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Music Visionary Frank Fenter Inducted Into
The Georgia Music Hall Of Fame
By Ron Holland – The Georgia Music Channel
Contributions & Photos: Rob Duner-Fenter
View More Photos Below
Frank Fenter was a man of strength, conviction and vision. He proved that when he left South
Africa when he was only 22 years old arriving in England broke, but not broken. In the early 60's,
he began booking bands such as The Rolling Stones, The Animals and others well before they
became popular and had recording deals. In 1964 he would head up Chappell Music Publishing,
Liberty-Imperial Records, Chess Music and became head of Atlantic Records in the UK. Only six
months later he became Managing Director of Atlantic Records for all of Europe, implementing
his keen vision promoting British music, and helping make Atlantic Records the most important
American label in promoting British Rock N Roll music, according to the late Ahmet Ertegun,
co-founder and Chairman of Atlantic Records and the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame.
While at Atlantic, Fenter was instrumental in helping sign Led Zeppelin, Yes and King Crimson in
his capacity as Managing Director of European operations and had a yearning and distinct love
for R & B music, bringing the "Hit The Road Stax" tour to Europe which included artists Sam &
Dave, Otis Redding and Booker T and the MGs. People still talk about the legendary
performance by Otis Redding in London. The shows were so popular that not only the fans were
scrambling for tickets, but The Beatles sent a limo to pick up the Stax crew after the shows.
There's rumor that Paul McCartney kissed the ring of Steve Cropper, Booker T and the MGs
guitarist, amazed by his incredible guitar performances. As a result of the insight and vision by
by Fenter, the tour was recorded and Stax Records, a division of Atlantic, album sales soared.
Seven of the eleven albums went to gold certification.
Fenter was only getting started with his amazing ability to manage and execute for the music
industry. In 1969, he helped launch Capricorn Records with Phil and Alan Walden in Macon, GA
structuring a distribution deal with Atlantic Records via Ahmet Ertegun. Phil and Alan would focus
on artist management while Fenter focused on the business aspects and promotions for the
label. Capricorn would go on to sign numerous recording artists and create a new genre -
Southern Rock, creating an important part of Rock N Roll history. A few artists in the Capricorn
stable signed by Walden and Fenter were The Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker Band,
Wet Willie, Hydra, Sea Level (Chuck Leavell, who is now The Rolling Stones’ keyboardist),
Stillwater, Dixie Dregs, Alex Taylor and many others. Capricorn Records became one of the most
successful and widely known labels in the country during this era earning over seventeen gold
and nine platinum album certifications.
While negotiating a deal between Capricorn and Warner Brothers on July 21, 1983, Fenter
would die from a heart attack in his office at Capricorn Records in Macon, GA. He was 47
Frank Fenter is being inducted into the Georgia Music Hall Of Fame October 11, 2014. His
contributions to the music industry are still being felt and appreciated by many fans and music
artists around the world. Rob Duner-Fenter told us, "I am overjoyed that my father is finally
getting recognized for his important legacy in the music world. He was a great father and, as his
only son, it is an honor to share his story."
Chuck Leavell, keyboardist for the Rolling Stones and former Allman Brothers Band member and
Capricorn artist told Ron Holland with The Georgia Music Channel, "Frank had this great
combination of suave, humor, intelligence, sympathy, and dedication to his artists and to the
craft of making records and bringing live music to the public. He always played a game of
“win-win” when negotiating deals. He wanted all parties to walk out feeling good. I loved him for
that. I also loved him for his willingness to help others. He certainly helped me many times when
I was broke in my early days in Macon…trying to make it in the music world but having difficulty
paying the bills and even having enough money to find a decent meal. I would go to Frank’s
office…tell him the situation….and he would leave me for a few minutes, and come back with a
check for fifty or a hundred bucks. He co-signed my first purchase of a Hammond B3 organ and
Leslie speaker. But most importantly….he supported and encouraged me on a personal level.
He would tell me to stick with it…keep playing and exploring and experimenting and would tell me
that it would all work out. Frank even fostered the relationship between my wife, Rose Lane, and
me. Rose Lane worked for Frank and Capricorn and when we finally started dating he told me
“Chuck, Rose Lane is a very special girl…smart, sophisticated… if I were you I’d play it cool and
hang on to her. He was right on all counts… thanks, Frank…I miss you, ‘bro."
Comments Regarding Frank Fenter And His Induction Into The Georgia Music Hall Of
“I was always so impressed with Frank—he at all times acquitted himself with integrity, candor
Clive Davis, former President of CBS Records and Founder & President of Arista
“Frank Fenter—my friend, my confidant, my running partner, to put it in the language of the
streets. And that is what Frank was all about—street people, ordinary folk and the music that put
joy where there was pain and replaced frowns with smiles.…One of a kind they say. And they
never said it with more truth than when it was said of him.…I am lucky, Frank and I shared a walk
on the mountaintop. The view was beautiful. The air was heady. It was euphoric. We shared what
few people will ever know. We knew how to laugh together and learned how to cry together. I am
fortune because no one can take these memories.”
"Frank Fenter left Atlantic in 1969 to join Phil Walden in Macon, Georgia, where they put
together a new record company called Capricorn. We were completely supportive of the idea of
Phil and Frank creating a label together that we would be involved in and that we would
distribute. Together, Phil and Frank formed a great team.”
