Arthur Rupe, record producer who helped popularize R&B, dies at 104


Arthur Rupe, record producer and 2011 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, died Friday at his home in Santa Barbara, Calif., according to a statement from the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation. He was 104 years old.

His death was also announced by his daughter, Beverly Rupe Schwarz, according to The New York Times. CNN has reached out to Schwarz for comment.

Rupe is credited with launching the career of rock and roll pioneer Little Richard and helping to establish R&B as a genre of mainstream music, according to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

“Rock and roll as we know it would not exist without Art Rupe,” the Hall of Fame wrote on its website.

Rupe was born Arthur N. Goldberg to a working-class Jewish family in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, his foundation said.

He would later change his name to “Rupe” after moving to California and learning from his paternal grandfather that the surname Goldberg had been adopted at Ellis Island, according to his foundation.

After working with a team of engineers testing Liberty ships during World War II, Rupe decided to become a record producer, his foundation said.

He eventually launched his own label, Specialty Records, which went on to feature many artists including Roy Milton, Percy Mayfield, Joe and Jimmy Liggins, Lloyd Price, Little Richard and Sam Cooke.

Rupe is survived by her daughter Beverly and her husband Leo Schwarz as well as her granddaughter Madeline Kahan and her husband Kyle Kahan, her foundation said.

Leave a Comment