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A&M Records' Friesen dead at 75

Dec. 15, 2012 at 11:48 AM

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Gil Friesen, longtime president of A&M Records, has died in Los Angeles, friends say. He was 75.

Jann Wenner, publisher of Rolling Stone magazine, said Friesen was battling leukemia when he died at his home Thursday.

A&M records was a leading independent record label from the 1960s through the 1980s and home to stars from the era such as Carole King, Peter Frampton, Sting and Janet Jackson.

"It had a real reputation for style, class and integrity," Wenner said. "It was a happening place to be, and Gil led that."

Musician Herb Alpert, who co-founded A&M in 1962, called Friesen a "visionary."

"His door was always open to people looking for [new] thoughts and ideas," Alpert told the Los Angeles Times. "He was always there to say things that maybe you didn't think of before."

The newspaper said Friesen also earned a reputation in the sometimes cutthroat music industry of being someone who would give up-and-coming musicians a fair shake in financial matters.

"He was one of the good guys," said Chris Hillman, a founder of the 1960s group The Byrds who recorded for A&M with the Flying Burrito Brothers.

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