×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Music publisher Murray Deutch dies

He discovered and signed Buddy Holly

Veteran music publisher and exec Murray Deutch, who was instrumental in the discovery of rock ‘n’ roll legend Buddy Holly, died Oct. 2 in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 90.

Deutch was a big band singer and served in the Army Entertainment Corps during World War II, appearing in Irving Berlin’s “This Is the Army.”

Following the war, after working as a song plugger, Deutch segued into publishing as general professional manager at Peer-Southern Intl. The firm repped publishing for New Mexico writer-producer Norman Petty, who recorded the Texas rock ‘n’ roll act Buddy Holly and the Crickets.

Deutch told Holly’s biographer John Goldrosen, “Norman sent me the tape of (Holly’s first hit) ‘That’ll Be the Day,’ and I went nuts for it. I didn’t know quite what it was, it was just my instinct — the song had an intonation I had never heard before.”

In 1956, the publisher brought the song to Bob Thiele, head of A&R for Decca Records’ Coral subsidiary; ultimately signed by the label, Holly and the Crickets produced a string of indelible hits.

During the ’60s, Deutch was executive veep of United Artists’ music division, where he oversaw the James Bond franchise, the Beatles’ films “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help!” and the movie version of the Broadway hit “Hair.”

In 1972, he became chairman/chief executive officer of the New York Times Music Publishing Co., where he acquired rights to “West Side Story” and “Godspell.” In 1976, he founded his own publishing firm Buttermilk Sky, where he supervised music for the pics “Annie,” “Ghostbusters” and “The Big Chill,” among others.

Survivors include his wife, Pamela; son, helmer Howard Deutch; a daughter; four grandchildren and a great-grandaughter.

More Scene

  • Lilli Cooper Tootsie

    How the 'Tootsie' Musical Was Updated for the #MeToo Era

    Turning the beloved 1982 comedy “Tootsie” into a 21st century musical already seemed like a challenge when work on the adaptation began back in 2016. Then the #MeToo movement revved up — and the writers knew they couldn’t tell Dorothy’s story for a modern audience without it. “It’s different than it was when the movie [...]

  • Ralph Fiennes attends a special screening

    Ralph Fiennes on Directing Rudolf Nureyev Biopic: 'It's Been a Very, Very Long Road'

    Ralph Fiennes celebrated his latest directorial outing, “The White Crow,” on Monday night in New York City. The Sony Pictures Classics film tells the story of legendary dancer Rudolf Nureyev. “It’s been a very, very long road. We were mad. We were mad to take on this subject of Rudolf Nureyev. Mad. Completely mad,” Fiennes [...]

  • Taylor Swift Time 100 Performance

    Watch Taylor Swift's Time 100 Gala Performance and Speech

    Just two nights out from Taylor Swift D-day spring 2019 — i.e., Thursday’s release of a new single — Swift made an appearance Tuesday at the Time 100 event in New York, where she did not let loose with any spoiler performances of new music but did sing a few fan favorites, including “Style,” “Delicate,” and [...]

  • Katie HolmesAT&T Presents: Untold Stories Luncheon

    Katie Holmes, Kal Penn Help Decide Winner of $1 Million Filmmaker Grant

    Tribeca Film Festival and AT&T gave one young filmmaker a million and one reasons to rejoice at the “Untold Stories” third annual competition. After a nerve-wracking 10-minute long pitch in front of over 850,000 live stream audience members and a panel consisting of celebrities and industry leaders, filmmaker Kate Tsang was awarded $1 million Monday [...]

  • Laurie Metcalf, John Lithgow'Hillary and Clinton'

    Why John Lithgow Worried About Starring in Broadway's 'Hillary and Clinton'

    When Lucas Hnath first conceived of “Hillary and Clinton” in 2008, he was writing for and about a very different America. Now, a total reimagining of the show has made its way to Broadway with Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow in the titular roles. At the opening on Thursday night, the cast and creatives talked [...]

  • Patrick Page, Amber Grey, Eva Noblezada,

    'Hadestown' Took 12 Years to Get to Broadway, but It's More Relevant Than Ever

    When “Hadestown” was first staged as a tiny, DIY theater project in Vermont, those involved could never have predicted that it was the start of a 12-year journey to Broadway — or how painfully relevant it would be when it arrived. At Wednesday night’s opening at the Walter Kerr Theatre, the cast and creatives discussed [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content