S.O.L.A.R. Records founder Dick Griffey has passed away. Griffey — who is credited with discovering Jody Watley, Howard Hewett and Jeffrey Daniel, who formed Shalamar — died from complications after undergoing quadruple-bypass heart surgery. After serving as a promoter and talent coordinator for Soul Train and producing hits for Soul Train records with Don Cornelius, Griffey started S.O.L.A.R. Records, which produced legendary music groups the Whispers, the Spinners, Lakeside, Shalamar and the Deele, featuring Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and L.A. Reid. S.O.L.A.R. stood for “Sound of Los Angeles,” which reflected Griffey’s ability to merge funk and soul while creating crossover appeal to pop charts. The music kept its integrity and black musical roots while satisfying a wide variety of musical tastes. He was able to put together wonderful groups with amazing levels of individual talent. Griffey is considered a music mogul who earned the praise and ire of artists who worked with him because of his no-holds-barred approach to business. He has regularly been featured in TV One’s Unsung series. He is survived by his wife, Carrie, children and grandchildren.
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