Solar Records Founder Griffey Dies

Dick Griffey, 66, founder of Solar Records, died in Los Angeles Sept. 24 from complications following quadruple bypass surgery.

He was a co-owner and talent buyer for a South L.A. nightclub in the ’60s, then branched out to urban concert promotion, becoming the city’s “Kingpin of Soul Promoters,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

He promoted tours for Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5 and others. He eventually promoted music in Africa.

“Professionally, I could not talk about my life without there being a chapter on how Dick Griffey, as a promoter, helped build my career,” Wonder said in a statement.

Solar churned out R&B and dance hits from acts like Shalamar (which included Jody Watley), Klymaxx and Babyface.

Founded in 1977, Solar (ie “Sounds of Los Angeles Records”) ceased operations in the late ’90s and its catalog was acquired by EMI. Griffey, a former talent coordinator for “Soul Train,” continued to be involved in music and had relationships with Death Row Records, Ruthless Records and acts like Eazy-E and Dr. Dre.

Many of those relationships became litigious.