|Russ Regan has a track record of hits and successes that span across four decades, including a major hit in every decade of his working life. It has been said that what separates an ordinary man from an extraordinary man is the little “extra,” the X factor. Music industry veteran, Russ Regan, can truly be described as an extraordinary man, and his history in music will do all the talking.
Regan has played a major role in the careers of the biggest names in the music business, including Elton John, The Beach Boys, Neil Diamond, Barry White, Olivia Newton-John, and the Alan Parsons Project-all of whom credit Regan as a major force behind their success. Regan entered the recording industry as an artist, recording such songs as “Joan of Love” and “Calling All Cars.” He also wrote and produced songs that became hits such as “The Happy Reindeer” and “Cinnamon Cinder.” Regan, disenchanted with performing, switched from being an artist to promoting them. He was recruited by Motown Records and became integral in establishing what we know today as the “Motown Sound.” The first record Regan promoted was “Please Mr. Postman” by the Marvelettes. He also worked with The Supremes, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, and Marvin Gaye.
A gift that Regan has that not many people will ever know about is his ability to match people in the music industry with the thing they need most. In 1966, while serving a stint as General Manager of Loma Records, he came across a song called “That’s Life” which he gave to Frank Sinatra to record. When a good friend needed a new name for a group called the Pendletons-who had a song called “Surfin”. Regan thought briefly before recommending the perfect name, The Beach Boys. Regan discovered his midas touch and was in a position to use it.
Regan moved on to Uni Records, a division of MCA Inc., where he proved himself once again; he heard a record called “Incense and Peppermints” by an unknown group called Strawberry Alarm Clock. It became his first million-selling record and went to number one on the charts. Demo tapes of a completely unknown singer-songwriter came across his desk in 1970. Regan knew immediately that he was listening to music that spelled big potential in the industry. Naturally, he followed his instincts and signed the young artist. Regan began work to design a publicity and promotional campaign to launch the artist in the U.S. Today, the entire world knows that young artist as Sir Elton John.
20th Century Records appointed Russ Regan their president in 1972. It was there where he worked with Barry White, The DeFranco Family, Carl Douglas, Maureen McGovern, and the Alan Parsons Project. A short two years later, in 1974, Regan was named “Record Executive of The Year” by the Bill Gavin Report and the National Association of Record Merchandisers.
In 1980, Regan became PolyGram Records’ General Manager of West Coast Operations. Regan successfully pioneered and revised the concept of bringing music and film together, as the music consultant on Flashdance. The movie spawned a soundtrack album that sold 14 million copies-an all time record for PolyGram soundtracks. Regan was also Music Supervisor for Breakin’, A Chorus Line, and Karate Kid.
Returning to Motown in 1986 as president of the Creative Division, Regan most notably worked on Smokey Robinson’s successful comeback effort. Proving once again that Regan’s midas touch made Smokey Robinson’s album ‘One Heartbeat’ go platinum-the album featured two top 10 singles. Regan remained with Motown until the company was sold in 1988.
Throughout the late 90’s Regan helped form the U.S. based Quality Records label that specialized in rap, rock, pop, dance, and urban music. Quality Records, an independent label, found themselves on the industry’s radar when their platinum selling ‘One More Try’ reached number one on the charts. It had been over nine years since any independent label had such an achievement. The string of hits flourished with artists such as A Lighter Shade of Brown, Angelica, South Central Cartel, and Dan Hill.
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