Alan Livingston, Capitol Records President Who Signed the Beatles, Dead at 91

March 16, 2009 2:41 PM ET

Music industry icon Alan Livingston, the man credited with signing the Beatles during his time as president of Capitol Records, passed away on March 13th due to age-related causes. He was 91. Livingston was at the helm during a tenure that saw Capitol also sign acts like the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, the Steve Miller Band and the Band. Livingston is also noted for creating the Bozo the Clown character.

According to Billboard.biz, it was Livingston who decided that the label should release the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" as a single. The record company rejected earlier singles by the Fab Four, deeming them unsuitable for America. After releasing "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in 1963, Livingston brought the group over in 1964 and Beatlemania began. Livingston is also credited with reviving the career of Frank Sinatra after the Chairman of the Board saw his popularity lull in the early 1950s. Livingston recommended Sinatra work with composer Norman Riddle, resulting in songs like "I've Got the World on a String" and "Young-at-Heart."

Livingston is also responsible for inspiring the famed Capitol Records Tower in Los Angeles, LA Weekly reports, making that landmark the first circular office building ever constructed. Livingston received the Lifetime of Laughter Achievement Award from the Clown Hall of Fame in Milwaukee in 1998 for Bozo. Livingston is survived by his wife, actress Nancy Olsen, who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1950 for her role in Sunset Boulevard, one son, one daughter and a step-daughter.

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