George Daly (music executive)

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George Daly
Background information
Birth nameGeorge William Daly
GenresRock, folk, pop, new wave, jazz
Occupation(s)Music executive
InstrumentsGuitar, piano, synthesizer, Fender bass
LabelsColumbia, Elektra/Asylum/WMG, Atlantic/WMG, BMG/Zoo, About/UMG,
Associated actsThe Cars, Janis Joplin, The Tubes, Carlos Santana, Tool

George Daly is a music executive, songwriter, musician, video and music producer, award-winning film director and technology inventor who originally worked as an A&R (Artist & Repertoire) music executive. In that role he worked with and/or introduced many iconic stars, with famed artists and groups as varied as Janis Joplin,[1] The Tubes, The Cars,[2] Tool (band) who soared again up the Billboard Artist-100 charts to #1, most recently Aug. 2019, Huey Lewis, and Carlos Santana and others. Artists, to whose efforts Daly has contributed, have sold recorded music in vinyl, CD and digital form over 40 years, in excess of 300 million copies.

Moving from the Washington, DC area to San Francisco in the ‘60's, Daly befriended Janis Joplin and, due to that link, was soon hired by Columbia Records as San Francisco Head of A&R [1] spanning the Clive Davis and Goddard Lieberson eras. Daly followed this up with being named head and founder of A&R at Elektra/Asylum Records, followed by his direct hiring by legendary label chief Ahmet Ertegun at Atlantic Records (WMG), and Zoo Entertainment (Bertelsmann Music Group /BMG) where he was again named Vice President and head of A&R. Daly is the recipient of multiple Gold and Platinum awards.[3]

As a significant executive in the music industry, Daly has discovered such original music talents as the seminal new-wave group The Cars (whom he signed to a long-term Elektra/Asylum deal on a paper napkin, after their live performance at Harvard University where his sister was attending)[4] whose first album, The Cars, stayed on the charts for an astonishing 139 Weeks and sold over six million copies in the US,[2] the radical Bay Area surreal pop performers, The Tubes, who he brought to A&M Records, as well as contracting modern theatrical rockers, Green Jelly, who morphed into modern edge Multi-Platinum rockers, Tool and many others. In addition, in various roles Mr. Daly has also worked professionally with many of the classic music legends, such as Roy Buchanan and Nils Lofgren and including writing with Boz Scaggs his seminal ballad 'Slow Dancer', of the Scaggs album of the same name, considered by some as Scaggs' greatest musical achievement,[5] producing Huey Lewis[6] as well as Carlos Santana by serving as the Executive Producer and Line Producer of the Carlos Santana interactive video life story DVD, working closely with Santana as well as Alice Coltrane for the include John Coltrane Material and the Jimi Hendrix family for the Hendrix material in the award-winning The River of Color and Sound[7]

Early life - science and music[edit]

Born George William Daly Jr., the second of six siblings, at the US Naval Medical Hospital at Annapolis, MD[8] of Captain George William Daly,[9] Sr., former Deputy Chief of Industrial Relations for the US Navy and Frances Helen Daly, a housewife and artistic mentor to the young George. He showed an aptitude in his early years for both science and invention as well as music, writing his first song in 4th grade and crafting early electric guitars and sound amplifier circuits. In the eighth grade he created a sound over optical light-wave link - his own invention for a school science fair. By his early teens he was playing guitar, bass and keyboards and writing songs resulting in the formation of several garage bands, culminating in the seminal DC garage band, The Hangmen, credited on record with the singles "What a Girl Can't Do", "Faces" and "Bad Goodbye" among others and all released on DC to Nashville's Monument Records, of which "...Girl...", with its Everly Brothers' Wake Up Little Susie guitar riff and powerful drumming (written and recorded by Hangman Tom Guernsey with Joe Tripplet, also recording included Hangmen drummer Bob Berberich and other session musicians), plus the crowd-pleasing riot-causing Hangmen band's live performance, all pushed the band past the Beatles to the number one position in the DC and Baltimore region,[10] while Daly's original song, Faces, is noted in the 21st century as a prototypical and classic YouTube garage punk rock anthem, still artistically powerful today.[11]

Music industry[edit]

Clive Davis greets George Daly at the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala Party for the Grammy Awards

