For a video tribute on Billboard.biz, artists and executives offered their perspectives on Seymour Stein. Here are excerpts of those interviews.
"He doesn't have a cynical bone in his body. You say, 'Hey, I really believe in this artist [who] is going to perform on Thursday at 9.' He'll show up thinking he's going to see an incredible artist. He doesn't live on anything that he's done before. He wants to sign the next, hottest, most important artist out here." -Lyor Cohen, chairman/CEO of recorded music, Warner Music Group
"I grew to love him and look up to him, not just as the guy who signed most of my favorite artists, but also as one of the most incredible forces in music." -Guy Oseary, manager, Madonna
"Seymour's talent is not just with recognizing the artists [but] recognizing the people associated with those artists. So he could make a deal with someone in the U.K. that had a label knowing that the music was going to be good. And as Sire developed, it was a desirable place for young bands to want to go to." -Richard Gottehrer, founder/chief creative officer, the Orchard; co-founder, Sire Records
"He respects musicians. He respects music as art. Artists feel comfortable, safe with him, because they know that he's one of them. So they've found a safe, creative haven [with him], and I would say that is very special." -Clive Davis, chief creative officer, Sony Music Entertainment
"One of the most important things that Seymour did for the Ramones was that he didn't drop us. Most labels would have said, 'It was fun, fellas, but we need to make money.' But Seymour saw that there was more to the Ramones than just record sales. He stood by us and that was really important." -Tommy Ramone, the Ramones
"Seymour was so smart to know that [with] good artists, you just need to get out of the way and let them do their thing, and get the funding they're going to need to get this done. That's a really good quality and one I always appreciated him for." -Tina Weymouth, member of Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club
"Seymour was just like the ultimate if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it guy. [He'd say], 'I know you're an expert at what you do.' I had a great time [at Sire]." -Ice-T
Interviews conducted by Jem Aswad, Alexander Blumberg, Phil Gallo and K. Leander Williams.