Retired Record Executive Rick Blackburn Dead at 70

Written by CMT News. Posted in Entertainment News

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Retired Record Executive Rick Blackburn Dead at 70

Published on December 03, 2012 by CMT News

Former record label executive Richard “Rick” Blackburn died Friday (Nov. 30) at his home in Franklin, Tenn., at age 70.

Nov. 16, 1942, in Cincinnati, Blackburn entered the record business soon after graduating from college. After working in promotion
and merchandising for various labels in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, he moved to Nashville in 1974 to become general
manager of Monument Records.

However, it was as an executive at CBS Records, which he joined in 1976, that he had his
greatest successes with rosters that included Johnny Cash, George
, Tammy Wynette, Merle
, Bobby Bare, Rosanne
, Exile, Ricky Skaggs,
Ricky Van Shelton, Larry
and Janie Fricke. (Blackburn would later be vilified as the
man who dropped Johnny Cash from the label, although, in truth, Cash was in the doldrums, chartwise, when Blackburn let him
go in the mid-1980s.)

Following the sale of CBS Records to Sony in 1987, Blackburn formed a short-lived music publishing,
management and production company. In 1989, he established Atlantic Records’ country division and was instrumental in launching
or furthering the careers of Tracy Lawrence, John
Michael Montgomery
, Neal McCoy and Confederate

He had been retired for several years at the time of his death.

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