Walter Yetnikoff, volatile head of CBS Records, dead at 87

today08/11/2021 57

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NEW YORK (AP) — Former CBS Records boss Walter Yetnikoff has died at age 87.

The rampaging, R-rated executive presided over blockbuster releases by Michael Jackson, Billy Joel and many others. David Ritz, who collaborated with Yetnikoff on his memoir “Howling at the Moon,” confirmed the former executive’s death.

Yetnikoff ran CBS from 1975-90 and his reign peaked with such mega-sellers as Jackson’s “Thriller,” Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out of Hell” and Joel’s “52nd Street.” His downfall came amid a storm of corporate turnover and backstabbing, and Yetnikoff’s personal chaos.

He alienated Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson among others, including Sony, which in 1990 pushed him out three years after the company purchased CBS Records in a deal Yetnikoff arranged.


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