Julian Aberbach, founder of the Hill and Range music publishing company -- which owned rights to Elvis Presley's music -- died Monday (May 17) in New York City. He was 95.

Julian Aberbach, founder of the Hill and Range music publishing company -- which owned rights to Elvis Presley's music -- died Monday (May 17) in New York City. He was 95.

Aberbach was born in Vienna in 1909. In 1939, after founding a music-publishing company in Paris, he fled Europe for the U.S., later joining the U.S. Army and returning to Europe to fight in World War II. He and his brother, Jean, launched Hill and Range in 1943, with an emphasis on country music.

In 1956, Aberbach contracted with late Sun Records owner Sam Phillips to transfer the songs Presley had recorded for Sun to Hill and Range, subsequently called the Aberbach Group of Music Publishing Companies. The same year, Aberbach facilitated the transfer of Sun's contract with Presley to RCA Records for $40,000, along with a contract making the late Colonel Tom Parker Presley's manager.

Aberbach also organized the Elvis Presley Music and Gladys Music publishing companies. Presley owned half of each, with Aberbach and his brother splitting the other half. Jean Aberbach died in 1992.

"I gave Elvis a check for $2,500, an advance against royalties of his stock ownership," Aberbach told Billboard in 2002, "and he promptly went to the Cadillac dealer and got a pink one -- his first."

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