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John David Kalodner is a retired American A&R (artists and repertoire) executive.
John David Kalodner was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was a writer and photographer at Concert magazine. He went on to be a photographer for various record labels by 1972, as well as being a freelance music writer and photographer for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He wanted to be, and worked to be, in the record industry, and was first noticed and hired as a publicist in 1974 by Atlantic Records executive Earl McGrath. His initial role at Atlantic was as a writer and photographer, while he continued to review concerts on the weekend for the Philadelphia Inquirer, commuting from New York.
Kalodner was headhunted as the first A&R executive for David Geffen's new label Geffen Records in 1980, where he worked with Asia, White Zombie, Madness, XTC, Whitesnake, Wang Chung, Nelson and Aerosmith. He brought Jimmy Page and Sammy Hagar success as solo artists, and was responsible for the musical collaboration Coverdale•Page.
His achievements included signing Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins to Atlantic Records in the 1970s. Contradicting claims that Kalodner signed AC/DC and Foreigner, fellow Atlantic executives Phil Carson and Jerry Greenberg have asserted in interviews that they, and not Kalodner, signed those artists (Carson signing AC/DC and Greenberg signing Foreigner). However, Mick Jones laid this theory to rest himself, telling a recent interviewer that John indeed did sign Foreigner.
Kalodner also placed songs on soundtracks of such films as Top Gun and Footloose. Kalodner followed Aerosmith to Columbia in the 1990s, where he also worked with Cher, Santana, Journey, Manowar, Chicago, Heart, Iron Maiden, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Ted Nugent, REO Speedwagon, Mars Electric, and the Black Crowes, among others.
Kalodner considered that the best example of his contribution to an artist's success was his role in Aerosmith's 1993 Get a Grip album, for the reasons that "...first of all, I made them rerecord the whole record completely. Second of all, I made them write with all these different people. They were very resistant. The record is an interesting eclectic record with, like, five hit singles, very rare in music, and Bruce Fairbairn produced it. And I got Brendan O'Brien to mix it, who became a giant producer. So for all those reasons, and, of course, it sold like 20 million copies worldwide."
Kalodner's unique role was underlined by the fact that he is usually credited on albums for simply being himself. The phrase "John Kalodner: John Kalodner" originated with Foreigner's 1978 Double Vision album, when the album's producer, Keith Olsen, was wondering just how to credit Kalodner's involvement with the band and the album. In keeping with the double vision theme, Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones came up with idea of doubling Kalodner's name.
Kalodner retired from the music business in 2006. Until late 2005, he had been the senior vice-president of A&R at Sanctuary Records Group. He subsequently sold most of his industry awards and RIAA record plaques to Scott Roderick President of Rock-N-Roll Warehouse, donating the proceeds to the City of Hope cancer research center. In 2014, he was inducted into the Rock Radio Hall of Fame, in the "Visionary" category.
In other media
- Kalodner briefly appeared in a few Aerosmith music videos including the videos for "Let the Music Do the Talking", "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)", "The Other Side", "Eat the Rich", "Blind Man", and "Pink". He was dressed as a bride in the "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" video as a private joke, because he almost always dresses entirely in white.
- Kalodner can be seen in Aerosmith's The Making of Pump, giving criticism and advice on the material the group presented to him for the album.
- Kalodner appeared in the "Flaming Moe's" episode of The Simpsons, which featured Aerosmith.
- Kalodner also made a cameo appearance in Revolution X as the face of the sphinx in the Middle East level. This being so because the main characters in Revolution X are none other than Aerosmith themselves, and at the time, Aerosmith was still with Geffen Records during their Get a Grip tour.
- Kalodner appeared in videos for the band Jackyl, with whom he worked in the early 1990s.
- Kalodner appeared as the judge in Sammy Hagar's "I Can't Drive 55" music video.
- Kalodner appeared on the cover of GPS' (a band featuring ex-Asia band members) 2006 album Windows to the Soul as sitting in front of a TV.
- Kalodner appeared in the Wang Chung music video for "To Live and Die in L.A.".
- Kalodner appeared in the 2012 American Masters PBS television documentary entitled Inventing David Geffen, directed by Susan Lacy.
- Cathy Genovese, John David Kalodner: Senior Vice-President of A & R, Sanctuary Records Group. Taxi Transmitter, September, 2004. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
- Matt Wake, A&R Legend John Kalodner Talks Aerosmith and Why Rock Won't Reach the Masses Again. LA Weekly, June 16, 2016. Retrieved 2016-12-26.
- Melinda Newman, Kalodner looking forward with an eye on past. Billboard, July 8, 2006, p. 47. Retrieved 2016-12-30.
- The New Los Angeles Music Awards, Certificate Award - John Kalodner. Retrieved 2017-01-07.