Thursday, March 20, 2008

R.I.P. music industry veteran Sam Weiss

Sam Weiss, a veteran wholesaler and record label executive, passed away from natural causes at Boca Raton Community Hospital in Florida today (March 19). He was 81.

Weiss is best known for co-founding the legendary Old Town record label in 1953 with older brother Hy, who was the father of Zomba Music Group chairman Barry Weiss. Hy's death on March 20, 2007, preceded Sam's by almost a year to the day. The Old Town label helped launch the careers of numerous R&B and doo-wop acts, including the Earls, the Capris and Arthur Prysock.

In the late 1950's, Sam Weiss started Win One-Stop, which he built into a powerhouse East Coast wholesaler with help from his younger brother George. In 1977 Sam also jumped back into the label business, forming Sam Records with his future son-in-law, Daniel Glass. Sam Records enjoyed its biggest success with John Davis & The Monster Orchestra and with the Gary's Gang song, "Keep On Dancing."

In the early 80's, Sam again was a pioneer in becoming the first music one-stop to jump into the video industry, and became a leading East Coast independent distributor selling to such accounts as Rite Aid and Pathmark. While Win One-Stop may have shut down in 1992, the music business still has many executives who owe their first industry job to that company.

After the shuttering of Win, Sam joined with his son Michael Weiss to create yet another independent label, Nervous Records.

Sam is survived by his wife, Enid "Twinnie" Weiss, his children Michael and Deborah, his son-in-law Glass, his daughter-in-law Julie Weiss, and four grandchildren.

Services will be held Friday March 21 at Riverside Chapel, 76th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, at 11:15 am. Donations in Sam Weiss's name can be made to Lifebeat, The Music Industry Fights Aids, 630 Ninth Avenue, Suite 1010, New York, NY 10036.

Source [Billboard]

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