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Legendary Music Publisher Don Kirshner Dies

Don Kirshner
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

'The man with the golden ear' helped launch Bobby Darin, Neil Diamond and Tony Orlando.

Don Kirshner, legendary American music publisher, died Monday in Boca Raton, Florida of heart failure. He was 77.

Time magazine once dubbed him “The man with the golden ear.”

A renowned song publisher and rock producer, Kirshner is best known for managing the songwriting talent behind the successful pop music television series The Monkees and later The Archies, and also for his signature television program Don Kirshner's Rock Concert.

He achieved his first major success in the late 1950s and early 1960s as co-owner of the influential New York-based publishing company Aldon Music with Al Nevin -- they had several of the most important songwriters of the so-called "Brill Building'" under contract including Carole King, Neil Sedaka, Howard Greenfield,  Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann.  As a producer-promoter, Kirshner was influential in starting the career of artists such as Bobby Darin, Neil Diamond and Tony Orlando as well as discovering rock acts such as Kansas.

In September 1973, Kirshner created, produced, and eventually hosted his own syndicated weekly rock-concert program called Don Kirshner's Rock Concert. He was inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in 2007.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Sheila and his children Ricky and Daryn.

Services are being arranged in Florida. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Don Kirshner Scholarship Fund which is being established by his family for emerging songwriters (70 West 36 Street, Suite 701, NY NY 10018 - 212.239.0777).