Grelun Landon

 the man in the mirror -

Reflecting back on you

MUSIC INDUSTRY EXECUTIVE GRELUN LANDON DIES

Member of Elvis Presley's Inner Circle Remembered As  Influential Friend and Mentor

 NASHVILLE, Tenn., February 6, 2004 - Grelun Landon, 80, a music industry veteran who helped guide the career of Elvis Presley, and the longtime West Coast Head of Publicity for RCA Records, died peacefully on February 2 in Ojai, Calif.

Born in Marion, Ohio, on November 19, 1923, Landon served in World War II and graduated from the University of Southern California with a major in journalism.  In the 1950s, as vice president with Hill & Range Music in New York, he worked with many top stars of the Grand Ole Opry, including Hank Snow and Johnny Cash. He was among the first to recognize the dimensions of Elvis Presley's talent.  Eight months after first hearing Presley perform at the Jimmie Rodgers Festival in Meridian, Miss., Landon hosted a tour of New York City for Presley when the young singer arrived to make his national television debut.

 A self-effacing legend at RCA Records for more than 20 years  beginning in  the 1960s, Landon demonstrated an uncanny ability to work with a diverse group of artists, including Presley, Hall & Oates, David Bowie, Waylon Jennings and Jefferson Airplane.   Among his duties was the management of RCA's relationship between Presley and his manager, Col. Tom Parker.

Landon became the trusted confidant of both men.

>With Irwin Stambler, Landon co-authored Country Music: The Encyclopedia, first published in 1969 and currently in its third edition.  He served on a National Academy of Recording Arts and Science (NARAS) selection committee for the Grammy Awards.

Landon was an active trustee of the Country Music Hall of FameŽ and Museum from 1971 to 1989.  He served the Museum's Board of Officers and Trustees as President in 1976 and held many other Board offices through the years.

 He was named a Trustee Emeritus in 1996.

 "Grelun Landon was among the first to understand the importance of building our collection," said Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Director Kyle Young, who first joined the Museum staff while Landon was a Trustee.  "Early on, he had a vision for what the Museum could be and made important contributions to our development as one of the premier popular culture research centers in the world. He was a great friend to the Museum and an inspiration to the staff."

 In the '70s, in cooperation with Parker, Landon arranged for RCA Records' donation of Elvis Presley's "Solid Gold" Cadillac Fleetwood 75 limousine to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum collection.  Appointed with a stereo, bar, shoeshine kit and other then-modern accoutrements, the car drew large crowds when it toured nationally in the '60s during Presley's hiatus from performing.  Now on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, it remains one of the institution's most popular exhibits. Other important Museum acquisitions during Landon's tenure as a Trustee include the mural Sources of Country of Music, the last work by American  artist Thomas Hart Benton; and the l5,000-disc collection of  pre-World War II country recordings from early collector and master discographer Bob Pinson.  The collection was insured for $l million for transport by tractor-trailer from Los Angles to Nashville, and Landon generated considerable publicity for the cross-country trip. (The Museum's Pinson collection became the foundation of what is now one of the world's largest and most significant collections of recorded country music.)

Landon is remembered as a mentor and an inspiration to many young writers and record company executives.

"He was the most generous of friends without ever calling attention to himself," said Peter Guralnick, author of the Presley biographies Careless Love and Last Train to Memphis.  "In his own reserved and sometimes inscrutable way, he was a true mentor, who taught by gesture and example."

Landon is survived by two daughters, Anne and Jennifer, son Christopher, and three granddaughters, Miranda, Jessica and Kendra.  Services are private.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, 222 Fifth Avenue South, Nashville, Tenn. 37203.