Ahmet Ertegun Co-founder & Chairman of Atlantic Records and Rock N Roll Hall of
"Frank had this great combination of suave, humor, intelligence, sympathy, and dedication to his
artists and to the craft of making records and bringing live music to the public. He always played
a game of “win-win” when negotiating deals. He wanted all parties to walk out feeling good. I
loved him for that. I also loved him for his willingness to help others. He certainly helped me
many times when I was broke in my early days in Macon…trying to make it in the music world but
having difficulty paying the bills and even having enough money to find a decent meal. I would
go to Frank’s office…tell him the situation….and he would leave me for a few minutes, and come
back with a check for fifty or a hundred bucks. He co-signed my first purchase of a Hammond B3
organ and Leslie speaker. But most importantly….he supported and encouraged me on a
personal level. He would tell me to stick with it…keep playing and exploring and experimenting
and would tell me that it would all work out. Frank even fostered the relationship between my
wife, Rose Lane, and me. Rose Lane worked for Frank and Capricorn and when we finally
started dating he told me “Chuck, Rose Lane is a very special girl…smart, sophisticated…if I
were you I’d play it cool and hang on to her. He was right on all counts…thanks, Frank…I miss
Chuck Leavell, former Allman Brothers Band, Sea Level and Rolling Stones band
“I remember Frank so well, he was the spark that got us into the wonderful world of Atlantic and
Ahmet Ertegun, and from then on a leap into the amazing life I have had, know that your father
was very present in the involvement of the music of the band, always smiling and helpful in so
many ways...he deserves to be in many halls of fame.”
Jon Anderson, co-founder and lead singer of YES
“Frank was the wheels that made the operation run. He was a mover and shaker with Integrity. He
understood the creative process, but he also knew how to make things happen on the business
Bobby Whitlock, former member of Eric Clapton's Derek and the Dominos, Delanie and
Bonnie and Capricorn Recording artist.
"No one was like Frank Fenter. He deserves alot of recognition that he never got. One of the
smartest men I have ever met. He was always a gentle man. Lots of class, always."
Colonel Bruce Hampton, former Capricorn Recording artist
“It’s long overdue,......he should have been recognized long before now.” (Source: Macon Telegraph)
Alan Walden, 2003 Inductee, Georgia Music Hall Of Fame.
“Our group, Wet Willie came to Capricorn through Frank. In fact, it was Frank who actually gave
us the name Wet Willie, which I have to say is an unforgettable name whether you liked the
music or not. After we played two songs, Frank said “Delightful. Come in Monday morning and
we will sign the papers.” Total gentleman is the operative word for Frank. He was kind and had a
warm, sincere demeanor, he always made you feel important, he was "The elegant Captain of
Rick Hirsch, co-founder of Wet Willie, former Capricorn artist
"Frank Fenter-- I see a smile. He always was the one who smoothed out the many problems.
Where some might get a little excited & lose focus, Frank remained relatively calm, saw the
line of least resistance or a little turmoil was worth the fight. Frank loved to celebrate life, it
came through in his smile. A fine man that helped the cause of music and musicians."
Tommy Talton, Cowboy, former Capricorn artist.
From 1972 to '76, I was VP of Promotions for Capricorn. It was Frank Fenter
who taught myself and artist mgr. Phil Walden the executive side of the record business during
those years of expansion. He was the power behind the scene at Capricorn and everyone in
the company knew it. In my opinion, Frank Fenter is long overdue for entry into the GMHOF.
Sincerely, Dick Wooley, former VP of Capricorn
“As Managing Director of Atlantic Records for Europe, your father was at the forefront of
bringing the iconic progressive British bands to America, Yes; Genesis; Led Zeppelin; that had
such a huge impact on establishing Atlantic as the greatest label of a great era, he was
obviously a very talented music man.”
Steve Nardelli, Founding member of Pre YES with Chris Squire
"Frank was a significant figure in rock n roll, and was a major mover and influence in Southern
rock. His label, Capricorn Records, was one of those labels that had a cache that few labels
ever achieve and that all labels strive to attain. It was trailblazing, respected and successful. He
and Phil WERE Capricorn. Frank was a visionary, a gentleman, a consummate professional, a
nice guy, a rock and roll pioneer, and a legend to many."
Rick Bleiweiss, Former BMG/Polygram/Arista & Polygram Executive
Dear Senator Mullis:
I am entering my support for Frank Fenter's inclusion into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
Frank was the number 2 power behind Capricorn Records next to Phil Walden and was
responsible for signing the Marshall Tucker Band to the label. I will always be grateful in this
feat alone, as the group was a huge part of my career.
Sincerely, Paul Hornsby, former Capricorn Records Producer
"There was a time when money was thin and an urge to sell off a few bands’ recording rights
and, at my urging, and the urging of Frank Fenter, the decision to keep The Marshall Tucker
Band was made. Thus more great music came from the decision."
Alex Hodges, COO CEO, Nederlander and former President of Paragon Booking Agency
"Frank is so deserving to be in the Georgia Music Hall of Fame."
Dickey Betts, co-founder of The Allman Brothers Band and former Capricorn artist
"FRANK FENTER was The Man. He knew the game and played it well--FEARLESSLY. He was
also a great man. The music business needs more cats like FRANK FENTER!"
John D. Wyker, former Capricorn session musician and founder of the band Sailcat
"I got along real well with Frank. We saw eye to eye on a lot of things. Like we both felt that the
early fans of The Marshall Tucker Band would always remain fans. Frank was very important to
the career of the MTB and a good guy."
Doug Gray, Co-founder of The Marshall Tucker Band and former Capricorn artist
(Above featured comments courtesy of Robin Duner-Fenter)
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Interview With Ahmet Ertegun,
Co-founder and Chairman of Atlantic Records and Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame