John Bromell, the award-winning Australian music executive who led Warner Chappell’s local affiliate for more than a decade, has died in a car accident. He was 71.
Bromell crashed his car Saturday (Aug. 31) near his home at Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. It’s believed he may have suffered a heart attack while driving.
Bromell ran Warner Chappell Music from 1982 to 1997, and prior to that served as managing director of Rondor Music from 1975-1982. Among the acts he signed were Cold Chisel, Keith Urban and Lee Kernaghan.
“He was without doubt the best publisher in Australia before and since,” comments former Warner Music Australia chairman Brian Harris. “He was a good executive, he wasn’t an accountant. He probably had a few blues with his finance people. But he took a hell of a lot of risks and most of them paid off. He had a natural flair, he would always pick (good) artists and he always put faith in them.”
Bromell’s interests went well-beyond music publishing.
He was responsible for the original idea of a “hardship fund,” whose goal was to support career musicians. That concept went on to become the music industry charity Support Act Limited.
Bromell had “the vision to see that musicians and roadies would find themselves in financial trouble as they aged,” says Lindy Morrison, national welfare co-ordinator for Support Act Ltd and drummer with the Go-Betweens. “He had the drive to establish an organization that would help.”
Morrison describes Bromell as a “lovely soft man” who “never stopped caring.” In his last weeks, Bromell had been talking about how to set up a similar organization for workers in the film industry, she explains.
A passionate country music fan, Bromell went on to serve as vice chairman of the Country Music Association of Australia. In 1996, he received the “industry achiever of the year” accolade at the Country Music Assn. of Australia Awards (CMAAs).
Bromell’s friends are encouraged do leave a message at his Facebook page.
He died on the eve of the annual Father’s Day celebrations in Australia. “It wasn’t a good Father’s Day for all of us,” notes Harris.