He never tires of discovering new talent and innovative sounds.
Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
Founder and Chairman, The Orchard
Favorite Professors: Fredericka Blankner and Chester Barrows
Favorite Classes: “History and the classics, and fencing and ballet!”
Member of: Delta Phi Gamma
Adelphi memories: “Little things opened new doors for me.”
Advice for students: “Always pay attention to the experience.”
An Ear for Talent
Ask Richard Gottehrer what’s on his iPod, and you might be in for a few surprises. Despite a songwriting/ producing career spent working with folk, rock, and punk icons including the GoGos, Blondie, and Joan Armatrading, today he is just as likely to unwind with Hawaiian slack guitar and 1920s French Caberet music.
In 1961, he and an Adelphi fraternity brother founded their first production company. In 1963 an impromptu writing session with two other writing partners, Bob Feldman and Jerry Goldstein, led to “My Boyfriend’s Back,” which brought the Angels to the top of the charts, and introduced him to music industry success.
Confident from their #1 single, Mr. Gottehrer and the co-writers of “My Boyfriend’s Back,” took the stage as performers. As The Strangeloves, they introduced the catchy 1965 hit single “I Want Candy,” covered by Bow Wow Wow, in the 80’s and now frequently featured in films, TV and commercials .
In 1966, he founded Sire Records with Seymour Stein, and slowly raised the new label’s profile through shrewd management and a sound ear for the music business. He left Sire in 1976, and he watched proudly as his former company went on to sign artists including Madonna, the Talking Heads, the Pretenders, and Depeche Mode. Sire was eventually acquired by Warner Music.
Realizing that he wanted to get back to producing, Mr. Gottehrer began devoting himself to discovering new talent in New York’s clubs and stages. One night in 1976 he met a self-assured young woman in a trench coat in CBGB’s. A partnership was born, and the following year Blondie’s self-titled debut album was a Richard Gottehrer production. He went on to produce such artists such as The Go Go’s, Joan Armatrading, and currently The Raveonettes. His songs have been recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis, David Bowie, J Giles, and Aaron Carter, among many others.
His enthusiasm for exploration and discovering new music drew him to the just emerging world of the Internet and how it related to music in the mid-1990s. Together with Scott Cohen he founded The Orchard, a licensor and distributor of independent music. Over time, The Orchard became the world’s largest supplier of independent music to the growing world of music download services by supplying it’s content to all the DMS’s such as, iTunes, eMusic, MSN, and Real Networks Rhapsody, as well as mobile ringtone providers, television and internet media firms. The Orchard’s music is found wherever digital music is sold.
In 2003, The Orchard was acquired by Dimensional Associates and for the past three years, Mr. Gottehrer has served as chairman and as resident music business expert. Since the acquisition the catalogue has grown from 200,000 titles to over 1,000,000. Never tiring of discovering new talent and innovative sounds, Mr. Gottehrer travels around the world bringing unique vision and unmatched diversity to any discussion of the future of music as it applies the business and our daily lives.
When he sold The Orchard in 2003, Mr. Gottehrer was a little taken aback to receive his first paycheck. “Up until then I had gotten royalty checks, or just drawn money from one of my businesses. I didn’t really know what to do with it.” It’s hard to imagine a more perfect picture of the entrepreneur who built a career on his terms, one song at a time.
At Adelphi, Mr. Gottehrer played in several student bands, but never planned on a career in music. After becoming the first in his family to receive a college degree, in history, in 1962, Mr. Gottehrer enrolled in Brooklyn Law School. However, it didn’t take long for his musical roots and talent to lead him away from a law degree and into the excitement of the nascent rock + roll scene in New York. “The early sixties were still an innocent generation, you could still write simple songs for a simpler time and music was everywhere.”
Mr. Gottehrer lives in Nyack, New York with his wife. He continues to be active in the discovery of new musical talent, surprised as he says, “to still be doing this after all these years.”
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