The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will host a Hall of Fame Series interview with 2011 inductee and Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman on Wednesday, August 10th at 7 p.m. in the Museum’s Foster Theater.
Holzman will be joined onstage by the former Elektra Records chairman Joe Smith. Questions will be taken from the audience at the end of the interview.
Jac Holzman founded Elektra Records in 1950, initially operating it out of his college dorm room. After dropping out of college, Holzman returned to New York, where he pursued the growth of Elektra in earnest. The label primarily focused on folk music throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, but in its determined pursuit of the cutting edge, Elektra signed some of contemporary music’s most groundbreaking acts in the latter half of the Sixties. Establishing a presence in Los Angeles, Elektra signed Love (its first rock group), the Doors (its biggest act of any kind) and cult bands like Clear Light, Crabby Appleton and Rhinoceros. Honing his radar on Detroit, he signed the MC5 and the Stooges, both of them explosive, uncompromising rock groups whose impact on popular music would be felt for decades. From London came Queen, an eclectic glam-rock group that rivaled Led Zeppelin for popularity in the Seventies. Since departing the label in 1973, he’s stayed heavily involved in the conjoined worlds of music and technology with such companies as Pioneer Electronics and Panavision. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 by John Densmore of the Doors.
Former Elektra Chairman Joe Smith’s career began in New England, receiving his Bachelor of Arts from Yale University and working as a sportscaster and deejay, later appearing in the film Jamboree. In 1961, he moved to California and entered the music business as National Promotion Manager for Warner Brothers Records and within a decade, he was president of the label. During those years, he discovered and guided the careers of artists such as Peter, Paul and Mary, Rod Stewart, James Taylor, the Grateful Dead, Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt, Deep Purple, the Allman Brothers and many more before becoming Chairman of Elektra/Asylum Records in 1975. Later in his career, Smith was named President and CEO of Home Sports Entertainment and later Capitol/EMI Music before retiring in 1993. Smith serves on the board of the Recording Industry Association of America as well as the Black Music Association.