Mickey Goldsen, founder of Criterion Music Corp., which published such hits as Don Ho’s “Tiny Bubbles,” Lee Hazlewood’s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ ” and Jackson Browne’s “Doctor My Eyes,” died Wednesday at his home in Encino. He was 99.
Goldsen was Criterion’s CEO for all 61 of the company’s years. Before that, he ran Capitol Records’ publishing unit in the late 1940s. In 1977, he established the Association of Independent Music Publishers and served as its first president.
After Capitol Records went public in 1948, Goldsen became sole owner of Capitol Songs when he purchased shares in the firm from songwriters Johnny Mercer and Buddy DeSylva and others. He transformed Capitol Songs into Criterion in 1950, naming it after a Broadway theater.
The Brooklyn-born Goldsen built Criterion with pop hits from the likes of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. Goldsen purchased the Charlie Parker catalog in the late 1950s and later grew fond of Pacific Islander music, publishing “Tiny Bubbles” and “Pearly Shells,” both recorded by Ho in the ’60s. Goldsen is a member of the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame.
He hooked up with Duane Eddy collaborator Hazlewood, and Criterion published “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’,” a No. 1 hit for Nancy Sinatra in 1966. “Doctor My Eyes,” which Browne wrote and performed, reached No. 8 on the BIllboard Hot 100 in 1972.
The company later established a country stronghold with such songwriters as Lyle Lovett and Roseanne Cash.
Survivors include son Bo, the president of Criterion; daughter Eileen, the owner of French Fried Music, a music publisher in Paris; daughter Nancy; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.