She was 59.
Patricia Baird, BMI assistant VP, corporate relations, died yesterday (Aug. 21) in New York after a long fight with cancer. She was 59.
During a career that spanned more than 35 years, Baird had become a well-known and respected journalist and editor in the music industry. She began her career as a publicist for prominent music producer Jimmy Ienner, helping to launch the careers of emerging talent such as Isaac Hayes, Donny Hathaway, Three Dog Night, Blood, Sweat & Tears and Grand Funk Railroad.
Baird joined trade publication Record World in 1974 as assistant editor where she wrote a column devoted to music publishing. Seven years later she became East Coast professional manager at Arista/Interworld Music Publishing Group. Later, as head of her own media relations consultancy, she represented artists and projects associated with Atlantic Records, Elektra Records and MTV Networks. RCA Records hired her in 1984 as director of national publicity, where she worked with artists including Lou Reed, the Eurythmics, Diana Ross, Starship, John Denver and Hall & Oates.
Baird joined BMI in 1987, heading up its media relations department. She was promoted to assistant VP in 1993. She built a national media relations team for BMI with staff in New York, Nashville and Los Angeles.
While at BMI, Baird also served as senior editor of BMI’s Music World. As a writer, reviewer and journalist, she made frequent contributions to music publications and was a sought-after music industry collaborator for television producers and authors, contributing to biographies of Johnny Ace, Tim and Jeff Buckley, and Brian Wilson, among others. She was the awards coordinator for the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Awards and a frequent consultant for the BBC.
Over the years, Baird served on committees for major music industry charitable organizations including the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, the City of Hope, the T.J. Martell Foundation and the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. She served as a governor of the New York chapter of the Recording Academy, and was a member of the Country Music Assn., Gospel Music Assn., Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Television Academy.
Baird's family plans a private interment ceremony and has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations in her honor be made to the T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer and Aids Research. A celebration in her memory for her family and her many friends and colleagues in the industry is being planned for early fall in Manhattan.