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TO SIRE, WITH LOVE: SEYMOUR’S SWAN SONG

Four days after Seymour Stein was honored by the Recording Academy with its Trustees Award, WMG revealed that the legendary talent scout, Sire Records co-founder and noted eccentric will be leaving Warner’s after 42 years.

Stein, who's 76, co-founded Sire with Richard Gottehrer in 1967, and the indie notched a string of hits including Focus’ “Hocus Pocus” and Climax Blues Band’s “Couldn’t Get It Right” before Mo Ostin brought in Seymour and Sire in 1976. His arrival at the Bunny coincided with one of the most mind-blowing signing sprees in music-biz history, as he snagged Ramones, Talking Heads, The Pretenders, Madonna, The Smiths, Depeche Mode, The Cure, k.d. lang, The Cult, The Replacements and Ice-T, among others, while also co-founding the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1983 and subsequently being inducted.  

“Writing and promoting my autobiography, Siren Song [published last month by St. Martin’s Press], along with the news of my Grammy Award, brought a flood of memories from my earliest days at Sire right up to the present,” Seymour said in the 7/18 announcement.

“I was very fortunate during my youth to learn from so many great indie label people, like Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun and Jerry Wexler at Atlantic, and my greatest mentor, Syd Nathan at King Records. I went on to work with so many other great indies around the world as Sire grew to become the legendary brand it is today. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all the amazing artists—far too many to name—who have called Sire home over the years.

“I’ve enjoyed much of my time at Warner’s, but in truth I long for my indie roots and the greater independence that I experienced back in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. So the time has come to move on to the next phase of my career, leaving Sire in the hands of Rani Hancock, whom I sincerely wish all the luck in the world. I’m very proud that Sire was named the #15 label of the past 100 years in a major poll conducted by Variety earlier this year. I trust that it will continue to be a place where great songs and great artists will live for many years to come.

“Rest assured, I intend to remain active, and I’ll be back in action again soon. I’m looking forward to the future and continuing to develop new artists in the music business that I love so much.”

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