Liberty’s Waronker Dies

Liberty Records founder Simon Waronker died of natural causes at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif., June 7th.

Waronker, 90, was a Los Angeles native who trained as a classical violinist in Europe in the 1930s. He performed with the 20th Century Fox Orchestra and served as orchestra contractor for the studio until he founded Liberty Records in 1955.

The label had a diverse artist roster including novelty act Alvin & The Chipmunks, Jan & Dean, Johnny Burnett, Julie London, and Eddie Cochran, to name a few. Waronker sold Liberty in 1963 to electronics company Avnet for $12 million.

His son Lenny Waronker was president of Warner Bros. Records and is a former partner of DreamWorks Records.