×
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

  • Taylor Swift performs on her 30th

    Taylor Swift Celebrates Her 30th Birthday Onstage at New York Jingle Ball

    Taylor Swift celebrated her 30th birthday with over 20,000 of her closest friends onstage at Madison Square Garden for iHeartRadio’s annual Jingle Ball, hosted by New York City’s Z100. Swift took a moment to thank fans for coming to her party. “I had a choice,” she said. “Where would I want to spend my 30th [...]

  • Harry Styles Stevie Nicks

    Harry Styles Brings Out Stevie Nicks, Reworks One Direction Classic at the Forum (Watch)

    Harry Styles strutted, sashayed and transfixed the crowd at the Forum on Friday night (Dec. 13) for his combination record release party and one-night-only superfan affair. “Fine Line,” as his album is titled and the engagement touted on the outside of the venue, featured the live debuts of nine new songs including standout stunners “Golden,” [...]

  • Pete York and Rain Phoenix

    Rain Phoenix Joins Pete Yorn for 'Relator,' Originally Sung With Scarlett Johansson (Watch)

    Ten years before “Señorita,” another famous twosome recorded a romantic duet together: Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson, who joined forces on “Relator.” It was the first single from an entire album of collaborations, 2009’s “Break Up,” which was inspired by the songs of Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot, but fans hardly ever got to hear [...]

  • US Capitol

    The Sneaky Long Game of ALI’s Restatement of Copyright (Guest Column)

    Last week, Senator Thom Tillis and four other members of Congress sent a letter to an organization you may never have heard of, the American Law Institute (ALI).  The letter questions the ALI’s ongoing project to publish a competing version of the Copyright Act – or, as the ALI calls it, a “Restatement” of copyright [...]

  • Tom Petty’s Daughters, Widow Settle Legal

    Tom Petty’s Daughters, Widow Settle Legal Battle Over Estate

    Tom Petty’s widow and daughters from a previous marriage have settled their bitter legal battle, according to a report in Rolling Stone. Earlier this year, Adria Petty and Annakim Violette, the late singer’s daughters with his former wife Jane, sued his second wife, Dana York, for $5 million, alleging that she had deprived them of [...]

  • Desiree Perez attends the Billboard Magazine:

    Desiree Perez Named CEO of Roc Nation

    Desiree Perez has been elevated to CEO of Roc Nation after serving as chief operating officer since 2009. Along with Jay-Z, Perez is a co-founder of Roc Nation. In her new position, Perez is tasked with overseeing all 14 Roc Nation verticals, which includes music management, publishing, sports agency among a slew of diversified businesses, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content