Philip Walden, whose Macon, Ga.-based Capricorn Records launched the Allman Brothers Band and became known as ''the citadel of Southern rock" in the 1970s, has died. He was 66.
Mr. Walden died Sunday at his home in Atlanta after a long battle with cancer, said his daughter, Amantha Walden.
In a career that began when he started managing Otis Redding and booking shows for other R&B artists in the late 1950s, Mr. Walden launched Capricorn Records in 1969.
Capricorn earned a reputation as the South's most successful independent record label in the 1970s, with successful acts such as the Allman Brothers Band and the Marshall Tucker Band. The label's roster also included artists such as Wet Willie, Elvin Bishop, and the Dixie Dregs.
''Phil was there at the beginning, and we could not have accomplished what we have without him," Gregg Allman and the other members of the Allman Brothers Band said in a statement Monday.
Mr. Walden's life and career were a roller-coaster in which his music empire collapsed in the late 1970s; he overcame problems with cocaine and alcohol in the 1980s, and reentered the record business with a revived Capricorn Records in the early 1990s.
Born in Greenville, S.C., on Jan. 11, 1940, Mr. Walden grew up in Macon, where he became an early fan of R&B music. Mr. Walden was a student at Mercer University in Macon in 1959 when he began operating an artists-management company. Phil Walden Artists and Promotions had its headquarters in a downtown Macon professional building: a $33-a-month, 9-by-12-foot office furnished with Army surplus desks, a telephone, and a portable typewriter.
''For my first contract, I wasn't old enough, and my father had to cosign with me," Mr. Walden told the Chicago Tribune in 1991.
One of his first clients was Redding, a then-unknown young R&B singer he met at an amateur contest at a Macon theater. Beginning in 1962, Redding recorded a string of hits, including ''Respect" and ''Try a Little Tenderness."
''Otis and I enjoyed a particularly close relationship," Mr. Walden told Billboard in 1991. ''Our relationship went far beyond a manager-artist relationship."
From his success with Redding, Mr. Walden began managing or booking other R&B acts, including Sam and Dave, Joe Tex, Percy Sledge, and Clarence Carter.
Mr. Walden and Redding had planned to build a recording studio together and be more involved in production, but their plans ended when Redding died in a plane crash in 1967 at age 26.
Instead, with the encouragement of Jerry Wexler, an influential executive at Atlantic Records, Mr. Walden launched Capricorn Records.
The label, which was initially distributed by Atlantic Records, was intended to be an R&B singles label. But, Mr. Walden told the Chicago Tribune, ''quite honestly, after Otis's death, black music just didn't seem the same for me. . . . I had tried before to get some rock 'n' roll clients [to manage] and now I was hell-bent on proving I could come up with some rock groups" for the Capricorn label.
In 1977, Capricorn ended its distribution deal with Warner Bros. Records and Mr. Walden moved to PolyGram Records.
When PolyGram was hit hard by an industrywide slump two years later, Capricorn had to file for bankruptcy.
In 1991, Mr. Walden made a distribution deal with Warner Bros. Records and relaunched Capricorn Records in Nashville, with the Georgia rock band Widespread Panic as the label's first act.
Mr. Walden sold Capricorn in 2000 for a reported $13 million to New York-based Volcano Records and started a new label, Velocette, in Atlanta. He went into semiretirement around 2001, and the label is now run by his daughter, Amantha, and nephew Jason Walden.