Even in the very upper reaches of the music industry, it’s not every day that you get to see John Mayer, Leon Bridges and Ryan Tedder jam spontaneously at a 400-capacity club on a Wednesday night. Then again, Columbia Records chairman Ron Perry, who celebrated his 40th birthday with a live karaoke band at the Troubadour, is no ordinary executive. A skilled musician with an inner circle that includes Diplo, Lorde and The Weeknd (the former in attendance at the Troub), Perry’s also been immortalized as a character on “South Park” and has been known to shred on guitar on more than one occasion.
Among the artists in attendance for the invite-only bash were John Legend, Pharrell Williams, Zhavia, Joey Badass, Lennon Stella, Noah Cyrus, Cameron Dallas, Lauren Jauregui, Rosalía, Haim, Duran Duran’s John Taylor and Dominic Fike. In addition, hitmaker Brian Lee took a spin on the bass for Nirvana’s “Stay Away,” as his frequent collaborator Andrew Watt took on Blur’s “Song 2.” Executives on the guest list included scores of Sony Music staffers, chief among them CEO Rob Stringer — who sadly did not raise his hand for a rendition of David Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel” — as well as Columbia’s Jenifer Mallory, Lee Leipsner, Shawn Holiday and Phylicia Fant, and RECORDS’ Barry Weiss and Jenna Andrews. Also spotted were music attorneys Kenny Meiselas and Doug Davis; managers Jeffrey Azoff and Brandon Creed of Full Stop and Tunde Balogun of LVRN.
Other highlights included Perry’s swag-branded chocolate bars and cartoon laminates required for entry. But the main event was undoubtedly the music, which included songs like Oasis’ “Wonderwall” (performed by Perry, Mayer, Bridges and Tedder), “Mustang Sally” (Haim and Mayer) and “Livin’ on a Prayer” (Zhavia). The night ended, appropriately enough, with Semisonic’s “Closing Time.”
In Jan. 2018, Perry assumed the chief executive role at Columbia, arriving from SONGS Music Publishing where he was president and a minority partner since its founding in 2004.