Carole King Presenter for Don Kirshner at 27th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Carole King presented the Ahmet Ertegun Lifetime Achievement Award for Don Kirshner at the 27th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, on April 14, 2012.

Don Kirshner was a music-industry impresario like no other. His various roles included music publisher, music director, record-company executive and TV producer and host. Kirshner protégé Neil Diamond declared, “The music business never had a better supporter.”

He started out writing songs and ad jingles with Bobby Darin. In 1958, Kirshner cofounded Aldon Music, the top music publisher of the Brill Building era, with partner Al Nevins. Kirshner had a knack for finding and nurturing talented songwriters and for matching songs with singers. Time magazine called Kirshner “the Man with the Golden Ear.”

Songwriting teams that worked for Aldon included Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. He also published songs written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and Jeff Barry.

By 1962, there were 18 songwriters on Aldon’s payroll. Writers Greg Shaw and Dawn Eden described the Aldon office as “a beehive of activity, as more cubicles were added, each with its own standup piano and filled with a growing staff of young writers.” Classics of the rock and roll era published by Kirshner include the Righteous Brothers’  “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” and the Shirelles’ “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.” He also ran several record labels – Dimension, Colpix, Colgems, Chairman, Calendar and Kirshner – scoring numerous hits during the girl-group era and, in the mid-Sixties, with the Monkees. Tony Orlando, who got his start with Kirshner, noted, “This is a man who created the cornerstones of American pop music as we know it today.”

Don Kirshner passed away on January 17, 2011