Dick Griffey, founder of SOLAR Records, died Sept. 24 in Los Angeles of complications arising from a prior quadruple bypass surgery. He was 72.

Launched in 1977, SOLAR Records -the acronym for Sound of Los Angeles Records-became one of the most successful, post-Motown independent urban labels in the '80s. SOLAR introduced such R&B hit-makers as Shalamar, the Whispers, Klymaxx, Midnight Star and the Deele, whose members included future award-winning songwriter/producers and label executives Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Antonio "L.A." Reid. Also helping to craft the signature SOLAR sound of funky, progressive dance music infused with soul and disco were songwriters/producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Reggie and Vincent Calloway and Leon F. Sylvers III

"Richard Griffey had an eye for talent, an ear for music and a leadership ability to create one of the most successful, money-making record companies," says Sylvers. Adds former Shalamar member Jody Watley, "The sound of SOLAR Records continues to bring joy to many devoted fans around the world. I'm proud to have been a part of that legacy."

Born Nov. 16, 1938 in Nashville, Richard Gilbert Griffey broke into the entertainment business in the mid-sixties as the booking agent for Guys and Dolls, a Los Angeles nightclub he co-owned with former schoolmate and ex-New York Knicks player/coach Dick Barnett. Branching into concert promotion via Dick Griffey Productions, Griffery promoted domestic and international tours for a host of acts, including Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, the Jacksons, Aretha Franklin, the O'Jays, Teddy Pendergrass, James Brown and Diana Ross and the Supremes. Griffey also co-founded the Black Promoters Association (BPA).

He eventually segued into the talent coordinator post for nationally syndicated television dance show "Soul Train." That led to him and "Soul Train" creator/producer Don Cornelius establishing SOLAR precursor Soul Train Records in 1975. In addition to working with various charities and organizations, Griffey spent the latter part of his life involved in commodities and international trade in West Africa. He also built a school for girls in his mother's honor in Ghana: The Juanita Hines School of Music.

Griffey is survived by wife Carrie Lucas, five children and five grandchildren. Funeral services will be private with a public memorial to be scheduled later.