Ron Oberman, Senior Record Executive and Former Publicist to David Bowie, Dies at 76

Courtesy of family
Ron Oberman

Oberman was best known for discovering musicians, having developed and furthered the careers of international artists such as Bowie, Bruce Springsteen and The Bangles.

Ron Oberman, a senior record executive and former publicist to David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen, died Thursday in his Spanish Springs, Nevada, home after battling FTD (frontotemporal degeneration) disease, a family spokesperson announced. He was 76. 

Oberman was known for developing and furthering the careers of international music artists such as Bowie, Springsteen, The Bangles, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Warrant, Wilderness Road, Martika and more. He also worked with The Beatles and Mick Jagger. 

Born on Aug. 28, 1943, in Baltimore, Oberman began his career as a writer for a weekly column called "Teen to Teen" at The Evening Star Newspaper in Washington, D.C.

He later worked in the A&R department of Mercury Records, where he developed and introduced Bowie, and subsequently served as his North American publicist. Columbia Records eventually signed Oberman as head of its A&R department. Apart from Bowie, Oberman helped save Springsteen from being dropped by Columbia after writing a letter to the head of the label, pleading to give the singer-songwriter another chance. 

Oberman stayed with Columbia for 25 years, and then moved to become the head of MCA Records' A&R department.

"Besides his incredible musical talent, Ron was known to all as a wonderful and fun friend. He had an infectious smile that immediately made people feel that they had known him all their lives — and a truly great sense of humor," the family spokesperson said. 

Oberman is survived by his wife, Amber DiLena. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration to help fund research in discovering a cure.