Friday, 7 December 2007

Mel Cheren (Obituary)

Mel Cheren (Born January 21, 1933 in Everett, Massachusetts and raised in Revere - Died December 07, 2007)

Former Financial Backer of The Paradise Garage, C.E.O. of West End Records,
Trendsetter, Owner Colonial House Inn, Founder and President 24 Hours For Life Foundation, Philanthropist, Painter.

Mel Cheren began his career in the music business in 1959 at ABC-Paramount Records where he eventually became head of the label's production department.
When the company moved operations to Los Angeles in 1970, Cheren left to become head of production for Scepter Records where he forged new territory: forming an early record pool (David Mancuso, Vince Aletti and Steve D’Aquisto inititated the very first one) and the first to release instrumental mixes on 12" B-sides…

When Scepter closed in 1976, Mel co-founded West End Records and soon after signed Karen Young, whose single "Hot Shot" sold 800,000 copies making it one of the biggest selling 12" in history.

Though respected for his record label, Cheren was loved by many for making possible one of the world's most revered nightclubs, The Paradise Garage. He was the financial backer for the club which was owned and operated by his former partner, Michael Brody. Cheren's relationship with the club's influential DJ Larry Levan blossomed, resulting in some of the most memorable records to come out of the late 1970's and early 1980's.

Cheren was a very dedicated AIDS awareness activists in the US, in 1982 he became very actively involved with the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC). Cheren's philanthropic efforts remained an integral part of his life and in 1987 he formed 24 Hours For Life, a not-for-profit organization of media and music professionals which produced fundraising events for AIDS relief and education.

Summer 2000 saw the release of Cheren's autobiographycal book "Keep On Dancin' (My Life and The Paradise Garage)".
Cheren was also an accomplished painter. His art works has been featured on ten different album covers, five of these were nominated for Grammy Awards. All profits from his paintings goes to charity.


In Memoriam - Mel Cheren

"LIFEbeat mourns the passing of lifetime Board member and great friend Mel Cheren, who died December 7. Mel was a tireless activist in the fight against AIDS and a true visionary in the music industry. While Mel is no longer with us, his spirit lives on in the hearts of all who knew or were influenced by him."
Source: LifeBeat

"It is with much sadness that we announce the passing of a true legend Mel Cheren. A founder of West End Records, Mel ushered in the disco generation and was involved with the monumental Paradise Garage. He is both a role model and a truly nice guy who always wanted everyone to be part of the party.

I strongly recommend that everyone pick up a copy of Mel Cheren's book Keep on Dancin': My Life and the Paradise Garage - a truly magical recount of gay history and a wonderful introduction to DJ Culture (you can read where Junior Vasquez and the other first generation New York DJ's got their start).
"

Source: DJ Ron Slomowicz About.com (Dance Music/Electronica section)

"Mel was warm, witty, and sweet. He loved music, truly supported artists, and never tired of looking for talented newcomers to promote. He revolutionized dance music, opened one of the greatest nightclubs in history, and used his energies and resources to help in the fight against AIDS for 25 years. When you go out tonight – and you should – blow a kiss to the disco ball and remember a wonderful man."
Source: Chip Duckett at WOW Report


For these out here still ignoring who Mel Cheren incarnated,
check the more detailed biography at West-End Records, one of, if not my favorite disco record label.

The Book: My Life and The Paradise Garage : Keep On Dancin'
The Motion Picture: The Godfather of Disco (2007)
Dedication Is Your Message : Our Love Is The Answer, is another Interview for In Da Mix Worldwide.
Mel talk about West End Records at disco-disco.com

Other links with articles relating to Mel Cheren from
- The Disco Unusual Social Club
- West End Records Discography.
- The Film : The Godfather of Disco
- Mel talks frankly about his illness
- Obituary at Disco Delivery
- West End Records



*_°

Mel is gone in Heaven!
Leaving us Paradise,
already behind…

But also the vibes,
supportive spirit,
some art,
some words

and of course the music,
all …

Unforgettable.

Rest in peace, Mel.

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