Tony Martell

Tony Martell
Born (1926-06-23)June 23, 1926
Died November 27, 2016(2016-11-27) (aged 90)
Madison, New Jersey, U.S.
Occupation music industry senior executive
founder, T.J. Martell Foundation
Years active 1960s–2016
Spouse(s) Vicky Martell
Children T.J., Debbie

Tony Martell (June 23, 1926 – November 27, 2016) was an American music industry senior executive and philanthropist. He was the founder of the T.J. Martell Foundation.


Martell's music industry career spanned the 1960s through the 1990s with experience as an A&R director, record label vice president, and record label head, primarily with CBS Records (now Sony Music Entertainment) and its subsidiaries. Martell worked with musicians who covered a wide range of musical styles including jazz, rock, soul, pop, blues, and heavy metal.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Martell helped direct the careers of The Isley Brothers, and The O'Jays. In the 1980s, Martell was instrumental in bringing both Stevie Ray Vaughan and Ozzy Osbourne to Epic Records. He is credited as Executive Producer on over 50 albums for artists as diverse as Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Isley Brothers, The O'Jays, George Benson, Gerry Mulligan, Jim Hall, Lalo Schifrin, Bill Withers, Patti Austin, George Duke, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Eumir Deodato, and Stanley Turrentine.[1]

In the 1980s, Martell was head of the imprint label CBS Associated Records, which was part of the E/P/A label group (Epic/Portrait/Associate). Martell continued his work with Ozzy Osbourne and also signed The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Electric Light Orchestra, Joan Jett, and Henry Lee Summer amongst others to the label.


In 1973, Martell’s teenage son T.J. Martell was diagnosed with leukemia, and died in 1975 at the age of 21.[2] Tony Martell began fundraising efforts for cancer research with a dinner in New York City featuring the music of friends Buddy Rich, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and Ella Fitzgerald and soon established the T.J. Martell Foundation in memory of his son.[2]

For over thirty years the foundation has been one of the primary charitable organizations associated with the music industry and a leader in funding for innovative leukemia, cancer, and AIDS research (having raised over $225 million). The T.J. Martell Foundation maintains offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville; and sponsors events nationally and internationally.

Martell is retired from the music industry and is involved in the work of the foundation, but his status and long-standing relationships to artists and executives within the music community are invaluable assets to the foundation's work.[3][4][5]

In 1996, several country music artists recorded a charity single titled "Hope", whose proceeds were donated to the foundation in order to aid cancer research. The song featured vocals from John Berry, Terri Clark, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Tracy Lawrence, Little Texas, Neal McCoy, Tim McGraw, Lorrie Morgan, Marty Stuart, Travis Tritt, and Trisha Yearwood. It was released via Giant Records, and charted at number 57 on Hot Country Songs in May of that year.[6]

Personal life and death

Martell was married to Vicky Martell, who died on February 21, 2016.[7] They had a daughter, Debbie Martell, and they resided in Madison, New Jersey, where he died on November 27, 2016, at the age of 90.[8][9]


  1. "Tony Martell - Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
  2. 1 2 Maxwell, Bea (June 18, 1992). "$375,000 for 'Decade of Dreams'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  5. "The T.J. Martell Foundation Issues Music Industry Challenge « Country Music Cares". 2009-11-07. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
  6. Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 193. ISBN 0-89820-177-2.
  7. Lasimone, Ashley (February 21, 2016). "Vicky Martell, Wife of Music Exec Tony Martell, Dies". Billboard. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  8. "Tony Martell, Founder of the T.J. Martell Foundation, Dies at 90". Billboard. November 27, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/3/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.