×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Publicist Norman Winter Dies at 85

Influential publicist Norman Winter (pictured center above), who represented Michael Jackson, Elton John, Bob Dylan along with many other rock stars, movie stars, bestselling authors and music congloms, died Aug. 22 from complications of Lewy Body Disease at a Las Vegas area hospital. He was 85.

Winter also repped Janet Jackson, Queen, the Who, Barry White, Smokey Robinson, George Michael, Neil Diamond, Billy Joel, Tom Petty, Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Tony Curtis, Sophia Loren, Joan Collins, CBS Records and “Jesus Christ Superstar,” to name but a few.

As a Brooklyn-born teen, Winter began his career when he headed to Hollywood as a fanzine photographer for Frank Sinatra. Lee Zhito, editor-in-chief and publisher of Billboard magazine, urged Winter to become a PR man, and Winter ultimately landed a job as publicity chief for MCA/Universal Records. After a string of successes at Universal, including the “Jesus Christ Superstar” album, and helping to propel Elton John to superstardom, Winter opened his own PR/marketing firm, Norman Winter / Associates.

Winter also played a key role in catapulting Jackson’s “Thriller” to become the bestselling album of all time. The unconventional publicist also played a vital role in the Victory Tour, Jackson’s acquisition of the Beatles’ catalog and his Pepsi endorsement. Winter joined Jackson at the White House, where then President Ronald Reagan honored the superstar. Winter actually wrote text for the president’s speech.

With offices on both coasts, and artists around the world, Winter delivered successes for music acts including Rick James, Lynyrd Skynyrd, AC/DC, Steppenwolf, Meatloaf, Johnny Rivers, the Jefferson Airplane’s Marty Balin, Christopher Cross, Donny Osmond, Garth Brooks, Herb Alpert, Paul Anka, Phil Ramone, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Bootsy Collins, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Brian McKnight, Outkast, Usher, Jimmy Cliff, Morris Day and gospel luminaries Jennifer Knapp and multiple-Grammy winner Deniece Williams. He also repped Steve Martin, Joan Collins and Arsenio Hall,

Boosting a number of key rap and hip-hop artists, Winter guided NWA’s late Eazy-E, Dr Dre, Babyface and Bangin’ On Wax (the Bloods & Crips collaboration), Domino, Bone Thugs -N- Harmony and Eddie Griffin to the top of the charts.

Winter’s corporate clients included Virgin Records (Noo Trybe), Ruthless Records, The Scotch Magnetic Tape Division of 3M, The Lincoln Mint, The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS), ASCAP, BMI, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., Warner/Chappell, CBS Songs, CBS Records Group, Allied Artists Music Group, Scotti Brothers Records, TJ Martell Foundation and Windswept Pacific Holdings. Billboard Publications selected Winter to publicize the magazine’s International Music Industry Conferences (IMIC) in Washington, DC, Venice, and Monte Carlo. Billboard Magazine also retained Winter to publicize their annual song contest.

He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Joy, daughters Jennifer and Elizabeth and brother Alfred.

More Music

  • ‘The Gift: The Journey of Johnny

    Film Review: ‘The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash’

    Very much in the manner of an “unplugged” acoustic album that showcases the musicianship of a major artist without distracting flash and filigree, “The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash” is a tightly focused yet impressively multifaceted documentary that attempts nothing less than to delve past familiar myths and illuminate the soul of its fabled [...]

  • Taylor Swift attends the Time 100

    Taylor Swift Makes a Pre-Single Splash With Time 100 Gala Performance

    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 [...]

  • Britney Spears Musical

    Britney Spears Posts Video Reassuring Fans 'All Is Well'

    Britney Spears took to Instagram Tuesday to reassure her fans that “all is well” after some expressed fears for her well-being. “Hi guys, just checking in with all of you that are concerned about me,” she said in a video. “All is well, my family has been going through a lot of stress and anxiety, [...]

  • Tootsie review

    Broadway Review: 'Tootsie'

    The new Broadway adaptation of “Tootsie” is old-fashioned and proud of it — and it’s a surefire crowd-pleaser, in this musical spin on the 1982 film comedy with Santino Fontana in the Dustin Hoffman role. Robert Horn (book) and Tony-winner David Yazbek (score) have a high old time poking fun at theatrical rituals — the [...]

  • Us Musician Michael Franti Performs on

    Michael Franti Signs Worldwide Publishing Deal With Position Music

    Michael Franti has signed a worldwide publishing deal with Position Music to maximize opportunities for his new music in film, television, advertising and gaming outlets. The singer and songwriter, best known for the 2010 hit “The Sound of Sunshine,” also moonlights as a poet and filmmaker and is known to promote social causes and humanitarian [...]

  • Billie Eilish Coachella Day 2

    Billie Eilish, Chance the Rapper, Post Malone to Headline Life Is Beautiful Festival

    Billie Eilish, Chance the Rapper, Post Malone and the Black Keys are a few of the more than 70 artists set to perform at the seventh annual Life Is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas, which takes place from Sept. 20-22. Following sold-out shows for the last two years, the rapidly growing festival brings several musicians hot [...]

  • Britney Spears Musical

    Britney Spears Musical 'Once Upon a One More Time's' Film Rights Land at Sony

    Sony Pictures has won screen rights to the Broadway-bound “Once Upon a One More Time,” a fairy tale featuring classic songs from Britney Spears, sources have confirmed to Variety. John Davis’ Davis Entertainment will produce the film along with Spears and her manager, Larry Rudolph. Neither a writer nor a director has yet been attached. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content