Producer/Arranger Milt Okun Passes
November 23, 2016 at 3:48 PM (PT)
MILT OKUN, a classically trained producer and arranger who found success with artists such PETER, PAUL AND MARY and JOHN DENVER, died at his home in BEVERLY HILLS at age 92, the L.A. TIMES reports.
Born in the BROOKLYN in 1923, OKUN started working with HARRY BELAFONTE, first as a piano player and eventually as the calypso star’s bandleader. After he was fired from the gig, OKUN got into folk music, working with artist such as TOM PAXTON, LAURA NYRO, ODETTA and PETER, PAUL AND MARY, the latter who hit it big with ‘Puff, the Magic Dragon” and two DYLAN classics, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” and “Blowin’ in the Wind.”
OKUN then hooked up with JOHN DENVER, getting him signed to RCA, but it took years before DENVER broke through with “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Sunshine on my Shoulder,” “Annie’s Song” and “Rocky Mountain High.”
He also launched CHERRY LANE MUSIC, one of the largest independent music houses in the industry, which was a pioneer in the music publishing business, finding niches overlooked by others. CHERRY LANE was sold to BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT in 2010.
OKUN is survived by his wife ROSEMARY, daughter JENNIFER, son ANDREW, and three grandchildren.