Warner Bros. Records Executive Stan Cornyn Dead At 81
Cornyn began his career at Warner Bros. Records the same year it was founded in 1958. During his Warner years, he rose to Executive VP of Warner Bros. Records; then to Senior VP of the Warner Music Group; and finally Founder and CEO of Warner New Media within Time-Warner. He is widely remembered for his years heading up Warner's prolific and eccentric Creative Services department during the 60's and 70's.
Cornyn was a man of words in a business of musical notes. He applied his literary skill, marketing skills and advanced wit to build Warner Bros. Records into a distinct personality among the then faceless record labels in the industry.
Cornyn was best known for his creative, humorous and often irreverent approach to promoting Warner Bros. Records and its artists. He built an image of Warner Bros. Records as a rebellious and quirky place that both artists and executives found charming and appealing. He applied his magic to help set new musical artists careers' in motion with equivocal marketing lines such as: "Once You Get Used to It, His Voice Really is Something" for artist, Randy Newman and "Joni Mitchell is 90% Virgin" to promote her record releases. Cornyn also penned the revealing 2002 record business tome about his creative approach in Exploding: The Highs, Hits, Hype, Heroes, and Hustlers of the Warner Music Group.
Regarded as a legend by his peers, he leaves behind a legacy of clever advertising, intriguing album covers, and inventive marketing gambits, as well as scholarly liner notes that scored Cornyn two Grammy Awards and multiple nominations. He was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Album Notes in 1966 for Frank Sinatra's Strangers in the Night and again in 1967 for Sinatra at the Sands. He was nominated again in 1968 and 1969 for his work on Sinatra and Duke Ellington's Francis A. & Edward K. and Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim's Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim recordings. His work gained one additional nomination in 1974 for Sinatra's Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back.
Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy issued the following statement on Cornyn's passing: "Stan Cornyn was a quiet giant in our industry. When Warner Bros. Records was establishing its long run as an artist-first label, it was Stan's wit and creativity that helped give the label its personality and attract cutting-edge artists to its roster. His writing talent earned him Best Album Notes Grammys for 1965 and 1966. Our thoughts go out to his family and all those who worked with him and gained from his wisdom."
Cornyn was born in Oxnard, Calif., and was a graduate of Monrovia High Schoo, Pomona College, attended Yale's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and received a Masters Degree in Theatre from the UCLA in 1962.
Cornyn is survived by his longtime companion, Meg Barbour, and two sons by previous marriages, Christopher Cornyn and Thomas Cornyn, as well as daughter in-law Robyn Cornyn, first cousin Bill Cornyn and two grandchildren, Kate Cornyn and Shay Cornyn.
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