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Stones, Beatles Promotions Man Dies

Rolling Stones Beatles
Terry Disney / Hulton Archives, Getty Images

Pete Bennett, a legendary figure known as the “World’s No. 1 Promotions Man,” has died. he was found dead of a heart attack in his home in New York. He had claimed to be 67, but stories over the years often listed his real age as up to 10 years older.

Born Pietro Benedetto in the Bronx, New York, Bennett got his start in promotions when his own musical career stalled in the early-1960s. Because he had contacts in radio, a friend offered him a job promoting the then-fledgling Motown label. Shortly thereafter he began working to break many of the British Invasion acts in America, which led to his association with the Rolling Stones, with whom he worked until 1976.

In 1967, Bennett joined the Beatles‘ new Apple Records as Promotions Manager and eventually worked with all four members in their solo careers, notably with George Harrison on the ‘Concert for Bangladesh’ concert and film in 1971.

One of his most famous stories involved him convincing disc jockeys to play ‘Honky Tonk Women.’ There was concern with the lyric, “I laid a divorcee in New York City” was too risque for the masses in 1969. Bennett convinced them that Mick Jagger was singing, “I played a divorcee,” and offered up a doctored piece of sheet music as proof.

Throughout the rest of his career, Bennett had his pick of A-list talent. He discovered Steven Tyler when the singer was a teenager and helped Aerosmith get some early important gigs. When the Jacksons were leaving Motown in 1977, he negotiated their move to Epic. He also worked with legendary movie stars like John Wayne and Elizabeth Taylor, and worked in the fashion industry with many supermodels.

Next: See Other Rockers We've Lost in 2012

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