Journalist covered music for Variety

Joe X. Price, a longtime entertainment industry writer who served as a music reporter for Daily Variety in the 1960s, died Dec. 30 in Woodland Hills, Calif. of complications due to lung cancer. He was 81.

A native of Chicago, Price returned there after serving in the U.S. Navy during WWII, graduating from Roosevelt U.

Around 1960 he wrote and sold his first book, a tongue-in-cheek study of the American disc jockey called “The Blabbermouths” (Citadel Press, N.Y., 1960), which was co-written by Dan Sorkin.

The following year, Tom Pryor, editor of Daily Variety, hired Price to work in its Hollywood office as music editor. For the better part of the decade Price covered clubs and wrote concert reviews. It was during this time that Price became friendly with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. The friendship with Sinatra ended over a less than enthusiastic review of a Sinatra album, but Price’s friendship with Dean Martin lasted until the singer’s death in 1995.

In 1968, Price shifted to the production end of the music business when he accepted the post of national director of public relations for Capitol Records. He went on to work as personal publicist for Capitol artist Stan Kenton.

In 1973, he became editor-publisher of his own music business trade magazine, the A&R Report, which worked to pair composers with recording artists. Later in the 1970s, while writing a weekly music column for the Los Angeles Times’ Home magazine, Price also served as a contributing editor for Billboard.

His second book, was a biography of the late comedian Redd Foxx. titled “Redd Foxx, B.S. (Before Sanford).”

He is survived by a daughter, a son, a brother and three grandchildren.

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