Daly's first post after joining Columbia Records in 1969 was heading the San Francisco A&R division of Columbia Records under the guidance of Clive Davis[4] This was a time when Columbia Records entered the West Coast rock market with a vengeance, opening both a state-of-the art recording studio [12] (CBS recording studio, Folsom St, San Francisco) and establishing major label Columbia Records' A&R offices in San Francisco at Fisherman's Wharf. Including that entry point in the music business, Daly has been a senior executive at Columbia Records, Elektra/Asylum Records, Atlantic Records and BMG, four of the all-time biggest U.S. record labels and is presently the CEO of About Records distributed by Universal Music Group/UMG/Fontana. As an A&R executive, Daly has had responsibility for, and sometimes introduced the world to, many of the ground-breaking music acts that eventually defined their genre and became legends, including Joplin,[13] Carlos Santana, The Cars and Tool among others. Throughout his career he had the opportunity to work directly under such historically significant music business icons such as the all-time legendary "golden-eared" and ground-breaking executive, A&R man and producer Clive Davis, the renowned Atlantic Recording Company founder Ahmet Ertegun, as well as "songman" and longtime music business serial president, CEO and Chairman, of Atco, Atlantic, Warner Music, MCA, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, Doug Morris.

Daly's tenure in the music businesses' modern high-sales era [14] coincides almost exactly with the rise of the modern "tonnage" popularity of recorded music, through and up to the present post-modern rapid growth of the contemporary cloud online streaming delivery systems of social media-oriented and iPhone-format mobile phone channels of distribution including advertiser-based and subscription-based services provided by trillion dollar market value companies such as Apple Inc., Google Alphabet, Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora Radio and more.

Song writing and music performance[edit]

Daly's music career as a songwriter and performer initially involved founding and performing in three historically noteworthy DC bands - The Hangmen, The Dolphin,[15] and Grin. Initially playing guitar and keyboards and writing songs for The Hangmen in 1964, the band, which toured behind a #1 regional hit that pushed the Beatles off the #1 position in local radio charts.[10] Daly's, The Hangmen band performances instigated as least one 3000+ person fan riot in suburban Virginia, written up in Billboard magazine as one of the first such '60's US "rock & roll riots" prior to the Beatles complete dominance of the charts. He followed this by creating the rarely heard but historically important and short-lived DC folk-blues band, The Dolphin (Sire Records/London Records), in 1967, which included Daly, Berberich, Paul Dowell, and later Nils Lofgren and originally included the guitar immortal Roy Buchanan,[16] called in Rolling Stone Magazine in 1968 "one of the three greatest living guitarists".[17] He followed up in 1968 by forming the band the Grin,[18] which he founded with fellow Hangmen alumni and drummer friend Bob Berberich and, again with the young accordionist turned telecaster guitarist extraordinaire Nils Lofgren, before Lofgren recorded on several Neil Young albums and later joined Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. The Daly/Boz Scaggs composition, Slow Dancer, has been recorded by multiple international artists resulting in platinum sales, and used in major market advertising as far away as Japan. Daly's latest song co-writing has been with singer/songwriter Tim Hockenberry, who in May 2012, was judged by Howard Stern on America's Got Talent, and praised with "What a breath of fresh air you are! I love you!" (Stern) and "You are a phenomenal talent!" and "Out of all the singers we’ve ever seen, Tim Hockenberry is my favorite." [19]

Technology and patents[edit]

Daly holds six US patents for audio and musical devices and is inventor of various audio devices including the early electrical guitar processor, the Moan Tone used by Nils Lofgren and others in live performance and recording[20] and the recording studio device, Master Mount (later sold to Tandy Corp.) and is holder of multiple US Patent beginning with US Patent # 4,151,971 and US Patent 4,074,883, with his latest US DSP and audio-involved patents awarded in 2016 and 2017. As well as the US Patent App. for a DSP audio enhancing technology, HaloField.[21] During a break from the music business of several years, Daly consulted for the US Government's Comcast STC Satellite Television Corporation and designed for Comcast/STC, the PSR2000, the first prototype desktop appliance for digital music downloads, done in conjunction with Hartford Gunn,[22] then President of STC, and prior first president of PBS. In 1997 Daly, at the request of Keith Richards and his producer at the time, fellow industry icon Rob Fraboni, went on the road with The Rolling Stones during their Bridges To Babylon tour and recorded the Stones for six nights on the tour in California and Nevada using Daly's experimental Aura-Live recording technology. These recordings have not been released as of 2019 and are the possession of the Rolling Stones band. At the long-time behest of Fraboni, Daly experimented with multiple technologies over several years before ultimately creating a DSP sound processor, HaloField, a digital audio altering process said to give the same listener perception as the original live sound prior to recording.[21]

Film, video, TV, digital multimedia, and music production[edit]

