Harold Childs, successful record executive, dead at 80

Harold Childs, successful record executive, dead at 80
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Harold Childs, successful record executive, dead at 80

Harold Childs, successful record executive, dead at 80

Childs ran music promotions at A&M Records in the 1970s, helping to boost the careers of acts like the Carpenters and the Police.

Harold Childs, a pioneering record executive, is dead at age 80. Known for his dapper dress and business acumen, Childs died of leukemia on Aug. 27 in Los Angeles.

Childs is best known for his stint at A&M Records in the 1970s, according to Billboard. He joined A&M’s staff via its jazz imprint, CTI Records, as national sales and promotion director. In 1974, Childs was appointed A&M’s vice president of pop music promotions before advancing to become senior vice president of promotion and sales in 1978.

Childs and his staff helped promote the careers of acts such as Peter Frampton, the Carpenters, the Brothers Johnson, the Police, Human League, and many others. Martin Kirkup, co-founder of Direct Management, worked alongside Childs at A&M, calling him the “consummate ‘Record Man.’”

Harold Childs, successful record executive, dead at 80
Record executive Harold Childs (left) who died of leukemia on Aug. 27, is seen in May 2005 with (from left) Chris Jonz, Laurence Tanter and Lakwanza at a CD release party in Hollywood for Daniel Benzali’s debut album. (Photo by Marsaili McGrath/Getty Images)

“He was passionate about the wide range of music that A&M embraced, with great instincts for the tactics and strategy of breaking records,” Kirkup said of Childs. “But what really made him special was his personal warmth, good humor, and his endless interest in other people. That’s why people were so devoted to him.”

Childs, born on May 8, 1943, in Philadelphia, got his start in the record industry at Marnel Record Distributors as a stockroom worker. He went on to RCA Victor as regional promotion manager, working with the likes of Henry Mancini and Peter Nero before landing a job at CTI.

Following a successful tenure at A&M Records, Childs moved to PolyGram as senior vice president. Soon after, at the request of Quincy Jones, Childs served as president of Jones’ label, Qwest Records. Childs’ career reached a full circle moment when he became head of jazz promotions at Warner Bros. Records, working with former CTI artist George Benson, as well as Al Jarreau and David Sanborn.

Ray Harris, one of Childs’ colleagues at Warner Bros., said Childs was unique in the business as a Black man who was “navigating through a pop world normally carved out for our white counterparts.”

“There were very few African Americans moving in that world during that period,” Harris continued. “Childs not only moved in it, but he was also a dominant part of that company’s success. I got to know Harold and found him to be classy, fashion-forward, professional, and a nice guy.”

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The post Harold Childs, successful record executive, dead at 80 appeared first on TheGrio.

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Harold Childs, successful record executive, dead at 80

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