Eddie Lambert, Veteran Music Executive, Dies at 76

Courtesy of Dennis Lambert
Eddie Lambert

He worked with his brother, songwriter-producer Dennis Lambert, and with The Righteous Brothers, Hall & Oates, Bruce Hornsby and The Four Tops.

Eddie Lambert, a music executive who worked at companies including ABC/Dunhill, Motown and EMI-Capitol during his five-decade career, has died. He was 76. 

Lambert died March 4 at his home in West Hills, California, after an 18-month battle with cancer, his brother, songwriter and producer Dennis Lambert, announced. "He was the wind beneath my wings, my mentor, my big bro, my biggest fan and my best friend," he said.

In 1974, the pair launched Haven Records, and Eddie Lambert, as vice president and GM, signed the newly reunited Righteous Brothers as well as Evie Sands, Player and The Grass Roots. He also worked closely with Dennis on the Tavares and Glen Campbell albums that his brother and Brian Potter produced for Capitol.

In 1977, Eddie Lambert joined the Interworld Music Group as vice president and GM of publishing, working on the catalogs of Hall & Oates and composer Bill Conti, then was hired as vp creative at 20th Century Fox Music, where he signed writers Bruce Hornsby, James Ingram and Joseph Williams and supervised the music of several films, including Taps (1981).

From 1982-86, Lambert worked alongside Steve Barri at Motown Records as director of A&R. He was the executive producer of albums by The Commodores, El Debarge, The Temptations, Dennis Edwards, The Four Tops, Sam Harris, Stacy Lattisaw and Bruce Willis.

He also supervised and coordinated the soundtrack albums for The Big Chill (1983) and A Fine Mess (1986). A number of those LPs were produced or co-produced by his brother.

After serving as a talent booker and casting executive for the syndicated TV show Star Search, Lambert spent 11 years at EMI-Capitol Special Markets, starting in 1989, as vp film & television licensing. There, he was responsible for the placement of hundreds of EMI masters in media of every kind.

Lambert joined the internet startup Smashcast as the chief music officer, where he opened and managed the Los Angeles office, then formed Rilex Entertainment, which specialized in the licensing of masters and songs, in 2002.

He retired in 2017 because of his illness.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Lambert began his career in 1964 at age 22 working in New York City as a music publisher for talent manager and entrepreneur Lenny Stogel. Several years later, he joined Don Costa and Teddy Randazzo at South Mountain Music and DCP Records, where he mentored Dennis.

After several years there, Lambert moved to Capitol Records as an A&R exec under the leadership of Dick Asher. He was instrumental in signing The Manhattan Transfer to their first recording contract.

In 1969, he came to L.A. to join ABC/Dunhill as a music publisher and A&R executive, working closely with Barri, then head of A&R. His four years there were highlighted by the A&R signing of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan, Jim Croce via producers Cashman & West and music producer Gary Katz.

On the publishing side, he worked on the development and exploitation of the songs of writers Kenny Loggins, Lambert & Potter, Price & Walsh and John Phillips.

Lambert served twice as vice chairman of the Recording Academy and was its L.A. chapter president in 1979-81 and 1999-2001. He also was a national trustee and member of the television committee.

Survivors include his wife of 28 years, Penny, a senior paralegal at the Ziffren Brittenham law firm; sons Brian (senior vp music at Warner Bros. Pictures), Alex and Riley; daughter Jennifer Prince (managing director of media & entertainment sales at Twitter); and grandchildren Justin, Julia, Avery, Delaney and Carly.