Al Bunetta John Prine Manager Passes Away

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Al Bunetta, who spent more than 30 years guiding the career of John Prine and managing the catalog of the late Steve Goodman, passed away after a brief battle with cancer. He was admitted to Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee on March 12 and passed away on March 22nd 2015.

Bunetta founded and headed his namesake management company as well as Oh Boy Records. He was also a music publisher through his own Blue Plate Music and won a Grammy for co-producing the Best Contemporary Folk Recording ‘A Tribute To Steve Goodman’. In 2006, Prine’s Fair & Square album, released by Oh Boy, won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album.

Al was preceded in death by his son Juri Bunetta, who passed away in 2011. Al Bunetta and wife Dawn Bunetta started the Juri Bunetta Friendship Foundation and Building Bridges Golf Tournament in his loving memory, to benefit organizations including Safe Haven Family Shelter.

Al was a talent manager with Paul Anka’s management company CMA, working with artists like Bette Midler, Al Green and The Manhattan Transfer. When Steve Goodman was opening for Kris Kristofferson, Kris was interested in making a record with Steve. Steve said “ If you think I’m good you gotta see and hear my buddy John Prine.” Steve took Kris to see Prine and Kris introduced them both to Paul Anka. Anka signed John Prine and Steve Goodman to management contracts in 1971 and Al Bunetta became the manager for both of them. In 1980 when Prine’s contract with Asylum was done he moved to Nashville. Rather than sign with another major label, he decided to start one of his own, and was joined by Bunetta and associate Dan Einstein.The new Oh Boy label's first release was a red vinyl Christmas single with Prine singing "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" on the A-side and "Silver Bells" on the B-side.The first full-length release was Prine's Aimless Love in 1984. Around 1989, Sony offered to buy Oh Boy Records, but Prine decided to keep the label independent and turned down the offer.

As an active member of the Music Row community, Al Bunetta served on the board of the W.O. Smith Music School, and was involved with NARAS, CMA and Leadership Music.

Al Bunetta is survived by his wife Dawn. R.I.P.