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Elliot Goldman, Founding Executive at Arista Records, Dies at 88

Elliot Goldman, a founding executive at Clive Davis’ Arista Records who also worked for CBS Records, BMG Music and Warner Communications during his long career in the music business, has died. He was 88.

Goldman died Wednesday at his Los Angeles home after struggling with health problems the past few months, his family said.

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Goldman was executive vp and G.M. of Arista when Clive Davis launched the storied label in 1974, and he “played a substantial role in the history of Arista Records and strongly contributed to its success,” Davis said in a statement.

After leaving Arista, Goldman served as a senior vp at Warner Communications from 1982-85 and as president and CEO of BMG Music — which oversaw Arista and several RCA Records labels — from 1985-87, then was a consultant to record companies through the ’90s.

Goldman, who graduated from Cornell University in 1957 and Columbia University School of Law in 1961, started his career in New York city and state government and headed the NYC office for Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s 1964 presidential election campaign.

He then worked in business affairs at CBS Records from 1967-74.

Goldman was on the boards of the RIAA and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation and on the executive council of the T.J. Martell Foundation, and he was co-chairman of the home entertainment division of the UJA-Federation of New York.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Jill; children Ben, Elizabeth and Cathy; daughter-in-law Allysa; and grandchildren Justin, Dylan, Sophie and Olivia.

Son Ben Goldman is an A&R executive at ONErpm who spent 20 years at Sony Music as senior vp of A&R at Epic and Columbia Records, and grandson Justin Goldman was recognized as the youngest music executive on a Forbes “30 Under 30” list in 2021 and has a venture with 10k Projects.

Funeral services were held Friday. Donations in Goldman’s name can be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

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