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Owen Robert Husney (born September 8, 1947) is an American music manager, musician, promoter, and record executive. Husney is known for his discovery and management of the artist Prince and Prince's 1977 signing to Warner Bros. Records—then one of the largest contracts for a new artist in history.
|Birth name||Owen Robert Husney|
|Born||8 September 1947|
|Origin||Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States|
|Associated acts||The High Spirits, Prince, Jesse Johnson (musician), André Cymone, Al Jarreau, Ta Mara and the Seen|
Husney was born on September 8, 1947 in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. The son of Georgette Husney (née Cotlow; 1915–1987) and Irving Husney (1909–1988)—an immigrant from Aleppo, Syria—and the grandson of rabbinic judge Rabbi Eliyahu Husney.
The High SpiritsEdit
While a student at suburban-Minneapolis's St. Louis Park High School after playing in a band called The Treblemen and later The Jaguars with Randy Resnick in 1964, Husney, along with schoolmates Cliff Siegel and Rick Levinson, formed The High Spirits band. Husney played guitar and acted as the band's manager. With the addition of Doug Ahrens, Jay Luttio, and Rick Beresford, they recorded a garage rock version of Bobby "Blue" Bland's Turn On Your Love Light. The single received extensive airplay in on local Top 40 stations WDGY and KDWB, entering the top 10 locally, and eventually gained airplay in other markets including: Kansas, Colorado, Texas, and California.
The band's final performance was on July, 1968 when Siegel headed off for military service.
Promotion and The Ad CompanyEdit
Following the dissolution of The High Spirits, Husney began his career on the business side of the music industry by providing backstage catering to a local Minneapolis venue serving touring acts such as Janis Joplin, Stevie Wonder, The Rolling Stones, and The Who. Husney eventually rented The Marigold Ballroom in Minneapolis, a local art deco club and musical venue, acting as its promoter where he introduced local audiences to national acts including Bonnie Raitt, Billy Joel, Ry Cooder, and Foghat.
The Ad CompanyEdit
In 1973, Husney formed The Ad Company, a retail advertising agency served clientele including Warner Brothers and Doubleday-owned radio stations across the country. One of Husney's runners at The Ad Company was future Prince & The Revolution band member Bobby Z.
Signing Prince to Warner Bros.Edit
In the summer of 1976, small studio owner Chris Moon brought Husney a demo tape by then eighteen-year-old Prince Nelson. Husney built a team around the young artist with the express purpose of making a new demo tape to secure a record contract for the young artist at a major record label, Husney used the resources of his advertising company to create promotional materials including a press kit to go along with a professionally recorded demo tape, recorded by then local engineer David Z at Sound 80 Studios in Minneapolis.
In the summer of 1977, Husney negotiated a three-album contract with Warner Bros., preserving Prince's publishing rights for himself and successfully convincing the record executives to allow Prince to produce his own first album. The contract was signed on June 25, 1977.
In 1980, Husney's management relationship with Prince ended when Prince signed with Bob Cavallo and Joe Ruffalo.
Husney ran several record labels in association with Capitol Records, A&M Records and Sony. He also co-organized music for the John Hughes films, “The Breakfast Club” and “Pretty in Pink,” earning gold album awards for each.
In 2018, Husney published "Famous People Who've Met Me", an autobiographical book about his early days, discovering Prince, working with Al Jarreau and others. The publisher describes the book as a "collection of true stories starring oddball characters, behind the scenes gurus, scoundrels, and brilliant superstars in the music business straight out of Minnesota."
- Protzman, Bob (April 21, 2016) [First published 1977]. "From the Archives: 18-year-old Prince signs first record deal". TwinCities.com. Twin Cities Pioneer Press. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
- Laniado, Hacham David (March 2005). Aleppo City of Scholars. Mesorah Publications. p. 223. ISBN 1-57819-056-8.
- Bennett, Kim Taylor. "The Man Who Discovered Prince". noisey.vice.com. Vice Media. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
- ""FAB 40" Week Ending August 14, 1965". www.oldiesloon.com. Music Loon. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
- "High Spirits". minniepaulmusic.com. Minniepaul Music. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
- "Owen Husney (author page)". rothcopress.com. Rothco Press. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
- "A Soldier in Prince's Revolution". mspmag.com. MSP Magazine. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
- Nilsen, Per (1993). Prince. Omnibus Press. p. 10. ISBN 0-7119-3179-8.
- Draper, Jason (2016). Prince: Life and Times. Book Sales. p. 11–16. ISBN 978-0-76035363-9.
- Husney, Owen (2018). Famous People Who've Met Me. Rothco Press. ISBN 9781945436208. Retrieved 1 June 2018.