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DICKIE KLINE,
1938-2020

Richard “Dickie” Kline, a record industry executive whose approach to promotion and artist relations from the 1950s into the 1980s was instrumental in breaking some of the era’s biggest names in rock, R&B and pop, died Tuesday of natural causes. He was 82.

Kline’s four-decade career peaked at Atlantic Records, where, as the head of radio promo, he helped break artists such as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Yes, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Bette Midler, The Spinners, Roberta Flack and Foreigner.

Kline was also critical to the success of Stax/Volt artists Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave and Otis Redding, as well as The Bee Gees, The Rascals, Cream and Aretha Franklin.

Kline was a native of Brooklyn. His first job in the music industry, secured in 1958, was as a sales rep for Syd Nathan’s King Records, where he worked alongside Bob Krasnow and Seymour Stein. After stints at Walt Disney Records and London Records, Jerry Wexler recruited him to join Atlantic in 1967.

Kline became GM of Polydor Records in 1978, scoring hits with Gloria Gaynor, Peaches & Herb, Atlanta Rhythm Section, 10cc and others while helping to develop Michael Bolton and Cyndi Lauper. He later served as president of the independent label Radio Records, signing Stars on 45, whose Beatles medley went to #1 in 1981.

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