Joachim "Jean" Aberbach (12 August 1910 - 24 May 1992) was an American music publisher. With his brother Julian, he was responsible for establishing Hill and Range as one of the leading music publishing houses, responsible for songs recorded by Elvis Presley and many others.
Life and career
Aberbach was born in Bad Vöslau, Austria, the son of Anna and Aron Adolf Aberbach, who were Ukrainian Jews. His father ran a jewelry business. Jean left school at the age of 16 and after a family argument began working in Berlin for a music publisher, Will Meisel, before moving to Paris to work for another publisher there. His brother Julian joined him in Paris in 1932, and they established a music publishing business, which concentrated on securing royalties for movie screenwriters. After the brothers sold the business in 1936, Jean began working in the US as an agent for French music publisher Francis Salabert, while Julian remained in Paris.
After the war, he worked in New York for music publisher Max Dreyfus at publishers Chappell & Co., but in 1952, when Dreyfus tried to buy the company that Julian Aberbach had established in Los Angeles, Hill and Range, Jean decided to leave and join his brother's company. Hill and Range rapidly expanded, particularly through dominating the country music publishing business in Nashville. At one point, the company represented some three quarters of the music produced in Nashville. The two brothers shared responsibility for running the company, with Jean primarily based in New York and Julian in Los Angeles, although they frequently swapped roles. After 1955, the company had particular responsibility for the songs recorded by Elvis Presley, through an arrangement by which the company owned 50% of the rights.
Jean Aberbach sold 75% of Hill and Range to Warner Chappell in the early 1970s, at a time when his brother was incapacitated following a heart attack. Jean died in New York in 1992 at the age of 81.
- Bar Biszick-Lockwood, Restless Giant: The Life and Times of Jean Aberbach and Hill and Range Songs, University of Illinois Press, 2010
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