Seymour Stein

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Seymour Stein
Seymour Stein (2013).jpg
Stein in 2013
Born (1942-04-18) April 18, 1942 (age 80)
Music executive
SpouseLinda S. Stein (divorced)
AwardsMember of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Seymour Stein (born April 18, 1942) is an American entrepreneur and music executive. He co-founded Sire Records and was Vice President of Warner Bros. Records.[1][2] 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.

Music career[edit]

Stein was born in New York City in Brooklyn. As a high school student, he interned in the summers of 1957 and 1958 at King Records in Cincinnati, Ohio. He took on a clerk position for music industry magazine Billboard in 1958 and starting in 1961 worked for two years for King Records.[3]

In 1966, Stein and record producer Richard Gottehrer founded Sire Productions, which led to the formation of Sire Records, the label under which he signed pioneer artists such as the Ramones and Talking Heads in 1975, the Pretenders in 1980, and Madonna 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.

Such was Stein's influence in signing and promoting the new wave genre of music that he is sometimes credited with coming up with the name as an alternative to the term punk, which he found derogative. The term had previously been used to refer to the French New Wave film movement of the 1960s.

Stein was the President of Sire Records and also Vice President of Warner Bros. Records until his announced retirement on July 18, 2018.[4] He had had a marketing and distribution deal from 1976 to 1994 and again from April 2003 until retirement. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 14, 2005, under the lifetime-achievement category. On June 9, 2016, Stein was honored with the Richmond Hitmaker Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame.


Stein is the subject of an eponymous song by the Scottish musical group Belle and Sebastian. He was the winner of a Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Dance Music Awards in 2010. Ice-T wrote about Stein in his autobiography, stating: "He's cut from that cloth of the old-time music executives like Clive Davis, but he's way more eccentric... Just a little more bizarre, a bit more avant-garde, more of an edgy cat."[5] He wrote that Stein would never edit Ice-T's musical output but would sometimes express concerns (e.g. he was against homophobia in rap).[5]

Personal life[edit]

Stein was formerly married to the late music promoter and real estate executive Linda Stein; together, the couple had two daughters before they divorced, on amicable terms, in the late 1970s.[6] Stein has never remarried. He revealed he was gay in 2017. One of his children is filmmaker Mandy Stein. Stein's eldest daughter, Samantha, died as a result of brain cancer in 2013 at the age of 40. [7] Stein published his autobiography, Siren Song: My Life in Music, in 2018.[8]


  1. ^ Billboard Staff (August 5, 2013). "CBGB Fest Announces Seymour Stein as Icon Award Winner, Van Toffler To Give Keynote (Exclusive)". Billboard. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  2. ^ Kessler, Dana (July 25, 2013). "The Legendary Seymour Stein: Seymour Stein, Record Company Man Who Signed The Ramones and Madonna". Tablet. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  3. ^ Bronson, Fred (January 21, 2012). "Seymour Stein: A Chronology". Billboard. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  4. ^ "Seymour Stein Is Leaving Warner Music and Sire Records, the Label He Launched 51 Years Ago".
  5. ^ a b Marrow, Tracy; Century, Douglas (2011). "Six in the Mornin'". Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption – from South Central to Hollywood. Random House. pp. 99–105. ISBN 978-0-345-52328-0.
  6. ^ Lambert, Bruce (November 1, 2007). "Real Estate Agent Found Slain in 5th Ave. Home". The New York Times. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  7. ^ Christman, Ed (June 13, 2018). "Seymour Stein On His New Autobiography & Why the Music Industry Should Pay More Tribute to Its Past". Billboard.
  8. ^ Stace, Wesley (June 14, 2018). "'Siren Song' Review: An Ear for What Was Next". Wall Street Journal – via

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