Celebrating The Life Of George Butler

I happened to catch the news of the passing of a music industry legend, George Butler. I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Butler when I started working at Columbia Records in the 90’s. His name in the 550 Madison building was legendary and I remember him also for his dress. This was back in the day when your suit said it all. This guy was a legend so you can imagine the horror when I could barely find news on his departure. So I hit my digital network and connected with one of my “uncles” Vernon Slaughter who was kind enough to share this with us

My friend, James Andrews has graciously allowed me the space to share a few
words about the passing of a great man and a truly key influence in the
recording industry.

Dr. George Butler passed away on Wednesday, April 9, 2008. He had been long
suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia and his last few years were very
difficult. It’s sheer irony that a disease that literally makes you forget
who you are would take from us a man who accomplished so very many
unforgettable things. From signing and producing Wynton and Branford
Marsalis, Harry Connick, Jr., Ronnie Laws, Bobbi Humphries, Marlena Shaw,
Ramsey Lewis, Nancy Wilson, Ronnie Foster, The Heath Brothers and so many
more while at Blue Note Records and Columbia Records. George lectured
extensively at many colleges and universities over the world. He was
totally unselfish about sharing his knowledge.

While at Columbia Records, George develop a reputation of being extremely
accessible (as well as being an extremely sharp dresser). He along with
Bruce Lundvall and myself formed the core of Jazz and Progressive Music
during the 70s and 80s while at Columbia. During that period, we dealt with
the cream of the crop including the above-referenced artists as well as
Herbie Hancock, Weather Report, George Duke, Return to Forever, Stanley
Clarke, Miles Davis, Hubert Laws and so many more.

During his final years, George was taken care of by his sister, Jacqueline
Butler Hairston. This wonderful woman deserves tremendous credit for the
sacrifices she made solely out of love for her brother. We must not
forget the many contributions on behalf of this art form made by Dr. George

Vernon Slaughter


2 Responses to “Celebrating The Life Of George Butler”

  1. 1 Demmette Guidry
    April 17, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    I was saddened by the news of Dr. George’s passing. I joined Columbia records in early 1990, before CBS Records became Sony Music, and had the privilege to work with Dr. George Butler. In my journey to the senior executive offices at Columbia Records I developed my “executive brand” based on what I gleaned from the pioneering music executives Dr. George Butler and La Baron Taylor. What I remember most about Dr. George was how he carried himself with dignity and class. He was a no non-sense professional who was very passionate about the music and the artist he served. It’s amazing to me how so few of today’s “industry cats” REALLY know whose shoulders they stand on…I feel truly blessed and I thank God for allowing me to witness and learn from “real” music executives. Dr. George was a true music man whose impact, contributions, and musical legacy will never be forgotten!

  2. 2 Jean Estes ALL MUSIC MATTERS
    September 10, 2008 at 3:42 am

    Just by accident, I happened to learn through your website about Dr. Butler’s passing. He indeed was a legend. It was my brief pleasure to talk with Dr. Bulter regarding Mike Brannon and TRUE DIVERSITY some time ago. What a great and true gentleman.

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