Bob Krasnow, former chairman of Elektra Records and a co-founder of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has died at age 81, according to Billboard. He also led Blue Thumb Records and started several smaller imprints, while signing a series of music legends.

"Few people in the music business can be said to have made a profound impact on the destiny of a company," Nonesuch Records president Bob Hurwitz said today (Dec. 12) in an official statement. "Fewer still could be said to have an impact on two different companies. Bob Krasnow, who passed away last night, had a profound impact on four different record companies in his career."

At Elektra, where Krasnow also oversaw subsidiary labels like Nonesuch and Asylum, he brought in Metallica, the Cars, Anita Baker, the Cure and Teddy Pendergrass, among others. While at Blue Thumb, Krasnow also signed Dave Mason of Traffic fame, Ike and Tina Turner, John Mayall, Clifton Chenier, Marc Bolan and the Pointer Sisters.

"In terms of skill-set, I never met anyone who combined a knowledge of A&R, promotion and marketing like he did," Hurwitz added. "Without Bob, there would not be a Blue Thumb. Warners would have been a different company. The experience of Elektra in the '80s and '90s would not have been possible. And Nonesuch ... might have stayed a small and interesting budget label. This is what Bob Krasnow did."

Early in his career, Krasnow served as a promoter for James Brown, and a sales rep with Decca. He founded MK Records in the early '60s, and ran the San Francisco office of King Records before founding Loma Records in the mid '60s.

He inked Captain Beefheart after starting Buddah Records, a subsidiary of Kama Sutra. During a prior stint as head of talent acquisition at Warner Bros., he signed R&B and jazz legends like Chaka Khan, George Benson, George Clinton of Funkadelic, and Prince.

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