Music mogul Irving Green dead at 90

July 4, 2006 at 11:36 AM

PALM SPRINGS, Calif., July 4 (UPI) -- The co-founder of Mercury Records, Irving Green, has passed away of natural causes at 90.

Green helped break barriers of color in popular music while still turning his small independent company into one of the music industry's major labels, The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

He died at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, Calif. said his grandson, Jonathan Ross.

"This is one of the pioneers, the last of the great entrepreneurs," said Lou Dennis, who was product manager a subsidiary of Mercury Records in the 1960s.

"Today the record companies are all owned by big conglomerates," Dennis said. "This is a guy that started a label in Chicago, and it became one of the major labels in the United States."

The Pacific Southwest Region of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences honored Green in April, for his multiracial promotion of musicians by inducting him into its Gold Circle.

The Mercury label had artists as diverse as Louis Armstrong and Sarah Vaughn to the Big Bopper, the Smothers Brothers and country-pickers Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.

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