THE FIRST THE BEST NEVER DUPLICATED HISTORIC
Donald W. Blocker
Director of A & R Liberty Records 1963 -1967
Donald Wayne Blocker was born September 14, 1932, in Omaha Nebraska. As a young man he dreamed of becoming an actor and in 1956, moved to Hollywood, California, and auditioned for several studios. At this time he worked at various odd jobs and found employment at Wallach's Music, a large music store and record shop located at Sunset & Vine, in Hollywood. It was here that he met future record executive, Snuff Garrett. Garrett knew Al Bennett, former VP of Dot Records, who at the time, was head of Hart Distributors (a large record distributor) in Los Angeles. Bennett hired Blocker as a local record promotion salesman. In 1963 Bennett moved to Liberty Records as Vice President, reponsible for the business side of the small independent record company. He hired Blocker to head up Liberty's national promotion department. It was in this capacity that Blocker found the dynamics that he hungered for and his dream of an acting career was put on hold.
Under Bennett's leadership , Liberty quickly became the largest and most successful independent record label in Hollywood, with a string of highly successful artists. Blocker moved up to Director of Artist and Repertory, and under his tutelage, Liberty's artist roster came to include: Bobby Vee; Rivingtons; Vicke Carr; Gene McDaniels; Vic Dana; the Chipmunks; the Fleetwoods; and the Ventures, which brought Bill Savidge to his office with the Guitar Phonics 'Play Guitar' instructional system.
Don Blocker was the key man at Liberty responsible for the success of the Guitar Phonics albums. Blocker knew from his first meeting with Bill Savidge, that there was a market for such a product, and worked tirelessly to see the idea through to fruition. Savidge understood the system; Blocker understood sales and marketing; together they forged a new concept, and created a series of albums that to this day are in demand on the internet and written about by music historians.
In the fall of 1966, Blocker left Liberty and worked at Columbia Records before joining the management staff at Snuff Garrett's production company as Vice President. In this capacity, he negotiated production agreements, managed publishing companies, signed writers, and had a string of major hit records with Cher, including 'Half Breed', and 'Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves'. He helped produce sound tracks for five Clint Eastwood films including: 'Every Which Way But Loose', 'Any Which Way You Can'. 'Bronco Billy', and 'Honkytonk Man'. He served as liaison between Viva and their distributor, Warner Records. He also worked in this capacity with several Burt Reynolds productions, and other independent production companies.
Don Blocker enjoyed a successful forty-five year career in the music business; he was involved with many high profile entertainment celebrity businesses, including the Jackson 5 publishing operation, the Clint Eastwood publishing company, and many other well known talent and video production companies. Today, he has returned to his first love, and has taken up acting as a new career. After some minor successes, he landed a role on the TV series 'Saving Grace', playing the role of 'Louie' the bartender. Currently, he is auditioning for new shows and commericals.
Don Blocker states: "I have always felt that I caught a wave that carried me through those years and I was just lucky to be a part of an emerging new age of music. I loved the challenge which to me, is what life is all about" D.B. 2010
Wilbur M. Savidge Chet Atkins Jimmy Bryant The Ventures
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