Tony Martell, a veteran label exec and founder of the T.J. Martell Foundation, which has raised more than $270 million for cancer and AIDS research, passed away Sunday at the age of 90. While he enjoyed a long and successful career -- most prominently at CBS Records and Sony Music, where he worked closely with Ozzy Osbourne, Electric Light Orchestra, Joan Jett, The O’Jays and many others -- there’s no question that his greatest work was with the foundation, which was founded in 1975 after his son T.J. died at the age of 21 after a battle with leukemia. The foundation has become one of the most prominent and important charities in the music industry, and its annual ceremony is one of the year’s major events.
Sony Music chief creative officer Clive Davis was president of Columbia Records when Martell was at CBS, and housed the T.J. Martell Foundation at the offices of his Arista Records. Below, Davis remembers his longtime friend and colleague.