Capricorn Records Founder Dead at 66
Tue, 25 Apr 2006 10:33:36
After a long struggle with lung cancer, Capricorn Records founder Phil Walden passed away on Sunday at his home in Georgia at the age of 66. Walden was a lionized figure in Southern rock, having been honored in February by the Georgia House of Representatives as a “true son of the South.”
Walden could have rested on his laurels in the '60s, having already helped launch the career of friend Otis Redding, but instead launched Capricorn Records in Macon, Georgia, in 1969 (it was originally an Atlantic Records imprint, but became its own independent entity in 1971). The label would go on to release records by The Allman Brothers, The Marshall Tucker Band, and The Charlie Daniels Band among others. After closing shop in 1982, beaten down by disco, the label later resurfaced as a major label partner in the '90s, released the first Widespread Panic album, and found itself the home of not-so-Southern rockers like 311 and Cake. This version of Capricorn was eventually bought out by Volcano Entertainment.
Walden’s personal and professional life was marred by a pair of high-profile tragedies; first the tragic plane crash death of Redding in 1967, then the motorcycle death of Duane Allman in 1971.
Walden would later become politically active, particularly during the presidential campaign of fellow Southerner Jimmy Carter. The admiration was mutual. “Phil was one of the preeminent producers of great music in America,” President Carter said in a statement.
--The ARTISTdirect Staff