Sol Saffian Dies

Sol Saffian, 68, died in Nashville July 21st after a long battle with cancer. Saffian had a career as a booking agent that spanned 50 years, progressing through the genres of rock ‘n’ roll, black and country acts, representing artists as diverse as Louis Armstrong and Reba McEntire.

Saffian was co-founder of American Talent International – one of the top rock agencies of the ’70s – where he and partners Jeff Franklin and Ira Blacker represented Rod Stewart, Deep Purple, ZZ Top, Three Dog Night, KISS, Rush, and John Kay & Steppenwolf, among others.

He began his career in the mailroom at General Artists Corp. in 1958, then moved to Associated Booking Corp. where he worked with his mentor, Joe Glaser, and founded a “youth department” where he signed Jackie Wilson, The Dave Clark Five, The Rascals, and Neil Diamond. He was one of the first high-profile agents to demand equal pay for African-American artists and wouldn’t patronize whites-only establishments.

After ATI, Saffian ran the urban music department at the William Morris Agency before moving into the realm of country, first as a manager then as a Nashville agent for WMA and Buddy Lee Attractions. Saffian retired in 1996 after receiving two Pollstar Third Coast Agent of the Year awards in 1990 and ’92.

A funeral service will be held 11 a.m. July 28th at Mission Hills, Calif.’s Groman-Eden Memorial Park. A memorial service is scheduled in Nashville August 3rd at 5:30 p.m. at Valentino’s Restaurant.

In lieu of flowers, his family asks for donations in his name to Alive Hospice, 1718 Patterson St., Nashville TN 37203.