say, ‘Holy shit, it’s serious.’ I come back. We start.”

“I get a call from Phil Spector, who I knew from A&M. He says, ‘[John] Lennon’s in the studio—he doesn’t have a deal.’ ‘Oh, thank you, Phil!’ I go up to see David and I say, ‘Do you know Yoko?’ He says, ‘Of course.’ I say, ‘Call her, and make the deal.’ Which of course he did.”

Dec. 8, 1980   

Eddie tells a riveting story about the awful night of Dec. 8, 1980.   

“I’m in New York, staying at the Sherry Netherland. David had an apartment right next door, still does. I’m in bed. I know something’s happening, but it’s all vague. So I call David and say, ‘What’s going on?’ He says, ‘Meet me downstairs in two minutes.’ I go downstairs, we hop a cab to Roosevelt Hospital. It was too late. John had already passed.  

“We walk out with Yoko—a photo of us made the front page of the Daily News. We get into two police cars and they take us into the underground of the Dakota. We go up to their apartment, where I had been the previous day talking to Yoko about marketing and all the stuff we were gonna do with John. 

“We stayed with Yoko all night. In the morning I went back to my hotel, passing throngs of saddened fans lining the streets in front of their building. I tried to pull myself together. What a tragedy. Words cannot express my grief, and the grief that shook the world.” 

To obtain a copy of History of the Music Biz: The Mike Sigman Interviews, contact Robin Gerber at (818) 506-8800.

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