3160 Loma Vista Road

Ventura, California 93003

Phone: 8056462335

Fax:8056468835

E-mail:landon@rain.org

 

Grelun Landon, A Country Music Advocate, Dies

Grelun Landon, a music industry veteran who helped guide the career of a young Elvis Presley, and the long time West Coast Head of Publicity for RCA Records, died peacefully on February 2nd in Ojai, California. He was 80 years old.
Born in Marion, Ohio on November 19, 1923, Landon served in World War II and graduated USC with a major in journalism.  In the 1950s, as a vice president with Hill & Range Music in New York, he worked with many top stars of the Grand Ole Opry, including Hank Snow and Johnny Cash, and after seeing him perform at the Jimmy Rogers Festival in Meridian, Mississippi in 1955, was among the earliest to recognize the dimensions of Elvis Presley's talent.  Eight months later, when Presley came to New York for his first appearance on national television, Landon showed the young singer around New York.  As a board member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, Landon was closely involved with the acquisition of the Bob Pinson record collection, the core of the Hall of Fames collection of recorded music.  Over the years, he held many offices at the Hall of Fame, including Secretary, Vice-President and President.   In 1974, he arranged for the donation of
Elvis Presley's 1960 solid gold Cadillac to the Hall of Fame, a car that had drawn large crowds when sent out on tour in Presley's place in the 1960s, and which Landon had stored in his garage.  In 1996 he was named Trustee Emeritus of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.  He served on the NARAS selection committee for the Grammy Awards.  With Irwin Stambler, Landon was the co-author of Country Music: The Encyclopedia, first published in 1969, currently in its third edition.
A self-effacing legend at RCA Records for more than 20 years, Landon demonstrated an uncanny ability to work with a diverse group of artists, including Presley, Hall & Oates, David Bowie, Waylon Jennings and the Jefferson Airplane.  Behind the scenes, he also was a mentor and an inspiration to many young writers and record company executives.
"He was the most generous of friends", said writer
Peter Guralnick, author of Presley biographies "Careless Love" and "Last Train to Memphis", without ever calling attention to himself.  In his own reserved and sometimes inscrutable way he was a true mentor, who taught by gesture and example."
  Landon is survived by two daughters, Anne and Jennifer, and a son, Christopher, as well as three grand-daughters, Miranda, Jessica and Kendra.  Service are private. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to:  
Country Music Foundation

 

I hope that you'll add to this page by mailing thoughts and memories to landon@rain.org or 3160 Loma Vista Road, Ventura, California 93003

On behalf of the biologic family, I'd like to thank John Mankiewicz and Paula Batson for helping us put together the information for these reflections. Grelun had many sons, the majority of whom were not biologic. He raised them from pups, feeding them friendship and loyalty and always supportive. If there wasn't enough of that, he fed them press kits and sandwiches as fledgling college newspaper writers and future archivists. There were other progeny ready to rise on their own, bringing their will and spirit, learning at his distracting knee, and always loyal friends in return. As the biologic son, I heard and felt his pride in their triumphs and tribulations. In his later years it was sad to me that he didn't think that they would see him as he still was, a kind, soft spoken (okay, he mumbled his whole life to draw you in), punster - an angry outlaw feeling driven to hide out in his failing shell. In spite of this you all managed to try and contact him in some way and he appreciated every letter, Country Music Foundation newsletter, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Grammy invitation, and seemingly unanswered voice message.

 

 

http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-passings7.2feb07,1,2605587.story?coll=la-news-obituaries

Grelun Landon, 80; RCA Publicist Helped Develop Elvis' Career

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

February 7, 2004

Grelun Landon, 80, a veteran music industry official and longtime head of West Coast publicity for RCA Records who was an early supporter and helped develop the career of Elvis Presley, died Monday in Ojai. The cause of death was not reported.

A native of Marion, Ohio, Landon graduated from USC with a major in journalism. In the 1950s, as vice president of Hill & Range Music in New York, he worked with many of the top stars of the Grand Ole Opry, including Hank Snow and Johnny Cash. He was among the first to recognize the dimensions of Presley's talent and led a tour of New York City for the young singer.

Landon went to work for RCA Records, becoming the label's liaison with Presley and his manager, Col. Tom Parker.

From 1971 to 1989, Landon was an active trustee of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

In the 1970s, in cooperation with Parker, Landon arranged for RCA Records' donation of Presley's "solid gold" Cadillac Fleetwood 75 limousine to the museum's collection.

With Irwin Stambler, Landon co-wrote "The Encyclopedia of Folk, Country and Western Music," now in its third edition.

View from the desk A Day With Daughter Jennifer