Lee Magid-the Savoy Records executive, talent scout and song doctor who discovered Della Reese and Al Hibbler-died Saturday, March 31, at UCLA Medical Center. Though not as well known as Ahmet Ertegun or John Hammond, Magid nevertheless left his mark on popular music, especially in the realms of R&B and gospel. He was 80.
Born April 6, 1926, in New York City, Magid began playing trumpet and arranging scores at the age of 15, and by the time he was 19, he took a position with National Records. Magid was one of the few people at the time who attempted to break black acts on white radio, and as a result, label owner Al Green promoted him to A&R; Magid would eventually become a producer for the label. At National, Magid worked with Joe Turner, Charlie Ventura and the Ward Sisters, but the label’s lack of funds denied him of further creative growth.