Bang Records Icon Ilene Burns Dead At 73

Ilene Burns

(BM) Music industry pioneer Ilene Berns died last week in Florida. We were sent the following details: She helmed Bang Records and its Web IV Music publishing division starting early in 1968 immediately following the death of Bert Berns, her husband and label founder.

She was just 24, but soon became one of the most successful female independent label chiefs of all time. She not only administered the rich Bang and Shout catalogs with recordings by Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, The McCoys, Strangeloves, Freddie Scott and Erma Franklin but, after Bert Berns's passing, she added to Bang's legacy and kept the label running and relevant for another eleven years.

Under her aegis, the company's hit streak continued with releases by Derek ("Cinnamon"), Paul Davis ("I Go Crazy"), Brick ("Dazz") and Peabo Bryson ("Underground Music") among others. She moved the company's base of operation from New York to Atlanta, and ultimately to Nashville. Bang was purchased by CBS/Sony in 1979 but Web IV was retained by Berns and her family.

Born in Cleveland on May 1, 1943, Ilene Holub grew up in Los Angeles and fell in love with music and dance. Her family moved to New York in the early '60s where she modeled and danced professionally at the Peppermint Lounge and The Round Table. She met songwriter-record producer Bert Berns in 1963. The two married the following year and and soon began a family. Children Brett, Cassandra and Mark were born over the next four years. Even before she began her tenure running Bang, Ilene Berns showed a knack for the music business. She co-wrote a song titled "You Forgot How To Love" under the name Ilene Stewart for Patti Labelle & the Bluebells.

Ilene Berns is survived by the three children she had with Berns as well as by Mitchell and Taylor Biscoe, her two sons with legendary Motown promotion executive Eddie Biscoe whom she married in 1970.

She is seen in the critically acclaimed documentary film BANG! The Bert Berns Story in which she discusses meeting her late husband and his life and times and is portrayed in the forthcoming Broadway musical Piece of My Heart.

BM submitted this story.
It may be edited- Excerpted here with permission.

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