Longtime Industry Publicist Barbara Shelley, 64, Passes
October 7, 2015 at 11:26 AM (PT)
Longtime music publicist BARBARA SHELLEY, known for her work with such clients as ARETHA FRANKLIN, RAY PARKER JR. and STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN, heading the PR departments at ARISTA RECORDS, RHINO ENTERTAINMENT, CASABLANCA RECORDS and the HOWARD BLOOM ORGANIZATION, passed away at her home earlier this week in SCOTTSDALE, AZ, at 64 years old. Although she had been in poor health for several years, the cause of death is not known at present.
ARETHA FRANKLIN, who had been one of SHELLEY's longtime independent publicity clients, issued a statement saying, "I am so sorry to hear of the passing of BARBARA SHELLEY. As I look back with fondness and respect on the time we spent together, she got me to and from my appointments and interviews with a great sense of humor. She was always knowledgeable about current issues. I admired her loyalty and concern for her father, and her caretaking of him. God bless her."
RAY PARKER JR. expressed his own shock at news of her passing. "She gave me my entire career. She was the only publicist I ever had."
PARKER had just seen SHELLEY two nights before her death, when he hosted and performed at the "Heroes and Legends Awards" show, held in LOS ANGELES.
SHELLEY shuttered her L.A. office on BEVERLY BLVD., located across the street from the BEVERLY CENTER, in 2002, moving first to FLORIDA, then ARIZONA, to care for her father, MALVIN, until he passed away.
BARBARA graduated from BOSTON UNIVERSITY in 1971, having earned a B.A. degree in public communication, journalism and public relations, moving to NEW YORK to work for HOWARD BLOOM.
She was hired to work in the newly created position of Associate Director, R&B and Jazz Publicity in the New York office of ARISTA RECORDS in FEBRUARY, 1978, later rising to Associate Dir./Publicity and National Publicity Dir. in 1981.
BARBARA moved to LOS ANGELES to serve as the West Coast Publicity Dir. before leaving the label in 1984. She also became the head of publicity for the late NEIL BOGART's CASABLANCA and VP Publicity at RHINO ENTERTAINMENT.
While battling health issues, she continued to work independently, taking on publicity for labels including CAPITOL/EMI.
BARBARA also served time as both a Chapter Governor and Secretary and Treasurer of the LOS ANGELES chapter of THE RECORDING ACADEMY. She also represented the RHYTHM & BLUES FOUNDATION.
BARBARA SHELLEY's funeral will be held in SCOTTSDALE. Services will be held at CONGREGATION BETH ISRAEL, TOMORROW (OCTOBER 8th) at 2p (PDT). The temple is located at 10460 North 56th Street. The service is open to the public.
BARBARA is survived by her brother MICHAEL APPELBAUM, wife BETSY, grand nephews TYLER TREMEROLI, MASON and CAMERON APPELBAUM and grand niece AMANDA TREMEROLI.
Memorial donations in BARBARA's name may be made to MUSICARES at 3030 Olympic Blvd., LOS ANGELES, CA 90404 or www.grammy.org/musicares.