R.I.P. Wes 'Party' Johnson
May 12, 2014 at 8:51 AM (PT)
All ACCESS is sad to report that one time DEF JAM VP and record industry legend WES "PARTY" JOHNSON has passed. Suffering from cancer, he transitioned yesterday in a FLORIDA hospital surrounded by family. There is no word yet on funeral or memorial arrangements.
JOHNSON was instrumental in the careers of many record industry stalwarts, including ATLANTIC RECORDS Chairman/COO JULIE GREENWALD, ATLANTIC RECORDS Pres/Black Music MICHAEL KYSER and KEVIN LILES, a partner in LYOR COHEN's new "300" content company.
LILES told ALL ACCESS, "WES taught me when you meet people it's never about their job titles; it's about them. At the time I met him I was Regional Manager; he made sure I met everybody. WES took me at 23 years old and sent me to the West Coast to open up the our DEF JAM office out there. I have never accepted any award I have ever won as a promotions person; I always accepted on behalf of WES JOHNSON."
Former DEF JAM record exec. JOHNNIE WALKER expressed to All ACCESS, "He was a teacher and a mentor. He introduced me to the record business. WES was a party at the office, at dinner, or where he was. He was always smiling and encouraging."
Record executive MICHAEL JOHNSON told ALL ACCESS, "He was my mentor and taught me a lot. I grew as a man because of WES. He was the most optimistic person I've ever known. I will miss my friend."