Tom Ayres, who brought David Bowie to RCA Records and became a mover and shaker in the music industry, died May 30 in his Shreveport, La., home at age 67.
Rock star Bowie pays tribute to Ayres in a yet-to-be-released documentary.
“David Bowie gives credit to Tom as the man who brought him to RCA Records,” said Rodney Bingenheimer, a Los Angeles radio personality and Ayres’ partner in the 1970s-era attraction Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco.
Ayres’ role in Bowie’s career also was noted in the biography “Stardust: The David Bowie Story,” which recounted a time when Bowie lived with Ayres in a mansion previously owned by actresses Lillian and Dorothy Gish. The new documentary will debut in January at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
Ayres, a Sabine Parish, La., native, worked for Hanna-Barbera Prods., ABC Records, Columbia Records, United Artists, Kama Sutra Records, Buddha Records and RCA Records, among others.
His busiest days as a producer were during the 1960s and ’70s, when he brought local talent — including Victoria Williams — to the attention of peers in recording business.
“He’s one of these guys that nobody has ever heard of, but the record business wouldn’t be able to operate without them,” said Los Angeles music writer Todd Everett.
Ayres produced the Dartells’ early-’60s hit “Hot Pastrami” and played bass in the Johnny Burnette Quintet.
He also worked with the Sir Douglas Quintet and with singers Ultra Violet and Gene Vincent.