Thursday, June 06, 2019

RIP Gary Stewart (Rhino Records)

Rhino Records.  If you were into the revitalization of the Rock 'n' Roll canon in the 80's, then that name will bring back fond memories.  And all you have to do is glance at your CD collection, and find a bunch of Rhino product on your shelves.

Gary Stewart was part of the Rhino team in the 80's/90's that sparked a reissue revolution of genres past.  If you own Rhino product, the name Gary Stewart was very familiar to you.  At Rhino, Stewart helped compiled incredible anthologies and compilations on artists and genres that were in dire need of reappraisal.

Gary Stewart died on April 12 of this year from suicide.  And it's taken me a whole month to get the nostalgia of the Rhino era out of my brain to pay tribute to him.  Right now I'm listening to a Spotify playlist of artists that Stewart loved.  It's diverse, as expected, with Glen Campbell, Neko Case, Love, Tom Jones, Howard Tate.

This is what made me a Rhino fanatic in the glory years of the CD revolution.  Here was a company that had employees who thought along the same lines as me when it came to compilations.  Funk, Disco, Country, 80's forgotten hits and of course Rhino's greatest achievement, the Have A Nice Day series on 70's one hit wonder and AM Pop gems.  What all these genre comps & artist anthologies did was turn the initial Rock era canon upside down.

Pre-Internet the Rhino catalog was the greatest thing that could show up in your mailbox.  And a trip to Tower records was soon followed.

If the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame had any imagination when it came to the Non-Performer category than they would acknowledge Stewart and along with Rhino founders Richard Foos, Harold Bronson.  And remastering genius Bill Inglot.

Gary Stewart's death is tragedy for all music lovers who still believe that great compilation and anthology is still out there.  Stewart & Rhino were music nerds' best friends.  The next great music mix is still out there.  They should all be dedicated to Stewart and the genius' from Rhino Records.
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