Concord Music Group News

NEWS 11 Mar 2009

The Passing Of Hal Gaba

Concord Music Group, Village Roadshow Pictures and ACT III Communications
Announce the Passing of Hal Gaba

The Concord Music Group, Village Roadshow Pictures and ACT III Communications lost an essential family member and guiding spirit on Monday, March 9th, when Hal Gaba died at his home in Los Angeles after a battle with cancer. He was 63 years old.

Hal Gaba was a thoughtful and gregarious man, with an undeniable spirit and a remarkable, disarming sense of humor. He created a nurturing environment for the people he worked with and loved. A life-long passion, knowledge and commitment to popular music and film formed the basis of the close friendships he developed with many of the artists and colleagues he worked with and admired, always making sure that the artists’ creativity and careers were properly in the spotlight. His genuine love, appreciation and generosity sustained those relationships throughout his life.

Harold E. Gaba was born on January 22nd, 1946 in Oakland, California. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from UC Berkeley and a Master of Science degree in finance from UCLA. He began his brilliant professional career as a research analyst with William O’Neil and Company in 1967. In 1974, Gaba joined legendary producers Norman Lear, Bud Yorkin and Jerry Perenchio at Tandem Productions. Tandem grew into much more than a phenomenally successful television production company as the men became life-long friends, partners and allies.

In 1990, Gaba, in partnership with Lear, became president and chief executive officer of ACT III Communications, a multi-media holding company with interests in broadcasting, exhibition theatre, publishing, motion pictures and music. His life-long dream of owning a record company became a reality in 1999 when he and Lear became co-owners of the Concord Music Group, one of the largest independent record companies in the world and home to recordings by artists such as: Ray Charles, Chick Corea, John Coltrane, Sergio Mendes, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Kurt Elling, Miles Davis, James Hunter, Ella Fitzgerald, Thelonious Monk and, Gaba’s hero, Frank Sinatra, among many others. Concord Records’ relationship with Starbucks was established in 2003 and led to the release of Genius Loves Company, Ray Charles’ last recording. It went on to win 8 Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. In 2006, the Concord Music Group partnered with Starbucks to form Hear Music. The company has released records from Paul McCartney, James Taylor, Sia, John Mellencamp and Joni Mitchell.

In 2008, Gaba merged the Concord Music Group with Australia’s renowned Village Roadshow Pictures to form Village Roadshow Entertainment Group. Village Roadshow is one of the film world’s leading production companies, creating dozens of important and popular movies over the years, most recently the animated smash, Happy Feet, Oceans 13, starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt, Will Smith’s I Am Legend, Get Smart featuring Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway and Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino, to name just a few.

Hal served on the board of directors for World Trade Bank, Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles, Univision Communications Corporation, Herbalife, The Henry Mancini Institute and The Curtis School, and has served on the executive committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Gaba’s achievements in and contributions to the entertainment community were considerable; however, the love of his family, both personal and professional, was paramount and the driving, animating force in his life. He is survived by Carole, his wife of 23 years; daughters, Lauren and Elizabeth; mother, Thelma Gaba; sister, Joelle Lawson; and brother, Jeff Gaba.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Hal Gaba's memory may be made payable to “U.C. Regents” and mailed as follows:

Matthew B. Rettig, M.D.
For use by the Prostate Cancer Research Program
Department of Urology
The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Box 951738
Los Angeles, CA 90025-1738

A celebration of Hal's life will be held on Monday, March 16th at 1:30 PM in the Ahmanson Ballroom, Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049

Statement from Norman Lear:

They make Hal Gabas three times a century. I have yet to meet the other two. He was
an extraordinary partner and friend.”

Statement from Glen Barros, Concord Music Group president and CEO:

The phrase ‘to know him is to love him’ has been said about many, but I can’t think of anyone for which these words were more fitting. He was great at just about everything he tried, and he inspired those around him to be great too. Quite simply, Hal was one helluva guy and he will be terribly missed.”

Statement from Gene Rumsey, Concord Music Group general manager:

"Hal's love of music was only superseded by his love of people. His passion, energy, enthusiasm and sense of humor were inspirational. Despite the deep sadness felt in losing him it is impossible to think about Hal and not smile."

Statement from John Burk, Concord Music Group executive VP of A&R:

Hal's passion for the artists and their music was unparalleled and truly inspirational, as was his love of life. I can't imagine a better partner or friend. We're all better people for knowing him and he'll be dearly missed.”

Statement from Michael Lambert, Concord and Village Roadshow Pictures co-owner:

Dearest friend for over 30 years, generous mentor in business and in life, Hal has been a passionate co-conspirator in the pursuit of creative enterprises …always taking time to have some laughs along the way. I miss my pal.”

Statement from Sergio Mendes, Concord Records artist and close friend :

Hal Gaba was a dear friend and an inspiration to me, both in my life and career. I was honored to be his friend and feel very lucky to have known such a loving, warm and funny man. I will forever miss him.”

Statement from John Mellencamp, Hear Music artist :

"Two things stand like stone - Kindness in another's trouble. Courage in your own."
- Adam Lindsay Gordon

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