As head of A&R at three of the largest major record labels as well as his own, Daly has overseen many hundreds of artist signings and productions of album recordings, including multi-platinum artists Janis Joplin, the Cars, Carlos Santana, Tool, Boz Scaggs, Green Jellÿ and many others as well as live recordings of The Rolling Stones, as well as rehearsals and demos with, chronologically, The Hangmen, (originally with himself, David Ottley, Thomas Guernsey, Robert Berberich and Paul Dowell with their album Bittersweet/Monument Records); the Dolphin[15] with Dowell, Berberich, Lofgren and Roy Buchanan on Sire Records; The Grin with Nils Lofgren; The Tubes (rehearsal and studio sessions CBS Records; and other sessions co-produced with Stephen Barncard); Huey Lewis (in Clover, Summers Here/Pyramid Records); recorded his multiple later compositions with famed singer-songwriter Gene Clark; Marc V (Too True/Elektra Records); Family Brown (Imaginary World/United Artists Records); Grammy™ Award nominated composer Michael Hoppé (Simple Pleasures/Seventh Wave); Pamela Polland (Pamela Polland/Columbia Records); Boulder (Boulder, Elektra Records);the earliest recordings of famed singer songwriter Alejandro Escovedo[23] in the early punk/new wave band The Nuns, with Jennifer Miro; Blue Train, (Blue Train, All I Want Is You/BMG) which gave BMG/Zoo its first pop Top 40 US Hit; Laura Allan, the singer often cited as the important inspiration to Joni Mitchell in her Blue and post Blue vocal style;[24] Booker T. (Bittersweet/Epic Records); Skinny Songs[25] for Heidi Roizen; Tim Hockenberry, (Back In Your Arms/About Records/Universal Music Group); Larkin Gayle (Two Hands/About Records/Universal Music Group); Jon Collins, (Jon Collins/Coliseum/About Records); the "sui generis" YASSOU,and others.

Daly also wrote and produced what is believed to be the first digitally recorded (SoundStream™ system) live music video and TV series, StudioLive™, short-listed in the Emmy's technical category and starring noted jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and directed by Ric Trader with music composed and conducted by noted TV and jazz composer, Allyn Ferguson. The digital audio music for this production was released on Elektra Records/WEA as the album Fly Like The Wind and the one-hour TV pilot is marketed to consumers by Sony Home Video and is broadcast on PBS. Daly also wrote, produced and served as an Executive Producer of the multimedia life story of Carlos Santana, The River of Color and Sound for Polygram Multimedia.[26] Daly and Colin Farish created the pilot television show Sanctuary of Sound™ with Daly on-screen and in discussion with such music business notables as Narada Michael Walden and Ben Fong-Torres.

As a filmmaker, Daly co-directed and co-wrote the Gary Yost multiple award-winning documentary film on the restoration of Marin County's iconic Mount Tamalpais The Invisible Peak, which debuted in the U.S. February 2014; Daly, in addition, produced all the music and sound in this film, which included soundtrack compositions by composers Grammy nominated Michael Hoppé, and Ron Alan Cohen.

Daly has also served as a consultant to the Smithsonian Institution, where he produced the long-running Star Spangled Banner original instrument exhibit recording at the National Museum of American History site in Washington, DC. Daly consulted with the Smithsonian Institution and then recorded and produced for the Federal institution a unique version of the 1844 version of Francis Scott Key's original Star Spangled Banner using a modern studio orchestra playing in a state-of-the art recording studio, but using the original and rare musical instruments from the early 19th century; these instruments were made available to Daly for his music production by the National Museum of American History with the help of, and, in conjunction with Dr. Arthur Mollela,[27] then department Chairman of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution.

Teen Hoot[edit]

To give back to youth in music, Daly co-founded the Teen Hoot with iconic Nashville super-producer David Malloy. The Hoot, using live and streamed music performances with a growing, large online community propelled by video, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (where the Hoot has trended Twitter top three in the world), encourages young singer and songwriters to learn their craft, and in some cases deserving young artists Command Sisters, Molly Jewell, Dylan Holland, UK's Oliver Garland on YouTube become in house Hoot Music[28] artists. As a significant music performance venue, Hoot's one voting event garnered from worldwide fans over 1,300,000 votes online in a four-week period ending May 31, 2013.

Lifetime music business governance and affiliations[edit]

Mr. Daly is a founding Board of Governors member and co-founder of the San Francisco chapter of NARAS (former Governor) the Grammy(tm) organization, and is a lifetime member of NARAS as a Los Angeles member. Mr. Daly is also a lifetime member of American MENSA, the US branch of Mensa International.


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