In Memoriam|

Seymour Steinbigle, professionally known as Seymour Stein (April 18, 1942 – April 2, 2023) was an American entrepreneur and music executive. He co-founded Sire Records and was vice president of Warner Bros. Records. With Sire, Stein signed bands that became central to the new wave era of the 1970s and 80s, including Talking Heads, the Ramones, and The Pretenders; he signed Madonna as well. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

Stein was born in New York City in Brooklyn. As a 13 year old high school student, he worked as a clerk at music industry magazine Billboard, assisting head of Billboard charts Tommy Noonan. Together they helped develop the Billboard Hot 100, launched in August 1958.

King Records owner Syd King approached Stein to work for him in Cincinnati, Ohio. Stein’s father was skeptical, but King told him “Your son has shellac in his veins. Your son is good for one thing and one thing only, and that’s being in the record business. If you don’t let him in the music business, he will wind up delivering newspapers for the rest of your life. If you don’t want that on your conscience, you will let him come with me for the summer.” He started working for King, working there for two years as an intern, before joining the company in 1961.

Homesick he returned to New York in 1963 to work for Herb Abramson, but this was short-lived, lasting only three months. He then joined as an assistant to impresario George Goldner, who had formed Red Bird Records with songwriters Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller in 1963.
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. . . Stein signed Madonna from his hospital bed after hearing her track “Everybody” in 1982.

Other acts signed by Sire include The Replacements, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, The Cure, Ice-T, Ministry, The Undertones, and Echo & the Bunnymen. In 1966, Stein had an opportunity to sign Jimi Hendrix, praising him for his original material, but ultimately decided against doing so after witnessing Hendrix smash his guitar on one occasion and argue with his friend, Linda Keith, on successive occasions.
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Stein was married to the music promoter and real estate executive Linda Stein (1945–2007) and together the couple had two daughters. They divorced, on amicable terms, in the late 1970s. Stein never remarried. He revealed he was gay in 2017. Filmmaker Mandy Stein is his daughter. Stein’s elder daughter, Samantha, died as a result of brain cancer in 2013, at the age of 40. Stein published his autobiography, Siren Song: My Life in Music, in 2018.

Stein died of cancer at his Los Angeles home on April 2, 2023, at age 80.
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Read more of Mr. Stein’s bio here:

Photo: Seymour Stein at the CBGB festival red carpet.
8 October 2013, 18:08:28
Own work by Joey jojo 86

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If you want to know more about any of the musicians we lost, please check them out at

April 2023
4: Rockstar Ramani Ammal, 69, Indian playback singer (Kathavarayan, Haridas, Nenjamundu Nermaiyundu Odu Raja).

3: Rena Koumioti, 81, Greek new wave singer; Andrew Laing, British drummer (Cockney Rejects); Jack Vreeswijk, 59, Swedish singer and composer (Cornelis), colon cancer.

2: Pedro Lavirgen, 92, Spanish tenor; Seymour Stein*, 80, American Hall of Fame music executive, co-founder of Sire Records, cancer.

1: Dario Campeotto, 84, Danish-Italian singer (Eurovision Song Contest 1961), actor (Peters baby, Han, hun, Dirch og Dario), and entertainer, cancer.

March 2023
31: Philip Balsam, 79, Canadian songwriter (Fraggle Rock);

30: Alfio Cantarella], 81, Italian drummer (Equipe 84); Ray Shulman, 73, English musician (Gentle Giant) and record producer (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, Life’s Too Good).

29: Tiberiu Ceia, 82, Romanian singer; Brian Gillis, 47, American singer (LFO); Sweet Charles Sherrell, 80, American bassist (James Brown, The J.B.’s).

Photo: Seymour Stein

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