Johnny Bienstock

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b. 1 March 1922, Vienna, Austria, d. 20 January 2006, Naples, Florida, USA. The brother of Freddy Bienstock also established himself in the music business. Although his sibling became a music business…
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b. 1 March 1922, Vienna, Austria, d. 20 January 2006, Naples, Florida, USA. The brother of Freddy Bienstock also established himself in the music business. Although his sibling became a music business legend, Johnny was in his own right an instigator, creator and an outstanding administrator, as well as a music publisher. He became the first employee of his cousins Julian and Jean Aberbach’s company Biltmore Music in 1944, after leaving the US Army. In 1958 he was asked to set up Big Top Records, and oversaw four golden years with a string of hits, including those by Sammy Turner, Johnny And The Hurricanes and Del Shannon. After refusing to accept a gift of a new house from one of his cousins (which would have effectively tied him to them for life), he was sacked in 1966. On the same day, he received a call from Jerry Wexler at Atlantic Records who invited him to the company as his executive assistant. Bienstock was with Atlantic through its golden era, and later managed their subsidiary Atco Records. During his time there (1966-72) he worked closely with Aretha Franklin, Tom Dowd, Iron Butterfly, Bobby Darin and Buffalo Springfield. It was Bienstock who suggested that the Woodstock album should be a triple-record set, much to the astonishment of his colleagues.

In addition to publishing some of J.J. Cale’s work, Bienstock managed RSO Records from their inception in 1972 and dealt with Cream, Eric Clapton, the Bee Gees and Derek And The Dominos. He rejoined his brother at the Carlin Group offices at the Brill Building in 1983 and administered the E.B. Mark Music Company. He also became involved with the Carlin Music Recorded Library. In 1993 he was responsible for the promotion and eventual release of Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell II, evidence that even in his sixth decade in the music business, Bienstock still had the Midas touch. He retired in 2003 and passed away three years later, the cause of death being complications from heart disease and a stroke.