I still can’t believe classic rock writer and Billboard editor Timothy White died of a heart attack at the age of 50 in June: it’s a real tragedy and 50 sure sounds young. I met White on a few occasions and he was very gracious and encouraging of our work on The Encyclopedia of Record Producers, which was published by Billboard Books.
There will be benefit for his family in Boston on October 7:
- The event looks to be the shining beacon of the fall season, with many of the performers headliners in their own right – John Mellencamp, James Taylor, Sheryl Crow, Sting, Don Henley, Billy Joel, and ex-Pink Floyd singer Roger Waters.
The artists are paying their own way to keep expenses down and help White’s Beacon Hill-based family, which includes his widow, Judy, and twin 10-year-old sons (one of them autistic). White edited Billboard magazine until his death of a heart attack at age 50 on June 27. He had also been a writer and editor for Rolling Stone magazine and had served as a kind of moral compass for the music industry – by, for example, championing many artists in their battles to get more equitable treatment from record companies.
”We didn’t really call anybody to do this benefit,” says Mellencamp, who was a pallbearer at White’s funeral. ”They all called and volunteered on their own.”
The Boston show, to be followed by one in New York at Madison Square Garden the next night, will include some complete bands but will mostly see artists bringing some of their backup players and augmenting them with a ”house band” featuring such top-notch musicians as drummer/music director Steve Jordan (who has toured with Keith Richards), bassist Willie Weeks (who has recorded with the Rolling Stones), guitarists Danny Kortchmar and Waddy Wachtel (who have both worked with dozens of acts), and keyboardist Ricky Peterson.
….The artists respected White for his honest and prolific music coverage through the years, dating back to his tenure with Crawdaddy magazine in the ’70s. And they appreciated his editorial support of the Recording Artists’ Coalition, which two years ago lobbied Congress to repeal ”work for hire” legislation supported by major record labels. The legislation classified all master studio recordings as ”works for hire” that would ultimately belong to the labels, thus choking off artists’ rights. White even spoke out on the issue in Washington, D.C., and helped get the law repealed.
”I felt that Tim should have been canonized in the music industry for his fortitude in protecting artists’ rights,” says Crow, ”and for staying in a lower-paying job, when he’d been offered so many other high-profile opportunities, because he believed that what he was doing was important and that someone must guard and defend the sacredness of music and those who make it.”